Lessons from history

On the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II:

Imperialism was and remains the source of war and conflict in the world

Seventy five years ago, on September 2, 1945, the Second World War came to an end with Japan signing the treaty of surrender before the Allied forces.

Crores of people from countries across Europe, Asia, North America and other continents sacrificed their lives in the glorious struggle to defeat fascism and militarism. In this struggle to defeat Nazi Germany, fascist Italy and militarist Japan, the Soviet Union played a decisive role.

Immediately following the end of the Second World War, the Anglo American imperialists began to deliberately distort the causes that led to the Second World War. They began to cover up the role of the US and Britain in encouraging and inciting Nazi Germany against the Soviet Union. They began falsifying history, in an attempt to erase the heroic role played by the Soviet Union and its peoples in liberating the countries and peoples who were groaning under the jackboots of the armies of Germany, Italy and Japan.

This falsification of history continues to this date, with the Anglo American imperialists carrying out ceaseless propaganda falsely accusing the Soviet Union of colluding with Nazi Germany and being responsible for unleashing the Second World War.

The Communist Ghadar Party of India is publishing a 6-part series to educate our readers on the causes that led to the Second World War, and the lessons to be drawn by the peoples.

Part I – Lessons from history

We must draw the correct lessons, so that humanity can put an end once and for all to the scourge of war and oppression of peoples.

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II.  On September 2, Japan signed the formal surrender treaty with the Allied forces.  Earlier, on May 9, 1945, Nazi Germany surrendered to the Allied powers.

World War II raged from 1939 to 1945 in Europe and North Africa, but in Asia the War began two years earlier in 1937 when Japan launched an all-out invasion of China.  It was the most catastrophic event in human history until that time.  More than 12 crore people lost their lives in the war, of which about 6 crore died in the Soviet Union and China alone.  About 870,000 Indian soldiers died in the War.

World War II will be remembered for the extent of barbaric atrocities inflicted on innocent people by the belligerent states.  This includes the racial targeting of Jews and various ethnic or national groups by Nazi Germany and their cold-blooded slaughter in concentration camps, along with communists, working class activists and other progressive people.  It includes the Rape of Nanjing, the city in central China, by the occupying Japanese forces, the 872-day siege and bombing of Leningrad in Soviet Russia, the dropping of the atomic bomb by the US on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and many other unspeakable crimes.

The end of the War brought about not only the defeat of Nazi Germany, fascist Italy and militarist Japan, it also gave rise to the formation of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as instruments to try and prevent wars and to ensure the freedoms of the peoples in the future.  It led to a great rise in the prestige of socialism and the Soviet Union, which had played the leading role in the defeat of Nazi aggression.  It strengthened the forces of anti-imperialism, democracy and socialism around the world, and directly or indirectly led to the victory of the Revolution in China, the end of colonial rule in India and a large number of countries, and the establishment of people’s democracies in many countries of Europe and Asia.

At the same time, the end of the War also led to the establishment of US imperialism as the most powerful imperialist superpower.  It gave rise to a new war, the Cold War, led by the US against what was then the socialist Soviet Union.  The Cold War saw the rise of militarized blocs of states, as well as a huge increase in the development and stockpiling of all kinds of armaments, capable of killing far more people than all the weaponry used in World War II.  Immediately following the War, US imperialism threw its weight behind various oppressive and reactionary regimes in different countries in an effort to combat what it called “the Red menace” of communism.  It also launched all-out attacks against the working class and progressive people in its own country.

Today, 75 years after the end of World War II, the bitter truth is that the people of the world are still not free from the ravages of war and from national and social oppression.  In the last few decades, whole countries have been destroyed, millions of people have been rendered homeless, crores of people have been persecuted because of their nationality, race or religion, and countless more have been denied even their basic human rights. The reason why the hopes of the people for a peaceful and secure future for all after World War II were not fulfilled is because the basic cause of destructive wars and oppression in our era – imperialism and the imperialist system of states – continues to exist.

On the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II, the main imperialist powers and their media are using the occasion to create a fog of confusion about the nature and outcome of the War.  They are whitewashing their own role in the War, while heaping calumny on the Soviet Union which had played the leading role in defeating the fascist forces.  They present the War as something that was over in the past, and blind the people to the dangers of a new world war arising from the sharpening struggle for the redivision of the world among the imperialist powers.

Therefore, it is important for us today more than ever to look deeply into the factors that gave rise to World War II as well as its aftermath.  We must draw the correct lessons, so that humanity can put an end once and for all to the scourge of war and oppression of peoples.

Next Part II of VI: Who and what was responsible for the two world wars in the 20th century?

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