Wednesday 19th of June 2019

forgetting history.... or rewriting it according to a bad memory... or simply bad will...



Queen Elizabeth II has been joined in Portsmouth by 15 world leaders to commemorate D-Day, the Allied invasion of France in June 1944. They marked the 75th anniversary of the event that established a Second Front in the war against Nazi Germany.

But the leader of the country that bore the brunt of the fighting on the first front – the Eastern — was not invited.

READ MORE: British Soldier Drowns While Preparing For 75th Anniversary of D-Day

Neither Britain nor France invited Russian President Vladimir Putin to attend the commemorations that began in Portsmouth and will continue in Normandy. With the ever dwindling numbers of veterans, the 75th anniversary of D-Day will probably be the last big official celebration of this momentous event in the history of mankind. But will it do justice to the great wartime cooperation of Britain, the United States, and Russia?

We don't know what discussions the Western governments of today have been having behind closed doors regarding the guest lists, but British government papers declassified five months ago shed some light on their thinking back in 1994, during the preparations for the 50th anniversary of D-Day.

Interestingly enough, the files have just been reclaimed by the UK government, apparently for inspiration on how to deal with Russia this time around.

The 50th anniversary of D-Day was deemed to be an event of great historic significance and the British government was meticulously selecting guests of honour from among foreign heads of state and government. The list was impressive and was copied almost to the dot for the 75th commemorations:

"It is intended to invite the Heads of State or Government from: Australia; Belgium; Canada; France; Holland; Luxembourg; New Zealand; Norway; Poland and the USA. The FCO are at present actively considering this list. We are also in discussion with the FCO about the level of representation to be fielded by Germany and South Africa".

It was suggested that the commemoration arrangements "should attempt to include countries from Central and Eastern Europe as far as possible".

There was one glaring omission from the list that should have been obvious to everyone who went to secondary school. The only person who noticed the omission, though, was Prime Minister John Major (hats off to Rutlish Comprehensive, his alma mater). He scribbled on the proposed list of foreign guests a simple question: "our Russian allies?"

The Whitehall mandarins were quick off the mark: "the Russians had no role" in D-Day, so why bother inviting them? The then junior defence minister, Viscount Cranborne, sought to reassure the prime minister:

"Concerning the Russians I am rather more relaxed as to whether they are invited or not. We are commemorating D-Day, not the defeat of Germany, and the Russians had no direct hand in the former".

Had the Viscount consulted leading British historians, as John Major asked him to do, he would have learned that D-Day would have been impossible without the Russians. They tied up 228 Nazi divisions on the Eastern front, whereas only 11 divisions were defending the Normandy beaches on D-Day.

The casualty statistics are revealing:

More than 4,000 Allied soldiers and about the same number of German troops died on D-Day. Up to 20,000 French civilians were reportedly killed in the bombings.

On the Eastern front, the Red Army started its June offensive, codenamed Operation Bagration, that saw 300,000 Nazi troops destroyed.

From this perspective, D-Day looks like a diversion tactic to help the Red Army's strategic task of finishing off the largest and strongest German Army Group Centre. While the Western allies were struggling to break out of the Normandy beachheads, the Russians advanced 450 miles into the heart of Poland, smashing almost 20 German divisions and severely crippling 50 more. This was a much bigger rout than at Stalingrad a year before.

READ MORE: No More D-Days: Royal Navy Could Lose Amphibious Assault Ships Due to Cuts

At no time following D-Day did the German high command contemplate transferring forces from the East to the West to counter the Normandy landings. To the contrary, the June offensive by the Red Army forced Hitler to redeploy 46 divisions, including some from France, to the Eastern front. The decisive factor in the successful landings — Allied air superiority — was due to the fact that most German warplanes were engaged on the Russian front.

By the time the Western Allies opened the Second front, the Red Army almost didn't need it.

Double Whammy

With the Russians "out of the way" for the 50th anniversary celebrations, the British and French attention turned to the question of how to avoid offending German "sensitivities". 

Roderic Lyne, then private secretary to Prime Minister John Major, wrote:

"[W]e should find an appropriate way of handling the German angle, and of avoiding trampling on German sensitivities.

From the German point of view, it would be best either not to invite he Russians, or to have them represented at an inconspicuously low level…"

Then Defence Secretary Malcolm Rifkind suggested that the best way to deal with German sensitivities would be "to take forward the spirit of reconciliation".

And herein lies the difference between Western and Soviet/Russian experience of and attitudes to the Second World War. For the West, WWII was basically a continuation of WWI — a war among old rivals to settle the scores from the Great War of 1914-1918. The Germans never planned to exterminate the British or the French. For the peoples of the Soviet Union it was a different kind of war — a mortal struggle for their very survival at the hands of the Nazis, whose ultimate goal was to eliminate or enslave every living being in the USSR.

In his account of the fighting in France in 1944, the leading light on the history of WWII, Max Hastings cites a German tank officer's reaction to a temporary ceasefire in Normandy to allow both sides to retrieve their dead and injured. In Russia, the officer said, "we would have driven straight over them".

The British and French could contemplate reconciliation with the Germans, but reconciliation with the Nazis is a different matter. Somehow these Russian sensitivities did not bother London or Paris when drawing up their guest lists for the commemoration.

No one is questioning the courage and sacrifice of Private Ryan on Normandy's, beaches but it was Private Ivan who tore the guts out of the Nazi war machine at Stalingrad, Kursk, and in Belarus. Together they delivered the double whammy that knocked out the Nazis.

Today's Western politicians, suffering from amnesia, should take their cue from Admiral Ramsay, Allied Naval Commander-in-Chief Expeditionary Force, who issued this Special Order of the Day to each officer and man departing for the Normandy beaches:

"It is to be our privilege to take part in the greatest amphibious operation in history — a necessary preliminary to the opening of the Western front in Europe, which in conjunction with the great Russian advance will crush the fighting power of Germany".

It is said that war is too serious a matter to trust it to the military. Remembering a great military alliance is too important to trust it to the politicians.


Nikolai Gorshkov

a sad death on d-day... apart from the truth...

Aserving British soldier set to take part in the D-Day 75th anniversary commemorations in Normandy has died, the army has confirmed.

Lance Corporal Darren Jones, 30, of the Royal Engineers, drowned in a canal at Bénouville near the historic Pegasus bridge, the first site to be liberated by the allies on June 6, 1944.

"It is with sadness that we must confirm the death of a service person in France. Our thoughts are with their family at this difficult time," a British army spokesperson said.   

Fire-fighters pulled LCpl Jones' body of the water early on Sunday morning and he was declared dead at the scene, according to French media reports.   

French police are investigating the incident and are said not to be looking for anyone else in connection with the incident.  

A post-mortem is yet to be carried out. 


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The truth died as well on that day in 2019...

a message from sergueï lavrov



Few people [in the West] have been concerned that in Ukraine, a country that has been rushed to "European values", the now-past Poroshenko regime proclaimed the founding of the "Ukrainian Insurrectionary Army" as an official celebratory date — while the Ukrainian Insurrectionary Army was criminal. It was guilty of the death of tens of thousands of peaceful Ukrainians, Byelorussians, Russians, Poles, Jews (in Israel itself, whose people suffered the Holocaust, May 9 is proclaimed as an official holiday, a day of the Victory). These are […] glaring examples from our neighbouring countries: torchlight marches, such as in fascist Germany, parades of Bandera heirs in the central streets of the city of Kiev, veterans and admirers of the Waffen. SS "in Riga and Tallinn. I would like to question those who resent the tears of our [Russian] veterans at the parades, and those who have criticise the "paramilitary" actions, in honour of Victory: how do you see this "demilitarisation" of the European-style conscience?

Nobody admits it, of course, but the facts are there: the United States, NATO and the EU forgive a lot in their [new] allies who continue their career with pronounced Russophobia. The goal being to use them to preserve Western alliances on anti-Russian positions. In order to give up a pragmatic dialogue on an equal footing with Moscow, everything is allowed for these guys, including the glorification of the accomplices of the fascists and pronounced chauvinism towards Russians and other national minorities.


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Ukraine joined the Nazis against Russia in WW2, but this has been forgotten by the West. Now the Nazis in Ukraine have been recruited "to fight the Russians" on behalf of the West... Hypocrites? Yes we are...


Translation and comment by Jules Letambour


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d-day mythology...

It was the Soviet army that broke Hitler's back at Stalingrad, but the myth that the American army liberated Europe, serves aggressive U.S. policy, including Trump targeting Iran - historian Peter Kuznick joins Paul Jay


PAUL JAY Welcome back to The Real News Network. We’re continuing our discussion with Peter Kuznick about the 75th anniversary of D-Day, and ask him whether or not D-Day really was the day the battle that broke the back of German militarism, German fascism.

Peter joins us again. Peter is a professor of history and the director of Nuclear Studies Institute at American University. He’s the author of The Untold History of the United States, co-written with Oliver Stone, as well as Rethinking the Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. So, Peter, let’s pick up the conversation.

So so the narrative we all mostly learn in schools is D-Day was this heroic battle fought by tens of thousands of Canadian, British, American soldiers, and I started with Canadian because that’s where I was. But was it? No doubt it was a tremendous battle, and no doubt thousands of people died. But was it the battle that broke the back of Naziism?

PETER KUZNICK No. It was a tremendous battle. I’m surprised that you say you learned that the Canadians were actually there on that day.

PAUL JAY That’s because I grew up in Canada.

PETER KUZNICK The Americans don’t know that the Canadians were there. The Americans don’t even know that the British were there. And if you look at the films like Saving Private Ryan and Band of Brothers, the Canadians and the British still weren’t there. This was the United States fighting singlehandedly to defeat Germany in the war.

So I’m not sure what your father was doing there that day, but as we know, the reality is that this was very much a joint operation; that the British and the Canadians in some ways played a greater role at Normandy than the Americans did, in terms of the number of troops, in terms of the landing craft, in terms of the number of beaches hit.

So it’s part of the American mythology. It’s a crucial element of American mythology. And I’m sorry you’re trampling on it by bringing the British and the Canadians into this.

PAUL JAY Sorry to let a historical fact get in the way of a good narrative.

PETER KUZNICK And it’s a great narrative, and it’s a heroic narrative. At least the United States is intervening in an aggressive way to stop fascism. That’s a good thing. I wish the Americans would do more of that now rather than coddle many of the fascist forces around the globe today.

But it was a very important day, and a very important turning point. But it was not the decisive turning point in World War II.

PAUL JAY So what was?

PETER KUZNICK What we have to remember is that throughout most of World War II, the U.S. and the British faced 10 German divisions combined. The Soviets were facing more than 200 German divisions. The Germans lost approximately 1 million men on the Western front. They lost 6 million on the Eastern front. There is reason why Churchill said the Red Army tore the guts out of the German war machine. However, that’s not what Americans learn. But the reality is that the Soviets defeated the Nazis with aid from the Americans and the British and the Canadians and others. It was a vast coalition. But the ones who did most of the fighting and most of the dying were the Soviets. The Americans lost about little more than 300,000 in combat and 400,000 total in World War II. The Soviets lost 27 million. 27 million. Even now in the public opinion surveys, Americans are asked who won the war in Europe. 11 percent said the Soviets won the war in Europe. The Europeans have come in a little bit better. Maybe 15 percent understand that the Soviets won the war in Europe. In France, in a survey taken in May of 1945, when they were asked who won the war in Europe, 57 percent said the Soviets did. Now it’s under 15 percent who say the Soviets did.

So what’s happened is history has fallen into this deep black hole, and that’s been reinforced by the patriotic drivel in the post-war period. Again not to diminish the tremendous achievement and the heroism and the sacrifice at D-Day or in Europe in World War II. But again, we’ve got to go back to this history. As you said before, the Soviets were asking the West to intervene to stop Hitler repeatedly. They finally gave up and signed the Hitler-Stalin pact in 1939. And then Stalin fell into this delusion–Stalin, who never trusts anybody, seemed to trust Hitler that the Germans were not going to invade. And Stalin was caught with his pants down in June of 1941 when the Germans finally did invade. And they almost succeeded. But the Soviets resisted. And then the big battles occur.

Late 1931, the Battle of Moscow, the Germans came very close to taking Moscow. But the Soviets resisted. But the big battle, the real turning point, is the Battle of Stalingrad. And that begins in August 1942, and ends in February of 1943. And the casualties there were horrific. We’re talking about over a million Soviet casualties, perhaps half a million Soviet dead, several hundred thousand Germans dead. And after the Soviets defeat the German army and Paulus surrenders his 91,000 remaining troops in February 14 of 1943, Hitler says the gods of war have gone over to the other side. And that battle is followed by the Kursk battle. The big tank battle at Kursk. And from there the Soviets were on the offensive, and they were marching through Eastern Europe and Central Europe, and making their way to Berlin.

But the American narrative and the Russian narratives are totally different in World War II. For the Americans, the war begins at Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941. And then there’s some battling in North Africa and the underbelly, and Italy. But the real war for the Americans begins June 6, 1944, with the invasion of Normandy with D-Day. Then the Americans singlehandedly defeat the Germans and marched straight into Berlin. And the Americans win the war in Europe. That’s a very, very unfortunate and dangerous myth that has been perpetrated. And if you listen to Trump’s words, again, in England, again he’s reinforcing that myth about the Americans leading the way to the liberation of Europe. That’s not the reality. The reality was the success at Normandy is largely due to the fact that the Germans were already weakened badly by that point, because they had been taking a pummeling, and they were in retreat across Europe ahead of the Russian Army, ahead of the vast Red Army, which was then liberating the concentration camps. And part of the reason why the Russians were so full of rage and committed the atrocities they did against the Germans when they took Berlin was because they had seen the German atrocities in the concentration camps, because they had seen what the Germans had done to the Russians throughout that, before the Russians turned the tide.

So what I tell my students, what the Soviets lost in World War II, the loss of 27 million people in World War II is the equivalent of one 9/11 a day, every day, for 24 years that’s what the Soviets suffered in World War 2 the equivalent of one 9/11 a day every day for 24 years, in terms of the number of deaths suffered by the Soviet Union. As John Kennedy says in his tremendous commencement address at American University in June of 1963, he says what the Soviets suffered was the equivalent of the entire United States east of Chicago having been wiped out and destroyed.

PAUL JAY Some people argue that the reason the United States and Britain didn’t open up a second front earlier was because, as we said in part one of this interview, there’s a lot of people within the political and military elites and others that wanted the Germans and the Russians just to fight the hell out of each other. And then, too, the sections of the elites and military, especially in the United States, but even in the UK, that could kind of live with a German occupation of Europe, but they would not live with the possibility–and this is what happened in Stalingrad, in Kursk, as you mentioned. When the Russians start to have the upper hand against the Germans and start marching towards Berlin, there’s people in Washington and in London who do not want the Russians to be coming, the Soviets to be coming. One quote is that they were afraid they might meet them at the English Channel. So they actually open up the second front because they’re concerned more about what would happen with the Soviet Union rather than trying to actually be the one that is the final defeat of the Germans. What do you make of the argument?

PETER KUZNICK I would give more credit to the American leaders than that. This is the 1940s. Americans are on the right side of a war against fascism. We would like to project the kind of mindset of the post-war period back to then. And I don’t think it works. You have to remember that in May of ’42, Roosevelt took the initiative to ask Stalin to send Molotov and a trusted general to Washington D.C. He met there with them. And during that meeting he turns to General Marshall, and he says, can the United States open up the second front before the end of 1942, open up the second front in Europe? And Marshall says yes. And then they issue a proclamation committing the United States to open up a second front.

PAUL JAY So why don’t they?

PETER KUZNICK [Crosstalk] the end of 1942. Churchill initially said he approved of it, but he did not want to have any hand in this at all. He says we don’t have enough transports. We’re not ready, we’re not strong enough. And Churchill drags his feet. Roosevelt decides to go along with the British plan to invade North Africa in early 1943. But the American leaders, military leaders, were furious. Marshall dismissed this as periphery pecking. Eisenhower, who led the operation, said this will go down as the blackest day in history, when we invade North Africa instead of opening up the second front in Europe. There were second front rallies throughout the United States. Bumper stickers, signs. The American people wanted to open up the second front in Europe. Roosevelt I think sincerely did, also, but he calculated we have to get the U.S. involved militarily somewhere in 1943. And if the British won’t go along, we’re not in a position to do what we want to do. So I think-

PAUL JAY Let me interrupt for a second. Do you buy the idea that if Roosevelt and the American military leaders really wanted the second front, I don’t know the history well enough to question it, but they couldn’t force this on Churchill?

PETER KUZNICK You know, I’m not a military historian, so I probably can’t give you the definitive answer to that. But the British were terrified at the thought of confronting the German armies on the land. The British were desperate to preserve the British Empire. That was one of Churchill’s war goals, was preservation of the British Empire. So the effort through the Mediterranean to protect–they wanted to protect the oil interests. They wanted to protect India. And that was clearly what the British were willing to do. Roosevelt and Churchill did not agree on a lot of things during the war. And Roosevelt felt that he needed the British support. Even on D-Day, Paul, it was much more–more British planning and British operation logistically and in terms of troops and transport then it was an American operation. So I think the Americans were still dependent on the British at that point, certainly in 1942. We were gearing up our tremendous vast industrial machine. And by ’43-’44, maybe we could have done this on our own. But we needed the British support early on in ’42 and early ’43 to pull this off.

PAUL JAY So Trump goes to London, makes a point of making this speech we played in part one. What does he make such an issue out of D-Day now? You don’t think it has something to do with all the machinations against Iran, and his attempt, his hope that Britain and Europe will get on board with those plans? Because right now that doesn’t seem to be happening for him.

PETER KUZNICK No, I don’t think Trump cares. Trump will bully them into going along with U.S. policy. He’s going to use trade. He’s going to use sanctions. He’s going to use his bullying to try to cram, ram this down the throats of the Europeans. Europeans are furious with Trump over his Iran policy. Even the British have failed to go along with this. But Trump is still able to achieve much of what he wants to even without the direct support of the Europeans on this.

So I mean, clearly, as you and I have discussed, what the Trump foreign policy people really are concerned about is Iran. From the very beginning they’ve been Islamophobes and Iranophobes, and they wanted to get Korea off the table so they could focus much more on Iran. And that’s the most pressing, immediate danger, is the danger of military confrontation between the U.S. and Iran. We know that there are people, not just Bolton and Pompeo, but many others who see this as a much easier target militarily than would–than was Korea. But as our friend Larry Wilkerson has warned, that military action against Iran will be 10 to 15 times as costly as the invasion of Iraq was in terms of the financial cost and in terms of the military cost to the United States. So people better be well aware of what this would actually mean if the U.S. does provoke a military confrontation with Iran.

PAUL JAY Thanks for joining us, Peter.

PETER KUZNICK Thank you, Paul.

PAUL JAY Thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.


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D-Day helped in the defeat of Germany. Thank you to all the brave soldiers who were part of it.... But the D-Day landing was rushed to prevent Russia taking over the entire Germanic Empire. 



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