By NICK LIN
June 6 marked the 75th anniversary of D-Day, June 6, 1944, when Britain and the U.S. opened a second front against Nazi Germany with a massive amphibious assault on the beaches of Normandy in occupied France. The Soviet Union, fighting with incredible resilience and sacrifice to the east, had long-awaited this development promised by its allies. It made its own contribution to D-Day with the coordinated Operation Bagration on the eastern front.
This year, the representatives of Britain, the U.S., France, Canada and others attending the main ceremonies in France, were more boorish than ever in assigning the victory over fascism to themselves and making no mention of the Soviet Union whatsoever. Their refusal to acknowledge all those who contributed to the defeat of fascism in World War II, conspicuously ignoring the role of the Soviet Union and the Red Army, brings them no honour. Nay more, it causes great offence to all those who sacrificed so much to defeat fascism in their own countries as well.
For his part, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who attended the ceremonies in Europe, issued a D-Day statement that referred to the Allied forces, but totally omitted any mention of the Soviet Union, a key member of the Allies. The statement concluded, without irony, with the line “Lest we forget.”
These attempts to sow divisions today dishonour all those who fought against fascism, a victory that was only possible because of the tremendous sacrifice of the Soviet peoples acting together with the U.S., Britain and others, a victory that was hastened by D-Day. Such disinformation is not only self-serving but constitutes malicious activity by the Anglo-American imperialists, intended to portray their present-day imperialist war and aggression as akin to the anti-fascist struggle, and the essential factor for world peace and stability.
At the same time, the peoples of the former Soviet countries proudly celebrate their unparalleled contributions to the defeat of fascism on Victory Day, May 9, in a magnanimous spirit in which everyone’s contributions are acknowledged and everyone is invited to take part in the worldwide marches of the Immortal Regiment. This is portrayed by bourgeois media, especially in the U.S., as “pro-Russian” and “militaristic,” and therefore unacceptable.
The Soviet Union bore the brunt of the Nazi aggression during World War II. Who if not the Red Army veterans and their descendants have a right to have these sacrifices acknowledged and commemorated?
As TML Weekly pointed out on the occasion of V-E Day, “Today it is commonplace to hear the Anglo-American and European imperialists dismiss the feats of the Soviet peoples in defeating Hitler, while claiming that it was the historic landing in Normandy on June 6, 1944, which broke Hitler’s back. This makes it possible to claim that the United States played the decisive role in saving the world from Hitlerism and describing current U.S. wars of aggression and occupation as wars of liberation. All U.S. military interventions since the landing at Normandy are said to oppose dictatorships and tyrannies similar to Hitler’s, thus faithfully following in the tradition of the landing at Normandy.”
In light of the unacceptable disrespect to the Soviet Union, Russia and Red Army veterans that unfolded at the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of D-Day, remarks by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in a June 5 article in Foreign Affairs Magazine, are all the more pointed. He noted:
“Bitter as it is to witness, we see the attempts to discredit the heroes, to artificially generate doubts about the correctness of the path our ancestors followed. Both abroad and in our country we hear that public consciousness in Russia is being militarized, and Victory Day parades and processions are nothing other than imposing bellicose and militaristic sentiment at the state level. By doing so, Russia is allegedly rejecting humanism and the values of the ‘civilized’ world. Whereas European nations, they claim, have chosen to forget about the ‘past grievances,’ come to terms with each other and are ‘tolerantly’ building ‘forward-looking relations.’
“Our detractors seek to diminish the role of the Soviet Union in World War II and portray it, if not as the main culprit of the war, then at least as an aggressor, along with Nazi Germany, and spread the theses about ‘equal responsibility.’ They cynically equate Nazi occupation, which claimed tens of millions of lives, and the crimes committed by collaborationists, with the Red Army’s liberating mission. Monuments are erected in honour of Nazi henchmen. At the same time, monuments to liberator soldiers and the graves of fallen soldiers are desecrated and destroyed in some countries. As you may recall, the Nuremberg Tribunal, whose rulings became an integral part of international law, clearly identified who was on the side of good and who was on the side of evil. In the first case, it was the Soviet Union, which sacrificed millions of lives of its sons and daughters to the altar of Victory, as well as other Allied nations. In the second case, it was the Third Reich, the Axis countries and their minions, including in the occupied territories.
“We hold sacred the contribution of all the Allies to the common Victory in that war, and we believe any attempts to drive a wedge between us are disgraceful. But no matter how hard the falsifiers of history try, the fire of truth cannot be put out. It was the peoples of the Soviet Union who broke the backbone of the Third Reich. That is a fact.”
TML Weekly, Supplement on the 75th Anniversary of D-Day, No. 21, June 8, 2019. The Supplement included articles presenting a recounting of the Red Army’s Operation Bagration, notable events at this year’s commemoration of D-Day, as well as an item that details the prevarications and ulterior motives that characterized the U.S. and British participation throughout World War II, including D-Day.