On May 9, every self-respecting Russian-language website or online publication devoted at least one, or even several articles to Victory Day over the fascist invaders. Of course, the authors who published their materials on “VO” also acted, and this is absolutely correct. However, as they were read, a very strange thought crept into my head and grew stronger: “Something is going wrong!”
And even more than that: “Something is very wrong!”
Seventy-two years ago, the most terrible war of all that mankind had ever known died down. We know that in it fought the armies of many countries divided into two camps. The backbone of one of them was constituted by the Axis countries - Fascist Germany, Italy and Japan not far from them. At the head of those who blocked their path, stood the USSR, Britain and the United States.
Of course, the focus of the power of our enemies was fascist Germany, at the head of which stood Adolf Hitler. There is no doubt that it was the USSR that bore the brunt of the struggle against Hitlerism, and that it was the Country of Soviets that left Germany in the dust. But still - not alone. We were helped by our allies, which in those years the USA and Great Britain became for us. Yes, their contribution to the Victory is much more modest than ours. Yes, they all together did not drink even a tenth of that bowl of misfortunes and sufferings that fell to the lot of our grandfathers and great-grandfathers. Still, many Englishmen and Americans helped us in our struggle, they also suffered torment and grief, many lost their loved ones in that war, many lost their lives for the victory.
Without a doubt, in spite of all the bombing of the Luftwaffe, the British settlements did not receive even a thousandth of the destruction suffered by the Soviet cities and villages. British correspondent Alexander Werth, who visited Stalingrad after the battle, was deeply shocked by what he saw. Later he wrote:
"All the destruction of London can fit in one block of Stalingrad."
Of course, this was an artistic exaggeration, but not to say too big. But does the grief of an English mother, whose child died from a Nazi bomb, differ in some way from the grief of a woman of Stalingrad, whose share was the same loss?
We are talking about the fact that the losses of the United States and Britain cannot be compared with those that the USSR underwent, and this, no doubt, is true. US lost killed 405 thousand people. According to the figures given by Winston S. Churchill, the armed forces of Great Britain, taking into account the soldiers from India and the Dominions, have lost their dead and missing - 412 240 people. Another 30 thousand people lost the English merchant and fishing fleet, and in addition 67 100 people died civilians. Thus, the total losses of the British Empire were 509 340 people, according to other data - only 450 000 people. In other words, our main allies lost less than a million people in World War II.
Of course, these figures are completely lost against the background of 27 millions who died in the USSR. But on the other hand ... imagine a large city, such as Volgograd, Krasnodar or Saratov. With its numerous and long streets, wide squares, high, apartment buildings, traffic jams in the mornings, dozens and even hundreds of thousands of families gathering for dinner in their apartments in the evenings ...
And suddenly - there is nothing of that. The city, which was recently full of life, is empty, all its inhabitants, until the last man, are dead.
This is the price paid by Britain and the United States for victory in World War II. It is disproportionately smaller than what the Soviet Union gave, but nevertheless it is very, very great. And, no doubt, worthy of the memory of grateful descendants. Their descendants, of course, but also ours with you, because we fought together against a common enemy.
Here lies the Soviet soldier Ivan, originally from Yaroslavl, struck by a fragment of a German projectile during the crossing of the Dnieper. Death overtook the fighter when he had just stepped onto the shore occupied by the fascist invaders, but he still firmly squeezes his rifle, from which he hit the enemies during the crossing. And here - the body of George from Minnesota, lying three steps away from the surf line of Omaha Beach - a machine-gun burst pierced his chest, interrupting his life, but weapons he did not let go of his hands either. Tell me, dear readers of "VO", what is the difference between Ivan from Yaroslavl and George from Minnesota? Both of them were ready to fight for their country, for their ideals, for what they believed in. Both of them stood in order to stop the brown plague with a weapon in their hands. Both did not flinch in battle. Both gave their lives for the victory over the terrible enemy. So how did it happen that only one of them was worthy of our memory, gratitude and admiration?
Landing on the Dnieper and in Normandy
Of course, it is possible (and necessary!) To say that the Allies opened the second front only in 1944, when the fall of Nazi Germany was in fact foreshadowed. Of course, it is possible (and necessary!) To say that the coast of France was defended by relatively inexperienced divisions, which on the eastern front would become a lubricant for the T-34 tracks, but even they were able to hold back the Anglo-American technology, far superior to them host You can (and should!) Say a lot more. But tell me, what is the fault of that same George from Minnesota, who lies with a shot through chest on the wet sand of Omaha Beach? What did he do wrong? Too late to help? So it was not for him to decide. Not too skillfully fought? So they did not teach, but he did not have time to learn. In the fight against Nazism, he gave the second most important value that he had - his own life. And his honor will be with him forever.
Even during the existence of the Soviet Union, surprising metamorphoses were known, to which he subjected history World War II European and American agitprop. How not to remember "the Polish army took Berlin, and the Soviet helped." Here take the victory of the Soviet troops in the battle of Moscow. Which, generally speaking, was the first major victory over the Wehrmacht, since from the very beginning of World War II, that is, with 1939 r, neither the British, nor the French, nor the Polish, and generally no troops of Western (and pro-Western) countries did not inflict a single German something noticeable defeat. Neither on the scale of the corps, nor on the scale of the division, and indeed, even on the scale of the regiment somehow did not work out very well. The Red Army near Moscow put an entire group of armies to the brink of destruction ... And, in fact, predetermined the defeat of Germany, because it was precisely as a result of the heavy defeat of the Center group that all hopes of a quick victory over the USSR covered themselves with a copper basin. The war became protracted, and in a conflict of this kind, the Axis countries, having far fewer resources than the Allies, could not count on success. And this victory of Soviet weapons ... simply unworthy of mention. So, some kind of nonsense, they piled aside with the corpses, but General Frost intervened. Here Stalingrad is another matter, here the Soviets have achieved something. Although this local success, of course, pales against the background of the Great American Victory in Midway and is completely insignificant in comparison with the achievements of the allied forces in Africa. The fascist backbone, of course, was broken by the brave American marines and commandos during Operation Overlord, and the Soviet army at that time was entertaining itself by raping millions of German women in the territories it had seized. How could it be otherwise? Of course, fascism is very bad, but after all, both Stalin and Hitler are tyrants, dictators, one can say twins ... in general, one field of berries, and indeed the differences between a communist and a fascist are purely cosmetic. And only the power of the combined Anglo-American troops saved Europe, exhausted by the war, from the grin of communism. After all, if not for the Allied forces, the red rink would have swept across Europe right up to the English Channel ...
Anyone, even a little bit familiar with the history of the person, like an oxymoron will cause nothing but the desire to twist his finger at his temple. But, as the French say: "Slander, slander, something will remain." When a lie is repeated for decades, people begin to believe in it.
However, when the author of this article read the materials on Victory Day on the "VO", then at some point he felt himself in the role of an average European or American. Why? Yes, because, oddly enough, our authors did not find a single kind word for allies who had fought with us. On the contrary! The sacred (we will not be afraid of this word) holiday was used ... for “two minutes of hate” (Orwell, if someone had forgotten) in relation to everything western:
"The defeat of Hitler's Germany and its allies thwarted the plans of the masters of the West to enslave the whole of humanity and establish complete domination over it."
“The essence of the Western world is the constant robbery, the redistribution of the resources of all mankind in their favor. The West is a world parasite, a vampire ghoul who cannot exist without robberies, invasions and seizures of someone else’s “living space”.
But what about over 800 thousand. John, Jack, Sam and Eugene, who died fighting with arms against the Germans, Italians and Japanese? How is lend-lease? Yes, nothing. Our authors did not have a kind word for them, and indeed there was nothing of this, and this is the end of it. During the Second World War, the West tried to resolve the issue of the destruction of the Russian nation, and if it somehow distinguished itself in military operations against the fascists, it was only the barbaric bombardment of the civilian population of the German and Japanese cities.
Doesn't this remind you of anything?
In fact, of course, our relationship with the West has never been easy. As, incidentally, among the western countries among themselves. To a certain extent, of course, “thank you very much” for this you need to say England, which, as you know, “has no permanent allies, but only permanent interests”. The fact is that, beginning about a century from the sixteenth, England gradually took shape as the strongest maritime power that held world trade under control. This made her super-rich, and, of course, a tasty target for those who would like to take her place.
With the world's most powerful fleetEngland was afraid of only one thing - the unification of Europe, because it was such a Europe that would have the resources to undermine its sea power and land an army directly on the territory of Misty Albion. Accordingly, for centuries the essence of British politics was to form a coalition of weaker European powers against the most powerful with the money that it received from the trade in overseas goods. And the British, in general, didn’t care what kind of power would be the strongest at any given moment, there was nothing personal for them. Has Spain raised its head? Fourth Alliance and War. Has France intensified? England immediately begins to put together and finance anti-Napoleonic coalitions. Is Russia showing “excessive” activity in European politics? Crimean War. Germany, late for the division of the world, is hungry for redistributing the colonies in its favor and is building a powerful fleet? Well, the Entente is being created ...
But what is interesting is that when the nightmare of England nevertheless came true, and Europe found itself under the rule of a single ruler, then for Russia it never ended in anything good. Strictly speaking, Europe was united twice; Napoleon Bonaparte and Adolf Hitler did it. After that, the Russian Empire and the USSR experienced the most terrible invasions in their history, which our ancestors had to stop with great blood.
But then World War II died down, and the era of British dominance was forever in the past. Yes, just changed? In general, nothing - the USSR became an ultimatum-powerful superpower, unequivocally the strongest in Europe. It’s not that a separate country, but all European countries didn’t even have a shadow of a chance to stop the USSR, if it had come to their senses to wet their tracks tanks in the salty waters of the English Channel. And the United States came to the role of England - the same “island” (only bigger and further away), the same ultimatum-powerful fleet, corresponding to the multi-state standard (that is, stronger than that of all other powers combined) and the same possibilities for controlling sea trade, what were the UK once. And now - the continuation of the "old song in a new way" - under the auspices of the superpower and inaccessible to the Soviet tank armada of the USA, an alliance of the weakest states against the strongest - NATO against the USSR - is formed again and the world is slipping into the arms of a new war, this time - a cold ...
In other words, Russia and the United States, as well as Western countries, share a lot. But what is interesting is that the same thing can be said about almost any European country. How much blood between Germany and the same France? After all, they fought in the era of the Napoleonic wars, and in the first and second world war, and many times earlier. The question arises - how then, having a history full of struggle, they managed to become allies during the Cold War?
The answer is quite simple - practicality and expediency. In the event of a Soviet invasion, neither Germany nor France could stand alone against the Soviet army, but in alliance with each other, and with other European countries under the auspices of the United States, they could. The main thing is how to demonize these incomprehensible Russians, so that they look much worse than the usual, in general, the enemy ...
But we do not at all strive to become another European nation. We recognize many achievements of Europe, but for a long time we don’t want to blindly copy European structures in Russia. We believe that our position at the junction of European and Asian civilizations, our very uneasy history, will allow us to finally form a new structure of society in which the merits of the eastern and western paths of development will organically merge. But in this case, we simply cannot afford a “black and white” vision of the world (here we are good elves, and there are evil orcs — enemies). We cannot afford to divide the world into an "empire of good and an empire of evil." We should look at those around us with a much wider view than they look at us.
In other words, we must see not only what separates us, but also what unites us. Or at least once united. We must remember All.
We should not forget that in the composition of the Great Army of Napoleon, which on the night of 12 June 1812 passed through the Neman and entered the Russian Empire, tens of thousands of Austrians and Prussians served. But we also just need to remember that in the monstrous battle of Leipzig, which received the name “Battle of the Nations” in historiography, in which almost 600 thousand soldiers came together on both sides (by the way, Borodino had about 250 thousand) and which finally broke the power of Napoleonic France, the Austrians and Prussians fought shoulder to shoulder with the Russian troops. And, by the way, also the Swedish ones, with whom we, generally speaking, also had everything.
We will remember the monstrous bombardment of Dresden and other cities in its senselessness, when hundreds of American "Fortresses" and English "Lancaster" destroyed civilians by tens and hundreds of thousands of people. But we will also remember the feat of the VT-8 squadron, performed by its pilots in the Battle of Midway.
American deck torpedo bombers
Its commander, John Waldron, the grandson of the Sioux leader, wore an Indian knife next to a service Colt and was an experienced pilot. But the rest of the squadron pilots were just reservists called up a few months ago. Deck aviation In 1942, the United States did not even get close to the power that allowed the Japanese Air Force to destroy it with almost no loss on its part. Before the "turkey hunt" - the destruction of the Japanese carrier-based aviation in the battle of the Mariana Islands, there were two more bloody years of the naval war. And in 1942, even finding previously discovered Japanese aircraft carriers was a very difficult task for American pilots.
Captain-Lieutenant John Waldron had no illusions about the capabilities of his subordinates. Therefore, he “comforted” them with the fact that the hunter's instinct would lead the squadron to the enemy and ordered to follow him. And then, when the Japanese were found, he ordered a pistol shot to move closer to them, and only then - to attack. Only in this way could one expect that inexperienced reservists would be able to hit torpedoes at someone.
This may seem surprising, but Waldron really led his squadron - fifteen TBD "Devastator" torpedo bombers - to the Japanese aircraft carriers. But alas, only torpedo bombers, because their fighter cover got lost somewhere in the clouds (according to other data, it is not so lost that, but seeing what forces to deal with, did not decide to fight, later formally justifying the absence of a signal to attack). Anyway, the American torpedo bombers had no chance - not only did they have to break through the strongest anti-aircraft fire of the Japanese warrant, the wings of the Zero fighter jets were already spread over them ...
And, nevertheless, the torpedo bombers did not hesitate to lay down on the combat course. They flew in some 50 feet (about 15 meters) above the waves directly onto the aircraft carrier Kaga. “Zero” crashed down on them, striking the light fuselages with machine-gun bursts, but they went forward. A fiery hell struck out of dozens of artillery mounts in their faces — they still went ahead. “Devastaytory” died one by one, until only one plane remained of the entire squadron, and then he, shot down, crashed into the waters of the Pacific Ocean. The VT-8 squadron died almost at full strength in a hopeless attack on not only superior, but also overwhelming enemy forces. But not a single American pilot retreated, did not leave the battlefield, did not turn off the combat course.
From 45, the man of her crews survived only one ensign (midshipman) George Gray.
At the moment when his plane hit the water, he was thrown out of the car - he was injured, but he managed to grab the cushion of the airplane seat, which served as a life buoy. Later, at night, he managed to use a life raft, from which he was later removed by an American destroyer.
Here, someone can, of course, remember that it was the US policy that provoked the Japanese to enter the war, and if not for the oil embargo, coupled with the obviously impracticable American ultimatum, then perhaps Japan would not have attacked Pearl Harbor, and then Waldron's squadron would not have to die. But I will answer that all the pre-war domestic and foreign policies of Japan led this country to war, and the question was only whether the descendants of the samurai would attack - the USSR or the USA. Let me also remind you that if it were not for the "provocations of the Americans", then our country, quite possibly, would have had to fight on the Far Eastern Front as well.
We must not forget the contempt with which Chamberlain rejected offers of assistance to the Soviet Union when Stalin tried hard to create an Anglo-French-Soviet alliance capable of stopping fascist Germany. We will not have any special illusions about Winston Spencer Churchill, who, when asked why he suddenly began to support the Bolsheviks so zealously, with whom he had fought so fiercely for so long, replied with the most famous phrase:
"If Hitler had invaded hell, I would at least sympathetically respond to Satan in the House of Commons."
But we should not forget the indomitable spirit of another person who bore the same last name as the British Prime Minister: John Malcolm Thorpe Fleming Churchill.
Yes, he was a fair crank - went to battle with an English war bow and Scottish broadsword, and one of his favorite phrases was:
"Any officer who goes into battle without a sword is armed wrong."
But once he, serving in the forces of special operations during the landing at Salerno, came across a German mortar platoon. Churchill alone (!) Captured the 42 (!!) of the German, forced them to collect all his weapons, including mortars, and brought them in that form to the disposition of British troops. In another operation, during the attack on the island of Brac, his detachment was forced to engage in battle with superior enemy forces. They fought to the last, and all British commandos died. Only Churchill, stunned by a grenade, miraculously survived and captured.
So what do you think? He began with the fact that he managed with the help of newspaper shred and hell as a mined candle butt to set fire to the plane in which he, as a prisoner of war, was carried to the rear. To the Germans, he said nothing, he said that the cause of smoking was one of the pilots in the cockpit ... Then, after entering the prison camp, he tried to escape, was caught, but eventually managed to escape, having passed 150 kilometers on his own two feet along the German rear to the front line. And he continued to fight with the Nazis.
We will remember the reluctance of the British to open a second front in Europe, the American atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. But let's not forget about the supply of Lend-Lease high-deficit aviation fuel, explosives, cars, which the USSR produced in insufficient quantities and which our armed forces needed so much. We will remember the American stew, which has saved many people from malnutrition, and someone from starvation. And, of course, about the British sailors who remained forever in the icy waves of the Norwegian and Barents seas, who gave their lives so that we could get all this through the polar convoys.
We must remember everything - both the bad and the good. And on Great Victory Day we should have put aside the memories that divide us from the United States and the countries of the West, but to remember with a kind word more than eight hundred thousand Americans, British, Indians, Australians, New Zealanders and many, many others who put down their heads in the fight against German and Italian fascism, as well as Japanese militarism. Because 9 May is the day of our common triumph over a strong and terrible enemy.
“But why remember this now?” A different reader will ask: “After all, the world is again on the threshold of the cold war, and indeed it is already coming. The United States and the West again, as before, see us as an enemy, again demonizing us in their media, spreading the myths of "these terrible Russians." And if so, why don't we answer them the same? ”
Yes, because our grandfathers and great-grandfathers did not do this to their enemies, and here is a simple example. Fascist Germany went through our lands with fire and sword, flooding them with the blood of millions of Soviet people. Bullying of civilians, violence against our women was not reprehensible for them. They came here as a race of gentlemen, in order to destroy us as a nation, leaving the pitiful remnants of the "minority" to serve the "true Aryans." And when, in 1944, the mighty, rising from the ashes of the defeats of forty-one, the Soviet army with irresistible force approached the borders of the "thousand-year-old Reich", there was hardly any person in it who was not directly or indirectly affected by the Nazi invaders.
But did the Red Army come to avenge? Not. She was going to liberate (!) The German people from the yoke of fascism. That is, despite all that the Nazis were doing in the occupied territories, our servicemen were expected to have the right behavior towards civilians in Germany. Of course, anything happened, because when war-weary people who constantly risk their own lives turn out to be among those whose relatives and friends just forced our soldiers to lead such a life, killed their wives, parents, children ... But for violence against the peaceful population in the Red Army was shot, despite past achievements. In contrast to the command of the United States and England, who couldn’t even come to punish their soldiers, say, for the same rape ... Have mercy, it's just the Germans!
One of the exploits of the Red Army was precisely that, having crushed fascism, it did not sink to its level. Our grandfathers and great-grandfathers really turned out to be BETTER both of their opponents and their allies, and this is a subject of particular pride for our people.
Soviet soldiers feed residents of Berlin
We must remember this lesson taught to us by our ancestors. No matter how hard our opponents do, we must not stoop to their level. Because if we do this, then what will we be better than them?