October 14, 2009

Reframing the History of World War II, Written by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, Global Research, October 2, 2009

As tensions mount between the U.S. and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) on one side and Moscow and its allies on another, the history of the Second World War is being re-framed to demonize Russia, the legal successor state and largest former constituent republic (pars pro toto) of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (U.S.S.R.). In 2009, the U.S.S.R. and the Nazi government of Germany started being portrayed as the two forces that ignited the Second World War.

The historicity behind such a narrative is incorrect and nothing can be further from the truth in regards to Moscow. The security of the European core of the Soviet Union was the main objective of the Kremlin as well as the recovery of lost territory. The Soviet government was also aware of war plans against the Soviet Union. Adolph Hitler thought Britain would join Germany in war against the Soviets, even until the latter part of the Second World War.

This discourse in itself is part of a broader roadmap to control Eurasia through the encirclement of any rival powers, such as Russia and China. To understand the geo-politics and strategic nature of the encirclement of Russia and China by the U.S. and NATO, as well as the Eurasian alliance being formed by Moscow and Beijing as a counter-measure, one must look at the historic Anglo-American drive to cripple and contain any power in Eurasia.

Geography is the basis of the social evolution of traditional power, whether in feudal societies or in industrial societies. For example the property ownership of the landed class, which originally was the nobility, gave rise to the factory system. The rise of financial power is somewhat different, but yet it is also tied to geography.

The United States, India and Brazil are all “natural great powers” — a term coined herein. Natural great powers are states that are bound, with time, to develop or evolve into major hubs of human production because of their geographic configuration or nature’s blessings. In the Eurasian landmass, above all others, there are three states that we can call natural great powers; these states are Russia, China, and India. They have large territories and vast resources and, due to the two former factors, possess great human capacity that can lead to major productivity.

Without human capacity, however, geography and resources are meaningless, and therefore any impairment of population growth or social development through war, civil strife, famine, political instability and/or economic instability can obstruct the emergence of a natural great power. This is exactly what has been happening in the Russian Federation and its earlier predecessors, the U.S.S.R. and the Russian Empire, for the last two hundred years - from the numerous episodes of civil war, the First World War, and the Second World War, to the Yeltsin era and the problems in Caucasia. This is also why the declining population of Russia is a major worry for the Kremlin. If left undisturbed, such nation-states like China and Russia, would dominate the global economy and, by extension, international politics.

This is exactly what Anglo-American foreign policy has been trying to prevent for almost three centuries, first strictly under British clout and then later through combined British and American cooperation. In Europe, the containment policy was first applied to France for centuries and later, after German unification under Prince Otto von Bismarck, to Germany. Later the policy was expanded in scope to all Eurasia (the proper geographic extension of Europe or the “Continent”, as the British called it).

Part of this policy included the prevention of Russian access to the shores of the Mediterranean Sea or the Persian Gulf, which would threaten British trade and eventually maritime supremacy. This is one of the main reasons that the British and French played Czarist Russia and Ottoman Turkey against one another and militarily supported the Ottoman Empire in the Crimean War, when the possibility of Russia, under Catherine II, gaining Ottoman territory on the Mediterranean Sea seemed real.

Why did the Soviets and Chinese Bear the Brunt of the Burden in the Second World War?

The U.S.S.R. and China suffered the greatest material, demographic and overall losses in the Second World War. A quantitative comparative overview and cross-examination of the casualty figures of Britain, the United States, the Soviet Union and China will show the staggering differences between the so-called “Western Allies” and the so-called “Eastern Allies.”

Britain suffered 400,000 casualties and the U.S. suffered just over 260,000 casualties. U.S. civilian casualties were virtually non-existent and no U.S. factories were even touched. On the other hand, the U.S.S.R. had about 10 million military casualties and 12 to 14 million civilian casualties, while China had about 4 to 5 million military casualties and civilian casualties that have been estimated in the range of 8 to 20 million deaths.

Suffering can not be qualified or quantified, but much is overlooked in regards to the Soviet Union and China. Without question the Soviet Union and China lost the greatest ratio of their populations amongst the major Allies. In many cases the casualties of the series of civil wars in the Soviet Union (which saw foreign involvement and even intervention) and the casualties of the Japanese invasion of China (30 million people, starting before 1939) are not counted as Second World War casualties by many historians in Western Europe and the Anglosphere.

Most the fighting in the Second World War also took place in the territories of China and Russia. Both Eurasian giants also faced the greatest destruction of infrastructure and material loss, which set their development back by decades. The agricultural and industrial capacity of China alone was cut in half. The Axis, specifically Germany and Japan (two economic rivals of the U.S. and Britain), also were crippled. In contrast, the U.S. was virtually untouched, while Britain as a state was totally depended on U.S. patronage. [1]

U.S. Economic Expansion: Global Wars and the Growth of U.S. Industrial and Economic Might

Both the First World War and the Second World War managed to eliminate any economic rivalry or challenge to U.S. corporations. While Europe and Asia were ravaged by war, the U.S. inversely grew economically. U.S. industrial might grew by leaps and bounds, while the industrial capacities of Europe and Asia were destroyed by both Allied and Axis sides in the Second World War and by the Allies and the Central Powers in the First World War.

By the end of the the Second World War, the U.S. literally owned half the global economy through loans, American foreign investment and war debts. U.S. economic expansion and the American export boom were unprecedented in the scale that took place during the period from 1910-1950, all of which was tied to the Eurasian warscape. Also, it was also only the U.S. that had the economic resources to rebuild the economies and industrial capacities of Europe and Asia, which it did with strings attached. These strings involved favourable treatment of U.S. corporations, preferential trade with the U.S., and the setting up of U.S. branch plants.

1945 was the beginning of Pax Americana. Even much of the foreign aid provided by the U.S. government (with the approval of Congress), to facilitate the reconstruction of European states, flowed back into the private bank accounts of the owners of U.S. corporations, because American firms were awarded many reconstruction-related contracts. War had directly fuelled the industrial might of the United States, while eliminating other rivals such as the Japanese who were a major economic threat to U.S. markets in Asia and the Pacific.

Just to show the extent of the American objectives to handicap their economic rivals one should look at the handling of Japan from 1945 till about October 1, 1949. After the surrender of Tokyo to the U.S. on the U.S.S. Missouri and the start of the American occupation and administration of Japan, the Japanese economy began to rapidly decline because of the calculated neglect of the U.S. through the office of the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers (SCAP). In economic terms, the Japanese case was initially very similar to that of Anglo-American occupied Iraq.

In late-1949 all this began to change. Almost overnight, there was literally a complete change, or a flip-flop, in U.S. policy on Japan. It was only after October 1, 1949 when the People’s Republic of China was declared by Mao Zedong and the Communist Party of China that the U.S. began to allow Japan to recover economically, so as to use it as a counter-weight to China. As a side note, in a case of irony, the quick change in American policy regarding Japan allowed the U.S. to overlook the Japanese policy of not allowing foreign investment, which is one of the reasons for the economic success of Japan and one of the reasons why the financial elites of Japan form part of the trilateral pillar of the global economy along with the elites of the U.S. and Western Europe.

The “Open Doors” Policy of the Anglo-American Establishment

Anglo-American elites also made it clear that they wanted a global policy of “open doors” through the 1941 Atlantic Charter, which was a joint British and American declaration about what post-war international relations would be like. It is very important to note that the Atlantic Charter was made before the U.S. even entered the Second World War. The events and description above was the second clear phase behind the start of modern neo-liberal globalization; the first phase was the start of the First World War. In both wars the financial and corporate elite of the U.S., before the entry of the U.S. as a combatant, had funded both sides through loans and American investment, while they destroyed one another. This included the use of middlemen and companies in other countries, such as Canada.

The creation of the U.S. Federal Reserve in 1913, before the First World War and the U.S. domestic (not foreign, because of the regulations of other states) de-coupling of the gold standard from the U.S. dollar in 1933, before the Second World War, were required beforehand for the U.S. domination of other economies. Both were steps that removed the limits and restrains on the number of U.S. dollars being printed, which allowed the U.S. to invest and loan money to the warring states of Europe and Asia.

Norman Dodd, a former Wall Street banker and investigator for the U.S. Congress, who examined U.S. tax-exempt foundations, revealed in a 1982 interview that the First World War was anticipated by U.S. elites in order to further manage the global economy. [2] War or any form of large-scale traumatic occurences are the perfect events to use for restructuring societies, all in the name of the war effort and the common good. Civil liberties and labour laws can be suspended, while the press is fully censored and opposition figures arrested or demonized, while corporations and governments merge in close coordination and under the justification of the war effort. This was true of virtually all sides in the First World War and the Second World War, from Canada to Germany under Adolph Hitler.

In contrast to the views of its own citizens, the American government was never really neutral during both the First World War and the Second World War. The U.S. was funding and arming the British at the start of the Second World War. Also before the American entry in the Second World War, the U.S., Canada, and Britain started the process of joint war planning and military integration. Before the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbour on December 7, 1941 the U.S. and Canada, which was fighting Germany, on August 17, 1940 signed the Ogdensburg Agreement, which was an agreement that spelled out joint defence through the Permanent Joint Board of Defence and joint war planning against Germany and the Axis. In 1941, the Hyde Park Agreement formally united the Canadian and American war economies and informally united the U.S., Canadian, and British economies. The U.S. and British military command would also be integrated. In part, the monetary arrangement that was made through these war transactions between the U.S., Canada, and Britain would become the basis for the Bretton Woods formula.

Also, the empires of Britain, France, and other Western European states were not dismantled just due to the fact that they were all degraded because of the Second World War, but because of Anglo-American economic interests. The imperialist policies of these European states made it mandatory for their colonies to have preferential trade with them, which went against the “open doors” policy that would allow U.S. corporations to penetrate into other national economies, especially ones that were ravaged by war and thus perfect for U.S. corporate entrance.

The Reasons for the German-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact

Britain and the U.S. also deliberately delayed their invasion of Western Europe, calculating that it would weaken the Soviets who did most the fighting in Europe’s Eastern Front. This is why the U.S. and Britain originally invaded North Africa instead of Europe. They wanted the Third Reich and the Soviet Union to neutralize one another.

The German-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact or the Ribeentrop-Molotov Pact caused shock waves in Europe and North America when it was signed. The German and Soviet governments were at odds with one another. This was more than just because of ideology; Germany and the Soviet Union were being played against one another in the events leading up to the Second World War, just as how previously Germany, the Russian Empire, and the Ottoman Empire were played against one another in Eastern Europe [3]

This is why Britain and France only declared war on Berlin, in 1939, when both the U.S.S.R. and Germany had invaded Poland. If the intentions were to protect Poland, then why only declare war against Germany when in reality both the Germans and the Soviets had invaded? There is something much deeper to be said about all this.

If Moscow and Berlin had not signed a non-aggression agreement there would have been no declaration of war against Germany. In fact Appeasement was a deliberate policy crafted in the hope of allowing Germany to militarize and then allowing the Nazi government the means, through military might, to create a common German-Soviet border, which would be the prerequisite to an anticipated German-Soviet war that would neutralize the two strongest land powers in Europe and Eurasia. [4]

British policy and the rationale for the non-aggression pact between the Soviets and Germans is described best by Carroll Quigley. Quigley, a top ranking U.S. professor of history, on the basis of the diplomatic agreements in Europe and insider information as an professor of the elites explains the strategic aims of British policy from 1920 to 1938 as:

[T]o maintain the balance of power in Europe by building up Germany against France and [the Soviet Union]; to increase Britain’s weight in that balance by aligning with her the Dominions [e.g., Australia and Canada] and the United States; to refuse any commitments (especially any commitments through the League of Nations, and above all any commitments to aid France) beyond those existing in 1919; to keep British freedom of action; to drive Germany eastward against [the Soviet Union] if either or both of these two powers became a threat to the peace [probably meaning economic strength] of Western Europe [and most probably implying British interests]. [5]

In order to carry out this plan of allowing Germany to drive eastward against [the Soviet Union], it was necessary to do three things: (1) to liquidate all the countries standing between Germany and [the Soviet Union]; (2) to prevent France from [honouring] her alliances with these countries [i.e., Czechoslovakia and Poland]; and (3) to hoodwink the [British] people into accepting this as a necessary, indeed, the only solution to the international problem. The Chamberlain group were so successful in all three of these things that they came within an ace of succeeding, and failed only because of the obstinacy of the Poles, the unseemly haste of Hitler, and the fact that at the eleventh hour the Milner Group realized the [geo-strategic] implications of their policy [which to their fear united the Soviets and Germans] and tried to reverse it. [6]

It is because of this aim of nurturing Germany into a position of attacking the Soviets that British, Canadian, and American leaders had good rapports (which seem unexplained in standard history textbooks) with Adolph Hitler and the Nazis until the eve of the Second World War.

In regards to appeasement under Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and its beginning under the re-militarization of the industrial lands of the Rhineland, Quigley explains:

This event of March 1936, by which Hitler remilitarized the Rhineland, was the most crucial event in the whole history of appeasement. So long as the territory west of the Rhine and a strip fifty kilometers wide on the east bank of the river were demilitarized, as provided in the Treaty of Versailles and the Locarno Pacts, Hitler would never have dared to move against Austria, Czechoslovakia, and Poland. He would not have dared because, with western Germany unfortified and denuded of German soldiers, France could have easily driven into the Ruhr industrial area and crippled Germany so that it would be impossible to go eastward. And by this date [1936], certain members of the Milner Group and of the British Conservative government had reached the fantastic idea that they could kill two birds with one stone by setting Germany and [the Soviet Union] against one another in Eastern Europe. In this way they felt that two enemies would stalemate one another, or that Germany would become satisfied with the oil of Rumania and the wheat of the Ukraine. It never occurred to anyone in a responsible position that Germany and [the Soviet Union] might make common cause, even temporarily, against the West. Even less did it occur to them that [the Soviet Union] might beat Germany and thus open all Central Europe to Bolshevism. [7]

The liquidation of the countries between Germany and [the Soviet Union] could proceed as soon as the Rhineland was fortified, without fear on Germany’s part that France would be able to attack her in the west while she was occupied in the east. [8]

In regards to eventually creating a common German-Soviet, the French-led military alliance had to first be neutralized. The Locarno Pacts were fashioned by British foreign policy mandarins to prevent France from being able to militarily support Czechoslovakia and Poland in Eastern Europe and thus to intimidate Germany from halting any attempts at annexing both Eastern European states. Quigley writes:

[T]he Locarno agreements guaranteed the frontier of Germany with France and Belgium with the powers of these three states plus Britain and Italy. In reality the agreements gave France nothing, while they gave Britain a veto over French fulfillment of her alliances with Poland and the Little Entente. The French accepted these deceptive documents for reason of internal politics (...) This trap [as Quigley calls the Locarno agreements] consisted of several interlocking factors. In the first place, the agreements did not guarantee the German frontier and the demilitarized condition of the Rhineland against German actions, but against the actions of either Germany or France. This, at one stroke, gave Britain the right to oppose any French action against Germany in support of her allies to the east of Germany. This meant that if Germany moved east against Czechoslovakia, Poland, and eventually [the Soviet Union], and if France attacked Germany’s western frontier in support of Czechoslovakia or Poland, as her alliances bound her to do, Great Britain, Belgium, and Italy might be bound by the Locarno Pacts to come to the aid of Germany. [9]

The Anglo-German Naval Agreement of 1935 was also deliberately signed by Britain to prevent the Soviets from joining the neutralized military alliance between France, Czechoslovakia, and Poland. Quigley writes:

Four days later, Hitler announced Germany’s rearmament, and ten days after that, Britain condoned the act by sending Sir John Simon on a state visit to Berlin. When France tried to counterbalance Germany’s rearmament by bringing the Soviet Union into her eastern alliance system in May 1935, the British counteracted this by making the Anglo-German Naval Agreement of 18 June 1935. This agreement, concluded by Simon, allowed Germany to build up to 35 percent of the size of the British Navy (and up to 100 percent in submarines). This was a deadly stab in the back of France, for it gave Germany a navy considerably larger than the French in the important categories of ships (capital ships and aircraft carriers), because France was bound by treaty to only 33 percent of Britain’s; and France in addition, had a worldwide empire to protect and the unfriendly Italian Navy off her Mediterranean coast. This agreement put the French Atlantic coast so completely at the mercy of the German Navy that France became completely dependent on the British fleet for protection in this area. [10]

The Hoare-Laval Plan was also used to stir Germany eastward instead of southward towards the Eastern Mediterranean, which the British saw as the critical linchpin holding their empire together and connecting them through the Egyptian Suez Canal to India. Quigley explains:

The countries marked for liquidation included Austria, Czechoslovakia, and Poland, but did not include Greece and Turkey, since the [Milner] Group had no intention of allowing Germany to get down onto the Mediterranean ‘lifeline.’ Indeed, the purpose of the Hoare-Laval Plan of 1935, which wrecked the collective-security system by seeking to give most Ethiopia to Italy, was intended to bring an appeased Italy in position alongside [Britain], in order to block any movement of Germany southward rather than eastward [towards the Soviet Union]. [11]

Both the Soviet Union, under Joseph Stalin, and Germany, under Adolph Hitler, ultimately became aware of the designs for the planning of a German-Soviet war and because of this both Moscow and Berlin signed a non-aggression pact prior to the Second World War. The German-Soviet arrangement was largely a response to the Anglo-American stance. In the end it was because of Soviet and German distrust for one another that the Soviet-German alliance collapsed and the anticipated German-Soviet war came to fruition as the largest and deadliest war theatre in the Second World War, the Eastern Front.

The Origins of the Russian Urge to Protect Eurasia

With this understanding of the Anglo-American strategic mentality of weakening Eurasia the ground can be paved for understanding the Russian mentality and mind frame for protecting themselves through protecting their European core and uniting Eurasia through such organizations as the Warsaw Pact, the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), and such Russian policies as the Primakov Doctrine and allying Moscow with Iran and Syria.

As spheres of influence were carved in Europe, it was understood that Greece would fall into the Anglo-American orbit, while Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Albania, Yugoslavia, and Czechoslovakia would fall within the Soviet orbit. Due to this understanding the Red Army of the Soviet Union watched as the Greek Communists were butchered and the British militarily intervened in the Greek Civil War. The reason for these agreements involving spheres of influence in Europe was that the Soviets wanted a buffer zone to protect themselves from any further invasions from Western Europe, which had been plaguing the U.S.S.R. and Czarist Russia.

In reality, the Cold War did not start because of Soviet aggression, but because of a long-standing historic impulse by Anglo-American elites to encircle and control Eurasia. The Soviet Union honoured its agreement with Britain and the U.S. not to intervene in Greece, which even came at the expense of Yugoslav-Soviet relations as Marshal Tito broke with Stalin over the issue. This, however, did not stop the U.S. and Britain from falsely accusing the Soviets of supporting the Greek Communists and declaring war on the Soviets through the Truman Doctrine. This move was a part of the Anglo-American bid to encircle the Soviet Union and to control Eurasia. Today this policy, which existed before the First World War and helped spark the Second World War, has not changed and Anglo-American elites, such as Zbigniew Brzezinski, still talk about partitioning Russia, the successor state of the Soviet Union.

Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG) specializing in geopolitics and strategic issues.


[1] British elites, however, had managed to incorporate themselves into the economic livelihood of the U.S., forming an Anglo-American elite and effectively separating themselves from the interests of the majority of British citizens.

[2] Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, Plans for Redrawing the Middle East: The Project for a “New Middle East”, Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), November 18, 2006.

[3] Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, The “Great Game”: Eurasia and the History of War, Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), December 3, 2007.

[4] China at this time was already being limited by Japan and before that by combined Japanese, Russian, and Western European policies. This would leave Germany and the U.S.S.R. as the two main threats to Anglo-American interests.

[5] Carroll Quigley, The Anglo-American Establishment: From Rhodes to Cliveden (San Pedro, California: GSG & Associates Publishers, 1981), p.240.

[6] Ibid., p.266.

[7] Ibid., p.265.

[8] Ibid., p.272.

[9] Ibid., p.264.

[10] Ibid., pp.269-270.

[11] Ibid., p.273.

Global Research, October 2, 2009


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