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The 75 Years War Against the Soviet Union, Revisited

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"Either this nation shall kill racism, or racism shall kill this nation." (S. Jonas, August, 2018)

Statue of Lenin in Leningrad.
Statue of Lenin in Leningrad.
(Image by Wikipedia (commons.wikimedia.org), Author: Sergei F)
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Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, at Leningrad

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There is much confusion surrounding the tragic war that Russia's current "Czar," Vladimir Putin, is waging on Ukraine. I have written a total of four columnson thesubject so far (on the "Czar" theme, see the 4th one). Some observers of Putin and his War on Ukraine put he/it in the context of the Soviet Union and Soviet policy. In my view, while the Reign-of-Putin has nothing to do with the Soviet Union and what happened with and to it during the 75 years of its existence, 1917-1992, it has everything to do with what the Western Powers, led by the United States, did with and to what was left of the Soviet Union after its collapse (which is covered in the first of those four columns), which indeed was the result of that Western Powers did in that 75 Years War.

Any comparisons between Putin, who has indeed invented a new form of political/economy for a State, which I have labelled Industrial Feudalism, and Josef Stalin or any other leaders of the Soviet Union from Lenin down to Gorbachev, is purely coincidental. It is rather the direct result of Western post-Soviet policy for what became of the Soviet Union, following its final defeat in The Seventy-Five Years War. This column is an updated version of two columns that I wrote on the subject several years back.

Introduction

November 7, 2017 was the 100th Anniversary ("new," Gregorian, Calendar) of the Russian Revolution. According to the "old," Julian, calendar still in use in the Russia of the time, the Revolution occurred on October 25, 2017, which is why, in many quarters it is still referred to as the -- ta, da! -- "October Revolution." (It is interesting to note that the "Julian" calendar was named after Julius Caesar, whose government introduced it in what would come to be known as 45 B.C [or B.C.E., depending upon your religious/calendrical point-of-view]. The "modern," Gregorian calendar was introduced by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582.) The current calendar date for the Revolution was celebrated, noted upon, denigrated, around the world. It was also ignored in certain quarters, although most of those persons-to-institutions that did so, like the government of Vladimir Putin, which did for the most part ignore it, made it clear that they were ignoring it.

Outside of Russia, it has been widely noted that the Soviet Union, which was established as a result of the October Revolution, lasted only 75 years. Many observers, capitalist or socialist or other, have taken some satisfaction in this occurrence. Many Marxist-Leninists, including myself, took and have taken the demise of the Soviet Union with sadness. However, some of us, at least, recognize that among Lenin's many great contributions to the understanding of human history and how it works is the concept of "two steps forward/one step back." These things take time.

Indeed, what can be considered as the first capitalist revolution against the then predominant feudal order (or a variant of it) can be said to have been the Cromwellian Revolution in England, 1640-61. To be sure, it did not represent industrial capitalists, for the industrial revolution would not get underway until the mid-18thcentury. But it did represent the rising mercantile capitalists, those of the historically first form of capitalism. As it happened, the Cromwellian Revolution failed. Now one could have said at the time, "see, capitalism will never work; feudalism and royal primacy in government will always be the systems of state control." And one certainly would have been wrong. In my view, judging what happened in the Soviet Union, one should certainly take the Cromwellian lesson intro account.

As it happened, Lenin for the most part applied his "two steps forward/one step back" formula to what was happening in the early development of the Soviet Union that occurred during his lifetime that was cut short so tragically. But in my view (and perhaps Lenin's too) the concept can be applied, not simplistically of course, but applied never-the-less to the overall development of socialist revolution (just as happened in the development of capitalism). And let us hope that that is the case. For if socialist revolution does not begin to develop around the world, fairly soon, our species and many others will be gathered up in what I have termed "The Suicide of Capitalism."

There is another model for what some see as a road to socialism and that is the Chinese hybrid socialist-capitalist system. But the Soviet approach, at least until it became corrupted (in the literal sense of the word), was at least intended to build a purely socialist state, at the time. Which failed, as is well-known. But it did not fail on its own. For, for the entire 75 years of its existence it was confronted by what in my view will someday come to be known as "The 75 Years War Against the Soviet Union."

In this column I will VERY briefly review/list the major events in that major war that was waged by Western Capitalist/Imperialism against the Soviet Union. It was mainly non-military (with the exception of the Great Patriotic War, 1941-45). But nevertheless, it was a war which had the very definite aim of overthrowing the Soviet system. I list below its major elements. Of course, a full treatment would require much more space than we have on OpEdNews. Indeed, a book could well be written on the subject. But this can be considered to be a start on a subject which has been widely ignored. In my view, however, it has to be taken into account in any accounting of what happened in and to that great socio-historical experiment known as the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

The Major Elements of the 75 Years War:

1. What has been called "The Intervention," on the side of the "White Russian" resistance to the Red Revolution, began almost immediately after its initial success in overthrowing the first successor to the Czarist Empire, the "Provisional Government." It was an armed counter-revolution led by the principal capitalist/imperialist power of the time, Great Britain. Winston Churchill was a leading promoter of the Intervention. Among the other nations involved were the United States, Japan, Romania, China, Greece, Serbia, Italy, and Canada.

2. After the end of the Russian Civil War in 1921 (and the withdrawal from Soviet territory of the Intervening nations), the Western Powers were slow to recognize the Soviet government. The United States was the last to do so, in 1933.

3. As the Nazi threats to peace in Europe developed in the mid-1930s, the Soviet Union offered on a number of occasions to negotiate an anti-Nazi pact, primarily with the two major Western powers, France and Great Britain. They consistently refused. Indeed, in both countries there was considerable pro-Nazi political sentiment, for example in England extending to the Royal Family and in France to the man who would become President of the "Vichy Republic," Marshal Petain.

4. The "non-intervention" policy of the "Western Democracies" (including the United States) in the Spanish Civil War made the continuing anti-Soviet policy clear. One major factor in these Western powers' refusal even to send arms to the Spanish Republican government was that the Spanish Communist Party was a significant component of the governing coalition of the Spanish Republic. "Couldn't have that now, could we?" On the other hand, Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany not only sent weapons but also troops and equipment to fight on the side of the Spanish fascist rebellion. The Soviet Union played a limited role in supplying arms to the Republic.

5. Then came Munich. With Nazi Germany threatening to invade Czechoslovakia, the Soviet Union offered to provide military assistance to the Czechs, as well as to the two major non-fascist European powers, the British and the French, in order to thwart the invasion. In fact, on the night that the "Munich Agreement" was signed, the Red Force was warming up on airfields just across the Czech border, ready to fly to the aid of the Czech army. As the last moment, the Czechs told them not to come. Why? For Neville Chamberlain, Prime Minister of Great Britain and his French allies, it was more important to keep Hitler pointing east, towards the Soviet Union, a declared enemy from the time of Mein Kampf--- the famous "Drang Nach Osten" --- than it was to save the Czechs from the Nazis. Following that affair, after vainly trying, on numerous occasions, to get the British and the French to sign a joint defense pact against Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union finally gave up. With the signing of the "Nazi-Soviet pact" on August 25, 1939, they bought time against what they knew was eventually going to come towards them from the Nazis.

6. The Nazi invasion --- Operation Barbarossa --- was launched on June 22, 1941. It was the only "hot" component of The 75 Years War.

7. The delay by the United States and Great Britain in opening of the Second Front in France on June 6, 1944, was interpreted by some as being content to let the Soviet Union bleed, especially after it had won what came to be recognized as of the two major turning points of the Second World War in Europe, victory in the Battle of Stalingrad, on February 2, 1943. (The other was the concurrent victory of the British forces at the Battle of El Alamein in Egypt.) In the course of the War, all told, the Soviet Union lost between 25 and 27 million dead, military and civilian. Total U.S. military casualties in World War II amounted to about 400,000.

8. There are claims that a resumption of anti-Soviet military policy was under development before WWII was over. On the fringe of such an attempt, it was well-known that when the right-wing U.S. General George Patton captured large numbers of German troops on the Southern flank of the U.S. front, thinking that his army, with them, might keep going East. He first had them (including members of the Waffen SS) stack their weapons rather turning them over for disposal. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower put an end to that maneuver as soon as he heard of it.

9. The atomic bombing of Japan was not necessary for the US to win there. A major factor was the aim of U.S. policy to keep the Soviet Union a) out of Japan and b) from enabling the Korean Resistance to take over the whole peninsula from the Japanese occupiers. As World War II was coming to a close, under an agreement with President Truman at the Potsdam Conference, the Soviet Union was poised to invade Japan, and its then colonial possession, Korea, on August 8, 1945. One motivation for the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima (August 6) and Nagasaki (August 9) was to foreclose the possibility that the Red Army would establish a foothold on Japanese territory (the first landings were to be on the northernmost Japanese island of Hokkaido) and would quickly take over the whole of the Korean Peninsula.

10. Stalin wanted peaceful co-existence, to occur after the end of World War II (see Chap. 10 of Stalin's Wars, by Geoffrey Roberts, New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2006). The Western Powers would have none of it.

11. In the immediate post-war period, there was interference by the Western powers to prevent the development of pro-Soviet governments in the non-Soviet sphere of influence in Europe, e.g., the U.S. interference in Italian election in 1948, and the British intervention in the Greek civil war. The Communists there had borne the brunt of the guerilla war waged during the Nazi occupation and wanted their rightful place in the post-war government. Denied that, war broke out. At the same time, Stalin stuck by his agreement with the British not to provide support for the Greek Communists.

12. Churchill's famous "Iron Curtain" speech of March 5, 1946, just 6 months after the conclusion of the Second World War with the surrender of Japan, has always been shaped by the Western powers as describing something that the Soviet Union under Stalin had done to them. Since Stalin was still hoping for the establishment of peaceful co-existence between the Soviet Union and the Western Powers, that speech was really the opening major salvo --- from the Western side --- in what became the "Cold War," which was no more than the post-World War II continuation of the anti-Soviet policies that had prevailed before the War. One major irony of all this is that while the Soviet Union had been a major factor in the victory over Hitler, Western capitalist policy over the succeeding 50 years led to the falloff Soviet Union anyway.

13. And thus, U.S. policy in Western Europe in the 1940s confirmed for the USSR that the Cold War was fully underway, e.g., unilateral German currency reform which by agreement was not supposed to happen independently (the "Berlin Blockade" was a Soviet response to that event); setting up the German Federal Republic; the creation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

14. The Hungarian Uprising of 1956 is always presented in the West as failed revolt by democratic forces against the communist government of Hungary. From the perspective of the Hungarian Communist side, however, the picture was rather different (The Truth About Hungary: Facts and Eyewitness Accounts, Moscow, Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1957). From that perspective, it was a neo-fascist revolt by the forces that had ruled Hungary from 1919 to 1945 (first under the world's first fascist dictator, Admiral Miklos Horthy, at the end under the even-more vicious Arrow Cross, who were hanging known communists from street lamps in downtown Budapest). That had to be put down, even if it meant calling in Soviet tanks.

15. The "Cuban-Missile Crisis" (See Click Here, Appendix I).

16. In the late 1970s, there was a secular revolt in Afghanistan and free elections were held for the first time. The Communist candidate, with Soviet backing (in this strategically-located, neighboring country), was elected. He proved to be a not very effective leader. And so the Soviets promoted a replacement for him, provoking a certain amount of unrest. Led by his notoriously anti-Soviet National Security Advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, U.S. President Jimmy Carter determined to begin providing major support for a wide variety of otherwise pretty weak anti-Communist or just anti-government Afghani as well as foreign forces (one group of fundamentalist Saudis was led by the future famous Osama bin Laden). Brzezinski famously said: "We can give them their Viet Nam." And they did. It turned out to be one of the last phases of the 75 Years War.

17. All of this, and many other events of the Cold War, lead to the Reaganite Final Arms Race of the 1980s, which in the end spent the Soviet Union into the ground, and collapse in 1992.

The ultimate aim of Western Imperialism, the destruction of the Soviet Union was achieved. Of course, Russia has remained in place, with a political-economy the design of which had much input from Western capitalist-imperialism, especially the United States, during the 1990s (which led to the Putin Presidency). And thus it has to be recognized that modern Russia has nothing to do with the Soviet Union, but rather represents what I have referred to as a "clash of capitalisms," or I have termed it a clash with Industrial Feudalism. But that State form presents nothing like that grand Soviet historical experiment, aiming to replace capitalism with socialism.

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Steven Jonas, MD, MPH, MS is a Professor Emeritus of Preventive Medicine at StonyBrookMedicine (NY) and author/co-author/editor/co-editor of over 35 books. In addition to his position on OpEdNews.com as a "Trusted Author," he is a regular contributor to BuzzFlash.com, and on occasion to Reader Supported News/Writing for Godot and From The G-Man. His own political website, stevenjonaspolitics.com, is an archive of the 1000 or so political columns he has published since 2004, with the current columns being added to it as they appear. He was also a career triathlete, 36 seasons, 256 multi-sport races, and writer on the sport (books and articles). He now is officially retired from racing.

Dr. Jonas' most recent book is Ending the 'Drug War'; Solving the Drug Problem: The Public Health Approach, Brewster, NY: Punto Press Publishing, (Brewster, NY, 2016, available on Kindle from Amazon, and also in hardcover from Amazon). In 1996 he published a "future history" of the United States entitled The 15% Solution: How the Republican Religious Right Took Control of the U.S., 1981-2022: A Futuristic Novel (Third Version published by Trepper & Katz Impact Books, Punto Press Publishing, 2013, Brewster, NY, and available on Amazon).

That book was purportedly published in 2048, on the 25th Anniversary of the Restoration of Constitutional Democracy in the United States, which occurred following the conclusion of the Second Civil War, which had the ascension to power of the Republican-Christian Alliance/America Christian Nation Party and the apartheid state that eventually created: The New American Republics.

Dr. Jonas has a blind-copy distribution list for his columns. If you would like to be added to it, please send him an email at sjtpj|AT|aol.comEmail address.

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Steven Jonas, MD, MPH, MS is a Professor Emeritus of Preventive Medicine at StonyBrookMedicine (NY). As well as having been a regular political columnist on several national websites for over 20 years, he is the author/co-author/editor/co-editor of 37 books Currently, on the columns side, in addition to his position on OpEdNews as a Trusted Author, he is a regular contributor to From The G-Man.  In the past he has been a contributor to, among other publications, The Greanville PostThe Planetary Movement, and Buzzflash.com.  He was also a triathlete for 37 seasons, doing over 250 multi-sport races.  Among his 37 books (from the late 1970s, mainly in the health, sports, and health care organization fields) are, on politics: The 15% Solution: How the Republican Religious Right Took Control of the U.S., 1981-2022; A Futuristic Novel (originally published 1996; the 3rd version was published by Trepper & Katz Impact Books, Punto Press Publishing, 2013, Brewster, NY, sadly beginning to come true, advertised on OpEdNews and available on  (more...)
 

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