The Western propaganda machine, smoothly stamping fabricated reports about Russia’s involvement in Syria, originated in the beginning of the Communist era in 1917; the Holodomor hoax of 1932-33 was invented by the West in close cooperation with Nazi Germany and pro-Nazi Ukrainian nationalists.
Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared in Sputnik News in 2015, and was written by Ekaterina Blinova. This article can also be found in the book Unveiling The Lies of the Cold War found on New Outlook Publishers here.
Since the October Revolution of 1917 in Russia, Western media has made every effort to downplay the achievements of the Soviets, creating a picture of complete horror and despair which had allegedly engulfed the USSR.
The bold historical experiment kicked off by Communists and based on the concept of a “fair distribution of national wealth,” egalitarianism and internationalism, made the blood of Western plutocrats run cold.
Historians note, that Soviet Communism was the absolute antithesis of capitalism. If the new system proved effective it would have changed the world forever. Needless to say, it did not comply with the plans of the Western financial and political elite.
“Those in positions of power in capitalist countries see socialism as a threat to their continued profit and privilege. Both to undermine support of a socialist alternative at home, and to maintain a dominant position in international economic and political relationships, all manner of lies and distortions are employed to cast the USSR in as negative a light as possible,” Canadian researcher, trade union activist and author Douglas Tottle wrote in his book “Fraud, Famine and Fascism: The Ukrainian Genocide Myth from Hitler to Harvard” in 1987.
In his book Tottle presented the detailed history of the West’s propaganda campaign based on the thesis that the 1932-1933 famine in Ukraine was a deliberately planned “genocide” of Ukrainians by the Soviet government. Tottle’s research has acquired new meaning today, as a result of the so-called “Ukrainian Holodomor” myth catching a second wind in Ukraine and in the West.
Colluding With Nazi Germany: The Birth of the Myth
The roots of the famine-genocide propaganda campaign lay in a series of articles written by “noted journalist, traveller and student of Russian affairs” Thomas Walker for the Hearst press in 1935. The articles described the horrific famine of 1932-33 in Ukraine, while photographs, accompanying the stories, portrayed desperate victims of the famine.
The material and the photographs were truly impressive, but, as it turned out later “noted” journalist Thomas Walker had never visited Ukraine in 1932-1933, furthermore, he never existed.
As for the photographs, US investigative journalists revealed in 1935 that some of them were taken in war-torn areas of Europe just after the First World War, others depicted the Volga famine victims of 1921-1922 in Russia.
Tottle pointed out that American newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst had no scruples about publishing fabricated reports.
“Not only were the photographs a fraud, the trip to Ukraine a fraud, and Hearst’s famine-genocide series a fraud, Thomas Walker himself was a fraud,” the Canadian researcher narrated.
“However, the Walker famine photographs are truly remarkable in that, having been exposed as utter hoaxes over fifty years ago, they continue to be used by Ukrainian Nationalists and university propaganda institutes as evidence of alleged genocide,” Tottle noted in 1987, and remarkably, nothing has changed since then.
In fact it was not Hearst who launched the famine-genocide campaign: the press mogul had powerful allies — German and Italian fascists.
In 1933, the hoax was devised by Reich Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels, who is regarded as the genuine creator of the myth. It was he who started the propaganda campaign against the Soviet rule in Ukraine, by inventing stories of the Soviet atrocities in the region. Ukraine was viewed by Nazis as Germany’s potential “Lebensraum.”
In 1934, Hearst visited Nazi Germany and met with the infamous German Fuhrer.
“It was following Hearst’s trip to Nazi Germany that the Hearst press began to promote the theme of ‘famine-genocide in Ukraine’,” Tottle stressed.
Taking a soft line on the Nazis’ activities in Germany, Hearst unleashed an all-out propaganda war against the USSR. He denigrated Soviet industrialization and collectivization achievements, at the same time eulogizing about Nazi Germany’s economic developments.
However, “Hearst was by no means the only extreme right-wing news mogul” in the US, Tottle remarked.
It should be noted that Nazi Germany’s “economic miracle” had actually happened due to generous investments made by British and American capitalists (this story is brilliantly described by American economist Guido Giacomo Preparata in his book “Conjuring Hitler”).
Cold War Era: ‘Holodomor’ Myth Adopted by West
Although the German “Lebensraum” dream had not come true, the famine-genocide hoax was willingly adopted by Western policy-makers as well as their subservient academics and media sources during the post-WW2 Cold War era.
“An anti-communist marriage of convenience took place between the American ultra-right and Ukrainian Nationalists, sections of whom collaborated with the Nazis. These now required new clothes and a cover story for past activities, while the Cold War promoters could point to such people as ‘living witnesses of the communist menace facing humanity’,” Tottle narrated.
There were dozens of books written by former Nazi Ukrainian collaborators and Western authors, which told false stories of Soviet atrocities, brutality and ruthlessness.
The number of victims of what they called “deliberate famine genocide in Ukraine” or “Holodomor” grew by leaps and bounds and reached almost ten million people.
Eventually, in 1986 British writer Robert Conquest published a book entitled “Harvest of Sorrow: Soviet Collectivization and the Terror Famine.”
Needless to say, the research conducted by Conquest, a former employee of the IRD (Information Research Department) — the British Secret Service disinformation project aimed against Soviet Russia — bore little, if any, relation to reality.
Tottle pointed to the fact that Conquest mostly relied on biased rightist Ukrainian sources, 1935 Hearst press accounts, Thomas Walker’s non-existent travel notes and his fake collection of photographs, and books written by members of the infamous Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) that collaborated with Nazi Germany during WW2.
To illustrate the extent of Conquest’s anti-Soviet paranoia, Tottle referred to another book, written by the British author together with John Manchip White — “What to Do When the Russians Come: A Survivalist’s Handbook” (1984).
“The book draws up a list of ‘ingenious variations’ of communist terror in store for democratic Americans, including the specter of gang-rape of American women by Russian soldiers, a miserable fate for American children, and warning of inevitable ‘famine,'” Tottle noted, adding with a touch of sarcasm: “What better ‘historian’ to give a scholarly veneer to the famine-genocide campaign than Dr. Robert Conquest?”
Indeed, it now becomes clear what propaganda techniques lie at the root of the West’s present narrative of Russia’s phantom “menace” and the “threat” it poses to Ukraine, the Baltic states and the rest of Europe.
What Really Happened in 1932-1933
But what did really happen in Ukraine in 1932-1933?
“The 1917 Russian revolution was followed by military intervention by fourteen foreign powers (including the United States, Britain and Canada) and an extended civil war. The destruction of seven years of war, revolution and intervention combined with severe drought, resulted in widespread hunger and starvation — the Russian famine of 1921-1922,” the Canadian researcher pointed out.
Having survived these hardships the Soviets launched the project that had no precedents in history: the building of a socialist society. They had to transform a backward state into an industrialized country with an effective agricultural sector. The USSR’s “collectivization” and “industrialization” projects were aimed at accomplishing this task.
It is worth mentioning that the Russian Empire had suffered from periodic devastating famines since the end of 19th century, long before Bolsheviks came to power in 1917. Then there was a series of famines in 1920-21, 1924, 1927 and 1928.
“There was indeed a famine in 1933, not just in Ukraine, but also in the Lower Volga and the North Caucasus,” Canadian urban planner Dr. Hans Blumenfeld, who worked as an architect in Ukraine at the time of famine, recalled as quoted by Tottle.
To complicate matters further, the famine was accompanied by typhus epidemics, Dr. Blumenfeld remarked, adding that most deaths in 1933 were due to typhus, dysentery and typhoid fever.
There was no deliberate famine-genocide against Ukraine, prominent American historian Dr. Mark B. Tauger of West Virginia University, states. The professor, who carried out thorough research on the famine of 1932-33, came to the conclusion that the disaster was due to environmental circumstances and was evidently not related to the Soviet policy in the region.
While pointing the finger of blame at the USSR, the proponents of “Holodomor” remain mute about the fact that after 1933 the Soviet Union never faced a famine disaster: Soviet leader Joseph Stalin’s collectivization project proved effective.
“We are from 50 to 100 years behind the advanced countries. We must run through this distance in 10 years. Either we do this or they will crush us,” Stalin said in 1931, as quoted by American journalist Albert Rhys.
“And run they did!” Tottle noted.
The Second World War clearly indicated that in ten years the USSR had indeed run through the distance of 100 years.
“People are asking themselves how Bolshevism has managed to produce all this,” German historian Heinz Hohne wondered, as cited by the Canadian researcher.