Celebrating victory over Nazism

ON 9th May 1945 the Nazis finally surrendered to the forces of the Soviet Union in the ruins of Berlin. This year Victory Day will be celebrated in Moscow with a big parade hosted by Russian President Vladimir Putin with guests that include 27 world leaders and the head of the United Nations while other ceremonies to mark the 70th anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany will be held throughout the world to remember those who gave their lives in the struggle.

Victory Day is a time for reflection for all working people. It is a time to remember the sacrifice of millions of people, and in particular the 27 million Soviet workers and peasants, who died in the fight to defeat German fascism and Japanese imperialism.

The Axis powers wanted world domination and they committed unspeakable crimes in the Second World War that began in 1939 and only ended in 1945 with the total defeat of the Third Reich and the Japanese Empire.

Though Anglo-American imperialism played an important role in the defeat of fascism it was the courage and determination of the Soviet people that brought Nazi Germany to its knees and it was equally the final intervention by the USSR against Japan in 1945 that forced the Japanese Emperor Hirohito to capitulate, regardless of the American atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

War-time leader Winston Churchill said that the RAF’s battle with the Luftwaffe in 1940 was the “finest hour” in what would later be called the Battle of Britain. It certainly was, but the finest hour for the world communist movement was undoubtedly the battle for Europe.

The flower of Soviet youth, led by Stalin and the Bolsheviks, sacrificed their lives to preserve their socialist motherland in a titanic struggle against the forces of reaction. They fought the Nazis to a standstill outside the gates of Leningrad and Moscow. They broke the back of the Nazi legions in Stalingrad and Kursk and they took Berlin with Adolf Hitler dead in his bunker and the Red Flag flying over the Reichstag.

The Soviet people, led by Joseph Stalin and the Bolsheviks, liberated half of Europe and smashed Nazi Germany while Josef Broz Tito’s guerrilla army and Enver Hoxha’s partisans drove the fascists out of the Balkans.

Communist-led resistance forces had the fascists on the run in Greece, France and Italy. Others fought alongside the Red Army on the eastern front while in Asia Mao Zedong, Kim Il Sung and Ho Chi Minh led the fight for freedom against the Japanese imperialists.

If it wasn’t for the Soviet Union Germany and Japan would have won the war. What that would have meant can easily be seen by their actions during the conflict — the extermination of millions of Jews and all others deemed unfit to live; concentration camps, mass slavery and dictatorial rule by an elite of industrialists, landowners, warlords and degenerates of every kind. This was the world ruled by Hitler and Hirohito — a world that would have set back civilisation hundreds of years had it succeeded.

The Soviet Union is now sadly no more but nothing can take away its achievements. The Soviet victory will be remembered by working people for ever.