71st Anniversary of the Victory Over Fascism
The Overthrow of the Imperialist System Is the Only Guarantee for Peace
April 30, 1945: The Soviet Victory Banner is first 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. Photos from May 1 (left) and May 2. (RIA Novosti)
On May 9, 1945 the anti-fascist forces of the world with the Soviet Union and communists of all lands at the head of the Resistance Movement declared victory over the Hitlerite Nazis. On this memorable day 71 years ago, fascist Germany acknowledged defeat and declared unconditional surrender.
The turning point of the war was the historic Soviet victory at Stalingrad February 2, 1943 that concluded with the encirclement and surrender of a German army of 300,000 troops. This rout of the Nazi Wehrmacht, followed by a decisive victory at Kursk, began a powerful counteroffensive that drove the German Hitlerites steadily backward until the final demise of the Third Reich in Berlin.
Of great assistance was the Allied landing at Normandy on June 6, 1944 (D-Day), which compelled Germany to wage war on two fronts. Unable to withstand the joint blows of the Red Army and Allied forces, the German troops quickly fled back to their own lands where they finally capitulated unconditionally.
As soon as Hitler was crushed in Berlin and even before the people could breathe a sigh of relief and enjoy the heroic success of their accomplishments in the anti-fascist war, the Anglo-American imperialists began their Cold War to “contain communism.” This campaign attacked and stifled the democratic rights of the people. It was directly aimed at preventing progressive change across the entire world. It targeted first western Europe where it imposed all-sided Anglo-American political, cultural, military and social arrangements on the peoples to stop communism but it also went after Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, covert and not-so-covert wars and coups d’état in Latin America and so on and launched brutal campaigns of espionage and counter-revolution against the former Soviet Union and People’s Democracies in eastern Europe.
As part of their attack on everything progressive, the U.S. imperialists and their minions have deliberately falsified the history of the Second World War. Today, the Red Army of that time is caricatured as being similar to the army of Hitler, as if communist and people’s armies go about killing civilians and shooting prisoners. This portrayal of the Red Army began with Goebbels and the Nazis themselves. The imperialists relentlessly repeat all the old fascist accusations against communism and especially J.V. Stalin who led the Soviet Union and the worldwide victory against fascism. The most outrageous claims are made that Hitler and Stalin are “the same” and that “both bear responsibility for World War II,” when it was the fascist states with the connivance of the Anglo-Americans and the French that started World War II, while the Soviet Union led the struggle to stop the war from ever beginning and finally to end it.
What is the objective behind these falsifications? It could not be merely to discredit the enemies of imperialism posthumously because history cannot be rewritten in that fashion. Rather, it is to groom and egg on the fascist forces in the present, to give them every support to organize against the people in the here and now. The imperialists present to the world a totally fabricated falsehood called “Stalinism,” suggesting this caricature is the same as its opposite, fascism. In fact, everything that is falsely blamed on the name and work of Stalin is exactly what the imperialists have been doing since the victory of the Great October Socialist Revolution in 1917 and the beginning of the Soviet nation-building project led by the working class to negate its exploiters and open a path for the emancipation of workers and oppressed people worldwide.
Throughout the Second World War, the overall Anglo-American strategic plan was to try to minimize their own military losses, then intervene when both Germany and the Soviet Union were exhausted. The deepest wish of the U.S. ruling elite was that Nazi Germany would smash the Soviet Union. The truth is that the rulers of the U.S. were very unhappy that the Red Army were able to turn back Hitler’s forces at Stalingrad and reach Berlin and stop the Anglo-American imperialist forces. The U.S., with its British ally, could then create a post-war Europe that was to its own economic and political advantage. They launched operations, the main aim of which was not to help bring about a just peace. Instead, it was first and foremost aimed at trying to prevent the Soviets from playing the decisive role in winning the war against the Hitlerites, even though the Soviet Union had already played that role and had already won the everlasting acclaim of the world’s people for its great accomplishments.
This was an imperialist dream that went back prior to the founding of the Soviet Union. In 1918 the U.S. and 14 other countries including Canada invaded the newly born Soviet Russia, hoping to destroy it before the revolutionary workers and peasants could consolidate their nation-building project. Even as the “peacemakers” talked in Paris in 1919, tens of thousands of Allied soldiers were waging a bloody undeclared war against Soviet Russia and the revolutionary workers and peasants of 14 other nations fighting to join together in a Union of Soviet Socialist Republics free from imperialist exploitation and war.
Following World War I, the U.S. ruling class pursued a policy of using the contradictions among the European imperialist powers to further its own empire building and to profit from and weaken its European rivals, especially Britain and France. With the rise to power of the German Nazi Party in 1933, the U.S. saw in Nazi Germany a weapon to terrorize and dominate Europe and finally destroy the socialist Soviet Union. To this end, powerful monopolies in the U.S. such as Ford invested millions in Germany to strengthen its military for the planned invasions and war. Meanwhile, as the Nazis ruthlessly eliminated all opposition within Germany and militarized all aspects of life, Britain and France pursued a policy of conciliation and capitulation to fascism, and similar to the U.S. prodded Germany to prepare to march eastward.
All the efforts of the Soviet Union to oppose Germany by signing a mutual assistance pact with Britain and France failed. Instead, Britain and France meekly accepted the German Wehrmacht’s invasion and annexation of Austria in March 1938, paving the way for the signing of the infamous Munich Agreement six months later in September allowing Germany a free hand to occupy a major industrialized region of Czechoslovakia greatly strengthening its militarization and preparations for war. The Munich conciliation with fascism sealed the immediate fate of the peoples of Europe by giving Hitler the green light to invade other countries without a united opposition. The Soviet Union in particular was left on its own to prepare itself as best it could for the inevitable Nazi attack. As expected, 22 months later on June 22, 1941 Hitler’s military invaded the Soviet Union along a 2,900 km front with over 4.5 million troops, 600,000 vehicles and tanks, 750,000 horses and thousands of aircraft. This barbaric invasion to crush the nation-building project of the Soviet working class and peasantry, annex their territory, seize their means of production and raw material and turn the people into slaves of the German monopolies was the largest military offensive in history. In the end, the resistance of the Soviet peoples led by Stalin and the Communist Party broke the back of the Nazi aggressors. Some 50 million people died and another 35 million were seriously wounded during the Anti-Fascist War with the peoples of the Soviet Union bearing the brunt of the casualties.
What is the main lesson of the Second World War?
In Causes and Lessons of the Second World War, Hardial Bains writes: “It is very important to understand that this entire propaganda on the question of the Second World War has an aim. Working people should not take it with folded arms because its object is to organize a fascist movement, to condone fascist aggression. If the Anglo-American bourgeoisie is successful in this, it will cause a disaster for the peoples of the world just as the Anglo-American policy caused the disaster of the Second World War. A repetition of this policy will bring the disaster of a Third World War. Our Party openly states that people should take the road of revolution. Our party will give the call for the overthrow of any government that participates in an imperialist and aggressive war. We have the right to do so in order to protect the people from the horrors of such a cataclysmic war. To protect the people from the horrors of inter-imperialist war is part of the tradition of the modern democratic movement, the entire struggle for the rights and freedoms of the people. The movement entrusts us with this stand. […] The overthrow of the imperialist system is the only guarantee for peace. There is no other lasting way peace can be achieved. This is the lesson of the Second World War.” (Hardial Bains, Causes and Lessons of the Second World War. Toronto: MELS, 1990)