The Smell and Cheapness of Communist Dreams, 1942

JF Ptak Science Books Post 2243


William Z. Foster. Great name, interesting history, but also Joe Stalin supporter of high order who ran for president of the U.S. in ’32 as a Communist (and got 100K votes). Foster does have organizational chops, working for unions and union organizing for several decades. In the mid-1920’s and beyond he was interested in the Soviet Union and Communism, and published many small works of wonder, many of which had interest cover illustrations, pushing the penny publication.

Many of these publication also had that particular feel of cheapness to them, as well, as with the pamphlet I’m sharing above. They feel cheap because they were cheaply printed, written bits made to be whispers into any listener’s ear, and then dissolve after the need was perhaps filled and perhaps not.

This hopeful pamphlet addressed the very tenuous amity between the United States and its mew-ish ally, the Soviet Union. This was printed in 1942, a third of the way through the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, an operation that caused the deaths of about 5 million Soviet soldiers and dozens of millions of civilians. Of course the Soviets weren’t always on the side to the U.S. And the Allies, far from it. 23 August 1939 is when Stalin signed the Non-Aggression Pact with Hitler (the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact) , foreign up Hitler to move against Poland, which is did on the first of September. On the third the British declared war on Germany, and on the 17th The Soviets rolled into the eastern part of Poland, taking what it wanted, as per the agreement in divide and conquer.

The honeymoon between the two states wasn’t to last long, because Hitler could not stand the Russians, who he felt were an inferior, servile people, holding much-needed natural resources for the Reich, deserving death or slavery. And so on 22 June 1941, the agreement was annulled when the Nazis undertook a full-out-mega-frontal attack on the Soviet Union called Operation Barbarossa. It was a massive campaign, and the Soviet Union reacted slowly to it, given Stalin’s insistence that such a thing as Nazi subterfuge and betrayal was not possible.  The plan was quite nearly successful, with tremendous progress made in the first few months (due to Nazi strategy and surprise as well as Stalinist purges of top Soviet military figures and mismanagement) but then the Soviet Union grew into the necessity of stopping the onslaught, and wound up destroying the German capacity for the two-front war.

In any event in 1942 Foster made a play for American-Soviet friendship just at the time when the Nazi invasion was being turned around, falling short of Moscow, engaged in awfullness in Crimea, and just about to get into Stalingrad (mid-’42), Hitler’s dream repackaged by an extraordinary effort by the Soviet army. We absolutely needed each other at this point in the war, because the Soviet Union basically killed much of the Nazi war effort, and the U.S. was the seat of fantastic resources. But before the war was out, the Foster’s plea for the beacon of light of Super Friends was not much more than a wet stubby candle in a closet.

By: Ptak Science Books
Via: Feedbin Starred Entries

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