May 9, 1945: the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics had roared into Berlin, marking the defeat of the worst scourge the world had ever seen. Fascism was defeated. World War II came to an end in Europe with the unconditional surrender of the German armies. The most ferocious war in history, with an estimated 50 million dead, was drawing to a close.
The world had been saved from the nightmare of fascism which would imposed dictatorship and slavery on the world.
The victory was a turning point in world history and was won by the cooperation of the forces of many countries. The people of Britain, the Soviet Union, France and other European countries, Australia, India, Canada, the US and others forged an anti-fascist alliance during the course of the war, an alliance that was essential for the victory.
But it was principally the armed forces of the people of the Soviet Union who bore the brunt of the war and the casualties. Then Red Army destroyed hundreds of German divisions on the eastern front but at enormous cost. The Soviet Union suffered about 25 million military and civilian casualties. In addition to enormous human loss, the war resulted in the devastation of almost 2,000 Soviet cities and towns, 70,000 villages and hamlets.
Leningrad’s horrific siege was one of the most lethal in world history. The blockade of Leningrad lasted for 900 days. Almost three million civilians refused to surrender and endured extreme hardship in the encircled city.
The defeat of fascism had consequences of world-wide importance and ripples from the victory are still being felt today.
The defeat of fascism, the rise of socialism and the ideas of liberation, accelerated the struggles of then people of the colonies for freedom from colonialism. Since the victory over fascism nearly all the former colonial countries have won political, if not, economic independence.
The defeat of Japanese militarism in the Asia-Pacific region had opened the doors to the defeat of colonialism in Asia. Then followed the victory of the Chinese revolution and the establishment of the People’s Republic of China.
The national liberation movement in Vietnam drove out the French colonialists and later was victorious over the US aggressors. The Indonesian people threw out the Dutch colonialists and established Indonesia as an independent country.
India won independence from British colonialism after a long struggle. The racist apartheid regime in South Africa has been defeated and the wars in Angola and Mozambique ended in favour of progressive forces.
These are the reasons why the defeat of fascism in World War II is commemorated as one of the most important victories in all history. It is why we honour those who took part in the struggle and gave their lives.
But the struggle continues. There are attempts to revive fascism in several European countries, most notably at the moment in Ukraine following the US/EU backed coup, underpinned by various fascist forced in Ukraine. Victory Day parades in Ukraine have been cancelled.
Where fascists are in control, they have even erected a memorial to a wartime German SS unit. In Latvia, where the Communist Party is forbidden to take the name communist, Soviet war memorials have been destroyed and pro-fascist terrorists honoured instead.
And while Nazi Germany’s aim of world domination was defeated a new aspirant with the same objective arose – the USA. This is expressed more openly today with the dictatorial actions being taken by the US leaders.
The US Pivot to Asia, with the full and willing cooperation of the Australian government is nothing less than preparation for war.
Nonetheless, the trend of the world today, despite of the terrible conflicts being imposed by imperialism, is to the Left: 40 percent of the world’s people already live in countries where Communists either comprise the government or take part in government.
As the current global economic capitalist crisis shows, capitalism as a system is already on its way to the rubbish heap of history. We must hasten its journey.