A Critique of Jean-Jacques Marie, "La collaboration Staline-Hitler"

by Grover Furr (December 2021 - January 2022)


On December 19, 2021, Jean-Jacques Marie sent by email an essay to a list of persons, I among them. Marie is a specialist in Soviet history, "is considered one of the best French scholars of Russia and its Soviet period." (“considéré comme l’un des meilleurs spécialistes français de la Russie et de sa période soviétique.” - review by Gaidz Minassian, Le Monde March 18, 2016). The same review called him a “militant trotskiste.”

On December 29, 2021, Professor Marie wrote to the same email list

None of you responded to the facts cited in my modest 22 months of Stalin-Hitler “collaboration” (the word chosen by Stalin himself)... not a word

Aucun de vous n'a répondu sur les faits cités dans mes modestes 22 mois de “collaboration” (mot choisi par Staline en personne) Staline-Hitler ... pas un mot

This essay is also online here.

Did Marie really expect the recipients of his email to reply? This is unfair. Only another specialist in Soviet history could do so, since a response would require knowledge of the Russian language, plus a familiarity with the primary sources available to historians of the USSR.

I do have these skills. So in this essay I have undertaken to respond to Marie’s fact-claims about Stalin and the USSR.

I am not a “Stalinist”

Marie has called me a “Stalinist” – meaning that he assumes that I am a partisan supporter of Stalin in the same sense that Marie is a defender of Trotsky. Or, perhaps he means that I “apologize” for “crimes that Stalin committed.” But he is completely mistaken.

My aim is to discover the truth. Like any scientist, I strive to practice historical objectivity. I have never “defended” or “excused” Stalin. I do not do so in this essay. If Stalin committed crimes, I want to know what they were! By the same token, if Stalin was not guilty of crimes Marie or others charge him with, I want to know that too.

In this respect, I am very different from Marie, who makes no such claim to objectivity or aspiration for the truth. And because he does not try to discover the truth, Marie does not find it. Of course! How could he?

 Since the copy of his essay on the web – see link above – has no page numbers, I will identify Marie’s statements by the pages on which they appear in the version of his essay which he emailed to others and to me on December 19, 2021. The majority of furure readers, who will consult Marie’s essay on the web page, can find the passages by a key word search.

p. 1:

Some people, nostalgic for Stalin's grandiose achievements (the gulag, the death penalty for petty theft and for children over twelve, the ban on abortion, rigged trials, repeated purges, deportations of peoples whole, the hunt for "cosmopolitans" ... etc)

Quelques nostalgiques  des grandioses réalisations  de Staline (le goulag, la peine de mort pour les petits larcins et pour les enfants de plus de douze ans, l’interdiction de l’avortement, les procès truqués , les purges à répétition, les déportations de peuples entiers, la traque des « cosmopolites »...etc)

All of these issues are worthy of examination. Yet Prof. Marie does not discuss them here. Perhaps he wants us to take them for granted, without evidence or discussion? So I will respond briefly to them.

*  The charge of  “the death penalty for petty theft and for children over twelve (“la peine de mort pour les petits larcins et pour les enfants de plus de douze ans.”) I have only seen this question discussed concerning (a) the law of April 7, 1935; and (b) the executions by NKVD chief Nikolai Yezhov, in 1937-1938.

* Of the first Peter Solomon, the American expert in Soviet law, wrote that there are no known examples of executions of children under the age of 16. (Solomon, Soviet Criminal Justice under Stalin, Russian translation, p. 196).

* Of the second, there is evidence that some children under 16 were executed by Yezhov’s men in 1937 and 1938. However, all of Yezhov’s executions were illegal, a part of Yezhov’s own conspiracy against Stalin and the Soviet government. I discuss Yezhov’s conspiracy, with full references to the evidence, in my book Yezhov vs Stalin (French translation Iejov contre Staline. La vérité sur les répressions de masse en URSS baptisées “la Grande Terreur” Paris: Eds Delga, 2018.)

Therefore – unless he has evidence I am unaware of (and he cites no evidence) -- Marie’s statement is false.

Concerning the other subjects Marie mentions above, here are a few brief remarks:

* Labor camps -- Marie uses the term "GULAG" --  were part of the Soviet penal system. Marie appears to assume that the mere existence of labor camps was somehow immoral.

But every country has a penal system. The only relevant questions are: (1) Were those sentenced to labor camps actually guilty of some crime? (b) what were the living conditions in the labor camps? Marie does not address these questions.

* “"The ban on abortion" (“l’interdiction de l’avortement”): The practice of Soviet medicine and Soviet doctors usually conformed to that of Western capitalist countries. Abortion was illegal in the USA and Western Europe during this same time.

The 1936 outlawing of abortion was intended to encourage births after the demographic catastrophies of Civil War and the four famines of the 1920s, plus the very severe famine of 1932-33. Unlike capitalist countries, the Soviet law was accompanied by increased support to mothers and children.[1]

* “The rigged trials” (“les procès truqués”: This is false. There is not now, nor has there ever been, any evidence that the Moscow Trials were dishonest – staged or fabricated. On the contrary: we have a great deal of evidence that they were honest, and that the defendants were guilty of at least the crimes to which they confessed.[2]

* “Repeated purges” (“les purges à repetition”): Marie confuses Party “purges”, chistka, which were reviews of Party membership in order to remove passive or corrupt members, and the massive, illegal executions by Nikolai Yezhov and his men known in Russian as the Yezhovshchina (“Iejovschina”). This elementary error is surprising from a specialist in Soviet history like Marie.

* “The deportations of entire peoples” (“les déportations de peuples entiers”): The Crimean Tatars and Chechens were deported during WW2 for massive collaboration with the German enemy. Failure to deport the whole population would have endangered the existence of these small, ethnically unique groups – in other words, genocide.

I have discussed Marie’s similar errors concerning “purges” and deportations in his recent reviews of two of my books.[3]

* “The hunt for “cosmopolitans” (“la traque des ‘cosmopolites’”): The Anti-Cosmopolitan Campaign of cultural criticism is often falsely called anti-Semitic. In fact Jewish writers were among those who criticized works they considered lacking in Soviet patriotism (which is what “cosmopolitan” meant). The two most famous writers criticized for being “cosmopolitan,” Anna Akhmatova and Mikhail Zoshchenko, were not Jews.

Benjamin Pinkus, Professor of Jewish History at the Ben-Gurion University in Israel, states that: ....”It is important to emphasise that in these attacks [the anti-cosmopolitanism campaign] there was no anti-Jewish tone, either explicitly or implicitly.”[4]/a>

BBut was this campaign an effective way of encouraging Soviet writers to encourage a better political line in their creative works? I do not know, because I have not studied it.

p. 4 n. 4: – This is a citation to the memoirs of interpreter V. Berezhkov, since Marie is simply noting Berezhkov’s claim that Stalin drank to Hitler’s health upon the signing of the Non-Aggression Pact. But so what if he did? Is it wrong for a communist to lie in private to a fascist?

However, Berezhkov’s memoirs has been called unreliable.

Историк Александр Филиппов проанализировал ряд эпизодов, описанные в книге Бережкова, сверив их с журналом посещений И. Сталина и мемуарной литературой. Он пришёл к выводу, что Бережков даже не присутствовал на встречах, которые описывал, а в ряде случаев пересказывал «байки 1970-х годов»[6]. Филиппов дал следующую оценку:

Манера изложения В. М. Бережкова смешивает сведения из документов, его личные наблюдения, более поздние (зачастую недостоверные) сведения из вторых и третьих рук и современные (на момент написания) суждения автора.

Historian Alexander Filippov analyzed a number of episodes described in Berezhkov's book, comparing them with the journal of Stalin's visits and memoirs. He came to the conclusion that Berezhkov was not even present at the meetings that he described, and in some cases retold the “tales of the 1970s”. Filippov gave the following assessment:

The manner of presentation of VM Berezhkov mixes information from documents, his personal observations, later (often inaccurate) information at second and third hand, and the contemporary (at the time of writing) judgment of the author.

Marie appears to believe – though he never says it plainly – that it was wrong for the USSR to sign the Non-Aggression Pact (also called the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact[5]), including its secret clauses, with Nazi Germany. In reality, the Soviets had no choice – the imperialist Allies had rejected collective security against Nazi Germany.

In addition, the 300 km of extra distance between the Wehrmacht and the pre-1939 Soviet border gained by the Pact saved Moscow from being occupied by the German armies in 1941.

p. 4: “The new allies” (“les nouveaux allies”): The Non-Aggression Pact (also known as the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact) is often called an “alliance” by anticommunists and Trotskyists. But this is false. The USSR never had any “alliance” with Nazi Germany.

Marie never mentions the Curzon line[6]/a>, or the Polish conquest of Western Ukraine and Western Belorussia from Soviet Russia in 1921.

He fails to inform his readers that, once the Polish government interned itself in Romania on September 17, 1939, without designating any government-in-exile, Poland was no longer a state under international law.[7]

Marie never informs his readers about the principle of rebus sic stantibus in international law.[8]

A point of frequent confusion is that, on September 28, 1938, the USSR had informed the Polish government that their Non-Aggression Pact, signed in 1932, would be void if Poland collaborated with Nazis in dismembering Czechoslovakia, as it did in October 1938. But this is not the issue here, since on November 27, 1938, TASS reported that the Pact still remained in force.[9] The real reason that the Soviet incursion did not violate any treaty with Poland is that Poland as a state no longer existed on Sseptember 17, 1939.

p. 4-5:

It [the Red Army] takes control of the territories where the majority of the population is Belarusian and Ukrainian, mistreated by the ultranationalist and ultrareactionary camarilla which directs Poland, who often first welcome the Red Army with marked sympathy, that the raids, the arrests and the deportations carried out by the NKVD will quickly erase.

Elle prend le contrôle de territoires où vivent en majorité des populations biélorusses et ukrainiennes, maltraitées par la camarilla ultranationaliste et ultraréactionnaire qui  dirige laPologne et qui accueillent souvent d’abord l’armée rouge avec une sympathie marquée, que les rafles, les arrestations et les déportations effectuées par le NKVD effaceront vite.

Marie gives no evidence for this claim.

p. 5

Molotov[10]  called Poland “… that monstrous child of the Treaty of Versailles” (“ … cet enfant monstrueux du traité de Versailles”P

From the point of view of the USSR Poland could indeed be considered a “monster” in that, armed and encouraged by the Allies, Poland had launched imperialist aggression against Soviet Russia as soon as it (Poland) came into being, taking Western Ukraine and Western Belorussia by force from an exhausted Soviet Russia.

Moreover, during its war with Soviet Russia, Poland killed approximately 60,000 Russian POWs.[11] This is far more than were killed in the Katyn Massacre – which, in reality, the Soviet Union did not commit anyway -- see my2018 book The Mystery of the Katyn Massacre (French translation  L’Enigme du massacre de Katyn. Les preuves, la solution. Paris: Eds Delga, 2019).

p. 5:

"Molotov therefore speaks of a cooperation which led to the liquidation of the Polish state."

“Molotov évoque donc bien une coopération qui a débouché sur la liquidation de l’Etat polonaise.”

This is false. As I have explained above, it was the desertion by the Polish government of its own country and people that caused the collapse of the Polish state.

According to General Franz Halder, Hitler remained willing to negotiate peace with Poland as long as there was a Polish state to negotiate with. As late as September 12 Hitler said he would be satisfied with Eastern Upper Silesia and a Gdansk corridor![12] That would have left most of Poland intact and, in the East, within the Soviet sphere of influence. Such a state would have been hostile to Germany and more amenable to an alliance with the USSR, UK, and France – which Poland had rejected in August.

But the Polish government abandoned its state. In German eyes this nullified the secret codicil of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, which was an agreement about the Polish state – and there was no longer a Polish state.

For a 1957 article by American professor of international law George Ginsburgs who concludes that the Soviet position that Poland was a terra nullius see my article “My Reply to Reviews of Two of my Books by Jean-Jacques Marie in Historical Materialism.” also cited above.

For a detailed discussion of the whole issue see my essay “Did the Soviet Union Invade Poland in September, 1939?”[13]

p. 6-7:

On the evening of September 28th and 29th a cordial reception is organized at the Kremlin. Members of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party are of course invited ... except one, Lazare Kaganovich, who does not mention this little fact in his dismal memories. Stalin does not want to offend the sensibilities of the Nazis by forcing them to have the presence of a Jew. Exit therefore poor Lazare. One could not be more delicate in the concern for an effective collaboration.

Le soir du 28 et du 29 septembre une réception cordiale est organisée au Kremlin. Les membres du Bureau politique du parti communiste y sont bien sûr invités.... sauf un, Lazare Kaganovitch, qui n’évoque pas ce petit fait dans ses mornes mémoires. Staline ne veut pas heurter la sensibilité des nazis en leur imposant la présence d’un juif. Exit donc le pauvre Lazare .On ne saurait être plus délicat dans le souci d’une collaboration efficace.

This appears to be false. Alexander Werth, Russia At War, Chapter 3, claims that Kaganovich was indeed present:

On the following day [September 28 – GF] Ribbentrop came on his second visit to Moscow. On September 29 Pravda published a large front-page photoigraph showing Molotov signing the German- Soviet Agreement of Friendship and on the Frontier between the USSR and Germany; standing behind him were Ribbentrop, Stalin, Pavlov (the interpreter), and Gaus. The paper also spoke of the dinner given by Molotov in Ribbentrop's honour. Among those present were Forster, Gaus, Schnurre, and Kordt of the Ribbentrop party, Schulenburg and Tippelskirch of the German Embassy, as well as Stalin, Voroshilov, Kaganovich, Mikoyan, Beria, Bulganin and Voznesensky.

p. 8-9:

“Stalin delivers German Communists to Hitler” (“Staline livre des communistes allemands à Hitler”):

This story, often repeated by anticommunists and Trotskyists, is false. See my article “Stalin did Not Deport German Communists to Hitler.”[[14]

p. 10:  Concerning the Soviet war against Finland,

Eager to push back the border north of Leningrad by about thirty kilometers, with little Finland, which is reluctant, he [Stalin] fabricates a border incident from scratch and then attacks Finland on December 1, 1939.

Désireux de repousser d’une trentaine de kilomètres la frontière au nord de Leningrad, avec la petite Finlande, qui rechigne, il fabrique de toutes pièces, un incident de frontière puis attaque le 1er décembre 1939, la Finlande …

What is Marie’s evidence that it was the Soviets who fabricated an incident in order to start the war? This kind of thing is typically hard to establish, since each side will blame the other. /p>

Marie’s estimate of total Red Army casualties in this war does agree with the authoritative Russian study Rossiia i SSSR v voinakh XX veka. Poteri vooruzhennykh sil.  M: Olma-Press, 2001. Whatever the real Finnish losses were, Red Army losses were certainly much higher. The reasons are not hard to understand: the Red Army was attacking strongly fortified defenses; and many or most Red Army troops did not have training for winter warfare.

Eventually the Red Army overcame these disadvantages. Soviet victory in this war pushed back the border with Finland and so saved Leningrad from German occupation and utter destruction.

However, the Finnish army did prevent Leningrad’s civilians from escaping the siege towards the North. In this sense, Finland is as responsible as Nazi Germany for the deaths of more than one million Soviet civilians in the siege.

It is interesting that Marie fails to inform the reader that the Finnish government discussed inviting Leon Trotsky to head up a Soviet government in exile.[15]

p. 11:

 On December 25, 1936, Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan signed an anti-Comintern pact in which Mussolini's Italy joined the following year and then Franco's Spain in 1939. One of the first practical conclusions that Stalin drew from the signing of the non-aggression pact is the necessity for him to submit the Communist International (or more exactly the phantom which still bears this name for a short time) to the needs of collaboration with Hitler. Thus at the beginning of September, Wilhelm Pieck, leader of the German Communist Party and member of the Political Bureau of the German Communist Party submits to Manouilski, member of the Comintern secretariat, a draft leaflet to be distributed in Germany, Czechoslovakia and Austria. If the leaflet criticizes the Anglo-French imperialists, it also denounces "the great German financial capital" and, even worse, invites the German workers to "liberate Germany from Hitler fascism and from the domination of finance capital by the socialist revolution" and finally salutes “the fraternal unity of peoples in the struggle against fascism and imperialism …”

On the instructions of Zhdanov, Stalin's spokesperson, the Comintern secretariat first tried to correct all these blunders likely to irritate Hitler. It erased the swear words of "fascism" and "Hitlerism" but left the denunciation of "great German capital."  This is still too much for Stalin, who lectures the Secretariat of the Comintern. The latter, brought to heel, banned the dissemination of the cursed leaflet in the three countries concerned and sent it to the archives. This is still just a modest start.

 Le 25 décembre 1936, l’Allemagne nazie et le Japon impérial ont signé un pacte antiComintern auquel l’Italie de Mussolini s’associera l’année suivante puis l’Espagne franquiste en 1939 .L’une des premières conclusions pratiques que Staline tire de la signature du pacte de non-agression est la nécessité pour lui de soumettre l’Internationale communiste( ou plus exactement le fantôme qui porte encore et pour peu de temps ce nom)aux besoins de la collaboration avec Hitler. Ainsi au début de septembre ,Wilhelm Pieck, dirigeant du PC allemand et membre du Bureau politique du PC allemand soumet à Manouilski, membre du secrétariat du Comintern un projet de tract à diffuser en Allemagne, en Tchécoslovaquie et en Autriche. Si le tract vitupère les impérialistes anglo-français, il dénonce aussi « le grand capital financier allemand » et ,pire encore, invite les travailleurs allemands à « libérer l’Allemagne du fascisme hitlérien et de la domination du capital financier par la révolution  socialiste» et salue enfin «  l’unité fraternelle des peuples dans la lutte contre le fascisme et l’impérialisme .. »

Sur les  instructions de Jdanov, porte-parole de Staline,le secrétariat du Comintern tente d’abord de corriger toutes ces maladresses susceptibles d’irriter Hitler .Il efface les gros mots de « fascisme » et d’ « hitlérisme » mais laisse subsister la dénonciation du «  grand capital allemand. » . C’est encore trop pour Staline ,qui sermonne le Secrétariat du Comintern. Ce dernier ,mis au pas, interdit la diffusion du tract maudit dans les trois pays concernés et l’envoie aux archives. Ce n’est là qu’un début, encore modeste.

Marie cites the volume Komintern i vtoraia mirovaia voina I, 127-131. The changes in the document are given on page 131. This page also cites, incorrectly, an article by F. Firsov[16]

There is no evidence in Firsov’s article that Stalin told Dimitrov not to circulate the Comintern statement in the three countries. In fact, the Executive Committee of the Communist International (ECCI), headed by Dimitrov did not forbid the circulation of the statement. As quoted by Firsov, it said this:

… 5 декабря Секретариат ИККИ направил партиям новое указание : “Совместное заявление компартий Германии, Чехословакии и Австрии лучше не публиковать. Если уже опубликовано, то не особенно популяризировать” (22-23)

..... On December 5, the Secretariat of the ECCI sent a new instruction to the parties: “It is better not to publish the joint statement of the Communist Parties of Germany, Czechoslovakia and Austria. If it has already been published, then do not particularly popularize it” (22-23)

p. 12:

... Schnurre adds: "The Soviet Union offers us" (it is not therefore a response to a request from the Nazis but an advance from the Kremlin itselfstrong) the right of transit to and from Romania, Iran, Afghanistan and the countries of the Far East"

… Schnurre ajoute : » L ’Union soviétique  nous propose «  ( ce n’est donc pas une réponse à une demande des nazis mais une avance du Kremlin lui-même ) le droit de transit vers et en provenance de Roumanie, l’Iran, l’Afghanistan et les pays d’extrême-orient » 

The clause in boldface, added by Marie, is not accurate. Here is the original:

Основываясь на переписке от 28 сентября, Советский Союз предоставляет нам право транзита в и из Румынии, Ирана, Афганистана и стран Дальнего Востока,… (23/105)

Based on the correspondence of September 28, the Soviet Union grants us the right of transit to and from Romania, Iran, Afghanistan and the countries of the Far East ... (23/105)

The verb here is predostavliaet – to afford or to grant. It does not mean “propose,” as Marie claims.

There is evidence that the Germans found the Soviets, and Stalin specifically, to be tough negotiators at these very negotiations. In a memorandum of February 26, 1940 (Doc. 19) Schnurre wrote:

Наиболее сложный пункт переписки от 28 сентября 1939 г., а именно то, что поставки советского сырья должны компенсироваться поставками германских промышленных товаров в течение более длительного периода времени, урегулирован, таким образом, в соответствии с нашими желаниями. Это стало возможным лишь после упорной борьбы. Только личное послание Имперского Министра иностранных дел Сталину привело к окончательному урегулированию вопроса. Соглашение о 18 и 27 месяцах представляет собой компромиссное решение, поскольку в установленные периоды времени, а именно каждые 6 месяцев, взаимные поставки товаров должны балансироваться на основании точно определенных коэффициентов. Если этот баланс нарушается, т.е. если германские постав¬ки, например, не поспевают за коэффициентом советских поставок, зафиксированных Соглашением, другая сторона имеет право временно приостановить свои поставки до того момента, пока не будут восстановлены эти точные пропорции. Это условие довольно досадно, но мы не можем его устранить, поскольку во время заключительных бесед его обговорил сам Сталин. (Doc. 19, 22/105)

The most difficult point of the correspondence of September 28, 1939, namely that the supply of Soviet raw materials must be compensated for by the supply of German manufactured goods for a longer period of time, is thus settled in accordance with our wishes. This became possible only after a bitter struggle. Only a personal message from the Imperial Foreign Minister to Stalin led to the final settlement of the issue. The agreement of 18 and 27 months is a compromise solution, since in the specified time periods, namely every 6 months, mutual deliveries of goods must be balanced on the basis of well-defined coefficients. If this balance is disturbed, i.e. if German supplies, for example, do not keep up with the ratio of Soviet supplies fixed by the Agreement, the other side has the right to temporarily suspend its supplies until these exact proportions are restored. This condition is rather annoying, but we cannot eliminate it, since during the final conversations it was discussed by Stalin himself. (Doc. 19, 22/105)

p. 15:

Molotov asks to see the German ambassador in Moscow, Schulenburg, and tells him that the USSR considers Bulgaria and the Straits as "a security zone of the USSR" and had denounced "the appearance of any foreign troops" in these areas as “a violation of the interests of the USSR."

But when the Wehrmacht enters Bulgaria on March 1, the press release from the Tass agency published by Pravda on March 3, 1941 is satisfied with a laconic news item: "The German information office has reported from Sofia that German troops entered.the territory of Bulgaria with the agreement of the Bulgarian government.” One could not be more discreet ...

Molotov demande à voir l’ambassadeur allemand à Moscou ,Schulenburg, et lui déclare que l’URSS considère la Bulgarie et les Détroits comme « une zone de sécurité de l’URSS » et dénoncé « l’apparition de n’importe quelles troupes étrangères » dans ces zones comme « une violation des intérêts de l’URSS. » .

Mais lorsque la Wehrmacht entre en Bulgarie le 1er mars le communiqué de l’agence Tass publié par la Pravda du 3 mars 1941 se contente d’une information laconique : «  Le bureau allemand d’information fait savoir de Sofia que les troupes allemandes sont entrées sur le territoire de la Bulgarie avec l’accord du gouvernement bulgare ».On ne saurait être plus discret ...

These statements are indeed in the volume Marie cites (SSSR-Germaniia, 1939-1941, t. 2, at Document 87). But this document collection does not record the reaction of the Soviet government to the German occupation of Bulgaria. So we don’t know what it was.

p. 16:

On March 9, 1941 Zhdanov, spokesman for Stalin, discusses with Dimitrov, the secretary of the Comintern, the preparation (if one may call it that!) of the international day of May 1: “We both consider, Dimitrov notes, that it is not useful to intervene in the current situation with an appeal for May 1st. "No call from the Communist International therefore for the International Workers' Day around the world, only internal directives sent to the secretariats of the various Communist parties.

Le 9 mars 1941 Jdanov, porte-parole de Staline, discute avec Dimitrov,le secrétaire du Comintern, de la preparation ( si l’on peut dire !) de la journée internationale du 1er mai :  « Nous considérons tous deux , note Dimitrov, qu’il n’est pas utile d’intervenir dans la situation actuelle avec un appel pour le 1er mai. » Pas d’appel de l’Internationale communiste donc pour la journée internationale des travailleurs du monde entier, seulement des directives internes envoyées aux secrétariats des différents partis communistes.

The quotation, in French, is from Serge Wolikow, L'internationale communiste, 1919-1943: le Komintern ou le rêve déchu (2010), p. 137.  I do not have access to this book.

But Marie’s text implies that no “call for May Day” was issued. This is not true. A lengthy directive, which does indeed contain a call (un appel), to “the Communist parties of capitalist countries” was in fact issued by the Comintern and signed by Dimitrov, Ercoli (Togliatti), Gottwald, and Dolores [Ibarruri].

It includes a number of military points, particularly the directive for all communist parties “to strive for a work stoppage on 1 May” and “to extend our agitation to the soldiers at the front and in the rear.” (Dimitrov and Stalin 1934-1943. Letters from the Soviet Archives. Ed. Alexander Dallin and F.I. Firsov. Yale University Press, 2000, pp. 185-87.)

p. 16:

Eleven days later, on the evening of April 20, Stalin talks with members of the Politburo and Dimitrov. He explains to them the need, in his view, to dissolve the Comintern: "Do not get attached," he said to them, "to what was there yesterday. Take strictly into account the situation that is being created. (...) From the point of view of the institutions of the Comintern, he laughs, it may not be pleasant, but it is not these interests which are decisive” and he concludes: “The question of the existence of the Comintern in the short term, of the new forms of international links and of the international activity in the conditions of a world war are posed in a strong and clear manner” A meeting of the Comintern secretariat with Zhdanov on May 12th is entirely devoted to the preparation of this dissolution, which those present stress must not “give rise to an impression of burial and disorientation ”

Onze jours plus tard ,le 20 avril au  soir, Staline discute avec les membres du bureau politique et Dimitrov. Il leur explique la nécessite ,à ses yeux, de dissoudre le Comintern : « Ne vous attachez pas, leur dit-il,à ce qu’il y avait hier. Prenez strictement en compte la situation qui est en train de se créer.(...) Du point de vue de l’intérêt pour les institutions du Comintern, raille-t-il, ce n’est peut-être pas  agréable, mais ce ne sont pas ces intérêts qui décident «  et il conclut : «  La question de l’existence du Comintern à court terme, des nouvelles formes de liens internationaux et de l’activité internationale dans les conditions d’une guerre mondiale sont posées de manière forte et claire »    Une réunion du secrétariat du Comintern avec Jdanov le 12 mai est entièrement consacrée à la préparation de la cette dissolution, dont les présents soulignent qu’elle ne doit pas « faire naître une impression d’enterrement et de désorientation »

But the full text of Stalin’s remarks, as recorded by Dimitrov, make it clear that Stalin wanted to encourage the Communist parties to continue their work without always looking towards the Soviet Union, and to reestablish “their international organization” once they have become stronger.

J. V. [Stalin] said: “D[imitrov] has parties leaving the Comintern (alluding to the Amer[ican] party). And there is nothing wrong with that. On the contrary, the Com[munist] parties ought to be made independent, instead of sections of the CI. They should turn into national Com[munist] parties with various names—the Workers’ Party, the Marxist Party, etc. The name does not matter. What matters is that they put down roots in their own peoples and concentrate on their own proper tasks. They ought to have a Com[munist] program; they should proceed on a Marxist analysis, but without looking over their shoulders at Moscow; they should resolve the concrete problems they face in the given country independently. And the situation and problems in different countries are altogether different. In England there are certain ones, in Germany there are different ones, and so forth.

Stalin concludes:

Once the Com[munist] parties have become stronger in this way, then reestablish their international organization.

It is instructive to read the two coded messages secretly sent by the Comintern to the CPUSA in September and October, 1939, after the war had begun.[17] These statements confirm a sharp Marxist postion on the war, continued hostility to Nazi Germany, and the need for independent action by the CPUSA.

p. 18

On May 26 Stalin informs Generals Zhukov and Timoshenko that German Ambassador Schulenburg had asked the Soviet government to allow several groups of German investigators to search the border areas for the graves of German soldiers buried during the First World War. This concern to honor the dead does not at all trouble Stalin, who agrees by simply demanding that this research be limited to the very places of burial, which the memorial enthusiasts accept without complaint. The two Soviet officers, stunned, do not dare to protest.25

Le 26 mai Staline informe les généraux Joukov  et Timochenko que l’ambassadeur allemand Schulenburg a demandé au gouvernement soviétique d’autoriser plusieurs groupes d’enquêteurs allemands à rechercher dans les secteurs frontaliers les tombes des soldats allemands inhumés lors de la première guerre mondiale. Ce souci d’honorer les morts ne trouble guère Staline qui donne son accord en exigeant simplement que ces recherches soient limitées aux lieux mêmes de sépulture  ce que les passionnés de la mémoire acceptent sans rechigner. Les  deux gradés soviétiques, stupéfaits,n’osent pas protester.25

In note 25 Marie states:

Izvzestia TsK KPSS, 1995, n ° 2, pp 4-22 and G. Zhukov, Vospominania i razmychlenia t. 1, p 346-347. The defense of Stalin requires special effects and falsifications of all kinds, taken up by the devoted ministers of his cult, during the publication of Zhukov's Memoirs under Brezhnev ... the two pages in which Zhukov mentions this episode were deleted without alerting the reader, of course.

Izvzestia TsK KPSS,1995,n°2,pp 4-22 et G Joukov,Vospominania i razmychlenia t 1,p 346-347. La défense de Staline exige trucages et falsifications de tous ordres ,repris par les dévoués ministres de son  culte, lors de la publication des Mémoires de Joukov sous Brejnev ...les deux pages où Joukov évoque cet épisode ont été supprimés sans que le lecteur en soit bien entendu averti.

Marie’s citation “Izvestia TsK KPSS, 1995, n°2, pp 4-22” is incorrect. This journal was only published from 1989 to 1991.

The passage is indeed present in the Khrushchev-era edition of Zhukov’s memoirs. But the fact that it is not in the Brezhnev-era edition does not mean that the story is true. It is at least equally likely that the Khrushchev-era version contained anti-Stalin passages that were removed after Khrushchev’s dismissal.

The fact that the passage was reinserted in the post-Gorbachev edition also does not mean that it is genuine. It might be what Zhukov really wrote, or again it might be the result of Khrushchev’s anti-Stalin campaign, in which he and his men published an enormous number of lies about Stalin.[18] We just don’t know.

However, Zhukov did not blame Stalin for making errors. A few pages later in his memoirs Zhukov adds the following remarks:

“В этих ошибках и просчетах чаще всего обвиняют И. В. Сталина. Конечно, ошибки у И. В. Сталина, безусловно, были, но их причины нельзя рассматривать изолированно от объективных исторических процессов и явлений, от всего комплекса экономических, политических и военных факторов.

Нет ничего проще, чем, когда уже известны все последствия, возвращаться к началу событий и давать различного рода оценки. И нет ничего сложнее, чем разобраться во всей совокупности вопросов, во всем противоборстве сил, противопоставлении множества мнений, сведений и фактов непосредственно в данный исторический момент.”

“J.V. Stalin is most often blamed for these mistakes and miscalculations. Of course, J.V. Stalin certainly did make mistakes, but the reasons for them cannot be considered in isolation from objective historical processes and phenomena, from the whole complex of economic, political and military factors.

There is nothing easier than, when all the consequences are already known, to return to the beginning of events and give various kinds of assessments. And there is nothing more difficult than to understand the entire set of issues, the entire confrontation of forces, the opposition of many opinions, information and facts directly at a given historical moment.”

p. 19:

On June 22, 1941 at 12:30 a.m. the German Communist soldier Alfred Liskow deserted and crossed the Soviet border at the risk of his life to warn the Red Army that the Wehrmacht would attack at 3 a.m. Stalin, warned while he sits in the Kremlin, orders this "provocateur" to be shot. No sooner said than done. This is the last service rendered to Hitler by Stalin to prolong the existence of a dying collaboration.

Le 22 juin 1941 à 0h 30 le soldat communiste allemand Alfred Liskov déserte et franchit la frontière soviétique au péril de sa vie pour avertir l’armée rouge que la Wehrmacht va attaquer à 3 heures du matin. Staline, prévenu  alors qu’il banquette au Kremlin , ordonne de le fusiller ce  «  provocateur ». Si tôt dit, sitôt fait. C’est le dernier service rendu à Hitler par Staline pour prolonger l’existence une collaboration agonisante.

This is false. On June 27, 1941, Alfred Liskow’s story was carried as an article in Pravda under the title “Story of a German Soldier.” In 2006 I put a facsimile of this on line here:

I also translated a chapter concerning Liskow from a book by Russian historian Igor’ Pykhalov. Both English and Russian texts, along with some other sources in Russian only, can be read here.


How can an expert on Soviet history like Marie make such serious errors? The answer is that Marie rejects scholarly objectivity for Stalin-bashing.

Like mainstream, pro-capitalist academia, Marie forces Soviet history into what I have called the “Anti-Stalin Paradigm.” This practice dominates the history of the USSR during Stalin’s time, All anticommunists and Trotskyists adhere to it.

Like religious cults, the Trotsky cult is based on “belief” – belief in Trotsky. Trotsky hated Stalin, so Trotskyists do too. Trotsky lied about Stalin to an extent almost unbelievable – until you have documented his lies and can see how extensive they are.[19] Accordingly, Trotskyists choose not only to “believe” Trotsky’s lies, but to prove their loyalty to the cult by propagating Trotsky’s lies and the lies of all pro-capitalist anticommunists, and by inventing new lies of their own.

Loyalty to a cult – any cult – excludes the possibility that the cultist will be able to discover the truth. There is not “cult” around Stalin today – at least not among historians of the Soviet Union. If there were any – and it is very good that there is not -- they would never be allowed to publish in mainstream historical journals. , or be permitted to become professors of Soviet history at mainstream universities.

But Trotskyists can publish in mainstream journals. The late Trotskyist historian Pierre Broué worked with anticommunists like Bernhard Bayerlein, who wrote Broué a very positive necrology. In the U.K. and the USA Trotskyists occupy university positions teaching Russian and Soviet history.

In mainstream scholarship and in the mass media it is taken for granted that Stalin was guilty of terrible crimes. For many years I have been searching for evidence to support these allegations against Stalin. I have yet to find even one crime alleged against Stalin that can be supported by evidence!

In light of the continuing flood of documents from formerly secret Soviet archives, it is truer today than ever that what we have all been taught about Soviet history – particularly about the Stalin era and about Stalin himself – is false, “poisoned,” and must be rewritten.


[1] Wendy Z. Goldman of Carnegie Mellon Univerity has a good, short discussion in an article in the Los Angeles Times titled” “What the U.S. can learn from Stalin’s abortion ban.”    and a somewhat longer discussion in  her book Women, the State, and Revolution (1993).

[2] See the detailed discussion of this question in my books Trotsky’s ‘Amalgams’ (2015), in French Les Amalgames de Trotsky (Paris: Eds Delga, 2016). Chapitres 1-12. See also The Moscow Trials As Evidence (2018).

[3] “My Reply to Reviews of Two of my Books by Jean-Jacques Marie in Historical Materialism " At https://msuweb.montclair.edu/~furrg/research/reponse_marie_hm1221.html  

[4] The Jews of the Soviet Union: The History of a National Minority. Cambridge University Press, 1989, p 152.

[5] Only anticommunists and Trotskyists use the term “Stalin-Hitler Pact.”

[6] See https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ligne_Curzon

[7] For the evidence see “My Reply to Reviews of Two of my Books by Jean-Jacques Marie in Historical Materialism,”  cited above.

[8] https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clausula_rebus_sic_stantibus

[9] For the TASS statements see http://hrono.ru/dokum/193_dok/19381127tass.html  This document has been widely reprinted.

[10] In a speech to the Supreme Soviet, October 31, 1939, though JJM does not tell us this.

[11] See the letter by Chicherin, People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs, to the Polish representative Filipovich of September 9, 1921. Dokumenty vneshnei politiki SSSR. T. 4 ( (Moscow, 1960), at p. 319.

12] Franz Halder, Kriegstagebuch (Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 1962) I, 72.

[13] https://msuweb.montclair.edu/~furrg/research/mlg09/did_ussr_invade_poland.html


[15] Talvisota Kronikka (1989), 46: “Prime Minister Ryti proposes that Trotsky be invited to Finland to form a government for the Soviet Union.” See also p. 185.

[16] The Firsov article is on line here: http://zhistory.org.ua/nnh926ak.htm  The correct citation is Novaia i Noveishaka Istoriia 1992, 6, 11 – 35.

[17] “Two Soviet messages to the CPUSA in 1939.” At https://msuweb.montclair.edu/~furrg/research/2_soviet_messages_1939.html

[18] I have studied the lies in Khrsuhchev’s famous “Secret Speech” to the XX Party Congress in Khrushchev Lied. Kettering, OH: Erythrós Press & Media, 2011. French translation: Khrouchtchev a menti. Paris: Eds Delga, 2014.

[19] My studies of Trotsky, his lies and his conspiracies, are contained in the following books: Trotsky's 'Amalgams'/ Trotsky's Lies, The Moscow Trials as Evidence, The Dewey Commission Kettering, OH: Erythros Press & Media LLC, 2014 (French translation Les ‘Amalgames’ de Trotsky. Paris: Editions Delga, 2016).; Leon Trotsky’s Collaboration with Germany and Japan: Trotsky’s Conspiracies of the 1930s, Volume Two. Kettering, OH: Erythrós Press & Media, LLC, 2017; New Evidence of Trotsky’s Conspiracy. Kettering, OH: Erythrós Press & Media, LLC, 2020; Trotsky and the Military Conspiracy. Soviet and Non-Soviet Evidence with the Complete Transcript of the “Tukhachevsky Affair” Trial. Kettering, OH: Erythrós Press and Media, LLC, 2021 (with Vladimir L. Bobrov and Sven-Eric Holmström).