If you aren’t familiar with this popular acronym, the outside letters stand for ‘not invited’, and I’ll let you guess what the middle letter stands for.
The invitation that never came was for the celebration of the 75th anniversary of D-Day yesterday. Predictably, Vlad whinged about the West underplaying the Soviet sacrifices and, according to The Times, “he may be right”.
This is ridiculous in so many respects that I’ve run out of my fingers and toes trying to count them. It’s true that the Soviet losses of at least 24 million outnumbered those of Britain – 450,000 according to The Times, 650,000 according to most history books I’ve read.
That’s a fact, and no educated Westerner I’ve ever met “diminishes the huge Soviet role in defeating the Nazis”, a Kremlin claim that the paper tacitly accepts.
Yet neither should we diminish ‘the huge Soviet role’ in arming the Nazis, providing them with the necessary strategic materials and acting as their faithful allies from 1 September, 1939, to 22 June, 1941.
The Russophones among you would be well-advised to scan the book Fashistkiy mech kovalsia v Rossii (The Fascist Sword Was Forged in Russia) a compendium of documents gathered by the Russian historians Diakov and Bushyeva.
The documents show how the two rogue regimes, defeated Germany and Bolshevik Russia, formed an alliance in 1922 aimed at turning Germany into what Lenin called “the icebreaker of the revolution”.
Germany rebuilt her armed forces on Russian territory, and many of the great German commanders of the Second World War, such as Guderian and Manstein, trained there together with Soviet officers.
Stalin’s plan was to turn a revanchist Germany against the West, wait until the warring parties exhausted themselves and then launch the Soviet juggernaut across Europe.
As Walter Krivitsky and other high-ranking Soviet defectors testified, things seamlessly segued from the Weimar Republic to the Third Reich. The notorious Soviet-Nazi pact of August, 1939, wasn’t the beginning of that process but its culmination, a fact completely missed by Western intelligence services.
Just a few days ago the Russians finally published the facsimile of the secret protocol to the Pact, according to which the two allies agreed to carve Europe between them, dividing it into spheres of influence.
Nazi Germany would have been in no position to attack the West without massive supplies of Soviet grain (1.5 million tonnes), oil (865,000 tonnes), strategic metals, such as nickel and tungsten, raw rubber and so on.
Thus reassured, the Nazis attacked Poland from the west and, a fortnight later, their Soviet allies attacked her from the east. So I agree with The Times: we shouldn’t downplay ‘the huge Soviet role’ – in starting the war.
Having crushed Poland, the two jaws of the same vice met at Brest-Litovsk and held a joint victory parade, with Gen. Guderian and his Soviet ally Brig. Krivoshein in command (see the photo opposite).
During the Battle of Britain, the Nazis quickly ran out of bombs, which were then supplied by the Soviets. Let’s not forget that it was Soviet bombs that rained on London from German planes.
It wasn’t just the bombs. The Soviets also provided their Nazi allies with intelligence and meteorological reports, making the bombing raids more effective.
British shipping in the North Sea was attacked, with murderous effect, by the Nazi U-boats and raiders supplied by Basis Nord (Base North) just west of Murmansk. The base was rendered redundant in April, 1940, when the Germans invaded Norway. But without that Soviet base, the invasion would have been much costlier.
On direct orders from Stalin, communist parties throughout occupied Europe welcomed the Nazi invaders and helped them root out the early resistance. The situation changed only when the Nazis finally realised what Stalin’s plans were and hit the Soviets with a knockdown preemptive strike.
By varying accounts they beat the Soviets to the punch by no more than a fortnight, possibly by just a couple of days. And then a highly predictable miracle happened: after all the mass murders, concentration camps and deadly famines, the Soviet people didn’t want to fight for Stalin.
The Soviets enjoyed an overwhelming superiority in tanks, artillery, planes and personnel. Yet it’s neither numbers nor machines that fight wars – people do. The Soviets didn’t want to fight for Stalin, but the Germans were screaming Heil Hitler!!! with deep conviction.
The German army not only enjoyed a higher morale – it was also infinitely better trained and led. The Soviets only began to approach, without ever achieving, similar standards towards the end of the war, but at the beginning of it a perfectly organised professional army was fighting an armed mob that didn’t want to fight.
Such was the nature of the Soviet wartime suffering that has been elevated to the status of religion in Russia. In those first months of the war the Nazis took 4.5 million POWs, many of whom hadn’t put up any resistance. At least as many were killed or wounded.
Stalin only managed to reverse the course of the war by extreme violence. Soviet soldiers who staggered out of encirclement were treated as deserters and traitors; those who dared retreat, ditto.
All in all Soviet military tribunals passed 157,000 death sentences, with easily twice as many executed without even that travesty of justice, or else machine-gunned in the back by the NKVD ‘blocking units’.
(At the same time, the troops were told that their families back home were hostages to their performance. The family of any inadequate soldier would be deprived of its ration cards – starved to death in other words.)
That means the Soviets probably killed more of their own soldiers than Britain lost altogether, which is nothing to be proud of or celebrate. Many of their other casualties were also self-inflicted.
Soviet generals had scant regard for soldiers’ lives, driving them on suicidal attacks, often for no good military reason. Dwight Eisenhower remembered how he was appalled when talking to the Soviet butcher-in-chief Marshal Zhukov.
Eisenhower complained that the Allied thrust through western Germany had been slowed down by the profusion of minefields. Zhukov couldn’t see what the problem was. “When I run into a minefield,” he explained, “I simply clear it by marching some penalty battalions across.”
Stalin would routinely order that such and such city must be captured by such and such date, usually some communist anniversary. When his generals meekly suggested that waiting a few days would save 100,000 lives, their objections were waved aside.
The Times readily repeats Sir Max Hastings’s fallacy that “between 1941 and 1944, the western Allies, with a considerable degree of cynicism, left the Russians to fight the Germans on their own.”
I would have been tempted to add that, with even a greater degree of cynicism, between 1939 and 1941, the Soviets not only left the Western Allies to fight the Germans on their own, but actually aided and abetted the Nazis.
But even factually his assertion is wrong. The Allies were fighting in Africa throughout the war, drawing huge German resources. Sir Max ought to remind himself how Rommel, one of the German top commanders, earned the nickname of Desert Fox.
Nor was it just in Africa. On 3 September, 1943, the Allies landed in Italy and began a massive northward offensive. Has Sir Max heard of Monte Cassino?
It was then, not in June, 1944, that the second front was opened in Europe. Sir Max (and The Times) simply repeat a Soviet lie, which has a pernicious background to it.
Churchill intended for the Allied force in Italy to push all the way up, cutting southern Europe from Stalin’s reach. Hence the Italian landing didn’t count, as far as Stalin was concerned. It had to be Normandy, leaving eastern and southern Europe to Stalin’s tender mercies.
And this is the main point: the Allied landings in Italy and France led to the liberation of western Europe. In the inimitable Soviet dialectic, Stalin’s ‘liberation’ of eastern Europe was in fact replacing brown with red slavery.
So yes, the victory over the Nazis is something to celebrate. But the Soviet victory isn’t, at least not to the same extent.
Internally, Putin and his little Goebbelses have already sacralised the butchery of millions that the Soviets helped to initiate and then made much worse than it had to be. It’s a good job that the erstwhile Allies resisted letting them do the same externally.
D-Day was the West’s operation. And it’s the West’s to celebrate.