CP of Greece (KKE) on the operation of distorting the history of the Second World War in education

The following is the intervention of the Communist Party of Greece in the 4th European Communist Meeting on Education:

Historical research is a particularly useful tool for the contemporary struggle for socialism as it can contribute to the revival of the communist ideology under the conditions of the victory of counterrevolution and enable the communists to draw valuable conclusions for the full fledged development of the class struggle. For that reason, the bourgeoisie takes care for itself intensifying the ideological attack and the mechanisms for the assimilation of the people’s consciousness, unfolding an intense and elaborated effort for the “revision” of history. In this effort bourgeoisie is supported by opportunism that launches a great assault on historiography so as to adapt the facts of the past to its intentions and needs for the management of the system.

The falsification of history intensified after the victory of the counterrevolution in the former socialist countries with the aim to reduce or eliminate the contribution of the communist movement to the peoples. It seeks to contaminate the consciousness of the younger generation, to make them vulnerable to its black propaganda. Nowadays, given that the capital faces difficulties in its reproduction, that the conditions for the rise of the class struggle are more evident and the imperialist crimes increase, the international ideological and political activity of the capitalist forces intensifies at an unprecedented level in order to manipulate the people and particularly the youth.

The falsification of historical facts constitutes a part of the modern anti-communist campaign led by the EU and the US as a component element of the general imperialist strategy. Thus, in 2006 the Council of Europe brought to vote the anti-communist memorandum seeking on the one hand to exert pressure on the communist parties that insist on supporting the principles of the class struggle and struggling against capitalism led by the scientific theory of socialism communism. On the other hand, imperialists confess in that way that they need new means of repression, as they see that almost 20 years after the overthrow of the socialist system in Europe they have not managed, despite their slandering propaganda, to slander the contribution of socialism to the peoples.

The establishment of the 23rd August as a day of remembrance for the victims of fascism and communism, as a day of celebration for the counterrevolutionary overthrow of socialism and the unanimous denial of all the social democrat and liberal governments of the EU member-states to vote a statement condemning Nazism, brought to the UN General assembly by Russia in December 2009, are merely two recent examples of the EU anticommunist campaign. At the same time, they are precursors of new violent repressive measures against the rights of the working people throughout Europe as well as a step forward for the increase of the ideological, political violence against the peoples that sooner or later will take historical initiatives in their countries as well as in European. Either openly or covertly, by means of persecutions and repressive measures or by means of ideological violence, imperialism intends to erase the past and safeguard its future.

It fears the historical past because it fears the strength of the working class and the peoples. Its governments and its parties are aware of the fact that they defend an unfair system which is corroded by its own contradictions. They know that capitalism is a historically obsolete system that can be not humanized as opportunist forces claim. In this framework, the EU, promoting oblivion, silence and the distortion of the historical memory, established the 9th May as the “Europe Day” abolishing the “Day of the Peoples’ Victory”. Nowadays, on the basis of this distortion the 9th May is celebrated in schools with EU programmes on “entrepreneurship”. In other words they teach the negation of the class struggle and promote the theoretical validation of the capitalist barbarity.

Of course anti-communism is not a contemporary phenomenon despite its dimensions over the last years. It appeared as early as the labour movement took its first steps that signalised its ideological and political emancipation from the bourgeoisie. It strengthened after the merging of Marxism with the labour movement, from the very first moment that Marxism evolved to revolutionary theory of the labour movement. The falsification of history, as a special form of the anti-communist propaganda, was elaborated already in 1930 after the end of the First World War and during the economic capitalist crisis of overproduction in 1929-1933. On the one hand, its aim was to slander the achievements of the young state of USSR, while on the other, it aimed at concealing the fact that the German and Italian fascism were linked with the intense rivalries between the old and rising imperialist powers according to the new balance of forces formed by the First World War and the economic crisis.

The efforts of the bourgeoisie were kindled anew in the 1950s as the Greek, European and international bourgeoisie had every reason -more than they did after the First World War- to make the people forget, to say that black is white and reversely. The causes of the two world wars had the same root that is the intra-imperialist contradictions and conflicts. However, the Second World War has been marked by an unprecedented world-historic event, the fact that apart from the intra-imperialist contradictions in the foreground stood also the clear class contradiction to the USSR, the contradiction to socialism that has developed from theory to practice.

The discussion around historical issues -both in terms of literature as well as practically- revived after the overthrow of the socialism and the victory of the counterrevolution. Its core has been the denial of the class struggle as an objective historical fact and its replacement by distortions such as the position that the historical truth is not objective but depends on the subjective viewpoint of the approach.

At the same time, the bourgeois propaganda tries to distort the very nature of fascism by promoting non-class, non-historical analyses. These analyses do not include the real causes but seek to mislead the people attributing the causes of historical facts to vague explanations of moral and psychopathological content (e.g. the position that Hitler’s personality was responsible for fascism). Thus, they detach fascism from the general framework of the capitalist system that bred it. They isolate it from its expressions in the rest countries as a tendency of the international capital and they deliberately identify it with certain countries, groups and persons, thus exonerating capitalism as a whole.

Moreover, they launch an unprecedented attack on the first attempt to construct a socialist society undermining and eliminating the role of the USSR in the anti-fascist victory. They deliberately conceal the decisive contribution of the USSR, the 30 millions victims, wounded and disabled who wrote an immortal epic under the guidance of the CPSU and J. Stalin as its General Secretary.

Above all the main goal of the bourgeois historical approach is to eradicate once and for all every notion of popular struggle that opposes the ruling class legitimacy. Thus, it refers to the “historically obsolete and bankrupted” character of the class struggle which is allegedly confirmed by the “collapse of communism”. On this basis it seeks to erase the educative lesson drawn by humanity’s historical course, namely that through the struggle for the overthrow of enemy’s power peoples can win, changing the correlation of forces to their benefit even under conditions of general counterrevolution. In their attempt to reverse the facts, the bourgeois historians do not hesitate to equate revolutionary violence with terrorism. They curse violence, claiming that the oppressed and exploited peoples had not the right to exert violence on their oppressors. They seek to make the working class, the popular strata and the youth assimilate the contrived notion of “social consensus” and “class collaboration”, the allegedly abolition of the old “borderlines” that hinder the promotion of the capital’s strategy. The forces of social democracy, which have been tested in the assimilation of wide popular masses, play a leading role in this effort. In addition, they are backed by the opportunist forces that support their contrived notions, appearing with the mask of the so-called consensus democracy and historical memory, and spread through the education system the logic of the “peaceful” coexistence in the bourgeois democracy, hence the perpetuation of capitalism.

The anti-communism emerging in the modern society on the basis of the capitalist restoration is reflected in the institutions as a whole, in school, in class. This fact confirms the role and the character of the contemporary school as a tool for the reproduction of the bourgeois ideology and the anti-scientific thinking. In this framework, the current ideological propaganda of the European monopolies is increasingly penetrating into the school books and the school life in general. At the same time, along with the general shift to anti-scientific thinking it promotes empirical knowledge and theological analyses of phenomena namely pre-scientific stages of human thinking.

This goal is also served by the general ostracism of the notion of the class struggle as a driving force of history, by the concealment of historical laws and the attribution of social phenomena to luck, persons or leaders. The contemporary campaign for the “revision of history” is the continuation of the most reactionary bourgeois philosophical currents and is based on the denial of the objective character of the truth and the historical truth in general; it is linked with the currents of subjectivism, relativism, agnosticism. Lenin fought these currents in the early twentieth century regarding them as a wound for the communist movement. In the context of the ideological functions of the bourgeois school students learn to share the responsibility for the social problems that the bourgeois state and its governments cause.

They particularly target at socialism-communism as a socio-economic formation given that they appeal to young age groups who have not experienced the first attempt of socialist construction, the events and the causes that led to the victory of the counterrevolution. Thus, they spread the view that socialism is a utopia, a chimera, a pipe dream; that capitalism can be humanised and place the people before profits; that socialism is based on the deterioration of life, is equal to backwardness and incompatible with democracy. Of course socialism is incompatible with the bourgeois democracy, with the capitalist ownership over the means of production and the wealth that the working people produce.

The vulgar anti-Stalin campaign also ranks among the methods of distortion. They believe that on the basis of ignorance and by means of reversing reality, they will establish in the consciousness of the people the equation between Hitler, a product of capitalism and Stalin, a product of Bolshevism, the most vanguard achievement of mankind. By means of mudslinging against one person they obviously intend to erase the first attempt of socialist construction as a whole, to distort the conditions under which the economic basis of socialism was formed. Despite the peculiarities of each country, the economic basis of socialism is based on the socialisation of the concentrated means of production and on the cooperative ownership in fields where no concentrated means of production exist and the full socialisation is not possible.

At the same time, they seek to strike the very struggle for socialism which is more relevant and necessary than ever, a struggle which is based on scientific analyses and lessons from the mistakes of the past. To achieve this goal they use the anti-Stalin campaign, the identification of Stalin with Hitler, the theory about the “two totalitarianisms” that distort the historical reality. They fear the conscious workers’ and peoples’ uprising as they know that the revolutionary backsliding is temporary. At this point, we should underline the special contribution of the opportunists through the European Left Party in which the condemnation of Stalinism constitutes a prerequisite for the accession to the party.

Along with anti-communism they also conceal or justify the crimes of the bourgeoisie which are often presented as the defence of their “democracy” against “the red or black fascism”.

The field of education offers many examples. The book of General History in the third class of senior high school quotes a ridiculous extract from a book of Solzenicin that against Stalin. Thus, students at the age of 17 and 18 years old learn that the director of a factory was arrested because after applauding Stalin for 11 minutes he was the first to stop making the rest of the workers to stop as well. The watchful eyes of the secret police detected him!

Moreover the falsification of history includes a storm of false information and half truths. In this context, they falsify significant facts about the role and the tactic that the Soviet Union followed in order to achieve the defeat of fascism in favour of all the oppressed people.

Historical revisionism, this “new” form of the imperialist apologetics is based above all on the “Molotov-Ribentrop Pact”. This pact constitutes a main axis for the unfolding of the vulgar anti-communist campaign which is launched by the EU and the US along with the most reactionary governments of the capitalist restoration in Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania and their mouthpieces in Greece. In this way, they demand an apology from the communists throughout the world, because –as they claim- these peoples lived like slaves after the end of the war and because through this pact the Soviet Union and Germany divided Eastern Europe. They shamelessly lie in order to conceal the responsibilities of the US, Great Britain, France, the governments of the Baltic countries and Germany. Soviet Union had no aggressive policy and was not interested in the redistribution of the world.

The Soviet Union did not merely defend its territory. It wrote an epic in conditions of capitalist encirclement and provocations, threats and blackmail, subversion and military attacks. The Molotov-Ribentrop Pact was the necessary condition in order for the socialist state to prepare its forces for the defence in case Germany should violate the pact and attack on the USSR (as it happened).In addition it gained time so that the allied forces engage in the war against fascist Germany and aid the heroic resistance of the Soviet Union.

Despite their commitments it was the US, Great Britain and France that with their tolerance or their active support handed over Czechoslovakia (1938) and Poland (1939) to Hitler, declaring either sham “neutrality” or a war that had not started until May1940 (phoney war). Of course, the western democracies did not remain passive during the Nazi invasion in Poland because of their weakness. After all, in the Soviet-Finnish conflict they were willing to provide material support to Finland, while Poland and Great Britain had been secretly negotiating with the German fascism to launch a joint attack on the Soviet Union.

Another huge lie of the bourgeoisie refers to the Yalta conference. Almost all bourgeois and opportunist historiographic approaches are delighted to say that this Conference “divided the world”. And as their main goal is to damage the reputation that the USSR and the communist parties won during the Second World War, their flimsy argument refers to the countries that later on formed the Warsaw Pact, the Peoples’ Republics in Eastern and Central Europe. In these countries the conflict over the issue of power intensified. By the end of the war the armed popular movements led by the communists moved beyond liberation, to the overthrow of the bourgeois state power. The counterrevolutionary action of the bourgeois forces, which have been supported by imperialism (Czechoslovakia 1948), had been crushed with the resolute support of the Soviet Union. Nevertheless, the decisions of Yalta Conference recognised merely provisional governments or the need to hold elections only in Poland or Yugoslavia and not the other countries liberated by the Red Army. So irrespective of their contrived notions, it is obvious that imperialism was neither willing nor able to coexist peacefully with socialism, its incompatible class enemy; and even more so to reach an agreement for the division of the world. The bourgeoisie would never accept the overthrow of their power in a series of countries and disengagement of these countries from the imperialist unions and organisations.

The bourgeois fabricated notions continue to review the historical events after the end of World War II. Thus, the book “Cold War Europe, 1945-1991” by John W. Young, professor of International History at the University of Nottingham in Great Britain, which is an elective course in the Philosophy Department of Athens University, refers: “…Poland, Romania and Bulgaria were actually puppets of the Soviets”, “…Stalin –just like Hitler and Mussolini- supported a system of personal power based on a totalitarian ideology”, “the USSR had never developed a real welfare state” or that “in Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary and Yugoslavia the elections were rigged”. The same book glorifies the course of the capitalist restoration. Unfortunately, for the bourgeoisie, its smooth development is hindered by the existence of workers’ power during the previous years. That means that there were reactions from the Soviet people, many were reminiscent of Stalin’s governance as well as of achievements such as the elimination of unemployment and illiteracy, attention to women and the elderly people, free time and above all the abolition of the exploitation of man by man. All these were hindering the imposition and acceptance of the wild exploitation of workers, of capitalism.

In particular, KKE and its historical course are slandered and distorted through the entire educational process. This fierce attack can be explained by the fact that, in Greece the labour movement and the communist vanguard have a greater ability to resist to the imperialist erosion and manipulation, to the venom of reformism and opportunism despite some setbacks and mistakes in crucial moments. According to some extracts we have collected from Greek history books of the third grade of High School and the third grade of Senior High School for students at the age of 15 and 18 we can mention the following:

  • There is no reference to the letter of N.Zachariadis, General Secretary of the CC of KKE, (to the Greek people) which was written at the dungeons of the State Security building and laid down the line of the national liberation struggle. There are only references to Metaxas and Papagos, who were literally forced to say “NO” to the foreign occupiers. Metaxas also handed over thousands of cadres of the Communist Party to the Germans and Zachariadis to Gestapo and was later sent to the Dachau concentration camp.
  • There is no reference to the three Greek governments during the Occupation, while the National Liberation Front (EAM) appears suddenly in the text along with the National Republican Greek League (EDES) and the National and Social Liberation (EKKA) without any mention to the fact that KKE was the guiding force and soul of EAM, of Greek People’s Liberation Army and of the United Panhellenic Organisation of Youth. Not only do they degrade the EAM national resistance and generally the role of KKE in the Greek history, but they also equate the struggle of EAM with the action of the military troops participating in imperialist missions in the Middle East (book of the third grade of Senior High School).
  • At the universities the ex cathedra and deeply reactionary teaching equates the role of EAM and of the Democratic Army of Greece (DSE) with the security battalions, attributing to both sides “atrocities from Greeks to Greeks”, obscuring the class character of the EAM resistance and the struggle of DSE for the national liberation from one hand and the collaboration of the Security Battalions with the German and quisling Greek governments during the Occupation from the other. They even dear to say that the “red terror” against ordinary people had led to the creation of the “Security Battalions” and was responsible for their massiveness while in fact their creation was decided by the Prime Minister Rallis and the German administration, with the blessing of Great Britain. Thus the bourgeois state would have an other armed force and would attack along with other terrorist antipopular organisations against EAM and KKE.
  • With even more fury they distort the three-year epic of the DSE 1946-1949. It was the phase of the armed class struggle of our people when for the first time was raised the issue of power and KKE was its basic source of new blood and its guiding force. They characterise this struggle as “acts of retaliation, especially in the countryside, where the presence of state authority has always been shadow”. They call shadow all kinds of para-state gangs that developed unprecedented criminal action against KKE and EAM, with the assistance of the British army.

The falsification of history and anticommunism are “popular” in various European educational programmes that during the last years have prevailed in all levels of education in Greece, attempting to deeply distort History and to promote an ideological propaganda. They aim to condemn socialism-communism and to present the EU as a guarantor of peace, as a one way road for the peoples, while obfuscating the contemporary imperialist crimes in Yugoslavia, Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan.

For instance:

On the occasion of the 20th anniversary since the fall of the Berlin Wall, an anticommunist propaganda has been launched once again and was transferred to schools. Thus, Directorates of Primary and Secondary Education have sent circulars and texts have been distributed to the students throughout Greece describing the creation of the Wall as follows: “a large number of people in East Germany were dissatisfied with their lives there and escaped to the West. This led to enormous economic difficulties in East Germany and so on 13th August 1961 the East German government decided to construct a wall on the borders between East and West Berlin. In the borders with West Germany barbed wires and land mines were placed and the shooters and patrols killed anyone who tried to pass. However, many people who tried to escape have paid it with their lives”.

The distorted history that the children of the working class and the popular strata are taught could not be otherwise because education and studies’ content have a class character. In a society where economically and politically dominates the bourgeoisie, history will be written according to its point of view and its interests so as to correspond to the needs of the capitalist development. The leading forces that claim otherwise are just pretending. The working class is benefited from the knowledge. The bourgeoisie on the other hand is benefited from the falsification. The working class has the just on its side. The bourgeoisie has the unjust. On this basis we and they respectively judge the historical events.

We look into the historical events on their historical course and context; not in a partial, superficial, phoney way. According to our perception, the theory of historical materialism, the popular masses are the creators of history. Without reducing to zero the role of the leading figure, it sets its actual dimensions and role and demonstrates the role of the masses in production and in the political developments. The historical truth is one; not many. Noting the truth is often a complex process that requires studying and good evaluation of data and sources. However, we believe that, despite the difficulties, the historical truth can be achieved having as a methodological tool the observation of the course of the class struggle in all times and periods. At the same time, it constitutes a fundamental weapon necessary for the organisation of the revolutionary struggle, for the scientific establishment of the strategy of the Communist Party.

The struggle against anticommunism marks for KKE α full-fletched attack on ideological-political and mass level. The resolutions of the last Congress of our Party underline the necessity to struggle against the anticommunist hysteria in terms of movement, in order to become matter of the labour movement, of the youth movement. The upcoming Congress of the Communist Youth of Greece sets in the frontline the struggle against the revision of history and the counterattack for the defence of socialism we have known and of our Party’s strategy. Nowadays KKE is stronger in the struggle against the falsification of the historical memory, steeled with the profound study of the causes of the overthrow and its strategy throughout its 90year course. It continues the scientific and thorough recording of its history and through this process derives the ability to recognise its mistakes, to define an independent policy in the direction of socialism-communism, without being integrated in bourgeois scenarios.

The utilisation of history for the strengthening of the Party, as an integral element of the proletarian internationalism in contrast with the cosmopolitism of the capital, is what bothers and worries the capitalists and their parties. Actually, the fact that we do not study history with introversion, that it is a process open to the working class, the popular strata and the youth increases their apprehension. Our Party has responded to the anticommunist attack with presentations of books that unveil the historical truth in schools and universities, with issues that respond to the lies of the bourgeoisie and in terms of movement. The Communist Youth of Greece has been in the forefront, for example, of the effort to reveal the class character of the bourgeois democracy. At the beginning of the school year a special circular was sent to all schools to organise events for the “day of democracy”, according to UN directions, in order to legitimise in the mutable consciousness of young people the contemporary imperialist crimes. KNE along with the 15-member student councils and the Coordination of Secondary school students organised events that highlighted the heroic “NO” of the Greek people against fascism, the role of the EAM national resistance, the events on December ’44 and the 3year epic of DSE and also a special publication of the Coordination of school students. It utilised audiovisual media and multiform cultural events at schools to highlight history through militant songs. It has also organised visits for students to historical places such as the Shooting Range in Kesariani and events at schools with the participation of resistance fighters. It has heightened particularly the necessity of the ideological conflict on issues of falsification of history during the class, reinforcing the students who are members of KNE, so as to respond to the ex cathedra bourgeois contrived notions.

KKE and KNE have taken multiform corresponding initiatives in the Universities. We have distributed massively our leaflets and many students associations adopted resolutions against the anticommunist memorandum and against the establishment of the 23rd of August as the European day of “remembrance for the victims of totalitarian regimes” equating communism with Nazism-fascism. We have organised “counter-courses” and events on aspects of the history of our Party demonstrating at the same time that anticommunism and bourgeois parliamentarism can actually coexist; that is due to the fact that the ruling class or sectors of it resort to anticommunism and fascism when they cannot achieve to integrate and silence the popular movement with the usual means or when they want to prevent a sharp rise of the class struggle.

We have directly organised a coordinated campaign to collect signatures from mass organisations and personalities against the anticommunist attack of the EU and the US and in defence of socialism we have known. We have brought it forward to teachers’ federations highlighting their educational role as an integral element of the resistance to fatalism and subservience, to the submission to the bourgeois legality and to the violence of the bourgeoisie. We have written a large number of articles in the party editions and books shedding light on various aspects of the history through documents and assessments.

We have no illusions that it is possible to change the history books that are taught in schools nowadays without radically changing the entire Education, the economy and ultimately the power. Of course, there can be partial improvements under the pressure of the labour, popular and youth movement but the philosophy that runs through the books and their content will not change under the current socio-political conditions. The sharpening of the ideological conflict in schools especially during the class is a precondition. The condemnation of all forms of anticommunism in schools and generally in the society, either it is refined or blatant, is primarily a task of the labour movement as well as of the educators, of school and university students from the poor popular strata. In this direction, the contribution of the communist and militant educator during the class, in the classroom is determinative. Revealing the historical truth does not constitute an other “academic” responsibility; it’s an integral element of the militant education so that the tomorrow’s shift of the working class trusts its power and its logic and understands its position and the mission of the classes in history.

It is imperative to organise the counterattack on the basis of the educational content of the school and the contemporary educational needs in terms of ideology, in terms of movement and in the direction of a different path of development the way out and the perspective of People’s Power, of Socialism. History is linked with the general class struggle and constitutes a weapon in the struggle for people’s power as it helps us draw conclusions on the role of each class throughout History. This is particularly important today that the youth must be ideologically steeled against its exploiters. The victorious course of our class, with the communists in the forefront, reinforces the confidence of every young person that the struggle of the working class is just and that it can conquer the power.

One response to “CP of Greece (KKE) on the operation of distorting the history of the Second World War in education

  1. Excellent & very necessary.

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