PITY poor Theresa May. Where once she hoped she might mark the anniversary of the allied invasion of nazi-occupied western Europe in the company of a US Republican president with whom, in normal circumstances, she might find many points of convergence — she now finds herself humiliated — with her premiership in its final moments and her guest robustly endorsing Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson.
She will stand on the beach in Normandy to remember the thousands of British, empire and US troops who died in the opening of a much-delayed second front.
The first front was many miles away to the east where the Red Army — and let us not forget, a Soviet-supplied Polish army and heroic contingents of anti-fascists from countries newly liberated from, or still occupied by, the fascist powers — were, in Churchill’s words, “tearing the guts out” of the nazi war machine.
The Western allies found reasons to confront the fascist war machine first in north Africa and then, in Churchill’s unfortunate phrase, the “soft underbelly of Europe” by which he meant the long, arduous and heavily fortified Italian peninsular.
The Italian people just last April 25 gathered to celebrate their national day and village piazzas and city streets bear the names of the many thousands of Italians who died for liberation while the cemeteries of the allied war dead are testament to just how mendacious was that utterance by the British empire’s war leader.
Much hypocrisy surrounds accounts of the second world war. Its anti-fascist character was not immediately clear at its inception.
Stalin had warned a decade earlier that within 10 years the first socialist state would face an attack from the West.
Neither he nor the international left — then engaged in defending the Spanish Republic — were sure from which capitalist nation or imperialist alliance it might come.
As that impeccable source of bourgeois prejudice and not infrequent truth, the Daily Telegraph, recently revealed, Britain’s appeasement-inclined foreign secretary had “diplomatically” delayed serious discussions with the Soviet Union about a common front against Hitler even though Stalin had promised a million Soviet troops to defend Czechoslovakia if only the clerical fascist government of Poland would allow them passage.
It refused. Hitler’s confidence that Britain and France were unwilling to checkmate him was justified, Czechoslovakia’s fate was sealed (the Polish regime grabbed a bit of Czechoslovakia) and war came closer.
It is worth recalling these circumstances because the creation of an east-facing European military force has not only a long pedigree but possesses an alarming present-day existence.
Of this, Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg said on April 2 2014: “This is a dangerous fantasy. The idea that there’s going to be a European air force, a European army, it is simply not true.”
The BBC reported on March 9 2015 that the “European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has called for the creation of a European army.”
And now the vice-president of the European Union Commission has just announced — to repeat her own words — this “dream” has come true.
As working-class power was dismantled in central and eastern Europe the Western allies gave the Russians a guarantee that Nato would not expand eastwards. Today British and Nato troops are deployed in front-line positions in the states that border Russia.
Nato and EU “advisers” work alongside Ukrainian military units drawn from forces that trace their political and ideological heritage to the fascist forces that collaborated with nazi Germany to ethnically cleanse western Ukraine of its Jewish and Polish citizens.
This very dangerous situation must be exposed. This is a key task for our peace movement.
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