Tuesday, September 01, 2009
World War II began 70 years ago
It's been 70 years since Poland was invaded by Germany which ignited the most brutal global conflict that the world has seen as of 2009.
One day earlier, on August 31st, Germany staged an attack of would-be Polish troops against a radio station in Gleiwitz, in order to create a "justification" for the attack against Poland.
Poland with its underdeveloped and relatively weak army had no real chance to win. It was surrounded by bastards on the West and on the East. The Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact (which Putin considers immoral) guaranteed that the Soviet Union would not protect Poland. In fact, it occupied the Baltic states and picked a piece of Poland, too.
Wikipedia (whose 87% of editors are male which makes the male-to-female ratio exceed 7-to-1) even claims that Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, together with symbolic units of the clerofascist Slovak state, were fighting on the side of the Evil while Poland together with symbolic Czechoslovak Legions were fighting on the side of the Good. You see that once again, the Czechoslovaks had representatives on both sides. ;-)
Only the following years were able to transform Stalin into a "relatively positive guy" in the war (for five years) while Hitler became the "exclusive mega-villain".
While the beginning of the war was one of the worst days of the history of mankind, it also meant that certain tensions could have been relieved. Quite suddenly, it became clear that every decent politician had to enter the war against the nutcase in Berlin.
The hypocritical and suicidal politics of appeasement that culminated when the Munich Betrayal of Czechoslovakia was signed by the 2+2 European powers in 1938 was no longer tolerable. Well, in principle, appeasement could have continued and Britain & France could have forgiven Hitler's decision to "order" Poland. They could have preferred piece with Germany. Except that it would be just way over the edge and even the weak British and French politicians of the time knew that this was not a viable reaction for their careers. Because a true war began, the Nazi claims about the "rights" of the minorities were suddenly seen in the proper light - as an irrelevant Nazi propaganda, a pile of lies, half-truths, and emotional biases whose goal was very clear and it was the German dominion over Europe.
Poland, the first country to fight against Hitler, has also paid the highest price. Relatively to the population, its casualties were the highest ones among all countries in the world. Without the world war, the Polish population would indeed be comparable to that of Germany today. Sometimes, Polish politicians mention this fact.
I think that you would have to be a citizen of the country with these great losses to have a full moral right to judge these bizarre opinions. On the other hand, it's clear that the rest of us can't double-count. Poland became a victorious country of the war: justice has arguably won in this case. Attempts were made to make the appropriate compensations although nothing could really revive the millions of lives. These attempts shouldn't be done again 70 years later.
We shouldn't forget about the history because it teaches us a lot of lessons but it should become what it has been for quite some time: a chapter of our history that has created the initial conditions for the present (including the new borders and international treaties) but shouldn't influence the future directly. The rational lessons of the history should be kept but the hatred and similar emotional by-products of the war should be thrown away.
And that's the memo.