Victory at Stalingrad
The battle of Stalingrad was one of the most dramatic events of the Second World War. Nazi Germany had overrun large parts of the Soviet Union and was now hoping to seize the Soviet oil-fields in the Caucasus. The city of Stalin stood in their way. Nazi Germany attacked the Soviet Union in 1941 dreaming of world domination. Hitler's hopes died in the city on the Volga river.
Soviet people of all nationalities rallied to the call to defend their socialist motherland. The flower of their youth sacrificed themselves in an epic struggle to defeat the brutal Nazi war-machine.
Stalin said: "The strength of the Red Army rests, above all, in the fact that it is waging, not a predatory, not an imperialist war, but a patriotic war, a war of liberation, a just war. The Red Army's task is to liberate our Soviet territory from the German invaders; to liberate from the yoke of the German invaders the citizens of our villages and towns who were free and lived like human beings before the war, but are now oppressed and suffer pillage, ruin and famine; and finally, to liberate our women from that disgrace and outrage to which they are subjected by the German-fascist monsters. What could be more noble, more lofty than such a task?
"Not one German soldier can say that he is waging a just war, because he cannot fail to see that he is forced to fight for the despoilation and oppression of other peoples. The German soldier has no such lofty and noble aim in the war which could inspire him and of which he could be proud.
"But, in contrast, any Red Army man can say with pride that he is waging a just war, a war of liberation, a war for the freedom and independence of his Motherland. The Red Army does have a noble and lofty aim in the war which inspires it to great exploits. It is precisely this that explains why the patriotic war brings forth amongst us thousands of heroes and heroines ready to go to their death for the sake of the liberty of their Motherland. Herein lies the strength of the Red Army.
"And herein lies the weakness of the German-fascist army".
On 31 January 1943 Field Marshal Friedrich von Paulus, the commander of the encircled German army surrendered. By 2 February all his men had laid down their arms. Over 130,000 Nazi troops were taken prisoner, some 100,000 had been killed in the six months of fighting and a further 90,000 had died from disease and starvation. Two and a half years later Adolf Hitler was dead in his bunker and the Soviet flag was flying over Berlin.
The mighty Wehrmacht was taught a terrible lesson at Stalingrad - a lesson Von Paulus soon understood. He joined the Free German committee based in the Soviet Union and made broadcasts during the war urging German soldiers to surrender to the advancing Red Army. After the war he retired to the German Democratic Republic and died in Dresden in 1957.
The turning point
Chinese communist leader Mao Zedong called Stalingrad the turning point in the war. Mao said: "Historically, all reactionary forces on the verge of extinction invariably conduct a last desperate struggle against the revolutionary forces, and some revolutionaries are apt to be deluded for a time by this phenomenon of outward strength but inner weakness, failing to grasp the essential fact that the enemy is nearing extinction while they themselves are approaching victory. The rise of the forces of fascism and the war of aggression they have been conducting for some years are precisely the expression of such a last desperate struggle, and in this present war the attack on Stalingrad is the expression of the last desperate struggle of fascism itself".
That's another lesson we should remember in these crisis days.
No to War! Just for Peace!
By our Arab Affairs Correspondent
ANGLO-AMERICAN IMPERIALISM put their cards on the table at the UN Security Council this week producing "evidence" of Iraqi evasion and talking about giving an ultimatum to Saddam Hussein. But no country has been swayed, apart from those already in the pocket of London and Washington. And People's China, France and Russia have made it clear that the disarmament inspectors must be given the time to finish the job the Security Council collectively mandated them to do.
US Secretary of State Colin Powell presented clandestine tape recordings, spy camera photos and statements from informers - dismissed in advance by Baghdad as "cheap satellite pictures and vague recorded conversations" -- which he claimed was "irrefutable and unddeniable" evidence of the concealment of weapons of mass destruction. Foreign Secretary Jack Straw called for a deadline of 14 February for Iraq to prove it is complying or face military action.
But this was rejected by China and Russia. Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan told the Security Council: "We should respect the views of the two [inspection] agencies and support the continuation of their work". They had been "working very hard and it is their view that now they are not in a position to draw conclusions".
"It is the universal desire of the international community to see a political settlement to the issue of Iraq and avoid any war," Tang Jiaxuan added.
Coming from a different angle, Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov called on Iraq to provide answers to the US report but concluded that "the information provided" by Colin Powell "once again convincingly indicates the fact that the activities of the international inspectors in Iraq must be continued. They alone can provide an answer to the question of to what extent is Iraq complying with the demands of the Security Council".
France held a similar position calling for a tripling of the number of inspectors to do the job.
On the 15-seat UN Security Council British and American imperialism can only count on their own votes plus those of Spain, Mexico and Bulgaria. Nine are opposed including China, Russia, France and Germany and one, Chile has not declared its position.
Bush and Blair have said they'll go it alone if they don't get a UN rubber-stamp for war pretty soon and over 100,000 US soldiers and a large number of British troops have already been sent to the Gulf in readiness.
But they also know that any move without a UN mandate will lead to even greater protests at home and provoke a crisis of confidence amongst their own supporters.
This is particularly true for Blair, whose whole argument at TUC and Labour Party conference was based on upholding the UN road.
Despite the best shots of his spin-merchants, the anti-war movement in Britain has grown and grown. A third-rate attempt to rally European support in the form of a pro-American statement signed by eight European Union and would-be EU members has fizzled out. The Czech Republic repudiated the endorsement of retiring President Havel almost immediately as only a "personal statement". It cut no ice at home and all it achieved was to worsen British relations with Germany and France - which bodes ill for Blair's hopes for speedy euro entry on his terms. Likewise a half-baked move to try and ban the 15 February peace rally in London's Hyde Park, on the grounds that it might damage the grass or some such nonsense, has failed. And the protest in two weeks' time is likely to be the biggest the capital's seen in decades.
Attempts to link Iraq with Osama bin Laden and international terrorism have convinced no-one, least of all the Arabs which Blair sometimes tries to woo to preserve British imperialism's interests in the Middle East.
The Arabs; the Iraqis Bush and Blair claim will be "liberated" when
their tanks roll into Iraq; the Palestinians suffering under the brutal
heel of the Zionist oppressor; are not consulted. But the Syrian representative
on the Security Council spoke for all the Arabs when he said all he was
going to say was:
"No to war, just for peace"
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