WW2: The 70th anniversary of the victory over fascism

What transformed WW2 from an interimperialist war into an anti-fascist one? Who really beat the Nazis and liberated Europe?

Harpal Brar

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Comrade Harpal Brar, former chairman of the CPGB-ML, speaks on the significance of the 70th anniversary of the Soviet victory over fascism.

Much is written and spoken about World War 1 and World War 2, yet it is truly staggering how few people – and particularly how few British workers – really understand the causes and significance of this latter titanic struggle, in which 60 million workers lost their lives.

The imperialists of Britain, France, the USA, Germany and Japan) fought, and many millions died, to preserve and enforce the wage and colonial slavery of the capitalist class. They fought for slaves and booty, and nothing more.

And yet, by their masterful leadership, bold strategy and heroic courage and self-sacrifice, the Soviet Union and the international communist movement won world-historic victories that not only preserved the hard-won socialist nation, but brought into being a swath of socialist democracies across Europe and Asia, invigorated the anti-colonial struggle, and decisively shifted the balance of power in favour of working people on a global scale.

The victories won by the Soviet Union changed and shaped our world, and all workers should not only know this episode in our history, but should be truly proud of these earth-shattering achievements of our class, which herald the bright new world we are capable of bringing into being.

“The bourgeoisie turns everything into a commodity, hence also the writing of history. It is a part of its being, of its condition for existence, to falsify all goods; it falsified the writing of history. And the best-paid historiography is that which is falsified for the purposes of the bourgeoisie.” (Friedrich Engels, Material for the History of Ireland, 1870)

This shrewd observation of Engels’ should be kept in mind when judging:

1. the causes of the second world war;

2. the events leading up to it;

3. the role in it of the Soviet Union, on the one hand, and the imperialist camp, on the other hand; and

4. the results of the war.

The second world war (as indeed the first) is inseparable from imperialism, whose product it was. Tens of millions of people were slaughtered to decide which set of bandits – the Anglo-American-French or the German-Italian-Japanese – was to get what share of the colonial loot.

The only way out of the morass of imperialist wars is socialism. Therefore, the struggle against war must be inseparably connected with the struggle for the overthrow of imperialism and the establishment of socialism.

The ruling classes of the ‘democratic’ imperialist countries were complicit in the rise and strengthening of fascism. It was the crowning achievement of the Soviet people to have defeated nazism – this monstrous product of imperialism in crisis.

The Soviet victory in the second world war was a disaster for imperialism. If the first world war brought into existence the great and glorious Soviet Union, the end of the second world war led to the creation of a mighty socialist bloc, stretching from the Soviet Union through eastern and central Europe to China and southeast Asia.

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the bourgeoisie has gone on the rampage not only to belittle the role of the Soviet Union in defeating fascism, but also to malign the record of socialism itself.

This is particularly true of the Baltic states, Poland and, especially, Ukraine. In the last-named country, Stefan Bandera, the notorious Nazi stooge, is now honoured with statues and street names as a great fighter for national liberation – having fought not against the Nazis but against the Soviet Union!

The economic crisis of 1929 made another interimperialist war a certainty. The law of uneven development of capitalism saw to it that some countries, notably Germany, Japan and Italy, had spurted ahead in their development, but their share in terms of markets, natural resources, and avenues for investment was dis-proportionately small compared with the share that went to countries such as Britain and France.

This presentation should be compulsory viewing for every British citizen, and every worker worldwide: help spread the word!

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More on the victory over fascism

Read: The 70th anniversary of the Soviet victory over Fascism
Watch: The Battle of Stalingrad: a victory for humanity
Watch: Through hell for Hitler