J.J. Goldberg is right to remind us (“What We Have Forgotten About Pearl Harbor,” December 2) of America’s refusal to join the battle against the Nazis until the Japanese brought the war to American soil. But some key facts are missing.
When he seeks to distinguish between “the Nazi regime of malignant intentions and utter evil” and the Soviet “kingdom of egalitarian idealism perverted into something twisted, of good intentions gone horribly wrong, “ he seems to have forgotten the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact of 1939, in which Stalin effectively acquiesced in Hitler’s conquest of most of Poland, and Hitler recognized the eastern part of Poland (along with much else in eastern Europe) as belonging to the Soviet sphere of influence. He has forgotten that while Britain was fighting, albeit belatedly, to defeat the Nazis, the Soviet Union was taking advantage of its cordial relationship with Nazi Germany to absorb parts of eastern Europe that Hitler’s army had not conquered.
Goldberg also seems to have forgotten that the only reason the Soviets were fighting the Nazis when the U.S. entered the war after Pearl Harbor is that six months earlier, in June of 1941, Hitler had betrayed Stalin by invading the Soviet Union. Had the U.S. entered the war in 1939, when Britain did, it is unlikely that Hitler would have taken the risk of turning on Stalin, and the Soviet Union would have been at best neutral — and certainly not an ally — in the war against the Nazis.