Addressing the nation on the 77th anniversary of Russia’s Great Patriotic War triumph over the scourge of Nazi Germany, Vladimir Putin said the following:
“Today, in these very days, you are fighting for our people in Donbass, for the security of our homeland, Russia.”
“It is our duty to preserve the memory of those who defeated Nazism and commanded us to remain alert and make every effort to prevent the terror of a world war from happening again.”
“Victory Day is near and dear to all of us.”
“There is not a single family in Russia that was not affected by the Great Patriotic War. Its memory lives on.”
“There were open preparations (by Ukraine) for another punitive operation (in Donbass), for an incursion into our historic lands, including Crimea.”
“Kiev announced possible acquisition of nuclear weapons, and NATO (regimes) started active military colonization of territories belonging to us.”
“So, an absolutely unacceptable threat for us was created, directly near our borders.”
“All this signaled that confrontation with neo-Nazis and pro-Bandera forces, on whom the US and its junior partners placed a stake, would be inevitable.”
“We saw how military infrastructure was unfolding, how hundreds of foreign advisers began to work and there were regular shipments of advanced weapons from NATO” regimes.
“The danger was growing with every passing day.”
“Russia gave a preemptive rebuff to aggression.”
“This was a forced, timely and solely correct decision — a decision by a sovereign, strong and independent country.”
On May 9, Russia, its leadership and people are commemorating the 77th anniversary of the nation’s Great Patriotic War triumph over the scourge of Nazi Germany.
From June 22, 1941 through May 9, 1945, Russian forces defeated around four million Wehrmacht troops — perhaps the largest/most powerful ever invasion force by one nation against another.
Defeating them made triumph over Nazi Germany possible.
Without Russia’s indispensable contribution, Hitler might have won WW II.
Russia’s Great Patriotic War was the bloodiest in world history.
Around 27 million Russian combatant and civilian lives were lost.
In stark contrast, about 400,000 US military forces perished during WW II. Another 670,000 were wounded.
The US homeland was unaffected.
I recall WW II from beginning to end.
Life for me and my family was normal.
Different from now was rationing because the nation’s resources were largely used for the war front.
A minor inconvenience, I never felt deprived of essentials growing up at the time.
My older generation uncles and cousins were in the war. All survived.
My best friend’s older brother was killed in the war.
My next door neighbor was a holocaust survivor and it showed.
Different from others our age, he bore invisible scars from what he endured.
What he never spoke about clearly affected him greatly at war’s end.
Chinese casualties were second to Russia’s in WW II.
An estimated 20 million of its people perished, most civilians at the hands of imperial Japan.
Around 8 million German combatants and civilians died during WW II.
Over 3 million Japanese combatants and civilians perished.
Overall, about 60 million combatants and civilians died during WW II, millions more wounded.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry earlier slammed reinvented US history that attributed “victory over Hitler’s Germany…exclusively to America and Great Britain,” adding:
“American officials did not have the courage and desire to pay at least a half-word tribute to the undeniable role and enormous disproportionate sacrifices that the Red Army and the Soviet people suffered then for the sake of all humanity.”
Putin earlier stressed that “whoever…tr(ies) to rewrite the pages of the past now, the truth is that the Soviet soldier came to the land of Germany not to take revenge on the Germans, but with the noble, great mission of a liberator,” adding:
“The memory of the heroes who fought against Nazism is sacred to us.”
“We remember with gratitude the allies in the anti-Hitler coalition, the members of the Resistance, the German anti-fascists who brought the common victory closer.”
“Having survived the horrors of the world war, the peoples of Europe were still able to overcome alienation and restore mutual trust and respect, embarked on a course of integration in order to draw the final line under the European tragedies of the first half of the last century.”
Putin notably “emphasize(d) that the historical reconciliation of our people and the Germans who lived both in the east and in the west of the modern united Germany played a colossal role in the formation of such a Europe.”
Among the great battles of WW II, Stalingrad is most memorable.
From August 1942 through February 1943, around 1.8 million combatants and civilians died on both sides, nearly half a million Russian servicemen.
Russian casualties exceeded total US ones from December 1941 through end of war in Europe and the Pacific less than four years later.
The vast majority of Americans have no idea about the extent of deaths, sacrifice and suffering endured by combatants and civilians during WW II — in Europe and the Pacific.
Having lived normally throughout the war before the age of television, I had no idea about what went on until long after it ended.
What should have been a war to end all future ones wasn’t to be because of US rage to dominate the world community of nations by brute force if lesser tactics fail.
Today the threat of another global war exists at a time when US/Western and Russian super-weapons make ones used during WW II seem like toys by comparison.
If WMDs are unleashed in enough numbers, Albert Einstein’s long ago quote is most relevant, saying:
“I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”
That’s the reality of where things stand today.