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MIKA BRZEZINSKI: I just think it, it’s not like they had history to look at, right?
JOE SCARBOROUGH: Well, you know, the thing is…
BRZEZINSKI: I mean, how would they know?
SCARBOROUGH: Let us hope that something good comes out of this but yesterday, for anybody that has spent any time understanding how North Korea plays the United States and the West, yesterday wasn’t a surprise at all. We’ve always been concerned here that there’s been a belief inside the White House, even before they got sworn in, that history was going to start on January 20, 2017. They were contemptuous of history, contemptuous of being told this is how history has unfolded in the past and say, “Well, you guys don’t get it. Everybody’s getting it wrong.” But the problem with not knowing history is what John Heilemann?
JOHN HEILEMANN: You’re, I think, it’s condemned to repeat it. That’s Santayana, I believe.
SCARBOROUGH: Yeah, exactly. And as the New York Times’s Gerry Mullany points out, this wavering is not new for North Korea, it’s a return to form. The United States reached a landmark agreement, supposedly, with North Korea in 1994. Nobel Peace Prizes were handed out for that but it collapsed in 2002 after North Korea admitted that they had actually used that agreement to build their clandestine nuclear program and enrich uranium. And after withdrawing from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, North Korea agreed then, hey, okay, we’ll take part in the six-party talks with the United States and regional powers. And they promised in 2005, what sounded like they were promising over the past week or two, it’s been going so fast, but they promised to abandon nuclear weapons and all existing nuclear programs. But the following year, it conducted a nuclear test; its first nuclear test. In 2008, Washington dropped North Korea from its list of state-sponsored terrors. Why? I have no idea. But they agreed to send the North economic aid in returning for disclosing and disabling nuclear facilities. Guess what? Within a year, after months of provocative behavior, North Korea said it would permanently pull out any, of any nuclear disarmament talks and the Communist regime, the repressive Communist regime restarted its nuclear program. After pressure from the Obama Administration, a deal was struck in February 2012. It had planned to provide food, aid and halt operations at its Yongbin nuclear reactor, permit inspectors to verify that it had suspended its nuclear missile programs but within a month, North Korea threatened to launch a satellite, killing the agreement. So Mika, this has just been going on and on, as we’ve been saying, since 1994.
BRZEZINSKI: And if you would look at history, you would be a little more, what’s the word? Careful, about being bragadocious about the developments.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: And you’d be also be humble about the possibility of actually getting a deal but John Heilemann, Donald Trump charged into a room, he wasn’t even, a meeting he wasn’t even supposed to be at, said let’s get this summit together, got the summit together and let us hope, I’ll restate, let us hope that North Korea follows through this time, for the first time. But again, the way they have approached this, we’ve said from the beginning, makes these sort of dustup happen.
JOHN HEILEMANN: Yeah, I mean there’s a reason why when the transition was taking place and President Trump and President Obama, or President-Elect Trump and President Obama were still speaking to each other, you know, President Obama said this is the hardest problem you’re going to face, it’s the most dangerous problem, not just the most dangerous, most threatening problem, but also the hardest one to solve. And that was hard-won wisdom because President Obama had, had seen what had come before him and then what happened to him, and I think Donald Trump appreciated the first part, that North Korea was the most dangerous and the most threatening problem and he clearly wants to try and solve it. It’s like he’s, he does want to fix this problem and yet he didn’t hear the other part, which is it’s the hardest problem and if you understood the complexity of it and the history, you would have known that just swaggering and…
SCARBOROUGH: Those are two words, you just used two words. Willie, and I mean this, Donald Trump has an aversion, almost, he’s allergic, he’s allergic to, to complexity and allergic to history. He doesn’t know history, he doesn’t want to know history. People around him are contemptuous of history. His closest aides, his family members…
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Jared.
SCARBOROUGH: They believe that they can remake history. They believe that they could go into the Middle East and just like that, it would be easy to fix. They told me it was going to be easy to fix.
BRZEZINSKI: Look at this peace in the Middle East.
SCARBOROUGH: They had a plan, you look at the pictures that are coming out of the Middle East…
BRZEZINSKI: Good Lord.
SCARBOROUGH: That, here we are, a year and a half later, this is what they were telling me, during the transition, was going to be so easy to fix. Because everybody that went before them were fools and idiots, that they knew how to run a real estate company in New York, they certainly could take care of a 4,000-year crisis.
WILLIE GEIST: And that’s why you make decisions like quickly moving the Embassy, which leads to some of the pictures we’re seeing right here. Meanwhile, people who have dealt with this problem are talking about North Korea. Former CIA Director John Brennan, an NBC News Senior National Security Intel Analyst, responded to the news with this statement: “This turn of events is unsurprising since Donald Trump seems enamored with a ‘fire-aim-ready’ policy making process that is fraught with pitfalls as well as potential disasters. Not sure when, if ever, Mr. Trump will realize that he is not the smartest man or even the best negotiator in the world. Indeed, far from it.” Jeremy Bash, let me go to you on this, they, North Korea also mentioned Libya giving up its nuclear program and said it met a miserable fate. It referenced directly John Bolton. What did you read into the activity and are you surprised at all about what North Korea did yesterday?
JEREMY BASH: Well, the statement by Kim Kye-Gwan, the first Vice Minister of North Korea, was really stunning, Willie. It took a direct shot, fired a rhetorical missile directly at John Bolton; basically said his involvement in this process is undermining sort of an understanding that they thought they had, which is they were not going to have to give up their nuclear weapons. And I think, you know, all of the theatrics about the summit and the meeting and the Nobel Prize discussions aside, substantively, this statement pointed to a very significant, possibly unbridgeable difference between the U.S. and North Korean sides. Basically, the North Koreans are saying we are not going to engage in unilateral nuclear disarmament and of course the U.S. position is is that full denuclearization has to be the outcome of these discussions and the reaction I had, Willie, is that the President is sort of like that guy at the school auction who always has his hand up. You know, when ego is involved, he’s going to overpay.
Patrick Slattery and Mark Collett talk about his recent video on Europeans being written out of their own history by the BBC, and they also discuss the brutal genocide of Palestinians by Israelis and the insane Christian Zionists who support it.
Check out Dr. Slattery’s website, NationalBugle.com
The indigenous European people are being written out of their own history, folklore and mythology by those who wish to re-write history and strip Europeans of their traditions and culture in order to propagate the lie that Europe was always multicultural and that people who did not originate in Europe have played pivotal roles in European history, and crucially that non-Europeans have a right to stake their claim to European soil.
My book, The Fall of Western Man is now available. It is available as a FREE eBook and also in hardback and paperback editions.
My book, The Fall of Western Man is now available. It is available as a FREE eBook and also in hardback and paperback editions.
The Official Website: http://www.thefallofwesternman.com/
FREE eBook download: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B3cc…
Hardback Edition: http://www.lulu.com/shop/mark-collett…
Paperback Edition: http://amzn.eu/9LaS7HN
Capitalism should be thrown into the dustbin of history.
Not the economic system of capitalism, but the word “capitalism.”
The word has such negative connotations that it has become a pejorative to call someone a capitalist.
Karl Marx was the first to use the word to flagellate the bourgeoisie. Now in a form of self-flagellation, capitalists use the word on themselves.
A case in point is the new book by the noted conservative intellectual, Jonah Goldberg: Suicide of the West: How the Rebirth of Tribalism, Populism, Nationalism, and Identity Politics is Destroying American Democracy. He makes similar points that I’ve been making for years but is a much more gifted thinker and writer. In the process, however, he uses the word “capitalism” in his defense of capitalism—just as I will use the word in this commentary to explain why the word should no longer be used.
The problem with using the word is that capitalism has become associated with imperialism, corporatism, mercantilism, crony capitalism, and most recently, white privilege. This is especially so on college campuses, where gullible cadres reap the benefits of capitalism (and liberal democracy) while being brainwashed in anti-capitalist thinking by some of the most privileged people on earth: college professors.
This brainwashing is made easier by the fact that many young people and their parents suffered as a result of the Great Recession, which they have been misled into believing was totally caused by capitalism. Others have suffered from the creative destruction and global trade of capitalism.
As such, even the most doctrinaire capitalists should admit that there are some pieces of straw, or truth, in the tons of bullcrap that are spewed about capitalism—just enough straw to sustain such anti-capitalists as Bernie Sanders and the 48% of young people who disavow capitalism and favor socialism.
Not only has the word “capitalism” been sullied, but the definition of the word isn’t exactly something to rally around. After all, “the private ownership of the means of production” doesn’t have the same zing as “social justice,” “fairness,” and “community.” Besides, how many people know what the means of production are?
It doesn’t help to sell capitalism by modifying the noun “capitalism” with the adjective “free-market,” for the adjective has its own negative connotations among the miseducated and brainwashed. To them, free-market capitalism is worse than just plain capitalism.
It’s time to throw the word away. It’s time for a rebranding.
There is already a term that resonates with just about all Americans: civil liberties. Why not use that? After all, in addition to the right of free speech, the right of assembly, the right of worship, and other rights, civil liberties include the right to own property, the right to keep the fruits of one’s labor, and the right to trade with others. Even the most ardent supporters of Bernie Sanders would agree with these rights, although the supporters might not have thought of the latter ones as civil liberties, which is a marketing failure on our side.
Take the owner of a tattoo parlor who is an ardent supporter of Bernie Sanders. And take his customers, who also are ardent supporters of Bernie Sanders. Certainly, the owner would agree that he has a right to operate his business for money and to keep the profits. Certainly, his friends would agree that they have a right to loan him money for his business. And certainly, his customers would agree that they have a right to give their money to the owner in exchange for his services. No doubt, they would say the same about buying an iPhone, or pot in a marijuana store, or a coffee from Starbucks, or Bitcoins, or some item on eBay. Yet, chances are, those who engage in such private transactions might rail against capitalism.
What should you do if you are confronted with this contradiction? Instead of debating the point, you should say that you are not a capitalist, either. Once the emotionally-loaded word is out of the way, you can then explain what you do believe in—that you believe in all civil liberties. You believe in them, you could go on to say, because the alternative is slavery or dictatorship.
This puts the other person in the position of either agreeing with you or saying that he doesn’t believe in all civil liberties.
Imagine debating Bernie Sanders and painting him into this intellectual corner.
Isn’t it just semantics to replace the word “capitalism” with the words “civil liberties?” Of course. But semantics is the use of language to convey meaning.
The word “capitalism” now conveys a bad meaning, while the words “civil liberties” convey a good meaning. Don’t continue to use a word that conveys a bad meaning. Throw “capitalism” into the dustbin of history.
RT–Comedian Lee Camp on his show Redacted Tonight recalls the first-ever audit of the Pentagon, which is taking 2,400 auditors to do the job, trying to understand where $21 trillion in unsupported adjustments went.
In his show, Camp recalled that a couple of years ago professor Mark Skidmore of Michigan State University heard Catherine Austin Fitts, former Assistant Secretary in the Department of Housing and Urban Development, say that the Department of Defense Inspector General had found $6.5 trillion worth of unaccounted for spending by the Army in 2015.
Skidmore, being an economics professor, thought “she meant $6.5 billion and not $6.5 trillion”, because “trillion would mean the Pentagon misplaced more money than the Gross Domestic Product of the whole of the United Kingdom” (UK’s GDP $2.62 trillion), Camp said. “So he looked into the Inspector General’s report and he found something interesting: it was 6.5 trillion dollars!”
Skidmore and Catherine Austin Fitts did more digging and conducted a search of government websites. They found similar reports dating back to 1998. These documents indicate $21 trillion in unsupported adjustments that had been reported for the DoD and Housing and Urban Development for the years 1998 -2015.
“If you make 40,000 USD a year, how long would it take you to make one trillion dollars? It would take you 25 million years, which sounds like a long time, but once you get past the ten million mark, it really flies by,” Camp noted.
As Forbes magazine pointed out, after Mark Skidmore began inquiring about the report, the Office of the Inspector General’s webpage was mysteriously taken down.
Given that the entire army budget in fiscal year 2015 was $122 billion, unsupported adjustments were 54 times the level of spending authorized by Congress, the magazine said. The Inspector General report indicated that unsupported adjustments were the result of the Defense Department’s “failure to correct system deficiencies”.
Lee Camp noted that mainstream media didn’t pay due attention to the story which he describes as “the largest theft in history covered up under the guise of national security.”
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By now it should be patently obvious to anyone who retains even a modicum of fairness in this highly charged, highly-partisan political environment in which we find ourselves these days that special counsel Robert Mueller isn’t interested in finding “Trump-Russia collusion.”
After nearly a year’s worth of investigating — a probe that followed a counterterrorism operation launched in the summer of 2016 against the Trump campaign by the Obama administration and at least three congressional investigations — Mueller hasn’t found any evidence of collusion.
In fact, the House Intelligence Committee has come up with a report from majority Republicans that the panel has not found one shred of evidence indicating collusion or any other illegal campaign activities involving Russia or any foreign government. The Democrats on the panel claim there is proof but they haven’t produced any (and they would have by now).
So what is Mueller actually investigating at the moment? Why does he keep indicting minor campaign figures and one former Trump administration official (Michael Flynn) for process crimes and other alleged illegal activities from more than 10 years ago?
How broad was the mandate, exactly, that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein gave Mueller and his team when he named the former FBI director to be special counsel — on a set-up initiated by another former FBI director, James Comey?
We don’t yet have answers to these questions, but one thing we do know is this: Mueller, who is hailed and feted by the D.C. Swamp to be a man of indisputable integrity, instead has a history of being little more than a dirty cop. (Related: ‘Golden Boy’ Robert Mueller’s forgotten surveillance crime spree.)
This story begins years ago when Mueller was first an assistant U.S. attorney then as the acting U.S. attorney in Boston.
Throughout the 1980s, Mueller wrote letters to the state’s parole and pardons board opposing clemency for four men — Peter Limone, Henry Tameleo, Joe Salvati, and Louis Greco, who were convicted for a 1965 mob-related murder.
But it turns out they were innocent. And it turns out that Mueller knew they were innocent.
Some rogue FBI agents, John Connolly and John Morris, both of whom were “handlers” for mob figure-turned-FBI informant Whitey Bulger, attempted to intimidate a local parole board member, Mike Albano — who later became mayor of Springfield, Mass. — into dropping his sympathy for the four men and any inkling of voting to grant them clemency.
“They told me that if I wanted to stay in public life, I shouldn’t vote to release a guy like Limone,’’ Albano said. “They intimidated me.’’
Both agents, of course, would have had to have been answerable to the U.S. attorney in Boston at the time, which was, as previously stated, Bob Mueller.
There’s more. After Albano became mayor in 1995 he found that the FBI had begun investigating his administration for ‘corruption.’ After taking down several people associated with his government, he became convinced that “the FBI wasn’t interested in public integrity as much as in publicly humiliating him because he dared to defy them,” the Boston Globe’s Kevin Cullen writes.
Former Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, was, at the time, the longest-serving GOP senator who had an impeccable reputation among those who knew him. But shortly before the 2008 election he was indicted by the FBI — led at the time by Director Robert Mueller — based on falsified records and testimony from some very well rewarded “cooperating” witnesses.
In short order, it was reported that the government had concealed exculpatory evidence from Stevens’ defense team. As such, an independent investigation was ordered by U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan, which discovered that the prosecution was “permeated by the systemic concealment of significant exculpatory evidence, which would have independently corroborated Senator Stevens’ defense and his testimony, and seriously damaged the testimony and credibility of the government’s key witness.”
A just-released report by U.S. Rep. Louis Gohmert, R-Texas, titled, “Robert Mueller: Unmasked,” recounted the injustice.
The ‘stink’ was that Stevens, whom retired Army general and Secretary of State Colin Powell described as “a trusted individual” whom people “could rely on,” did not pay full price for improvements to his Alaskan cabin. The charges were leveled 100 days out from a closely contested election; he was convicted just eight days before voters went to the polls, which tipped the scale to his Democratic opponent.
But in fact, as reports noted at the time, Gohmert’s report states, Stevens actually overpaid for those improvements by about 20 percent. Nevertheless, after relying on false records and that ‘rewarded’ witness, the prosecution convinced jurors to find him guilty.
States Gohmert’s report:
After a report substantiated massive improprieties by the FBI and DOJ in the investigation and prosecution of Senator Stevens, the result was ultimately a complete dismissal of the conviction.
At the time there was no direct evidence that Director Mueller was aware of the tactics of concealing exculpatory evidence that would have exonerated Stevens, and the creation of evidence that convicted him in 2008.
However, Mueller is culpable because, as director, he allowed the FBI agent who essentially manufactured the case against Stevens to remain on board (to this day), while allowing an agent who blew the whistle on the corrupt case to be punished.
“Obviously, the FBI Director wanted his FBI agents to understand that honesty would be punished if it revealed wrongdoing within Mueller’s organization,” said Gohmert’s report.
In March, Gohmert told a monthly meeting of conservatives that he believes Mueller’s never-ending ‘Russian collusion’ investigation is designed, in part, to cover up a real scandal: Uranium One.
“I think Mueller should be fired,” Gohmert, a former state judge, said during the monthly “Conversation with Conservatives” meeting. “He should never have been appointed and he should never have accepted. He should be fired.”
To that end, as The National Sentinel reported in January, Mueller’s FBI had been investigating a scheme since 2008 that involved bribery, kickbacks, and money laundering with a Russian nuclear industry official, Vadim Mikerin, who was acting in order to secure a business advantage with TENEX, a subsidiary of Russian state-owned nuclear firm Rosatom, which bought Uranium One.
Now-fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe had been assigned to oversee the ongoing investigation, which was never revealed to the Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States — the body that approves sales of U.S. firms with possible strategic implications to foreign companies. Had the committee known, it would have never approved the Uranium One sale.
Eventually, four individuals were prosecuted but then given a plea bargain after the Uranium One sale was approved; the prosecuting Justice Department attorneys were current Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Andrew Weissman, a Democrat supporter now on Mueller’s special counsel team.
Additional reporting noted that the Obama DoJ never called the deal’s secret informant, William D. Campbell, when it was time to charge former Russian uranium industry official Mikerinn.
“I’ve never heard of such a case unless the victim is dead. I’ve never heard of prosecutors making a major case and not talking to the victim before you made it, especially when he was available to them through the FBI,” Alan Dershowitz told The Hill.
There’s much more to report regarding Mueller’s Deep State corruption. Stay tuned.
Read more about Robert Mueller at RobertMueller.news.
J.D. Heyes is editor of The National Sentinel and a senior writer for Natural News and News Target.
By Mike Sygula
I see a lot of hype online on this dreadful behavior coming from Iranian lawmakers who set the American flag on fire lately. People always look at these things without the context of who started it in the first place. We first need to look into the history to understand their behavior.
And lets not forget what is the agenda here. Watch this testimony by General Wesley Clark:
Image credit: splendidimages / 123RF Stock Photo
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How many of you have not seen some Hollywood film in which the Normandy landings are the great turning point of the war? “What if the landings had failed,” one often hears? “Oh…, nothing much,” is the appropriate reply. The war would have gone on longer, and the Red Army would have planted its flags on the Normandy beaches coming from the east.
Every May 9th the Russian Federation celebrates its most important national holiday, Victory Day, den’ pobedy. On that day in 1945 Marshal Georgy Konstantinovich Zhukov, commander of the 1st Belorussian Front, which had stormed Berlin, received the German unconditional surrender. The Great Patriotic War had gone on for 1418 days of unimaginable violence, brutality and destruction. From Stalingrad and the northern Caucasus and from the northwestern outskirts of Moscow to the western frontiers of the Soviet Union to Sevastopol in the south and Leningrad and the borders with Finland, in the north, the country had been laid waste. An estimated 17 million civilians, men, women and children, had perished, although no one will ever know the exact figure. Villages and towns were destroyed; families were wiped out without anyone to remember them or mourn their deaths.
Ten million or more Soviet soldiers died in the struggle to expel the monstrous Nazi invader and finally to occupy Berlin at the end of April 1945. Red Army dead were left unburied in a thousand places along the routes to the west or in unmarked mass graves, there having been no time for proper identification and burial. Most Soviet citizens lost family members during the war. No one was left unaffected.
The Great Patriotic War began at 3:30am on 22 June 1941, when the Nazi Wehrmacht invaded the Soviet Union along a front stretching from the Baltic to the Black Seas with 3.2 million German soldiers, organised in 150 divisions, supported by 3,350 tanks, 7,184 artillery pieces, 600,000 trucks, 2,000 warplanes. Finnish, Italian, Romanian, Hungarian, Spanish, Slovakian forces, amongst others, eventually joined the attack. The German high command reckoned that Operation Barbarossa would take only 4 to 6 weeks to finish off the Soviet Union. In the west, US and British military intelligence agreed. Besides, what force had ever beaten the Wehrmacht? Nazi Germany was the invincible colossus. Poland had been crushed in a few days. The Anglo-French attempt to defend Norway was a fiasco. When the Wehrmacht attacked in the west, Belgium hurried to quit the fight. France collapsed in a few weeks. The British army was driven out of Dunkirk, naked, without guns or Lorries. In the spring of 1941, Yugoslavia and Greece disappeared in a matter of weeks at little cost to German invaders.
Wherever the Wehrmacht advanced in Europe, it was a walkover… until that day German soldiers stepped across Soviet frontiers. The Red Army was caught flatfooted, in halfway measures of mobilisation, because Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin did not believe his own intelligence reports warning of danger, or want to provoke Hitlerite Germany. The result was a catastrophe. But unlike Poland and unlike France, the USSR did not quit the fight after the expected 4 to 6 weeks. The Red Army’s losses were unimaginable, two million soldiers lost in the first three and a half months of the war. The Baltic provinces were lost. Smolensk fell and then Kiev, in the worst defeat of the war. Leningrad was encircled. An old man asked some soldiers, “Where are you retreating from?” There were calamities everywhere too numerous to mention. But at places like the fortress of Brest and in hundreds of unnamed fields and woods, road junctions and villages and towns, Red Army units fought on often to the last soldier. They fought out of encirclements to rejoin their own lines or to disappear into the forests and swamps of Belorussia and the northwestern Ukraine to organise the first partisan units to attack the German rear. By the end of 1941, three million Soviet soldiers were lost (the largest number being POWs who died at German hands); 177 divisions were struck from the Soviet order of battle. Still, the Red Army fought on, even forcing back the Germans at Yelnya, east southeast of Smolensk, at the end of August. The Wehrmacht felt the bite of the battered but not beaten Red Army. German forces were taking 7,000 casualties a day, a new experience for them.
As the Wehrmacht advanced, Einsatzgruppen, SS death squads, followed, killing Jews, Gypsies, communists, Soviet POWs, or anyone who got in their way. Baltic and Ukrainian Nazi collaborators assisted in the mass murders. Soviet women and children were stripped naked and forced to queue, waiting for execution. When winter came freezing German soldiers shot villagers or forced them out of their homes, dressed in rags like beggars, robbing them of hearth, winter clothing and food.
In the west those who predicted a speedy Soviet collapse, the usual western Sovietophobes, looked stupid and had to eat their forecasts. Public opinion understood that Hitlerite Germany had walked into a quagmire, not another campaign in France. While the British everyman cheered on Soviet resistance, the British government did relatively little to help. Some Cabinet ministers were even reluctant to call the Soviet Union an ally. Churchill refused to let BBC play the Soviet national anthem, the Internationale, on Sunday evenings along with those of other allies.
The Red Army still retreated, but kept fighting desperately. This was no ordinary war, but a struggle of unparalleled violence against a murderous invader for home, family, country, for life itself. In November the Red Army dropped a pamphlet on German lines, quoting Carl von Clausewitz, the Prussian military theorist: “It’s impossible either to hold or conquer Russia” That was real bravado in the circumstances, but also true. Finally, in front of Moscow, in December 1941, the Red Army, under Zhukov’s command, threw back the spent forces of the Wehrmacht, in the south by as much as three hundred kilometres. The image of Nazi invincibility was shattered. Barbarossa was too ambitious, the blitzkrieg had failed, and the Wehrmacht suffered its first strategic defeat. In London Churchill agreed, grudgingly, to let BBC play the Soviet national anthem.
In 1942 the Red Army continued to suffer defeats and heavy losses, as it fought on nearly alone. In November of that year at Stalingrad on the Volga, however, the Red Army launched a counteroffensive, which led to a remarkable victory and the retreat of the Wehrmacht back to its start lines in the spring of 1942… except for the German Sixth Army, caught in the Stalingrad kotel or cauldron. There, 22 German divisions, some of Hitler’s best, were destroyed. Stalingrad was the Verdun of the Second World War. “It’s hell,” a soldier said. “No… this is ten times worse than hell,” someone else corrected. At the end of the winter fighting in 1943, Axis losses were staggering: 100 German, Italian, Romanian, Hungarian divisions were destroyed, or mauled. The president of the United States, Franklin Roosevelt, reckoned that the tide of battle had turned: Hitlerite Germany was doomed.
It was February 1943. In that month there was not a single British, American, or Canadian division fighting in Europe against the Wehrmacht. Not one. It was sixteen months before the Normandy landings. The British and Americans were then fighting two or three German divisions in North Africa, a sideshow compared to the Soviet front. Western public opinion knew who was carrying the burden of the war against the Wehrmacht. In 1942, 80% of Axis divisions were arrayed against the Red Army. At the beginning of 1943 there were 207 German divisions on the Eastern Front. The Germans tried one last hurrah, one last offensive against the Kursk bulge in July 1943. That operation failed. The Red Army then launched a counteroffensive across the Ukraine which led to liberation of Kiev in November. Further north, Smolensk had been freed the month before.
The spirit of the Soviet people and their Red Army was formidable. War correspondant Vasilii Semenovich Grossman captured its essence in his personal journals. “Night, Snowstorm,” he wrote in early 1942, “Vehicles, Artillery. They are moving in silence. Suddenly a hoarse voice is heard. ‘Hey, which is the road to Berlin?’ A roar of laughter.”
Soldiers were not always brave. Sometimes they fled. “A battalion commissar armed with two revolvers began shouting, ‘Where are you running you sons of whores, where? Go forward, for our Motherland, for Jesus Christ, motherfuckers! For Stalin, you whores!’…” They went back to their positions. Those fellows were lucky; the commissar could have shot them all. Sometimes he did. A soldier volunteered to execute a deserter. “Did you feel any pity for him?” Grossman asked. “How can one speak of pity,” the soldier replied. At Stalingrad seven Uzbeks were found guilty of self-inflicted wounds. They were all shot. Grossman read a letter found in the pocket of a dead Soviet soldier. “I miss you very much. Please come and visit… I am writing this, and tears are pouring. Daddy, please come home and visit.”
Women fought along side the men as snipers, gunners, tankists, pilots, nurses partisans. They also kept the home front going. “Villages have become the kingdom of women,” wrote Grossman, “They drive tractors, guard warehouses and stables… Women are carrying on their shoulders the great burden of work. They dominate… send bread, aircraft, weapons and ammunition to the front.” When the war was being fought on the Volga, they did not reproach their men for having given up so much ground. “Women look and say nothing,” wrote Grossman, “… not a bitter word.” But in the villages near the front, sometimes they did.
In the meantime, the western allies attacked Italy. Stalin had long demanded a second front in France, which Churchill resisted. He wanted to attack the Axis “soft underbelly”, not to help the Red Army, but to hinder its advance into the Balkans. The idea was to advance quickly north up the Italian boot, then wheel eastward into the Balkans to keep out the Red Army. The way to Berlin however was north northeast. Churchill’s plan was a failure; the western allies did not get to Rome until June 1944. There were approximately 20 German divisions in Italy fighting against larger allied forces. In the East, there were still more than two hundred Axis divisions, or ten times those in Italy. On 6 June 1944 when Operation Overlord began in Normandy, the Red Army stood on Polish and Romanian frontiers. A fortnight after the Normandy landings, the Red Army launched Operation Bagration, a huge offensive which stove in the centre of the German eastern front and led to an advance of 500 kilometres to the west, while the western allies were still held up on the Normandy Cotentin peninsula. The Red Army had become an unstoppable juggernaut. It was just a matter of time before the destruction of Nazi Germany. When the war was over in May 1945, the Red Army had accounted for 80% of the losses of the Wehrmacht, and that percentage would have been far higher before the Normandy invasion. “Those who never experienced all the bitterness of the summer of 1941,” wrote Vasily Grossman, “will never be able fully to appreciate the joy of our victory.” There were many war hymns sung by the troops and the people to keep up morale. Sviashchennaia voina, “Sacred War” was one of the most popular. Russians still stand when they hear it.
Historians often debate about when the decisive turn of battle came in the European theatre. Some propose 22 June 1941, the day that the Wehrmacht crossed Soviet frontiers. Others point to the battles of Moscow, Stalingrad, or Kursk. During the war western public opinion seemed more supportive of the Red Army than some western leaders, Winston Churchill, for example. Roosevelt was better, a more pragmatic political leader, who easily recognised the preponderant Soviet role in the war against Nazi Germany. The Red Army, he said to one doubtful general in 1942, was killing more German soldiers and smashing more German tanks than all the other allies put together. Roosevelt knew that the Soviet Union was the linchpin of the great coalition against Nazi Germany. I call FDR the godfather of the “grand alliance”. Nevertheless, in the shadows lurked the usual haters of the Soviet Union, who were only biding their time before emerging again. The greater the certainty of victory over Nazi Germany, the more vocal and strident became the naysayers of the grand alliance.
Americans can be touchy about the memory of the Red Army playing the lead role in the destruction of the Wehrmacht. “What about Lend-Lease,” they say, “without our supplies, the Soviet Union could not have beaten the Germans.” In fact, most Lend-Lease supplies did not arrive in the USSR until after Stalingrad. Red Army soldiers facetiously called the Lend-Lease food tins the “second front” since the real one was late in coming. In 1942 Soviet industry was already out-producing Nazi Germany in major categories of armaments. Was the T-34 an American, or a Soviet tank? A polite Stalin always remembered to thank the US government for the jeeps and Studebaker trucks. They increased Red Army mobility. You contributed the aluminum, Russians famously replied, we contributed the blood… the rivers of blood.
No sooner was the war over than Britain and the United States started to think about another war, this time against the Soviet Union. In May 1945 the British high command produced Operation “Unthinkable”, a top secret plan for an offensive, reinforced by German POWs, against the Red Army. What bastards, what ingrates. In September 1945, the Americans contemplated use of 204 atomic bombs to destroy the Soviet Union. The godfather, President Roosevelt, had died in April, and within weeks American Sovietophobes were reversing his policy. The grand alliance was only a truce in a Cold War which had begun after the Bolshevik seizure of power in November 1917, and which resumed in 1945.
In that year the US and British governments still had to contend with public opinion. The everyman in Europe and the United States knew very well who had carried the load against the Wehrmacht. You could not resume the old policy of hatred against the Soviet Union just like that without blotting out the memory of the Red Army’s role in thecommon victory over Hitlerite Germany. So memories of the Nazi-Soviet non-aggression in August 1939 were brought out of the closet, although the memories of prior Anglo-French opposition to Soviet proposals for collective security against Nazi Germany and especially of the betrayal of Czechoslovakia were omitted from the new western narrative. Like thieves in the night, Britain and the United States burgled the true account of the destruction of Nazi Germany.
Already in December 1939, the British planned to publish a white paper blaming Moscow for the failure of Anglo-Franco-Soviet alliance negotiations during the previous spring and summer. The French objected because the white paper was more likely to persuade public opinion that the Soviet side had been serious about resistance to Nazi Germany while the British and French were not. The white paper was shelved. In 1948 the US State Department issued a collection of documents attributing the blame for World War II to Hitler and Stalin. Moscow fired back with its own publication demonstrating western affinities with Nazism. The fight was on in the west to remember the Soviet Union for the non-aggression pact and to forget the Red Army’s preponderant role in smashing the Wehrmacht.
How many of you have not seen some Hollywood film in which the Normandy landings are the great turning point of the war? “What if the landings had failed,” one often hears? “Oh…, nothing much,” is the appropriate reply. The war would have gone on longer, and the Red Army would have planted its flags on the Normandy beaches coming from the east. Then there are the movies about the Allied bombing campaign against Germany, the “decisive” factor in winning the war. In Hollywood films about World War II, the Red Army is invisible. It is as if the Americans (and British) were claiming laurels they didn’t earn.
I like to ask students in my university course on the Second World War, who has heard of operation Overlord? Everyone raises a hand. Then I ask who has heard of Operation Bagration? Hardly anyone raises a hand. I ask facetiously who “won” the war against Nazi Germany and the answer is “America” of course. Only a few students—normally those who have had other courses with me—will answer the Soviet Union.
The truth is uphill work in a western world where “fake news” is the norm. The OSCE and European Parliament put the blame for World War II on the Soviet Union, read Russia and President Vladimir Putin, as the subliminal message. Hitler is almost forgotten in this tohu-bohu of evidence-free accusations. Behind the bogus historical narrative are the Baltic states, Poland, and the Ukraine, spewing out hatred of Russia. The Baltics and the Ukraine now remember Nazi collaborators as national heroes and celebrate their deeds. In Poland, for some people, this is hard to swallow; they remember the Ukrainian Nazi collaborators who murdered tens of thousands of Poles in Volhynia. Unfortunately, such memories have not stopped Polish hooligans from vandalising monuments to Red Army war dead or desecrating Soviet war cemeteries. Polish “nationalists” cannot bear the memory of the Red Army freeing Poland from the Nazi invader.
In Russia, however, the west’s mendacious propaganda has no effect. The Soviet Union produced its own films, and the Russian Federation also, about World War II, most recently about the defence of the Brest fortress and of Sevastopol, and the battle of Stalingrad. On 9 May every year Russians remember the millions of soldiers who fought and died, and the millions of civilians who suffered and died at the hands of the Nazi invader. The veterans, fewer each year, come out wearing uniforms that often do not fit quite right or threadbare jackets covered with war medals and orders. “Treat them with tact and respect,” Zhukov wrote in his memoirs: “It is a small price after what they did for you in 1941-1945.” How did you manage, I wondered to myself observing them on Victory Day some years go, how did you cope, living constantly with death and so much sorrow and hardship?
Now, each year on Victory Day the “immortal regiment”, the bessmertnyi polk, marches; Russians in cities and towns across the country and abroad, march together carrying large photographs of family members, men and women, who fought in the war. “We remember,” they want to say: “and we will never forget you.”
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