The hype surrounding the film Katyn suggests that ‘we’ have been misled for years into thinking that it was not the Soviets but the German Nazis who committed the massacre of Polish officers at Katyn.
The opposite is the case. The most cursory examination of history books and the internet will prove that we have been told over and over again that it was the Soviets who committed this heinous crime – and in most cases the possibility that it could have been the Germans is not even mentioned.
The fact is that the bodies were shot by the Nazis and with German bullets. These bullets were still in the bodies when they were exhumed.
Goebbels, who masterminded the campaign to put the blame on the Soviets in order to cause trouble between the Soviet Union and Poland in a vain attempt to save the German fascist empire, wrote in his diary on 8 May 1943: “Unfortunately, German ammunition has been found in the graves at Katyn … It is essential that this incident remains top secret. If it were to come to the knowledge of the enemy the whole Katyn affair would have to be dropped.”
The German Nazis had killed the Polish officers in order to ensure permanent weakness in the Polish armed forces, which might otherwise have been able to resist them. According to Nazi propaganda, the Slavs, including the Poles, were an inferior race which had to give way to the needs of the Germans for Lebensraum (the Nazi quest to expand eastwards to occupy new land and utilise the space and raw materials for Germany). All Slavs were expendable.
The historical context in which these events occurred arose out of the peace treaty that followed the first world war. After this war it was necessary to allocate disputed territories between various contending parties. To define Poland’s eastern frontier, recommendations made by Lord Curzon were accepted, but Poland laid claim to more territory than this, to areas largely inhabited by Byelorussians and Ukrainians (with very few Poles) to the east of what came to be known as the Curzon Line and which had been ceded to the Soviet Union.
Poland forcibly seized back this territory, and kept hold of it until 1939. The Soviet Union reoccupied it after the Nazis invaded Poland and the Polish government fled. Hundreds of Polish army officers who had resisted the Soviet advance were imprisoned at Katyn in the Ukraine, where they were given road-building and other such types of work.
Two years later, on 22 June 1941, Nazi Germany attacked the Soviet Union by surprise. The Red Army was forced hurriedly to retreat and the Ukraine was taken over by the Germans. During this hurried retreat, it was unfortunately not possible to evacuate to the Soviet interior the Polish prisoners of war, and they were left behind to be taken over by the Germans, who then massacred them.
The idea of blaming the massacre on the Russians did not arise until some two years later. This big lie was initiated by Goebbels in order to prevent Germany’s opponents from uniting. The Germans even purported to announce the names of the Soviet camp commandants who had been in charge of the massacre, attributing to most of them jewish names! All these names were fictitious.
Although there was plenty of evidence that it was the Germans who committed this atrocity, including the evidence of pathologists who examined the corpses and affirmed that the date of death had to have been during the time of the German occupation, this evidence has been suppressed, while Goebbels’ lies have subsequently been taken up by all powerful anti-communist forces, from the wealthy press barons, through Polish landlords, to Gorbachev, who has since admitted that he devoted his whole life to the surreptitious dismantling of communism.
All these haters of communism have joined together to put into effect the Goebbels maxim of repeating a big lie often enough because in this way people will believe it. These lies are disseminated through school and university textbooks, but, just in case this isn’t enough, now we are subjected to them in popular culture in the form of a film designed to play on emotions in order further to popularise fear and hatred of communism.
Why has this film appeared now?
It is surely no coincidence that we find ourselves at the start of what will probably be the worst recession the world has ever experienced to date.
This recession is caused by the fatal and irremediable flaw in the capitalist system, namely, that to maximise profits it is necessary to reduce the incomes of the vast majority of the people in the world. Relatively impoverished as they are, they cannot purchase the vast masses of goods and services that are today produced using less and less labour power.
But all capitalist wealth depends on being able to sell the products of capitalist industries. There is no shortage of people who want to buy, but a very dire shortage of people who can afford to buy.
Capitalism can never avoid its cyclical recessions because of this trap that it is helpless to do anything about. And the major recessions exact a terrible price in human terms – increased deaths from starvation, subhuman living conditions for the vast majority of humanity, more environmental degradation and, worst of all, the probability of a new world war.
The only way out of this vicious cycle is to deprive the multi-billionaires of their ownership of the means of production and to institute planned production aimed at directly satisfying the needs of the working people rather than allowing the economy to remain in the hands of multibillionaire capitalists who will only produce and distribute good if they can make a profit. This is the socialist system that the Soviet Union established, and which the lies about the Katyn massacre seek to discredit.
The severely increased misery and hardship that lies ahead for working people is bound to cause them to question the capitalist system of production and to realise that socialism is the only possible alternative. This is especially the case in the former socialist countries, where people are finding out the hard way how much better off they were under socialism.
The rich, powerful and influential of the capitalist world, however, stand to lose everything if the mass of working-class people are mobilised to overthrow capitalism and establish socialism, because socialism deprives them of the wealth they have accumulated by exploiting the working class (ie, keeping for themselves a substantial part of what is produced through the labour of the working class).
The capitalist class will commit any crime to keep that wealth. To tell lies to avert the possibility that they will ever be required to hand it over is as nothing.
A film like Katyn, if it keeps or makes enough people anti-communist, or even if it neutralises them in the inevitable future struggle to put an end to capitalism and replace it with socialism, will have achieved its purpose of prolonging the agony of the vast majority of humanity so that capitalism can live to fight another day.
Katyn massacres – a Nazi, not a Soviet crime!
For more information on the evidence and historical context, see www.stalinsociety.org.uk/katyn.html