Victory over Fascism: Repercussions for World Politics

Abdul Rahman

the attempt to rewrite the history of the Second World War, the world is
celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Soviet Union’s Victory over
Nazi Germany this year. It was on May 9th 1945 when the Soviet Red
Army took control over Berlin; the capital of Nazi Germany. This event has been
decisive in shaping world history in more than one way. This victory sealed the
fate of fascism and established the Soviet Union as one of the greatest powers
in international politics. The exclusive claims over the legacy of democracy
and protection of humanity put forward by the liberal world, their attempts to vilify
socialism as an undemocratic ideology were discredited by the narrations of
sacrifices made by the world’s first socialist nation and its people during the
war. Perhaps this is the reason that even after 25 years after the fall of the Soviet
Union, many nations are unwilling to acknowledge the facts and are trying to
manipulate them. This attempt is accelerated due to the re-emergence of fascism
in Ukraine and other parts of the world including in our own country.

surveys among the youth, the generation born much after the war, have
established the superiority of
propaganda over dry facts in catching the mind of people. According to the
 more than 50 percent of the
respondents think that it was the US army which won the war against Nazism. The
results of the survey regarding the general facts of the Second World War among
the post 1990 generation show that majority knows nothing about the
contribution of Soviet Union.
[1] In times
where Hollywood movies substitute history it is very easy for fascism to
re-emerge. Hence, the celebration of victory day is necessary not only as a
reminder of the brevity and sacrifices of the people who fought and won the
war. But also to remind the gravity of the danger which fascism carries. The
celebration is also a reiteration of the ways to fight against attempts to destroy
the progressive legacies and to pay homage to the unfailing commitments to the
ideas of socialism and equality.
Second World War was not a war between the liberal USA, its west European
allies and Fascist Germany. The Allies against the Axis powers were a mixture
of liberals and socialists. It was a real United Front which was first
conceived by the Soviet leadership in the early 1930s itself. The reluctance of
the liberals to join hands with communists prevented a united fight against
fascism for seven years making it stronger. This ‘deliberate amnesia’ is an essential
feature of anti-socialist propaganda. In order to prevent the propaganda to become
history, facts and critical scholarship is required. This is an attempt to do
Second World War was a culmination of churnings created by capitalism and
nationalism among the European ruling classes. The stirrings of nationalism and
imperialism gave birth to various continental, regional and sub-regional
conflicts in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In the twentieth century
these stirrings, added with ‘modern’ war machines and sheer geographical
spread, gave birth to the idea of “World Wars”; the first of which ended
without any conclusive settlement. The Second World War therefore was conceived
during the so called peace-conferences after the First World War in 1919.
Unwillingness of the victors in the First war, the so-called liberal world, to
shed the hegemonic control over the colonies was the reason that Germany was
ruthlessly targeted. National humiliation and socio-economic crisis caused by
sanctions imposed by the victors killed all hopes of democracy in Germany and
Italy and popularised Fascism and Nazism as resistance forces. Instead of
worrying over the rising chauvinistic and jingoistic nationalism, expressed
through anti-socialist proclamations in both Italy and Germany; the liberal
west, Great Britain and the USA in particular, was happy that socialism was
meeting its nemesis.[2]
Nazism and Fascism were the Frankenstein monsters created by the liberal world’s
policies of appeasement of Nazism and isolation of the Soviets. The Soviet
attempts to build a strong anti-Nazi United Front were defeated by the
disinterest shown by Great Britain and France as late as in April 1939.[3]
liberal world was not bothered much about the rise of Nazism and Fascism. Its
primary target was Socialism. For the liberal west, the ideological and
material challenges created by Soviet Union were more real than the
anti-liberal racist ideas of Hitler and his allies. No matter what several ‘renowned
historians’ argue, the allegations that Soviet Union collaborated with the
Nazis during the Anti-Aggression Pact of August 1939 is nothing but propaganda
against Soviets. We do not have space here to go into the details of the
treaty. Suffice would be to say that any objective history of the period cannot
be indifferent to the crucial facts on the ground. Those who claim that Soviet
reluctance to war in 1939 is equal to taking side with Nazism have either no
sense of history or are indulging in deliberate manipulation and
misinterpretation of the facts. The treaty was a pure act of defensive diplomacy
sans any conspiracy against liberalism. The Soviet Union had been involved in
building anti-Nazi popular Front ever since 1933.[4] So, the
argument that the treaty was a sign of soft Soviet approach to Nazism is
deliberate distortion of history. The fact was that when whole of the liberal
block was turning a blind eye to the deeds of Fascism in Abyssinia, Manchuria
and Czechoslovakia and was busy appeasing Hitler[5] it was only
the Soviet Union which was actively resisting the rise of Nazism.
this was before the war started. Once the war was a real thing did liberals
change their attitude? Instead of realising the importance of a joint fight
against Fascism, the liberal world adopted an opportunistic stance. They saw an
opportunity in the rise of Fascism to settle the communist block. We know that there
were three main declared enemies of Hitler: Communism, Homosexuality and Jews.
The real intentions of the Western block vis-à-vis their Soviet Allies was most
visible in the instances of delaying the opening of the crucial second front in
France. However, this was not an isolated incident. There were many such
occasions during the course of the war which show that the liberal world used
the opportunity to neutralise the ‘threat’ from the communism.
victory in such hostile conditions was really commendable. The sacrifices made
by the Soviet army and common people in defending the revolution and spreading
it throughout Central Europe and later in the rest of the world were
remarkable. The fruits of the victory however did not remain within the Soviet
and communist block. It was for the world to relish. The Soviet army during the
course of the war liberated around a dozen countries. The so called liberal
world was saved by communists and hence it established a second pole in the
world politics for the future generations. The extent of the sacrifices made by
the Soviets is well known. They alone lost almost 25 to 40 million (around 15%
of the total population in 1940) people during the Great Patriotic War as it is
called in Russia. This number is almost half the number of total casualties
during the six years of the war in which more than 60 states were directly or
indirectly involved. For a country which was trying to build socialism from
scratch, the tremendous loss of infrastructure was demoralising. The Soviet
Union had to cope with the loss of human resources in the post-war
reconstruction of the country. The material gains achieved during the short
period from 1929 to 1938 were undone by the massive destructions caused by the
War. The death of a substantial number of working population weakened the hopes
of a prosperous and egalitarian society dreamt by the Soviet people.
significance of the victory over fascism in the Second World War is not limited
to the protection of liberal and democratic ethos in the western societies and
survival of the Soviet Union as a hope of working class utopia. The danger of
Fascism was grave enough for both liberalism and socialism. However, there were
other long term repercussions of the victory. It marked the end of the brutal
persecution of Jews, Romas and other such communities. It is a well known fact
that racial hatred was made commonsensical by Hitler’s regime throughout the
territories it captured during the course of the war killing millions of
religious minorities and sects. The victory also paved the way of the fall of
colonialism despite Great Britain and France being on the victors’ side. The
rise of Soviet Union ended the hegemony of Great Britain and making it an insignificant
player in world politics. The liberation of almost two thirds of humanity from
the direct colonial occupation was one of the most important achievements of
the Second World War.
victory of the Soviet Union in the war was a sign of resilience of the communist
state. The success in the Great Patriotic War helped international communist
movements in Vietnam, China and other such places. It established confidence in
the Soviet Union among all those leaders who wanted to create free societies.
The reluctance of most of the nationalist leaders of the newly independent
countries (the so called Third World) to rely on their ex colonial masters was
strengthened due to the rise of the Soviet Union and its stands against fascism
and imperialism. Its presence was a bulwark against any unilateral
intervention. Most of these states tried to imitate the Soviet model of
economics which despite being weak and half hearted attempts provided some
relief to the masses in terms of social security schemes and crucial state
interventions in the fields of education, health and housing.                  
has been 70 years since that victory. The world has seen many ups and downs and
the one of the most important downside has been the fall of the Soviet Union
itself in 1991. In 1970s the re-emergence of neo-right and the socialist
block’s own failures to live up to the expectations of the people created a
scope for the reactionary forces to re-emerge and become strong. The
neo-liberal economy created tremendous hopes among the crisis ridden
populations throughout the world. That the hopes were misplaced is getting
clear gradually. The neo-liberal economy did nothing but weakened the existing
social security measures available to people. The loss of hopes in the
established values and institutions created during the post-war period once
again prepared ground for the rise of Fascism. The fall of Soviet Union has
eliminated any check on the great powers which is reflected in the unilateral
interventions taken up by the USA in different parts of the world.  
is neo-colonialism and re-assertion of imperialism. The slogans of human rights
and democracy cannot disguise the real intentions of the liberal world. The
last few decades have seen numerous wars against the people in different parts
of the globe. The loot of Africa, killings in erstwhile Yugoslavia, Rwanda,
Somalia, Iraq etc and continuation of Israeli occupation of Palestine are some
of the examples of the imperialist wars. Once again the world is witnessing
rivalries similar to beginning of the twentieth century and once again there is
resistance to all these inter-imperialist rivalries. The reactionary web is
very much clear in front of everyone to see. However, there is no strong
socialist alternative in front of the people. One significant example of this
phenomenon is the rise of BJP in India. The neo-liberal economic policies
followed since the late 1980s have many a times driven people to such hopeless
conditions that they are desperate to get a messiah. Similar to Hitler in
post-First World War Germany, in post-liberalised India Modi is that messiah.
One need not quote other similarities in the programme and practice of the
political formation he leads. The messiah is making the loot of resources
palatable to the masses while giving them hopes of ‘development’ and ‘strong
nation’. The revival of ‘Aryan Glory’ needs persecution and destruction of all
‘pollutants’; hence the cleaning and purification of the communities.     
during Hitler’s time there is once again a crisis in different parts of the capitalist
world including our own country. Fascist forces, due to lack of any viable
alternative, are gaining power and becoming stronger using yet another
opportunity provided by capitalism. Though there is no Soviet Union today the
left forces are still the only hope for the depressed masses.

[2] An Anti-Comintern Pact
was signed between Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy and Japan in 1937, See
[4] See the full text of the speech given by the Georgi Dimitrov at the
Seventh World Congress of the Communist International on August 1935
[5] The Munich Agreement of 1938 signed by Great
Britain and Germany
which legalised the Germany
claims over Czechoslovakia
The author is Assistant Professor at Gargi College,
Delhi University