Although we were promised vast spectacles on 6th June to mark the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings earlier in the month, the commemorative events were clearly overshadowed by the hostile reception to President Trump in London and the Brexit crisis that brought down Theresa May, who formally stepped down as Prime Minister the day after.
Donald Trump joined the Queen and some other NATO politicians for a ceremony in Portsmouth and the signing of a pointless joint statement that committed its 16 signatories to “work constructively as friends and allies to find common ground”, even where their opinions differ, and "to work together to resolve international tensions peacefully”. Apart from Trump, the only other heads of state and government at the ceremony were French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The Russians were pointedly not invited to the Portsmouth event nor to the Battle of Normandy celebrations held across the Channel on the same day.
The Normandy landings did, of course, hasten the end of the Third Reich but they weren’t in themselves the deciding factor in the defeat of Nazi Germany. It was the Red Army that even Winston Churchill said had "torn the guts out of the Nazi war machine" on the eastern front during the Second World War. Churchill, of course, was a rabid anti-communist, who saw the alliance with Stalin’s Soviet Union as a marriage of convenience that would end as soon as the Nazi threat was over.
It was only when the Hitler’s Wehrmacht was on the run that Anglo-American imperialism moved towards a ‘Second Front’. Fearing that the Soviet army would soon liberate the entire European continent, their forces landed in France and fought their way to western Germany.
It is always important to remember the sacrifice of all those who fought in the struggle against fascism during the Second World War. The Normandy landings liberated France and hastened the end of Hitler’s regime. But it was the sacrifice of the Soviet people of all nationalities who rallied to the call to defend their socialist motherland that brought Hitler to his knees. Over 20 million Soviet citizens, including the flower of their youth, died in the epic struggle to defeat the brutal Nazi war-machine – a struggle that ended in victory over Hitler’s Third Reich in 1945.