Stalin’s Politburo explains Ribbentrop pact
According to the minutes of a meeting on 19 August 1939, Stalin’s Politburo had charged Manuilski, the President of the Comintern, and Dimitrov, its Secretary, to work out instructions (as directed by Stalin) to give to the Communist leaders abroad on account of the Soviet-German Pact that was signed on 23 August.
The two documents below seem to constitute such instructions.
Reports, which cannot yet be confirmed, were circulating this afternoon to the effect that the British and French Communists have received a communication from M. Dimitroff in the name of the Comintern. The document in question is said to give the following reasons for the Russo‑German pact: ‑-
(1) New tactics are felt to be necessary in view of the experience of the past five years, which have led to undesirable electoral and other alliances with democratic and bourgeois parties;
(2) Although the adhesion of
(3) the Soviet Government and the Comintern have therefore decided that it is best to hold aloof from any conflict, while remaining ready to interfere when the Powers engaged therein are weakened by war in the hope of securing a social revolution;
(4) The Pact is a great diplomatic and ideological
(5) The chief obstacle to the conclusion of an agreement
Whatever the real reasons behind
the Pact, French opinion has fully accustomed itself to the unpleasant
reality without any loss of moral. There is every reason to believe, however,
that certain German agents are busy at work in the slender hope of undermining
it. One form of attack is the assurance that once Herr Hitler has got
The day before the non-aggression pact with
- Have the final aims of the Comintern been changed?
- No. The final aim of the Comintern is still the same: world revolution.
- Is a world revolution possible at the moment?
- No, all attempts at activating a world revolution have failed.
- Could not the outbreak of a world revolution be hastened through reinforced agitation?
- No. (Here follow enumerations of the causes why this is impossible in the various countries.)1
- How could a world revolution be hastened?
- A lengthy war. (Here follow detailed explanations and quotations from Marx, Engels and Lenin.) 1
- Is a European war in the interest of Comintern?
- Yes, provided that such a war paves the way for a revolution among the masses. (Here follow quotations from Lenin.) 1
- Would a pact between the
- No, such a pact between
- Will a Russo-German pact hasten the outbreak of war?
- Yes, since the neutrality of
- What will happen if the
- As long as the
- What has the
From information received, the circular was drawn up at a meeting in the Kremlin2 attended by Stalin, Molotov, Voroshilov, Zhdanov, Lazar, Kaganovich3, Andreev, Shvernik, Mikoyan, Beria, Kalinin a.o. [=and others].
The circular has been prepared in order to forestall
discontent amongst the Communist leaders and to explain to them why the pact with
Note 1. The content of this addendum was not published in the Svenska Pressen article.
Note 2: The names of the attendees of the Kremlin meeting pertain to all the members of the 1939 Politburo, except Comrade Khrushchev (who went duck-hunting that Saturday).
Note 3: The original seems to have provided Comrade Kaganovich with his first name (Lazar) to distinguish him from his apparatchik brother. The ignorant Svenska Pressen editor treated this name as pertaining to an additional person by placing a comma between first name and surname.
Note 4: There is nothing to indicate that any of the Communist leaders abroad actually received the circular personally.
For an evaluation of the significance of the circular, see Did Stalin evoke World War II?.