Following his return from the Russian front in 1946, Alexander Werth (1901-1968) settled in France. In 1950 he had a son – Nicolas. As I have spent probably around 20 years reading the works of Alexander Werth, it is interesting that until today, I had never come across any mention of his son within the academic circles (and historical thought communities) within which I move. Admittedly, this might be explained by the fact that his son is French, but nevertheless, Nicolas Werth has written fairly well-known works in English (I have since discovered). Whereas (the thought processes) and academic output of Alexander Werth can be correctly described as being both ‘progressive’ and ‘accurate’, the work of his son can in no way be mistaken for containing either of these attributes. Although Nicolas Werth trades off of the good name of his father, in many ways Nicolas represents everything Alexander sought to expose, ridicule and correct through clear thinking. Nocolas Werth premises his thought processes on the regressive practice of demonizing a) the history of the Soviet Union, b) the history of Communist-Sociaiist nations, and c) the teachings of Marxist-Leninism (i.e. ‘Scientific Socialism’). Perhaps the most obvious manifestation (in English) of this ahistorical and fanatical pro-capitalist approach, may be found in his contribution to the so-called ‘Black Book of Communism’ (1997) – provided as a research director at the Institut D’histoire du Temps Présent (Institute of Contemporary History) situated in Paris, France. This is an anti-Socialist academic grouping that justifies its bias by claiming to also criticise colonial practices oppressive regimes during the 20th century, but which in reality is an academic representation of France’s lurch to the right since 1978.
The psychological question that needs to be asked is this: why does Nicolas Werth feel the need to attack and demonize Communism? The answer is simple and almost ‘Trotskyite’ in its devious pointlessly, simply because his father – Alexander Werth – wrote impartial and sympathetic accounts of the history and reality of the Soviet Union. This is a point that must be made clear – whereas Alexander Werth gave first-hand accounts of the reality of Soviet life (in numerous of his books), this data and information had the unconscious effect of undermining the US and British anti-Soviet propaganda (proving it ‘wrong’ at every turn). Indeed, even today the quality of Alexander Werth’s work – as corroborated first-hand historical accounts – is devastating to the anti-Soviet pseudo-history the Nicolas Werth peddles for a living. I can state clearly that there is no authentic or objective history that supports this anti-Soviet view, none at all, and the only ‘history’ for it originates in the bourgeois imagination of various government departments in Washington, London (and of course, Paris). However, although I can say this, readers must research for themselves. Yes – you will encounter the anti-Soviet Cold War disinformation (including the work of Nicolas Werth) because that is exactly its purpose – to mislead you. Dig a little deeper and you will see that things just do not add up (like a deficient mathematical formula). The work of contemporary (rightwing) British journalist Andrew Alexander, for instance, can be easily used to deconstruct the pseudo-history as peddled by Nicolas Werth, particularly in his (2012) book entitled ‘America and the Imperialism of Ignorance: US Foreign Policy since 1945’. Andrew Alexander referenced exactly the same Soviet Archives Nicolas Werth claims to have accessed, but their conclusions are very different. Andrew Alexander (who is no supporter of Socialism), states clearly that the Cold War was a British and US invention – as a Tory-supporter, Alexander thinks that his findings will not go down well with the British Conservative Party. Furthermore, Grover Furr in the US has carried-out similar research and has clearly proven that Stalin was a good leader and that (Khrushchev) and the West lied about him. In contemporary Russia there is the academic work of Lyudo MARTENS (Людо МАРТЕНС), which is particularly damning to the now defunct pro-Cold War rhetoric preferred by Nicolas Werth. In reality, Nicolas Werth has made a career (in recent times) by defying the good name of his father. In this instance, the fruit has fallen very far from the tree.
Nicolas Werth is perpetuating the US-British Cold War myth that there was no ideological, political, cultural or historical difference between the Nazi German regime of Adolf Hitler, and the Communist System of the Soviet Union. This pseudo-history states that Hitler and Stalin were both ‘evil’ (adding the Judeo-Christian mythology to the mix), and that the (capitalist) liberal democracies were ‘good’ (or ‘god-like’) in their resistance to tyranny. The fact that some perpetuating this ahistorical nonsense can hold high office within French academia, demonstrates the depths to which the French thinking processes have sunk (and diminished). However, in his mania to defame his father, there is one issue of particular depravity that I must deal with here. Wikipedia in the West is well-known for its pro-rightwing and capitalist bias, not to mention its continuous support for US anti-China racism, and the murderous action of the Zionist government of Israel (toward the Palestinian population). Furthermore, as a depository of knowledge, it has been revealed time and again as being ‘incorrect’. Wikipedia in Russia often simply translates the US (English) articles into the Russian language, but there is interesting discrepancies between the two entries for ‘Alexander Werth’.
Firstly, it has to be remembered that anti-Soviet forces at work today even in Russia, which perpetuate a disinformation campaign against Communism (which remains very popular amongst the ordinary people). The (English) wikipedia page states where and when Alexander Werth was born (and died), and nothing else, whereas the (Russian) wikipedia page adds that he was the ‘son of the British Camille Schmidt and AA Verta – railway worker’ (although his mother later re-married, and Alexander was adopted by the banker Adolf Rothstein). Schmidt, of course, is a German and not ‘British’ name. Furthermore, the (English) wikipedia states that Alexander Werth died in Paris in 1969 – and says no more on the matter. This is where the duplicity of Nicolas Werth comes into play, and it is a shocking misuse of his father’s passing to serve his pro-capitalist political aims. The (Russian) wikipedia page states that Alexander Werth ‘committed suicide’ in 1969, out of apparent ‘shock’ to the news (six months earlier) that Soviet troops had entered Czechoslovakia! The reference for this information is a 2009 interview by Nicolas Werth (who is described as representing the ‘ ‘Centre for Scientific Research of France’) given to Maksim Shevchenko of 91.2FM (Echo of Moscow Radio) regarding the so-called ‘Repressive State Policy of Stalin’. The anti-Soviet ‘tone’ throughout the content of this interview can be gauged from the fact that the anti-Stalin series was sponsored by the ‘Foundation of the First Russian President Boris Nikolaevich Yeltsin’. Throughout the interview Nicolas Werth apologizes for his father’s liking of Soviet Russia, whilst perpetuating one ahistorical myth after another about Joseph Stalin. It must be mentioned that no other source talks of Alexander Werth committing suicide, and the reason (I am told) that the (English) wikipedia will not include this data is because there is no supporting evidence for it, particularly when viewed in the light of the fact that Nicolas Werth never mentioned this apparent fact before to 2009. I must admit, this kind of attention to detail and discernment of facts is unusual for wikipedia, but my research into multi-lingual biographical articles about Alexander Werth DO NOT support the ascertain of Nicolas Werth. What we need to do is look at the death certificate, but this seems like a violation of privacy due to the stupid actions of an unruly son.
Nicolas Werth claims his father was not a Communist, but records show that he was a Labour Party Member in the UK at a time when ‘Labour’ and ‘Communist’ were often conflated. As is evident from his war diaries in the USSR, Alexander Werth experienced dreadful things perpetuated by the Nazi Germans, but did not flinch from what he saw – he had a strong constitution. He understood, for instance, that the Ukrainians waged a pro-Nazi war from 1945-1947, with Western Ukrainians being led by non-surrendered Nazi German officers. The Red Army moved out of the area (onward toward Berlin), whilst special NKVD troops were brought-in to fight what turned-out to be a brutal counter-insurgency. Alexander Werth was friends with one of these NKVD soldiers, who years later was still suffering from the intensity and brutality of the fighting, but even before this, Alexander Werth was at the site of the Katyn Massacre, and the subsequent ‘International’ investigation which blamed Nazi Germany for the murders. Then, of course, he was one of the first Western journalists to witness the brutality of the Nazi German Concentration camps, when the Red Army Units he was with ‘Liberated’ Majdanek in Poland. He witnessed the devastation in person, and although morally shocked, he stayed strong and committed to humanitarianism. In 1956, due to pro-fascist tendencies in Hungary (a former ally of Nazi Germany), Soviet troops entered that country and supported the Communist Party of Hungary. If Soviet troops performing ‘policing actions’ bothered Alexander Werth so much (as his son claims), then why did he bother to re-visit the USSR in 1959? What all this goes to show is how France has truly lost its Revolutionary spirit, and has fallen into line with bourgeois, capitalist society. As the Nicolas Werth, he is a despicable human being who should be academically criticised in both France and Russia, and his work marginalised as rightwing extremist. What an insult he is to his father’s good name and outstanding work!
Postscript: I retrieved my copy of Alexander Werth’s book entitled ‘Russia – The Pst-War Years’ posthumously published in 1971 – from my bookshelf, and observed Alexander Werth discussing the situation of the USSR from 1945 to 1968 (and the Red Army police action in Czechoslovakia), and there is the usual balance of relaying concrete historical fact,coupled with level-headed assessment. Alexander Werth points-out that virtually no book of historical worth was written in the West from 1945 – 1953, or after, and that anti-Russia and anti-Soviet hysteria has taken the place of reporting real history. There is no indication that he is depressed or suicidal in his thought processes, which are more than usually critical of the ignorant West which embarked upon a futile ‘Cold War’ trajectory after the death of Roosevelt in April 1945. Indeed, this book bizarrely carries an ‘Epilogue’ by US historian Harrison E Salisbury, who tries desperately to ‘keep up’ with Alexander Werth, when in fact the Cold War nonsense Salisbury published is exactly the same anti-Soviet hysteria that Werth laments! Furthermore, Harrison, who considers himself an ‘expert’ upon Communist China, was nothing but a Eurocentric racist given the task of demonizing Communist China in the eyes of the American public. Yes, Harrison was a Cold War fool, but even after rambling for a number of pages about his ‘Stalin in Korea’ conspiracy, he mentions nothing (in 1971) about Alexander Werth supposedly ‘killing himself’ six months after the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. One would have thought that such an opportunity to ridicule and demean the USSR would not have been missed, even if Harrison was pretending to keep up a veneer of academic scrutiny.
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