Friday, May 10, 2013

Having Difficulty Celebrating Victory in Europe Days

This Victory in Europe Day (May 8th) and Victory Day (May 9th) passed without a mention on this blog.  The reason was I could not forget the point of World War II.

World War II did not start to overthrow Hitler, save the world from Fascism  or even stop the Holocaust.  All these were noble goals and the defeat of Hitler's many evils was worth the horrible cost.  However, the war did not accomplish its original goal.  The Allies failed to free Poland.

Key portions of the announcement of war to the British people stated

"I am speaking to you from the Cabinet Room at 10, Downing Street.

This morning the British Ambassador in Berlin handed the German Government a final note stating that unless we heard from them by 11.00 a.m. that they were prepared at once to withdraw their troops from Poland, a state of war would exist between us.

I have to tell you that no such undertaking has been received, and that consequently this country is at war with Germany."


"We and France are today, in fulfillment of our obligations, going to the aid of Poland, who is so bravely resisting this wicked and unprovoked attack on her people."

Instead the Allies stood by as Hitler and the Soviet Union conquered Poland.  It was only the end of the Moscow-Berlin coalition which allowed the West to unite with the Soviet Union and pretend the war was to defeat Germany vice restoring the old order.

I cannot blame the Allies for not trying to liberate Poland when the balance of power was so much against them.

Me in a historical geography briefing:  I do not think you understand.  There are more  Soviet-controlled Romanian and Polish puppet armies than British and Canadian armies.  Image from Wikipedia
The cost of this peace was high.  Poland and Eastern Europe were surrendered to Communism, a system which killed magnitudes more than National Socialism did.  Twelve million (12,000,000) ethnic Germans were expelled from their homelands in Eastern Europe (in comparison 725,000 Palestinians fled their homes in the 1948 Palestinian exodus and 300,000 more fled in the 1967 Palestinian exodus).  The Prague and Budapest freedom uprisings were brutally crushed during the Cold War and the West was helpless as those who sought their own liberation were slaughtered.

It took a reformist government in Moscow, an anti-Communist alliance between the United Kingdom and the United States, and a Polish pope to finally free Eastern Europe in the late 1980s.  Fortunately this delayed liberation saw very little bloodshed.

Victory against Nazi Germany was a great stepping stone in the long war to free Europe from tyranny   But it was not the end.  While I can feel good about the defeat of side of evil, I cannot forget a second evil merely took over from the first.

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