After her defeat in World War I, Germany was accused by the victorious countries of having had started the war. Under the Treaty of Versailles, they deprived Germany of armed forces, capable of defending the country against Soviet Russia, and thus impelled many Germans to vote for Hitler as a fiery opponent of the Treaty of Versailles and a champion of German rearmament contrary to the Treaty.
Oddly enough, outside Germany, Hitler was in rather favorable political fantasies before 1939. Even Churchill, not only Chamberlain, praised him! Lloyd George said that he would like to see Hitler at the head of the British government!
If, instead of his stupid invasions of the independent part of Czechoslovakia, of Poland, and of France, Hitler would have remained in a favorable fantasy outside Germany, while investing all of his available resources into his successful-up-to-1942 development of nuclear weapons, he would have achieved "world domination."
He would have remained in favorable political fantasies outside Germany as a world champion of peace up to the day he would demand the unconditional surrender of all foreign countries under the threat of his nuclear blows.
After World War I and before Hitler came to power, it was believed by many in the West that the Western proletariat would join the world dictatorship of the proletariat, and thus would merge with Soviet Russia. However, the propaganda poet Mayakovsky, whom Stalin called (after the poet's suicide in 1930) "the most gifted poet of our Soviet epoch," had been living mostly in the United States and Western Europe, and he announced that an American and even West European wants to be not a member of the world proletariat, but on the contrary, a bourgeois.
As for himself, he bought a fashionable car in France.
That came as a shock. But Marxism has wilted by 2007 even in China. The strategic luminary of the dictatorship of China is not Marx, but Sun Tzu, believing in a ruthless victory at one stroke, and not in "class struggle" for centuries.
At the end of World War II, Stalin's troops entered Eastern Europe, and some members of the British parliament argued that Stalin was annexing the Eastern Europe which his troops had occupied.
But in the British parliament rose a gentleman who said that he would not permit anyone in his presence to speak disrespectfully of "Marshal" Stalin. He made a speech praising Stalin and "Stalin's government."
The gentleman was the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. Roosevelt had died. But Roosevelt's wife, Eleanor, had written a book about Stalin and his Russia as laudatory as was Churchill's speech.
What was going on?
As Democrats, Roosevelt and his wife had respected Stalin even before World War II for not being right-wing and reactionary. But the war against Hitler made Stalin a hero in their eyes.
Admiration of Stalin and Stalin's Russia was a fashionable political fantasy in the United States during World War II.
When Shostakovich came, in 1949, to a conference in the United States, no lover of music would shake hands with him. But when he had written the 7th Symphony, allegedly in Leningrad under the Nazi siege in 1941, all of America's world-famous conductors performed it.
In 1945 in the British parliament, Churchill continued the adoration of Stalin, while the fashion was quickly changing into its opposite, the Cold War.
The most conspicuous anti-Soviet American in the last three years of Stalin's life (1950-1953) was Sen. McCarthy. The fear was that former or secret members of the American Communist Party could infiltrate all the strategically important institutions of the U.S.; that is, take over the country. So Sen. McCarthy tracked down all Communist connections and sympathies.
But this is just what Stalin had been doing in Russia in the 1930s — far more thoroughly and ruthlessly. His subordinates on the eve of his death were not, ideologically, communists. Stalin's ideology in and after World War II was Russian nationalism; and he even attacked — no, not yet Marx himself, but his alter ego — Engels. Happy were Marx and Engels that they had not been living when Stalin's agent had murdered Trotsky in Mexico in 1940 by stealing up behind him and splitting his skull with an alpine axe.
Stalin's plan on the eve of his death in 1953 is known to me because Stalin had appointed as his top subordinate a former priest, Panteleymon Ponomarenko, who lived in his country house not far from ours after Stalin's death.
As Sen. McCarthy tracked down communist connections and sympathies, Stalin was preparing to introduce Byzantine Christianity in Russia. Stalin had studied it at his seminary as a future Orthodox priest. The Byzantine Emperor was God, and when he spoke, next to him stood an empty chair in which sat an invisible Christ.
Also, what Sen. McCarthy did not notice either, was the advent of Mao to power in China in 1949.
The population of China now exceeds that of Russia more than eight times. But in the past 17 years the political focus of the U.S. has been not China, but — Iraq!
In 1990, George H.W. Bush appointed April Glaspie U.S. ambassador to Iraq to assure Saddam Hussein that the U.S. was not against Hussein's invasion of Kuwait. But when he did, George H.W. Bush launched a war against Iraq, which has preoccupied the U.S. public attention for the next 17 years, while China has existed for Sino-Western trade and friendship.
Never before had the U.S. political fantasy so dangerously distorted the mortally dangerous reality. In 2003, when Iraq was invaded (for which a majority of the Senate, including Hillary Clinton, had voted), I wrote that the U.S. could be compared to a madman who is chasing a gnat, while a tiger nearby is getting ready to bite off his head.
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