The New American magazine — Nearly 140 years ago, two German socialists named Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels declared that “a spectre is haunting Europe the spectre of Communism.” Writing in the Communist Manifesto in 1848, Marx and Engels asserted: “The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions. Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communist revolution.”
Almost 70 years ago, the spectre of Communism conjured up by Marx and Engels took on an aggressive and imperialistic body when a Russian revolutionary named Vladimir Ilich Ulyanov, better known to the world as Nikolai Lenin, overthrew the provisional Russian government of Aleksander Kerensky by force and established his Bolshevik regime. The diabolical legions unleashed by Lenin have since 1917 captured more than two-score countries and imposed their brutal tyranny on over one-third of the world’s population.
The plight of the Captive Nations is never very far from the consciousness of many Americans, however little concern they might manifest for the hundreds of millions of their fellow human beings suffering under Communism. Hardly a day goes by without media coverage of persecution of dissidents in the Soviet Union, arrest of trade union leaders in Poland, feticide and infanticide in Red China, maiming of children with bombs disguised as toys in Afghanistan, the flight of “boat people” from Southeast Asia, deliberate starvation in Ethiopia, and attempts by courageous freedom fighters in Angola and Nicaragua to topple their slavemasters.
The tragedy of the captive peoples even draws the official attention of the U.S. government every summer as the President, responding to the will of Congress, proclaims the third week of July “Captive Nations Week.” These proclamations, however, have been watered down considerably over the past 27 years and apparently have no impact whatsoever on continuing efforts to placate and appease Kremlin bosses and their puppets on the various continents of the world.
The Captive Nations resolution adopted by Congress in 1959 contained some strong language about “Communist imperialism” and “the imperialistic and aggressive policies of Russian Communism.” The resolution also listed 23 nations that had been subjugated by Communism. President Eisenhower, who in the fall of 1959 hosted the visit to America of the prime Soviet imperialist of that time, Nikita Khrushchev, issued a proclamation on July 17, 1960, stating that “many nations throughout the world have been made captive by the imperialistic and aggressive policies of Soviet Communism.” He also invited the American people to observe Captive Nations Week “with appropriate ceremonies and activities, and I urge them to study the plight of the Soviet-dominated nations and to recommit themselves to the support of the just aspirations of the peoples of those captive nations.”
On July 19, 1985, President Reagan issued a Captive Nations proclamation that expressed his support for “those nations of Eastern Europe that have known conquest and captivity for decades; those struggling to save themselves from Communist expansionism in Latin America; and the people of Afghanistan and Kampuchea [Cambodia] struggling against invasion and military occupation by their neighbors.” Mr. Reagan said that “as long as the struggle from within these nations continues, and as long as we remain firm in our support, the light of freedom will not be extinguished. Together with the people of these captive nations, we fight against military occupation, political oppression, Communist expansion, and totalitarian brutality.”
It is hard to take the President’s proclamation seriously knowing that he was planning to meet a few months later with Mikhail Gorbachev, the current Soviet imperialist dedicated to keeping the Captive Nations enslaved and to adding more countries to his evil empire. And knowing that Mr. Reagan has approved favorable trade benefits for the Communist regimes in Hungary, Romania, and Yugoslavia, and still maintains diplomatic ties with the bloody Red dictatorship in Afghanistan. President Eisenhower in 1960 urged the American people “to study the plight of the Soviet-dominated nations and to recommit themselves to the support of the just aspirations of the peoples of those captive nations.” The best President Reagan could do last year was to invite all Americans “to reaffirm their dedication to the international principles of justice and freedom, which unite us and inspire others.”
Despite the media attention and the presidential proclamations, however, the plight of the Captive Nations grows more desperate as the U.S. government and its allies not only accept the status quo but help to strengthen the criminal regimes in these countries with diplomatic recognition, economic assistance, loans and loan guarantees, technology transfers, and, in some instances, even military equipment. It is an historical fact that many of the Captive Nations would never have fallen to Communism, and would not still be subjugated today, were it not for the policies and predilections of the United States government, American businessmen and industrialists, and liberals in the media. The tragic history of the past seven decades must be retold lest we forget our suffering brothers and sisters – and lest we find ourselves in the same hopeless situation. Those who ignore history are certain to repeat it.
The Bolshevik Revolution
The visitor to the Lenin Museum in Moscow was struck by the numerous portraits and busts of Lenin, as well as by the many statements of the founder of modern-day Communism. One Leninist pronouncement, dated 1923, was translated by an interpreter as follows:
First we will take Eastern Europe, then the masses of Asia, then we will encircle the United States, which will be the last bastion of capitalism. We will not have to attack. It will fall like an overripe fruit into our hands.
Whether or not Lenin ever phrased the Communist plan for world domination in such precise terms, the statement accurately summarizes the advance of Communism since the Bolsheviks toppled the socialist Kerensky only a few months after he had ousted Tsar Nicholas. Lenin had arrived in Petrograd, Russia, in April 1917, his journey from Switzerland in a sealed train having been facilitated and financed by the German Foreign Office in an effort to undermine the Russian army and remove Russia from World War I. After the Bolsheviks had seized power on November 7, 1917, German Foreign Secretary Richard von Kuhlmann sent a telegram to Kaiser Wilhelm II that said in part:
Russia appeared to be the weakest link in the chain of our enemies. Our task was to further weaken this link and, if possible, to break it. This was the object of the revolutionary activity organized by us behind enemy lines: the promoting of separatist tendencies, and the support of Bolshevism….
The Bolshevik seizure of Russia was no spontaneous uprising of the masses. It was the bloody imposition of a Communist dictatorship from the top by a group of revolutionaries organized and financed from outside Russia. Lenin had come from Switzerland and Leon Trotsky from New York City to spearhead the takeover. They were funded by the German government with money that was channeled through a Swedish bank owned by Olof Aschberg, who had a continuous working relationship with the Guaranty Trust Company in New York. When the Soviets formed their first international bank (Ruskombank) in 1922, Aschberg was its head and Max May, vice president of Guaranty Trust, was chief of its foreign division.
Another American supporter of the Bolsheviks was William Boyce Thompson, director of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, who led a Red Cross Mission to Moscow in 1917 and made a personal contribution of $1 million to the Communists. This mission was not “one of neutral humanitarianism,” said Antony C. Sutton in his book Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution, but “was in fact a mission of Wall Street financiers to influence and pave the way for control, through either Kerensky or the Bolshevik revolutionaries, of the Russian market and resources. No other explanation will explain the actions of the mission …. The single overwhelming objective was to gain political and economic influence with the new regime, whatever its ideology.”
The plight of the Russian people grew steadily worse under the Bolsheviks. Within a few months after they seized power, said Eugene Lyons in his book Workers’ Paradise Lost,
most of the tsarist practices the Leninists had condemned were revived, usually in more ominous forms: political prisoners, convictions without trial and without the formality of charges, savage persecution of dissenting views, death penalties for more varieties of crime than in any other modern nation. The rest were put into effect in the following years, including the suppression of all other parties, restoration of the internal passport, a state monopoly of the press, along with repressive practices the monarchy had outlived for a century or more.
Lyons credits the Bolsheviks with having “pioneered the basic techniques and set the pattern for fascist adaptations in Italy, Germany, and elsewhere: The one omnipotent party of blindly obedient zealots, the single-slate ‘elections,’ the gigantic concentration camps, the substitution of slogans for thought. Both in Italy and Germany, as we shall see in its proper context later, their policies directly helped open the floodgates to fascist inundations.”
Help From Capitalists
By 1921, Russia was in chaos and on the verge of collapse. Factories were empty, mine shafts were flooded, and there was a critical shortage of consumer goods, heating fuel, and foodstuffs. Five million had starved to death since 1917, and famine was again sweeping the country. Herbert Hoover, a future President of the United States, organized a relief organization and Americans alone sent 700,000 tons of foodstuffs to the Russian government.
Meanwhile, Lenin had announced a New Economic Plan that would enlist the aid of other countries in rebuilding the Russian economy. He had proclaimed in 1920 that this “industrial cohabitation with the capitalists” would only be temporary and “as soon as we are strong enough to overthrow capitalism, we shall immediately seize it by the throat.” The capitalists, Lenin predicted, “will extend credits, which will strengthen for us the Communist Party in their countries and, giving us the materials and technology we lack, they will restore our military industry, indispensable for our future victorious attack on our suppliers. In other words, they will labor for the preparations for their own suicide.”
From Austria, Denmark, England, Germany, Sweden, and the United States came all that was needed to revitalize Soviet industry, agriculture, mining, forestry, fishing, and fur-trapping, American companies, including Standard Oil and General Electric, supplied $37 million worth of machinery and equipment from 1921 to 1925 alone. Germany’s Junkers aircraft firm created Soviet air power; Britain’s Lena Goldfields Ltd. started operations in the icy Kolymar region of Siberia, where at least three million slave laborers perished from 1932 to 1954; America’s Averell Harriman paid $3.45 million in 1925 for the rights to mine a manganese field for 20 years and export its ore; and America’s Armand Hammer made a fortune in Russia producing pens and pencils.
But once the factories were built, the equipment installed, and the workers trained, Lenin’s successor, Josef Stalin, had the foreign technicians arrested on charges of “industrial espionage” and ordered them out of the country. Other Americans suffered the same fate in the 1930s, but only after Henry Ford, once a target of Bolshevik attacks, had built an automobile factory in Gorki; the Mackee Company of Cleveland had constructed the huge iron and steel works at Magnitogorsk; and Colonel Hugh Cooper had directed the building of the world’s largest hydroelectric power station in Dnieprostroi.
Still another huge boost for the struggling Soviet regime came in 1933 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt extended diplomatic recognition to the Stalin dictatorship, giving it a credibility and place in the world that it most certainly did not deserve. FDR should have heeded the advice proffered in 1920 by Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby:
The existing regime in Russia is based upon the negation of every principle of honor and good faith …. The responsible leaders of the regime have frequently and openly boasted that they are willing to sign agreements and undertakings with foreign powers while not having the slightest intention of observing such undertakings or carrying out such agreements.
Upon numerous occasions the responsible spokesmen of this power, and its official agencies, have declared that it is their understanding that the very existence of Bolshevism in Russia, the maintenance of their own rule, depends, and must continue to depend, upon the occurrence of revolutions in all the great civilized nations, including the United States, which will overthrow and destroy their governments and set up Bolshevist rule in their stead. They have made it quite plain that they intend to use every means, including, of course, diplomatic agencies, to promote such revolutionary movements in other countries….
We cannot recognize, hold official relations with, or give friendly reception to the agents of a government which is determined and bound to conspire against our institutions; whose diplomats will be the agitators of dangerous revolt; whose spokesmen say that they sign agreements with no intention of keeping them.
The prophetic words of Secretary Colby have been proved true over and over again since 1920. The ink was hardly dry on the recognition papers when the Soviet Union began a massive espionage operation against the United States, one that saw its agents rise to the highest levels of the U.S. government. Some Red spy rings were exposed, but many others known to have existed have never been uncovered. It has to be presumed that the heirs of former State Department official Alger Hiss did not leave the government when Hiss went to jail in 1950 for lying about his service to the Kremlin.
The Lend-Lease Fiasco
Until Stalin collaborated with Adolf Hitler in 1939 to carve Up Poland, the Soviet regime had spent most of its time consolidating its power across the vast expanse of Russia by swallowing up such nations as Armenia, Azerbaijan, Byelorussia, Georgia, Turkestan, and the Ukraine. The deliberate starvation of millions of Ukrainians during the 1930s is an atrocity that is still not widely known, although congressional documents (The Crimes of Khrushchev), books (The Great Terror by Robert Conquest), and a 1985 Canadian television program (Harvest of Despair) have documented that barbaric policy.
The Hitler-Stalin Pact was proceeding nicely for the two totalitarians until Hitler decided to invade the Soviet Union in 1941. Suddenly, the Soviet enemy became America’s “ally,” at least in the eyes of the Roosevelt Administration. At a Russian Aid Rally in New York City in June 1942, presidential advisor Harry Hopkins told the Soviets that “we are determined that nothing shall stop us from sharing with you all that we have and are in this conflict, and we look forward to sharing with you the fruits of victory and peace.” Hopkins concluded that “generations unborn will owe a great measure of their freedom to the unconquerable power of the Soviet people.”
The wish of Harry Hopkins to save the Soviet Union from destruction came true as America sent more than $11 billion worth of supplies and services to the USSR from 1942 to 1946. This incredible flow of goods included more than 14,000 aircraft; nearly half a million tanks, trucks, jeeps, and other vehicles; more than 400 combat ships; 325,784 tons of explosives; over four million tons of foodstuffs; more than 1,300 diesel marine engines, many of which were taken away from General Douglas MacArthur; over 219,000 tons of critically scarce copper wire and cable; and huge quantities of industrial equipment and specialized machine tools for military production.
Major George Racey Jordan, a U.S. Army officer who expedited Lend-Lease shipments to the USSR through Great Falls, Montana, wrote a book (From Major Jordan’s Diaries) that describes in detail what he called “the greatest mail-order catalogue in history.” Jordan, whose orders described him as the “United Nations Representative” at Great Falls, said he was informed by his superiors in Washington that “the modification, equipment, and movement of Russian planes have been given first priority, even over planes for U.S. Army Air Forces….”
Major Jordan also tells of the thousands of black suitcases that traveled through the Lend-Lease pipeline under diplomatic immunity. These suitcases carried not only tons of classified documents, according to Jordan, but also at least 1,465 pounds of uranium chemicals and “2.2 pounds of uranium metal at a time when the total American stock was 4.5 pounds.”
While the United States was moving heaven and earth to give the Soviet Union everything it demanded, the Reds were sending hundreds of spies to America with orders to gather all the information available on U.S. industrial and military production. Among the items obtained, according to David Dallin’s book Soviet Espionage,
were designs of industrial plants, special machines, parts and details; photographs and blueprints of technical processes in the aviation, arms, oil, submarine-building, and many other industries; long-range plans for the development of large industrial units; hundreds of maps of the United States, the individual states, industrial sites, bridges; descriptions of railroads, reports on the building of cities and highways; and so on.
The Soviet Union emerged from World War II not only with enormous territorial gains, but also with billions in industrial and military goods and technology. The Communists got $10 billion in compensation from Germany for war damage and expropriated nearly half of Germany’s 1943 industrial capacity, worth perhaps $40 billion. They shipped 6,000 German scientists, technicians, and specialists behind the Iron Curtain, some of whom had worked at the German V-2 rocket factory at Nordhausen. That factory was captured intact by American forces, but they were ordered to leave everything there for the Soviets. A Russian colonel who arrived after the Americans had gone exclaimed: “The Americans have given us all this! In ten years, they’ll regret it! Imagine — our rockets flying across the ocean!”
Détente and Aggression
According to Antony Sutton, the Soviet leadership has long employed “an exquisite combination of policies to gain its objectives. The most important is this two-phase cycle of ‘détente’ and aggression. ‘Détente’ to gain technological and economic sustenance from the West. Then, when strength is built up, or if possible simultaneously, ‘détente’ vanishes, to be replaced by renewed territorial expansion.” The blunt truth, Sutton said in National Suicide: Military Aid to the Soviet Union, “is that trade with the Soviet Union from 1917 to the present has built the Free World an enemy of the first order.”
Democratic and Republican Presidents, along with bankers and businessmen like David Rockefeller, Armand Hammer, Cyrus Eaton, and Donald Kendall, have tried to justify aid to and trade with the Communists by saying that it “builds bridges” to the other side and improves the chances for peace. Not so, says Antony Sutton:
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Editors note: This article was originally published by The New American magazine on July 14, 1986 under the title “The Captive Nations,” prior to the lifting of the Iron Curtain and the apparent demise of Soviet communism. It was reprinted now because of the important evidence it contains exposing how help from the West — particularly the United States — made communism the force it became.