USSR and Red Army contributions were essential in defeating Hitler

With the risk of sounding repetitive, I feel it is important to stress the contribution of the USSR to WW2. With the Western countries’ voluntary amnesia when the time comes to commemorate and express gratitude for the sacrifices endured by the Soviet people, I strongly believe certain truths need to be reminded, often. I came upon these very interesting graphics yesterday on Twitter, which led me to the following blog. Even though they are in French, the images speak for themselves.

High and low estimations of war casualties, in the millions. source:
High and low estimations of war casualties, in the millions. source:
For every American soldier killed, 60 Soviet soldiers were killed. source:
For every American soldier killed, 60 Soviet soldiers were killed. source:

Without the Red Army, winning World War II would have been just impossible. True, Winston Churchill provided with the moral courage to carry on during the darkest hours of the conflict, notably at the very beginning and the United States provided essential material through the lend-lease agreements. But, when you look at these two very eloquent graphics, you cannot fail – if you are intellectually honest – to realize that the Soviet boots were essential to win the war on the ground.

I use the word sad, but I should write shameful. You can’t rewrite history with the blood of those who fell and the sweat of those who fought.

Victory Parade in Moscow

Today, I wish I was in Moscow, most probably on Tverskaya street, to watch the impressive parade that is now unfolding to mark the 70th anniversary of the victory over the Nazi hordes – a victory made possible by the huge sacrifices consented by the Soviet people and the Red Army.

But since I’m not there, I’m watching victory parades of the past. Understandably, I’m more interested in the one that was organized in 1945. So it’s a pleasure for me to share these images with you!

For those of you who might have a bit more time on a Saturday, the second video (below) is much longer but no less interesting. As for the first one, the most powerful moment comes at 10 minutes when the Nazi flags and banners are laid down on the ground. Nobody could have marched on that day anywhere in Europe, if millions of Soviet and Allied soldiers had not fallen or poured their hearts into battle.

Lest we forget!

“Most of the Holocaust survivors were saved by the Red Army”

The Soviet War Cemetery in Warsaw, May 2015.
The Soviet War Cemetery in Warsaw, May 2015.

There is a sad tendency, these days, to rewrite history for political purposes.

In a recent book, French historian Philippe Richardot writes in his introduction: “The deciding factor of World War II is what occurred on the Eastern front” (my translation). And there is ample academic evidence to support this statement.

Alas, because of the current geopolitical context, in which many world leaders are opposed to Russian President Vladimir Putin, it is hard for many to resist the temptation to equate this situation with the intention of rewriting history.

Fortunately, there are people who are holding these revisionists to account.

Take for example this Israeli man who was interviewed by the Russian radio.

Here are two revealing excerpts of his interview:

“Most of the Holocaust survivors were saved by the Red Army. And they are live witnesses up until now. So it never happened in Israel anything like in Europe, nothing undermining the Russian part in the Second World War.


There are 39 memorials commemorating those who were responsible for this great victory, 39 memorials for the soldiers of the Red Army primarily. You don’t have anything like this in any other parts of the world. So today together with the Holocaust there is a memory of the great victory in Israel combined together.”

Scoring easy political points on the back of a leader you dislike is one thing, distorting history and betraying the memory of those who fell to ensure victory of barbarism and Nazism is another one. And it is unacceptable.

The Red Army deserves credit for the 1945 victory and we should never shy away from being grateful.

Merci, soldat soviétique!

Dans le contexte actuel de confrontation entre l’Occident et le monde russe, il est facile de sombrer dans un sentiment anti-Moscou primaire et dénué d’une profondeur dépassant les grandes lignes du discours ambiant.

Mais éloignons-nous un instant des lignes éditoriales, des ateliers de rédaction de discours de chefs de gouvernement occidentaux ou des analyses des prétendus « experts » perchés dans leurs tours d’ivoire académiques à cent lieues de la réalité sur le terrain, pour nous pencher sur un fait indéniable.

Il y a de cela 70 ans, le monde était à la veille de vaincre le péril hitlérien. Sans les troupes soviétiques, nous n’aurions pu accomplir cette besogne.

Je prends à témoin l’historien militaire Jean Lopez qui, dans son excellent livre Opération Bagration : La revanche de Staline (été 1944) cite l’historien Rüdiger Overmans lorsqu’il évoque le fait suivant :

« Rappelons que, par année de guerre, les Occidentaux éliminent en moyenne 200 000 soldats allemands (tous fronts et toutes armes confondus), les Soviétiques presque 1 200 000. » (page 3).

Si les hordes nazies ont pu être stoppées, ce sont les soldats qui se battaient sous l’emblème du marteau et de la faucille qui en ont payé le plus lourd tribut.

Tâchons de ne pas l’oublier, alors que nous nous apprêtons à commémorer le 70e anniversaire de la victoire de 1945.

Si vous n’êtes pas familier avec la langue russe ou encore l’anglais, vous ne comprendrez peut-être pas les paroles de cette chanson dédiée aux anciens combattants soviétiques (russes), mais vous pourrez sans doute en deviner le sens, celui de la reconnaissance et du souvenir.

Would Poland be abandoned?

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????I just came across this very preoccupying article, which attests that many people in Poland – and in other former Eastern European countries – are worried about the current situation in Ukraine.

I’m nevertheless particularly troubled by 2 specific excerpts:

“Poland is a member of NATO, but the defense alliance rejected requests from Warsaw to establish a substantial permanent presence on Polish soil. That has shaken Poles’ faith in NATO’s resolve, officials in Warsaw say.”


“”Let’s be honest, at war we would likely be cannon fodder,” Przybyl said in an interview. But he said it was his duty to serve if war does break out.”

Despite the fact that Poland is left hanging dry by NATO, Poles are still ready to serve as “cannon fodder” and defend their homeland and values.

In the event that Poland was invaded and attacked, would we let it suffer the same fate as it endured in September 1939?

Let’s hope the answer is a resounding no.

Churchill and Gorbachev

Photo credit: NBC News and Wikimedia. Montage: Pinso.

Coming from the man who made sure that Soviet soldiers fired no bullets when the Iron Curtain came down, it is worth heeding the lessons given by Mikhail Gorbachev about the current situation. Without this man and his interlocutor, US President Ronald Reagan, the world might be a much worse place today.

Gorbachev’s advice reminds me of what Winston Churchill said in the British House of Commons on May 2nd, 1935:

“When the situation was manageable it was neglected, and now that it is thoroughly out of hand we apply too late the remedies which then might have effected a cure. There is nothing new in the story. It is as old as the sibylline books. It falls into that long, dismal catalogue of the fruitlessness of experience and the confirmed unteachability of mankind. Want of foresight, unwillingness to act when action would be simple and effective, lack of clear thinking, confusion of counsel until the emergency comes, until self-preservation strikes its jarring gong–these are the features which constitute the endless repetition of history.”

We might not agree with everything the former Soviet leader says. And I certainly don’t. But the more time we will spend listening to people like Gorbachev who were on the brink and who made sure we would not fall into the abyss, the less we will regret we did not.