June 22 marks the 80th anniversary of the German Wehrmacht’s raid on the Soviet Union. The group “Die Linke"had requested a commemorative session in parliament. As is well known, the President of the Bundestag, Wolfgang Schäuble, rejected this on the grounds that “we want to stick to the previous parliamentary exercise of an undivided memory of the entire course of the Second World War and the suffering it caused”. One can expect a Bundestag president to formulate wisely. German guilt was deliberately pushed into the background: it was “the war” that caused all the suffering. Otherwise, the warmongers and war profiteers in the FRG would have had to be held accountable and not satisfied with the Nuremberg trials. One should have followed the path of structural social changes that were radically initiated in the GDR, vaguely envisaged in the old Federal Republic, but not realized.
One would rather have been liberated from the Western powers
And what is hidden behind the nebulous phrase “exercise of an undivided memory of the entire course of the Second World War”? Quite simply: official Berlin refuses to admit that the Soviet Union made the greatest sacrifices in this war and made a special contribution to the victory over the Nazi regime. Which also corresponds to West German tradition. One would rather have been liberated by the Western powers than by the Soviet Union. The Nazi ideology of the” Bolshevik subhuman " continued subliminally and was able to merge seamlessly into an anti-communist victim role. Especially the" Americans “felt obliged to thank for the” freedom".
Even the term “Holocaust” for the genocide of the Jews came from the USA – in 1979 through a four-part television series produced by NBC. Eli Wiesel called it a “soap opera”. The four-parter, staged in a Hollywood manner, shaped consciousness by awakening empathy with the victims. But the perpetrators remained far away. There was a veil over the systemic roots of these crimes. In the face of six million murdered Jews, the Federal Republic has repeatedly demonstratively sided with Israel, which the USA saw as its protecting power. The blame for the 27 million deaths – two thirds of them civilians – in the Soviet Union receded into the background. Quite simply, because the anti-Hitler coalition did not last, and soon a Cold War began, which turned the German-German border into the front line.
Gorbachev’s unilateral attempt to end the confrontation was illusory at best. He urgently needed economic support for his indebted country, saw the chance of an end to the arms race and had the idea of a common European area from Lisbon to Vladivostok. The dream, naive from today’s point of view, ended with the disintegration of the USSR and the advance of NATO into many of those states and territories that had previously been associated with it.
The idea nourished in the FRG that the opening of the Berlin Wall was brought about by a peaceful revolution in the GDR is a nationalist fiction. Without Soviet consent, German unification would not have come about. Gorbachev was cheered for his at least blue-eyed hope that the Germans would be grateful. His West German interlocutors can pat themselves on the shoulders of how unconditionally he trusted them that the surrender of the GDR was also best for the GDR citizens. He was not interested in giving protection to those who had supported the GDR in the sense of the Soviet alliance. He probably couldn’t do it anymore.
German-Soviet friendship in the East not only Raison d’être
Just as the GDR was “swallowed up” by joining the FRG, the foreign policy friend-enemy scheme prevailing there was also imposed on its citizens. That, too, is one reason why many East Germans in particular cannot identify with German politics. German-Soviet friendship had not only been raison d’être, but also a matter of the heart for many. Gorbachev’s vision of a common “European house” was of such radiance that its failure was added to the German debt to the Russians. Germany will never be truly united if such East German sensitivities are not taken seriously, even suppressed. Making the GDR past liable for all sorts of problems of the present has become naturalized. West Germans are fine out, supposedly they do not need to revise anything.
Fine out they have been in a way even after the end of the war. The East paid reparations to the war-torn USSR, the West had the Marshall Plan. The 13.12 billion dollars paid with many strategic and economic ulterior motives between 1948 and 1952 had an effect in the interest of the USA in free trade and in Europe as an export market. But above all, they served, even Wikipedia admits, “to stabilize the political and economic situation in order to curb Soviet influence in Europe.” The Marshall Plan is over, but the anti-Russia bias of US policy has remained. And I do not hope that, after the conversation between the two presidents Putin and Biden, this will fundamentally change anything.
Germany remains trapped in the patterns of nationalism
Germany, as an ally of the US, remains trapped in the patterns of the Cold War. Whoever formulated Schäuble’s rejection has looked in thought to Washington, how the words are probably received there, and in this context, also to Warsaw, Kiev, Riga, Vilnius, Tallinn, which should serve as a bulwark against Russia. Although in these states, irony of history, it was still not understood that they “serve”. To act for their own benefit, they succeed only to the extent that they can keep the transatlantic interest alive. Talking about alleged Russian threats may actually arouse sympathy among European politicians who themselves grew up in such ideas. One wonders again and again about the human ability to bend to reality.
It is hard to believe that this also applies to confirmed historical facts, and yet one must admit that the interpretation of history is linked to current power-political interests. On 19 September 2019, the EU Parliament passed a resolution that equally blamed Hitler and Stalin for the outbreak of war. The detailed text can be found on the website of the European Parliament. 535 Members voted in favour of this resolution, 66 against and 52 abstained. The title alone is treacherous: “Importance of European historical awareness for the future of Europe”. We are therefore not talking about historical facts, but about the reflection of them in the sense of a political goal. How cynically history was instrumentalized here was openly revealed. It was accepted, perhaps also with the ulterior motive of giving verbal satisfaction to those who constantly complained and demanded, and at the same time to strike a blow at Russia. That it was a deep insult, a blow to the heart, you had to know.
In his speech on the “75th Anniversary of the Great Victory: Shared Responsibility before History and the Future” on 19 June 2020, Vladimir Putin dealt with the distortion of facts in more detail than expected. He documented in detail how Poland also acted during the break-up of Czechoslovakia and how Great Britain and France abandoned the Czechs and Slovaks “with the aim that Germany and the Soviet Union could inevitably collide and bleed each other out”. German-English contacts also took place behind the scenes, while trilateral negotiations were deliberately delayed by representatives of France, Great Britain and the USSR. “In the situation that arose, the Soviet Union signed the Non-aggression Pact with Germany, in fact, the last of the European countries, and this against the background of the real danger of being faced with a two – front war-with Germany in the west and Japan in the east, where intense fighting was already taking place on the Khalcha River.”
The reorganization of Europe after 1990 as a renewed humiliation of Russia
The Hitler-Stalin Pact of August 1939 with the secret additional protocol has hardly been discussed in the GDR. The connection between the First and Second World Wars should also play no role. The complaint about lost German territories was subject to the verdict of revanchism. The" national humiliation “of Germany by the Treaty of Versailles, according to Putin, has formed the” breeding ground for radical and revanchist moods". “Paradoxically, Western states, especially the United Kingdom and the United States, contributed directly or indirectly” by investing in German arms production. That the demarcation of borders by the victorious powers of the First World War became “time mines” concerned, unsaid, as well as the Brest-Litovsk Peace Treaty, as a result of which Russia lost 26 percent of its then European territory, where more than a third of the population lived. In fact, Stalin has undone some of this, which is throwing water on the mills of today’s nationalists in Eastern Europe. The reorganisation of Europe after 1990 has been another humiliation for Russia.
The refusal of an official commemoration of June 22, 1941 corresponds to a cold-mouthed winning mentality, is rejection of German guilt in this campaign of destruction, which had the goal of “making Eastern Europe a colony up to the Astrakhan-Arkhangelsk line in order to gain a basis for the ascent to world power” (Hans-Heinrich Nolte). And it is probably also an underground attempt to get rid of the blemish of the loser, because the Soviet Union resisted the occupation. How German politicians from the high steed try to teach Russia in an almost unbearable way is part of this logic.
Heiko Maas ' move
Almost unnoticed by the public, as can be read on the Bundestag website, there was a debate on the topic on 9 June, which made the political dilemma obvious. Although Foreign Minister Maas spoke of the “most murderous chapter” of the war of extermination in Eastern Europe, which was to serve the “enslavement and extermination of entire states and peoples”, the invasion of the Soviet Union began, but then made a clever move to subsume the “30 million people who had to give their lives in Central and Eastern Europe” with the murder of 27 million in the Soviet Union. In this context, it was almost outrageous how he denounced the" blatant violations " of international law by the governments of Belarus and Russia, but justified the neo-Nazi activities in Ukraine by remaining silent. That Dietmar Bartsch criticized NATO maneuvers in Eastern Europe for the faction “Die Linke” is concealed on the website of the Bundestag and only in an analytical article by Dagmar Henn [on “rt.de” to read](https://de.rt.com/meinung/118824-halbes-gedenken-ganze-verzerrung-bundestag / “Der Bundestag und der Überfall auf die Sowjetunion”).
German embarrassment. Even though I still have the hope that Federal President Steinmeier will give a dignified speech in memory of 22 June 1941, the Federal Republic still adheres to its Russophobic, anti-communist nationalist shadow and also does not give the impression of being a sovereign state that has learned from the past.