Accidentally posted while incomplete; now finished
Post by David Tenner
Can anyone see a scenario where Headlam-Morley's
nightmare actually comes true--unlikely as it seems
today after a century of peace in Europe?
There are documents from the archives of the Comintern
which describe the Green Harp Plan. It was a proposal
to incite ethnic unrest in many European and Near
Eastern countries, including irredentism where
applicable. This would be escalated to civil disorder
or a border war. Such conditions would provide
opportunities for local Communists to seize power or
for intervention by Soviet forces.
The targeted areas included virtually every ethnic
minority in Europe with a trace of nationalism, even
such obscure movements as Galician separatism,
Corsican nationalism, and Aland Islands-Swedish
The plan was to have covert Comintern agents take up
the cause, elevate its profile, and engage in highly
provocative actions. Meanwhile, other Comintern agents
would infiltrate appropriate agencies of the ruling
government. They would push offensively majoritarian
policies, and insure that the police and security
services responded to protests with heavy-handed and
The name of the plan was an allusion to the successful
campaign of the Irish Republicans against British
control. Their 1916 "Easter Rising" had failed militarily,
but the British response had alienated most of the Irish
people, and paved the way for the successful War of
Independence a few years later.
The Reds had no interest in achieving any of the
revolutionary or irredentist goals, but they believed
that whenever such a conflict broke out into actual
violence, they would be able to take advantage.
Fortunately, the Green Harp Plan came to nothing. The
1931 Porte Vecchio affair, though little noticed outside
Communist circles, was the decisive setback. Louis
Bordoni was a French Communist from Corsica who had
been a Marxist socialist long before the Bolsheviks
came to power and thus had no awe of them. He had been
working in the Party's national HQ in Paris for over a
decade, but returned to Corsica, where he became Party
chairman for the département.
Soon after his return, he learned that Soviet
operatives were making use of Party offices in
Corsica, and doing mysterious things. Some younger
Party members were involved in whatever-it-was; a few
had mysteriously left the Party. Bordoni investigated
quietly, working through old comrades he could trust,
and discovered that the Soviet operatives were
planting agents in the local police and judiciary, and
also secretly promoting the feeble Corsican
In particular, he discovered that the Soviets were
behind both a bomb planted at the docks of Porte
Vecchio (a town in SE Corsica) and the brutal arrest a
few days later of a local Corsican activist. He
exposed the whole plot and kicked the Soviets out of
Bordoni reported the affair to Party colleagues in
Paris, which produced an ugly schism between those
in complete thrall to Moscow and those who were
independent - especially after a similar operation
was discovered in Brittany.
The scandal in France triggered similar investigations
and scandals in several other countries, leading to a
broad loss of Comintern influence, and also anger in
some national governments, which made trouble for
The fiasco seriously damaged the political position of
the Green Harp Plan's progenitors, Kamenev, Pyatakov,
and Trotsky, already weak due to the failure of their
"Red Green" program to increase agricultural
production by collectivization, and their roll-back of
the New Economic Policy which had allowed the USSR to
become a thriving mixed economy.
The upshot was the shake-up at the 1931 Party
Congress, where the Trotskyites were deposed and
replaced by a troika of Rykov, Bukharin, and Stalin,
who revived and expanded the NEP. (Stalin had been
brought back from a three-year exile in Siberia to use
his connections in the party apparatus. But he did not
regain his former post in the apparatus. He was put in
charge of GOSPLAN instead.)
Under Rykov, the Soviet Union made rapid economic
progress, as it had in the 1920s under the first NEP.
Foreign trade even improved, and the the Soviet "boom"
helped cushion the effects of the Great Depression
almost immediately. The effects were felt in Germany,
where unemployment peaked early in 1932, and dropped
substantially by the end of the year. This led to
reduced success for the Nazi Party. And the Comintern
did not compel the KPD to oppose any non-Communist
government, instead encouraging the KPD to support the
ruling coalition of all other non-Nazi parties, which
clung to power through the end of 1933.
In June 1933, elements of the frustrated Sturm
Abteilung (Brown Shirts) attempted a putsch, which was
suppressed by the Reichswehr. Though Hitler had not
ordered or authorized the move, he was blamed for it,
and arrested. The NSDAP split, then collapsed.
Germany and the USSR formed a pragmatic alliance. In
the Far East they joined to support China against Japan.
In the East Asia War of 1939, the alliance expelled
Japan from the mainland of Asia.
This resulted in the fall of the militarist leadership
in Japan and stabilization of China under KMT rule.
The Chinese economy began to take off, bringing further
In fact, this period is regarded as the start of the
But what could have happened if Bordoni had not
exposed the Soviet plotting? Could GREEN HARP have
actually spawn national breakdowns? _And_ enable
Soviet expansion? (It could easily bring about the
first while failing at the second.)
One can imagine disorder and bloodshed all through
eastern Europe, especially in Poland, and the
triumph of Hitler in a panicked Germany. German
ambitions against Poland and Czechoslovakia would
get free rein, while Hungary would revive its
claims to Transylvania and Slovakia.
France and Britain would have to oppose this, and
a great general war could break out.
Nous sommes dans une pot de chambre, et nous y serons emmerdés.
--- General Auguste-Alexandre Ducrot at Sedan, 1870.