Soviet_soldierMoscow was the fitting venue of a major conference of communist and workers’ parties [24-25th May 2010] from countries involved in and primarily affected by, the Second World War. View full report.

Entitled, “For Historical truth and a Truthful Reflection of the Epoch”, the conference dealt with issues of historical and contemporary importance – especially given the concerted campaign to unpick the 1945 Victory by revisionist forces, holocaust deniers and anti communists.

The conference brought together historians, academics and representatives of socialist and communist forces in what was billed an ‘ International Scientific Conference.’ The emphasis was on critical scrutiny and a true reflection of events between 1939 and 1945 substantiated by evidence. It was, therefore, a quite different gathering from recent conferences hosted by supporters of the Prague Declaration.

To reflect the importance of the issues raised and to make available some of the papers and contributions to the conference it has been decided to establish a special section of our site which can carry photos, reports, information and analysis over the coming months.

You can view the speeches of Phil Katz who represented the CP of Britain and John Callow Director of Marx Library who also attended.

We also aim to produce a range of papers prepared by participants including the opening speech of Gennady Zyuganov, First Secretary of the Russian CP and an important speech by the representative of the CP of Belorussia.

The new book from Manifesto Press, ‘Freedom from Tyranny – against Fascism and the Falsification of History’ was well received at the conference and the author was interviewed on television. You can now purchase the book here.

We are also publishing a detailed analysis, prepared by the representatives of the Spanish CP who attended the conference before returning direct to their party congress in Madrid, of the foreign intervention in support of Franco, much of it revealed in detail for the first time. A true reflection on the war and the events leading up to it requires that we again look at the crimes of Franco. It is significant that today’s heirs to Franco are key drivers of the Prague Declaration. The Spanish delegation included the Secretary of the Association for the Recovery of Historical Memory. This recently secured government backing to investigate the 116,000 detainees who disappeared under Franco who lie buried but unrecorded in 600 unmarked graves.

The conference was organised to follow soon after the celebrations of 65th anniversary of VE Day in which for the very first time, representatives of the British and Allied armed Services marched through Red Square alongside Russian Armed Forces. This gesture had long been requested by the British Army but denied by Government. It was enthusiastically received by Muscovites who cheered the representatives of the war-time Alliance. The ceremony was a testimony to the comments of Constantine Konstantinovitch, head of the Russian CP International Department who told the conference, “There are different social systems but there are also universal truths.”

The CP and workers’ parties of India, Belarus, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, China and Vietnam sat alongside Russian, British, German and a host of organisations representing the Baltic Republics and those from the former Soviet Union. As such it drew a near clean sweep of those countries involved in the European and Asia theatre of conflict.

There were two days of non-stop work – the second day’s sessions lasted 10 hours. Gennady Zyuganov presented the keynote, ‘The All Union Communist Party [Bolsheviks] during the Great Patriotic War.’  His father had been severely wounded at the battle of Kursk. On the second day, flanked by Ivan Melnikov, the Russian CP Deputy Chairman and young communists, delegates laid a wreath in an official ceremony, flanked by Russian Soldiers, at the eternal flame to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and later, to pay respects to Lenin in the Red Square mausoleum.

Participants came together to analyse in detail the events leading to and during the war and to condemn in no uncertain terms, those forces that did not accept the outcome of 1945 or the findings and sentences laid down at the Nuremberg and Tokyo War Crimes tribunals. The conference agreed to republish those findings so that they could form the basis of the historical record. In this way they could be available to critical scrutiny of young people and those who wish to study history based on fact. They would appear on the web.

Press and television interviews and news teams surrounded the conference. Concern in Russia at the current vogue for historical distortion goes way beyond the ranks of the CP. Attendees included a range of representatives from the Russian parliament, its Committee for Foreign Affairs and veterans’ organisations. One cannot go a mile in Russia without encountering simple or more spectacular commemorative statues to the 27 million Soviet citizens and soldiers killed by the fascists. Under CP pressure the Medvedev government recently passed a series of decrees, quite unusual in Russian political life, to commit resources to ensuring that the falsification of history is challenged. This includes establishing a high-powered Historical Truth Commission.

To emphasise its importance, the event included senior Russian Academicians including Academician Zhukov [no relation to the military commander!] considered a world authority on events such as the German-Soviet Pact of Non Aggression, the war in general from a Soviet viewpoint and the work of the Military Command and CP during the war.

At the other extreme was the intervention of delegates, some of whom faced prosecution in their own countries – in Lithuania and Kazakhstan – for publicly asserting the truth of Soviet losses and war aims and that there was indeed an obvious difference between fascism and communism. They pointed to the fact that the communists were the first and earliest victims of fascism across Europe and Asia. As one delegate pointed out, “fascism came from within capitalism not within communism.”

As the conference was taking place, Latvia pressed home its shameful and revisionist prosecution of Vassili Kononov citing him for war crimes even though he fought as a Red Army partisan against the fascists. This measure, supported by the European Court of Human Rights poses a direct challenge to the results of the Nuremberg Trials. It made prime time news in Russia.

Representatives from the German CP [DKP], the Left party and the Rosa Luxembourg Institute and from Italy, Portugal, Yugoslavia, Bohemia and Moravia and Bulgaria, Cyprus and Greece also took part to document the struggle of the people in countries dominated or occupied by fascism.

The CP of Britain took an active part in the conference and successfully focussed attention of delegates on the importance of the 1945 trials at Nuremberg and Tokyo. The importance of these cannot be overstated. They involved all who had fought for freedom against tyranny. To analyse the wartime events – including many of those contested today by revisionists – trial proceedings were based on original documents mostly captured from the belligerents – and the authenticity of these documents was not contested. The consensus achieved during these trials laid the basis for the establishment of the United Nations, the Geneva Convention, the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the World Trade Union Movement.

The supporters of the Prague Declaration have set themselves against this consensus and so seek to unpick much more than just the ‘facts’ surrounding the German-Soviet Pact or the Finnish War. It is the Consensus, which must be secured and protected. In his contribution Dr Yu Sui of the International Department of the Chinese CP, warned those “who want to play with fire.”

Our party also pointed to the forces behind the Declaration who are supporters of the EU constitution and ardent advocates of privatisation and market capitalism. In some countries they are engaged in actively repressing, even outlawing, forces, which originate in the struggle against Hitlerism.

This conference was just one of a series of seminars, meetings, conferences and events convened over the last twelve months and focussed on the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe [OSCE], by the Russian government in which the Russian CP was a key component. Under pressure of the Russian government, the OSCE recently convened a Round-Table to discuss historical truth and the facts around the war.

The aim of this activity was to go head to head with those forces now grouped around the Prague Declaration whose signature tune is to formally equate fascism with communism, re write the roles of the anti fascist peoples, the USSR and Stalin during the war and manipulate education syllabuses in schools across Europe, including the UK. These forces accuse Britain of war crimes citing the bombing of Dresden. They set about downplaying the Holocaust. In an extraordinary move, the Declaration also accuses China of mass murder, despite her terrible losses as a result of a predatory war by Japanese imperialism. One prominent supporter recently claimed that the Soviet Union triggered the Holocaust when it signed a pact of non aggression with Germany.

In his summing up, Ivan Melnikov quoted the proposal of the British delegates the ‘gloves should now come off and we must assert the truth and go over to the offensive.”

The Russian CP will be publishing contributions to the conference and making available television interviews with delegates. It announced at the final session, the decision to establish a Standing Committee of Political Representatives and Academics, “to counter the dark message”.

Visit this section to view these elements to be added as they are received. In addition to this the forthcoming Communist University of Britain 2010 includes a special briefing session ‘Historical Revisionism, Holocaust Denial and Anti Communism’.