On August 23, 1939, a few weeks before World War II began, one of the most controversial documents of the international diplomacy of the thirties was signed. A rubric that years later would still arouse controversy and that today is still the center of bitter disputes due to the revisionism of Vladimir Putin. In post-war France, in the midst of the debate about the involvement of men with the history they had to live, a question in which they would participate in a belligerent manner, but with different, intellectual visions such as Albert Camus and Jean-Paul Sartre, the old complaint of the alliance between Berlin and Moscow or, what is the same, between Hitler and Stalin came to light.
As of 1945, the successive trips to the USSR of writers, artists and philosophers, in addition to the publications and testimonies of the dissidents, began to give news of what the socialist paradise had become, according to some, the last utopia of the humanity. But the gulag, the famines, the poverty, the repression, the generalized silence, the fear, the delations and the tortures had turned that practical application and, in more than one point, distorted, of Marxism into a quagmire. With the Cold War, many communist militants, before the force imposed by reality, had begun to abandon the ranks of their political creed (just contrary to what Sartre did, which began to approach him). Among the arguments they used to justify their political evolution, apart from the corpses that were piling up in the Russian concentration camps and the lack of freedom, for many thinkers, an unquestionable right, was the Ribbentrop-Molotov pact, an unnatural alliance between Nazism and Stalinism, the two main totalitarianisms of the 20th century.
Hitler held a curious idea of his Soviet adversary: «Stalin is one of the most extraordinary figures in world history. He started as a small official and has never ceased to be. Stalin owes nothing to rhetoric. He governs from his office thanks to a bureaucracy that obeys him without questioning. Between the two men, a strange alliance sponsored by mutual interests originated. For the Austrian it was essential to avoid a confrontation with the USSR and thus avoid having two open front: the western one, with France and then England, and the eastern one. For the Russians it was an opportunity to annex part of Poland, expand its influence in the Baltic countries and maintain peace with the main European demon and, probably, the man most feared by the Soviet leader.
The agreement was sealed in Moscow, in the presence of the respective foreign ministers of the two powers, Joachim von Ribbentrop and Viacheslav Molotov. It was as if the devil had agreed with himself. Under the coverage of that commitment, the two nations invaded Poland and distributed it (Hitler continued this way with his policy of living space for the Germans). And, under that pretext, and with his back to the world, there was the killing of Katyn, when Beri, at the head of the NKVD and with Stalin's permission, ordered the murder of the entire Polish government, about 21,000 people (the Court of Human Rights accused Putin just a few years ago for obstructing or impeding investigations around this crime and thus avoiding an international condemnation of this event.)
But this commitment went beyond a simple declaration of mutual respect. The two countries collaborated closely with each other to obtain raw materials for their interests and, as has been revealed recently, they also shared scientific advances, especially in the military area. For many communist militants this link was a knife in the back. A betrayal of the ideals they defended and their antifascist commitment, which they had been defending in the Spanish Civil War. Some began to see Stalin as the man who was abandoning the path that Lenin had traced. Trotsky criticized him and many other leftist political leaders could hardly believe that the USSR agreed to enter into negotiations with Third Reich Germany. But the official line of the party, deeply rooted in other nations and with an enormous capacity to influence its members, ignored the inconsistency of the treaty and the contradiction it implied.
The appearance, relatively recently, of the official document, allows to verify the direct implication of Stalin in this event. An attempt has been made to justify its decision as a skillful strategy to gain time, rearm and face Nazism in due course, since at that time the Soviet army was not prepared. But the truth is that on June 22, 1941, when Operation Barbarroja began, the wehrmacht invaded the USSR and the treaty became wet water, Stalin remained stony and he could hardly believe the news that his collaborators gave him. Witnesses say it was the only time he seemed to be frozen and not knowing how to react. Hitler had surprised him. If the USSR was thinking of rearming, it would never have allowed the famine of Ukraine (which caused thousands of citizens to embrace the arrival of the German army) nor would it have cleared the controls as it did – two reasons that also explain the rapid advance of Germany in its territory-. In the current revival of Russian nationalism, Putin tries to wash Stalin's image and present him as a great leader against Nazi Germany. But the Ribbentrop-Molotov pact and the facts derived from its study seem to contradict the official versions and show what it really was: a tremendous and fatal mistake.
. (tagsToTranslate) javier ors