Fewer and fewer people know the truth about World War II
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 24, 2020
THE Russian Federation has held its postponed Victory Day parade in Moscow. Putin said Europe owed its freedom to the Soviet soldiers who laid down their lives in the war. “They defended their land, freed the states of Europe from invaders, saved the people of Germany from Nazism and its ideology. It is impossible to imagine what would have happened to the world if the Red Army had not stood in the way of fascism.”
Seventy-five years ago the Nazi war machine surrendered and the battle standards of the destroyed Wehrmacht regiments were thrown to the ground before massed crowds in Moscow who marked their victory and mourned their 27 million dead.
When five years ago YouGov polled people in seven European nations and the United States and asked respondents whether the US, Britain or the Soviet Union did most the defeat the Nazis in World War II it found that in six out of the eight countries people thought the US was the major contributor to victory.
It is possible that opinion was sharpened by the renewed cold war climate five years ago as the Nato and EU-sponsored coup which installed a revanchist regime in the Ukraine led to heightened tensions. But bizarre inversions of historical truth gain a growing currency as the generation which participated in the defeat of fascism pass away and as born-again 21st century cold warriors ramp up tensions again against Russia and China.
In Britain 14 per cent of respondents thought the US contributed most to the Germany’s defeat and 50 per cent thought Britain did most. Only 15 per cent knew the truth.
Among people in the USA 55 per cent attributed victory to their own country, 11 per cent got the answer right and a mere 7 per cent thought Britain did most. Among the entire international survey cohort between 18 and 27 per cent had absolutely no idea.
By the end of 1944 the facts are that 2,742,909 Nazi combatants had been killed on the Eastern Front and 339,957 in Western Europe. In the final battles in 1945, according to official German sources, over 80 per cent of the killed and wounded occurred fighting the Red Army.
The defining characteristic of the transatlantic right wing is its appeal to prejudice and its reliance on ignorance. Renewed cold war politics depends on a denial of history truth, while the governing elements in the USA and here rely on the subversion of science in their drive to put profits before people.
With US infections running at 28,000 every day Donald Trump is easily mocked for his ignorance and idiocy in the face of US infectious disease supremo Dr Anthony Fauci’s warning that the coming weeks will be critical in clamping down on coronavirus hot spots across the United States. Fauci said: “We’ve been hit badly,” and “the next couple of weeks are going to be critical in our ability to address those surges.”
Our government is barely less idiotic in its posturing but the key issue is its subversion of the science and its wilful evasion of the conclusions the independent Sage experts have reached concerning the dangers of a premature easing of the lockdown.
While ministers and media manufacture mood music to relax lockdown rules, the experts warn the infection rates are too high and risk a second wave.
Former chief scientific adviser Sir David King said: “If we take the long view we know that the winter is a likely period when the virus takes off again. We must therefore aim to completely get rid of the virus from this country before the winter.”
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