On May 9, 2017, Russians held a military parade in Red Square to commemorate the Allied victory over Nazi Germany in World War II. Given all the anti-Russia hoopla in the United States, no Western leaders attended the victory parade.
The Russians have good reason to commemorate the end of World War II. That’s because it was the Soviet Union, not the United States and Britain, that ended up as the real winner of the war.
Recall, first of all, that it is was Great Britain that declared war on Germany, not the other way around. The reason? Britain had issued a guaranty to Poland to come to its defense in the event Germany attacked Poland. Germany attacked Poland, which then triggered Britain’s declaration of war on Germany.
But the British guaranty to Poland never had to be given. If England had not issued the guaranty, it would have been under no legal duty to initiate war on Germany.
In fact, the guaranty to Poland was foolish because England knew that it lacked the military capability to honor it. That is, once German troops invaded and occupied Poland, England knew that it lacked the military means to dislodge them. That’s why, as the war progressed, England began turning to the United States to come to its assistance in the war that it had declared on Germany.
Now, let’s fast forward to the end of the war. Nazi Germany lay defeated. But what was the situation with Poland? After all, don’t forget: Poland was why England had declared war on Germany in the first place.
At the end of the war, Poland had been liberated from the clutches of Nazi Germany. That is one of the things that England, the United States, and the Soviet Union — as the Allied powers — have always celebrated as part of their victory over Nazi Germany.
But as every Pole recognizes, there is one big thing wrong with that picture: At the end of the war, Poland was under Soviet occupation and control. Why was that a problem? Because the Soviet Union, America’s wartime partner and ally, was a brutal communist regime, one that had actually killed more people than Hitler’s Nazi Germany. Living under communist rule was not any better than living under Nazi rule.
And yet that’s what the Poles ended up doing — living under brutal communist tyranny for the next 25 years. That’s why the Poles, unlike the Americans, the Brits, and the Russians, never considered themselves to be among the winners in World War II.
President Harry Truman used the Soviet Union’s continued occupation of Poland and the rest of Eastern Europe to initiate the U.S. government’s Cold War against the Soviets. Truman said that the Soviet Union’s continued occupation of Eastern Europe proved that Russia was hell-bent on invading France and the rest of Western Europe as part of a worldwide communist conspiracy to take over the world, including the United States.
Yet, that notion was baseless from the get-go. The Soviets had just lost 27 million people. Their entire country was devastated. It had no industrial base left. The notion that the Soviet Union intended to go to war against its wartime partners and allies was ludicrous, especially when one of those partners wielded nuclear weapons and had no reservations about using them against populated cities. Maybe it just never occurred to Truman that the Soviets wanted to continue occupying Eastern Europe not as a launching pad for WW III but instead simply to provide a buffer to protect themselves from yet another invasion by Germany in the future.
Truman’s decision to initiate the Cold War is how the U.S. government got converted into a national-security state, which consisted of a giant, permanent military establishment, the CIA, and the NSA, all of which had the characteristics of the totalitarian regimes in both Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. The idea was that in order to defeat the communists, it was necessary for the United States to become like them. That’s why the U.S. government secretly began hiring former Nazi officials, engaged in medical experimentation of unsuspecting Americans, and began specializing in the arts of torture, assassination, secret surveillance, and regime change.
It was easy to forget, however, how it was that the Soviet Union ended up occupying Poland and the rest of Eastern Europe. The dark irony was that it was U.S. officials who gave the Soviets control over Poland and Eastern Europe. That’s what the Yalta Conference in 1945 was all about. Working together to plan the postwar order of things, President Franklin Roosevelt and Soviet leader Joseph Stalin agreed that the Soviets would retain control over Eastern Europe.
Let’s summarize the results of World War II insofar as the European conflict is concerned:
(1) “We” won World War II by defeating Nazi Germany, with the “we” consisting of England, the United States, and the Soviet Union. But the Poles, whose freedom England had declared war on Germany to achieve, ended up under the control of the Soviets for the next 45 years. The same holds true for the rest of Eastern Europe.
(2) The British ended up losing their vast overseas empire and ended up effectively becoming a third-rate power in international affairs (which they viewed as a negative).
(3) The American people end up with a 45-year Cold War against its wartime partner and ally, the Soviet Union, a vicious anti-communist crusade that destroyed the lives or careers of countless people, and two hot wars in North Korea and Vietnam that killed close to 100,000 American soldiers.
(4). The U.S. government ended up being permanently restructured from a limited-government republic to a national-security state, a type of governmental structure that characterized both Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, one that ended up destroying the rights, liberties, and privacy of the American people, especially given its powers of assassination, torture, regime change, and waging perpetual, undeclared wars.
The Russians have every right to celebrate the end of World War II with a big military parade in Red Square because they were the ones who actually won the war. Maybe that’s another reason why Western leaders boycotted the parade.