Lessons for today from the victory over fascism

Lessons for today from the victory over fascism

The U.S. replaced Nazi Germany

Today, American presidents have taken on Hitler’s aggression. Nazi Germany has been replaced by the US. Just like Nazi Germany, the US uses all kinds of oppression and violence methods to establish its hegemony over the entire world and its basic motto is “If you are not with us, you are against us”.

Today, the U.S. is not only targeting countries, which oppose it and pose an obstacle to its objectives, but it also sets traps for its own partners. As seen in the recent Ukraine crisis, the U.S. is dragging Europe into a catastrophe by making Europe a part of its own war, and thus the rendering Europe unable to compete with it.

Nazi Germany was rising, the U.S. is declining

There is a fundamental difference between Nazi Germany and today’s U.S.: Before the Second World War, Nazi Germany was a rising power while today the US is a declining one, both economically and militarily. We have entered the times where the Atlantic century has come to an end and the Eurasian century has dawned.

Mutual point: cruelty

An essential similarity between the U.S. and Nazi Germany is the cruelty of the two regimes. The concentration camps, the loss of civilian populations, the gas chambers and the holocaust of the Nazis have gone down in history. Today, the U.S. has been applying similar methods in Vietnam, Iraq, Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo prisons. The U.S., with unilateral sanctions, causes great harm to the civilian population and children in many countries and deprives them of their basic needs.

In Türkiye, the U.S. has shown that it had inherited the cruelty of the Nazis in the torture cells after the pro-American military coups of March 12, 1971 and September 12, 1980, in the Ergenekon-Balyoz plot trials targeting the Turkish Armed Forces and patriots (2008-2014), and lastly in the coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

The U.S., liberalism and neo-Nazism

Moreover, the U.S. is supporting neo-Nazism. One of the most important examples of this is the U.S.’s support of the Kyiv regime. One must not forget that the biggest friend and patron of neo-Nazism is liberalism now. Beyond the Kyiv regime, the Hitlers of our time are the liberal authorities. And liberalism today is at least as dangerous as neo-Nazism.

In a sense, Goebbels is still alive. You know there is a saying ascribed to Goebbels: If you tell a lie big enough and repeat it over and over again, eventually people will believe it. This advice of Goebbels, these propaganda methods, this method of the “big lie” was applied by the U.S. during the attack on Iraq. The lies about weapons of mass destruction, the lie about bringing democracy… The lie that the Syrian government used chemical weapons, the lies in Ukraine and the lies about the Armenian genocide: All this shows that the U.S. and the Western media have inherited the methods of Goebbels.

No respect for international law

The U.S. is unreliable just like Nazi Germany. There is no treaty that the Nazis did not tear up, they even started the Second World War on that way. For the Nazis, all agreements and promises were worthless pieces of paper. The same is true for the U.S. The U.S. has never fulfilled any of their commitments and betrayed all kinds of agreements. When the Soviet Union collapsed, their promises that NATO would not expand eastward turned out to be a lie. They have withdrawn from disarmament treaties. They usurped Türkiye’s rights in the F35 program after Türkiye bought the S-400. Consequently, for the U.S. international law and international agreements have no meaning. All its actions show us that the US does not respect international law.

A must: strong army and strong state

One of the most important lessons of the Soviet resistance relevant today is the need to have a strong army and a strong state: Creating independent defense technology, strong scientific institutions and strong industry. The Soviet Union was victorious not only because of its heroism at the battlefront but also in virtue of these achievements during the Soviet period. The situation of European countries in the same period was deplorable. Those without armies were left in the dust. We can count many European countries that surrendered without firing a single bullet. There were many governments in Europe that, when the German armies invaded their country, quickly ended up in another unoccupied country. So, having a strong army and state is crucial both in terms of resisting US pressure and preventing the US from embarking on adventures possibly destructive for the world.

Ideology and disciplined masses

There is no doubt that peace, tranquility, and national and regional security cannot be ensured by arms only. Ideas and ideology are also of great importance. Again, this is another lesson we should learn from the Soviet resistance. Patriotism must be engrained in all citizens, from the youngest age to the oldest. Ideological and political structuring to mobilize the masses is as important today as during the Soviet resistance. The role of the Communist Party in the mobilization of the Soviet people in a disciplined way against German fascism should be underlined.

It is clear that liberal tales of “open society” have come to an end. The narrators of these tales are now walking arm in arm with fascism. The proponents of open society and the LGBT are the ones who support the neo-Nazis the most in Ukraine. Fascism has sprung from within the European liberals: The banning of Russian composers, Pushkin and alike, even the banning of Russian plants, and the changing of the names of paintings show us the fascism emerging out of liberalism. The perpetrators of the above are not European nationalists, but supposedly freedom-loving liberals.

Inspiring by the depths of history: Nevsky, Kutuzov, Suvorov

Delving into the depths of history to mobilize the masses is also a heritage of the Soviet resistance. At that time, the Soviet leadership in terms of historical research squeezed the water out of the stone. This was not only for socialism: They brought to the forefront all Russian heroes from the depths of history, from Alexander Nevsky to Mikhail Kutuzov and Alexandr Suvoro. They made movies, erected statues and put them on medals and posters.

This enhancement of national values manifests the link between socialism and national values. It was not for nothing that Stalin raised his glass to honor of the Russian nation after the victory. And it was not for nothing that Dimitrov, one of the Bulgarian leaders who fought against fascism, in his speech to the youth, exhorted them to guard the national honor like the apple of their eye. “You must be Bulgarian,” said he “Let them show you with honor that ‘He/she is a Bulgarian!’ This is not chauvinism”.

Also note that the Russian Orthodox Patriarchate was reopened at that time.

In this way, all the strengths and moral powers of the society were united. Presently under Putin, the Soviet traditions, which particularly Yeltsin had destroyed and reviled, are being revived, and they are being restored to honor. The Djerzinski and Stalin and Soviet achievements are emphasized again. It is important for all societies, including Türkiye, to emphasize national values by delving deep into history. Only by uniting the whole nation can Türkiye eliminate the threats it is facing. Türkiye, too, has many important national values in its history and in its state tradition that can unite the masses.

We see that Atatürk was another leader who embraced this perspective. It is notable that he underlined that the Turkish nation is “intelligent and hardworking” and his slogan was “How happy is he who can say I am a Turk”. We observe similar patterns here with the Soviet resistance to fascism.

Another thing worth recalling is the Comintern’s policy of a “united front against fascism”. This policy, which foresees the unification of the broadest possible masses against fascism, coincides with the need to establish a united front against US imperialism.

How to face challenges: sacrifices, not chatting

The Soviet resistance has proven that challenges can only be overcome through sacrifices. No difficulty can be overcome and no fight won through “chattering”. Sacrifice will again be the only way for Türkiye to overcome the difficulties it is facing. The many epic sacrifices of the Soviet resistance can be listed, those of the ordinary citizen and of the top leadership. It should be stressed at this point that the leaders also shared the fate of the people, the children of the most prominent figures of the Party also fought at the front. Stalin’s two sons, Yakov and Vasily, fought at the front. Yakov was captured by the Germans and killed in a prison camp. The Germans wanted to trade Stalin’s son for a German general, but Stalin said that he would not trade a general for a corporal (his son was a corporal). We know that the children of many senior Soviet officials fought at the front and were martyred.

Against despair and defeatism

One of the inspiring aspects of the Soviet resistance to fascism is to lock on the target, victory. The fight against despair and defeatism and keeping discipline is of paramount importance. Soviet officials were focused on defeating the enemy. They did not mourn during the war. They emphasized the enemy’s losses, not their own. Those who spread despair were silenced by force when necessary. Speaking about the Second World War, Putin said in an interview: “I think there are always many mistakes in wars, it is inevitable, but if you are in a state of war and you think that everyone around you is wrong, you will never win.” Those who spread despair and defeatism should not be allowed to prevail both in Russia’s struggle against the U.S. in Ukraine and Türkiye’s struggle against the U.S. in various spheres.

Women on the frontline

Women played a major role on the Soviet Front in the Second World War. 80% of male births born in 1923 lost their lives. Behind the front line, especially in heavy industries, women played a huge role. In the defense of Moscow, a total of 600,000 people worked 17 hours a day, digging 676 kilometers of anti-tank barriers and 16,000 kilometers of trenches around Moscow and building 27,000 firing points. Of these, women did 70 to 75 percent. 93 women were awarded the Medal of Valor. They fought at the front as snipers and behind enemy lines as saboteurs. Today, the role of women should not be underestimated; on the contrary, women, half of society, should be encouraged in defense of the homeland.

The symbol of the Soviet resistance: Zoya

Children also played a major role in the Soviet resistance. Zoya is one of the important examples. Nazım Hikmet refers to Zoya as Tanya in “Human Landscapes from My Country” (“Memleketimden İnsan Manzaraları” in the Turkish original). The Soviet case illustrates the need to engrain patriotism in children. Fascism would not have been defeated without them. It is of the utmost importance today to educate children and young people with patriotism and the ideologies that instill patriotism. This is of great importance for the future of both Russia and Türkiye.

Inadequacy of struggle merely at the national level

The last point to underline: It is not possible to fight against fascism then and US imperialism today on its own. The Soviet Union created a disciplined society, built a strong army, educated women and youth, and did all the other above-mentioned measures, yet still this alone has not been and will not be enough. The threat is enormous. In the face of this, building a set of international alliances is essential. In this context, the democratic front against fascism, that is, the democratic front established by the Soviet Union, Britain, the US and France, played an important role.

To prevent a new world war

Today it will not be possible to defeat US imperialism only through national resistance as well. Thus and the broadest anti-US front is indispensable both for ensuring national security and the development of the national economy. There was the democratic front against German fascism and today there is the Eurasian Front against the Atlantic.

Strong international alliances will prevent the U.S. from embarking on new adventures, a new world war. Those who have strong armies, disciplined societies and deterrent power at the national level, and those who have built the broadest alliances at the international level will prevent the US from dragging the world into a new adventure, a world war, of the kind that German fascism did.

Mehmet Perinçek

Historian and political scientist (Türkiye)

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June 2024