This must rank up there with the Iwo Jima hoisting the flag photo with one of the great photos of WW2. Actually, along with the Iwo Jima photo, it’s not only that, but it’s also one of the great photos of the last century.
The Soviet contribution to the defeat of the Axis in WW2 is completely underestimated. We didn’t even seem to be against the Nazis much before the end of 1941. I saw an article from Time Magazine in 1940 about the takeover of Poland by the USSR and Nazi Germany. There was nothing about the Nazis. It was all about the cruelty and evil of the Soviets. One would think that the piece was Nazi propaganda.
Even before 1940, there was a battle against fascism going on in Spain. A Leftwing government had been elected in 1936. There was a military coup soon afterwards, as there always is (which is why a lot of Communists say that the peaceful road to socialism is doomed), and Franco’s forces declared war on the state. I think the Army split, but I’m not sure. Hitler and Mussolini supported Franco.
The US and the rest of the rest refused to support the Republican government despite their desperate pleas for help. But the US did not stop US corporations from supplying the Francoists with military gear. These supplies along with the refusal of the West to support the Republic, led to the fall of the Republic in 1939.
Thousands of Americans went off to fight with the Republicans. They were excoriated at home, and in the 1950’s, they were purged from their jobs by the McArthyites as “premature anti-Fascists.” Amazing, huh? It was only ok to be anti-fascist after, what? 1940? 1941?
89% of all German military deaths were suffered at the hands of the Red Army. The Soviets lost 27 million people, many of them civilians. That was 1/7 of the entire population. Of the young people aged 17-21, an incredible 95% of them had died! An average of 19,000 Russians had died every single day of the war. Can you imagine if the US fought a war for 4 years in which 28,500 Americans had died every day for every year of the war, and at the end of the war, 42 million Americans had been killed?
The Nazis were essentially defeated by the USSR.
Nevertheless, revisionist history holds sway. Going to school in the Cold War, we never learned about the Soviet role in the defeat of the Nazis. Most popular US WW2 books have reams about Roosevelt and especially Churchill, oh, and don’t forget D-Day and the Battle of the Bulge, but little to nothing about the crucial Eastern Front, where the war was won.
New books and articles in Time excoriate Stalin’s role in the war. The Nazi invasion caught him off-guard, since he was a fool.
Not really so. Stalin knew Hitler was going to attack, he just did not know when. There had been endless false claims of a Nazi attack, almost one a day, for the previous year. Most of these were coming out of Western intelligence, especially “war hero” Churchill’s MI-5.
While under brutal attack by the Nazis, amidst Soviet cries for alliance, Churchill the die-hard anti-Communist could not be bothered to help the “evil” USSR. Instead, his intelligence service was busy serving up Stalin a fake Nazi invasion about every day. The reason?
To set off a war between Germany and USSR in which the two enemies, one as bad as the other to Churchill, would destroy each other, meanwhile laying off the Brits. So these reports developed a boy who cried wolf quality, but Stalin knew of the invasion as soon as it started. Yes, there were tactical retreats at the beginning, now recoded as defeats by the Western media.
The same books and articles even, appallingly, try to lay responsibility for the 27 million Soviet deaths on Stalin himself! I have seen analyses of “Stalin’s Death Toll” that apportion say 10 million of those deaths to the Nazis, and the other 17 million to Stalin! Why? For being a shitty commander in chief, apparently. What a disgrace to the memory of the fallen.
The West regularly republishes the tragedy at Katyn. Yes, 40,000 Polish officers, possibly fascists, were executed. So much about this, but is there one word of the fireboming of Dresden (28,000 Germans killed in one night) or the firebombing of Tokyo (100,000 Japanese killed in a night).
We often hear reports of atrocities committed in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania by Stalin. Yes, there were some killings. Keep in mind these states had elected fascist governments when the Soviets took over. Supposedly, a few of those taken away to Siberia by the NKVD were even Jews. So Stalin was an anti-Semite?
Let’s look at the facts. There were hundreds of thousands of Jews in the Baltics when the Nazis overran them and the Red Army retreated. That was only a few less than when the Soviets took over. In a year or so, there were basically zero Jews left in the Baltics. Those who had not escaped were gassed at concentration camps. Huge numbers of locals had gleefully joined in with the Jew-killing, even forming large Nazi auxiliary armies to help the process along. Now who’s the anti-Semite anyway? Not a word of any of this in the Western media.
Yet we do hear of the Red Army reportedly waiting outside Warsaw, supposedly to let the Nazis finish off the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, though I have yet to corroborate this.
With all the sacrifices the Soviet people made in defeating the Nazi Orcs, it’s sad that we have to trash and ignore them like this.