To Americans, World War II ended with the Japanese surrender on Aug. 15, 1945, following detonation of atom bombs over Hiroshima and Nagasaki on Aug. 6 and Aug. 9.
But for Russians, who did not enter the war on Japan until Aug. 8, 1945, “The Great Patriotic War” ended on May 9, with the surrender of Nazi Germany. Which raises a question: What exactly is President Bush celebrating in Moscow?
The destruction of Bolshevism was always the great goal of Hitler. And the Red Army eventually bore the brunt of battle, losing 10 times as many soldiers as America and Britain together. But were we and the Soviets ever fighting for the same things, as FDR believed? Or was Stalin’s war against Hitler but another phase of Bolshevism’s war to eradicate Christianity and the West?
Vladimir Putin, a patriot and nationalist who retains a nostalgia for the empire he served as a KGB agent, refuses to renounce the Hitler-Stalin Pact of Aug. 23, 1939. Under the secret protocols of that pact, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and the Romanian provinces of Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina were ceded to Stalin, as was eastern Poland.
Hitler’s attack on Poland, the success of which was guaranteed by that pact, came on Sept. 1, 1939. On Sept. 17, Stalin, who had hidden in the weeds to see how Britain and France would react to Hitler’s invasion, stormed into Poland from the east and claimed his share of the martyred nation. Six years of terror for Poles began, ending in 44 years of captivity in the bowels of what Ronald Reagan bravely called an “evil empire.”
As a result of this war, Hitler’s 1,000-Year Reich lasted 12 years and Germany was destroyed as no other nation save Japan. Hamburg, Cologne, Dresden and Berlin were reduced to rubble. Between 13 million and 15 million Germans were ethnically cleansed from the Baltic region, Poland and Czechoslovakia. Two million, mostly women and children, perished in an orgy of murder, rape and massacre that attended that greatest forced exodus in European history.
As a result of the Great Patriotic War, Finland had its Karelian Peninsula torn away by Stalin and 10 Christian countries – Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary and Yugoslavia – endured Stalinist persecution and tyranny for half a century.
Again, what, exactly, is Bush celebrating in Moscow?
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was a soldier of the Red Army in the Great Patriotic War. Let us hear from him about what a wonderful cause it was. As for Putin, into whose soul Bush has looked, his position is understandable. From the vantage point of Russian vital interests, the Hitler-Stalin pact was a brilliant coup.
Hitler was on the path to war. The war he wanted was one with the Soviet Union: to kill it, carve it up and put every Bolshevik to the sword. His war was also to be a racist war. Hitler wanted to impose Germanic rule over Slavic peoples.
Stalin, with his pact, redirected Hitler’s Panzers to the west and bought the Red Army two more precious years to prepare for Hitler’s onslaught – years Stalin used well.
How did Stalin succeed?
On March 31, 1939, the British and French – in a panic after Hitler drove into Prague without resistance – handed Poland an unsolicited war guarantee they could not honor and did not intend to honor. It was a bluff. But believing in that guarantee, the brave Poles defied Hitler over Danzig, stood and fought, and were crushed, as the British and French hid inside the Maginot Line.
But because they had declared war on him, though they had no plan to attack him, Hitler, in April 1940, invaded Denmark and Norway, and in May, the Low Countries and France. In three weeks, he threw the British army off the continent at Dunkirk, and, in six weeks, crushed France.
Meanwhile, Stalin provided Hitler all the food and fuel he had requested and declared Britain and France to be the aggressors against his Nazi partner.
When Stalin’s turn came and Hitler invaded on June 22, 1941, Soviet Foreign Minister Molotov, who had negotiated the Hitler-Stalin – or Molotov-Ribbentrop – pact, said plaintively to the German ambassador, “What have we done to deserve this?”
Churchill and FDR rushed to embrace Stalin, gave him everything he demanded and more, and at Tehran and Yalta, ceded to him custody of all the peoples of Eastern Europe and of Poland, for which Britain had gone to war.
What Putin is celebrating is easy to see. But, tell me again: What exactly is our president celebrating in Moscow?