SOMBRE CEREMONIES marked the 70th anniversary of the start of the Second World War across Europe last week. The war, which cost over 61 million lives, began with the Nazi German invasion of Poland on 1st September 1939 and ended on 2nd September 1945 when the Japanese Emperor Hirohito surrendered following the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by American atom bombs.
In Britain the focus was naturally on 3rd September, the day the British and French ultimatums to Germany expired, and the sacrifice of our people that followed in the struggle to defeat the Axis powers. Here, with the dubious exception of some neo-nazis and anti-semites, there is no doubt that Nazi Germany started the war in a bid for world domination.
But if you were to believe the ravings of some of the reactionary rulers in eastern Europe today you could be forgiven for thinking that it was the Soviet Union that had plunged the world into turmoil in 1939.
Polish President Lech Kaczynski says little or nothing about the pre-war Polish regime’s despicable collaboration with Nazi leader Adolf Hitler. But he’s got plenty to say about the Soviet Union - blaming them for the outbreak of hostilities because they had signed a non-aggression pact with Germany and then absurdly claiming that Poland would have successfully repelled the Nazi legions if it hadn’t been for the Soviet intervention - which incidentally occurred after the Polish government had collapsed under the Nazi onslaught.
The leaders of the Baltic states elevate Nazi collaborators as heroes and bang on about demanding compensation for what they say was decades of Soviet occupation while the rest of the pack want communism equated with Nazism and outlawed.
All of this is done under the approving eye of the big-wigs in the European Union who choose to forget the people who made the greatest sacrifice in the struggle against Nazi Germany and who eventually forced the Wehrmacht on its knees begging for surrender in 1945.
War-time leader Winston Churchill said that the RAF’s battle with the Luftwaffe in 1940 was the “finest hour” in what would later be called the Battle of Britain. It certainly was, but the finest hour for the world communist movement was undoubtedly the battle for Europe.
The Soviet people, led by Joseph Stalin and the Bolsheviks, liberated half of Europe and smashed Nazi Germany while Josef Broz Tito’s guerrilla army and Enver Hoxha’s partisans drove the fascists out of the Balkans.
Communist-led resistance forces had the fascists on the run in Greece, France and Italy while others fought alongside the Red Army on the eastern front while in Asia Mao Zedong, Kim Il Sung and Ho Chi Minh led the fight for freedom against the Empire of Japan.
If it wasn’t for the Soviet Union Germany and Japan would have won the Second World War. What that would have meant can easily be seen by their actions during the conflict - the extermination of millions of Jews and all others deemed unfit to live by the Nazis; concentration camps, mass slavery and dictatorial rule by an elite of industrialists, landowners, war-lords and degenerates of every kind.
This was the world ruled by Hitler and Hirohito - a world that would have set back civilisation hundreds of years had it succeeded.
The Soviet Union is now sadly no more but nothing can take away its achievements. The words of microbes like Kaczynski and his kind will soon be forgotten. The Soviet victory will be remembered by working people for ever.
new worker editorial 3rd september 2009