Volgograd, a Very Important Historical City
Except for the relatively small percent of those either drafted or enlisted in the Wars of the West, which are wars fought far–very far–from the borders of the United States, most Americans from the US have little direct experience or understanding, of what it is like to be invaded. And interestingly, when opposition to the many US wars takes place, it is often in terms of how many of ‘our’ people die, compared with how many of ‘the Other people’ die following our ‘export of freedom and democracy’–usually in ratios of hundreds of theirs to one of ours.
What follows, hopefully, will give the reader some idea of what war was like, as experienced by the people of Stalingrad specifically, and the Soviet people generally.
Volgograd Is a Very Important City Historically
As some of the following pictures will show, Volgograd is a very important city historically. It was originally known as Tsarytsin, but changed the name to Stalingrad, since the city was built under Stalin’s leadership into a major industrial center during the 1930’s. As a key junction on the Volga River, which is Russia’s most famous river, the Nazis and their allies tried to capture it, cutting off the rest of the Soviet Union from critical resources such as oil, based in the South.
This city was renamed based on the fact that Joseph Stalin, the Soviet leader at that time, wanted it to become the model of a Soviet city.
The Nazis hoped to capture it, go past it, and then attack Moscow from the rear. To that end, the German military conceived the idea to capture Stalingrad. The battle for Stalingrad went from September, 1942 until February 3, 1943. Axis (Germany, Italy, Hungary, Romania) forces lost 900,000 soldiers, while the Soviet Union lost 1.5 million!
However, both Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill recognized the first major victory in the war against Nazi Germany to be the pivotal turning point in the war. That is its significance and why I felt impelled to visit and pay my respects, just as FDR and Churchill paid theirs, (conveniently forgotten by both the USA and the UK today).
Here is a modern documentary about the Battle of Stalingrad, made in post Soviet Russia. Below is a joint US Soviet 1970’s production narrated by actor Burt Lancaster. Both give good context for the importance of that event, and why I was determined to go there. It’s good to see the same event from more than one perspective.
Arrival in Volgograd and Visit to Mamayev Kurgan
One of the most contested areas was a hill called Mamayev Kurgan. It’s said that there were so many bullets and shells there after the war, that nothing could grow there.
I arrived in Volgograd midafternoon on August 17th, from Moscow. I had ‘met’ Dmitri Zaykin, through the online App, Couchsurfer.
I should give a shout out to Couchsurfer. It helps travelers and hosts meet each other online, get acquainted, and if possible the traveler gets to stay at the home of the host. The two great advantages of Couchsurfer are that it:
- Allows people to travel without having to pay for hotels.
- But the really great thing about Couchsurfer, is that it brings together people from different countries and cultures, to experience and learn from each other. This creates international friendship and understanding. A good thing, don’t you think?
Here is a photo of my friend, Dmitri, his wife, Svetlana, and their son Stas.
I don’t know whether I am just lucky, or people on Couchsurfer are the best, or what, but Dmitri was a great help and a great friend. He’s a manager for an IT company team. So, when I noticed that my mobile phone battery was dying, he knew a company that replaces batteries. I had thought it wasn’t even possible. So spending about $25 on a new battery may have saved me the cost of $500 for a new phone! Here he is with wife Svetlana and son, Stas.
Visiting Mamayev Kurgan
That evening, Dmitri took me to the iconic statue of Mother Russia defending the country, and the stunning memorial park. Here are some night shots of that excursion:
The memorial park has a lot of visitors. Even at night time. Of course, in August, the weather is warm so that may be part of why there are so many people. But the larger reason is that MOST Russian people, not necessarily all, have a deep sense of historical memory. WWII for them was not just another war, it was The Great Patriotic War, when the very existence of the Russian and Soviet people was on the line.
You see, Hitler’s plan was to, basically, do to Russia what the US did to the Native Americans: kick them off their land, enslave or slaughter them. Hitler even justified his invasion by comparing it to the slaughter of Native Americans.
History reminds us that Nazi Germany intended to permanently destroy Russia, regardless of whether it was capitalist, communist, or tsarist. Putin is still using those narratives today to explain why he thinks Washington is a threat to Russia’s peace and security….General Franz Halder, the head of the German army’s general staff, wrote in his diary: “To dispose fully of their population,… “The Fuhrer is fully determined to level Moscow and Leningrad to the ground,”…
The Memorial Hall at Mamayev Kurgan
The Memorial Hall shows the names of the million or more Soviet soldiers who died there, inscribed on the walls.
Here are some of their names. If Hitler had captured Stalingrad, and the Soviet Union had fallen, the Nazis would have certainly then captured London and the UK, taken over most of Asia and even threatened the United States. These men and women saved our lives!
As the video above points out, most of Stalingrad was razed to the ground. The Soviet resistance was dogged. One of the few buildings left standing,was held by Soviet soldiers. Here is a photo of the building, preserved for historical memory.
Another building that was almost totally destroyed was named after the commander who defended it. It’s said that Pavlov held out holding this building longer than France as an entire country held out.
This is a good short explanation of the significance of Pavlov’s House.
Here I am in front of one of the most famous statues, that of a Soviet Soldier. He looks almost like a superhero, but the war was fought by millions of ordinary young people in their teens or twenties. The losses to Soviet and Russian society were staggering. Yet, in less than 20 years, they put the first man into space.
Why Historical Memory is SO Important
It’s been 81 years since World War II began. Most of us don’t think about it very much. But for Russians, this was not just another war, it was The Great Patriotic War. The US lost 400,000 dead. That’s a lot of course, and nothing to be happy about. But Soviet Union lost about 27 million, or 67 times more people.
Pearl Harbor and September 11,2001 each saw the loss of 3000 people in the attack on the United States. The invasion of the Soviet Union killed 19,000 people PER DAY for 1417 days straight. So Russian people take threats to their country VERY seriously. Here is a song written early in the war, called The Sacred War.
Arise! Arise! Great motherland!
And gird yourself to fight!
Against the brutal, fascist hordes!
The terrors of the night!
Then let your noble anger rise,
And cry both near and far:
This is the battle for our motherland;
The people’s sacred war!
We will repulse the enemy,
Who dares invade our land!
Against their bloody tyranny
Defiantly we stand!
Their wings of darkness will not fly,
Above our Motherland,
Upon her hills and spacious fields,
No enemy shall stand!
We shall destroy the enemy;
No remnant shall we save,
The scum of all humanity,
We’ll send them to the grave!
Mother Russia urging her people forward
This is not the face of a peaceful Statue of Liberty. However, if 3 million enemies invaded to destroy your country and killed millions of your people, you’d be as upset and determined as Mother Russia is, in this statue.
The Daylight Trip
The next day, I went back to Mamayev Kurgan again, there is so much to see there, including many powerful statues. Below is a sculpture of a mother, who has lost her son. Most soldiers looked like you or I would in their late teens to thirties. Russia lost almost an entire generation of its young people, fending off the fascists.
The images that follow, I found in museums in Volgograd. Have any of us been told about any of this?
|Total War Deaths by Age Group and Gender|
|Age Group||Mid 1941–Males (millions)||1941–45 Male War Deaths (millions)||% Age Group||Mid 1941–Females (millions)||1941–45 Female War Deaths (millions)||% Age Group||Mid 1941–Total Population (millions)||1941–45 Total War Deaths (millions)||% Age Group||Excess Male Deaths (Millions)|
|All Age Groups||94.415||20.051||21.2%||102.746||6.562||6.4%||197.161||26.613||13.5%||13.489|
A mother weeping over her dead son, with Mother Russia in the background
‘Mother Russia Calling’. Compare the feeling in this picture with the standard picture of ‘Uncle Sam Wants You’.
Comparing the invasion of the German ‘Teutonic Knights’ of 1242 with the Nazis in 1942.
What Franklin Roosevelt, the US President, and Winston Churchill, England’s Prime Minister Thought of the Soviet Union
You would never know what role the Soviet Union played in defeating the Nazis in WWII. Why? Because the powers that be want to keep you convinced of their own victory. But facts are stubborn things. Here is a letter from Franklin D. Roosevelt, praising the Soviet Union.
“In the name of the people of the United States of America, I present this scroll to the City of Stalingrad, to commemorate our admiration for its gallant defenders, whose courage, fortitude, and devotion during the siege of September 13, 1942 to January 31, 1943 will inspire forever the hearts of all free people. Their glorious victory stemmed the tide of invasion and marked the turning point in the war of the Allied Nations against the forces of aggression.”
Churchill presented King George the VI’s Present to Stalin.
The sword presented as a gift from King George VI, in homage to the Soviet victory in Stalingrad.
As related by the website, https://www.realhistoryonline.com/museums/sword-of-stalingrad/
On February 23, 1943, the newspaper Pravda published a telegram from King George VI of Great Britain to the Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR M. I. Kalinin , in which he mentioned his order to make a sword, and a reply telegram from Kalinin:
Telegram from King George VI of Great Britain to Mikhail Kalinin, Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
“Today, my peoples and I join the peoples of the Soviet Union in sincerely paying tribute to the heroic qualities and magnificent leadership, thanks to which the Red Army, in its fight against our common enemies, has written new pages in history with its glorious victories. The stubborn resistance of Stalingrad turned events and served as a harbinger of crushing blows that sowed confusion among the enemies of civilization and freedom. In order to celebrate the deep admiration felt by me and the peoples of the British Empire, I gave the order for the manufacture of an honorary sword, which I will have the pleasure to present to the city of Stalingrad. I hope that in the happy days to come, this gift will remind of the unyielding courage in which the warrior city was tempered in the struggle against the strong and stubborn attacks of its enemies, and that he would be a symbol of admiration not only for the peoples of the British Empire, but for the entire civilized world.”
-King George VI
London, 21 February 1943
Telegram from the Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR M.I.Kalinin to King George VI of Great Britain
“I ask you, Your Majesty, to accept my sincere gratitude for your message containing such a high assessment of the achievements of the Red Army in its struggle against our common enemy. The many expressions of friendly feelings the British people have towards the Red Army are evidence of the strength of the military alliance between our countries. I informed the authorities of the mountains. Stalingrad about your decision to present to this city an honorary sword manufactured by your order, which will undoubtedly be accepted by the participants in the defense of Stalingrad, as well as by the peoples of the entire Soviet Union, with gratitude, as a symbol of brotherhood in arms between the peoples of Great Britain and the Soviet Union.”
And what was the aftermath of this friendly exchange?
Even before WWII started, England was plotting against the USSR.
But when Hitler surprised England by attacking West and bombing England, Churchlll went whimpering to Stalin, “Help us”. Once the USSR had done 90% of the fighting and dying (27 million Soviets vs 550,000 British) it was back to business as usual.
You’d think that after the USSR saved England from being defeated by Nazi Germany, the idea of Churchill, who’d presented the sword as a token of gratitude, to invade the Soviet Union, would be unthinkable. Well, think again. Operation Unthinkable. https://www.thehistorypress.co.uk/articles/operation-unthinkable-churchill-s-plans-to-invade-the-soviet-union/
Plans to destroy the USSR and now Russia, have been going on ever since.
Visiting the Panorama Museum
Due to camera issues, I wasn’t able to capture images there, but this website has a lot of great photos and information about it.
Here is a video clip of a tour of the museum.
The museum includes a huge 360 degree painting depicting the major aspects of the battle, including pictures of individual acts of heroism. For example, in order to get back communications from a command post, one soldier went into the middle of the battle, and connected the two strands of broken wire, reestablishing communication but dying in the attempt.
Here is another video with some good images from the Mamayev Kurgan memorial park. The song is called Cranes, a mourning song for the millions…MILLIONS of Soviet Soldiers who died defending their country from an invasion force of over 200 divisions, compared to the 11 divisions that the US/UK faced in France.
It seems to me sometimes that all those soldiers,
Who’d left their lives on battlefields of war,
Instead of lying in the ground in quiet solace,
Became white cranes and in the sky they soar.
From those old days till now, throughout years,
They fly and sing their wistful song up high
And maybe that is why when someone hears
Their cry, he gets so quiet sadly looking to the sky.
They fly across the evening sky with their grace,
One bird is missing in that perfectly wedged line.
Somehow I can’t stop thinking of this empty space,
Maybe it’s meant to be the place of mine…
The day may come for me to fly around
Caring no more about my remains
And for you all who’ll stay down on the ground
I’ll sing that sad heart-rending song of cranes
Here is a comment from this video
“Many thanks for this, when you see this and you rethink that today we give our liberty and freedom as a normal thing, like the air we breath or the water we drink, but looking at this, at least by myself, I was so moved because if the germans were had been able to take Stalingrad (Volgograd) the whole history might’ve been completely different as it is today, perhaps I would have never been born, just because hundreds of unknown and brave people die there is because we are here, at least for me that is so deep.” -aldo3g
Souvenirs and Soviet Ice Cream
On a side street, there is a souvenir shop that has all sorts of memorabilia, such as cups, T-shirts, pictures and so on. One funny thing I saw, which I didn’t see anywhere else in Russia, was what I would call Communist Ice Cream. A chocolate covered ice cream on a stick which we all know.
But the cover is what is so….how shall I say…cute?
I haven’t seen this brand of ice cream elsewhere, but apparently Russian ice cream is supposed to be quite delicious. This one was pretty darned good. With that hammer and sickle logo, was this ice cream a conspiracy to conquer the world of ice cream?
“Manufacturers were only allowed to use natural ingredients – there were no chemical additives in food! That’s why Soviet people remember its rich, milky taste.”
And now, although the Soviet Union is no more, Russia still maintains a positive attitude towards healthy organic food.
In 2015, Vladimir Putin spoke openly in opposition to GM and stated that Russia will become the world’s largest supplier of organic produce. In July 2016, the Russian State Duma finalised a bill banning the use of GM in plant or animal growth which was signed into law by Putin.
The reason this is significant is that Russia is the foremost country in the world that is extolling organic produce on a international, national and state level.
My Tour with Sergei
Sergei is another friend of mine, whom I met on Couchsurfer. He’s a Chemical Engineer by training, and showed me places that are… sort of off the beaten track. One of them is the “Musey Pamyat”. Or the Museum of Memory, a small, private museum.
Entrance to the Muzei Pamyat, or the Museum of Memory, on the right.
This museum depicts realistic scenes of the Battle of Stalingrad, such as these:
On the right, the Germans march victoriously, presumably into Paris. On the left, the decimated and defeated Germans marched into Stalingrad, and into captivity
Hanging on by the skin of their teeth, Soviet medics often had to improvise treatment of wounds, since medical supplies were in such short supply.
Here is an interesting Nazi poster.
“The New Europe is Unbeatable”. Funny thing is, all those countries in black are now NATO countries…hmmm. What an amazing coincidence!
Nowadays, we are told that Russia thinks that NATO wants to beat Russia. To paraphrase, ‘the Russians are paranoid…but even paranoids have enemies’. Really? Take a look at this (from Washington State based independent journalist, Mike Whitney):
One of the best exhibits was this one:
It depicts the dialog of a defeated and captured Marshall Paulus by his Soviet captor. Paulus had set up his headquarters in the basement of Stalingrad’s newly opened department store. It was a symbol of the emerging Soviet consumer culture.
No one really knows how many human beings got slaughtered in Stalingrad, which was probably the bloodiest battle in the history of mankind. The numbers range from 1.5- 2 million people.
In the first day alone, it’s reported that the full scale air assault on the civilian city of Stalingrad killed 40,000 people. Here is a useful summary of the Battle of Stalingrad.
“Much of the city’s defense up to this point was conducted by the 1077th Anti-Aircraft Regiment. A volunteer force composed mainly of young women, they took on the advancing German tanks of the 16th Panzer Division with their anti-aircraft guns.”
“…it is estimated that the average life expectancy of a Soviet soldier at the height of the battle was a mere twenty-four hours.”
“Hitler had ordered that when the city was taken, all male Soviet citizens were to be executed, while all the Soviet women and children were to be deported.”
The War Memorial Cemetery
The next day, my host Andre, Sergey and I visited the War Memorial Cemetery of the Great Patriotic War.
The War Memorial to Soviet Soldiers Who Fought in the Great Patriotic War
Below, in German. is one of many stone tablets recognizing the suffering of German soldiers who died at Stalingrad.
“In hard and horrible hours, we have fallen. We weren’t given the chance to live in this world. To the living, think and care for us, so that eternal peace will be in this earth” An inscription for the German soldiers who died at Stalingrad
Hundreds of thousands of soldiers are buried at the Memorial. Some in individual graves if they could identify the person. Thousands of others were known to have died here, but could not find the body. So names are engraved on blocks, as seen here.
Graves of Soviet soldiers. In the foreground, the grave of Ivan Kirilov, 1909-1942. In the background, a body recently found is being buried, a final resting place. As we were leaving, we saw bodies being buried in individual graves. It’s been 79 (Year 2022) years since the Battle of Stalingrad, and still occasionally, in some building or other project, a body is found. So many years, and still the war is not over for those lost souls who died unknown and unburied at Stalingrad!
There are countless stone blocks with the names of soldiers, presumably buried in mass graves.
A special note of thanks to my host, Andrey Bobrov.
Due to the fact that even Couchsurfer is making it difficult for Russian hosts, I had booked a hotel in Volgograd. However, in 2020, I’d traded contact details with Andrey Bobrov. Andrey is a forensic physician. That is, he examines biopsies of patients and determines what the tissue is. All too often, it is a particular form of cancer. Treatment depends on an accurate diagnosis.
So Andrey is a key person in helping people treat their disease.
In my case, we had traded posts on the social media platform, VKontact. When I told him of my trip, he graciously allowed me to stay at his place. His wife and child were on vacation to see her relatives. So he had space to let me stay.
Thanks, Andrey, for hosting me, especially on such short notice!
My friends, Sergey’s wife, Izabella, Sergey, myself, Andrey
And here we all are together
Sergey, Andrey and I walked around Volgograd for several hours together. I’ll have to go back when it’s possible to do so.
After the Cemetery
Andrey had some things he needed to take care of, so Sergey and I went back into Volgograd, to see what we could see. We walked around for awhile on the river side, and near 5 PM, he suggested we go to the Planetarium.
The Volgograd Planetarium
Unfortunately, the last program was over and it was closing at 6 PM, so they wouldn’t let me in at first, but, Sergey prevailed on them since I was leaving Volgograd and wouldn’t be able to go back, if I could at least look around inside.
In the main lobby was a painting of Stalin
Stalin has a dual reputation. On the one hand, especially among a certain segment of the population, and especially at different times during both the Soviet period as well as the post Soviet period in the current Russian Federation, Stalin is seen as an inhuman monster, on par with Hitler. The current narrative about Stalin corresponds to that image– Gulags, death camps, purges of innocent people, and so on.
Just about anything about Stalin is seen in the darkest terms, as an embodiment of everything that made the current image of “The Evil Empire”, coined by Ronald Reagan the predominant view of the man, especially in the West. Many people in both the Soviet Union and Russia also have viewed him this way.
Indeed, the Soviet Premier, Nikita Khrushchev, gave a ‘Secret Speech’, which excoriated Stalin and led to a deStalinization program in the USSR. This also led to a serious dispute with China at the time, which the US exploited to split the USSR and China. This is a major factor in the weakening of the Soviet Russia/People’s Republic of China alliance, which led ultimately to the fall of the Soviet Union. It’s only in recent years that Russia and China have patched up their differences, recognizing that as far as the West is concerned, if they don’t stay allied, they’ll each be taken down in turn.
The Prime Directive of Western policy is World Hegemony. Russia and China stand in the way. That is the cause of the current world crisis, in a nutshell.
On the other hand, as this post on Quora Points out, Stalin had wide support then and he is also viewed by many modern Russians more positively:
WW2 nerd: studied the Cold War, Italy, Germany and the USSR Author has 295 answers and 239.3K answer viewsUpdated 2y
Stalin was a great leader (despite the accusations of genocide and abusing of Gulag that is widely accepted in the West).
- Ensured the security of the Soviet Union – there were over 300 confirmed assassination attempts and counting against Stalin alone, and many more against other Soviet officials. It was quite possible that Stalin would become the target of an upcoming Purge too. He has been portrayed as some bloodthirsty dictator that enjoyed killing millions of people. Untrue. Stalin was a pragmatist. Released documents after the fall of the Soviet Union revealed that Stalin had uncovered a number of real plots during his purges. This should not be surprising considering all the capitalist nations of the world wanted communism to fail, and within his own government there were attempts to seize power.
- First and totally FREE public education system, which achieved the highest rates of literacy in history in the 15 Soviet republics. Moreover, Soviet schools offered free food for students, so the work-life balance is made much easier than today in the capitalist countries. Even kindergartens were also free.
- First FREE and universal health care system, which increased the life expectancy of the Soviets, less than 40 years in 1917, to reach Western levels in 80 (70 years), but you can still thank Stalin for that. The achievements of hunger eradication and health systems can also compare with the average height of the Soviets in 1917 (1,60 m) to 1980 (1,80 m). This health system discovered painless childbirth and performed the first organ transplant.
- Between 1945 and 1964 (Stalin died in 1953), the Soviet national income grew by 570%, compared to 55% in the USA (and remember that the USSR was not a Marshal Plan to help the country)
- First country in history to achieve an unemployment rate at 0%
- Equality policies, one of the first countries to adopt women’s suffrage (for example, the women snipers that fought in WW2 killing Nazi’s)
- First woman in history to hold a position in a government (Alexandra Kollontai) (this was at the time of Lenin and Stalin, mind you)
- The Soviet Union managed to win the Second World War thanks to Stalin’s might and military genius (e.g moving the factories East deeper in Russia).
As a result, a lot of bad things could’ve happened had it not been for Stalin. Sure, he was no saint – he was no angel, but he certainly was no devil either, for his work prevented the deaths of tens, if not hundreds of millions at the hands of the fascist war machine.
What Did His Western Counterparts, FDR and Churchill Think of Stalin?
Over time, I have changed my view, which was unformed about this whole issue. The first reference is a book written in 1946, The Great Conspiracy Against Russia. It was written by two Americans, and endorsed by US Senator Claude Pepper. In that book, it explained the serious efforts to destroy the fledging Soviet Union by invading it shortly after the Revolution, and then the continuing efforts (eventually successful) to subvert it from the inside. The book points out that there really were plots and sabotage of the emerging Soviet industry, as well as plans to attack Russia, by opponents of Stalin, who had allied with Nazi Germany and fascist Japan.
The Cover of the Book, The Great Conspiracy Against Russia, “An Extraordinary Book”—Joseph E. Davies Former Ambassador [Under Franklin Roosevelt] to the Soviet Union, with a Special Introduction by Senator Claude Pepper
Ambassador Davies himself wrote a book, Mission to Moscow. You see, with all the controversy swirling around Joseph Stalin in the 1930’s, FDR sent his trusted friend, a corporate lawyer and confirmed capitalist to get a first hand look at what was going on in the Soviet Union. Davies witnessed the Moscow Trials and confirmed that Stalin’s and the USSR’s worries about conspiracies against Russia were real, not theory.
His book, Mission to Moscow was also made into a movie, with Ambassador himself introducing the movie, which was made in 1942. You can view it here.
This movie gives a very different picture of the Soviet Union under Stalin.
The second item,
has numerous citations of praise for the USSR by both the President and high ranking government and military officials. It was made in 1943, in the United State, to encourage the American people to support the Soviet Union, which was fighting against the Nazis at a time when they were seriously threatening Europe, the USA and the world.
The Battle for Russia Video, 1943, US Government film
This is a “Must SEE” documentary that every American should watch. It totally debunks the myth of US victory over the fascists in WWII.
We…owe..an EVERLASTING DEBT of GRATITUDE to…the people of the Soviet Union.
I hope you will watch these two films, made in the USA, when we had an honorable policy towards the USSR and Russia.
A third source is the work of Professor Grover Furr, who went through Soviet archives and compared them with the footnotes of the numerous virulent anti Stalin books. He showed that they were contradicted by the evidence.
The Relationship Between Franklin D. Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin
As this article points out, Roosevelt and Stalin had more in common than Roosevelt and Churchill.
Roosevelt shared the idea of a world without Empire, as did Stalin. Churchill wanted to preserve the British Empire, and if he bankrupted his own country trying, he enlisted the USA after Roosevelt’s death by recruiting the feckless, ignorant and weak Harry Truman.
By contrast, Churchill in my opinion, was a devious and hypocritical player. Before WWII, he hated the Soviet Union, but when the UK was attacked by Hitler, he appealed to Stalin’s USSR for help. And immediately after it became clear that the USSR’s effort bore fruit, saving the UK from destruction at the hands of the Nazis, it was back to business as usual—how to take down the USSR—And Russia itself.
For that matter, the US establishment felt the same way, which was why the Cold War ensued, dashing FDR’s vision for a fairer world. This obviously has implications for today.
The philosopher George Santayana famously said, that those who do not learn the lessons of history are condemned to repeat it. I would add that Churchill said, “History is written by the victors”. That is unfortunate.
Literally for decades we in the West, especially the USA and the UK have been told a version of history that is grossly distorted. It’s all been part of the war against Russia that’s been going on for 100+ years, except of course when we ‘needed’ Russia. However, if we are to free ourselves from this cycle of hostility, it is critical to learn things that we weren’t taught. That’s why I went to Volgograd. If the USSR had not defeated Germany and its allies, there is a fair possibility that we’d all be speaking German and saying “Sieg Heil”. That is, if we weren’t in a slave labor camp, or simply dead.
The German philosopher Hegel also said, ‘”History repeats itself because no one was listening the first time.”. We cannot, in the nuclear age, make that mistake again.