Posts Tagged ‘communism’

Type: Documentary
Title: Apocalypse: The Second World War
Category: World War II

Thanks to the efforts of a few, private collectors & archivists, these forgotten films have been rediscovered, restored & made available by National Geographic Channel in an extraordinary six-part series: Apocalypse: The Second World War. In addition to stunning footage, the series presents WW2 in an innovative & provocative way, giving audiences an unprecedented sense of the reality of war not conveyed by black & white footage.

Made up entirely of original 35mm, 16mm & 8mm films, Apocalypse: The Second World War includes rare footage of the Polish officers’ massacre at Katyń, the evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force at Dunkirk, the inhumane treatment of French soldiers taken prisoner by the Nazis & the sacrifice of Soviet soldiers at Stalingrad.

By bringing this incredible footage together, Apocalypse: The Second World War provides viewers with a ground-breaking portrait of WW2 that depicts not only its complexity, but the perspectives of both its victims & its victors.

Apocalypse: The Second World War is a six-part documentary consisting of the following episodes:

The Aggression (1933-39): Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V
The Crushing Defeat (1939-40): Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V
Shock (1940-41): Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V
World Ablaze (1941-42): Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV
The Great Landing (1942-43): Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV
Inferno (1944-45): Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV


The War of the Century: When Hitler Fought Stalin, is a BBC documentary film series that examines Adolf Hitler’s invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941 and the “no holds barred” war on both sides. It not only examines the war but also the terror inside the Soviet Union at the time due to the paranoia of Joseph Stalin – the revenge atrocities, the purge of the armed forces, the near-lunacy orders, & the paranoia of being upstaged by others, especially Marshal Zhukov. The historical adviser is Prof. Ian Kershaw.


Dear Straight Dope:

I’ve heard rumors on & off for years about Walt Disney. I’ve heard suggestions that he was a fascist, a communist, a racist & an antisemite. The first two are of course contradictory. Web searches didn’t help to straighten out anything in my mind. Was he a political nut? Did he hate blacks & Jews? Or are these typical malicious lies we like to tell about great men so we don’t have to feel so unaccomplished?

Joseph Kenner, North Hollywood, CA

Hold it there, hoss. That’s a lot of accusations for one letter. Let’s try to break it down a bit & see if we can sort some things out here.

One of the more curious charges against Disney was that he was a secret Nazi. A few white supremacist groups still cherish this notion. Their best evidence is a misreading of the short film “Der Fuehrer’s Face” (1943), in which Donald is seen in a Nazi uniform, swastikas & all. In the end we find out it’s all a nightmare, but that doesn’t dissuade the racists. A lesser-known short sometimes cited is 1932′s “The Wayward Canary,” in which Mickey is seen using a cigarette lighter with a swastika painted on the side.

This is all circumstantial at best, but other suggestive details have come to light. In 1933, the German American Bund was founded by Fritz Kuhn. Kuhn was evidently quite a character–he had met Hitler in the early thirties and reportedly was profoundly loathed by the Nazi leader. [Read more]

The Ghost of Goebbels: Historical Revisionism & World War II

This article written by Wayne Madsen, political scientist (USA), Strategic Culture Foundation expert, & was published in International Affairs magazine.

An expected outgrowth of the world’s steady descent into total & extreme capitalist control is the increasing tendency by some historians and their accomplices in the media to re-invent certain aspects of history.

Although the history of the Middle East & colonialism have been favorite playgrounds for the historical revisionists, it is World War II & the role played by the Soviet Union in the war that has attracted the attention of most of the alterers of history, both professional & amateur. As we recall the Nazi attack on the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941, the 70th anniversary of which we now remember, it is important to note that the “revisionism” of the events of that day began with chief Nazi German propagandist Joseph Goebbels and the disappearance of historical facts “down the memory hole,” as George Orwell put it in 1984, is carried on to this day by Goebbels’s ideological heirs who are mainly funded by the barons of Wall Street through various tax-free right-wing “think tanks” & research institutes in the West.

Although the revisionists claim that the 1939 Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact & its secret protocol to divide eastern Europe into respective German & Soviet spheres of influence somehow made Soviet leader Joseph Stalin a “partner” of Hitler, little attention is paid to secret German-British talks in 1939 that would have divided the world into German & British spheres of influence while making common cause against the Soviet Union.

Goebbels’s ideological heirs would have everyone believe that Stalin & German Fuhrer Adolf Hitler were on the same ideological plane & were conniving to jointly conquer the world. This revisionist account is meant to mask the goals of the Western industrialists at the time. Many of the world’s wealthiest capitalists, including the German-descent British royal family, wanted Hitler to stamp out Soviet Communism & had no problem with the Nazis’ “long march East.”

The pandering of British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain to Hitler at the 1939 Munich Conference, which saw the dismemberment of Czechoslovakia, was seen in the eyes of many British & American industrial barons as the remnants of Czechoslovakia being safe from Soviet Russia. That same mind-set would exist as Nazi troops invaded Poland, the Baltic states, Yugoslavia, & then, the USSR, itself. Not until December 7, 1941, & the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, would the western industrial barons decide it was time to support the war effort against the Axis Powers, albeit reluctantly.

Certainly, Britain was not alone in its secret campaign to align with the Nazis against the Soviet Union. U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt, who enraged many capitalists & Republicans by establishing diplomatic relations with the USSR after he took office in 1933, found himself almost ousted in a coup d’etat in 1933 arranged by Wall Street robber barons intent on declaring a state of national emergency & placing Roosevelt under virtual house arrest. The plot was discovered by retired Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler & communicated to the U.S. Congress where details of the plot remained secret until 1970. Among the chief coup plotters was Prescott Bush, the father & grandfather, respectively, of two later U.S. presidents. Prescott Bush was a chief Wall Street banker for German Nazi-owned businesses in the years leading up to & following the outbreak of World War II.

In 1936, U.S. ambassador to Berlin, William Dodd, wrote to Roosevelt to warn him that the threat posed to him in 1934 by the Wall Street-Nazi alliance remained as such two years later. Dodd wrote:

A clique of U.S. industrialists is hell-bent to bring a fascist state to supplant our democratic government and is working closely with the fascist regime in Germany and Italy. I have had plenty of opportunity in my post in Berlin to witness how close some of our American ruling families are to the Nazi regime . . . A prominent executive of one of the largest corporations, told me point blank that he would be ready to take definite action to bring fascism into America if President Roosevelt continued his progressive policies. Certain American industrialists had a great deal to do with bringing fascist regimes into being in both Germany and Italy. They extended aid to help Fascism occupy the seat of power, and they are helping to keep it there. Propagandists for fascist groups try to dismiss the fascist scare.

The words of Dodd: “propagandists for fascist groups try to dismiss the fascist scare” ring true today. Wall Street of the 1930s & 1940s owned the major media outlets, including the large publishing houses, that gave notoriety to the revisionist commentators & historians of their day. The situation remains much the same today.

There is the distinct danger that soon, the historical revisionists will not be content in putting Stalin & Hitler on the same level. With global media in the hands of a select few capitalists, it is forseeable that Stalin will be re-assessed as the reason Hitler had to conquer most of Europe & Hitler will be painted favorably. There are already signs that this historical revisionism is taking place among the right-wing political parties of Europe that are adopting many of the planks of the neo-Nazi movement, including the meme that Hitler had no choice to invade eastern Europe & the Soviet Union to protect the world against Bolshevism. That argument of the capitalists is nothing new but it is one, 70 years after the invasion of the USSR by the Nazis, that should have long ago been discarded into the ash bin of fascist propaganda.

Final Statement

We, the assembled representatives of historical research communities & civil societies of Belarus, Latvia, Moldova, Russia & Ukraine participating in the Sevastopol International History Conference commemorating 70th Anniversary of the outbreak of 1941-1945 Great Patriotic War, regard the War and our Victory as one of the most tragic and at the same time heroic pages in the common history of our nations.

We are increasingly alarmed with the current rise of revisionism of the history of World War II in the West & in several post-Soviet republics where incendiary political considerations outweigh commitment to historical accuracy.

We consider it absolutely unacceptable to draw the Great Patriotic War against fascism as a ‘fight of two totalitarian regimes’, to deny the justified & liberating nature of that war for our nations, to depict the Red Army’s liberation mission in 11 European countries as ‘Soviet occupation’.

We state that the concept ascribing ‘mutual responsibility’ for unleashing the war to ‘the Nazi & Soviet regimes’ lacks any historical & moral foundations. As historians, we are aware that the responsibility for that devastating war rests fully with the Western powers. Until now the diplomatic archives in London keep guarding the secrets of the British-German talks held in June 1939 on the division of the world into Great Britain’s & Germany’s spheres of influence, aimed to deter Soviet Union from taking part in shaping the future of Europe.

While Hitler’s military machine was destined to exterminate Soviet Union as a ‘hotbed of Bolshevism’, today the Nazism is sometimes being portrayed as a ‘natural response to the red threat’. This is an utmost lie contradicting recognized historical facts.

We claim that all civilized nations should officially outlaw any endeavors to justify fascism, Nazi criminals or collaborationists. Any revisions of the Nuremberg Tribunal outright statements condemning fascism are totally inadmissible.

The present round of revisionism is supposed to provide an ideological backing for “anti-totalitarian” appeals like the notorious OSCE Parliamentary Assembly resolution adopted on July 3, 2009 calling for a trial over the Soviet Union’s allegedly ‘criminal past’. Such campaigns, provoking territorial claims against Russia & compensation demands for ‘damages caused during Soviet occupation’ trigger imminent & far-reaching dangerous consequences for the European security, still not adequately assessed by the short-sighted instigators of these campaigns & their blind contractors.

A distorted view on the meaning and the results of World War II & Russia’s Great Patriotic War would pave the way for a new division of Europe & the world with catastrophic consequences. This is why we are calling upon the academic community for a fair & unbiased research of the period of 1941-1945 in the name of historical truth & our common future. The sacrifices of millions of Russians in the defeat of Fascism & the devastation wrought in the war must not be perverted for current political narratives. Such actions only serve to cause division within Europe, & prevent the advancement of peace & unity amongst peoples.

(Views expressed in this article reflect the author’s opinion & do not necessarily reflect those of RIA Novosti news agency. RIA Novosti does not vouch for facts & quotes mentioned in the story.)

The Western democracies had, apart from the US, been exhausted by World War I. They were convinced that Europe could never afford another such conflict & pinned their hopes on the League of Nations & disarmament. They also had to weather severe economic depression.

Following the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919, the principal aim of the Western democracies was to switch from a wartime to a peacetime economy. This meant demobilizing most of their snow swollen armed forces & converting their munitions industries to the production of non-military goods.

For the US this was easier than for Britain & France, since its late entry into the conflict meant that its munitions industry had hardly been established on a wartime footing. At the same time, especially, through loans to its European allies, its economy had been made stronger by the war. The United States also had few overseas possessions, so it could reduce its armed forces to the bare minimum. While it encouraged international disarmament, it otherwise adopted an isolationist foreign policy, refusing to join the League of Nations & turning in on itself. The US became gripped by a “get rich quick” mentality. Set against the freneticism of the Jazz Age, Americans in increasing numbers began to gamble on the stock market, whose rapid growth reflected an ever expanding economy.

Political Instability

For Britain & France, the transition from war to peace proved to be much more difficult. Both economies had been drained by over four years of war. France’s manpower, in particular, had been gradually diminished, & a significant portion of the country, especially the industrial north, had been devastated. But like other European countries, France was bedeviled by a series of weak governments, usually coalitions of Left or Right. Some trade unions were vehemently Communist & took their line from Moscow. Strikes were a frequent occurence & the economy remained fragile. When the Popular Front, a left-wing coalition led by the socialist Leon Blum, was elected in 1936, the immediate response of the more combative industrial workers was to occupy their own factories. The coalition government had to award them all pay raises in order to persuade them to go back to work.

Foreign Policy & the Maginot Line

In terms of foreign & defense policy, French governments of all shades were determined that never again should Germany be allowed to invade, as it had done twice within the past century. One strategy was to encircle Germany with alliances. Thus the French supported Poland from the outset, but left-wing governments also reestablished a rapport with Russia. Alliances were also made with states in southeast Europe. As for Germany itself, successive French governments alternated between insisting on the terms of the Versailles Treaty being followed to the letter to a more conciliatory attitude over reparations.

As a physical deterrent to any future German invasion, the French came up with a plan to construct a line of modern fortifications along their eastern frontier. This was to be called the Maginot Line, after defense minister, André Maginot, who had been badly wounded during World War I. By 1930 work had started on it. It was to consume a massive portion of the French defense budget & would become not just a physical barrier, but a psychological shield behind which the French people felt safe & secure.

The false & demoralizing notion… that once we have fortifications the inviolability of our country is assured.

French General, Adolphe Guillaumat, 1922

Disillusion In Britian

Britain had not suffered France’s physical devastation but was equally exhausted by the end of the war. The government’s dream was to create a “land fit for heroes” & for a short time there was an economic boom, but it did not last. Traditional British industries fell into decline, with overseas customers having developed their own during the war. Coal had been a major export, but with oil now taking over from it there was no longer the markets for coal that there had been before 1914. High interest rates deterred new business start-ups & the result was a massive increase in unemployment. Spending on postwar reconstruction also had to be drastically cut &, as in France, industrial relations worsened, with strike action becoming commonplace as workers struggled to protect their jobs & wages.

The British defense budget suffered along with all other areas of public spending. The government introduced a rule that defense planning was to be done on the premise that there would be no war in Europe for ten years at least. The Ten Year Rule, as it was called, was renewed annually throughout the 1920s, after which it was reduced to five years. Priority was given to the defense of the empire, in particular India, & policing the former Turkish possessions of Iraq, Transjordan, & Palestine. Consequently there was little left to spend on the armed forces for British home defense.

The Great Depression

In October 1929 came the Wall Street Crash, when the US stock market bubble finally burst. Tens of thousands of Americans were made bankrupt overnight, banks collapsed, & the country went into deep recession. The shock waves of this quickly spread around the world & the struggling European economies were badly affected. It was little wonder that the Western democracies were in no position to counter German, Italian & Japanese aggression.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, elected to his first term as US president in 1933, introduced his New Deal, based on public work & relief for the poor, in the following year. But the US economy did not recover fully until, like the economies of Western Europe, it was once more on a war footing.

From World War II: The Definitive Visual History, by Richard Holmes

On the night of August 31st, 1939, the Nazi SS faked a Polish raid on a German radio station at Gleiwitz on the border with Poland. Some prisoners from a concentration camp were killed & their bodies, wearing Polish uniforms, were shown to the press. Announcing that it was responding to this “Polish attack,” at 4:35am the following morning, Germany send troops into Poland, beginning World War II in Europe.

The invasion came after a summer of diplomatic activity which focused on the Soviet Union. When Britain & France promised to guarantee Poland against German aggression in April 1939, they had no plans to give the Poles actual military assistance. They did nothing to reinforce Poland’s defenses, nor did they plan to attack Germany from the west. They did; however, try to draw the Soviet Union into a commitment to defend Poland.

Negotiations between Britian & France & Joseph Stalin’s Soviet regime made slow progress. The British government was reluctant to do a deal with a Communist dictatorship, while the Poles adamantly rejected the idea of allowing Soviet troops into Poland under any circumstances. For his part, Stalin was doubtful of the motives of the Western democracies, suspecting them of wishing to deflect Nazi aggression against the Soviet Union.

Hostility between the Communist Soviet Union & Nazi Germany was such a fixed & apparently deep-rooted aspect of European politics that an alliance between the two seemed unthinkable. Yet they had persuasive shared interests in the short term. Determined to make war on Poland, before the autumn rains set in, Hitler needed to reduce the number of enemies he might have to fight simultaneously. Stalin, for his part, was tempted by the chance to extend his rule westward at the expense of Poland & the Baltic States.

Serious discussion between the Nazi & Soviet regimes began secretly in late July. On August 21st, Joachim Von Ribbentrop, had been invited to Moscow. Two days later an astonished world learned of the signing of a Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. One of its secret terms provided for Germany & the Soviet Union to divide Poland between them.

With the agreement with Stalin in his pocket, Hitler ordered that the long-planned invasion of Poland should begin on August 26th. However, at the last moment, he hesitated. Britian & France assured Germany that they really did intend to go to war if he attacked the Poles – a formal military alliance between Britian & Poland was signed on August 25th.

From World War II: The Definitive Visual History