2 OCTOBER 1942, Page 12


Snt,—Your reviewer of Russia and Her Western Neighbours, by Professor Keeton and Dr. Schlesinger, a distinguished emigre from Nazi Germane. having stated that the authors favour a Polish-Russian frontier similar to that arranged by Hitler in 5939, remarks that this suggested frontier is " entirely unexceptionable." This seems a dangerous pronouncement. I think your reviewer must have been basing his opinion on passages in the book which state: " The fact remains that the Soviet has en- couraged the cultural development in these areas instead of repressing it as the Poles did, and that Soviet rule has greatly improved the lot of the peasants. . . . There can be little ,doubt that the White Russian and Ukrainian areas of the former Polish State will unmistakably express their desire that incorporation in the U.S.S.R. should be permanent. The first statement is surely contrary to much of the evidence available from the peasants in these areas, while the second statement is extremelY debatable. It was among the peasants themselves that resistance to Soviet collective economy in these areas was strongest. -It is a possibility that these peasants, while admiring the Russian soldiers and wishing all

prosperity to the Russian State, may prefer to live under a Polish rather than a Soviet system.

Throughout the book the authors in their treatment of Polish policy in these areas are not only biased, which is permissible, but occasionally appear to misrepresent facts. The question of schools is a good example. The authors write: "By 1920 the number of Ukrainian schools in the whole of the western Ukraine had risen to 3,6o2, but, under Polish rule, they were reduced to 1,074 in 1925, and the situation became even worse with the passage of time." They ignore the fact that the enormous majority of schools opened in this district by the Polish Government were bi-lingual and compulsorily taught both Ukrainian and Polish. There were well over 5,000 bi-lingual primary schools in 1939, apart from schools teaching in the Ukrainian language alone. Such methods of propaganda against an Ally are liable to mislead readers. They appear to have misled your reviewer—himself another distinguished German scholar.—Yours, &c., SPENCER CURTIS BROWN.

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