On the 8th of May 1945 Europe was freed from the tyrannies of Nazi and fascist rule.
The sacrifices made by the allied powers were enormous. More accurately, the sacrifice of ordinary men and women in laying down their lives to defeat a far right ideology was enormous.
The latest estimates put total Soviet casualties at between 26 and 27 million dead – 10 million in battle or PoW camps and the rest, civilians. That amounts to around 15% of the population.
A further 25 million civilians were homeless or living in farm buildings.
To put that into perspective, the deaths of UK military personnel and civilians amounted to 0.9% of the total population.
Of the 5.7 million Soviet PoWs in Nazi custody, 57% died. This compares with British and US death rates of 3.6%.
We must never forget that among the first targets of Hitler’s concentration camps were German Communists. Following the burning of the Reichstag thousands of members of the Communist Party of Germany were arrested, wiping out opposition to the Nazi party.
Communists and working people around the world must not allow VE Day to be turned into a celebration of the pomp of the elite, of the “superiority” of the British and Americans over the evils of the Nazi regime.
Ordinary working people fought and died in the Second World War. Ordinary working people won the Second World War. For the sake of ordinary working people, let us not forget the sacrifices made on every side.
Many of the figures from this article are taken from “Freedom From Tyranny – The Fight Against Fascism and the Falsification of History” by Phil Katz, published by Manifesto Press.