The Soviet Story1:25:38

The Soviet Story

The Soviet Story is a documentary film about Soviet Communism and Soviet-German collaboration before 1941.

The film features interviews with western and Russian historians such as Norman Davies and Boris Sokolov, Russian writer Viktor Suvorov, Soviet dissident Vladimir Bukovsky, members of the European Parliament and the participants, as well as survivors of Soviet terror.

Using these interviews together with historical footage and documents the film argues that there were close philosophical, political and organizational connections between the Nazi and Soviet systems. It highlights the Great Purge as well as the Great Famine, Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, Katyn massacre, Gestapo-NKVD collaboration, Soviet mass deportations and medical experiments in the GULAG. The documentary goes on to argue that the successor states to Nazi Germany and the USSR differ in the sense that postwar Germany condemns the actions of Nazi Germany while the opinion in contemporary Russia is summarized by the quote of Vladimir Putin: “One needs to acknowledge, that the collapse of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century”.

Germany–Soviet Union relations before 1941

German–Soviet Union relations date to the aftermath of the First World War. The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, dictated by Germany ended hostilities between Russia and Germany; it was signed on March 3, 1918.  A few months later, the German ambassador to Moscow, Wilhelm von Mirbach, was shot dead by Russian Left Socialist-Revolutionaries in an attempt to incite a new war between Russia and Germany. The entire Soviet embassy under Adolph Joffe was deported from Germany on November 6, 1918, for their active support of the German Revolution. Karl Radek also illegally supported communist subversive activities in Weimar Germany in 1919.

From the outset, both states sought to overthrow the system that was established by the victors of World War I. Germany, laboring under onerous reparations and stung by the collective responsibility provisions of the Treaty of Versailles, was a defeated nation in turmoil. This and the Russian Civil War made both Germany and the Soviets into international outcasts, and their resulting rapprochement during the interbellum was a natural convergence.  At the same time, the dynamics of their relationship was shaped by both a lack of trust and the respective governments’ fears of its partner’s breaking out of diplomatic isolation and turning towards the French Third Republic (which at the time was thought to possess the greatest military strength in Europe) and the Second Polish Republic, its ally.

Cooperation ended in 1933, as Adolf Hitler came to power and created Nazi Germany. The countries’ economic relationship dwindled at the beginning of the Nazi era, but some diplomatic initiatives continued through the 1930s, culminating with the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact of 1939 and various trade agreements. Few questions concerning the origins of the Second World War are more controversial and ideologically loaded than the issue of the policies of the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin towards Nazi Germany between the Nazi seizure of power and the German invasion of the USSR on June 22, 1941.

A variety of competing and contradictory theses exist, including: that the Soviet leadership actively sought another great war in Europe to further weaken the capitalist nations; that the USSR pursued a purely defensive policy; or that the USSR tried to avoid becoming entangled in a war, both because Soviet leaders did not feel that they had the military capabilities to conduct strategic operations at that time, and to avoid, in paraphrasing Stalin’s words to the 18th Party Congress on March 10, 1939, “pulling other nations’ (the UK and France’s) chestnuts out of the fire.”. (source: Wikipedia)

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