Correspondence

Order and Justice? Cowardice and Folly!

In April 1986, Nikolai Tolstoy's The Minister and the Massacres was published in Britain. Like his earlier Victims of Yalta (1978) and Stalin's Secret War (1981), the book was uncompromising in its indictment of Prime Minister Harold Macmillan personally and of British foreign policy generally at the end of the war. "In the second week of May 1945," Count Tolstoy summed up recently in an appeal for his Forced Repatriation Defense Fund, "British military authorities in Austria accepted the surrender of tens of thousands of Cossacks, White Russians, Slovenes, Croats, Montenegrins, and Serbs. They comprised prisoners of war and political refugees, and were accompanied by large numbers of women and children. At the end of the month and the beginning of June the majority were handed over to Stalin and Tito, the operations being effected by a combination of brutal force and treacherous deception. Many were massacred at the point of handover within sight or sound of their British escorts. The overwhelming majority of the remainder either died a lingering death in Soviet forced labour camps, or were slaughtered in circumstances of appalling brutality. . . . No one has accepted responsibility, no one has suffered retribution, displayed repentance, or attempted recompense. It is too late for punishment, which is in any case precluded by legal considerations. . . . Nevertheless, the fact that this dreadful...

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