The victor, inevitably, scripts history. The labor of historians unearths the
virtues and valor of the vanquished describing the plight of people
caught in the crossfire. The victor, however, does not stop at authoring
official history of any one event alone, but seeks to re-write all
history to consolidate its current hegemony. Following the collapse of
the USSR and in the present conjuncture of the global capitalist
recession, the West seeks to reinterpret the history of World War II by
equating fascism with communism.

In 2004, to deflect rising global protests against the US military
occupation of Iraq, on the 50th anniversary of the landing of the Allied
troops at Normandy, all North Atlantic Treaty Organisation leaders
assembled to project themselves as the champions of the victory over
fascism liberating Western Europe. They deliberately concealed the fact
that for every allied soldier who laid down his life, fighting fascism,
there were 40 Soviet soldiers who laid down their lives. Over 20 million
Soviet soldiers and people lost their lives. In 1,418 days of war, the
Soviet Union lost nine lives every minute, 857 every hour and 14,000
lives a day.

On the 70th anniversary of fascist Germany’s attack on Poland (September
1, 1939, 4.40 am), which started the World War II, a similar attempt is
being made to once again distort history. This is necessary for the
advanced capitalist powers to seek to prevent the growth of socialist
ideas and Left politics, as currently seen in various countries of Latin
America, in the wake of the worst capitalist economic recession since
the Great Depression. Today, the US has an unprecedented seven million
people unemployed. The European Union is faring no better. Under these
circumstances, it is imperative for them to decry the glorious role of
the Soviet Union and, by implication any socialist alternative, in the
defeat of fascism.

The Economist says “the Kremlin should admit that Stalin was Hitler’s
accomplice before 1941”. The reference here is to the 1939
non-aggression pact between Germany and the Soviet Union. They
conveniently conceal the fact that rejecting the Soviet Union’s
proposals for a united front against fascism, both Britain and France
had entered into similar pacts with Germany earlier. If Prague today is
a ‘museum city’, it is because Hitler moved in there as in much of
Eastern Europe that was ceded, by spineless Western powers, in the
Munich pact of 1938. Hitler’s defeat alone liberated these areas. This
is now being ‘reinterpreted’ as Soviet occupation of Eastern Europe post

The London-based Economist must surely know that the Guardian, published
from the same capital city, on January 1, 1970, when the secret foreign
office archives were made public after the statutory period of 30 years
said, “the cabinet papers for 1939, published this morning show that
World War-II would not have started that year, had the Chamberlain
government accepted or understood Russian advice that an alliance
between Britain, France and the Soviet Union would prevent war because
Hitler would not risk a conflict against the powers on two fronts.”

Why the Western allies did not agree to the Soviet proposal is
chillingly articulated by the then US Senator Harry Truman who later
became both the Vice-President and the President. The day after Hitler
attacked the Soviet Union, he said: “If we see that Germany is winning
we should help the Russians and if Russia is winning we should help the
Germans and that way let them kill as many as possible.” (The New York
Times, June 24, 1941). It was precisely for this reason that the landing
of the second front was delayed by more than two years, despite giving
assurances to Stalin that this would be opened in 1942. This was based
on the hope that Hitler would destroy socialism and reintegrate
one-sixth of world territory back under the capitalist order.

“The greatest military march in world history,” as Hitler declared,
advanced 600 kilometres into the Soviet Union within a fortnight.
Winston Churchill wrote in his memoirs: “Almost all responsible military
opinion held that the Russian army will be soon defeated and largely
destroyed.” Soon the world was amazed when Moscow admitted its losses
after nine weeks of war as including 7,500 guns, 4,500 planes and 5,000
tanks. A British war journalist observed: “An army that could still
fight must have had the biggest or the second biggest supply.” The
182-day battle at Stalingrad, the most heroic and decisive in the defeat
of fascism changed the tide. The subsequent Soviet counter-offensive saw
the fascist military might collapsing. Retreating German soldiers, in
Istra near Moscow, wrote on the walls “Farewell Moscow we are off to
Berlin,” the Soviet soldiers wrote below, “We will get to Berlin too.”
This they did. The red flag unfurled atop the German Reichstag on April
30, 1945. Not the US or Britain or France but it was the Soviet Union
that lowered the fascist flag.

Such distortion of history to restate the “eternality of capitalism”
comes in the wake of the global recession that is throwing up the
possibilities of anti-capitalist socialist alternatives. Truth is
sacrificed at capitalism’s altar to prevent the Left’s advance.

Published in the Hindustan Times of September 09, 2009