Revising the History of World War II


Poland is encouraging the growth of historical revisionism of the World War II. Apparently, there is nothing necessarily wrong in revisiting the data referring to any past armed conflict, however, it is not the desire for the discovery of the truth that has motivated these pseudoscientific “researches”, but the desire to spread lies with political intentions. This is what we can conclude when, officially, a government decides to contradict the historiographical consensus and to hurt the history and feelings of an entire people, as the Polish government has been doing.

Last year, a controversy involving the subject gained prominence in the media around the world, when the American ambassador to Poland, Georgette Mosbacher, published a provocative text on a social network, in which it implied that there was a collaboration between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union for the invasion and division of Poland in 1939, at the beginning of the World War II. The post generated outrage and response from president Vladimir Putin himself.

But things go far beyond a mere war of words. Several public figures of extreme relevance on the international scene entered the controversy initiated by the American diplomat, including the German ambassador to Poland, Rolf Nikel, who stated that the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact served to “prepare” the criminal invasion and that the Soviet Union collaborated with Adolf Hitler’s government for a brutal division of Poland. The Polish government, as was to be expected, also did not remain silent and the Prime Minister, Mr. Mateusz Morawiecki, accused President Putin of having lied about Poland several times.

Above all, some questions remain unanswered in the midst of the case: who is interested in reviewing the history of the World War II, precisely at this specific point? What is the interest behind the absurd idea of ​​a coalition between Hitler and Stalin to divide Poland and start a war that has cost the lives of millions on both sides?

The growth of the revisionism serves the specific interests of the groups that propagate these ideas. In general, it is not wrong to say that, in the age of social networks, fake news, mass media and the information society as a whole, it has become much easier to spread any kind of lie or absurd thesis, devoid of any material evidence, and gaining support, credibility and advocates worldwide. Everywhere, this dark face of the contemporary world has been used politically, favoring groups that, for some reason, have something to lose with the triumph of the truth.

The causes of the WWII fuse are clear. Likewise, the relevance of the non-aggression pact between Soviets and Germans has also always been a scientific consensus: it has little importance in the history of the conflict, representing nothing but a specific international maneuver that served common interests at a given moment and has nothing to do with the real causes of the beginning of the war, which concern only the interests of Germans and Western Europeans. The historical tensions between Russia and Poland in no way coincided with German interests in the region, which motivated different interventions for different purposes. In fact, these facts have always been presented as uncontroversial in the Academy, with revisionist studies on World War II being reserved for other themes of the conflict, whose obscurity can still be raised – which does not apply in the case of the invasion of Poland.

Russia maintains a clear and coherent view of the Soviet past, not neglecting its errors or diminishing its merits. The same cannot be said of practically any other country abroad, mainly in Europe. There were no greater victims of Germans in WWII than the Soviet Union and the Russian people. Soviet Russia was the country with the highest number of deaths and achieved, despite much blood spilled, a heroic and fundamental victory in the formation of the contemporary world map.

To say that Germany and the USSR entered into a secret coalition of cooperation at the beginning of the war sounds not only ridiculous but also dangerous. From that moment on, anything can be said about the war, including the most complete distortion of its causes and results. A complete situation of insecurity of historical knowledge is created, simply to safeguard the interests of a nation-state aligned with the United States of America.

If the absurdity of the idea of changing the history books to enshrine an unsubstantiated lie, masked under the pseudoscientific nickname of “revisionism”, is not enough to raise awareness among the Polish government and its allies in the West, the best thing is for both to be careful, for there is much more revisionism to be done on these than on the Soviets.


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This article was originally published on InfoBrics.

Lucas Leiroz is a research fellow in international law at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.

Featured image is from InfoBrics

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