Encounter, January 1956, pp. 39-47.
Bertram D. Wolfe
The Case of the Litvinov Diary
A True Literary Detective Story
A True Literary Detective Story
Since a consideration of Litvinov’s Notes for a Journal involves the reputation and professional judgment of a historian, two publishers, the vendor of the manuscript, and a defenceless dead man, the writer feels that it is his duty to tell what he knows about the circumstances surrounding the book’s publication.
Some time in 1952 or early 1953, Gregory Bessedovsky, former Soviet diplomat resident in Paris, approached officials of various governments and publishing houses, with the manuscript of a diary of the recently deceased Maxim Litvinov (died I951). At the suggestion of a high official of the British Foreign Office, the English publisher, André Deutsch, enlisted the services of Edward Hallett Carr to investigate the manuscript’s authenticity. After reading the Russian typescript, Professor Carr encouraged Deutsch to go ahead with the book, and undertook to go to Paris for further checking. There he picked up the following trail: Gregory Bessedovsky, who offered the book for sale, said he had it from a Mr. X, a Russian businessman in Paris ("politically colourless"), who had it from Mr. Y, resident in Stockholm, who had it from Alexandra Kollontay, who had it from Litvinov. Mr. X proved of no interest; Mr. Y refused to come to Paris or to meet Professor Carr in Stockholm, but consented to answer questions in writing "given to Bessedovsky". Kollontay was dead, Litvinov was dead. That left Gregory Bessedovsky as the only direct source of information.
Professor Carr wrote an interim report giving it as his conclusion that the manuscript "has a prima facie claim to be regarded as authentic, and a serious historical document". If Mr. Y should answer his written questions satisfactorily, Carr would be willing to write a signed introduction and supply notes. If not, he still thought the diary should be published, would give Deutsch help and advice, but would withhold the use of his name. Carr received satisfactory answers, wrote an introduction, and either prepared or gave advice on the preparation of notes.
It was at this point that the writer of these lines was brought into the affair by an American publisher as Carr had been brought in by the British house. The publisher, whose name does not matter since he ultimately decided against publication, received a microfilm of the Russian typescript, a history of the manuscript thus far, and a copy of the Carr interim report.
The diary consisted of a microfilm of a hundred typewritten sheets, typed in Russian, with not a single handwritten alteration or correction. The only handwritten word in the one hundred microfilm frames was a handdrawn Chinese character, of which more later. The entries were scrappy and disjointed. Many were fragments of sentences ending in three dots. Some bore a date, usually only a year, or a year and one or more months. Page 1 of the microfilm began with what is now the second entry in the book, the first entry has somehow been added later. The microfilm began with "May-June, 1926" and ended vaguely in the year 1936, about three-quarters of the book as it now appears. I was subsequently to learn that the hundred-frame microfilm had been sold earlier to a government official as the "complete diary".
I had long known that Litvinov was secretly alienated from Stalin by the blood purges which had claimed all of his chief assistants and intimates in the Foreign Office and Embassies of the world, narrowly missing Litvinov himself. Another diplomat whom I knew to be deeply disaffected was Alexandra Kollontay. At the end of the Second World War, Litvinov had tried to hint to one of our high officials that America was engaging in dangerous appeasement of Soviet demands which might later lead to another war. When the official failed to take the hint, Litvinov had braved death to call in Richard C. Hottelet, one of our most respected journalists and commentators: using scarcely veiled "Aesopian language," he had made the warning more explicit. I knew that Hottelet had advised American diplomatic officers, but had honourably refrained from publishing a word of his "scoop," until 1951 when natural death, that most unnatural of deaths for an Old Bolshevik, had put Litvinov out of danger. With this background in mind, I approached the Diary with eagerness and a predisposition to believe in its authenticity.
The opening pages were not reassuring. The diary began with the first of a series of visits from a Jewish rabbi, Schechtman, who comes to Litvinov as one Jew to another to complain that the League of the Godless had looted two synagogues and arrested the Rabbi of Kiev on charges of currency speculation. Litvinov promises to intervene although he knows that "Koba [Stalin] doesn’t like me to interfere in questions concerning the Jewish religion". The last time he tried to help non- or anti-Bolshevik Jews, Stalin "threatened to bring the matter to the attention of the Central Control Commission... I couldn’t help smiling at the threat; Soltz, the head of the C.C.C., is the son of the Rabbi of Vilna".
Thus the opening passage presented Litvinov as a philosemitic Jew, ready to defend any and every Jew against his government and his Party. The same un-Communist Jewish solidarity is attributed to the fanatical head of the Central Control Commission, Soltz. Actually, both Litvinov and Soltz had rejected their Jewish heritage in their youth. Their Jewish origin tended to make them more rather than less hostile towards religious and anti-Communist Jews. But such passages, in which all the Jews in the Communist camp are portrayed as holding with each other and with non- and anti-Communist Jews against the Party, are scattered through the diary. The Jewish Kaganovich gives it as his opinion that "all Jewish members of the Party should be Trotsky’s declared and convinced enemies". In the late twenties Litvinov is portrayed as getting interested (because "as a Jew he had no right to refuse assistance") in protecting Zionists in Russia against being persecuted, arrested, and deported to Siberia. In actual fact, Zionism was outlawed as early as 1919, and all known Zionists were either dead or in Siberia before the diary opens. I realised that I was dealing with something which I have frequently met in French boulevard "revelations": the "international Jewish conspiracy".
I opened my report to the American publisher with this observation. He in turn sent it to the British publisher, who may or may not have sent it to Bessedovsky and Cart. At any rate, when the book appeared, none of these passages was excised, but the first journal entry on Schechtman had mysteriously become the second journal entry. Professor Carr, who writes that the "problem of authenticity was further complicated after my return to London by the receipt of another instalment . . . the whole section from 1937 onward," has nothing to say on this receipt of a new first entry, except to observe that "the conversation with Trotsky and Yoffe in 1926 with which the Journal opens . . . shows an intimate knowledge of party affairs".
Without stopping to check, I read the microfilm through from end to end, but could not find so much as a line that was in Litvinov’s style. To be sure he was never much of a writer nor a theoretician, but we have from his hand and pen and tongue a multitude of speeches, prepared and extempore; interviews with the press; articles; pamphlets; reminiscences; memoranda, diplomatic and semi-diplomatic notes; open letters, political letters, purely personal letters. The style of all of them is distinguished by directness, simplicity, bordering on artlessness, frankness and explicitness insofar as creed, overriding instructions, and special pleading permitted. And always there was a sort of workmanlike clarity. Not a line in all these hundred microfilm pages (nor in the additional material which bobbed up later), not even by imitation or accident, was in Maxim Litvinov’s public or private style. Not a hint of his showmanship and public triumphs at Geneva, in Washington, or at the League of Nations. Litvinov once remarked to an intimate: "The idea of collective security, the formulation, Peace is indivisible, and the definition of aggression and the aggressor are perhaps my contribution to the abstract science of peace". When he advanced these "contributions" they were part of the fraudulent peace campaigns of the Soviet Union, but that he had increasingly come to believe in them as ends in themselves and as his real contribution to his country and his time is proved by his hazardous interview with Dick Hottelet. With false pathos, as the diary draws to a close, Litvinov writes: "All my life is in these notes . . . And my work . . . Some day history will pass its judgment..." Yet there is nothing in the diary of that which Litvinov had come to feel was his life’s real contribution.
In his introduction, Professor Carr suggests that the "conspicuous incoherence of the document, and the abrupt changes of mood and style, are perhaps an argument in its favor". "It is difficult", he adds, "to avoid the hypothesis that at least two hands have been at work on the document". But the question remains whether there is any reason for believing that one of these "two hands" was Litvinov’s. If style is the man, then somewhere, either by studied imitation or by accident, the man Litvinov should appear in these pages. In my report to the American publisher I wrote:
These papers are not from Litvinov’s hand. He did not have so scrappy, banal, and trivial a mind. They are totally devoid of Bolshevik feeling, even of the feelings of a disillusioned Bolshevik. They do not note any of the victories he must have been proud of, nor show any grasp of the fundamentals of the subjects he had on his finger-tips, nor express any of his basic attitudes. They are a kind of miscellany of plausible secondary details such as any minor subaltern in the Foreign Commissariat might have picked up through gossip, newspaper stories, and occasional limited direct experience. It is impossible to believe that all the great events of the years 1926 to 1936 should yield only such tenth-rate trivia in the comments of a man in such a key position. It is impossible to believe that a man so strategically placed could have known so little about the major events in his party and in international affairs, or have troubled to dictate or note down such unimportant details concerning them. The style is nowhere the style of Litvinov’s writings or conversation or speeches.
Then whose hand, or hands, had written it? Whose style or touch might be recognized? Available to me were the same clues as were available to Professor Carr, except that I could not interview Bessedovsky, or Mr. X, or write to Mr. Y. So the search led me to a study of the writings of Gregory Bessedovsky.
I began with the peculiar fact that on page 11 of the microfilm, the diarist-Litvinov had taken the trouble to draw a Chinese ideograph. Litvinov knew no Chinese; drawing or brushing in ideographs is a complicated business — more in credible is it still to remember a single ideograph’s design from the year 1926 to the time the diary was dictated or typed. According to the diary, Karakhan, Soviet Ambassador to China, was ignorant of Chinese despite his vainglorious pretensions to the contrary. Mao Tse-tung is pictured as having been in Moscow in 1926 (there is ample proof that he was not) in order to consult with Russian leaders. He delivers an address in halting Russian, and when he gets stuck, draws a Chinese ideograph to represent the word "eloquence," whereupon Karakhan volunteers the translation "wooden mouth".
On page 141 of Bessedovsky’s Revelations of a Soviet Diplomat (Norgate, London, 1931) the author tells that during the year 1931 while he was in Japan he studied the Japanese language. Japanese has the same written characters as Chinese. "Every day I learned a half-dozen hieroglyphs". On page 149 he tells how he made a laughable mistake due to a confusion of ideographs, which led him to address a prince as "your imperial electricity" when he meant to say "your imperial highness". It was the clue I was looking for. It led me to a number of additional discoveries of which I cite only a few:
1. On pages 36-7 Litvinov makes an estimate of the Soviet diplomat Dogalevsky. The passage is an adaptation of page 163 of Bessedovsky.
2. On page 36 Litvinov notes the "filthy habits" (now translated "bad habits") of his chief Chicherin, who works all night, plays the piano at every hour of the day or night, makes Litvinov come to see him at 2 a.m. and is then playing Chopin. It would be highly improbable that as late as May 1926 Litvinov should have noted these well-known habits in one of his first diary entries, for he would have been used to them for years, as was everyone who dealt with Chicherin. But it is less unnatural that Bessedovsky should mention them in his first reference to Chicherin, whose habits he knew only from gossip. Actually pp. 14-15 of Litvinov are an adaptation of Bessedovsky, pp. 93-5. Moreover, the diary has Litvinov say: "Chopin is his favorite, and he has no use for any other composer ———". Litvinov would have known that Chicherin’s favourite composer was Mozart.
3. Litvinov is unaccountably ignorant of or silent on all the great things that happened to him and in which he participated. There is no evidence here that he ever interviewed Herriot, Stresemann, Blum, Roosevelt, Hull, Sumner Welles, that he negotiated and signed so many important treaties, that he was a star performer at the League of Nations, that he got reports on what was going on in all the capitals of the world, and visited many of them. Big things never enter these pages, or poor Litvinov learns some trivial rumours concerning them at second or third hand, and is bewildered or old-maidishly indignant. Yet, there is a peculiarly disproportionate knowledge of trivial scandals from a few of the world’s capitals, almost always learned from a third party, as some minor official in the foreign service might have learned it.
Why were certain capitals covered with such frequent allusions and detailed gossip, while others, no less important, are never even mentioned ? Why was it that even those places that were frequently alluded to unaccountably attracted Litvinov’s interest for a certain period, then disappeared altogether? For a while there are trivia from Warsaw. Bessedovsky was in a minor post in Warsaw from September 1923 to October 1925. The reports which Litvinov receives from and about "Viktor" (Viktor Kopp) in Japan
coincide with Bessedovsky’s year in Japan, and resemble pp. 131-5 and 137-40 of Bessedovsky’s book. Litvinov receives news from Harbin that danger threatens Soviet possession of the Chinese-Eastern Railway. Bessedovsky’s book reveals that he was in Harbin at the end of 1927 "to see what was happening in the territory of the Chinese-Eastern Railroad, and to have some conversations with its Soviet staff".
4. Bessedovsky spent some time in the Soviet Embassy in Paris under Dogalevsky, until his defection. The details of Dogalevsky’s life, appearance and ways, Rakovsky’s difficulties in Paris, the circumstances of his recall, and all the spicy revelations about "Athenian nights" and the "orgies" and moral lapses of Soviet officials in Paris are closely paralleled in Bessedovsky’s book. By suggestive coincidence, Litvinov’s interest in a capital and his knowledge of the underworld aspects of Soviet diplomatic life and of the life of that capital’s statesmen, agree in point of time with Bessedovsky’s stay in those capitals, and seems to ebb when Bessedovsky moves on. After Bessedovsky’s break with the Soviet Foreign Office, the book, to cite Professor Carr, "becomes markedly inferior in interest".
5. In various parts of the diary there is talk of the Soviet Ambassadotro Japan, Viktor Kopp, a morals quarrel, and the need to recall Kopp. This is a reworking of Bessedovsky, pp. 131-5. But at this point, Litvinov’s otherwise perfect memory for names fails him. Writes Litvinov:
To Tokyo has been appointed a quite young worker from the Ukraine, a member of the Ukrainian Central Executive. What a strange idea to send as a diploma to Japan a Ukrainian.
I looked up the name of the Ukrainian. It was . . . Gregory Bessedovsky!
6. The diary is unusually tireless in its repeating of first name and patronymic every time a personage is mentioned. For Jews there is unaccountably a special procedure which is totally un-Russian, Litvinov setting down only their patronymics without their first names. Thus Lev Davidovich Trotsky is called Davidovich, and Adolf Abramovich Yoffee is called Abramovich. Unlike other diarists, Litvinov does not resort to initials even on the tenth mention. But on page 59, there is the same singular failure to note a name altogether: "The new chargé d’affaires to Paris received instructions directly from Koba. That is monstrous...".
The name of the chargé d’affaires turned out to be... Bessedovsky! He tells his story of his direct interview with Koba-Stalin on pp. 190-2 of his own book.
This coyness with the name of Bessedovsky seems to be contagious. In his interim report, Professor Carr wrote to André Deutsch: "I have had two long meetings with Bessedovsky". But in his Introduction to the book, Professor Carr writes:
I visited Paris . . . in an attempt to obtain detailed and accurate information about the manuscript’s provenance. According to statements to me ....
The name of Bessedovsky has disappeared! Since there are only three people in the supposed chain of "provenance" who had names and knowledge of diplomatic affairs and two of them, Litvinov and Kollontay, are dead, one would have supposed that Carr would at least have put the reader on notice that Bessedovsky had played the key rôle in the transmission of and vouching for the manuscript. More particularly since Bessedovsky was the agent for another dubious manuscript: My Uncle Joseph Stalin, by Budu Svanidze, whom Boris Souvarine proved to be a non-existent person, after Bessedovsky had written a foreword to the American and British editions of that work in which he was the sole attestant of the existence of the non-existent Budu and the sole voucher for the authenticity of his book.
To make matters still worse, Professor Carr a few pages later (page 11) actually uses the Russian edition of the Bessedovsky book which I have been quoting to prove the truthfulness of a dubious passage in the diaries! To put it mildly, Professor Carr has been less than candid with his readers in concealing the chief name in the chain of "provenance". But when he uses Bessedovsky’s Na Putyakh k Termidory to silence the reader’s doubt of the passage on Benes, I prefer not to try to qualify his procedure.
To prevent refutation, the author of the Litvinov diary cannily omits any of Litvinov’s conversations with still-living statesmen. He tells slanderous things concerning Benes, concerning Pilsudski (whose political differences with Paderewski are traced to a quarrel as to who should get into the bathroom first at the Hotel Belvedere), concerning all the dead Russian leaders who can no longer speak for themselves.
If in every line there are things which the real Litvinov could not have thought or said, on every page there are absurdities and evidences of an ignorance which a man so highly placed could not have shared. Professor Carr records a few of these to suggest that "at least two hands" composed the diary, but he by no means picks the most ridiculous and impossible. But where should one begin, without repeating everything and writing a super-book of refutation? We shall have to content ourselves with a random sampling.
There is Zoya Mossina who has more space in these pages than Roosevelt, Bullit, Hull, Welles, Herriot, Blum, and all the other statesmen Litvinov knew put together. She is a character in a scandal sheet feuilleton endowed with the name of the Secretary of the Communist cell in the Soviet Commissariat of Foreign Relations. On page 38 she has the cell compel Litvinov to give classes in English to the members of the Foreign Office. On page 40, Yagoda, the dread acting head of the Secret Police, orders the hairdresser’s shop in the Foreign Commissariat to close because there is too much talk while people are in barber chairs and there may be leaks. Mossina gets Stalin to overrule Yagoda so as not to interfere with "Socialist competition among the hairdressers". On pages 135 ff. Zoya is running for re-election. There is a real campaign, balloting, stuffed ballot boxes or unregistered and unqualified voters. Placards on the wall accuse Zoya of "encouraging abortions". The Politburo tries to defeat her, but she gets re-elected anyhow. Molotov intervenes, then Stalin, who sends Zoya off to a concentration camp. Stalin’s wife, Alliluyeva, who seems to be having a Lesbian affair with Zoya (suggested on p. 150), tries to get her out, and failing, commits suicide.
This is a fair picture of the level of most of the historical inside information. Kalinin impresses Ambassador Davies with his homespun quality ("he was priceless . . . he even picked his nose to show his peasant origins"). Yagoda’s fall is traced to the fact that he failed to prevent someone from putting up a sign in his name ordering people to "commit no nuisance" on the walls of a house in which Molotov "spent three days" (p. 204). An ambassador of a foreign power is seduced by ballerinas who are Cheka operatives and "Yezhov [chief of the secret police] listens in himself (through a bedroom microphone) — the ambassador yelps like a rabbit when he enjoys himself with our ballerinas . . . so far the only case of collaboration of the NKVD and the capitalist world . . ." (p. 220). Top Party leaders who are about to be "confessed" and purged are brought to Yezhov’s office with their wives, who are undressed and when naked are threatened with rape by Yezhov’s special agent for raping, an ugly, hunchbacked, giant syphilitic. They are softened by a sample raping, in the presence of Yezhov and his victims, of the eighteen-year-old daughter of one of them (p. 228). Bubnov has his son baptised and Kaganovich has his son circumcised ( p. 73). Litvinov was always opposed to the split between Bolsheviks and Social Democrats and there would be world Socialist unity were it not for Lenin’s "fanaticism of his crazy scrap with Adler, Kautsky, Renner, Renaudel (p. 49). (This "scrap," as both the author of the diary and the historian who introduces it could have ascertained, was about the attitude towards the First World War. Litvinov himself wrote letters and reports boasting of his rôle in bringing about the split at a wartime conference, where he was Lenin’s emissary.)
Trotsky’s secret masonic activities are studied by the Secret Police (p. 75). (Trotsky wrote his first attack on masonry during his first iail term while he was still a mere youth, and had a hand in the expulsion of French Communistsf rom their Party because they would not leave the Masons.) Mussolini asks for the Order of Lenin (p. 66). Trotsky’s sister, who is Kamenev’s wife, hints that Kamenev was once intimate with Mussolini’s wife (p. 66). Stalin is wedded to the use the Secret Police because otherwise as a Georgian he might be deported from Russia (p. 82). Voznesensky opposes Varga and "his appreciation of the international economic situation has always been correct" (p. 153). This entry is dated when Voznesensky was just turning twenty-eight and barely out of his graduate student days.
The most deplorable feature of this collection of trivia, absurdities, and salacious backstairs scandals is that they are solemnly provided with all the externals of scholarship: an introduction by a historian of repute, appendices, a bibliography of Litvinov’s works, and innumerable footnotes. Typical of the use of footnotes is the following:
Koba has a new passion: the sister . . . There are rumors about young . . . [who shares this new passion’s sexual favors with Koba]. If Koba found out there would be a tragedy. He is temperamentalluyn ablet o share anything. . . Budyenny was simply a drunken n.c.o, when he killed his wife . . . Kobais different... If Alliluyeva keeps up her scenes in public he may ....
To this passage is attached a note re Budyenny:
Budyenny, Semen Mikhailovich, Marshall, leading Soviet cavalry expert, Commissar for Defence in 1940.
Again we learn that "Koba’s liaison with the actress was broken off after he had been told of her amorous adventures in Tiflis with Kinkhadze". To which a footnote is appended: "Kinkhadze, Chief of Georgian heavy industry, then Foreign Minister of Georgia". And when Litvinov is rusticated, he describes his wooden house as having a cock on the roof, to which is appended the footnote: "Cock on the Roof. Common form of decoration on peasant houses in Russia. Originates from an old superstition that the cock chases away evil spirits". Such are the uses of scholarship.
There are three questions of importance touched on in the diary: the purges; the Chinese Revolution; the secret relations between the Red Army and the Reichswehr. About the purges Litvinov knows nothing. He hears gossip from third parties, gets the dates of trials and executions wrong, worries about the Jews among the victims, and the possible rape of his daughter by the NKVD’s rape-specialist inquisitor. His diary tells us much less than any published account, and what it does tell is trivial and poverty-stricken
On the Reichswehr, on which Litvinov could have told much that is secret, we get the absurd debate with himself (p. 36) as whether to withdraw General Freiherr Kurt von Hammerstein from active service in Germany because "we need a military adviser in Mongolia. We will pay him in Tsarist style even though we are Bolsheviks. We will satisfy the imperial Reichsofficer". Actually, at that moment Hammerstein was nothing less than Chief of Staff of the Third Command. A little later he was made Deputy Chief of Staff of the entire Reichswehr. Even if he were a secret agent, is it likely that Russia would have withdrawn him from that key position ? And though they had paid him "in Tsarist style," it is hard to picture Hammerstein giving up such a post to go to Mongolia.
On the Chinese Revolution, all the dates are wrong, often by several years; all the Chinese leaders who are in the public eye today are made top men back in 1926-7 when they were mere underlings, and everything is drowned in the usual brew of silly gossip. I have documented this elsewhere and will limit myself here to one major bit of "inside" misinformation.
As the diary opens, on "the third Saturday in May" (one of the few exact dates appearing in it), the Russians are holding a conference in Moscow with Mao Tse-tung, Chu Teh, and Li Ta-chao "to get rid of Chiang Kai-shek either physically or politically". Here we have a crowded nest of anachronisms. Mao Tse-tung was still a minor Kuo Min-tang official in Yunnan; his association with Chu Teh was still several years away; all three of them were outranked by many Chinese Communist leaders later to be purged; we know the real names of the Chinese leaders who were in Moscow for consultation in 1926. More important, Chiang Kai-shek, also Moscow-trained, was at that moment the hope of all the Russian Communist leaders. His armies did not yet control China, but only one province out of eighteen. The chief Soviet concern was to back him to the limit so that he might begin what was to become his famous sweep to the North. Litvinov pictures Stalin as wanting to destroy Chiang when he controlled only one-eighteenth of China’s provinces, because Stalin had to assume a "false revolutionary pose" under the pressure of "opposition attacks by Radek and Trotsky". But actually, we have two speeches on the Chinese Question by Stalin for I926, and they contain no hint of his future "revolutionary pose". He rebukes a young disciple named Mif, not an oppositionist, for proposing peasant Soviets, and he calls for "support of the Canton Army, inspired by an idea, the idea of the struggle against imperialism, heartened by the passion which will bring about the emancipation of China" and overwhelm "the counter-revolutionary Northern armies". Finally, there was no disagreement or opposition criticism for another year on this score, so that in 1927 Stalin could remind his critics that "you too supported and were in full agreement with this tactic and your criticism is an afterthought".
Professor Carr tells us that if the diary is a forgery its "motive is commercial, not political . . . the author appears as in many respects ambivalent in his judgments, and in particular in his attitude to Stalin. This gives the document, whether genuine or not, a certain value for the historian".
The first purpose of the forgery mill that has its headquarters in France and branches in England, Germany the United States, and perhaps other countries, is undoubtedly to make money. When we total up the number of first serialisations, publications in France, England, Germany, more rarely in the United States, Italy, and Latin America, and the substantial sums paid by American magazines for options which, after investigation, they generally do not exercise, I am convinced that the industry is profitable. But I fail to comprehend why a forgery is any more valuable to the historian if its motive is profit, or its forged passages, whether through laziness or design, "ambivalent".
But they have a political function as well, though it is harder to pin down. On the surface, all these "revelations" that fill the vacuum left by Soviet secrecy would appear to be anti-Soviet. They are anti-Soviet in a vulgar, spicy, boulevard scandal-sheet fashion: full or orgies, lechery, international Jewish conspiracies, random sadistic cruelties, evidence that the Soviet leadership need not be taken seriously. But virtually all of them, and the Litvinov papers no less than the others, serve a directly opposite purpose in certain large issues. The real cruelties and orgies always concern subordinates, particularly those already dead. But, despite a certain capriciousness, Stalin turns out to be a tower of strength, a man of foresight, a good father, a good Georgian, husband, or uncle, a simple lover of Georgian foods, wines, songs, a man who knows the masses as no other Soviet leader, and the possessor of various other average citizen’s qualities which tend to normalise and humanise the total state and its dictator. All the great black mysteries of his life are cleared up. Rudzutak is purged for moral reasons (p. 192); Stalin does not know whom Yezhov is going to arrest and even Stalin has to give in to Yezhov (p. 230); Stalin shows concern for Piatakov in his illness and even sends him honey (p. 19) that if Piatakov was purged there must have been good reason; Benes really deserved his fate since he himself wrote a letter which showed that he was "anti-Soviet" and which "unfortunately proved genuine," and "claimed that he could bring about a coup d’état in Moscow"; the Soviet Generals really did plot to betray Russia to Hitler, and their purge, which Litvinov places in the wrong year, is suggested to have headed off a military coup; Rosengoltz confesses to Litvinov his own, Smilga’s, and Piatakov’s guilt; the Stalin-Hitler Pact is justified in a dozen separate places (pp. 256, 261, 262, 264, 265, 271), although the "ambivalent" Litvinov was dead against it; in fact his "ambivalence" always ends with his testifying that Stalin was much wiser than he; in short, "this man has nerves of steel . . . is what our country and our age need . . . never loses his temper ¯.. is a cynic but his knowledge of the masses is undeniable.., is wiser than us all.., slept under the same roof with the people whom Ilyich idealized . . . knows what is good for them.., and for Russia".
The third, and to my way of thinking, the most important rôle played by this species of literature, at least in France where it is a booming business, is that by a sort of literary and historical Gresham’s Law, these spicy, disjointed, bemusing, bedtime story concoctions tend to drive out of circulation the more serious studies of the secretive and real nature of the Soviet system. Statesmen who will not labour to master Stalin’s "Mein Kampf" any more than they did Hitler’s, take Litvinov’s diary on their airplane journeys to conferences with the Russians and recommend them to subordinates as a means of understanding the real nature of the Soviet system. They are easier to write than serious Soviet studies, and certainly easier to read. Professor Carr finds the present volume" the most sensational of its kind yet published" and feels that it "makes a useful contribution to our understanding of the conditions in which Soviet policy was framed and conducted in these years and of the attitude of those concerned". The answer to this view is best put in the words of the historian who reviewed the book for The Times Literary Supplement of September 9th, 1955: "This book adds to our understanding of Soviet affairs and of Litvinov’s personality about as much as a forged banknote adds to our wealth".
1 Maxim Litvinov: Notes f or a Journal. Introduction by E. H. Carr. London, André Deutsch. 18s.
Ibid. With Introduction by E. H. Carr and Prefatory Note by General Walter Bedell Smith. New York, William Morrow & Company. $3-75.
2 The three dots (...) do not represent omissions by the present writer, but are in the microfilm and text as published. Where the writer makes omissions, to distinguish them from the series of three dots which are scattered throughout the diary as if from a pepper-shaker, three dashes (———) will be used.
3 The ideograph it self has been omitted f rom the published version of the "Journal but the reference to it can be found on pages 30-31 of the English edition, and pages 36-37 of the Americaend ition. Hereafter, for simplicity, I shall quote only the pagination of the English edition, but both are provided with indexes so that an owner of the Americaend ition can easily find the corresponding pages.
4 See Bulletin de l’dssociation d’Etudes et d’Inlorrnations Politiques Internationales.May 1953, Nos. 88 and 89.
5 New Leader, New York, August 1st, 1955.
Скриншот. Страницы: 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47.
Bertram David "Bert" Wolfe (1896–1977) was an American scholar and former communist best known for biographical studies of Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin, Leon Trotsky, and Diego Rivera.
Bertram Wolfe was born January 19, 1896 in Brooklyn, New York. His mother was a native-born American and his father was an ethnic Jewish immigrant from Germany who had arrived in the United States as a boy of 13.
Wolfe studied to teach English literature and writing and received degrees from the College of the City of New York, Columbia University, and the University of Mexico.
Wolfe was active with the Socialist Party of America in his youth and was an active participant in the Left Wing Section which emerged in 1919. Wolfe attended the June 1919 National Conference of the Left Wing and was elected by that body to its nine-member National Council. He helped draft the manifesto of that organization, together with Louis C. Fraina and John Reed.
In 1919 Wolfe became a founding member of the Communist Party of America (CPA). Together with Maximilian Cohen, Wolfe was responsible for The Communist World, the CPA's first newspaper in New York City.
During the period of repression of leading Communists in New York conducted by the Lusk Committee, Wolfe fled to California. In 1920 he became a member of the San Francisco Cooks' Union. He also edited a left wing trade union paper called Labor Unity from 1920 to 1922. Wolfe was a delegate to the ill-fated August 1922 convention of the underground CPA held in Bridgman, Michigan, for which he was indicted under Michigan's "criminal syndicalism" law.
In 1923, Wolfe departed for Mexico, where he became active in the trade union movement there. He became a member of the Executive Committee of the Communist Party of Mexico and was a delegate of that organization to the 5th World Congress of the Communist International, held in Moscow in 1924. Wolfe was also a leading member the Red International of Labor Unions (Profintern) from 1924 to 1928, sitting on that body's Executive Committee.
Wolfe was ultimately deported from Mexico to the United States in July 1925 for activities related to a strike of Mexican railway workers. Upon his return to America, Wolfe took over as head of the Party's New York Workers School, located at 26 Union Square and offering 70 courses in the social sciences to some 1500 students.
After his return to the United States, Wolfe became a close political associate of factional leader Jay Lovestone, who became the leader of the American Communist Party following the death of C.E. Ruthenberg in 1927. He was editor of The Communist, the official theoretical journal of the Communist Party, in 1927 and 1928.
Wolfe was chosen as a delegate of the American Communist Party to the Sixth World Congress of the Comintern in 1928.
In 1928, Wolfe was made the national director of agitation and propaganda for the Workers (Communist) Party of America. He also ran for U.S. Congress as a Communist in the 10th Congressional District of New York.
Late in December 1928, with the election campaign at an end, Wolfe was dispatched by the Lovestone-dominated Central Executive Committee of the American Communist Party to serve as it delegate to the Executive Committee of the Communist International (ECCI), where he replaced J. Louis Engdahl. In that capacity, he became involved in the attempt of Jay Lovestone to maintain control of the American organization over the growing opposition of Joseph Stalin and Vyacheslav Molotov, who ultimately supported the rival faction headed by William Z. Foster and Alexander Bittelman.
According to Benjamin Gitlow's 1940 memoir, I Confess, Wolfe was directed by the Comintern in April 1929 to be removed from his post in Moscow and to instead accept a dangerous assignment to Korea - at the time under Japanese rule - as part of the campaign against the Lovestone group in the American Communist Party. Wolfe refused the assignment, providing a long statement of his reasons to ECCI for this decision, according to Gitlow.
In June 1929, Wolfe was expelled from the Communist Party, USA for refusing to support the Comintern's decisions regarding the American Communist Party, which effectively removed Lovestone from power.
Communist Party (Opposition)
Upon returning to the United States, he and Lovestone, who had also been expelled from the party, formed the Communist Party (Opposition) to further their views. Having expected a majority of American Communists to join them, they were disappointed at only being able to attract a few hundred followers. Wolfe became editor of the CP(O)'s newspaper Worker's Age and its chief theorist. Initially, Lovestone and Wolfe hoped to eventually be welcomed back into the Communist movement but when changes in the Comintern's line failed to result in a rapprochement, the CP(O) moved further and further away from communism. Wolfe and Lovestone were sympathisers of Nikolai Bukharin and helped found the International Communist Opposition (also known as the International Right Opposition) which for a time had some influence before petering out.
In the 1930s, Wolfe and his wife, Ella Goldberg Wolfe, travelled around the world visiting Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo in Mexico City in 1933 and spending time in Spain prior to the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War.
The CP(O) meanwhile moved further away from the left and went through several name changes finally becoming the Independent Labor League of America in 1938 before dissolving at the end of 1940 in part because of a break between Lovestone and Wolfe on their interpretation of World War II - with Lovestone favoring American intervention and Wolfe opposing support for what he argued was an imperialist war.
Wolfe's political perspective changed with time, however, and during the Cold War was a leading anti-Communist. In the 1950s, he worked as ideological advisor to the State Department's International Broadcasting Office which was in charge of Radio Liberty and Radio Free Europe. He then joined Stanford University's Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace's library as Senior Fellow in Slavic Studies and, in 1966, became a Senior Research Fellow at the institution. He also served as a visiting professor at Columbia University and the University of California. In 1973 Wolfe was one of the signers of the Humanist Manifesto II.
Death and legacy
Wolfe died February 21, 1977, from burns he suffered when his bathrobe caught fire. He was 81 years old at the time of his death.
1. Branko Lazitch with Milorad M. Drachkovitch, Biographical Dictionary of the Comintern: New, Revised, and Expanded Edition. Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution Press, 1986; pp. 514-515.
2. "Wolfe Starts Campaign Tour: Communist Candidate to Speak in Many Cities," Daily Worker, vol. 5, no. 235 (October 4, 1928), pp. 1, 3.
3. "Red Ticket Goes on Ballot in NY State," Daily Worker, vol. 5, no. 241 (October 11, 1928), pg. 3.
4. Theodore Draper, American Communism and Soviet Russia. New York: Viking Press, 1960; pg. 392.
5. Benjamin Gitlow, I Confess: The Truth About American Communism. New York: E.P. Dutton, 1940; pp. 547-548.
6. "Humanist Manifesto II". American Humanist Association. Retrieved October 9, 2012.
This page was last modified on 27 April 2016, at 19:13.
(Wolfe, Bertram D.) (1896-1981) - известный коммунистический журналист и редактор теоретического органа компартии "Communist" в 1927 году. Был исключен как правый оппозиционер. Поддерживал линию Сталина, включая преследование левой оппозиции и Московские Процессы до 1937 года. Затем порвал с Москвой и стал антикоммунистическим идеологом.
Эдуард Халлетт «Тэд» Карр (англ. Edward Hallett «Ted» Carr, 28 июня 1892, Лондон — 3 ноября 1982, Лондон) — британский историк, дипломат, журналист и исследователь международных отношений, противник эмпиризма в историографии. Командор ордена Британской империи.
Как учёный известен своим четырнадцатитомным исследованием «История Советской России», содержащим всестороннюю оценку советской истории с 1917 по 1929 года, исследованием международных отношений и вышедшей в 1961 году книгой «Что такое история?».
Изначально либерал, противник марксизма и приверженец теории политического реализма в исследовании международных отношений, в процессе исследования истории Советской России перешёл на левые позиции (из большевистских лидеров ему больше всего импонировал Лев Троцкий), чему способствовал и его круг ближайших друзей, включавший Исаака Дойчера, Карла Мангейма и Гарольда Ласки. В 1978 году в интервью «The New Left Review» говорил о капитализме как о безумной экономической системе, обречённой на гибель.
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E. H. Carr
Edward Hallett "Ted" Carr CBE (28 June 1892 – 3 November 1982) was an English historian, diplomat, journalist and international relations theorist, and an opponent of empiricism within historiography.
This page was last modified on 17 July 2016, at 18:36.
- Bertram D. Wolfe. On the Horizon: The Litvinov. Aug. 1, 1956 // www.commentarymagazine.com. voiks