VE Day

Today is VE Day. Services and commemorations on the 60th Anniversary of the end of war in Europe will be conducted throughout most of Europe, for most of Europe was involved. The Russians take a particular interest, as it was Russian troops that took Berlin at the end.

Thousands of pages of historical analysis has been amassed, views and opinions by the millions espoused, and still it continues. Like Australia and New Zealand's observance of ANZAC Day, the countries involved will reflect on their national character, and where the last 60 years has taken them. For some, out of the ashes of history, a new beginning. No one could deny that without the Marshall Plan at the end of WW2, Japan would probably be on a par with Thailand or the Philipines. Instead, it is an economic powerhouse, home to some of the world's largest companies, with a democratic constitution and an appetite for consumerism surpassed only by the US.

France, once a mighty colonial power, is now a shade of it's former grandeur. Marred by internal cultural differences, and an economy that is deeply entrenched with those of it's neighbours, France seeks to regain lost prestige on the world stage, with political manouvering with Germany, to gain ascendancy in the European Union.

Germany as the protagonists of today's events, should be looking deep into it's national psyche and asking where the last 60 years has gotten them. With a reputation for efficiency and stoic nationalism, the German population are constantly looking backwards as well as forwards. Deep down, most of Europe probably still doesn't trust the Germans.

The Polish people are not fans of the Germans, or of the Russians for that matter. Interestingly, those countries that suffered under the jackboot of German and Soviet oppression post WW2 have now embraced the concept of democracy with open arms, and former members of the Warsaw Pact are now considered allies of NATO, if not actual member states.

The Baltic states, and the majority of Eastern Europe find themselves closer philosophically to the US than Russia. Russia's fate over the past 60 years has been a sporadic affair. Not 20 years ago, Russia was considered to be a super-power. The reverse side of the US's ideologies, Russia was determined to see communism spread throughout the region, by force if necessary. From the mountains of Afghanistan, to Estonia, and the northern steppes. Nowhere in the region was unobserved by Moscow, and now that power is crumbling too. Satellite states, once governed by proxy from Moscow, now want their piece of freedom too. Free peoples, able to choose their own destinies.

Which is what World War 2 was about. All the words written, all the speeches given, all the pictures shown. None can take away the fact that countries from afar afield as Australia, New Zealand, and Canada went to Europe to keep those countries being assaulted by the forces of evil from becoming serf states, bound to obey military dictatorships. When I see protestors write on signs 'Bush=Hitler', it raises my anger. If ever there was a day of reflection on what can happen when good men do nothing, it's World War 2, and in particular VE Day.

Lest we forget.

Cross-posted at Bastards Inc.

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