SOME OBSERVATIONS IN THE 75TH YEAR OF THE DEFEAT OF FASCISM - ALIK CHAKRABORTY

02 July 2020

After the defeat of Germany on May 5, 1945, a worldwide victory was declared against fascism. Thus this year marks the 75th anniversary of the defeat of fascism.

Today it is well-known how in Germany and Italy fascism developed with full force and posed a challenge to human civilization. It was a terrifying force that threatened human civilization and was established very fast. But it was not just the fascist forces led by Hitler and Mussolini that were threatening to destroy human civilization. They were given the opportunity to grow into such a monstrous menace. Undoubtedly and undisputedly, the capitalist and imperialist forces helped, in various ways, these terrible reactionary forces to emerge. The idea of the capitalist-imperialist camp was that since the fascists were enemies of the communists, Hitler or Mussolini would strike at the Soviet Union and both the fascist and the socialist countries would end up destroying each other. In the eyes of Britain, France and so on, Hitler and Mussolini were indeed a great weapon to prevent the spread of socialism in the world.

The fascists were the only ones who had the power to wage an aggressive war by influencing a large section of the people with all kinds of reactionary ideologies, including popularizing extremist and perverted national chauvinism as opposed to internationalism. During World War II, the Axis powers led by Hitler-Tojo-Mussolini, on the one hand, mobilized the masses of their countries in reactionary ideology and militarized almost the entire masses of those countries, eliminating all opposition within. At a time when Hitler was preparing to develop German extremism in the name of establishing Aryan domination around the world, socialist Soviet Union informed the ruling classes of various countries that Hitler-Mussolini were moving towards the destruction of human civilization, so it was necessary for all to unite against it. But the imperialist powers of Europe and America at that time did not pay heed to that appeal, instead resorted to the now-infamous policy of appeasement. Their response was that if war broke out between fascism and socialism, they would support both sides to some extent and move forwards to end both, so that the capitalist powers, that is, the imperialist powers, could establish unchallenged hegemony throughout the world, having crushed both the fascist as well as the socialist forces.

Socialist USSR well understood this policy of countries like America, England, France and signed a non-aggression pact with Germany in 1935. According to that pact, neither side would occupy the other’s territory. This treaty shocked Britain and its allies, who were labouring under the assessment that since the fascists were the greatest enemies of socialism, no understanding was possible between the two. The USSR, meanwhile, desperately wanted some time to prepare itself to deal with the fascist forces and the inevitable onslaught that would follow not long after. Hitler, on the other hand, thought that after first occupying some large countries (while keeping USSR out of the war till then) and then striking at USSR would give him the leverage to occupy the whole world. As a result of the merging of these two interests, a non-aggression pact became possible and the history of World War II took a different course. Hitler moved to occupy the whole of Europe, leaving USSR neutral; Italy moved into Africa, and Japan targeted Asia and the Pacific. Thus, World War II broke out between the imperialist powers. Hitler showed his might and occupied France in 17 days. Then England came under attack, with severe bombing devastating the country.

But Hitler knew that none of his dreams would come true if the USSR survived. So, as the major European powers steadily lost ground under the Fascists’ onslaught, Hitler decided that the time was ripe to attack the Soviet Union. Unapologetically going back on the non-aggression pact, Hitler attacked USSR on June 22, 1941. The USSR had known perfectly well that it was only a matter of time before they were attacked by Hitler. Therefore, in preparation of what promised to be a long and bloody war, they had temporarily moved away from the socialist policy and occupied some important strategic places in the war so that they could not be occupied by Hitler. With the non-aggression pact, Germany could no longer enter those areas, as they had then become part of USSR. Dissection of Poland and the occupation of Finland were two such examples. In this way, the Soviet Union was able to restrict Germany far from their border before the war and at the same time plunged into the mobilization of democratic people all over the country and around the world by escalating the conflict between the enemies and preparing for the coming war. That was the USSR’s strength. In this war, 10% of the Soviet people were martyred and set up a unique example of resistance. It proved that only socialism can deal the death blow to fascism. Though Germany was undoubtedly militarily very powerful, the USSR not only defeated Hitler, but also liberated the whole of Europe from fascism. This victory ushered in a wave of anti-colonial struggles across the world. China liberated itself from Japanese imperialism and direct colonialism around the world almost came to an end.

Today, in the context of the retreat of socialism and the imperialist crisis, fascism is re-emerging in many countries, including our own. Fascist forces are trying to re-emerge all over Europe. The so-called liberals have very cleverly started to denounce Soviet Russia's glorious role in WWII as ‘dictatorial’, claiming that Stalin was no different from Hitler. This will of course, in the ultimate sense, only strengthen the hands of the fascists. In the 75th year of the defeat of fascism, if we are not aware of this conspiracy to malign socialism, equating it with fascism, we will not be able to strengthen the struggle against fascism. In order to check the advance of fascism, it is important to highlight the role of Soviet Russia not just in the anti-fascist war but also in the development of civilisation.

Actually what these nitpicking liberals – who are so keen to denounce every little drawback of the Soviet Union – tend to forget is that war never keeps people in a state of normalcy. No movement or struggle can be perfect. There are bound to be drawbacks, weaknesses. The anti-fascist war was not a simple war, it was a great war. It had no precedence, from which socialist forces could have drawn lessons. We have to think and reason from that perspective. If the USSR had not been a socialist republic, what would have happened to the whole world even in the unlikely circumstance of Hitler being defeated? Everyone has seen the condition of the lands occupied by America. Therefore, the power of advanced ideology is necessary to stop fascism. It is necessary to learn from the defeat of fascism in 1945 to check its advance now. It is not possible to stop fascism without upholding advanced ideological and political position. Hitler’s defeat and its outcome have indisputably proved that socialism is that advanced ideology. Even today, the rise of the BJP and the Sangh Parivar in India and the surrender of the established parties to these forces is a testament to the capitulation of capitalism to fascism. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to strengthen the socialist movement. Today, in this 75th year of the victory over fascism, we have to take the oath to revive the worldwide socialist and communist movement

The Communist movement in India has a history of almost a century after the salvos of October Revolution in Russia brought Marxism-Leninism to the people of India who were engaged in the national liberation struggle against the British colonialists. It is a complex and chequered history.