Friday, April 22, 2005

Never Again!

Never Again

THROUGHOUT the world governments are honouring the 60th anniversary of the defeat of the Axis with solemn ceremonies to remember those who gave their lives in the struggle to defeat Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan.

In Europe and Asia it’s a time to recall those epic days of liberation from the yoke of fascist oppression and remember the millions who were butchered on the orders of Hitler and Hirohito. But in Japan it’s been marked by the publication of a new school history text book that praises the Imperial army and whitewashes the crimes of past.

Imagine the outrage if the German ruling class had decided to honour the Wehrmacht and SS and dismissed the Holocaust as an “incident” in the school room. Imagine the horror if the German Chancellor had chosen to make an annual pilgrimage to the graves of Hitler, Goering, Goebbels and Himmler.

Yet this is what is happening in Japan today. The war crimes of Hirohito’s legions, that raped, burned and butchered their way across Asia, are ignored. But the books do not mention the war criminals. For the past four years Japanese prime minister Junichiro Koizumi has paid homage at the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, a place that honours Class A war-criminals whose hands were stained with the blood of the people of China and other Asian countries.
No wonder the people of China are taking to the streets to express their anger and disgust.

The Soviet sacrifice

The 60th anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany is a time for reflection for all working people. It is a time to remember the sacrifice of millions of people, and in particular the 20 million Soviet workers and peasants, who died in the fight to defeat Hitler fascism and Japanese imperialism. The Axis powers wanted world domination and they committed unspeakable crimes in the Second World War that began in 1939 and only ended in 1945 with the total defeat of the Third Reich and the Japanese Empire.

Though the forces of the United States and the British Empire played an important role in the defeat of fascism it was the undoubted courage and determination of the Soviet people that brought Nazi Germany to its knees and it was equally the final intervention by the USSR against Japan in 1945 that forced the Japanese imperialists to capitulate, regardless of the American atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The flower of Soviet youth, led by Stalin and the Bolsheviks, sacrificed their lives to preserve their socialist motherland in a titanic struggle against the forces of reaction. They fought the Nazis to a standstill outside the gates of Leningrad and Moscow and then broke the might of the Nazi legions in Stalingrad and Kursk in the war that ended with Hitler dead in his bunker and the Red Flag flying over Berlin.

The finest sons and daughters of the working class of Europe and Asia joined the resistance to the Axis. Underground communist workers in Germany, Italy and the other fascist regimes played a vital role in mobilising the people against the dictatorships and sabotaging the Axis war-effort. Communist partisan units played the major role in the guerrilla struggle against the Axis occupation throughout Europe and led the victorious people’s liberation movements in Yugoslavia and Albania.

But for their sacrifice the Soviet Union would have been destroyed and the world would have been dominated by the most aggressive capitalist circles in Nazi Germany and the Japanese Empire. The genocidal policies of the Axis during their brief period of ascendancy show what the future would have been had they won and there can be no doubt that a world run by Adolf Hitler and Emperor Hirohito would have set back civilisation hundreds of years.

The struggle and sacrifice of millions upon millions of working people destroyed the Axis. We must never forget them nor must we forget the cause that motivated them in the tremendous effort that led to victory in 1945. They fought for peace and a new tomorrow.

We must keep up the fight for a better tomorrow, the world that Marx and Engels dreamed of; the world that Lenin and Stalin built; a world without war; a world without oppression or exploitation; a world worthy of the sacrifices made by the past generations that we honour today.

New Worker editorial
22nd April 2005