On 23 August, 1939, Joachim von Ribbentrop and his Soviet counterpart Vyacheslav Molotov signed an agreement known as the Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact.
The two predators divided Europe between them, pushing the button for history’s bloodiest war. A week later the Nazis attacked Poland. In another 17 days the Soviets followed suit. A year later Nazi bombs began to rain on Britain, many of them made in the USSR.
All this is so well-known that it’s hardly worth another comment. What’s truly significant is that the Pact caught the West by surprise, proving yet again that civilised nations have no real understanding of fascism (Col. Putin, ring your office).
In fact, the Pact was the culmination of a long process that started even before the Bolshevik revolution in 1917 and Nazi takeover in 1933. The Allies overlooked that development and ignored those who knew better.
One of them was the NKVD defector Walter Krivitsky. He told the Allies as early as in 1938 that a marriage between Hitler and Stalin was imminent. This invaluable intelligence was mocked and discarded, with Krivitsky eventually suicided by the Soviets in Washington.
The cooperation between German and Russian extremists started in 1917, when the German General Staff used bacteriological warfare by transporting what Churchill accurately described as the ‘bacillus’ of Lenin’s gang into Russia.
The contagion worked – Lenin usurped power and promptly took Russia out of the war. Germany’s defeat in 1918 turned both countries into pariahs and they fell into each other’s embrace by signing the 1922 Rapallo Treaty.
Several years later the Soviets helped Germany cheat on the terms of the Versailles Treaty. They set up several training facilities for German officers in Russia, the most prominent of them being the Kama tank school at Kazan.
There Soviet and German tank commanders worked out the tactics of pincer manoeuvres at depth. In the summer of 1939 the Soviets were the first to use the trick to defeat Japan’s 6th Army in the battle of Khalkin Gol.
The Germans also put the tuition to good use, first in the West and then, on 22 June, 1941, against Russia herself. Such Kama graduates as Model, Thoma and – most illustriously – Guderian enveloped and destroyed whole Soviet army groups, with 4.5 million Soviet soldiers finding themselves in Nazi captivity by the end of 1941.
Many books have been written about the differences and similarities between the Bolsheviks and the Nazis. Yet most of them overlook the most important feature of fascism, clearly visible in both regimes.
This is understandable, for the authors tend to analyse the political ends pursued by fascists and the means of achieving such ends. Yet the essence of fascism isn’t political. It’s ontological.
Neither the Nazis nor the Soviets wanted to create a new political system or a new world order. They wanted to create the new man.
Both were teleological materialists with an occult dimension who accepted unequivocally the false notion of evolutionary progress. Both believed that state action could accelerate the evolution, directing it towards creating an Olympus of demigods.
Within that paragraph you can glean a definition of fascism that’s both broader and more precise than one based on politics. Both the Nazis and the Soviets realised this, which is why they stated that their explicit desiderata, German nationalism and Soviet dictatorship of the proletariat were not the destinations but the vehicles. Once the destinations were reached, the vehicles would be tossed away.
One way of accelerating what they perceived as natural evolution was to destroy large groups of people seen as slowing the process down. By far the most critical group was one that held the Judaeo-Christian view of man, a view that rejected social Darwinism.
Thus both regimes set out to wipe out Jews and Christians with equal gusto, if in a different order. The Nazis started with Jews, leaving the Christians for later; the Soviets reversed the sequence. Neither atrocity was an aim in itself; they were evolutionary tools.
Hence Hitler: “Creation is not finished. Man is clearly approaching a new phase of transformation… The entire creative force will be concentrated in the new breed… It will be infinitely greater than today’s man… Those who understand national-socialism as only a political movement do not know much…”
That was the end. Here’s the means: “I had to use the idea of a nation for temporary convenience, but I already knew that it could have only a transient significance… The day will come when not much will be left of the notion of nationalism, even in Germany. The Earth will witness the appearance of a global brotherhood of teachers and masters.”
In the same vein, Marx’s fascist ideas, later developed by his followers Lenin and Stalin, interpreted class war as a means of creating a classless society, where the very notion of class would be meaningless.
The Soviets and the Nazis, while realising their superficial political differences, were also aware of their deeper spiritual kinship.
That’s why Ribbentrop wasn’t dissembling when saying that he felt in the Kremlin as if he was among his Parteigenossen. And neither was Stalin insincere when proposing a loving toast to Hitler after the Pact was signed.
Western intelligence services never accepted the possibility of an alliance between Stalin and Hitler, an incompetence they have since shown consistently when assessing regimes different from their own.
More worryingly, Western thinkers failed to grasp the true nature of fascism and the two satanic regimes it begat. That’s why none of them predicted the likelihood of a Nazi-Soviet rapprochement, which bespoke a deficit of not only education but also of intellect.
And that’s why yesterday’s anniversary barely rated a comment in our press. Such insouciance shows that no lessons have been learned – and no measures will be taken to prevent calamities in the future.