If Hitler invaded hell I would make at least a favourable reference to the devil in the House of Commons… Winston Churchill


Neither Churchill nor Roosevelt would have known the truth if it had circled around behind them and bit them. The tragedy of their moral equivocacy is of course that it was us – the citizens of the west – who got bitten and not them. Almost every tragedy since 1945 from the crushing of eastern Europe to the current incineration of the Ukraine, from the thousands of American dead in Iraq and Afghanistan to the ceaseless wars and slaughters across Africa and Latin America can have their origins found squarely in the policies promoted by these two men. When you get right down to it most of the blame can be isolated to their selection of Stalin as an ally and their willingness to tolerate any atrocity committed in the name of victory which has become the current willingness to support any atrocity for the sake of appeasement. This book recounts just one more example – a particularly sordid one made all the more shameful by generations of perpetuating a lie – and is proof, for those that need it, that you can not walk through a sewer without soiling your shoes.

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Katyn 1940 : the documentary evidence of the West’s betrayal  Eugenia Maresch  Stroud : Spellmount, 2010  Hardcover. 1st ed. 271 p., [24] p. of plates : ill., map ; 24 cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

The mass murder of over 25,000 Poles by the Soviet NKVD at Katyn is one of the most shocking events of the Second World War and its political implications are still being felt today. Information surrounding Katyn came to light with Russian perestroika, which made it possible to disclose a key document indicating the circumstances of the massacre. The bitter dispute is ongoing between the Russian and Polish governments, to declassify the rest of the documents and concede to genocide perpetrated by the Soviets.

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British ‘Most Secret’ files reveal that Katyn was considered as a provocative incident, which might break the political alliance with the Soviets. The ‘suspension of judgement’ policy of the British Government hid for more than half a century a deceitful diplomacy of Machiavellian proportions. Katyn 1940 draws on intelligence reports, previously unpublished documents, witness statements, memoranda and briefing papers of diplomats, MPs and civil servants of various echelons, who dealt with the Katyn massacre up to the present day to expose the true hypocrisy of the British and American attitude to the massacre. Many documents are unique to this book.

excerpted from the London Daily Mail 16 April 2010

For years, the blame for the killings was alternately attributed to the Germans and the Russians, both of whom were all-too capable of brutality on such a scale. Added to this were stories of cover-ups by the British and American political establishments, and there have been the inevitable slew of conspiracy theories. It is often forgotten that when Hitler invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, Stalin followed suit just over a fortnight later. Faced with the combined might of a twin attack, it was impossible for the Poles to hold out, and by the end of the month the country was carved up by two of the world’s most brutal regimes. In October, Lavrenti Beria, the head of the Soviet secret police, issued an order that officers should be separated from among the hundreds of thousands of Polish PoWs.

In Moscow in March 1940, the men’s fate was finalised. That month, Beria sent a memorandum to Stalin, proposing that the officers should be shot in order to crush any potential insurrection. The Soviet leader agreed, and scribbled his expansive signature over the top of the paper. His approval was endorsed by three members of the Politburo, all of whom added their names under that of their leader. The Russian eagerness to slaughter Poland’s military leadership was not simply born out of savagery. Many believe that Stalin reckoned that such ruthless tactics would permanently weaken the Poles, and make them a much easier people to subdue. With the acceptance of the Beria memorandum, events moved swiftly, and at Kozielsk as well as other camps, the officers were despatched eastwards on trains.

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Only when the last of the Polish victims has been despatched did the executioners turn their hand to a more mundane task: shovelling soil over the bodies, smoothing over the ground and then planting conifer saplings over the site to hide their gruesome handiwork. It was a clinical operation, but awesome in the scale of its savagery. Soon there were just 250 men left at Kosielsk and a further 182 at other camps. Some 22,000 had been massacred.

Desperate for all the support they could muster, the Russians released the remaining PoWs to join an army being hastily assembled under a Polish commander, General Anders. In fact, the world was not to find out what had taken place at Katyn until April 13, 1943, when the Germans announced their unearthing of the mass grave in the forest. For the Nazis, the discovery of a war crime that had been committed by the Russians was a propaganda coup  –  and they soon sought to exploit as much capital from it as possible.

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The revelations caused huge international tension. Two days after the German announcement of their find, General Sikorski, the prime minister of the Polish government-in-exile, discussed the murders with Winston Churchill. But there was little he would do. His suspicions were outweighed by his determination to maintain the alliance with the Soviet Union and defeat Hitler. That policy was crystallised by the head of the British Military Mission in Moscow, who reported back to War Office in August 1941 that ‘we’ve got to keep out of the affair as much as we can, and when we do intervene we must remember that Russia can help us to beat Hitler, and not Poland’. Besides, throughout the war, the evidence for Russian culpability for the massacres was strongly contested. Sir Bernard Spilsbury, the leading British pathologist [now largely discredited] and sometimes regarded as the father of modern forensics, wrote in April 1944 that it was ‘not possible in my opinion to settle the controversy between the Russians and the Germans’.

Even after Hitler’s defeat, this policy was maintained by the British throughout the Cold War. For some British and most Poles, the whole episode stank of a shameful cover-up. But even until very recently, the evidence was still disputed. It was not until the 1990s that the truth finally emerged, when Russian leader Mikhail Gorbachev finally admitted that the NKVD was responsible. In 1992, his replacement, Boris Yeltsin, sent the Poles documentary proof, including the notorious Beria memorandum signed by Stalin. As a result of the revelations, new exhumations were carried out at the killing sites. And one of those involved was Zdzislaw Peszkowski, the former officer who had so narrowly avoided death, and had become a Roman Catholic priest and the chaplain for the relatives of those massacred at Katyn. ‘I wanted to make the exhumations sacred,’ Peszkowski said, ‘We had Mass every day and prayers at 12 o’clock. The diggings were like opening the wound of our nation.’

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