By Harry Elmer Barnes
In 1959 Harry Elmer Barnes reviewed a book detailing World War II summitry. His appraisal of those meetings, and of the leaders involved in decisions so consequential to the West, remain today a vivid primer. It offers the already in formed a reminder of how much a few individuals on “our side”—most particularly a president now eulogized in our nation’s capital—cost this country and world freedom. For the uninformed, it serves as a study guide to what might be called “the unending consequences of two great wars of self destruction.”
The main theme of a new book by George N. Crocker, Roosevelt’s Road to Russia (Chicago, Henry Regnery Co.), here reviewed, is the manner in which President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill enabled Soviet Russia to win both the war and the peace and to become the dominant power in the Old World, if not on the whole planet. Incidentally, it reveals how this was concealed from the Anglo-American publics, who innocently believed that they were pouring out their blood and money in an idealistic Holy War, designed to bring freedom, perpetual peace and economic prosperity to the world. But the volume also includes an exposition and analysis of the more important actions and trickery by which Roosevelt and Churchill involved the United States in the war, and exposes the deceptions and the serious and irretrievable political and military blunders which were involved in all this. In short, it is a substantial revisionist history of the causes, merits and results of the second World War, in addition to its unrivaled presentation of the fatal Anglo-American surrenders to Soviet Russia and Marshal Stalin.
In light of the fact that the more important concessions to Russia occurred at the great Summit Conferences from New found land to Potsdam, much of the book is given over to the exciting but dolorous story of what happened at these calamitous meetings. The material highlights the outstanding events and accomplishments of each of these great conferences, which is what is needed in such a book. This task is performed with great clarity and proper emphasis. Readers will carry away a vivid and lasting impression of what went on and of the characters present and operating. Those who wish more of the diplomatic details will do well to consult William L. Neumann’s Making the Peace, 1941-45, John L. Snell’s The Wartime Origins of the East-West Dilemma Over Germany, and more voluminous books of the kind.
Mr. Crocker wisely does not accuse President Roosevelt of any deliberate espousal of communist ideas or policy as such. Nor does he remotely allege that Roosevelt consciously sought to betray the interests of the United States to the benefit of Soviet policy and ambitions. Indeed, he does not even make any such charges against Harry Hopkins who was Roosevelt’s “Man Friday” in devising and promoting the policies and actions which played into the hands of Stalin and Russia. It was a gradual process, compounded of political and historical superficiality, and ever mounting ambition, pride, vanity and megalomania on the part of Roosevelt which Hopkins nursed along, General Marshall defended on the military level, and Stalin successfully exploited. In the light of the prominent role of Harry Hopkins in inspiring and promoting Roosevelt’s pro-Russian policies—in fact acting as Roosevelt’s chauffeur on the road to Russia—Mr. Crocker’s book may well be regarded as another volume on Roosevelt and Hopkins. It will do much to reinterpret the vast amount of material in Robert E. Sherwood’s voluminous work and to correct the misleading statements and conclusions therein.
The increasingly pro-Soviet orientation of Roosevelt policy was a natural development arising from the trends of 1937 to 1941—from the Chi ca go Bridge Speech to Pearl Harbor. Anti-interventionists in the United States be fore Pearl Harbor charged that it was British propaganda, Democratic New Deal self-interest, Roosevelt’s ambition to become a war president, Jewish hatred of Hitler, and other factors, which involved the United States in the war. But more thorough study has amply proved that, although the above factors and influences played a powerful role in the total result, it was primarily the communist line as developed by [Maksim Mak si mo vich] Litvinov [real name Meyer Wallach or, according to some authors, Meyer Finkelstein] at Geneva, inflated by the Popular Front.
Harry Hopkins, a left-wing sympathizer with Soviet Russia but certainly not a communist, inspired and softened up Roosevelt for the Soviet kill. Roosevelt soon discovered that collaboration with Stalin offered the easiest and most direct road to caressing his own power complex, even if this road was a dead-end one, the terminus of which was to be piled full with the wreckage of most of the ideals for which the Allies were supposed to be fighting. Roosevelt was captivated and absorbed in the glamour and glory of the moment and gave little consideration to the long-range implications and results of the events and experiences of the day. As even his most enthusiastic and persistent historical defender, Professor Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., admits, Roosevelt was a man who played by ear in his public life, much like Churchill and in sharp contrast to Stalin, who carefully planned both domestic and foreign policy.
As we have noted, the development of Roosevelt’s fatuous and fatal honeymoon with Russia, passing beyond his exploitation of the communist war-line in helping to get this country into war, was a gradual trend, marked by ever more obvious and impressive stages or steps.
On June 22, 1941, the very day that Hitler launched his ill-advised invasion of Russia, Harry Hopkins went to New York and told a Russian war relief rally in Madison Square Garden that Roosevelt had already sent word that the United States would aid the Russian war effort and would see that it did not fail. A few weeks later, Hopkins was sent to Russia to confer with Stalin and tell him of the plans of the United States, which was still officially at peace, to send Russia vast military supplies. Stalin was gratified to hear all this, and Hopkins was electrified by his first contact with Stalin: He came home enthralled and wrote a magazine article in which he showed a childlike reverence for Stalin’s every word, gesture and mannerism. He obviously thought him a great man who talked “straight and hard.” He was charmed when Stalin, in saying goodbye, “added his respects to the President of the United States.” During the next months, Roosevelt went to absurd lengths in trying to stretch or distort the terms of the Atlantic Charter so as to envisage and include Russia as a legitimate ethical and political ally in a Holy War.
Within only a few weeks after Pearl Harbor, Roosevelt had developed the illusion that he was the man most capable of dealing with Stalin and handling him in the interest of Allied aims and policies. He wrote to Churchill that: “I know you will not mind my being brutally frank when I tell you that I think I can handle Stalin personally better than either your Foreign Office or my State Department. Stalin hates the guts of all your top people. He thinks he likes me better, and I hope he will continue to do so.” Stalin did so continue, but at his own price and soon was doing the handling rather than Roosevelt. Roosevelt’s subservience to communist aims and policies began to be revealed at the Casablanca Conference in January 1943, through the proclaiming of Unconditional Surrender as the Allied slogan for victory, and the first presentation of the Allied military strategy as envisaged by Stalin.
To the first Quebec Conference in August 1943, Harry Hopkins brought a secret document approved by Roosevelt. It stated that: “Since Russia is the decisive factor in the war, she must be given every assistance and every effort must be made to obtain her friendship. Likewise, since without question she will dominate Europe on the defeat of the Axis, it is even more essential to develop and maintain the most friendly relations with Russia.” This formally opened the policy gate to what followed on the road to Russia. Roosevelt’s quest of pomp, power and glory, and Stalin’s flattery, cajolery and shrewdness, filled in the preliminary blueprint.
By the time of the Cairo Conference in November 1943, Roosevelt’s personal delusion of grandeur began to overpower him: His conceit now took on a new dimension. For beginning with the Cairo meeting with Churchill and Chiang Kai-shek, Roosevelt began to fall victim to the messianic complex that had destroyed Wilson in 1919. He began to envisage himself as the Master Builder of the shiny new postwar world. It was a role he was pathetically unsuited to attempt.
The Casablanca Conference had been held in Northern Africa on January 14-24, 1943, and was attended by Churchill, Roosevelt and their entourages, and by representatives of the Free French. The most notable product of this meeting was Roosevelt’s casual but fateful enunciation of the doctrine of Unconditional Surren der as the only terms the Allies would accept from the members of the Axis. Generated in Roosevelt’s historical ignorance, this was the greatest political blunder of the war and a tremendous boon to Russia and Stalin. It prolonged the war by at least a year and a half, led to vast destruction on the Continent, meant the ruin of Germany, removed all barriers to Soviet occupation of Central Europe, and opened the way to Communist expansion westward. It was here, also, that Stalin’s program to concentrate the Allied military campaign on the invasion of France from both the North and the South was first presented by Roosevelt and Hopkins and warmly supported by General Marshall. It challenged the British plan to invade Europe through Italy and the Balkans—what Churchill graphically but erroneously called the soft underbelly of Europe. The Roosevelt plan ultimately won out and was another victory for Russia, since it meant that no Allied troops would turn up later on to oppose the Russian advance to Bucha rest, Budapest, Prague and Berlin.
It has already been pointed out that the first Quebec Conference held on August 11-24, 1943, established the primacy of Russian needs and interests in Allied wartime strategy and policy. It also tied down to reality still further the Stalin strategy of an invasion of Northern and Southern France and doomed Churchill’s soft underbelly program. Stalin did not need to attend, since his plan was ably presented and successfully pushed through by Roosevelt, Hopkins and Marshall.
The Cairo Conference, held on November 22-26, 1943, was attended by Roosevelt, Churchill, Chiang Kai-shek, and their entourages. The main decision taken at Cairo was implementing Roosevelt’s demand that Chiang Kai-shek must take the Chinese Communists into his Nationalist Government. Roosevelt also suggested that Chiang give Russia the use of the important port of Darien. In this he did not succeed at Cairo but shortly afterward he handed it to Russia at Teheran. Promises of systematic and substantial military aid were made to Chiang, but these were largely scrapped at Teheran. Once more, Stalin did not need to attend the Cairo Conference. Lauchlin Currie and other Communists and Communist sympathizers at the White House had worked out Roosevelt’s plan for China, as set forth at Cairo, and it could hardly have suited Stalin better if it had been fashioned in the Kremlin.
The Teheran Conference was held on November 28-December 1, 1943, immediately after the meeting at Cairo. It was here that Roosevelt first met Stalin. He quickly succumbed to Stalin’s flattery and liquor. Stalin soon found that Roosevelt was a pushover and proceeded to give him the works. He took Roosevelt, and it has already been shown that it was at Teheran that Stalin assumed control of Allied military and political strategy during the war and, inevitably, in the political arrangements which followed. But this was so carefully concealed from the American public that Roosevelt felt safe in assuring them that he took Stalin at Teheran.
The Atlantic Charter was further, almost fully, consigned to the ashcan. The Baltic States, East Poland, and eastern Germany were to be consigned to Russia at the end of the war. Allied forces would be held up so that Russia could occupy eastern Germany and Czechoslovakia. The invasion of France was now made a certainty.
After his return from Teheran, Roosevelt told the American people on Christmas eve that: “He [Stalin] is a man who combines a tremendous, relentless determination with a stalwart good humor. I believe he is representative of the heart and soul of Russia; and I believe that we are going to get along very well with him and the Russian people—very well indeed.”
The second Quebec Conference came on September 11, 1944. The main matter on the agenda was a barbarous scheme to accomplish the economic ruin of Germany and the incidental starvation of ten to twenty million Germans. This plan came to be known as the Morgenthau Plan because its supposed author and most strenuous public champion was Henry Morgenthau, the largely figure-head Secretary of the Treasury whose anti-Germanism had attained the proportions of a psychopathic obsession.
Stalin did not need to come to Quebec for he knew that his wishes relative to postwar Germany would be effectively presented and pushed through by Roosevelt and Morgenthau. The news of the Morgenthau Plan leaked out and was added to Unconditional Surrender as another factor in encouraging German resistance to the last ditch and needlessly prolonging the war.
The famous Yalta Conference was held on the Crimean shore of the Black Sea on February 4-11, 1945. Because some of the more obvious evils accomplished were soon leaked out, the Yalta Conference has been the most publicized and pilloried of all the wartime Summit Con fer ences, but most of its deeds had been foreshadowed or prepared for at Teheran.
Yalta confirmed the Teheran decisions or proposals relative to Europe: handing over the Baltic States, East Poland, and eastern Germany to Russia, and the ceding of German territory to Poland as compensation for the Russian annexation of East Poland. The disastrous zoning of Germany was confirmed and more precisely determined. Some two million Russian nationals in German hands were to be rounded up and returned to Russia for execution or slave labor. The latter was approved for Russia, although very soon at Nuremberg German leaders were either executed or given long terms in prison on the charge of permitting slave labor.
The main novel disaster at Yalta was the making of great concessions to Stalin and Russia in the Far East. These gave Russia invaluable cessions of territory, railroads, and ports on the Pacific and played the decisive role in the victory of the Communists in China, thus adding over 500 million persons to the Com mu nist orbit. All this was done without the slightest military need, in the effort to bribe Stalin to enter the war against Japan. Stalin wished to enter this war in order to pick off the spoils which he knew would be readily accessible to him. He had promised to enter several times previous to the Yalta Conference.
Before he left for Yalta, Roosevelt had learned through General MacArthur that the Japanese were ready to make peace on exactly the same terms that were accepted in August after months of bloody fighting in the Far East and the atom bombing of the Japanese cities. All of the chief American army, navy and airforce leaders except the Russophile Marshall agreed that the Japanese were hopelessly beaten and would eagerly surrender if given any reasonable terms. There was no need whatever for Russian aid in winning victory over Japan. The formal Russian entry just before the Japanese surrender gave no real assistance whatever to victory, but it did succeed in turning over the Far Fast to Communist hegemony.
Crocker indulges in some brief comments on Germany, Italy and Japan which will be eagerly seized upon by partisans of Roosevelt as evidence that Mr. Crocker must approve of the Second World War and American entry therein, although the reviewer knows that he does not. The Second World War cannot logically draw the approval of any Revisionist, and least of all of a Revisionist who believes that the aggrandizement of Russia was the most disastrous result of the war. The great crime of our age was the British plotting and launching of the war, and the American support of and entry into that war. The only adequate bulwarks against Communist expansion were Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and Japan. When they were destroyed or defeated there was nothing left of sufficient power to contain Communism.
Roosevelt’s road to Russia was a subordinate and secondary product of the war itself and would never have been open for travel if the United States had remained out of the war, as eighty per cent of the American people wished to do until Roosevelt succeeded in provoking the Japanese to attack Pearl Harbor. If one believed in 1941 that European dictatorship must be crushed by military force, then the logical procedure was for Britain to accept Hitler’s incredibly generous peace terms after June 22, 1941, and let Germany and Russia beat out each other’s brains until they had reached a disabling military impasse and there could no longer be any menace of dictatorship by either the Right or the Left. This was what was recommended by former President Hoover and Senators Taft and Truman at the time.
In the second place, Mr. Crocker is altogether too kind to Churchill. His irresponsible Germanophobia and war-mongering from 1936 to 1939 did much to help on the war that put Russia where she was at Potsdam in July 1945. He was responsible for the failure to make peace with Germany on most favorable terms in both June 1939, and a year later. Nobody did more to force the war to continue to the bitter end that left Stalin the dominant personality in Europe. While Roose velt produced the phrase at Casablanca early in 1943, the British had adopted the principle of unconditional surrender as early as September 3, 1939, and stuck doggedly with it until V-E and V-J Days: Roosevelt was only the semantic author of this ghastly blunder: Halifax and Churchill were the real authors.
Finally, it is rather amazing that Mr. Crocker does not bring forward the fact that, before Roosevelt had even left for Yalta, he had received from General MacArthur the same peace offer from Japan that was accepted in August, 1945, as the basis for the Japanese surrender. This is the most important fact that can be used to expose the preposterous nature of the flagrant betrayals at Yalta. It undermines all the fictitious claims of General Marshall and other Russophiles that Russian aid was essential to defeat Japan and that, even with this aid assured, it was also necessary to burn Hiroshima and Nagasaki to cinders by atom bombs. It is all the more surprising that Mr. Crocker omitted this material because the reviewer furnished him with these Japanese peace plans and with their authentication by no less important figures than former President Herbert Hoover and General Douglas MacArthur. This material is as indispensable for a full understanding and indictment of the Yalta Conference as that on Harry Dexter White, so admirably assembled by Mr. Crocker, is with respect to the second Quebec Conference.
Perhaps the best conclusion to this review would be the citation of appraisals of the results of the policy of Roosevelt and Churchill in the Second World War. One of the leading American scholars and publicists, and no Roosevelt-baiter, had this to say in the way of an epitaph on Roosevelt’s foreign policy: “He left the civilized world in ruins, the entire East a chaos of bullets and murder, and our own nation facing for the first time an enemy whose attack may be mortal. And to crown the summit of such fatal iniquity, he left us a world which can no longer be put together in terms of any moral principles.” The English journal, The European, said of Churchill: “In terms of personal success, there has been no career more fortunate than that of Winston Churchill. In terms of human suffering to millions of people and destruction to the noble edifice of mankind there has been no career more disastrous. In that sad paradox lies the tragedy of our time.”
Δευτέρα, 22 Μαρτίου 2010
Sunrise at Campobello: Sundown at Yalta
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