The day Europe commemorates the forgetting of history

Călin Rechea
English Section / 23 august

Versiunea în limba română

"The entire foreign policy that I followed had only this goal: not to prepare for war, but to prepare a network of alliances in such a way that war becomes impossible." (Nicolae Titulescu)

Călin Rechea

Napoleon said that "history is a set of agreed-upon lies". For the philosopher and writer George Santayana, the definition of history is much harsher, "a pack of lies about events that never happened, told by people who were not there".

Our history and the directives of the European authorities teach us that on August 23, 1939, the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact was signed, which divided Europe into spheres of interests by means of secret additional protocols.

In the document of the European Parliament of September 23, 2008, by which August 23 is proclaimed "European Day of Commemoration of the Victims of Stalinism and Nazism", it is also stated that the decision was necessary "since the consequences and significance of the order imposed by the Soviet regime and the Soviet occupation for and on the citizens of post-communist states are too little known in Europe".

Unfortunately, such an argument is more than insufficient to justify the "mixing" of guilt, so as to "dilute" Germany's guilt.

Another day could have been chosen for such a commemoration, given that the choice of August 23 shows either an unqualified ignorance of history or a willful ignorance of the events that led to the signing of the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact on August 23 1939.

Canadian professor Michael Jabara Carley chronicles these events in his book "1939: The Alliance That Never Was and the Coming of World War II", published in 1999. A large part of the historical sources used in writing the book were documents from Soviet archives, declassified only in 1997 by the Moscow authorities.

The documents present the efforts of the Soviet authorities, since Adolf Hitler's seizure of power, to create a framework of collective security and mutual assistance together with Western countries, so that the expansionist tendencies of Hitler's Germany could be stopped.

"There is not the slightest doubt that the Soviet leaders foresaw the coming of the war ever since Hitler took power," said Professor Carley in an interview with the online publication Postil Magazine, where he also stated that Foreign Minister Maxim Litvinov and other Soviet diplomats frequently quoted from "Mein Kampf" in meetings with Western diplomats, to convince them of the need to create a coalition that could repel German aggression.

"Collective security and mutual assistance against the common enemy did not work as an argument, because the European elites did not see or did not want to see Hitler as a common enemy," the Canadian historian also emphasized, given that "Britain's Foreign Office was against collective security and anti-fascism as arguments for unity."

Under these conditions, the Ribbentrop - Molotov Pact "was not a Soviet attempt to counter the war, but an attempt not to enter the war and to maintain neutrality", as stated by Professor Carley, who also emphasized the fact that " the pact was more than a reaction to the Munich accords, it was the direct result of six years of failed Soviet attempts to build a grand anti-Nazi alliance."

In this alliance, the Soviet Union tried to co-opt fascist Italy as well, but all efforts were in vain.

Potential allies abandoned negotiations with the Soviet Union in turn: the United States in the summer of 1934, France in late 1934, Italy in 1935, Great Britain in February 1936, and Romania in August 1936.

Romania left the negotiations under the conditions in which the right-wing circles took over power, and King Carol II dismissed Nicolae Titulescu from all positions and sent him into exile in the same month of August 1936. Later, the great Romanian diplomat declared that "the entire foreign policy that I followed had only this goal: not to prepare for war, but to prepare a network of alliances in such a way that war becomes impossible".

The Canadian professor points out that Poland signed a non-aggression pact with Germany in 1934, and "in the years that followed, Poland acted as a saboteur of collective security and positioned itself against Soviet diplomacy", although "everywhere in Central and Eastern Europe, diplomats warned that Poland was headed for ruin if it continued to pursue a pro-German and anti-Soviet policy".

Poland also cooperated with Germany in 1938, during the dismemberment of Czechoslovakia, and the "cooperation" was rewarded with a small part of the neighboring country's territory.

"It is incredible that even in 1939 Poland continued to sabotage the Anglo-Franco-Soviet alliance and did so until the Wehrmacht invaded the country on September 1, 1939", Michael Carley also states in the interview given to Postil Magazine.

In the opinion of the Canadian professor, Poland has one of the greatest responsibilities, along with Great Britain and France, for the failure to organize a grand alliance of Europe against Hitler. Carney compares Poland to the "proverbial skunk in the woodpile" and states that "Moscow has always been the undesirable ally, the worst enemy, even if, paradoxically, it was the only option to save Poland".

The last meetings to form an anti-Hitler coalition took place on August 12, 1939 in Leningrad, between the military and diplomatic delegations of Great Britain, France and the Soviet Union, as the Munich Agreement had just been violated and Czechoslovakia had been dismembered. Less than two weeks later, Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop was landing in Moscow to sign the pact between Germany and the Soviet Union.

The British newspaper The Telegraph also wrote, in October 2008, about the negotiations between the Soviet Union, France and Great Britain in mid-August 1939.

The article cites data from the same documents declassified 70 years later, which show that the Soviets proposed sending an army of 1 million soldiers to the German border. For this, of course, the consent of Poland was needed to allow the passage of troops on its territory, but the authorities in Warsaw did not agree.

In Professor Carley's book, it is emphasized that the British, French and Soviet negotiators considered that the unpleasant truth must be presented to the authorities in Warsaw and Bucharest, respectively "a treaty with the Soviet Union is the best option for preventing a war". Otherwise, "Poland and Romania may pay the price of a possible Soviet-German rapprochement".

What followed is known. As they say, the rest is history and "those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it", as George Santayana warned.

The authorities in Bucharest today seem to be a faithful copy of the authorities from the period before the outbreak of the Second World War, in that they are characterized by the same ignorance and servility.

The consequences cannot be other. We are condemned to repeat the past and be on the side of history we deserve.

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