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Issue #1700      September 2, 2015

Editorial

Who won WW2?

During and shortly after WW2, people had no doubt that the main area of conflict was the Russian front. The most troops, the most weapons, the greatest battles, the greatest destruction of German military forces, it was all on the Russian front. Consider the statistics: a total of 607 Nazi divisions were destroyed or captured on that front, representing 80 percent of the Wehrmacht’ s strength. That is three and a half times more than the Nazis lost on all the other war fronts – in North Africa, Italy and Western Europe – combined.

The road to Berlin was a long and hard one. There was fierce fighting for 1,418 days and nights along a front varying in length from 3,000 to 6,200 kilometres, as well as behind the lines in enemy-occupied territories.

The Soviet people paid a high price for victory over fascism: every minute of the war, they lost nine lives, 587 lives every hour and 14,000 lives every day. Two out of every five persons killed during the Second World War was a Soviet citizen. On top of deaths on an unimaginable scale, the country also suffered unprecedented material damage, to the tune of a staggering US$485 billion.

It had taken the Soviet people a decade to overcome the devastation of WWI and the Civil War before they could begin the momentous task of industrialising the country and building socialism. They had had little more than a decade of that reconstruction before they were invaded by the Nazis. Such was the strength of the new society however that despite such colossal losses, they not only won through to victory but in the process they liberated some 113 million people in lands west of the Soviet Union.

Ever since Churchill launched the Cold War in 1946, Western propaganda has assiduously promoted the myth that D-Day alone brought victory over Nazi Germany, that the USA won WW2, that the Russian front was basically a side-show. The recent anniversary of VE Day has seen that propaganda campaign ramped up exponentially. Even the USSR’s 26 million war dead – a figure so staggering as to be almost inconceivable – are largely ignored in the West. There is no propaganda line that can turn that to the advantage of the West, so it is simply ignored, buried, hopefully to be forgotten.

Harry Truman, who would succeed Franklin Roosevelt as US President, bluntly if tactlessly expressed the policy of US capitalism after Germany invaded the USSR in 1941: “when Russia is winning, we should support Germany, when Germany is winning we should support Russia.” The people disagreed, and in Britain and the USA – and here in Australia – they marched to demand the urgent opening of the Second Front (the first being the one in Russia).

The capitalist powers, however, were in no rush to aid their Soviet ally. Their class interests took priority. Churchill and his US allies delayed opening the Second Front, invading first of all North Africa, then Sicily and then Italy, leaving the majority of Axis troops free to continue fighting in Russia. D-Day did not become a firm commitment until they were faced with the likelihood that if they delayed any longer, when they landed in Normandy they would be greeted by Russian soldiers busy liberating France.

Churchill had not been shy about appealing to Stalin for the Red Army to begin virtually every offensive ahead of schedule in order to assist Anglo-American military operations. Despite cogent reasons (such as the cost in human lives) for sticking to their plans, the Russians agreed every time to advance their offensives so as to relieve pressure on their allies.

Today, you are hard put to even find a mention of the Russian contribution to defeating Hitler. Capitalism’s relentless rewriting of history must not be allowed to cover up the truth about who really won the war against fascism. It was the Soviet Union, in a victory made possible by the superiority of socialism.

Next article – “Operation Fortitude” – a wake up call

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