Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Berlin, 1945

On the 20th of April, 1945 the Red Army sent the Fuhrer a birthday present in the form of an artillery barrage, the tonnage of which equalled that dropped by the RAF and the USAAF combined.  The shelling did not stop until Berlin had fallen.  Ordinary Germans prayed that the Americans and the British would arrive first but this was not to be the case.  The Soviet Union sacrificed over 70 000 of her soldiers to be the first to reach the German capital.

It is well-known that the higher echelons of the Third Reich committed suicide in anticipation of the Red Army's invasion, less so that it formed part of a larger wave of suicides across the whole city.  Some were in despair over a world that had quite literally collapsed around them, but even more perhaps in anticipation of what was about to befall them.  This for good  reason, the conduct of the occupying army being as it was largely a disgrace.

But while it may defy the imagination, the regime that had been defeated was even more venal, vicious, brutal and bestial than Stalin's Russia - an unexampled tyranny in the history of the human race.  While the modern adherents to the 'totalitarian thesis' may not agree, this was the position taken by Britain and her allies, which is why without ignoring the darkness and depravity that was the Second World War, it is indeed right to acknowledge the 8th of May as a victory for civilisation over the forces of barbarism.

1 comment:

The Plump said...

I would add belatedly, "adherents to the totalitarian thesis" who don't understand that it describes a particular type of regime rather than denoting a moral equivalence between different totalitarianisms.

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