In June, Western democratic leaders invited Vladimir Putin to the 70th anniversary of D-Day memorial in France, but there’s no good reason he should have been there. Putin is an autocrat, not a democrat. He laments the demise of the Soviet Union, a dictatorship that played no role in the D-Day operation. And since Putin is now conducting an incremental invasion of Ukraine, a different memorial would be more suitable. As it happens, this one is long overdue and remains shrouded in ignorance.
Seventy-five years ago, on August 23, 1939, the USSR and Nazi Germany became allies through the Stalin-Hitler Pact. Joachim von Ribbentrop signed for Hitler and Soviet foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov signed on behalf of Stalin. Molotov said that Hitlerism was “a matter of taste,” and that it was “not only senseless, but criminal” to wage war on Hitler “camouflaged as a fight for democracy.” Though often described as a “non-aggression pact,” the reverse was true.
The month after the Pact, Stalin and Hitler both invaded Poland, starting World War II. The Pact also gave Stalin control of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, which he retained after the war, along with other conquests such as Czechoslovakia, Hungary and what became the German Democrat Republic, the regime that made emigration an exciting experience.
While the pact was in effect, Soviet and Nazi intelligence agencies worked together and American Communists did everything in their power to keep the United States from coming to Britain’s aid. During the Pact, the Soviets murdered 22,000 Polish officers in the Katyn forest. That came at the direct order of Stalin, as Russia now acknowledges. Less well known is the reality that Stalin also handed over German Jewish Communists to Hitler’s Gestapo. At the Nuremberg trials after the war, Joachim von Ribbentrop was convicted for signing the Pact while Molotov, who signed for Stalin, sat in the accuser’s chair. So Stalin and his gang got away with it.
A Nazi-Soviet Pact memorial would be a great opportunity for Putin to express his admiration for Stalin. Maybe he could provide some enlightenment on what happened to the Jews Stalin handed over to Hitler. And as a former KGB man, maybe he could bring out more details of Soviet-Nazi intelligence cooperation during the Pact. This could be a shining moment for Putin, but the memorial would also do others some good.
American educators, for example, could familiarize themselves with these events and gauge the depths of their ignorance and denial. Some might even decide to make the Stalin-Hitler Pact into a college course. That would tell students something they don’t know. American politicians would also benefit.
It’s a good bet that most of them, regardless of party, know little if anything about the Stalin-Hitler Pact. A 75th anniversary memorial would help educate them, and would be particularly relevant for Barack Obama, President of the United States. He could use the memorial to expand on one of his mentors.
That would be Frank Marshall Davis, an orthodox Stalinist of exceptional ferocity, with an absolutely sulfuric hatred of the United States. Davis joined the Communist Party USA after the Pact was signed, at the same time others were leaving the ranks, never to return. The Pact memorial would be an opportunity for Obama to provide a full profile of the man his handlers disguised simply as “Frank” in "Dreams From My Father." If Frank Marshall Davis ever believed, said, or did anything with which Obama disagreed, a Stalin-Hitler Pact memorial would be the ideal time to set the record straight. After all, the Obama administration is the most transparent in history, with not a smidgeon of corruption. And of course, it would be another photo op he could use to raise funds. He could even bring along his travelling studio audience.
Former First Lady and current presidential candidate Hillary Clinton could also benefit. One of her mentors is Robert Treuhaft, a Stalinist lawyer who joined the Communist Party USA after the Stalin-Hitler Pact and served faithfully in the USSR’s alibi armory. Hillary Clinton, who interned for Treuhaft, could use a Pact memorial to clarify Treuhaft’s career, and explain why he left the Communist Party in 1958, as he claimed. And she could go on record if she ever disagreed with anything her Stalinist mentor believed, said or did.
That could prove enlightening, but as with Benghazi she might just say “what does it matter?” Actually, it matters quite a bit, especially for someone who wants to be president, and the one who already is.
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