…Karlshorst is a locality in the borough of Lichtenberg in Berlin. The ceremony was taking place on May 9, 1945, 0.43 Moscow time, in the former dining room of a 'Pionier-Schule' (military academy of the Germany army) in Berlin – Karlshorst. The unconditional surrender of Germany was signed by General Feld Marshal Wilhelm Keitel, the chief of Supreme Command of the Armed Forces, General Admiral Georg von Friedburg, the supreme commander of the navy, Colonel General Hans-Jürgen Stumpff, a representative of the air force. Marshall of the Soviet Union Georg Zhukov, who chaired the ceremony, asked the German delegation to leave the room. Then he cordially congratulated the representatives of allies: British Air Marshal Arthur W. Tedder, deputy of the Supreme Commander Allied Expeditionary Force, General Carl Spaatz, the Commander of United States Strategic Air Forces, French General Jean de Lattre de Tassigny, the commander of French forces. The Second World War in Europe (the Soviet people call it the Great Patriotic War) was over.
The greatest war of the WWI century eliminated the Germany’s military machine and fascist political regimes in Germany, Italy, Japan and other countries of Nazi block. The Soviet Union was the first country to stop the aggressor and create the conditions for uniting all anti-fascist forces in their struggle to stop aggression and achieve victory over the enemy. Having defended their motherland, the Soviet people saved many peoples from enslavement and physical extermination, prevented the disappearance of many states and the destruction of world civilization.
For the Soviet Russia it was the people’s war for liberation and the patriotic war at the same time. No matter how dramatic the situation was at the fronts, the Soviet people felt moral superiority over the invaders. There were military, political, diplomatic and economic victories. Nobody else paid such a great price for the victory. 27 million of Soviet people lost lives to make the Hitler’s regime a thing of the past.
The victory over Nazism was achieved thanks to joint efforts of the peoples but the Soviet Union played the key role in defeating the countries of fascist axis. The Soviet-German bore the brunt of burden. The fight in the east was uncompromising and the outcome had strategic importance. The aggressors were punished. Fascism disappeared in the fire of its own making. It was a logical outcome of military stand-off in the XX century. The main criminals were made face justice. The responsibility for the committed international crimes became a factor of post-war international relations.
The establishment of United Nations Organization was one of the outcomes of the victory held over the war mongers. There were other important milestone events, for instance, the peace treaties concluded with Italy, Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria and Finland. Germany went through the process of denazification. The interstate borders were established according the principles of justice. The world system established by victors in Yalta and Potsdam has been proven to be stable. It has made possible to evade a major international conflict during seventy years. There was a hope that it was the end of all wars and the defeated Nazism will never raise a read again. But there were many military conflicts in the second half of the XX century and the beginning of the XXI century. The military force did not lose its role. It still has weight as an argument in international relations and effects the lives of individual states. There were many local military conflicts and interventions into Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Ukraine.
Under the conditions the Russian Federation has never forgotten the lessons of victory.
The first lesson says one should realize that there is a drastic change in the influence exerted by military force on international relations. The prevention of global nuclear conflict is an imperative, as well as managing local military crises and limiting the use of force in the world. All interstate contradictions can be solved by non-violent means. The security of states is not guaranteed by military force only.
Another lesson is the rejection of national, racial or class superiority. It was proven by the fact of creating the anti-Hitler’s coalition during the Second World War and its decisive victory over the block of aggressors.
Russia should do its best to preserve the results of the hard-won victory. The USSR won to gain great moral and political international authority. It was a leading military power with damaged economy and the burden of great losses. During the war years the Soviet people straightened shoulders and realized that they were masters of their fate. By the mid-1950s the Soviet Union had largely done away with ruins. Hundreds of urban areas were restored. The industrial potential became even more powerful than it had been before the war, agricultural production thrived. The country made a big progress in the field of science and culture. The Soviet Union became the world leader in space research. The international clout of the Soviet Union grew immensely.
A downturn in progress was the price the post-Soviet states paid after the Soviet Union’s collapse. Some of these states (the Baltic States, Ukraine) adopted anti-Russia policies. They connived at the growth of pro-Nazi sentiments and started to falsify the history, justify the crimes of German Nazis and their accomplices among local collaborationists and negate the fact that the Soviet Union liberated many countries of Europe from fascist yoke.
Who could imagine that the threat to European peace would come from Ukraine where the forces espousing Nazi ideology came to power as a result of coup? The support of United States and other NATO states, the regime of anti-Russian sanctions imposed on Russia for reunification of Crimea with the Russian Federation, the expansion of the North Atlantic Alliance and the attempts of the United States to tip in its favor the existing strategic balance in the world – it all makes the lessons of the Great Patriotic War become ever more acute. The Russian people have studied the lesson well. Their country should be well protected from external threats. Russia needs a strong military potential. It has to play an active role in international affairs maintaining and perfecting the system of international security.
The ongoing attempts to interpret differently the Second World War and the Great Patriotic War should be perceived as elements of information and psychological war against Russia. The Russia’s opponents are trying to evoke the feeling of guilt among Russian people – the guilt for immense war losses, the liberation of other countries from Hitler’s yoke and the regimes established in East Europe after 1945.
Those who act like judges today would have lived in a big Nazi concentration camp if the Soviet soldier had not put an end to the war seizing Berlin. To bow under the pressure of accusations and betray the spirit of predecessors would be tantamount to making ourselves guilty in the eyes of future generations. The Great Victory of 1945 is the height to defend at any cost!
The victory in Great Patriotic War was achieved thanks to the glory of Russian arms and spirit. It was a national heroic deed. Marking Victory Day has become a national tradition. The day of May 9, 1945 will forever remain in history as a symbol of Russia’s might and military prowess of Russian soldier.