For most of my life I've had a fascination with European history and politics. Now I study the political institutions of European and other democratic governments. It's nice to get paid to do what you love. Anyway, in my view there are few dates in European history that approach the importance of May 8, 1945 or Victory In Europe Day. On this day, the Allied forces of most of the world's governments defeated the National Socialist regime of Adolf Hitler. This day was the beginning of the peaceful unification of Europe. Only November 9, 1989 (the night the citizens of a divided Berlin united to rip down the hated Berlin wall with whatever tools they could lay hands on) comes close to (but does not match) the importance of the day Humanity defeated the NAZIs.
World War II was the costliest war in human history. And what caused this global holocaust? Was there a sudden scarcity of food or some other resource vital to life itself? No! The war was started to satisfy nationalist pride. When the guns finally fell silent no fewer than 62 Million human beings had been killed, most of them innocent civilians.
Soviet Union: 8 million soldiers, 20 million civilians killed
Germany: 5 million soldiers, 2.7 million civilians killed
Poland: 123,000 soldiers, 5.7 million civilians killed
The list goes on and of course the global massacre went beyond Europe's borders to include Asia as well.
China: 2.5 million soldiers, 15 million civilians
India: 60, 000 soldiers, 4 million civilians (largely in war induced famine when Burmese rice was cut off from Bengal by the Japanese occupation compounded by British food distribution that favored their military)
Japan: 1.3 million soldiers, 672,000 civilians
As American (mostly Republican) politicians and jingoist "journalists" on TV demand that we adopt an "America First" posture in the world, consider the price of nationalism. Take a moment this VE Day to reflect on the consequences of nationalist ideology.
Saturday, May 07, 2005
Posted by Raised By Republicans at 4:16 PM