Part III: Strategy of major imperialist powers and the Soviet Union before World War II
A new imperialist war for the redivision of markets and spheres of influence began in the 1930s. Britain and France pursued a deliberate policy of inciting Germany against the Soviet Union, Japan against China and the Soviet Union, etc., so that all these countries would get mutually weakened. In this way, they could join the battle later and emerge as the winners. The US strategy was to watch and enter the war after all the other powers had exhausted themselves, so that it could emerge as the undisputed leader.
In the period between the two World Wars, the main threat for the imperialist powers was the consolidation and advance of the socialist Soviet Union. These powers were deeply haunted by the spectre of revolution and communism affecting their own countries and colonies.
That is why they watched the aggressive moves made by Japan, Italy and Germany, but effectively did nothing, especially as long as these did not directly threaten their own countries or colonies. They ensured that the League of Nations that had been formed after WWI to ensure international peace and security did nothing to check these developments.
Even after Nazi Germany invaded Austria and made clear its ambitions to expand in Europe, the imperialist powers followed a policy of appeasement towards it. They concluded the Munich Agreement with Germany in 1938, allowing Germany to take over the Sudetanland region of Czechoslovakia with its developed armaments industry. Their idea was to nudge the Nazis to move in an easterly direction, towards the Soviet Union.
The Soviet Union under J.V. Stalin was very clear about what Germany and the other imperialist powers were trying to do. Comrade Stalin pointed out in his report to the 18th Congress of the CPSU (B) held in 1939 that a new imperialist war for the redivision of markets and spheres of influence had already begun. He explained how it was a deliberate policy of Britain and France to incite Germany against the Soviet Union, Japan against China and the Soviet Union, etc., so that all these countries would get mutually weakened. In this way, they could join the battle later and emerge as the winners.
It is a well recorded fact that the Soviet Union kept requesting Britain, France and Poland to sign a mutual defence pact in case Nazi Germany were to attack any one of them. Discussions between the Soviet Union on one side and Britain and France on the other side on this issue took place even as late as August 15, 1939. The Soviet Union even offered to send one million combat troops to defend Poland against possible German aggression. Britain and France did not agree to the proposal of the Soviet Union for a mutual defence pact. Poland too rejected the proposal for a mutual defence treaty with Soviet Union and refused to allow Soviet troops to enter Poland.
Faced with the refusal of Britain, France and Poland to sign a mutual defence pact with it, the Soviet Union had no option but to sign a non-aggression pact with Germany, as a necessary step to gain time to make preparations for the war which it knew was inevitable. This non-aggression pact has been the subject of continuous lying propaganda to this day against the Soviet Union by the Western powers and their mouthpieces. Covering up their own appeasement of Nazi Germany, and their rejection of Soviet proposals for a mutual defence pact, they falsely paint the German-Soviet non-aggression pact as a direct cause of World War II.
Even though Britain and France were compelled to declare war on Germany when it invaded their ally Poland on September 1, 1939, they did not lift a finger to actually help Poland. As Hitler’s forces destroyed the Polish state and massacred the Polish people with unprecedented barbarity, Britain and France, with their many million strong armies, did not send a single soldier into Poland. Hence this period has come to be known as ‘the phony war’.
The United States meanwhile also sat back and watched developments in Europe and East Asia for more than two years while the war raged. Its strategy was to let all the other powers fight and exhaust each other, so that it could emerge as the undisputed leader.