From Socialist Voice, March 2005

Victors rewriting history

The recent ceremonies to mark the liberation of the Auschwitz extermination camp by the Red Army brought into sharp focus the nature of the Nazi genocidal war machine. And as the people of Europe were preparing to mark this important event we had the offspring of the British ruling class holding a party at which one of these infantile layabouts dressed up as a Nazi, wearing a swastika armband. Well, that sort of politics runs in that particular family.
     Then we had the German neo-Nazis running amok in Leipzig, and other neo-Nazis walking out in protest at the minute’s silence for those who died in the death camps. These actions caused widespread revulsion, and renewed calls were made to make the wearing of fascist insignia illegal.
     Not to be outdone, the belly-crawling cronies of US imperialism in the European Parliament from eastern Europe—the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, and Slovakia—demanded that the proposed ban be extended to cover communist symbols as well. It is remarkable that all these countries either had strong fascist governments before the Second World War and greatly admired Hitler or had strong collaborationist forces that fought alongside the Nazis in fascism’s effort to crush the Bolsheviks and smash the Soviet Union.
     In May this year we will mark the sixtieth anniversary of the defeat of fascism in Europe. No doubt our television screens will be full of old films showing how the British and the Yanks really beat Hitler. These are nothing but Hollywood dream-factory productions. Yes, the Western allies did eventually get involved in the war, but only when it was clear that the Soviet Union was not going to collapse but was in fact defeating the fascists, with great human losses and suffering.
     We will have a string of Second World War experts being paraded out to play down the role of the Soviet Union and the struggle on the Eastern Front. They will attempt to equate Stalin and Hitler as evil twins, with twin ideologies. Much will be said about the Soviet-German Pact, but nothing about the Soviet-Czechoslovak agreement, nor the efforts of the Soviets to sign an anti-fascist pact with the British, which was turned down. Once the Soviets could not secure political agreement with the British and the French in relation to the threat from fascism, the military priorities became dominant. That was the reason for the pact between the Soviet Union and Germany: it bought necessary military time.
     To this day, together with the myths perpetrated by the ruling elites of eastern Europe in order to cover their own tracks and the extent of their collaboration with the Nazis, the Soviet-German pact has been dragged up.
     No doubt the ultra-left will also carry forward these myths in their never-ending search for the Never Never Land of the ideal socialism, the ideal revolution. For that is all it is: an ideal, removed from the material world.
     The ruling class may ban symbols—the hammer and sickle, or the red flag, or posters of working-class heroes; but they will never bury the struggle for social justice, for national liberation, for peace. They can erase inconvenient facts from the history books, but they cannot erase the debt of gratitude the world owes to the Soviet Union, its people, and the Red Army.

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