This week sees commemorations that mark the end 69 years ago of World War II. In reality, the war never ended. It continues to this day.
That may seem an oxymoron to many. Of course, it will be said, the Second World War ended in May 1945. Nazi Germany was defeated, as were other European fascist forces. Was peace not brought to Europe and henceforth decades of harmony and prosperity reigned, under the benign auspices of Pax Americana?
Well, yes, in a narrow sense the war was formally closed. But the underlying forces that engendered that war are still active today, discernible only if we debunk Western media propaganda.
This ongoing reality of conflict is because the Second World War, as with the First World War, was not merely about belligerents confined in time and space. These conflagrations were really about imperialist power conflict and hegemony whose dynamics still persist to the present day.
The Western public, inculcated with decades of brainwashing versions of history, have a particular disadvantage in coming to a proper understanding of the world wars. It is popularly understood that the Western powers, the US and Britain in particular, fought “good wars” and took a victorious stand against despotism.
There is no doubting that hundreds of thousands of ordinary American and British military men and women gave their lives in a noble effort to defeat fascism. But what of their rulers? A very different version of history has been concealed, a version that puts the Western rulers in an altogether more pernicious category from their ordinary citizens.
European fascism headed up by Nazi Germany, along with Mussolini in Italy, Franco in Spain and Salazar in Portugal, was not some aberrant force that sprang from nowhere during the 1920s-1930s. The movement was a deliberate cultivation by the rulers of Anglo-American capitalism. European fascism may have been labeled “national socialism” but its root ideology was very much one opposed to overturning the fundamental capitalist order. It was an authoritarian drive to safeguard the capitalist order, which viewed genuine worker-based socialism as an enemy to be ruthlessly crushed.
This is what made European fascism so appealing to the Western capitalist ruling class in those times. In particular, Nazi Germany was viewed by the Western elite as a bulwark against possible socialist revolution inspired by the Russian revolution of 1917.
It is no coincidence that American capital investment in Nazi Germany between 1929-1940 far outpaced that in any other European country, according to historian Christopher Simpson, in his book, The Splendid Blond Beast.
The industrial rearmament of Germany – despite the strictures of the Versailles Treaty signed at the end of World War One – was ignored, indeed facilitated by the American and British capitalist ruling classes. When Hitler annexed Austria and the Czech Sudetenland in 1938, it was ignored. This was not out of complacent appeasement, as
widely believed, but rather out of a far more active, albeit secretive, policy of collusion.
According to Alvin Finkel and Clement Leibovitz in their book,The Chamberlain-Hitler Collusion, British Conservative leader Neville Chamberlain and his ruling cohort were intent on giving Nazi Germany a “free hand” for eastward expansionism. The real target for the Western sponsors of the Nazi war machine was an attack on the Soviet Union in
order to destroy, in their view, the source of international revolutionary socialism. In the 1930s, the very existence of capitalism was teetering on the edge amid the Great Depression, massive poverty and seething popular discontent in the US, Britain and other Western countries. The entire Western capitalist order was under imminent threat from its own masses.
This is the historical context for the Western-backed rise of European fascism. It was a way for the Western powers to maintain their hegemony and to cut off the threat posed by an ascendant Russian geopolitical competitor. The same dynamic is extant today.
Look at some of the undisputed figures from the Second World War. The greatest conflagration in history resulted in at least a total 60 million dead, both military and civilian. Almost half of that total was suffered by Soviet Russia and its immediate neighbors. Some 14 million Red Army soldiers died in the eventual defeat of Nazi Germany, compared with less than 400,000 military each from the US and Britain. These Western armies lost less than 4 per cent of personnel of the Red Army’s casualties.
About 90 per cent of all German Wehrmacht losses during the Second World War were incurred on the Eastern Front against the Soviet Union. These figures tell us that not only was the war won by the Red Army; they also tell us where the Nazi German war effort was primarily directed towards – the Soviet Union, as the Western imperialist rulers had hoped in their initial sponsoring of Nazi and other European fascist regimes during the 1930s.
This is consistent with the little-known fact that as soon as the war was officially over, the US and Britain began secretly recruiting remnants of the Nazi war machine, including SS torturers, fascist partisans and rocket experts, who were immediately deployed in the Cold War against the Soviet Union. The Nazi collaborators among the Ukrainian fascists were instrumental in the Western-backed covert war against the Soviet Union during the Cold War, just as they are today.
True, the US and Britain had entered into a wartime alliance with the Soviet Union against Nazi Germany. But that alliance was more out of cynical short-term tactical considerations to put down a virulent German client that had spun out of control. In much the same that the Western powers have cultivated despotic clients down through the decades only to terminate them at a later stage – the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein being another example.
The Second World War was a heroic defeat of European fascism by Russia’s Red Army. The same cannot be said for the imperialist Western powers. Far from it in fact, they had sown the origins of the war with their covert sponsorship of European fascism and Nazi Germany in particular to cynically further their hegemonic ambitions.
This would explain the current day seeming anomaly of Western powers backing a neo-Nazi regime in Ukraine highlighted against supposed commemorations this week for the defeat of European fascism nearly seven decades ago. But there is in fact no anomaly or contradiction. The Western powers were not, at bottom, motivated by defeating fascism during the Second World War. They were motivated primarily by defeating, in their view, an errant Russia. That plan did not work out then, but the underlying strategic motive of subjugating an “errant Russia” is still the same in the present time.
The Western powers are indeed at it again. They are once again backing fascist forces as a way of attacking a perceived geopolitical rival to their global hegemony – Russia led by Vladimir Putin.
In this way, it can be said that the Second World War never really ended. It was merely put on pause. The same capitalist forces behind that war are today reactivating their historic hostility towards Russia – just as the Anglo-American ruling class did during the 1930s via their proxies of European fascism.
How else do we explain the seeming incongruity of Western governments giving political, financial and military cover to a fascist regime in Kiev that is killing its own pro-Russian citizens and pushing a war agenda with Putin’s Russia? And yet at the same time, these Western powers are wallowing in vainglory about “winning the Second World
Think of it another way. Since the formal end of the Second World War, the Anglo-American empire has been involved in at least 60 overt and covert wars around the world, with an estimated death toll of 25 million, according to historian William Blum. During the decades of so-called postwar peacetime, Washington and its British ally has enlisted all sorts of fascist, terrorist proxies, ranging from dictators in South America, to Contras in Nicaragua, to death squads in El Salvador, to al Qaeda in Libya and right now in Syria, to name but a few. Fascists in Ukraine are just par for the hegemonic course, as far as the Anglo-American capitalist empire is concerned.
The Second World War did not end. It is still smoldering. Different proxies, but the same powers and same capitalist hegemony at work.