Solzhenitsyn on World Communism
The book begins with an Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn speech titled “America, We Beg You to Interfere,” which he delivered on June 30, 1975 at a meeting of the AFL-CIO. For perspective, Mr. Solzhenitsyn received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1970. In 1974 he was exiled from the Soviet Union because the authorities, upon reviewing a portion of his unpublished manuscript for the Gulag Archipelago, decided he was a threat. Simultaneously, he was too high profile to kill, even though they had tried to poison him a few years earlier.
In this speech to the AFL-CIO in Washington DC, he talks about the beginnings of the Communist party. Right from the start, he said, the party had never been on the side of the manipulated workers.
After the Revolution, when Alexander Shliapnikov, head of the Communist party, charged the Communist leadership with betraying the workers’ interests, Lenin had him shot. The working class was trampled. Workers who attempted peaceful demonstrations were killed. There was no free trade and from the beginning there had never been such a thing as a free trade union, Solzhenitsyn said in 1975.
He next proceeded to shed light on the Communist-Capitalist alliance. The Arm & Hammer laid the basis for this Communist-Capitalist alliance. The first exploratory trip to Russia was in Leominster time in the first years of the revolution. 50 years of continuous and steady support of communism by Western businessman kept it going.
There was a massive transfer of Western technology that helped build the powerful military and police forces in the USSR. “Their clumsy and awkward economy, which could never overcome it’s own difficulties by itself, is continually getting material and technological assistance.” Western capitalists assisted a Soviet KGB which was committed to depriving people of freedom.
“This is something which is almost incomprehensible to the human mind: that burning greed for profit which goes beyond all reason, all self-control, all conscience, only to get money,” Solzhenitsyn said. Ironically, Lenin foretold all this. The West would help their enemies for profit and sacrifice their own future. Western Capitalists would supply the rope to hang themselves.
As early as 1933 the U.S. began providing military assistance to the USSR. Washington did not agree to recognize the French Convention because of its savagery. And yet we joined in recognizing the Soviet Union.
Interestingly enough, and this is an aside drawn from an incident noted in last year’s film The Darkest Hour, Churchill could not get FDR to send him military equipment, like planes and bombs, in order to fight against the Nazis. Yet, as Solzhenitsyn points out, FDR had no problem enabling Stalin.
A later section is titled Inaccurate Information On Pre-Revolutionary Russia. It is important to share the facts in order to put everything in a perspective. The Red propaganda machine made it seem that the Tsars had been utterly reprehensible toward the Russian people.
“The scope and the direction of my speech today do not permit me to say more about pre-revolutionary Russia. I will just say that information was obtained by the West from persons who are either not sufficiently competent or not sufficiently conscientious. I will just cite for the sake of comparison a number of figures which you can read for yourself in the Gulag Archipelago, Volume One, which has been published in the United States, and perhaps many of you have read it. These are the figures:
— 17 executions a year in pre-revolutionary Russia
— 10 people per month were executed during the Spanish Inquisition
— Cheka, the Soviet Secret Police, executed more than 1000 people per month. (After the revolution.)
— 40,000 people executed per month during the height of Stalin’s terror, 1937 to 1938.
That’s more than 40,000 persons shot per month! Thus, that which had made it difficult for the democratic West to form an alliance with pre-revolutionary Russia had, by 1941, grown to such an extent and still did not prevent the entire united democracy in the world — England, France, the United States, Canada, Australia and small countries — from entering into a military alliance with the Soviet Union. How is this to be explained? How can we understand it?
Solzhenitsyn suggested that there were three possible explanations for the East-West alliance. The first reason was the weakness of all the free countries of the world, that they felt themselves unable to fight Hitler alone. “I don’t want to accept this explanation,“ he writes.
The second explanation is perhaps there was simply an attack of panic, of fear, among the statesmen of the day. They lacked confidence in themselves, simply had no strength of spirit, and in this confused state decided to enter into an alliance with the Soviet totalitarianism. “This is also not flattering for the West,” he states.
Finally the third explanation is that it was a deliberate device. Democracy, rather than defending itself, decided to call on another totalitarian system, the Soviet totalitarian system. This third reason is not only appalling, but a profound self deception.
We have a Russian proverb: “Do not call a wolf to help you against the dogs.” If dogs are attacking and tearing you, fight against the dogs, but do not call and wolf for help. When the wolves come they will not only destroy the dogs, they will also tear you apart.
The western world strengthened Soviet totalitarianism and helped bring a third totalitarianism into being, that being China.
All this finally precipitated the Iran situation. There’s difficulty in explaining the actions of Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin in Iran. Roosevelt in Tehran during that last tour said the following: “I do not doubt that the three of us,” meaning Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin “leader our peoples in accordance with their desires, in accordance with their aims.“
How are we explain this?” Solzhenitsyn asks. How could the president be so out of touch with what had been going on under Stalin.
We listened and were astonished, Solzhenitsyn said. But something even more astounding happened. After the war, Roosevelt and Churchill gave Stalin all of Eastern Europe, and furthermore, helped round up 1.5 million Soviet soldiers to hand them over to Stalin. By force.
English soldiers killed Russians who did not want to become prisoners of Stalin, and drove the rest by force to Stalin to be eliminated or cast away in the Gulag — the Soviet Union’s massive prison camp network.
How could the Western democracies have done this?
Recommended reading: One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich.