Sunday, August 23, 2015

Countering Russian Propaganda on the 76th anniversary of Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact

 Why we must remember.

Nazi and Soviet soldiers greet one another in Poland (1939)

Sputnik News is trying to spin the story of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact by re-focusing on its public portions which were ostensibly a non-aggression pact but leaving out the secret additional protocol which outlined how the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany would divide up the countries of Central and Eastern Europe between them. The invasion of Poland in September of 1939 led to the partition of the country into Nazi and Soviet spheres with the troops from both sides meeting up in the middle to fraternize as allies.
Secret Additional Protocol. (August 23, 1939 Non-aggression pact)

Article I.
 In the event of a territorial and political rearrangement in the areas belonging to the Baltic States (Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania), the northern boundary of Lithuania shall represent the boundary of the spheres of influence of Germany and U.S.S.R. In this connection the interest of Lithuania in the Vilna area is recognized by each party.

Article II.
In the event of a territorial and political rearrangement of the areas belonging to the Polish state, the spheres of influence of Germany and the U.S.S.R. shall be bounded approximately by the line of the rivers Narev, Vistula and San. The question of whether the interests of both parties make desirable the maintenance of an independent Polish States and how such a state should be bounded can only be definitely determined in the course of further political developments. In any event both Governments will resolve this question by means of a friendly agreement.

Article III.
With regard to Southeastern Europe attention is called by the Soviet side to its interest in Bessarabia. The German side declares its complete political disinterestedness in these areas.
It is important to recall that between 1933 and 1939 American tourists who went to see the "real" Nazi Germany came back with stories of how wonderful the Third Reich was and the 1936 Olympics held in Berlin further legitimized the regime. 

The famous American aviator, Charles Lindbergh, visited Germany five times between 1936 and 1939. Lindbergh was taken on tours of airfields and factories, lavishly entertained by Air Marshal Hermann Göring, and awarded one of the Third Reich’s highest civilian honors. Lindbergh wrote to the banker Harry Davison, “With all the things we criticize, he [Hitler] is undoubtedly a great man, and I believe has done much for the German people."

Seventy six years later one finds that totalitarian propaganda is still effective in misrepresenting itself and the threat to others. The fact that Sputnik News is still peddling the Soviet propaganda cover story used back in the late 1930s is evidence of this and a reminder of the wisdom of George Santayana who observed:
"Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." 
Therefore, August 23rd is designated a day of remembrance for victims of totalitarianism. 76 years ago Nazis and Communists came together on August 23, 1939 and signed a pact to divide Poland and plunged Europe into the Second World War. 


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