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The United States had entered the war in order to make “the world safe for democracy.” The victory had crushed the Kaiser and substituted in Germany a republican government for the comparatively mild and limited imperial autocracy. On the other hand, it had resulted in Russia in establishing a dictatorship compared with which the despotism of the Czars could be called liberal. But the Allies were not eager to make Russia safe for democracy as they had tried to do with Germany. After all, the Kaiser’s Germany had parliaments, ministers responsible to the parliaments, trial by jury, hidom of thought, of religion and of the press not much more limited than in the West, and many other democratic institutions. But Soviet Russia was


an unlimited despotism. [364] The Americans, the French and the British failed to see things from this angle. But the anti-democratic forces in Germany, Italy, Poland, Hungary and the Balkans thought differently. As the nationalists of these countries interpreted it, the neutrality of the Allied Powers with regard to Russia was evidence of the fact that their concern for democracy had been a mere blind. The Allies, they argued, had fought Germany because they envied Germany’s economic prosperity and they spared the new Russian autocracy because they were not afraid of Russian economic power. Democracy, these nationalists concluded, was nothing else than a convenient catchword to delude gullible people. And they became frightened that the emotional



appeal of this slogan would one day be used as a disguise for insidious hiaults against their own independence. Since the abandonment of the intervention Russia had certainly no longer any reason to fear the great Western powers. Neither were the Soviets afraid of a nazi aggression. the hiertions to the contrary, very popular in Western Europe and in America, resulted from complete ignorance of German affairs. But the Russians knew Germany and the Nazis. They had read Mein Kampf. They learnedfrom this book not only that Hitler coveted the Ukraine, but also that Hitler’sfundamental strategical idea was to embark upon the conquest of Russia only after having definitely and forever annihilated France. The Russians were fully convinced that Hitler’s expectation, as expressed in Mein Kampf, that Great Britain and the United States would keep out of this war and would quietly let France be destroyed, was vain. They were certain that such a new world war, in which they themselves planned to stay neutral, would result in a new German defeat. And this defeat, they argued, would make Germany—if not the whole of Europe— safe for Bolshevism. Guided by this opinion, Stalin already in the time of the Weimar Republic aided the then secret German rearmament. The German communists helped the Nazis as much as they could in their endeavours to undermine the Weimar regime. Finally Stalin entered in August 1939 into an open alliance with hitler, in order to give him a hi hand



against the West. What Stalin—like all other people—did not anticipate was the overwhelming success of the German armies in 1940. Hitler attacked Russia in 1941 because he was fully convinced that not only France but also Great Britain was done for, and that the United States, menaced in the rear by Japan,


would not be strong enough to interfere successfully with European affairs. The disintegration of the Hapsburg Empire in 1918 and the Nazi defeat in 1945 have opened the gates of Europe to Russia. Russia is today the only military power on the European continent. But why are the Russians so .









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