|General Heinz Guderian and Lieutenant Colonel Gustav-Adolf Reibel together with Brigadier Seymon Krivoshein, Commander of the Soviet 29th Tank Brigade, in Brest-Litovsk, September 1939.|
(© IWM - HU 85900)
The neo-totalitarians who are destroying the world around us claim to have the final solution to the question of how human beings are to live together here on earth. That claim was also made by their ideological predecessors. The efforts of the Reds to enforce their final solution in eastern Poland during the first 21 months of the war were every bit as morally depraved as the measures being employed at the same time by the Nazis.1
As the philosopher Isaiah Berlin has argued, the belief that all human values and practices are compatible lies behind many of the evil acts that were perpetrated during the 20th Century.2 According to Berlin, it has long been assumed that questions about how human beings should live their lives in this world must have correct and meaningful answers, and since those answers must be true, those answers must be compatible.3 It is therefore possible, according to this way of thinking, for a final solution to the question of how human beings ought to live on this earth to be found. After reading Machiavelli, Berlin came to realise that this was wrong.4 In fact, a moment’s thought will reveal to any honest thinker that many human values contradict one another, and ‘the notion of the perfect whole, the ultimate solution, in which all good things coexist, [is] not merely unattainable - that is a truism - but conceptually incoherent.’5
Nevertheless, many people have chosen to believe otherwise, and many others have been forced to live as if they too believe in a final solution, on pain of death or imprisonment. The Reds’ invasion of Poland in September 1939 was carried out in accordance with their ideological beliefs.6 As the British ambassador in Moscow, Sir William Seeds, recognised, that meant that the Reds intended to ‘purge’ the newly occupied territory, so that it would be indistinguishable from the rest of the Soviet Union.7 Arrests of individuals with the potential to resist the new regime began almost immediately.8 Between September 1939 and June 1941, over a hundred thousand people were apprehended by the Soviet invaders. Many were fed into the gulag system.9
The Soviets also initiated several waves of deportations, the first of which took place in February 1940. Agents of the NKVD had spent the previous weeks masquerading as agricultural officials, visiting local farms and homes and asking about who lived there and what resources they had. In the early hours of the morning on 11th February, thousands of people were turfed out of their beds, loaded aboard freight cars, and sent by rail to logging camps in Siberia or collective farms in Kazakhstan. Many did not survive the journey. The NKVD perpetrated this crime again in April 1940, June 1940 and June 1941.10
The head of the NKVD at this time was Lavrenty Beria, a notorious sexual predator and sadist.11 In March 1940, Beria proposed that thousands of Polish officers who had been captured during the Soviet invasion, as well as thousands of people now labelled by Beria as ‘members of counter-revolutionary spy and sabotage organisations’, should be executed. Josef Stalin and Vyacheslav Molotov both signed off on this terrible proposal, and the following month, one of the most heinous war crimes in the history of mankind was committed by the Soviet Union.12
The NKVD interrogated the prisoners of war being held in Soviet camps at Starobelsk, Ostashkov and Kozelsk in order to establish their intellectual standing. Anyone who did not believe that the Soviets possessed the final solution to the question of how human beings are to live together was sentenced to a violent death.13 At Starobelsk and Ostashkov, the POWs were murdered using the same technique. A prisoner’s name would be checked off a list, then he would be taken into a room where two NKVD agents grabbed him by the arms. The murderer would approach from behind and, using a German pistol, shoot a bullet into the base of the prisoner’s neck. One of the NKVD’s most prolific killers, Vasily Blokhin, is said to have worn a leather apron, leather gauntlets and leather cap as he went about his bloody work. Josef Stalin awarded Blokhin the Order of the Red Banner that same month for his ‘skill and organisation in the effective carrying out of special tasks.’14
The POWs held at the camp in Kozelsk were murdered after being taken to the forest at Katyn, rather than being shot first then taken to the burial site on the back of a lorry.15 Approximately seven thousand people held in other camps were also executed by the NKVD at this time. In total, more than twenty one thousand human beings were sacrificed in the name of the Soviet totalitarian system, which Sir Max Hastings described as ‘the greatest edifice of repression, mass murder and human suffering the world has ever seen’.16
|Rows of exhumed bodies of Polish officers by the mass graves at Katyn, 1943. (© IWM - HU 106212)|
History has shown us what some people are capable of when they believe in a final solution. In the society that my generation was brought up in, the state was trusted to do what was right, so it might be difficult for some people to accept that we are travelling down that road again. Unfortunately, there is no longer any question of the state doing what is right. In a ‘politically correct’ society, the state decides what is right, and woe betide anyone who questions that. Citizens are already being sacrificed at random on the altar of the neo-totalitarians’ final solution. If you switch on the news, at any time of the day or night, you will see the latest victims lying in the street. Not only are innocent people being executed in public, a system of control is being established that is so evil, it uses those human sacrifices to accelerate their program. That system will end your life as a free human being, just as surely as if you were forced to your knees by an agent of the state and shot.
1. Moorhouse, R. (2014) The Devil’s Alliance: Hitler’s Pact with Stalin, 1939-1941, London: The Bodley Head, Kindle location 1173.
2. Berlin, I. (Quoted.) Two concepts of freedom: 3.5 The notion of a final solution, Open University. (Accessed 12th November 2015.)
3. Berlin, I. (2003) The Crooked Timber of Humanity: The Pursuit of the Ideal, London: Pimlico, pp. 5-6.
4. Berlin, I. ibid., p. 8.
5. Berlin, I. ibid., p. 13.
6. Rees, L. (2009) World War 2: Behind Closed Doors, London: Random House, Kindle locations 481, 485.
7. Seeds, W. (Quoted.) ibid., Kindle location 632.
8. Rees, L. ibid., Kindle Loc. 510; Moorhouse, R. op. cit., Kindle location 1076.
9. Rees, L. ibid., Kindle Location 728; Moorhouse, R. op. cit., Kindle location 1187.
10. Rees, L. ibid., Kindle locations 826, 865, 1021, 1113; Moorhouse, R. op. cit., Kindle locations 1297, 1364.
11. Rees, L. ibid., Kindle location 5579; Strauss, J. Stalin’s depraved executioner still has grip on Moscow, The Telegraph, 23 Dec 2003. (Accessed 15th November 2015.)
12. Rees, L. ibid., Kindle location 908; Excerpts: Beria letter to Stalin on Katyn, BBC News, 28 April 2010. (Accessed 15th November 2015.)
13. Rees, L. ibid., Kindle locations 929, 937. Moorhouse, R. op. cit., Kindle location 1195.
14. Rees, L. ibid., Kindle locations 983, 990, 996; Applebaum, A. (2012) Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe 1944-56, London: Penguin, Kindle location 2165. Vasili Blokhin, history’s most prolific executioner, Rare Historical Photos. (Accessed 15th November 2015.)
15. Rees, L. ibid., Kindle location 998.
16. Moorhouse, R. op. cit., Kindle location 1223; Hastings, M. (2011) Armageddon, London: Pan Books, Kindle location 2255.
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