Did the Soviet Union Invade Poland in September 1939?

Essay By Grover Furr

Did the Soviet Union Invade Poland on September 17, 1939? Why ask? “We all know” this invasion occurred. “You can look it up!” All authoritative sources agree. This historical event happened.

Here’s a recent article in The New York Review of Books (April 30, 2009, p. 17) by Timothy Snyder, Yale University professor, academic expert in this area and fanatic anticommunist who certainly knows what he is writing here is false:

Because the film (although not the book)* begins with the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941 rather than the joint German-Soviet invasion and division of Poland in 1939… the Soviet state had just months earlier been an ally of Nazi Germany… (* “Defiance”)

“Behind Closed Doors” (PBS series 2009):

“After invading Poland in September 1939, the Nazis and the Soviets divided the country as they had agreed to do in the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact…”

Wikipedia article: “Soviet invasion of Poland”:

“… on 17 September, the Red Army invaded Poland from the east…”

Every historian I have read, even those who do not conform to Cold War paradigms, state unproblematically that the Soviet Union invaded Poland in September 1939.

But the the truth is that the USSR did not invade Poland in September, 1939. Even though the chances are at least 99 to 1 that every history book you can find says that it did. I have yet to find an English-language book that gets this correct. And, of course, the USSR had never been an “ally of Nazi Germany.

I will present a lot of evidence in support of this statement. There is a great deal more evidence to support what I say – much more than I can present here, and no doubt much more that I have not yet even identified or located.

Furthermore, at the time it was widely acknowledged that no such invasion occurred. I’ll demonstrate that too.

Probably the truth of this matter was another victim of the post-WW2 Cold War, when a great many falsehoods about Soviet history were invented or popularized. The truth about this and many other questions concerning the history of the first socialist state has simply become “unmentionable in polite company.”

Demonizing – I use the word advisedly, it is not too strong – the history of the communist movement and anything to do with Stalin has become de rigeur, a shibboleth of respectability. And not only among avowed champions of capitalism but among ourselves, on the left, among Marxists, opponents of capitalism, the natural constituency of a movement for communism.

Some time ago Doug Henwood tweaked me on the MLG list for “defending Stalin.”

I could make a crack about what defenses of Stalin have to do with a “sensible materialism,” but that would be beneath me.
(MLG list May 17 2009)

Doug thinks he knows something about Stalin and the USSR during Stalin’s time. He doesn’t! But you can’t blame him too much, since none of us do. More precisely: We “know” a lot of things about the Soviet Union and Stalin, and almost all of those things are just not true.We’ve been swallowing lies for the truth our whole lives.

I’ll be brief in this presentation. I have prepared separate web pages with references to much of the evidence I have found (not all – there is just too much). I’m also preparing a longer version for eventual publication.

The Nonaggression Treaty Between Germany and the USSR of August 1939

For a discussion of the events that led up to the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact of 1939 an excellent account is still Bill Bland, “The German-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact of 1939″ (1990). I have checked every citation in this article; most are available online now. It’s very accurate, but far more detail than the present article requires.

Before we get into the question of the invasion that did not take place, the reader needs to become familiar with some misconceptions about the Nonaggression Treaty and why they are false. These too are based on anticommunist propaganda that is widely, if naively, “believed.”

The most common, and most false, of these is stated above in the PBS series “Behind Closed Doors”

…the Nazis and the Soviets divided the country as they had agreed to do in the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact…

This is completely false, as any reading of the text of the M-R Pact itself will reveal. Just read the words on the page (see below).

The Soviets Wanted to Protect the USSR – and therefore to Preserve Independent Poland

[For the text of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact see m-rpact.html ]

It is conventionally stated as fact that the Nonaggression Pact between the USSR and Germany (often called the “Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact” or “Treaty” after the two foreign ministers who signed it) was an agreement to “partition Poland”, divide it up.

This is completely false. I’ve prepared a page with much fuller evidence; see  “The Secret Protocols to the M-R Pact Did NOT Plan Any Partition of Poland”.

No doubt a big reason for this falsehood is this: Britain and France did sign a Nonaggression Pact with Hitler that “partitioned” another state — Czechoslovakia. That was the Munich Agreement of September 30, 1938.

Poland too took part in the “partition” of Czechoslovakia too. Poland seized a part of the Cieszyn area of Czechoslovakia, even though it had only a minority Polish population. This invasion and occupation was not even agreed upon in the Munich Agreement. But neither France nor Britain did anything about it.

Hitler seized the remaining part of Czechoslovakia in March 1939. This had not been foreseen in the Munich Agreement. But Britain, France, and Poland did nothing about it.

So the anticommunist “Allies” Britain, France, and Poland really did participate in the partitioning of a powerless state! Maybe that’s why the anticommunist “party line” is that the USSR did likewise? But whatever the reason for this lie, it remains a lie.

The Soviet Union signed the Nonaggression Pact with Germany not to “partition Poland” like the Allies had partitioned Czechoslovakia, but in order to defend the USSR.

The Treaty included a line of Soviet interest within Poland beyond which German troops could not pass in the event Germany routed the Polish army in a war.

The point here was that, if the Polish army were beaten, it and the Polish government could retreat beyond the line of Soviet interest, and so find shelter, since Hitler had agreed not to penetrate further into Poland than that line. From there they could make peace with Germany. The USSR would have a buffer state, armed and hostile to Germany, between the Reich and the Soviet frontier.

The Soviets — “Stalin”, to use a crude synecdoche (= “a part that stands for the whole”) — did not do this out of any love for fascist Poland. The Soviets wanted a Polish government — ANY Polish government — as a buffer between the USSR and the Nazi armies.

The utter betrayal of the fascist Polish Government of its own people frustrated this plan.

As far as the rest of the world was concerned, the Polish government had two alternatives in the event its army was smashed by an attacking army.

1. It could stay inside the country, perhaps moving its capital away from the invading army. From there it could have sued for peace, or surrendered.

2. The Polish government could have fled to an allied country that was at war with Germany: either France or England.

The governments of all other countries defeated by Germany did one or both of these things. The Polish government — racist, anticommunist, hyper-nationalist, — in short fascist, as bad as they get — didn’t do either. Rather than fight the Polish government fled into neighboring Rumania.

Rumania was neutral in the war. By crossing into neutral Rumania the Polish government became prisoners. The legal word is “interned”. They could not function as a government from Rumania, or pass through Rumania to a country at war with Germany like France, because to permit them to do that would be a violation of Rumania’s neutrality, a hostile act against Germany.

I will discuss “internment” and the international law on this question extensively below.

The USSR did not invade Poland – and everybody knew it at the time

When Poland had no government, Poland was no longer a state. (More detailed discussion below)

What that meant was this: at this point Hitler had nobody with whom to negotiate a cease-fire, or treaty.

Furthermore, the M-R Treaty’s Secret Protocols were void, since they were an agreement about the state of Poland and no state of Poland existed any longer. Unless the Red Army came in to prevent it, there was nothing to prevent the Nazis from coming right up to the Soviet border.

Or — as we now know they were in fact preparing to do — Hitler could have formed one or more pro-Nazi states in what had until recently been Eastern Poland. That way Hitler could have had it both ways: claim to the Soviets that he was still adhering to the “spheres of influence” agreement of the M-R Pact while in fact setting up a pro-Nazi, highly militarized fascist Ukrainian nationalist state on the Soviet border.

At the end of September a new secret agreement was concluded. In it the Soviet line of interest was far to the East of the “sphere of influence” line decided upon a month earlier in the Secret Protocol and published in Izvestiia and in the New York Times during September 1939. This reflected Hitler’s greater power, now that he had smashed the Polish military. See the map at new_spheres_0939.html

In this territory Poles were a minority, even after the “polonization” campaign of settling Poles in the area during the ‘20s and ‘30s. You can see the ethnic / linguistic population map at curzonline.html

How do we know this interpretation of events is true?

How do we know the USSR did not commit aggression against, or “invade”, Poland when it occupied Eastern Poland beginning on September 17, 1939 after the Polish Government had interned itself in Rumania? Here are nine pieces of evidence:

1. The Polish government did not declare war on USSR.

The Polish government declared war on Germany when Germany invaded on September 1, 1939. It did not declare war on the USSR.

2. The Polish Supreme Commander Rydz-Smigly ordered Polish soldiers not to fight the Soviets, though he ordered Polish forces to continue to fight the Germans.

See rydz_dont_fight.html

3. The Polish President Ignaz Moscicki, interned in Rumania since Sept. 17, tacitly admitted that Poland no longer had a government.

See moscicki_resignation.html

4. The Rumanian government tacitly admitted that Poland no longer had a government.

See moscicki_resignation.html

The Rumanian position recognized the fact that Moscicki was blowing smoke when he claimed he had legally resigned on September 30.  So the Rumanian government fabricated a story according to which Moscicki had already resigned back on September 15, just before entering Rumania and being interned (NYT 10.04.39, p.12). Note that Moscicki himself did not claim this!

Rumania needed this legal fiction to try to sidestep the following issue. Once Moscicki had been interned in Rumania – that is, from September 17 1939 on – he could not function as President of Poland. Since resignation is an official act, Moscicki could not resign once he was in Rumania.

For our present purposes, here’s the significant point: Both the Polish leaders and the Rumanian government recognized that Poland was bereft of a government once the Polish government crossed the border into Rumania and were interned there.

Both Moscicki and Rumania wanted a legal basis – a fig-leaf — for such a government. But they disagreed completely about this fig-leaf, which exposes it as what it was – a fiction.

5. Rumania had a military treaty with Poland aimed against the USSR. Rumania did not declare war on the USSR.

The Polish government later claimed that it had “released” Rumania from its obligations under this military treaty in return for safe haven in Rumania.

But there is no evidence for this statement. No wonder: it is at least highly unlikely that Rumania would have ever promised “safe haven” for Poland, since that would have been an act of hostility against Nazi Germany. Rumania was neutral in the war and, as discussed below, insisted upon imprisoning the Polish goverment and disarming the Polish forced once they had crossed the border into Rumania.

The real reason for Rumania’s failure to declare war on the USSR is probably the one given in a New York Times article of September 19, 1939:

“The Rumanian viewpoint concerning the Rumanian-Polish anti-Soviet agreement is that it would be operative only if a Russian attack came as an isolated event and not as a consequence of other wars.”
- “Rumania Anxious; Watches Frontier.” NYT 09.19.39, p.8.

That means Rumania recognized that the Red Army was not allied with Germany, an “other war.” This is tacit recognition of the Soviet and German position that Poland no longer had a government, and therefore was no longer a state.

6. France did not declare war on the USSR, though it had a mutual defense treaty with Poland.

See m-rpact.html for the reconstructed text of the “secret military protocol” of this treaty, which has been “lost” – i.e. which the French government still keeps “secret”

7. England never demanded that the USSR withdraw its troops from Western Belorussia and Western Ukraine, the parts of the former Polish state occupied by the Red Army after September 17, 1939.

On the contrary, the British government concluded that these territories should not be a part of a future Polish state. Even the Polish government-in-exile agreed!

See maisky_101739_102739.html These documents are in the original Russian, with the relevant quotations translated into English below them.

8. The League of Nations did not determine the USSR had invaded a member state.

Article 16 of the League of Nations Covenant required members to take trade and economic sanctions against any member who “resorted to war”.

No country took any sanctions against the USSR. No country broke diplomatic relations with the USSR over this action.

However, when the USSR attacked Finland in 1939 the League did vote to expel the USSR, and several countries broke diplomatic relations with it. See http://www.ibiblio.org/pha/policy/1939/391214a.html

A very different response! which tells us how the League viewed the Soviet action in the case of Poland.

9. All countries accepted the USSR’s declaration of neutrality.

All, including the belligerent Polish allies France and England, agreed that the USSR was not a belligerent power, was not participating in the war. In effect they accepted the USSR’s claim that it was neutral in the conflict.

See FDR’s “Proclamation 2374 on Neutrality”, November 4, 1939:

“…a state of war unhappily exists between Germany and France; Poland; and the United Kingdom, India, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the Union of South Africa,…” – http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=15831&st=&st1=

- also “152 – Statement on Combat Areas” – defines

“belligerent ports, British, French, and German, in Europe or Africa…” – http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=15833&st=&st1=

The Soviet Union is not mentioned as a belligerent. That means the USA did not consider the USSR to be at war with Poland. For the Soviet Union’s claim of neutrality see soviet_neutrality.html

Naturally, a country cannot “invade” another country and yet credibly claim that it is “neutral” with respect to the war involving that country. But NONE of these countries declared the USSR a belligerent. Nor did the United States, the League of Nations, or any country in the world.

The Polish State Collapsed

By September 17, 1939, when Soviet troops crossed the border, the Polish government had ceased to function. The fact that Poland no longer had a government meant that Poland was no longer a state.

On September 17 when Molotov handed Polish Ambassador to the USSR Grzybowski the note Grzybowski told Molotov that he did not know where his government was, but had been informed that he should contact it through Bucharest. See polish_state_collapsed.html

In fact the last elements of the Polish government crossed the border into Rumania and so into internment during the day of September 17, according to a United Press dispatch published on page four of the New York Times on September 18 with a dateline of Cernauti, Rumania. See polish_leaders_flee.html

Without a government, Poland as a state had ceased to exist under international law. This fact is denied — more often, simply ignored — by anticommunists, for whom it is a bone in the throat.

We take a closer look at this issue in the next section below. But a moment’s reflection will reveal the logic of this position. With no government — the Polish government was interned in Rumania, remember — there is no one to negotiate with; no body to which the police, local governments, and the military are responsible. Polish ambassadors to foreign countries no longer represent their government, because there is no government. (See the page polish_state_collapsed.html , especially the NYT article of October 2, 1939 )

The Question of the State in International Law

See state_international_law.html for more details.

EVERY definition of a “state” recognizes the necessity of a government or “organized political authority.” Once the Polish government crossed the border into Rumania, it was no longer a “government.”

Even the Polish officials of the day recognized this by trying to create the impression that “the government” had never been interned since it had been handed over to somebody else before crossing into Rumania. See the discussion concerning Moscicki and his “desire to resign” on September 29, 1939, also cited above.

So EVERYBODY, Poles included, recognized that by interning themselves in Rumania the Polish government had created a situation whereby Poland was no longer a “state.” This is not just “a reasonable interpretation” – not just an intelligent, logical deduction but one among several possible deductions. As I have demonstrated in this paper, it was virtually everybody’s interpretation at the time. Every major power, plus the former Polish Prime Minister himself, shared it.

Once this is problem is squarely faced, everything else flows from it.

* The Secret Protocol to the M-R Pact was no longer valid, in that it was about spheres of influence in “Poland”, a state.

By September 15 at the latest Germany had taken the position that Poland no longer existed as a state (discussed further here).
Once Poland ceased to exist as a state this Secret Protocol did not apply any longer.
Therefore if they wanted to the Germans could march right up to the Soviet frontier.
Or – and this is what Hitler was in fact going to do if the Soviet Union did not send in troops — they could facilitate the creation of puppet states, like a pro-Nazi Ukrainian Nationalist state.
In any case, once Hitler had taken the position that Poland no longer existed as a state, and therefore that the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact’s agreement on spheres of influence in the state of Poland was no longer valid, the Soviet Union had only two choices: either to

  1. Send the Red Army into Western Ukraine and Wester Belorussia to establish sovereignty there; or
  2. Let Hitler send the Nazi army right up to the Soviet border.

* Since the Polish state had ceased to exist, the Soviet-Polish nonaggression pact was no longer in effect.

The Red Army could cross the border without “invading” or “committing aggression against” Poland. By sending its troops across the border the USSR was claiming sovereignty, so no one else could do so – e.g. a pro-Nazi Ukrainian Nationalist state, or Nazi Germany itself.

* Legitimacy flows from the state, and there was no longer any Polish state.

Therefore the Polish Army was no longer a legitimate army, but a gang of armed men acting without any legitimacy. Having no legitimacy, the Polish Army should have immediately laid down its arms and surrendered. Of course it could keep fighting — but then it would no longer be fighting as a legitimate army but as partisans. Partisans have NO rights at all except under the laws of the government that does claim sovereignty.

* Some Polish nationalists claim that the Soviets showed their “perfidy” by refusing, once they had sent troops across the Soviet frontier, to allow the Polish army cross the border into Rumania.

But this is all wrong. The USSR had diplomatic relations with Rumania. The USSR could not permit thousands of armed men to cross the border from areas where it held sovereignty into Rumania, a neighboring state. Imagine if, say, Mexico or Canada tried to permit thousands of armed men to cross the border into the USA!

Re-negotiation of “Spheres of Influence” September 28 1939

See new_spheres_0939.html

All this is referred to directly in a Ribbentrop (German Foreign Minister)-to-Schulenburg (German ambassador to Moscow) communication of September 15-16 — Telegram No. 360 of 15 September 1939 — with its reference to “the possibility of the formation in this area of new states.”

Note that Ribbentrop is very displeased with the idea that the Soviets would “tak[e] the threat to the Ukrainian and White Russian populations by Germany as a ground for Soviet action” and wants Schulenberg to get Molotov to give some other motive. He was unsuccessful; this was exactly the motive the Soviets gave:

“Nor can it be demanded of the Soviet Government that it remain indifferent to the fate of its blood brothers, the Ukrainians and Byelo-Russians inhabiting Poland, who even formerly were without rights and who now have been abandoned entirely to their fate.
The Soviet Government deems it its sacred duty to extend the hand of assistance to its brother Ukrainians and brother Byelo-Russians inhabiting Poland.”- TASS, September 17, 1939; quoted in New York Times September 18, 1939, p. 5; also Jane Degras (Ed.), Soviet Documents on Foreign Policy 1933-1941, vol. III (London/New York: Oxford University Press, 1953), pp. 374-375.

The German government was already considering that Poland no longer existed — there’s no reference to “Poland”, only to “the area lying to the East of the German zone of influence”, etc.

Polish Imperialism

A word of explanation regarding the Soviet reference to “the fate of its blood brothers, the Ukrainians and Byelo-Russians inhabiting Poland.”

At the Treaty of Riga signed in March 1921 the Russian Republic (the Soviet Union was not officially formed until 1924), exhausted by the Civil War and foreign intervention, agreed to give half of Belorussia and Ukraine to the Polish imperialists in return for a desperately-needed peace.

We use the words “Polish imperialists” advisedly, because Poles — native speakers of the Polish language — were in the small minority in Western Belorussia and Western Ukraine, the areas that passed to Poland in this treaty. The Polish capitalist regime then encouraged ethnic Poles to populate these areas to “polonize” them, and put all kinds of restrictions on the use of the Belorussian and Ukrainian languages.

Up till the beginning of 1939, when Hitler decided to turn against Poland before making war on the USSR, the Polish government was maneuvering to join Nazi Germany in a war on the USSR in order to seize more territory.

As late as January 26, 1939, Polish Foreign Minister Beck was discussing this with Nazi Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop in Warsaw. Ribbentrop wrote:

… 2. I then spoke to M. Beck once more about the policy to be pursued by Poland and Germany towards the Soviet Union and in this connection also spoke about the question of the Greater Ukraine and again proposed Polish-German collaboration in this field.M. Beck made no secret of the fact that Poland had aspirations directed toward the Soviet Ukraine and a connection with the Black Sea…

(Original in Akten zur deutschen auswärtigen Politik… Serie D. Bd. V. S. 139-140. English translation in Documents on German Foreign Policy. 1918-1945. Series D. Vol. V. The document in question is No. 126, pp. 167-168; this quotation on p. 168. Also in Russian in God Krizisa T. 1, Doc. No. 120.)

Polish Foreign Minister Beck was telling Ribbentrop that Poland would like to seize ALL of the Ukraine from the USSR, for that was the only way Poland could have had “a connection with the Black Sea.”

In occupying Western Belorussia and Western Ukraine the USSR was reuniting Belorussians and Ukrainians, East and West. This is what the Soviets meant by the claim that they were “liberating” these areas. The word “liberation” is conventionally used when an occupying imperialist power withdraws, and that’s what happened here.

The Polish Government In Exile

At the beginning of October 1939 the British and French governments recognized a Polish government-in-exile in France (later it moved to England). This was an act of hostility against Germany, of course. But the UK and France were already at war with Germany. (The USA took the position of refusing to recognize the conquest of Poland, but treated the Polish government-in-exile in Paris in an equivocal manner. Evidently it wasn’t sure what to do.)

The USSR could not recognize it for a number of reasons:

* Recognizing it would be incompatible with the neutrality of the USSR in the war.

It would be an act of hostility against Germany, with which the USSR had a non-aggression pact and a desire to avoid war. (The USSR did recognize it in July 1941, after the Nazi invasion).

* The Polish government-in-exile could not exercise sovereignty anywhere.

* Most important: if the USSR were to recognize the Polish government-in-exile, the USSR would have had to retreat back to its pre-September 1939 borders — because the Polish government-in-exile would never recognize the Soviet occupation of Western Belorussia and Western Ukraine.
Then Germany would have simply marched up to the Soviet frontier.
To permit that would have been a crime against the Soviet people, of course. And, as the British and French soon agreed, a blow against them, and a big boost to Hitler as well. See should_the_ussr_have_permitted.html

Polish Government Uniquely Irresponsible

No other government during WW2 did anything remotely like what the Polish government did.

Many governments of countries conquered by the Axis formed “governments in exile” to continue the war. But only the Polish government interned itself in a neutral country, thereby stripping itself of the ability to function as a government and stripping their own people of their existence as a state.

What should the Polish government leader have done, once they realized they were completely beaten militarily?

  • The Polish government should have remained somewhere in Poland – if not in the capital, Warsaw, then in Eastern Poland. f they had set up an alternative capital in the East — something the Soviets had prepared to do East of Moscow, in case the Nazis captured Moscow — then they could have preserved a “rump” Poland.
    There it should have capitulated – as, for example, the French Government did in July 1940. Or, it could have sued for peace, as the Finnish government did in March 1940.
    Then Poland, like Finland, would have remained as a state, though it would certainly have lost territory.
  • Or, the Polish government could have fled to Great Britain or France, countries already at war with Germany.
    Polish government leaders could have fled by air any time. Or they could have gotten to the Polish port of Gdynia, which held out until September 14, and fled by boat.
  • Why didn’t they? Did Polish government leaders think they might be killed? Well, so what? Tens of thousands of their fellow citizens and soldiers were being killed!
    • Maybe they really did believe Rumania would violate its neutrality with Germany and let them pass through to France? If they did believe this, they were remarkably stupid. There’s never been any evidence that the Rumanian government gave them permission to do this.
    • Did they believe Britain and France were going to “save” them? If so, that too was remarkably stupid. Even if the British and French really intended to field a large army to attack German forces in the West, the Polish army would have had to hold against the Wehrmacht for a month at least, perhaps more. But the Polish Army was in rapid retreat after the first day or two of the war.
    • Or, maybe they fled simply out of sheer cowardice. That is what their flight out of Warsaw, the Polish capital, suggests. I

Everything that happened afterwards was a result of the Polish government being interned in Rumania.

Here’s how the world might have been different if a “rump” Poland had remained after surrender to Hitler:

* A “rump” Poland might finally have agreed to make a mutual defense pact that included the USSR. That would have restarted “collective security”, the anti-Nazi alliance between the Western Allies and the USSR that the Soviets sought but UK and French leaders rejected.

That would have

  • greatly weakened Hitler;
  • probably eliminating much of the Jewish Holocaust;
  • certainly preventing the conquest of France, Belgium, and the rest of Europe;
  • certainly prevented many millions of deaths of Soviet citizens.

* Poland could have emerged from WW2 as an independent state, perhaps a neutral one, like Finland, Sweden, or Austria.

All this, and more – if only the Polish government had remained in their country at least long enough to surrender, as every other government did.


See conclusion.html

Besoshvili @ July 14, 2009

51 Responses to “Did the Soviet Union Invade Poland in September 1939?”

  1. Metal Gear Says:

    A non-aggression pact is not an alliance.

    It is just a pragmatic agreement. But it is not mean you see the partner as your “kin.”

    Furthermore, the Polish people exist as a nation always, even if the State does not exist to represent it.

  2. Metal Gear Says:

    There is no chance in hell that Poles EVER wanted an alliance with Hitler. Even if Poles were “racist and hypernationalist” (which is a good thing), they were racist AGAINST Germans and Germans were racist AGAINST Poles. The world does not revolve around a giant anti-Jewish + anti-Communist conspiracy. It is a historical fact that Jews were disproportionately Communist by affiliation (not necessarily by ideology), but this does not mean that Poles focused all their energy and antagonism towards Jews and Soviets. Poles and Germans also hated each other.

    The racial antagonisms between Poles and Germans were obvious. Hell would have had a better chance of freezing over.

    I’m all for out of the box thinking but think this article is solely a reflection of the views of the poster who posted it.

  3. Metal Gear Says:

    The only thing right about this article is that it was a cowardly move to retreat. I agree with that part but nothing else.

  4. Besoshvili Says:

    The real focus of the essay is on the merits of the accusation of whether or not the actions of the Soviet Union constituted an “invasion” of Poland in 1939? What specific points in the essay do you contest?

  5. Metal Gear Says:


    That would be a long post. Maybe the Soviet Invasion was less blatant than historians say or less of an invasion. There were individual statements that I disagreed with. I’ll quote them if I have the time and will in the future.

  6. Besoshvili Says:

    “Furthermore, the Polish people exist as a nation always, even if the State does not exist to represent it.”

    You’re right; but I don’t think the article even addresses the question of the Polish nation.

    “Even if Poles were “racist and hypernationalistâ€� (which is a good thing”

    I don’t know if you could really qualify 1930s Poland as “racist,” but the nationalist bourgeoisie in Poland was a constant source of problems, and it was a shame that the Soviets were unable to take Poland once and for all in 1920 (no thanks to Trotsky, Tukhachevsky and Yegorov).

  7. Metal Gear Says:

    This is what sort of rubbed me the wrong way (not that I care or get emotional).

    The governments of all other countries defeated by Germany did one or both of these things. The Polish government — racist, anticommunist, hyper-nationalist, — in short fascist, as bad as they get — didn’t do either. Rather than fight the Polish government fled into neighboring Rumania.

    Nationalism is not Nazism. Fascism is not Nazism either. Marxist-Leninists tend to simplify things and argue that all “Right Wingers” are equal.

    When Poland had no government, Poland was no longer a state. (More detailed discussion below)

    Up till the beginning of 1939, when Hitler decided to turn against Poland before making war on the USSR, the Polish government was maneuvering to join Nazi Germany in a war on the USSR in order to seize more territory.

    But Poles still are an ethnic nation not “co-aryans” with Hitler. The collapse of the state does not remove the ethnic differences between Poles and Germans or make collaboration possible, and the state itself clearly saw Hitler as a threat. The idea that Poles and Germans were in secret conspiracy feeds “Jewish” “conspiracy theory” propaganda that Poles were in fact “in it” with the Germans the whole time rather than co-lateral victims. Though it also feeds Soviet interests, as events such as the Kielce pogrom were initiated by Soviets to help support a Soviet Takeover by de-legitimizing Polish Nationalism as similar to German Nazism.

    I still think Stalin did a lot of good with his forced industrialization, “techno-futuristic” and anti-nazi work, but clearly he clashes with Polish (and Ukranian) nationalism. When I praise Stalin, I by no means “fully” support “every move” he made. I’m really judging Stalin to the extent he serves Technocrat interests than to the extent he served “materialist Marxist-Leninism.” Russians “needed” a Stalin to drive them out of the stone age (much like the Middle East needs Saddam Hussein figures as opposed to Islam), but Poles didn’t.

  8. Besoshvili Says:

    “Nationalism is not Nazism. Fascism is not Nazism either. Marxist-Leninists tend to simplify things and argue that all “Right Wingersâ€� are equal.”

    This is true, but it’s a red herring and only a whim of the author’s preferred rhetoric. Also, it should be noted that Marxist-Leninist historians tend to use Fascist when referring to Hitler’s regime, as distinct from the unique quasi-socialist tendencies that originated in the German National Socialist movement in the 20s under the Strassers and other leftist Nazis.

    “But Poles still are an ethnic nation not “co-aryansâ€� with Hitler. The collapse of the state does not remove the ethnic differences between Poles and Germans or make collaboration possible, and the state itself clearly saw Hitler as a threat.”

    True; but remember, we’re talking about contemporary politics in 1930s Europe. Bolshevism was seen as a major threat – only later did Nazism become the main enemy. This was particularly true of Poland, who shared a border with the Soviet Union and a tainted history. Therefore, the Polish bourgeois government initially saw Nazi Germany as a potential force willing/interested in defending existing borders against the perceived threat of Soviet “encroachment.”

    “The idea that Poles and Germans were in secret conspiracy feeds “Jewishâ€� “conspiracy theoryâ€� propaganda that Poles were in fact “in itâ€� with the Germans the whole time rather than co-lateral victims.”

    Not really, it identifies the efforts of the Polish bourgeois government to strengthen its position by forming an alliance with Hitlerite Germany against the Soviets. There’s no conspiracy here, this was just one reason why the Soviets refused to deal with the “government in exile” after the German invasion of the USSR.

    “Russians “neededâ€� a Stalin to drive them out of the stone age (much like the Middle East needs Saddam Hussein figures as opposed to Islam), but Poles didn’t.”

    The Soviets needed a friendly Poland for security reasons – we’ll take friendly to imply a Marxist led government; or a neutral one at worst (a coalition of Communist, social-democratic and bourgeois liberal parties).

  9. Grover Furr Says:

    In post No. 2 above, Metal Gear writes:

    “There is no chance in hell that Poles EVER wanted an alliance with Hitler.”

    This is incorrect. The Polish militarists did want such an alliance. See Documents on German Foreign Policy 1918-1945 Series D. Vol. V.

    The document in question is No. 126, pp. 167-168. The passage in question is on page 168:

    “… 2. I then spoke to M. Beck once more about the policy to be pursued by Poland and Germany towards the Soviet Union and in this connection also spoke about the question of the Greater Ukraine and again proposed Polish-German collaboration in this field.

    M. Beck made no secret of the fact that Poland had aspirations directed toward the Soviet Ukraine and a connection with the Black Sea…”

    The Polish “colonels”, basically fascists themselves, did not in fact ally with Hitler. But they would have liked to do so.

  10. Aslan Maskhadov Says:

    Poland had a non-aggression pact with Nazi Germany starting in 1935, so they certainly did not consider Germany to be an anathema. They were also actively pursuing subversive activities in Soviet Ukraine and Belarus under their “promothean” programme.

  11. Metal Gear Says:

    That doesn’t mean they (the very small amount of people who disagreed with the foreign policy) didn’t see Hitler as a long term threat.

  12. Metal Gear Says:

    A non-aggression pact is not an alliance.

    It is not the same thing in terms of attitude.

  13. Aslan Maskhadov Says:

    It is true that they also had a non-aggression pact with the USSR as well, but they were conducting subversion against the USSR, not Germany, and they were far more likely to ally with Hitler(an admirer of Pilsudski) before they did the USSR. They wouldn’t even permit transit of Red Army troops just to protect Czechoslovakia.

  14. Besoshvili Says:


    Russia to release new documents highlighting Polish negotiations with Hitlerite Germany

    Head of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service’s Public Relations and Mass Media Bureau, Sergei Ivanov, announced Tuesday that the agency is preparing to publicly release new documents detailing secret negotiations between the Polish bourgeois-nationalist regime of the 1930s and Hitlerite Germany prior to the outbreak of World War II.

  15. Metal Gear Says:

    Nothing will change my mind about Poles being anti-German and Germans being anti-Polish, even if there were negotiations.

    There are negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians too.

  16. Besoshvili Says:

    But nobody’s trying to convince anybody that there weren’t hostile feelings between Poland and Germany; the fact was, prior to the Germany’s invasion, Poland saw a potential anti-Bolshevik alliance with the Germans as a possible outcome. That’s the extent to what we’re saying. The Poles were not going to let whatever animosity they had towards the Germans get in the way of their own calculated political objectives.

  17. Besoshvili Says:

    Likewise, I’d go even further to say that public attitudes (whether pro or con) are irrelevant in geopolitics and foreign affairs with rare exceptions. Heads of state or government may capitalize on them at certain times, or even allow them to influence foreign policy, but when push comes to shove, these attitudes are still in the realm of ideals, and the necessities of the given historical-material conditions will always take precedent if the government is even remotely rational.

    Similarly, public expression of these attitudes by senior figures in a government do not always reflect the messages being conveyed and communicated by the same government’s foreign ministry. There were several important differences between what Hitler had in mind versus his Foreign Minister Ribbentrop.

  18. Cawa Says:

    This is a touchy subject but I will throw my 2 cents in.
    Poland’s biggest enemy was in fact Germany, and it’s leader made the world know this. You would not ally with someone you hated but rather ally with your opponent’s enemies. Linguistically they have more in common with a typical Russian, and have always felt more comfortable with Eastern based Europeans than Western. Can we be more honest here and admit instead of foreign influences and internal revolution both sides said fuck it and blitzkrieged Poland? Poland was a capitalist country stuck in between fascist Germany and Communist Russia’s best friends.

  19. NRK i rolla som løgnfabrikk « Klassekamp og Revolusjon Says:

    [...] I januar 1939 diskuterte den polske utenriksminister Beck med Tysklands Joachim von Ribbentrop i Warszawa om samarbeid mot USSR. Ribbentrop noterte at «M. Beck la ikke skjul på det faktum at Polen hadde aspirasjoner rettet mot sovjetisk Ukraina og tilgang til Svartehavet…» (Grover Furr, Polish imperialism.) [...]

  20. NRK som redskap i anti-kommunismen « Klassekamp og Revolusjon Says:

    [...] I januar 1939 diskuterte den polske utenriksminister Beck med Tysklands Joachim von Ribbentrop i Warszawa om samarbeid mot USSR. Ribbentrop noterte at «M. Beck la ikke skjul på det faktum at Polen hadde aspirasjoner rettet mot sovjetisk Ukraina og tilgang til Svartehavet…» (Grover Furr, Polish imperialism.) [...]

  21. BrasidasMaximus Says:

    Sir, what you have published is historical denial, not too different to Holocaust denial. Your left wing views are ripe ground for Russian propaganda which every so often reveals “secret” documents. It’s sad.

  22. Aslan Maskhadov Says:

    Feel free to explain your claims instead of just likening them to Holocaust denial.

  23. �иколай Конев Says:

    Вообще, когда видишь такое, по�ещает мы�ль, а ведь �то ж так про�то, ну почему � �то не �мог придумать Ре�пект :)

  24. Валентин Says:

    Хм… ДоÑ�таточно Ñ�порно, поÑ�порил бы Ñ� автором…

  25. Aleks Górecki Says:

    The USSR did invade Poland, and the USSR murederd many Poles like the Germans did. The Polish nation was against the USSR and Nazi GErmany.

  26. Aleks Górecki Says:

    And how dare you say that the Polis people were cowards, they fought better than and longer than France with less equipment.
    And remember in the Polish uprising in 1944, women and children of Poland fought alongside men and died, so how dare you say they were cowards.
    Don’t try to defend the soviet union, Stalin was a tyrant and if I could, i would bloody well say something worse about him.
    you shouldn’t be proud of the soviet union, you should be embaressed.

  27. Aleks Górecki Says:

    Poland was not fascist, and the USSR didn’t try to preserve the Polish nation, they hated Poland.

    And another thing, Poland kicked Russia’s ass e.g: Polish-Bolshevik war and medieval times.

  28. Batu Khan Says:

    Keep crying Aleks. Poland under Pilsudski was by definition fascist. The USSR did apprently preserve the Polish nation since they gave you the borders you deserved as opposed to those you tried to take. By contrast, your wonderful free Poland today has lost something like 2-4 million people. Apparently they love Poland so much the first thing they do is leave.

    Kicked ass? Please. You got your asses kicked back to Warsaw and got lucky seeing as how the Bolsheviks were fighting numerous imperialist powers as well as the White Guards. Also I wasn’t aware that the 15th century is considered medieval. Ever hear of the Renaissance?

    Apparently you can’t dispute any of Furr’s points(even I disagree with the guy on several occasins), so you shout out this nationalist bullshit.

    The fact is

  29. metal gear Says:


  30. Aaron Jeethan Says:

    Grover Furr is an English professor with limited knowledge of history. He is also a Stalinist. Furr has said:

    “I think the reason Stalin is vilified is because, in his day at the helm of the Soviet Union, the exploiters all over the world had something to worry about! That’s why I feel some kinship with Stalin and the communist movement of his day.”

    So this is an article written by a man who supports totalitarian mass murder. Why are we even discussing his propaganda?

    What next? David Irving as a guest speaker?

  31. Travis Meals Says:

    Excellent article and easy to understand explanation. How do I go about getting permission to post part of the article in my upcoming news letter? Giving proper credit to you the author and link to the site would not be a problem.

  32. Metal Gear Says:

    Author is Beso Tsanava.

    Just link back, if you are legit.

  33. Besoshvili Says:

    Actually – the author is Professor Grover Furr of Montclair State University. I re-posted this from a thread provided in the ‘Stalinist’ Google group.


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  49. Ian Beddowes Says:

    Are the facts true or not? Blanket cries of ‘Stalinist’ directed against Grover Furr mean nothing. Even if he was a cleaner of public toilets and not a professor, the question remains: are his facts true or false?

    As it is obvious that if the Red Army did not move in, the Wermacht most certainly would have done, thus bringing them closer to Moscow.

    All those who reject these historic facts do so because they would have preferred a Nazi victory. The US policy of world domination with an ever thinner veneer of ‘Human Rights’ and an ever growing body count shows that the true successors to Hitler are Obama and his Democratic Party. (Since WWII millions more have been massacred under the Democrats than the Republicans, the worst is Clinton. Like Furr check your facts).

  50. Adi92 Says:

    Wow their are still stupid people living on this world.
    When the nazis and communist invaded poland they did it with one explanation poland is a dangerous totalitarian fascist countrie, could you belive this comming from nazi germany and the sovjet union. If poland was a bad dagerous totalitarian fascist countrie then what sort of countrie was the nazi germany and the sovjet union. This articel is some kind of new russian propaganda. Come on everyone knows that the soviet union was build on lies and that russia is the evilest countrie today suppling terrorist with weapons and just creating chaos for their own gane.
    Ps. the people whos are commenting this are stupid. How can they say that poland was totalitarian and sovjet union not. wow

  51. Ian Beddowes Says:

    Totalitarian! What a wonderful word coming from someone who does not know that today there is on powerful totalitarian nation which is continually making war in other people’s countries resulting in the deaths of millions — and cries when someone (ironically their own loose cannon) hits back and kills a mere 6 000 Americans, the majority of them being employees of institutions of world domination.
    It was the Soviet Union and the Red Army which defeated Hitler with a little help from the western powers and considerable assistance from the COMMUNIST partisan units of the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, France, italy, Greece. as well as the Peopkes Liberation Army of China and the Viet Minh. Get your murdering army out of Africa and the Middle East now you US vampires.

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