The article represents a brief summary of the Soviet Delegation's paper read by E. A. Boltin at the Second World Conference on the History of the Resistance Movement, held in Milan (Italy) in March 1961 It is devoted chiefly to illustrating the Soviet Union s contribution to the development of the Resistance Movement in the European countries occupied by nazi Germany in the years of the Second World War as well as to the significance of this movement for the achievement of victory over nazism.
The author emphasizes the rightful and profoundly democratic character of the Resistance Movement as one of the manifestations of the decisive role played by the popular masses in the making of history and criticizes those bourgeois historians who deny these characteristic features of the Resistance Movement. It was one of the forms of the just war of liberation waged by the enslaved peoples against fascism, a means of their participation in the anti-Hitler coalition. This movement vividly reflected the natural patriotic desire of the peoples to safeguard their national sovereignty against any encroachments from without. The very concept Resistance Movement" embraces many different forms and methods of struggle, beginning with sabotage and ending with military operations conducted by partisan units. People of different party affiliations, religious beliefs, political convictions and classes actively shared in this movement. But its principal motive force was the popular masses, primarily the working class. The guiding role of the working class and the Communist Parties imparted a revolutionary character to the entire movement. Its aim was not only to liberate the peoples from the yoke of the aggressors and their accomplices but also to change the political and social system of the countries in which it took place. One of the remarkable features of the Resistance Movement was its international character.
The article vividly shows the significance of the Soviet Union's entry into the war for the development of the liberation struggle in the nazi-occupied European countries. The beginning of the Great Patriotic War and the emergence of the anti-Hitler coalition finally determined the aims and prospects of the Resistance Movement. The Soviet Union actively supported and assisted the fighters against fascism, resolutely and perseveringly striving to unite all progressive and democratic forces. Quite different was the policy pursued by the ruling circles of Britain and the U. S. A Fearing the upsurge of political activity among the popular masses, they did everything in their power to restrict the scope of the Resistance Movement and prevent the revolutionary national uprisings in the occupied countries.
The Soviet government's assistance to the Resistance fighters was extremely varied in character. The most effective form of this assistance was the victories scored by the Soviet Army over the armies of nazi Germany and its satellites. The Soviet Union's victories in the war influenced the Resistance Movement in two ways: first, they contributed to the activization of this movement, stimulated the growth of its ranks, created the most favourable conditions for its development and for transition to the most effective forms of struggle; second, they resulted in direct liberation of a number of countries by the Soviet Army, which operated jointly with the patriotic forces of these countries. The author stresses the vast importance for the spread of the Resistance Movement in Europe of such major events as the defeat of the fascist troops in the battles of Moscow and Stalingrad and their subsequent expulsion from the Soviet territory. Before the Battle of Stalingrad the Resistance Movement was in the stage of mustering and rallying the forces opposed to nazism; after that momentous battle it assumed the character of an active struggle by the anti-fascist front in many countries, including the countries of the nazi bloc. The impact of the Soviet Army's victories on the liberation struggle of the peoples was growing with the advancement of the Soviet-German front, reaching its climax with the shifting of hostilities to the territory of one or another country. In contrast, the influence of the military operations conducted by the U. S. A. and Britain on the Resistance Movement was immeasurably smaller because from the summer of 1940 to mid - 1943 their armies did not conduct any hostilities directly in Europe, while the second front was opened by them only at a time when the question of nazi Germany's defeat by the Soviet Union had already been predetermined.
The author cites numerous facts of concrete assistance rendered by the Soviet Union to the peoples of Czechoslovakia, Poland and Yugoslavia, as well as of Albania and Greece, in their struggle for freedom and national independence and briefly describes
the influence exerted by the Soviet people's struggle against nazi Germany on the Resistance Movement in France and Italy. On the example of these countries the author shows the fundamental difference between the Soviet Union's policy towards the liberation struggle of the peoples and the position held on that issue by the governments of its Western allies in the anti-Hitler coalition.
At the end of his article the author comes to the conclusion that in certain European countries the Resistance Movement was not fully utilized for the achievement of a speedy and complete victory over nazism owing to the policy pursued by the ruling circles of the Western Powers and the reactionary emigre governments supported by them. As to the Soviet Union, its assistance to the Resistance Movement in the countries of Eastern and Southeastern Europe was of decisive importance for their liberation. The victories of the Soviet Army also powerfully influenced the development of the liberation struggle in the nazi-occupied countries of Western Europe, although the Soviet troops did not conduct military operations on their territory.