The British Foreign Office's objection to a Katyn memorial in Britain in the 1970s.

davidcameron

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The Katyn Massacre and Beyond

In 1972, a private group in London resolved to build a monument to the victims of Katyn. The original plan was to place the monument in Kensington, one of Londons best-known tourist areas. At first, the Council of the Borough of Kensington and Chelsea gave permission for the plan to go ahead. However, permission was withdrawn, under pressure from the Foreign Office.

It is now known, through the Hoover Institutions Soviet archives, that the Foreign Office pressure was itself the outcome of pressure from Moscow. There was an exchange of telegrams on 7th September 1972, between the Soviet Politburo and the Soviet ambassador in London.

The outgoing message started as follows:

Reactionary circles in England are again undertaking attempts for anti-Soviet purposes to stir up the so-called Katyn Affair. To this end the campaign to collect funds for the construction of a Memorial to the Victims of Katyn in London is being made use of.

In his reply, the Soviet ambassador in London stated that the attention of the British government had already been drawn to attempts to whip up an anti-Soviet campaign based on Òthe inventions long ago exposed of the Goebbels propaganda machine concerning the so-called ÔKatyn Affair.

On the next day (8th September 1972) the Politburo drafted a further statement, which contained the following passage:

. . . the above-mentioned anti-Soviet campaign cannot but arouse justified feelings of profound indignation in the Soviet Union, whose people made enormous sacrifices for the sake of saving Europe from fascist enslavement.

Under pressure from the Foreign Office, permission to build the proposed memorial was withdrawn by the Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. Four years later in 1976 the Katyn memorial was in fact built, in the cemetery at Gunnersbury on the outskirts of London. The project was supervised by the National Association for Freedom (later, the Freedom Association) of which the writer was a founder-member. Presumably under pressure from the Foreign Office, the British Defence Ministry forbade former members of the British forces to don their uniforms for the launching ceremony. This negative order was ignored by several ex-servicemen, without further consequence.
The Soviet Union was an enemy of the Western powers.

So why was the British government afraid of antagonising it?
 


Hillmanhunter1

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As a younger adult I read extensively about the Second World War. I live in the Middle East now where I have friends from all over, but including Russia, Ukraine, Poland and Belarus.

Perhaps I have been a bit slow on the uptake but it has taken me a long time to realize that the Second World War was essentially a war between Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany, and everything else is a side-show. The Soviets beat the Nazis because they were willing to sustain greater losses, and inflict greater savagery. In doing so the Russians also saved Western Europe.

The history of the War that we learned in school is just a version of the British history, with its emphasis on Dunkirk, the Battle of Britain, and Normandy.

The West has never acknowledged the extent of its debt to Russia, and this is one of the contributing factors to the ongoing dissonance between the West and a country that is fundamentally European in character (albeit with an Asian empire).

The downplaying of the war in the East, even to the extent of downplaying atrocities like Katyn, is part of the failure (outside of academia) to recognize the significance of the Eastern Front
 

Kommunist

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The greatest irony of the Red Army winning the war is that it upheld all the liberal democracies that continued to struggle against it.
 

Boy M5

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As a younger adult I read extensively about the Second World War. I live in the Middle East now where I have friends from all over, but including Russia, Ukraine, Poland and Belarus.

Perhaps I have been a bit slow on the uptake but it has taken me a long time to realize that the Second World War was essentially a war between Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany, and everything else is a side-show. The Soviets beat the Nazis because they were willing to sustain greater losses, and inflict greater savagery. In doing so the Russians also saved Western Europe.

The history of the War that we learned in school is just a version of the British history, with its emphasis on Dunkirk, the Battle of Britain, and Normandy.

The West has never acknowledged the extent of its debt to Russia, and this is one of the contributing factors to the ongoing dissonance between the West and a country that is fundamentally European in character (albeit with an Asian empire).

The downplaying of the war in the East, even to the extent of downplaying atrocities like Katyn, is part of the failure (outside of academia) to recognize the significance of the Eastern Front
The truth lies cloer to your view than to the Daily Mail, YFG, Nigel Farage view that you counterview with.

But Stalin & Hitler were allies, invaded Poland and Stalin's NKVD carried out Katyn.
 

Boy M5

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gleeful

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The Katyn Massacre and Beyond



The Soviet Union was an enemy of the Western powers.

So why was the British government afraid of antagonising it?
Why? At that moment in the early 70s there was a slight improving of relations and hope for thd future. Remember this was the era of the Apollo-Soyuz handshake in space. It looked like the cold war might be about to end.
 

Boy M5

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Why? At that moment in the early 70s there was a slight improving of relations and hope for thd future. Remember this was the era of the Apollo-Soyuz handshake in space. It looked like the cold war might be about to end.
Thatbdid occur tomme too SALT 1 was 72.
 

Catalpast

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The greatest irony of the Red Army winning the war is that it upheld all the liberal democracies that continued to struggle against it.
The Allies needed each other

- it would have been extremely difficult to overwhelm Germany otherwise
 

GDPR

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As a younger adult I read extensively about the Second World War. I live in the Middle East now where I have friends from all over, but including Russia, Ukraine, Poland and Belarus.

Perhaps I have been a bit slow on the uptake but it has taken me a long time to realize that the Second World War was essentially a war between Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany, and everything else is a side-show. The Soviets beat the Nazis because they were willing to sustain greater losses, and inflict greater savagery. In doing so the Russians also saved Western Europe.

The history of the War that we learned in school is just a version of the British history, with its emphasis on Dunkirk, the Battle of Britain, and Normandy.

The West has never acknowledged the extent of its debt to Russia, and this is one of the contributing factors to the ongoing dissonance between the West and a country that is fundamentally European in character (albeit with an Asian empire).

The downplaying of the war in the East, even to the extent of downplaying atrocities like Katyn, is part of the failure (outside of academia) to recognize the significance of the Eastern Front
The two key factors in the defeat of Germany in WWII were the major German mistake of fighting on two fronts and the western powers ability to destroy the German industrial base, something the Russians never seemed capable of achieving.

Even without Russian involvement once America was in the defeat of Germany was inevitable if probably a much longer process, but without the western powers involvement a straight fight between Germany and Russia could well have resulted in a Russian defeat, not certain by any means but in the balance at the very least.
 

Hillmanhunter1

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The two key factors in the defeat of Germany in WWII were the major German mistake of fighting on two fronts and the western powers ability to destroy the German industrial base, something the Russians never seemed capable of achieving.

Even without Russian involvement once America was in the defeat of Germany was inevitable if probably a much longer process, but without the western powers involvement a straight fight between Germany and Russia could well have resulted in a Russian defeat, not certain by any means but in the balance at the very least.
It is worth noting that the Normandy landings did not take place until 6 months after the lifting of the siege of Leningrad, and almost a year after the last German offensive in the East. The Soviets already had the upper hand by the time the Western front was opened up.

Certainly Western materiel was vital to the Russians, but the price the Americans paid in supplies was paid by the Russians in blood.
 

RasherHash

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The truth lies cloer to your view than to the Daily Mail, YFG, Nigel Farage view that you counterview with.

But Stalin & Hitler were allies, invaded Poland and Stalin's NKVD carried out Katyn.
The US and UK were also allies of Stalin even after they knew about the murder of the 11,000 Poles at Katyn long before the Nazi holocaust.

Interesting how these facts are so easily 'forgotten'.
 

redneck

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It is worth noting that the Normandy landings did not take place until 6 months after the lifting of the siege of Leningrad, and almost a year after the last German offensive in the East. The Soviets already had the upper hand by the time the Western front was opened up.

Certainly Western materiel was vital to the Russians, but the price the Americans paid in supplies was paid by the Russians in blood.
Stalin did a deal with Hitler when it suited him. I would not have too much sympathy for the Germans.
 
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RasherHash

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Stalin did a deal with Hitler when it suited him. I would not have too much sympathy for the Germans.
Most Germans who were killed in ww2 were innocent civilians.
 

Ireniall

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It is worth noting that the Normandy landings did not take place until 6 months after the lifting of the siege of Leningrad, and almost a year after the last German offensive in the East. The Soviets already had the upper hand by the time the Western front was opened up.

Certainly Western materiel was vital to the Russians, but the price the Americans paid in supplies was paid by the Russians in blood.
That was the nature of Russia. You paid in blood for merely being Russian and even more so if you were Ukrainian. In fact Stalins activities resulted in a level of misery which rivalled that caused by the Nazis. The west owed the Soviet Union nothing. The Russian and Ukrainian people are perhaps a little different if they could be separated from whatever regime they happen to be imposing on that benighted part of the world
 

Beachcomber

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As a younger adult I read extensively about the Second World War. I live in the Middle East now where I have friends from all over, but including Russia, Ukraine, Poland and Belarus.

Perhaps I have been a bit slow on the uptake but it has taken me a long time to realize that the Second World War was essentially a war between Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany, and everything else is a side-show. The Soviets beat the Nazis because they were willing to sustain greater losses, and inflict greater savagery. In doing so the Russians also saved Western Europe.

The history of the War that we learned in school is just a version of the British history, with its emphasis on Dunkirk, the Battle of Britain, and Normandy.

The West has never acknowledged the extent of its debt to Russia, and this is one of the contributing factors to the ongoing dissonance between the West and a country that is fundamentally European in character (albeit with an Asian empire).

The downplaying of the war in the East, even to the extent of downplaying atrocities like Katyn, is part of the failure (outside of academia) to recognize the significance of the Eastern Front


...that started off with a period of open collaboration between the two, with an agreement about their respective spheres of influence.
 

GDPR

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The Allies needed each other

- it would have been extremely difficult to overwhelm Germany otherwise
Indeed it would have. The cost would have been far higher for western democracies, but they would have prevailed either way had the Soviets not been attacked by Nazi Germany - and Berlin would probably have shared the fate of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
 

Telstar 62

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The only WW2 statue in the Republic of Ireland is of an IRA
scumbag who worked with the Nazis - Seán Russell.
 


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