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by Chris Coleman*
April 30, 1945: The Soviet Victory Banner is raised over the German Reichstag in Berlin by Red Army soldiers, shortly
before the surrender of German forces in the city and the decisive victory over the fascists on May 9, 1945. (RIA Novosti)
May 9 marked the 65th anniversary of the victory over fascism by the anti-fascist forces of the world with the Soviet Union and the communists in the vanguard. Following the turning point of the Second World War, the great battles of Stalingrad and Kursk in the spring of 1943, the invading Hitlerite forces had been driven back by the great Soviet Red Army to Berlin itself. An important factor in the victory was the invasion of France by the Allies, D-Day June 6 1944, though much controversy surrounded the fact that Churchill had delayed for some two years the opening of such a Second Front after he and Roosevelt had promised as much to Stalin in 1942, the heroism of Allied troops in North Africa and other theatres notwithstanding. On May 9, 1945, Nazi Germany acknowledged defeat and unconditional surrender.
The victory over Hitlerite fascism followed by the defeat of Japanese militarism opened up the hope and possibility of a world of peace, democracy, national independence and the wellbeing of the peoples. Fascism and militarism would henceforth be prevented from ever rising again and threatening the peace. The historic agreements at Teheran, Yalta and Potsdam, the Nuremburg Judgements, the UN Charter, the Geneva Conventions and others, codified these aspirations. Peoples Democracies came into existence and the national liberation of colonialised and oppressed peoples made great strides. In Britain, the war leader Churchill was ousted and a Labour government installed amidst reportedly palpable mass sentiment as well as Labour Party promises for fundamental social change, for socialism and for friendship and co-operation with the Soviet Union.
However, the US and British governments, especially after the death of US President Franklin D Roosevelt in April 1945, even as the historic documents were being signed, reversed their policies of unity against fascism and a post-war world of peaceful coexistence between different systems. The governments of the new US President Truman and the new British Prime Minister Attlee rapidly reverted to the self-serving and short-sighted policies of "containment of communism", of hostility to the Soviet Union and to the liberation struggles of the peoples, the very policies which had allowed and encouraged the rise of Hitler and led inevitably to the terrible catastrophe of the Second World War, with its unparalleled aggression and barbarity, its bestial subjugation and attempted annihilation of whole peoples. The unnecessary dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki as a threat to the peoples not to resist US imperialist domination the creation and rearmament of West Germany in defiance of all agreements, the establishment of the warmongering NATO alliance, the crushing of the democratic movement in Greece, the restoration to power of fascists and their collaborators in various countries, among many others, set the scene for what has continued to this day. The Cold War and the bipolar division of the world, the demise of the Soviet Union which had degenerated into social-imperialism from Khrushchevs time, led right through to todays renewed crusade for world domination by US imperialism and its backers and a renewed offensive against everything progressive, their dread spectre of communism in particular. The threat of a new world war has remained and remains ever present. Thus the issues which presented themselves so gloriously and amidst such hope and enthusiasm in May 1945 peace, democracy, national independence and the wellbeing of the peoples remain unresolved more than half a century later.
An integral part of such retrograde policies has been the total falsification of the true causes and lessons of the Second World War, focusing in particular on the role of Stalin and the Soviet Union. This falsification has been and still is designed to disorientate the working people and to cover up todays preparations for fascism and inter-imperialist war pursued by US imperialism and its subservient junior partner, the British government of whatever stripe.
As regards the 65th anniversary of the victory over fascism, there has been a noticeable and shameful silence on the part of British official circles and their compliant media, bar some fleeting reference to some far-off celebrations in Russia itself. So deep is their credibility crisis, so frantic their search for a champion, so blind their determination to cobble together an administration to push forward their warmongering and anti-social aims, they have not even dared to face the implications of such a great event in the worlds history.
It is of vital importance that the truth of these great events be recognised and upheld, not as something in itself, but as part of providing the information and perspective to enable the working class and people to discuss and plan the way forward, what kind of society is needed, how to take matters into their own hands, how to bring about democratic renewal and bring into being a pro-social and anti-war government, how to solve themselves the problems facing society. To do so is to honour the huge sacrifices made and the hopes and possibilities opened up by the great victory over fascism in 1945.
* Chris Coleman is the National Spokesperson of the Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist).
See also "The Overthrow of the Imperialist System Is the Only Guarantee for Peace" in The Marxist-Leninist, Daily On-Line Newspaper of the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist), May 11, 2010.
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