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The Better People Won That War

By       Message Mark Sashine     Permalink
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(Article changed on May 3, 2013 at 08:12)

(Article changed on May 2, 2013 at 13:18)

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DSC03645 by **emmar**


This is my traditional May article. I   had been writing those    before May 9 for years. Anyone can go to my articles' page and   read all the previous ones. There will be a Victory Parade in Moscow, Russia   on May 9 and they will celebrate the 68th anniversary of Victory over Germany on May 9, 1945.    We don't celebrate it. Come to think of it, why?   May 9th was an official   day of the German capitulation, the act   was signed by   German field -marshal Keitel   and  by four   main coalition   commanders- Russian, British, American and French; lock, stock and barrel. None of the Western sides celebrates it though. Only   Russians. Why?

I think I    know why. Russians celebrate   because not only they just  won the war. They won it because they were at that period   of time   the best people on Earth. They celebrate the   spirit of that time, the utmost rising of     the national   spiritual   power, the same way as French celebrate the Bastille Day, Americans celebrate the Independence Day, British Celebrate the Trafalgar.   It is not about winning; it is about being the best at the time.

That   had been   my primary message for a while, whether   I wrote   about Russia or about Lincoln.   And in most cases   the   message fell on dead ears. People, my readers, apparently either had no interest in the issue or   just did   not want to acknowledge   the fact. Really, let that guy   have his opinion, who cares.   And does   it matter who was the best at the time? In all fairness,    if we follow the logic of that guy, the only really best were the   victims, the "hundreds of thousands   burned alive' like they   say in one    Russian song; those people, whether Jewish, German, Russian, Polish, French or Japanese- they   were all innocent victims and thus -- sacrosanct    by default. That would   be the right   way to think.

Yes, that would be   the right way to think.   Jean   Moulin is not worse than Alexander Matrosov. The Westerplatte heroes    from Poland are not worse than the defenders of   the Brest Citadel. The   peasants of Khatyn   village in Byelorussia, burned alive are   not better than    the people of Or Adour, France, burned alive   in 1944.   All are martyrs,   nobody must be forgotten.   And yes, the victims   inspire. But they do not win over evil. They are the cause    for the eternal fight but not an effect. They make   the case for the people to become better.

Information though must not only be transferred   but also absorbed. In 1938   Hitler's armies occupied Austria after first   assassinating   its Chancellor Dolphus and imprisoning the next Chancellor Shushnig. Hitler claimed Austria as   his   birthplace. Right after the occupation   the   Jews of Vienna were   forced to come out to the streets, women and children too- and clean the Vienna streets using toothbrushes. The private German matter became an international shame.   The reaction of the Western   public opinion was:

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-           Let's direct the German assault to the East and   then we here in the West will feel secure.

Those are the words from the   prominent French newspapers. There was no attempt to change the policy at all; Jews were not even a part of any discussion.   Munich   betrayal of Chechoslovakia was close at hand: Russians were offering troops   to help the Czechs to fight but Poland, the ally of France   did not allow the   Russian troops' passage and French did not push them. In   the paroxysm of   betrayal Polish and Hungarian troops joined   Germany in the attack on Czechoslovakia.   In the same time Leva Fedotov, a   young   Russian boy of 17 wrote in his diary, "The war with   German fascism seems inevitable to me because they are   the anti- human   force.   I think we will have   a very tough war and casualties will be severe but   we will prevail. There is no other way."

There is no other way. This   is not Harry Potter talking.   Find me a diary of an American teenager of the time who would write something like that. A long time   would   pass until in 1951   Holden Caulfield, the   Catcher In The Rye would   proclaim the new, enlightened values but   by that time the shadow of the nuclear bombardment   would be   over   the US and the message would not be heard.

If only any of the French   newspapers of the time    had  said   what Leva   said. But they did not. Neither in Britain or in the US. The message was received but not absorbed. Hitler and his cronies   were viewed   in the mirror of anticommunism.   Here's what another influential newspaper wrote,   "Despite his ferocious appearance Goering is a soft- heart man." In the modern   movie   "The King's Speech' the   King of England   says " Hitler   humiliates   one half of Europe, Marshal Stalin -- another half.' They were viewed as the same.    And   as rulers, yes, they were very similar.   But their people were far from that.   The nationalist   superiority    complex promoted by Hitler   fell on a very much manured soil of   Germany; capitalism   + fear turned out the best environment possible for the   development of the pathology of Nazism; corporate government    became acceptable not only by   Germans   but by the foreigners too, Not that in Russia; there the Stalinist   regime, no matter how powerful and vicious   had to function   within   the framework of the socialist, revolutionary   legacy, also taking into consideration thousands   of years of Orthodox Christianity. The spirit of    the population of   then Soviet Union was deeply independent and compassionate at the same time: their tolerance   of the regime atrocities   never   transformed into    a   mass involvement; yes, they did what they were told but they did   not volunteer en masse to   help.   Stalin's system had to rely on force and fear much more that Hitler's; Germany really embraced   Hitlerism   in a short period of time, like 5 years. Verfallen, the German word, meaning "falling under the influence' was   a very suitable   one for the times.    The West fell   Verfallen to   the temptation   of evil and Jews could go there with the toothbrushes- their fate was sealed.

That perception that some people, even nations   can have a sealed fate   in achieving political purposes   was the one   embedded in the western psyche   much more than in the Russian one.   The West could imagine life under Ordnung- the Order, no matter what that Ordnung stayed upon; in 1940   the French elite surrendered France to Germany practically for the promise of being kept in power and order to be maintained. French   wines and French cheeses proved more valuable to them than French Jews and French   young men. The people from Or Adour burned alive      were not burned just by Germans; there was a French track there too.

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People of the West accepted the   new reality. Russians,   Yugoslavians, Greeks, all nations of the Soviet Union   said no. That's the difference.

In   the book "Lincoln' by Gore Vidal   one of the members of   the Lincoln's cabinet explains to the others that the   secret of   Old Abe   is     in   his absolute commitment to the Union. Lincoln just could not imagine any another arrangement; his life and the existence of the Union were intertwined.   Others   could imagine    living under a different regime, even under Confederacy -- Lincoln could not. He was committed to the cause.

That's why he was   at   the moment the better man- his   human qualities proved   invaluable.

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The writer is 57 years old, semi- retired engineer, PhD, PE, CEM. I write fiction on a regular basis and I am also 10 years on OEN.

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