May 8/9 2015 marks the 70th anniversary of the victory of freedom over fascist tyranny in Europe. It was achieved by an alliance of the peoples of the Soviet Union, Britain, USA, France and the communist-led resistance forces across Europe, China and south-east Asia.
The toll was on a scale never experienced before. Soldiers died by the million, but it was civilians who bore the greatest losses. The bestiality of the Nazis and their allies has left its stain on human history forever. Every school child can link Hitlerism to what is today, maybe too simply, described as the "Holocaust". In the Soviet Union and among the Jewish communities of the Baltic States and Eastern Europe, in particular, tens of millions of innocents perished. These systematic killings across Europe included the disabled, those stigmatized for their sexual orientation and ethnic minority communities such as the Roma. We must ensure that future generations of young people do not forget such monstrous crimes.
The 1920s and 1930s had sounded the alarm. Aided and encouraged by capitalist ruling classes across Europe, fascism took the offensive against democracy and peace, and sought to encircle and destroy the first workers’ state in the Soviet Union.
History will not forget the fascist coup in Rome, the fraudulent Reichstag fire, the invasion and gassing of Abyssinia, the fascist putsch in Spain nor the betrayal at Munich. Throughout the 1930s, the communists struggled to gather together those honest, decent, brave and democratically minded forces which alone could stem the tide of barbarism.
Victory resulted from sacrifice on the home and war fronts, on land, sea and in the air, and in the factories, cities and forests wherever resistance gathered. This is how we remember the victory: as a triumph of life over death and an affirmation of the vitality of democracy, led by the working people and their allies. At Nuremburg the world condemned fascism. The phrase “Never Again” found a popular echo.
The year 1945 marked a decisive shift in favor of progress and against the forces of reaction. The defeat of fascism and nazism and the determining role played in these times by the Soviet Union had an immense impact on the democratic forces and on the peoples who, in the whole world, were fighting against colonialism and imperialism.
A united World Federation of Trade Unions was formed alongside the new United Nations. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was widely embraced. We, the signatory communist parties of Russia, Britain, France, USA and Germany, restate our pride in the heroic sacrifice of our members and supporters who staffed the front ranks of the struggle.
The communists were the first to be tortured in concentration camps, they were among the first to volunteer to fight in the valleys of Spain and, as at Stalingrad, when they were most needed they took “not one step back!”. Seventy years on, fascism and racism are on the march again.
There are provocateurs agitating to rewrite the history of the war so that they can redraw present-day geographical borders. In this, NATO warlords encourage them.
The same ruling classes that appeased and collaborated with fascism before and during the Second World War today assert an equivalence between communism and fascism. There are powerful forces in ruling circles who wish to see modern day Russia surrounded and isolated . In Ukraine, it is specifically the massacre of trade unionists in Odessa that very clearly showed how the USA, the European Union and the NATO relied on the anticommunist, ultranationalist and neo-fascist movements in their confrontation with Russia.
Much of this is to divert attention from capitalism’s chronic failure to meet the employment, health, housing, education and other social needs of new generations.
Everywhere, the sovereignty of the people is challenged, with millions uprooted and driven across continents in a desperate search for peace, work and security.
So the communists come forward again to warn of the mortal dangers posed by a capitalist system in crisis. The social and political gains won in the wake of 1945 are being attacked and rolled back. The peoples of Europe must, once again, be vigilant and prepared to combat the chauvinism, racism, fascism and militarism which breed in conditions of capitalist crisis and austerity.
We call all the democratic, progressive and peaceful forces, the working people across Europe, who fight for peace, social justice and for freedom over tyranny, to play their part in this historic struggle for a new and just social order, for socialism.