We take from history
Not ashes but fire
Last year when I published the article on WWII and its connection to the current abominations in Iraq and in other places I did not get much of a response. I would guess my approach could seem rather boring. Ok, it were the Russians who won the WWII, big deal. This is the 21st Century after all and the pace is fast. Hey, the gas prices had risen from $3/gallon to $4/gallon through the year, we are still in Iraq and McCain plans to stay there for a 100 years, Hillary is out, Obama is in, life goes on; who cares about those bones?
Who cares? Pat Buchanan seems to care. He calls the war with Hitler an unnecessary war. He says it was a mistake to fight him. Hey, GOP cares suddenly. When Obama mentioned his uncle who ‘liberated Auchwitz’, the pundits from the GOP side were all up in arms, ‘Auchwitz was liberated by the Soviets’. They, of course did not make much of a fuss before when this ‘US liberated Auchwitz’ crap was cited by anyone who wanted on the D- day memorials, veteran parades, etc. etc. It was especially funny to hear that on the numerous events staged by the Jewish organizations where the politicos would present their eternal dedication to the support of Israel and then nearly always mention Auchwitz and how the US forces liberated it. If only they could spell he proper name of that camp Ozwientzim they would never make such mistakes because it is a Polish name and Poland was liberated from Germans by the Russians, take it or leave it. The real issue is that those politicos are not just dumb; they are also immoral and they just have a template in which it says that to the Jews your talk about Auchwitz, to black people- about slavery and to the whities- about taxes. In reality many of them admire Hitler. Just look at George Bush- he uses Hitler’s name so often that he reminds of a teenager with a crush who repeats the name of the targeted person whenever possible. Pat Buchanan admires Hitler too. So does Cheney and so does Condi. Scum admires scum.
Ok, we know what they learn from history. We though should learn something else and that else is available in abundance, it is right there, it waits for us. How come I and people like me could read in the 60s in Russia the Churchill’s memoirs, also the memoirs of German generals? How come when we hear Tehran the 1943 comes to our mind and how come here, now when Tehran is mentioned on every corner none of the TV pundits refers to those times?
Yes, in 1943 the first Meeting of the Big Three took place in Tehran where Churchill met Stalin for the first time. In his memoirs Churchill recalls, “On the way there, in the plane I was thinking what would I say to the Russians, in what way should I tell them that we will not open the second front in Europe in 1943. General Somebody ( I forgot the name- MS) had a literary inclination and he wrote a poem, every verse of which ended by ‘ there will be no second front in 1943.’”
Ah, Winnie! Ah, that British humor! I do not think that Stalin enjoyed the recital of that poem. But someone did. That someone was the German agent in Turkey, the famous Cicero who promptly sent to Hitler the assurance that ‘there will be no second front in 1943.’ And that commenced the Operation Citadel, the last mass offensive of the German forces on the Eastern Front. In the summer of 1943 the group of German armies, totally about 900000 soldiers attacked Russians at Kursk. The German armies included the elite Panzer divisions Reich and Great Germany, transferred from the West together with other 30 divisions Hitler could use because ‘there will be no second front in 1943.’
In an unprecedented battle the only foreign allies who helped the Russians on the battlefield were the French volunteers from the aviation wing Normandy. Ironic, isn’t it? Normandy they called themselves, the name of the French province which became an area of the Operation Overlord the year later. But there, in the skies of Orel and Kursk those French heroes fought for their Normandy long before that. The German army issued an order that they were considered partisans, terrorists not the soldiers because France was defeated. As such if they were captured they would be shot and also their relatives in France would be sent to death in concentration camps. Still they fought. The French aces covered themselves with glory and in 1944 when the Russian armies reached the old border over the river Niemann their aviation regiment was officially named Normandy-Niemann. In 1944, when they retuned to France they came in their own planes. Hey, Pat Buchanan, do you still think it was an unnecessary war?
In the tank battle at Prohorovka about 1000 tanks took part on both sides and the SS division Reich was eliminated from the face of the Earth. Our soldiers on the Omaha Beach were very fortunate not to face that division and for that they have to thank those Russian guys in their fur hats and the Frenchmen in their berets. It is good to know.
Other things are good to know too. Lots of events happened in 1943. The Citadel was defeated and the Russian armies moved forward to Ukraine. On November 7, 1943 my native city of Kiev was liberated only to show the ruins. It was totally destroyed. Right there, in the picturesque suburb was Baby Yar, the infamous pit where Kiev Jews were shot and also where one of the most horrible concentration camps functioned for two years. That was not the last one on the long path to the liberation of Ozwientzim.
Now the Ukrainian nationalists in Kiev claim that the UPA collaborators, those who actually performed the killings are the heroes of the Anti- Communist resistance and, guess what, Israel does not mind. Neither does Bush. He awarded a Medal of Freedom to Youshenko.
In 1943 Tanya Savicheva died. She kept a diary, that little girl who died in the blockaded Leningrad together with the 600000 civilians. The diary is carved on her grave. It just says, 'Dad died, Mom died, aunt died.. ALL died.' They died from starvation and bombardment. That word, that blockade was reinvented in Gaza fairly recently. Of course, Gaza is not Leningrad but as it was in that time it is the same now: then the Allies did not make even a slightest attempt to push Finland to get out of the war and get the supplies to Leningrad and now no one organizes a permanent supply of the necessities to Gaza. It is the same thing!