Military Review

Europe pre-war dictatorship: who weaned the Europeans from the habit of tyranny

The 70 anniversary is approaching the end of the European phase of the Second World War. It began on 1939.09.01 with the invasion of the German Empire in the Polish Republic. Therefore, in Western historiography is traditionally regarded as a battle of democracy with dictatorship. True, 1941.06.22 the same German Empire invaded the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics - by the same Western tradition, the state is dictatorial. Then, the West talked about the collision of two dictatorships very much, and now, in order to avoid contradiction with the established concept, the role of the USSR in the victory over Germany is being tried to hush up or even declare the USSR almost the initiator of the war (this version, first expressed personally by Adolf Aloisovich Hitler (1889.04.20 – 1945.04.30) , by the beginning of 1990's, propagandists from the British special services brought to perfection and announced the signature of a runaway Soviet intelligence officer Vladimir Bogdanovich Rezun, who dabbed the pseudonym "Viktor Suvorov").

But let's see how democratic all of Europe was to 1939.09.01.

Democracy is considered to be a system where significant national posts are replaced (if possible regularly and often enough at least a couple of times in a decade) on the basis of the opinion of ordinary citizens expressed through voting mechanisms. The definition of Andorra, the Belgian kingdom, the Bulgarian kingdom, the British Empire (in its colonies, however, it was difficult with democracy), the Danish kingdom, the Irish Republic, the Principality of Liechtenstein, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, the Netherlands Kingdom, the Principality of Monaco , The Norwegian Kingdom, the Republic of San Marino (Italy surrounds it, but the then Italian Kingdom, in spite of its own fascism, did not interfere with the traditional elections every six months, two captains egentov Republic), French Empire (acting republican and democratic order in France, but democracy and did not smell it in the numerous colonies), Kingdom of Sweden, the Swiss Confederation, the Yugoslav kingdom. Two more democratic states - the Austrian and Czechoslovak republics - by this time no longer existed: they - with the consent of the immaculately democratic Britain and France - were peacefully swallowed up by the German Empire. The Turkish Republic also had an acceptable level of democracy, but in Europe there is only a small proportion of it.

The rest of the then independent - at least formally - states of Europe showed different degrees of dictatorship - appointments to all or at least key government posts only at the discretion of one person or a small group of related persons, without resorting to public opinion - and fascism - an aggressive and predatory confrontation of one group , allocated according to an arbitrary sign, to the rest of humanity. Here is a list of them: the Kingdom of Albania, the Kingdom of Hungary (the dictator there is Admiral, the last commander in chief fleet the late Austro-Hungarian Empire Miklos Ishtvanovich Horthy (1868.06.18–1957.02.09) - was listed as regent 1920.03.01–1944.10.15, reigning in anticipation of the rightful king), German Empire, Greek Kingdom, Spanish state with a form of government unclear at that time (since 1939.03.06, the head of government was the self-proclaimed generalissimo Francisco Paulino Ermenehildo Teodulo Nikolasovich Franco Bahamonde (1892.12.04-1975.11.20), although the last foci of resistance of the Republicans were suppressed only on 1939.04.01; in 1947, Franco officially proclaimed the restoration of the Mon rkhic system; in 1969 he appointed King Juan Carlos Juanovich Bourbon - the son of the then head of the Royal House of Spain - and became regent; the king ascended the throne immediately after the death of Franco, 1975.11.22, and resigned due to health reasons 2014.06.18 having ceded the throne to his son Felipe), the Italian kingdom (Vittorio Emanuele III Umbertovich Savoysky (1900.07.29-1946.05.09) was his head on 1869.11.11-1947.12.28, but actually Benito Amilcar Andrea Alessandrovich ruled the country on 1922.10.31-1943.07.25 Mussolini (1883.07.29-1945.04.28) - the author of the term "fascism" and the theory of corporat society), the Republic of Latvia, the Republic of Lithuania, the Republic of Portugal, the Republic of Romania, the Kingdom of Romania, the Slovak Republic (the Germans separated it from Czechoslovakia and declared the Czech Republic their protectorate), the Republic of Finland (it, in particular, several times in the 1920s attacked the USSR in order to capture Karelia), Republic of Estonia.

Total 15 democracies, 14 dictatorships. However, in those days these terms themselves did not yet have an emotional tint: democratically elected presidents and prime ministers quietly communicated with overt tyrants. Only after the war, where a large part of the dictatorships were defeated, did the concepts connected with the losers become perceived as reprehensible.

I will give just one example. 1938.09.30 in Munich met the above-mentioned dictators Hitler and Mussolini, already recognized at that time, as well as the heads of government of two flawlessly (in their opinion) democratic states - Arthur Neville Josephovich Cemburlen (1869.03.18 – 1940.11.09), the prime minister (1937.05.28 – 1940.05.10) of the United Kingdom, and Edouard Claude, ichudach Cemetery (1884.06.18 – 1970.10.11) of Great Britain, and Edouard Claude, United Kingdom, and Edouard Claude. 1933.01.31 – 1933.01.21), repeatedly (1934.01.30 – 1934.02.09, 1938.04.10 – 1940.01.21, XNUMX – XNUMX) was the former French Prime Minister (from the brevity of his first two premiership it is clear how democratic in the technical sense of the word - in terms of the frequency of change of power - was then the Third French Republic). Emil Dominik Joseph Joseph Emmanuelevich Haha (1872.06.12 – 1945.06.26) - the president (1938.11.30 – 1939.03.14) of undoubtedly and of a democratic democratic Czechoslovakia was waiting for a decision behind the door of the meeting hall. The decision was not in his favor: Chamberlain and Daladier persuaded Mussolini to allow Hitler to incorporate the Sudetenland of Czechoslovakia into Germany, where the Germans constituted the majority of the population and (on Hitler's instructions) demanded not only cultural autonomy, but liberties with which no one could accept could not. Mussolini did not object in vain: he was then afraid of the further strengthening of Germany. Shortly before, 1938.03.11 – 12 — Germany incorporated Austria (which formally corresponded to the will of the first independent Austria after the collapse of the empire, although it was contrary to the peace treaties of the victors in World War I with Versailles 1919.06.28 and Austria in Saint Germain 1919.09.10) . The previous attempt of the Anschluss - the connection - 1934.07.25 - by a coup d'état by the Austrian SSovtsy was hampered by Italy, moving the 5 divisions to the Brenner border pass. Now Germany could have become stronger even more than after the Anschluss, recognized by its winners. In the Sudeten mountains there were not only powerful fortifications that allowed Czechoslovakia to gain time for mobilization, even with a sudden German strike, but also a significant part of Czech industry, including defense industry (and the Czech Republic was one of the Europe’s largest centers of this industry). At least the fact that the weapons and ammunition produced by the Czechs on the German order for the first 4 months of 1945, but not delivered to the customer due to interception by Soviet troops at the beginning of 1945 of the main transport corridors of southeast Germany, was enough then Israel for 14 months - 1948.05.15 – 1949.07.20 - the war of independence against 5 of neighboring Arab countries and a volunteer legion staffed by Arabs from non-contiguous countries and led by British officers (the war went on from 1947.11.29, but before the independence of Israel was fought only by informal armed groups with light rifle armaments, the Jews did not have full-fledged regular troops, and the Arabs did not officially invade the territory where the British were still). After the occupation of the Sudeten mountains by Germany, Italy did not have the opportunity for a political maneuver, and she (in the First World War, refused to make an alliance with Germany and fought on the side of the Entente) was forced to become an ally of Germany in all subsequent adventures (which was clear in advance to all competent politicians, but did not bother Chamburin). Haha was warned in advance: if Czechoslovakia tried to resist, Britain and France would consider her the culprit of possible hostilities - that is (translated from diplomatic) they would refuse her the support promised by the existing alliance agreements, and even find the right to help Germany if they consider it necessary. In the case of the humble acceptance of German demands, all four high contracting parties promised to preserve the integrity and immunity of the remnants of Czechoslovakia. Haha accepted an ultimatum of seemingly allies, banned the troops (according to the then military specialists capable of stopping the then German forces) any resistance and stayed in office until Slovakia declared its independence (and immediately entered into an alliance with Germany on terms meant virtually complete obedience), and Britain and France announced: once Czechoslovakia fell apart, the guarantees given to it had previously expired. Germany declared the rest of the Czech Republic a protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia (and legally — as guardian of the new state entity — received the gold reserves of Czechoslovakia deposited there from Britain). True, the same Haha remained on the post of president of the protectorate (1939.03.15 – 1945.05.14), but this did not help the other Czechs.

But still one state, partially residing in Europe (and occupying more space in it than all the others combined), differed from all the others. The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, however, did not have a variety of parties - almost all the parties that were in the Russian Empire at the time of 1917.03.15’s abdication of Nicholas II Alexandrovich Romanov (1868.05.18 – 1918.07.17), somehow lost their revolts and / or civil wars, and Only the All-Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks) remained in power. Yes, and the leaders there did not change often. For example, the government of the country with 1917-till 1939-th led by just three people: Vladimir Lenin (1870.04.22-1924.01.21) - 1917.11.08-1924.01.21, Alexei Rykov (1881.02.25-1938.03.15) - 1924.01.21-1930.12.19, Vyacheslav Skryabin (1890.03.09-1986.11.08 ) - 1930.12.19 – 1941.05.06. In addition, the main formal mechanism for filling posts for a long time was the decision of the Soviets elected by multistage voting (deputies of Soviets of the next level were nominated from Soviets of each level), and direct election of deputies of Soviets of all levels was established only by the new Constitution adopted by 1936.12.05. constitutions of the union republics, with the first elections in this system held only in 1938 – 39 years. Moreover, in the elections in each district only one candidate was nominated (in the fight against the originally scheduled alternative voting, the bureaucracy of the middle regional and republican leaders even perpetrated the Great Terror 1937 on the end of June, and only by the end of November did it stop 1938; about half of the convictions for these 17 months under the article “treason” during the revision without delay - in 1939 – 41 –– were found to be completely unjustified or imposed for the acts, qualified by other articles of the Criminal Code; I wrote about these events in the article “Crime against improvement”). It seems to be very far from the current standard of democracy.

But I will not examine in detail how the standard looked then and why it has changed significantly since then. I will look not at the form, but at the content. Do not deny yourself the pleasure to fully bring here we 16-th (1861.03.04-1865.04.15) President of the United States of America Abraham Tomasovic Lincoln (1809.02.12-1865.04.15), Pronounced 1863.11.19 when opening the National soldiers' cemetery in Gettisborg, the state of Pennsylvania, near the site of a turning point for the then Civil Wars in the MUH battle 1863.07.01 – 03:


This was a new score for all men and women.

It is a concept that it can be long endure. This is a great battlefield of that war. It would come to you as a nation. It is altogether fitting.

But, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. He is a brave of men, living and dead. It is not a long time. This is what we have been so far so advanced. In the case of a rainy day, It is a state of liberty.


Traditional translation (with my clarifications of several small style rough edges):


Four times twenty and seven years ago, our fathers formed a new nation on this continent, conceived in freedom and dedicated to the assumption that all people are created equal.

Now we are involved in a great civil war, testing whether our nation or any other nation, in the same way conceived and professing the same ideals, can stand for a long time. We meet today in the great battlefield of this war. We have come to make it part of the last refuge for those who gave their lives in order that this nation could survive. From all points of view, this is an appropriate and absolutely correct step.

But in a broader sense, we cannot consecrate, we cannot sanctify, we cannot honor this land. Brave people, living and dead, who fought here, have already consecrated much more than our weak forces can add or subtract. The world will hardly notice or remember for a long time what we are saying here, but it will not be able to forget what they did here. Rather, it is we, the living, who should devote themselves to completing the work begun by them, on which those who fought here worked before us with such nobility. Rather, it is us, the living, who should devote themselves to the great task that still stands before us - to take over from these highly esteemed dead the increased commitment to the cause to which they fully and completely remained faithful, to be filled with the conviction that they died not for nothing, that this nation with God's help will be reborn in freedom and that power from the people, by the will of the people, for the people will not disappear from the face of the Earth.


From then on, the words “of the people, by the people, for the people” - “of the people, by the will of the people, for the people” - are considered to be the definition of the very essence of democracy. And all the formal mechanisms for the change of power are just technical support for getting as close as possible to this essence.

Then - the conclusion from such a multitude of documents (and exposed fakes) and research (including sharply anti-Soviet) that one of their lists would be ten times more voluminous than the above. According to all three criteria of Lincoln, it was the Soviet government (in a broad sense - at all levels of government, and not just the highest) of the 1939 of the year that was incomparably superior to any other government of the then Europe. It consisted mainly of representatives of the national majority. It was based on the mass support of all segments of society, and achieved - contrary to popular legends - not by fear, but by the conviction of the correctness of the chosen course (with all the inevitable errors on the path not tried by any other country). It defended the interests of the people to the extent that it was generally possible in the then - extremely difficult for the whole world - circumstances.

The war in Europe really was to some extent a competition of tyranny with democracy. Tyranny that gripped almost the whole of continental Europe (and enjoying widespread support there: for example, there were many more French who voluntarily fought on the German side than even the most generous estimates included in the French Resistance - the legendary pride of the nation; Polish industry made many times more equipment for Germany, weapons and ammunition than the industry of the occupied part of the USSR, although the formal power of the Soviet enterprises under German power was several times higher than the entire economy of Poland), fought against the coalition of two moderately democratic states - the British Empire and the United States of America - and one of the most democratic - the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic

Subscribe to our Telegram channel, regularly additional information about the special operation in Ukraine, a large amount of information, videos, something that does not fall on the site:

Dear reader, to leave comments on the publication, you must sign in.
  1. ImPerts
    ImPerts April 25 2015 06: 54
    Tyranny, which covered almost the entire continental Europe (and enjoys widespread support there: for example, far more Frenchmen voluntarily fought on the German side than even the most generous estimates included the French Resistance - the legendary pride of the nation

    I still laugh at this when Keitel said at the sight of the French: "Why did they defeat us too ???"
  2. Rigla
    Rigla April 25 2015 06: 55
    The current authorities are worthy successors of glorious European traditions.
  3. sarmaght
    sarmaght April 25 2015 07: 11
    Europe is generally created on blood since knightly times. "killed an opponent - took possession of his gold" - sits in their subconscious. All this civilizational husk of "democracy" only so that they do not insolently rob on the streets. -and now these laws are being discarded. -the signal has already been given by their "friends" overseas.
  4. Alex
    Alex April 25 2015 14: 56
    From the first lines of the article, I immediately guessed the author. Anatoly, as always, a huge "+" and respect hi !
  5. Grishka cat
    Grishka cat April 25 2015 19: 15
    Comrade Wasserman and his ironic syllable cannot be confused with anything! Anatoly, you have a bunch of ++++++++.
  6. Semenov
    Semenov April 26 2015 17: 36
    Difficult to read. I believe that the root of all the wars between Europeans and Russians is that they are defeated peoples and dependent on the winner. Catholicism of the Western Slavs, twice destroyed by the Anglo-Saxons, unwashed Europe with the Inquisition in the Dark Ages and the sea of ​​blood in the countries of "enlightened monarchs of Europe" in the 19th century and the concentration camp in the USA - against the background of a successful liberation war with the Mongol-Tatars, victories in Sweden, the Crimean Khanate, Turkey, Germany and France (twice), the flourishing of industry and technology in the USSR is a typical envy. Some already huge and terrible Russians beat everyone in a row and do not want to give up to anyone and retain their self-identity! Well, what could be more terrible for a people who previously had everything the same as the Russians, but failed to defend themselves in the fiercest struggle against others, more developed both culturally and technologically, and in what other sense!
    1. Foxmara
      Foxmara April 26 2015 19: 17
      However! For a sense of humor - 5+! )) I mean that your text in perception is not at all simpler than an article.