All Marxists can accept the Nazi-Soviet non-aggression pact as a legitimate principled measure taken to defend a socialist nation. The Nazi regime and Anglo-French imperialism were both reactionary and the Soviet people needed to maneuver to defend themselves as the vicissitudes of history unfolded. What is *not* principled is the political credibility that the Kremlin placed in the Hitler regime.
On Sept. 29, 1939, the USSR signed a German-Soviet Boundary and Friendship Pact that included secret protocols, among which was a stricture that each party pledged to suppress any agitation against the other and to keep each other informed of any outbreak. The result, according to Roy Medvedev in "Let History Judge", was a complete halt to antifascist propaganda in the USSR. Even worse, Soviet leaders began to depict Germany as a potential victim of Anglo-French aggression. Molotov declared in the fall of 1939:
"During the last few months such concepts as 'aggression' and 'aggressor' have acquired a new concrete content, have taken on another meaning...Now...it is Germany that is striving for a quick end to the war, for peace, while England and France, who only yesterday were campaigning against aggression, are for continuation of the war and against concluding a peace. Roles, as you see, change...The ideology of Hitlerism, like any other ideological system, can be accepted or rejected--that is a matter of one's political views. But everyone can see that an ideology cannot be destroyed by force...Thus it is not only senseless, it is criminal to wage such a war as a war for 'the destruction of Hitlerism,' under the false flag of a struggle for democracy."
There was no need for Molotov to utter such foolish words. A nonaggression pact does not involve this sort of legitimization of a criminal regime as one resting on an "ideological system". Nazism rested on murder and torture. If Molotov could not speak the truth about this, he should have kept his mouth shut.
Stalin's foolish belief in the possibility of a peace with Hitler compromised military preparations as I alluded to in my last post. A few more words are in order with respect to the matter of Richard Sorge, Stalin's top agent in Japan. Mark Jones reports correctly that Sorge informed Stalin of an impending invasion by the Nazis. What he leaves out is Stalin's reaction to Sorge's urgent reports cabled to the Kremlin in May and June of 1941. Sorge had intelligence on the precise timing of Hitler's attack, the size of the army, the operational plans, and the directions of the main strikes.
He wrote on them. "For the archives". "To be filed" and forgot about them.
Stalin was foolish enough to believe that Hitler would never break his word. Any facts that departed from this ridiculous belief were disregarded. His public displays were in harmony with his beliefs. When Yosuke Matsuoka, the Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs, left Moscow in April, 1941, Stalin and Molotov surprised everybody by seeing him off at the railway station. The German ambassador, who was there, reports that Stalin came over and hugged him. He said in a voice loud enough for everybody to hear, :"We must remain friends, and you must now do everything to that end."