Friends of the Soviet Union – L.V.Mitrokhin (1975)
FRIENDS OF THE SOVIET UNION
India’s Solidarity with the USSR during the Second World War in 1941-1945
L. V. MITROKHIN
Anti-Fascist Tradition in India 6
Indian Support to Anti-Fascist Forces:
FSU Movement Makes Headway 14
THE YEAR 1941 25
German Invasion of the Soviet Union:
Condemnation in India 27
The First All India FSU Meet:
Fighting Solidarity with the USSR 37
Unanimous Admiration for Russian Resistance 50
THE YEAR 1942 63
Consolidation of Anti-Fascist Forces in India:
Left Democratic Sections and the Slogan of People’s War 65
Conference of the Friends of the Soviet Union of United Provinces, Lucknow 80
Establishment of Direct Contacts with the USSR:
The Story of a Goodwill Mission 86
Day of Solidarity 91
Solidarity with the USSR of the Indian Political Detenus Imprisoned by British Colonial Administration 94
The Heroic Struggle of the Soviet Army Defending Stalingrad and the Caucasus:
Reflection in Indian Political Writings, Poetry and the Press. Activation of All India Movement for Immediate Opening of the Seconds Front (August 1942- February 1943) 106
Anti-Fascist Poets and Writers 114
THE YEAR 1943 129
Demands in India for Unity of Anti-Hitler Coalition 132
FSU Activities and Growth of Interest in the USSR as a Socialist Country 139
The Indian Press Against Anti-Sovietism and Anti - Communism 157
THE YEAR 1944 173
“Can we Ever Forget this Noble Deed?” 175
First All India Congress of Friends of Soviet Union 181
Order of Red Star for Indian Soldiers 213
Noor-Unnisa — A Brave Daughter of India 224
THE YEAR 1945 231
“With Berlin will Fall into Dust the Entire Edifice of Hitlerian Ambition” 233
Inscription with Blood of a Glorious Chapter in Man’s History 248
SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY 261
“There is a Beacon shining through the clouds of destiny. That Beacon is Russia.” By Lord Lang, Archbishop of Canterbury, on New Year’s Day of 1942. (See The Heritage We Acclaim, Reyl Army Day 1944, FSU Publication, Bombay, 1944.)
The victory of the Soviet people in the Great Patriotic War (1941-45) has left an indelible mark on world history. Never before had mankind experienced, directly and otherwise, a war of such vast and cruel dimensions, a war which caused so much bloodshed. As a result of the Soviet people’s victory over the German fascists, socialism was vindicated and a great concord of socialist states came into being a stronghold of peace on earth. The rout of Hitlerite Germany was an event of historic worldwide importance which decisively determined the course of social and political development in larger and larger areas of the world.
The immortal accomplishments of the Soviet people in the years of the Great Patriotic War still attract research scholars of different countries.
The material incorporated in this volume, widely representative in character, reflects the Indian people’s wrath against the fascist marauders as it expressed itself in 1941-45, their anxiety and concern over the fate of beleaguered Leningrad and embattled Moscow and Stalingrad, their unshakable faith in the eventual triumph of the Soviet people and the positive influence that was bound to have on the process of national liberation in the post-war period.
The heroism of the Soviet people inspired Indian patriots to step up their own struggle against the colonial yoke. The Soviet Union was fighting for its independence and for the independence of all the peoples of the earth. Enslaved India could not afford not to stand with it and render its support and solidarity.
Despite the burning hatred for British colonial rule and the not altogether unnatural temptation to treat the enemy’s foe as a friend, the Indian people, by and large, showed full awareness of the stakes involved in the world struggle against fascism’ in which the Soviet Union acted as a vanguard.
The Second World War unleashed by Hitlerite Germany, fascist Italy and militarist Japan, was a result of the sharpening- contradictions among the imperialists, contradictions inherent in the very nature of imperialism. The anti-Soviet Munich policy followed by the Western nations, aimed at settling these contradictions, paved instead the way for the Hitlerite attack on the USSR. The leaders of England, France, and the USA hoped that a Nazi attack on the USSR would lead to the destruction of the first workers’ and peasants’ state and also weaken the imperialist challenge posed (to them) by Germany and Japan.
With these aims in view, in the pre-war period, they tried to appease Hitlerite Germany at the expense of the interests of the small European states. They hoped finally to turn the aggressors east, against the Soviet Union.
Progressive leaders in many countries, including those fighting colonial domination in India, saw all this clearly. Indian public opinion, trained to be on guard against the falsehood and resourcefulness of colonial propaganda, was easily able to understand both the nature of fascist aggression as well as the treacherous Hitlerite invasion of the Soviet Union. Indians saw that the Second World War was the baby of imperialism.
In 1940, in a letter to M. K. Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru noted with great prescience that the most perilous feature of the situation emerging in Europe was the “consolidation of the imperialist and fascist powers to fight Russia”. And, he said, “The position is likely to grow much more complicated soon if the Western powers mobilise against Russia. They will call it a holy war against Communism and under that cover not only try to strengthen their own empires but break up the socialist state of Soviet Russia. That would be a calamity from every point of view, quite apart from our agreement with Russian policy or not. I would beg of you to bear this in mind.”
Even earlier, in 1938, Nehru had said that the USSR was “the only effective barrier in Europe and Asia to fascism and the anti-democratic forces”.2
Nehru was right. German fascism, nursed by the imperialists in connivance with the Western nations, sowed death and destruction and caused unheard-of suffering to mankind and threatened the very existence of world civilisation. The Soviet Union, locked in a deadly struggle with the enemy, stood like an invincible wall in the way of Hitlerite aggression.
The rout of German fascism was the result of the common struggle of the people of many countries, though the concrete contribution of each constituent of the anti-Hitler coalition was far from being equal and the decisive battles of the war were fought and won on the Soviet-German front.
As the General Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party L. I. Brezhnev has stressed:
“The Soviet people’s heroic struggle brought about a radical change in the course of the Second World War. Its battles were fought over a vast expanse, from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, from the ice¬fields of Greenland to the deserts of Africa, but it was the Soviet-German front that became the main theatre of military operations. That is where the destinies were decided not only of the Soviet people but of mankind.”3
The Great Patriotic War proved convincingly the powerful unity of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the people, the loyalty of the Soviet people to the ideals of socialism and stable national unity which was unshaken during the years of trial.
These are the facts, which the Indian people did not find it difficult to accept, as this book will show.
Objective data make it possible to establish the dimensions and scope of the contribution made by each participant of the anti-Hitler coalition in the victory over fascism. The data also establish the decisive role played by the Soviet Union and its armed forces in inflicting fatal blows on the aggressor and routing the Third Reich. During the entire course of the Great Patriotic War, the Soviet-German front was the centre of the Nazi thrust: Hitler’s generals threw in about 57 to 77 percent of their armed forces and weapons there. Almost 507 German fascist divisions were destroyed there alone. Soviet troops also destroyed a large chunk of the war-machine of the enemy: hundred and sixty-seven thousand weapons, forty-eight thousand tanks and up to seventy-seven thousand planes. The Allies of fascist Germany lost not less than a hundred divisions in battles with Soviet troops. The intensity and severity of the battles waged on the Soviet-German front and the way they determined the outcome of the entire war are no longer matters of conjecture.
To the Soviet army fell ten million German soldiers and officers — almost three-fourths of the Hitlerite army. The allied forces, in Europe and North Africa, accounted for hundred and seventy-six divisions of the enemy.
Hitler’s blitzkrieg dreams were buried in the battlefields of Moscow, Stalingrad and on the Kursk Bulge, and the myth about the “invincibility” of the German army shattered. That marked a turning point in the course of the entire war and ensured the final victory over fascism. The following pages show, how well all this was understood in India.
The sympathy of the Indian people for the Soviet people’s struggle for freedom and independence is entirely understandable and natural. Having themselves suffered colonial slavery for generations, they were able to better appreciate than others the aspirations and the heroism of the people whom the fascist invaders sought to subdue. More significantly, the masses in India were even then deeply convinced that the Soviet Union was their most dependable and powerful ally in the anti-imperialist struggle. They realised that if such an ally was defeated by fascism, they would have to face imperialism turned more barbarous with their chances of achieving freedom, and independence pushed to a more distant and unknown future.
The millions of Indians who joined the country-wide movement of solidarity with the USSR and the campaign for the opening of the second front and the thousands of Indians, who perished in battles against axis armies provide a measure of India’s contribution to the common struggle of mankind against fascism.