The Continuing Revolution in Stalin-Era Soviet History
INTRODUCTION: At the invitation of the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist), American academic and author of Khrushchev lied, GROVER FURR, addressed a packed meeting in Lucas Arms, Grays Inn Road, London, on Friday 20 June. In his contribution, lasting about 50 minutes, Grover exposed the lies concerning Soviet History, in particular Stalin, spread by the anti-communist, Trotskyist and revisionist ideologues. We reproduced the first part of his presentation in our last issue and now produce the concluding part below.
9. The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact of August 1939
At a conference some years back a liberal anticommunist threw the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact – often called by anticommunists the “Hitler-Stalin Pact” – in my face. “How could I defend it!” he virtually shouted at me!
I realized I did not know nearly as much about it as I should. So I spent the summer of 2009 researching it. The result is a monograph-sized article titled “Did the Soviet Union Invade Poland in September 1939? (The answer: No, it did not.).” You can read it, with 17 web pages of evidence and documentation, on my Home Page.
I learned a lot! For one thing, I learned that the Pact was not an “alliance.” I learned that the Soviet Union did not “invade” Poland in September, 1939, and that all the Allies agreed at that time that it did not.
I learned that the USSR was the only country that acted properly in the pre-war period. That is the only conclusion I could honestly reach.
I discuss this question at length in Blood Lies, my forthcoming book on Timothy Snyder’s Bloodlands. It will be published in less than two weeks.
10. The Katyn Massacre
In April 1943 Nazi German authorities claimed that they had discovered thousands of bodies of Polish officers shot by Soviet officials in 1940 near the Katyn forest near Smolensk (in Western Russia).
The Nazi propaganda machine organized a huge campaign around this alleged discovery. After the Soviet victory at Stalingrad in February 1943 it was obvious to everyone that, unless something happened to split the Allies, Germany would inevitably lose the war. The Nazis’ obvious aim was to drive a wedge between the western Allies and the USSR.
The Soviet government, headed by Joseph Stalin, vigorously denied the German charge. When the Polish government-in-exile, always ferociously anticommunist and anti-Russian, collaborated with the Nazi propaganda effort, the Soviet government broke diplomatic relations with it.
During the Cold War the Western capitalist countries supported the Nazi version now promoted by the anticommunist Poles. The Soviet Union and its allies continued to blame the Germans until in 1990 – 1992 Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Eltsin stated that the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin had indeed shot the Poles.
At the beginning of 2013 I learned about archaeological findings at a German mass murder site in Ukraine. As I’ve been following the dispute over the Katyn Massacre for many years I soon recognized the implications of these findings. They provide material evidence that the Soviet Union could not have shot the 14,800, or 22,000, or whatever number of Polish officers who were POWs in 1940.
The discoveries in the mass graves at Volodymyr-Volyns’kiy constitute a lethal blow to the “official” version of the Katyn Massacre. This is something that should interest all of us. Katyn has been the most famous crime alleged against Stalin and the Soviet government. It has hitherto also been the crime most firmly grounded in documentary evidence. For example, it is unlike the alleged “Holodomor,” the supposedly deliberate starvation by Stalin of millions of Ukrainians in the famine of 1932-1933, for which no evidence has ever been found.
Katyn has been the best proven “crime of Stalinism.” And it’s a lie.
In this talk I have only touched on a few of the important events of Soviet history of the 1930s. In conclusion I would like to say something about objectivity and the attempt to discover the truth.
Almost all books and articles published today about Soviet history of the Stalin period are framed, and therefore controlled, by what I call the “anti-Stalin paradigm.” In Western academic discussion it is obligatory – required – that a researcher come to conclusions that confirm the anticommunist portrayal of Stalin as a vicious, evil killer and dictator, and the Soviet Union as a site of mass murder and cruelty. If you are unwilling to put your research within this biased framework you simply cannot have an academic career at all.
I have been told by two fine researchers in Soviet history – researchers who are not leftists but who strive to be objective – that no book that is not hostile to Stalin can be published by an academic publisher. That certainly is true in the West, and I believe it to be true in Russia as well.
Let me put this another way: If you were in the field of Soviet history – if you taught Soviet history in a history department anywhere in the West, you could not do the research I do. If you did, you could not be published in the standard journals, or by mainstream academic publishers, and you would soon not be in the field of Soviet history anymore, because you wouldn’t have a job!
That is why my position is unusual. I teach in an English Department. My academic livelihood does not depend in any way on my research into Soviet history.
This is what I have to offer. And a lot of people around the world think it is important. Not just people on the Left, such as you are. The anticommunists also think it’s important. And they don’t like it.
A lot of people on the Right do not want the truth about the history of the communist movement in the USSR, during the Stalin years, to come to light. They want to continue to demonize it, to compare it to Hitler and fascism, and to lie about it. And that’s what they do – not only “passively”, through their “point of view”, or bias, but actively, by deliberately falsifying the evidence, sources, and history.
Marx’s favorite slogan was “De omnibus dubitandum” – Question Everything, and your preconceived ideas and biases above all others. If you want to learn the truth, that’s what you must do.
Moreover, it is what every bourgeois detective in every detective story knows. As Sherlock Holmes used to say: Keep your mind free of precipitate conclusions. Get the facts before you form your hypotheses. Be ready to abandon an hypothesis that does not explain the established facts.
If you don’t do this – if you don’t try to discover the truth from the outset – then you are not going to stumble upon it by accident along the way. And what you will find will not be the truth.
This is what I try hard to do. None of the demonizers of Stalin and the Soviet Union, the anticommunist “experts” on the history of the communist movement, make any attempt to be objective. They do not discover the truth, then, because they don’t want to do so. They want to write “propaganda with footnotes.” And that’s what their works are.
In my presentations in the United States I quote a line from a popular and satirical singer named “Weird Al Yankovich.” He has a song titled “Everything You Know Is Wrong.” And that is the situation with Soviet history today. Everything we have been taught, at least since Khrushchev’s day about Soviet history of the Stalin period – is wrong, based on anticommunist lies.
But where we now have evidence, chiefly from former Soviet archives though also from the Trotsky Archive at Harvard University, we inevitably – always, in every single specific instance – find that the anticommunists from Leon Trotsky to Khrushchev to Gorbachev, and all the anticommunist “scholars” to the present day – are wrong, and in most cases they are deliberately lying.
In my view, the importance of all this new evidence and research lies mainly in proving the utter dishonesty of the “mainstream” accounts of Soviet history – accounts that pass for the “truth” not only among Cold War anticommunists, not only among Trotskyists, but are also the “mainstream” view among ‘Marxists’ and ‘communists’.
We Marxists ought to be relieved! All around the world the horror stories about Stalin and the Stalin period are employed to discredit Marxism, socialism, and communism. Now we can see: these horror stories are lies.
The Bolsheviks were blazing an unmarked trail, “going where no man had gone before.”
But we, who come after them, must carefully study what they did. We will never discover what the Bolsheviks did that was right, correct, admirable, worthy of imitation – unless we know what really did happen. A new and better communist movement can only be built upon a sound foundation of historical truth, not upon the sand of anticommunist lies. I am glad to be playing a small part in the effort to uncover this true history.
My next book, planned for publication next year, in 2015, will be on Leon Trotsky’s writings in the 1930s, especially from December 1934 until his death in 1940. Evidence from Trotsky’s own archives, when put together with evidence from former Soviet archives, now permits us to see that Trotsky deliberately lied about the Soviet Union and Stalin, about the Kirov murder, and the Moscow Trials, throughout this period. He did this to preserve his own conspiracy. Naturally, one must lie if one is to be a conspirator. But Trotsky’s lies have been believed first by his own followers and then, after Khrushchev’s Secret Speech, by a great many persons. So I think this study will be of broad interest.
The questions one asks inevitably reflect and expose one’s own political concerns, and mine are no exception. I believe that the history of the Bolshevik Party during Stalin’s years — a history obfuscated by anti-communist lies and as yet to be written — has a lot to teach future generations. Political activists who look to the past for guidance, and politically-conscious scholars who believe their greatest contributions towards a better world can be made through study of such struggles in the past, have a great deal to learn from the legacy of the Soviet Union.
Thank you for listening to me. I am ready to answer your questions as best I can, and to receive your criticisms with humility.