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Three cheers for all those who fought fascism, from Cable Street to Berlin

6 June 2014

6 June 2014

70 years have passed since, in the words of General Dwight D. Eisenhower, ‘Allied naval forces, supported by strong air forces, began landing Allied armies on the northern coast of France.’ Operation Overlord, or D-Day as the invasion is known to posterity, was astonishing in every sense; not least because weather conditions on 5/6th June 1944 were far from ideal to execute an amphibious landing against a well-entrenched enemy.

Even military men were surprised by the comparatively light casualties (4,413 killed); many had anticipated a bloodbath. Major General Sir Frederick Barton Maurice (a retired soldier who later turned to teaching military history at the University of London) wrote in the Spectator at the end of August 1944:

The campaign of Normandy is unique. Three years ago the problem of landing large armies on a closely watched and strongly defended coast was regarded as insoluble. Hitler evidently thought it was insoluble right up to D-Day.’

The problem had been solved, the major general said, by the realisation of an exceptional plan through the application of immense power – military, industrial, financial and scientific:

‘It has been solved by courageous strategy, supported by careful co-ordination of all the means which British and American science and industry have, during the war, placed at the disposal of the Allied land, sea and air forces. Before a landing on the French coast could be attempted we had to secure a high degree of control of the air and such mastery of the Channel as would prevent interference by E and U boats. With the number of Channel and Atlantic ports at the disposal of the enemy this last is probably the more difficult task of the two.

In the event, the U-boats, a menace for so much of the war, were routed. According to some estimates, 21 German submarines were sunk around the British Isles in June 1944, while the Allies lost just 5 merchant ships and 2 escorts in the Channel.

Detail of the the original D-Day Planning Map in the drawing room of Southwick House. (Image: Getty)

Detail of the the original D-Day Planning Map in the drawing room of Southwick House. (Image: Getty)

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The Allied navy in the Channel, which numbered more than 1,200 vessels, embodied the Allies’ clear advantage in technology, arms and numbers. Overall superiority was to prove decisive in the subsequent (and very bloody) land battle for Normandy itself. ‘Strategicus’, the Spectator’s war commentator, noted that the Nazis had committed their army to a strategically worthless defence of north-western France. While the western allies could bear the cost of blunt engagements among the woods and hedgerows between Caen and St. Lo, the over-extended Germans could not. Strategicus wrote in the aftermath of a failed German counter-offensive launched in early August against the Americans in the vicinity of Avranches:

‘[Field Marshal] Kluge had some 65 divisions when the Allies landed. About 35 of them have been through the fires of Normandy; and of these, perhaps, 13 have been completely destroyed. None of the units which have been engaged in the fighting have escaped scot free. All of them have been called upon to undergo a pounding from the Allied bombers and artillery that must have worn them down. They have lost very heavily in material. In the counter-attack at Avranches, alone, they had 109 tanks destroyed; and that must represent an appreciable proportion of the armour engaged. Their transport has been battered so incessantly that in Normandy they have been driven to use the stand-by of another century—farm carts, etc.’     

Kluge withdrew on his farm carts, and then the Allies motored across France and into the Low Countries. American, Free French and Anglo-Canadian forces landed near St. Tropez in mid-August, and began to wrap up German resistance on the Rhone. Meanwhile, the US Fifth Army captured Rome on 4 June 1944, and advanced with the British Eighth Army to the Gothic Line between Pisa and Bologna: the last defensive barrier in central Italy. And the Red Army had destroyed an entire German army group (over a million men) in Belorussia, Lithuania and eastern Poland; this was of even greater significance than the western allies’ exploits that summer in that it eradicated any hope Hitler had of stabilising the Eastern Front.

Nazi Germany's last 'army', the Volkssturm, being sworn in by Joseph Goebbels in November 1944.

Nazi Germany’s last ‘army’, the Volkssturm, being sworn in by Joseph Goebbels in November 1944.

Germany’s position was hopeless, notwithstanding renewed loyalty to the Nazi regime after the failed assassination attempt on Hitler in July 1944, and, more importantly, Josef Goebbels’s exploitation of Russian atrocities committed against German civilians in East Prussia. The only impediment to further progress in the west, Strategicus surmised, was supply. Eisenhower was transporting his materiel over 200 miles from the Normandy beachhead to the Rhine. Strategicus wrote in mid-September:

As it is, the Allies’ reach has exceeded their grasp, though even in the present conditions one cannot be certain that Patton and Hodges may not break through, because this is predominantly a human and not a mechanical problem.’

These words were published a week before the hubristic push towards Arnhem – a strategically incoherent operation in view of the alternative solution to the supply crisis, which was to drive north-east of the port of Antwerp, clear the harbour approaches of German forces, and then strike across the Rhine and into Hitler’s Reich. But, despite the tragic setback at Arnhem, the outcome of the war was certain.

The liberation of western Europe was set in motion by the success of Operation Overlord. What is, perhaps, lost to our eyes is the scale of the battle for Normandy. The mark of the dead serves as a reminder. There are 17 British and Commonwealth cemeteries in Normandy, which contain 22,421 dead (the names of 1,805 missing, including the artist Rex Whistler, are carved on the Bayeux Memorial). Some 25,000 Americans died during the campaign, of which 9,286 are buried in Normandy. Most telling of all, 78,000 nominally ‘German’ bodies rest in Normandy, some of whom were Austrians, Alsatians and other peoples Hitler had enslaved to prosecute his evil. And who knows how many thousands of French civilians were caught in the cross-fire and bombing raids? 5,000 are said to have died in Caen alone.

In 1989, the architectural writer Gavin Stamp visited the cemeteries of Normandy, and commented on how each site reflected something of a nation’s character. Of the British graves he wrote, ‘In these strangely beautiful places, the British genius for gardening and landscaping achieved poignant fulfilment.’ And he found one epitaph which articulates the fact that the Second World War was a national effort rooted in a personal sacrifice: Pte N. Lerner, Dorsetshire Regiment. Killed 28 June 1944, aged 29, ‘Fell Fighting Fascism from Cable St to Normandy’.

Private Lerner has our thanks, and so do those of his comrades who did not fall.

Bayeux Cemetery. Image: Getty

Bayeux Cemetery. Image: Getty


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  • shiva

    This has nothing to do with the charity issue .
    درب اتوماتیکköpek mamasıköpek cinsleri

  • Jane Martin

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  • balance_and_reason

    Three cheers to those who fought national Socialism…and won.

  • Lucy Sky Diamonds

    Bernard jordan has proved they have still ‘got it’.

    Generation X onwards make me sick.

  • CBinTH

    The German army transport was mostly horse-propelled, from the beginning to the end of the war. This was probably true of all nations except the British and Americans, too.

  • Fergus Pickering

    I think I’ve lost the will to live. Enough of this sentimental claptrap Enough I say.

    • Lucy Sky Diamonds

      Show some ****ing respect. ****hole.

      • Fergus Pickering

        Come, come, little lady. These men are not heroes. They know it. They are ordinary men. They went because they had to. Probably a woman doesn’t understand this. You were the ones who doled out white feathers after all, and you are often the purveyors of sentimental claptrap. It’s a man thing, don’t you know. Stiff upper lip, it’s called… .

  • Bill_der_Berg

    The Red Army bore the brunt of the land fighting against Hitler’s forces but for all that, Uncle Joe does not making a convincing anti-fascist. The difficulty is that he was happy to sell oil to Mussolini for use in the invasion of Abyssinia, and he also sold strategically important materials to Hitler when the Nazis were fighting France and the UK.

  • Christian

    They thought they were fighting for the empire, they couldn’t have cared less about fascism. The views of most of the ww2 generation on race would make the bnp look like lib dems.

  • Jabez Foodbotham

    I am surprised to see a commemorative article in the Spectator taking the now deeply entrenched revisionist line that for UK forces at least, WW2 was an extension of inter-war leftist politics by other means.

    • roger

      WW2 was not about interwar left-wingers, it was the continuation of the Great War, the great self destruction of European Empires.

      • Jabez Foodbotham

        I am sorry if my missing out a comma gave you the impression that that was by belief. I agree, it was round two of the great self-destructive folly of WW!.

  • mandelson

    I wonder if they thought they were fighting for the transformation of their homeland into Southall, Peckham, Birmingham, Oldham, Tower Hamlets etc, etc, they would say it was still worth the sacrifice?

    • Shazza

      If she had known, Vera Lynn could have sung –

      There’ll be mosques all over
      The White Cliffs of Dover…

    • Wessex Man

      but they weren’t, they were fighting for the end of the Nazis and Japanese terror of the world

      • Pootles

        Not to mention for Britain, the King, and the Empire.

        • Kaine

          What, including the Indian troops?

          • Pootles

            Yes, indeed. Indian service personnel, in the Indian Army fighting under the British flag. Mind you, in France, the Indians fighting there were fighting as part of the ‘Legion Freies Indien’, otherwise known as the ‘Indisches Inf. regt. 950’. After taking part in the German withdrawal, they came under the control of the Waffen SS (on 8 August, 1944). So, you’re right, not quite all the Indian troops.

      • mandelson

        Exactly

  • JoeDM

    And now we face a new religious based fascism !!!

  • La Fold

    “Most telling of all, 78,000 nominally ‘German’ bodies rest in Normandy, some of whom were Austrians, Alsatians and other peoples Hitler had enslaved to prosecute his evil” To say that they were ‘enslaved’ by Hitler to persecute evil is either very naive or very disingenious.

    Many in the Alsace and other regions of eastern france such as the Jura welcomed the invading German troops as liberators. Also many Austrians colluded in the Anchluss of Austria and welcomed the Germans with open arms, well seig heils to be specific.

    • Bill_der_Berg

      So even the Nazis believed in diversity.

      • roger

        No , i think the muslim SS Handjar and SS Skanderbeg were an expediency.

    • roger

      One thing i really get annoyed about is war graves. Everybody deserved a grave, or a least a name on a monument like at Menin. The Germans lost 5 million combatants and a large number were in SS units, the pathetic disrespect to their graves is as bad as Taliban treatment of Commonwealth graves.

  • swatnan

    3 cheers for a united Europe, even a United States of Europe with enough clout to speak up in the World Arena. You won’t find the USA descending ointo Civil Wars and internecine fighting between Louisiana and Texas.

    • Bill_der_Berg

      Very true, although the avoidance of war between the Confederacy and the Unionits was a close shave.

    • Fergus Pickering

      Do you really believe this claptrap?. You surely can’t. You just make it up as you go along.

  • global city

    WWII was not a ‘Left Wing’ cause.

  • Hippograd

    Yes, how fortunate that we won the war and avoided having an authoritarian race-based regime imposed on us, led by a megalomaniac who held British traditions of democracy in utter contempt.

    Yet of Mr Rahman’s 18 councillors elected last week, all are Bangladeshi (and 17 are men). He has never appointed a non-Bangladeshi to his council cabinet, though he says that is because none will join.

    For the cabinet post of finance, he chose Alibor Choudhury, a former employee
    of an IFE front organisation with a long track record of encounters with the
    police. ‘Stolen election’ in the heart of London

    Three cheers for all those who fought fascism, from Cable Street to Berlin

    Some of those who fought fascism would have happily turned Britain into a satellite of Stalin’s slave-empire. And they would have introduced concentration camps, torture-chambers and mass murder to British soil. What can one say about them? Three cheers, obviously!

    • global city

      It is important to remember just how much trouble these ‘Left wing heroes’ caused until Stalin told them to back the war…. after Hitler had attacked the USSR.

      Someone should write a book about Left Wing treachery in the years leading up to WWII. For some reason though everyone seems happy to let them build this false narrative of them leading the fight…’from Cable St to Berlin’. Truly, this is one of the most ignorant headlines to have ever appeared in the Specie.

    • Wessex Man

      I can’t believe that 13 people have given you a up-tick, the sick goings on of Rahman in east London should not be mentioned in the same thread as this.

      • Hippograd

        In his early days, Hitler wouldn’t have rated a reference in a history of tyranny. But the signs were there to read. I wonder how the soldiers who went ashore at D-Day would have felt about Rahman and all our other vibrant new-comers. Not entirely positive, I suspect. And I don’t think Winston Churchill would have thought much of them either.

        • Kaine

          A good few of the Yanks might be horrified that their country now had a mixed-race president. So what?

    • roger

      Yes, the religious nazism will have to be combatted in Britain as well as in Arabia, ‘stans etc. Fought with liberal ideas, law and possibly legal force.

    • Kaine

      Of course, the tradition of the Empire was to keep such things restricted to the colonies, or at least across the Irish Sea. Heck, Churchill was an MP at the time the authorities were sending Boer women and children to camps to blackmail their guerrilla fathers and brothers, when the Black and Tans were torturing Catholics, or when the police were slaughtering civilians at Qissa Khwani.

      But no, much better to pretend that anyone who objected to the incompetent, corrupt gerontocracy of 1930s Britain was a traitor. And much better to ignore the fact that the people of this country who actually defeated fascism, and knew what life had been like in the age of private charity and laissez-faire, opted for socialism.

      • Bill_der_Berg

        Steady on there! The Attlee government plotted with the Americans to overthrow a democratically elected foreign government and replace it with a dictatorial regime. It’s true that the victim was planning to nationalise British owned assets, but why would a Labour government object to nationalisation?

        • Kaine

          The Attlee government’s arguments with Mosaddegh were unfortunate, but Labour weren’t in power at the time of the coup. Good old Winston was.

          • Bill_der_Berg

            When negotiations came to nothing, Attlee hoped to bring down Mossadegh by means of economic sanctions, clandestine operations and by encouraging the Shah (to be) to seize power. Bevin favoured gunboat diplomacy. No surprise there, as he had said earlier that he did not intend to change British foreign policy.

            As you point out, the voters took the matters out of their hands.

            • Kaine

              And again, the coup didn’t happen until ’53.

              Though it wasn’t ‘the voters’, it was the electoral system and the National Liberals. More people voted for Labour in 1951 than for the Tories.

              • Bill_der_Berg

                We all know when the coup happened, and who was Prime Minister at the time, but what was the Labour government doing in plotting the overthrow of a democratically elected government? These were socialists, not the ‘corrupt gerontocracy’.

                • Kaine

                  What, you want me to say Labour made mistakes in office? Yep. The government was incredibly poor and put the financial security of its own people and a national asset above that of the Iranian people. It was also a mistake not to nationalise the pharmaceutical industry and to spend all that money on nuclear weapons.

                  Doesn’t stop the 1945-51 government being the best in British history.

                • Fergus Pickering

                  Curious assertion. They killed millions in 1947 by sheer incompetence. That was Manny Shinwell, a fine socialist but alas thick as two planks. And of course they didn’t invent the NHS. That was Lloyd George forty years earlier..

                • Bill_der_Berg

                  You should face the fact that governments, even Labour ones, have much more to do than to pursue social reforms. There is an industrial economy to run, preparations for possible wars, strikes to put down and much more. All governments are liable to end up taking steps that they condemned when in opposition.

                  The Attlee government’s decision to increase military spending, introduce conscription in peacetime and to develop nuclear weapons cannot be dismissed as mistakes. It was a response to a perceived threat from the USSR.

  • SimonToo

    Mind you, many of them thought that they were fighting the Germans. As for the Fascists, Italy had surrendered in 1943.

  • MikeF

    I’m not certain in what sense Arnhem was ‘hubristric’. Montgomery had, in fact, wanted all the allied forces to take part in a massive push through the Netherlands to the Ruhr. If that had happened and succeeded then the war might have finished by the end of 1944. Eisenhower wanted a more cautious strategy and his will prevailed.
    Arnhem was a scaled down version of Montgomery’s plan. You can argue that its failure showed that Montgomery’s idea was flawed and that a fullscale implementation would have been a catastrophic defeat. You can also argue the narrowness of its failure showed that a larger scale offensive might have succeeded. It was a bold gamble that did not pay off – such things happen in war.

    • Andy

      I think Monty was probably right. For all his many failings Monty was a very good general. Eisenhower wasn’t: he was a desk general and a politician.

      • Kaine

        And as a politician, Ike knew the Allies were never going to be allowed to beat the Soviets to Berlin.

    • HookesLaw

      There is a debate to be had about broad front and narrow front but probably not here. Its hard not to conclude that Montys motive was to increase his and the British profile. But we can never be certain. Its perhaps best to remember Montys and the British successful crossing of the Rhine at its widest point.
      The truth is we the British were slow to clear Antwerp.
      Its also wise to remember the severe fighting in Normandy and the heavy losses which sapped our efforts by the time we reached the German Siegfried Line. Losses repaced by raw recruits stumped the advance when perhaps if the elite airborn units had been available we could have broken through.
      Hitler’s Ardenne offensive actually crushed his own army and weakened his eastern front and speeded up a precipitous collapse on both fronts.

      • Kitty MLB

        Very well said Hooky.

  • Pootles

    Fascism in Britain wasn’t beaten by violent, Communists thugs attacking the police at Cable Street. It was beaten by the fact that as an ideology it found no purchase worth talking about with the British people. Faced by the Great Depression, they voted for a National Government and a gradualist response to problems – not the idealism and totalitarianism of either the British Union of Fascists nor that of the Communist Party of Great Britain.

    • Hegelguy

      The violent Communist thugs did a good job at Stalingrad.
      Me. I am delighted the violent Communist thugs were there to do the fighting when it was a matter of life and death.
      Bravo violent Communist thugs! More power to your fists. You were there for us when we needed you.

      • Bill_der_Berg

        Churchill obviously shared those sentiments. He refused to let Polish fighter pilots take part in a victory parade at the end of the war for fear that it would offend Uncle Joe Stalin. That, after they were lauded for their part in the ‘Battle of Britain’. Shabby treatment. Very shabby.

        • Andy

          You should immediately withdraw this disgraceful smear against Sir Winston Churchill.

          The Victory Parade was held on 8th June 1946. The celebrations were organised by the Labour Government under Clem Attlee and the insult to the gallant Polish Fighter Pilots should be laid at the door of the Fascist Labour Party and Attlee. As a matter of record Sir Winston Churchill and many senior members of the RAF protested about this, but to no avail. So you are a liar.

          • Pootles

            He mightn’t be ‘a liar’, he may just be ill-informed.

            • Bill_der_Berg

              Churchill, along with Roosevelt, found it expedient to cover up Soviet guilt for the Katyn massacres, and successive British governments continued the policy for long after the war. It is known as Realpolitik (or ‘lying’ if you prefer).

              • Pootles

                Indeed, but that’s not quite the same as blaming Churchill for the Victory parade business. Related to the shabby treament of the Free Poles, there is the fact that various elements of the trades union movement (especially in Scotland) campaigned against those Poles, trying to keep them out of jobs and condemening them as ‘fascists’.

                • Bill_der_Berg

                  From what I’ve read, public opinion turned against the Poles for reasons relating to the Soviets becoming an ally. Presumably, the newspapers had a hand in the change of heart. .
                  As far as I know, the Scottish agitation against the Poles was to do with the employment of Polish miners. Two of the leading anti-Polish campaigners were CPGB MP’s.
                  Going back even further to the beginning of the last century, there were similar complaints in Scotland against East Europeans and those who employed them. Keir Hardie, one of the founders of the Labour Party, referred to it.

                • balance_and_reason

                  I should think our ‘snub’ of the Poles would be offset by the fact that we went into the war on their behalf…and offered sanctuary in the storm.

                • Bill_der_Berg

                  This extract from an article by Norman Davies may interest you. It seems that both Churchill and the Attlee government have been traduced, although I wonder about the ‘charitably’.

                  “The exclusion of the Poles from Britain’s 1945 victory parade in contrast, may charitably be attributed to muddle. Though the Polish government, our exiled wartime ally, was still in London, invitations were sent to the communist regime in Warsaw. When no response was forthcoming, Ernest Bevin saw the mistake and sent a last-minute apology to Poland’s General Anders, living in exile in England. There was no chance to form a contingent. In any case, the Poles knew that for them the war had ended in unmistakable defeat’.

                • Pootles

                  That is interesting. Thank you. Although it still suggests that the Free Poles were snubbed.

                • Bill_der_Berg

                  George Orwell wrote about attitudes to the Free Poles in his ‘As I Please Column’ of Ist September 1944, at the time of the Warsaw Rising.

                  “Now, I know nothing of Polish affairs, and even if I had the power to do so I would not intervene in the struggle between the London Polish Government and the Moscow National Committee of Liberation. What I am concerned with is the attitude of the British intelligentsia, who cannot raise between them one single voice to question what they believe to be Russian policy, no matter what turn it takes, and in this case have had the unheard of meanness to hint that our bombers ought not to be sent to the aid of our comrades fighting in Warsaw. The enormous majority of left-wingers who swallow the policy put out by the News Chronicle, etc., know no more about Poland than I do. All they know is that the Russians object to the London Government and have set up a rival organisation, and so far as they are concerned that settles the matter. If tomorrow Stalin were to drop the Committee of Liberation and recognise the London Government, the whole British intelligentsia would flock after him like a troop of parrots. Their attitude towards Russian foreign policy is not ‘Is this policy right or wrong?’ but ‘This is Russian policy: how can we make it appear right?’ And this attitude is defended, if at all, solely on grounds of power”.

            • Terry Field

              Ignorance contained in a false statement is as foul a thing as lying. He is, however it turns out, a putrid thing and most unwholesome.

          • Bill_der_Berg

            It’s possible that I ‘misremembered’ a charge made in a book about the RAF Polish squadrons, written by a Pole. If so, I apologise to the shade of Sir Winston.

            • Andy

              ‘It’s possible that I ‘misremembered a charge’ . . . If so, I apologise to the shade of Sir Winston’.

              It is not just ‘possible’: it is a FACT. Sir Winston had nothing to do with the decision regarding the Poles. He was in fact dismayed at what happened, as were many RAF senior officers and even the King himself. It is easy for you to smear Sir Winston and it is a pity you have not amended your original post and withdrawn the smear.

              • Bill_der_Berg

                You have corrected the error. That should be enough.

                Churchill was no saint. He seemed to have a fondness for using poison gas. He just could not understand why people were ‘squeamish’ about it. He is on record as saying that he saw no reason why it should not be used against uncivilised tribes. He had it used against the Bolsheviks during the Russian civil war and he was prepared to ‘drench German cities’ if circumstances were dire enough to justify it during the second world war.

                And, for the record, he did have a certain admiration for Stalin, as his private papers make clear.

                • roger

                  Churchill completely submitted most of Europe to tyranny at Yalta, think of Bleiburg .

                • Kaine

                  The alternative being what exactly?

                • Terry Field

                  No, it was the Americans who gave all to the Soviets, worked tirelssly to destroy the Empire and rape its market, and push Britain to the position of a destroyed and desperate country. The disaster of the Second War could have been much reduced had Britiain settled in 1940.
                  America would have been a power but no great power, and the Soviet horror would have been destroyed.
                  The Germans run Europe now; they would have just done it seventy years earlier.
                  The unimaginable slaughters would have been avoided; the Jews would have not been murdered in their many millions – they would have been moved to Palestine and the east of Siberia. Dreadful, but better than the reality.
                  In what way was the Second world War a success for anyone of goodwill and sane moral values?
                  I have never heard a convincing argument for our policies.
                  The Conservatives split in 1940, Hallifax had not enough support, and the Churchill camp could continue with the support of the Labour Party.
                  What a pity.
                  We are all quite aware of American Actions in London re Joseph Kennedy – do a deal with whoever was to be the victor.
                  The US looks after the US.
                  That’s fine, but the torrent of subsequent emotional mis-information is scandalous.

          • Terry Field

            Indeed so, it is recorded the little runt behaved disgracefully, before he wrecked the economy by insane nationalisation and the formation of the even more crack-brained NHS

      • Pootles

        Context, of course, is all. Britain in the 1930s was not Stalingrad. Interestingly, the violent Communist thugs of the CPGB put an awful lot of effort into campaigning against the war from 1939 until 22 June 1941. Up until then, the USSR and international Communism was the ally of Nazism, sharing out Poland with Hitler, invading, occupying and murdering its way through Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Besserabia, and a big chunk of Finland.

      • Fergus Pickering

        How you people love violence. I imagine it’s because you couldn’t personally knock the skin off a rice pudding.

        • Terry Field

          Well said Fergus. They live on hicken Mcnuggets and cola. spotty, pasty, pathetic.

          • Fergus Pickering

            Thank you, Terry

      • balance_and_reason

        The people of Russia were herded in with pistols at their necks to fight and die or run and die at the hands of the NKVD…Fascist Stalin gave them no choice. Fascism does work well in rallying large armies and munitions supplies.

    • Kaine

      ¡No pasarán!

      • Pootles

        But, of course, in Spain, they did pass.

        • Kaine

          Still, they stood for two years, to all intents and purposes alone, against the united attacks of the fascist powers. Longer than most.

          • Pootles

            Well, not really ‘alone’, given the quantities of Soviet equipment they received (largely of better quality than the stuff the Nationalists got – think T26, BT6, I-16, I-15, I-153, SB2), along with a good deal more kit than is generally realised from France (especially during Blum’s tenure). And, of course, there are very few historians who think that the Spanish Civi War was some kind of proto-IIWW. It was, in essence, part of the complex national/regional/religious/anti-clerical/class based morass that was Spanish history.

            • Kaine

              I’m aware of the help Stalin gave to specific sections of the anti-fascist forces. It hurt the Republic as much as it helped in many cases.

              That some choose to consider the fight against fascism in Spain separate from the wider struggle against fascism across Europe is a historiographical matter. Far be it from me to say the guilty consciences and the resultant Cold War struggle might have led to some mental segregation. Nor that the rather deep connections between fascism and the Catholic Church, so brilliantly illuminated by the Franco regime, might lead to some muddling of the narrative.

              What I will say is there is plenty of scholarship which certainly does place the Spanish Civil War in the wider context.

              • Pootles

                I’m not quite sure why you think the material support from Stalin ‘hurt the Republic as much as it helped’. Divisions within the Republic were not caused by arms sent from the USSR (or France). But, in any case, your original point that the Republic was ‘alone’ doesn’t stand.
                Your second paragraph here is unclear.
                Of course the war is placed in the wider context, but it was still a Spanish war with Spanish roots, not a manifestation of some global struggle.

              • Fergus Pickering

                What balls you talk.

              • balance_and_reason

                And..the conclusion

              • Terry Field

                what a great and fulsome fart of irrelevant non-information. Circumlocution gone mad.

          • Fergus Pickering

            Alone? What about Uncle Joe. I suppose you’ve never read Orwell. Thought not. More bloody sentimental claptrap.

            • Kaine

              Homage to Catalonia is a beautiful book, and if you have actually read it you would be aware that Stalin’s ‘help’ did as much damage as it did good to the Republic.

              • Fergus Pickering

                I wasn’t talking about Stalin. I was talking about your ridiculous sentimentalization of the Republicans.

          • Terry Field

            They were not ‘freedom fighters’ they were communists.
            Do not distort the truth about the International brigade.
            Just as bad as the fascists; two putrid ideas that came out of Europe and its stewpot of mutually hating racial groups, that has repeatedly damaged England.

  • Bonkim

    We all owe our present to the 1940s generation.

  • @PhilKean1

    .
    They made great sacrifices during WW2 –

    – to save the British nation and preserve the principles of democracy and self-determination.

    How sad, then, that what German bombs and bullets failed to achieve in an all-out war, British and European politicians successfully managed by condemning the British people to living under a different European dictatorship : the EU.
    .

    • HookesLaw

      A quite pathetic load of disgusting and ignorant tosh… to put it politely. To juxtspose the deaths of our WW2 servicemen alongside your warped ignorant hysteric childish and bigoted view of the world is beneath contempt.
      You are plain mad. Get treatment.

  • Andy

    The reason the cemeteries look so British is because one of the architects appointed by the Imperial (Commonwealth) War Graves Commission was Sir Edwin Lutyens. It was Lutyens who laid out a number of the large Great War Cemeteries and it was he who got the Commission to consult Gertrude Jekyll, the famous garden maker. She designed the planting for a number of Lutyens cemeteries and the Commission copied her ideas which they applied to all the cemeteries. And that is why you find those cemeteries even today filled with the sort of flowers you would see in an English village.

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    Best Writers Professional USA

  • telemachus

    On this day we must also continue the fight

    Le Pen, Michaloliakos, Farage, Wilders.

    • Pramston123

      Completely inappropriate. Shame on you.

      • mandelson

        Don’t feed the Troll its pointless

    • Inverted Meniscus

      A typically disgusting comment by a socialist nutter and Labour Party stooge.

    • Andy

      We must continue to fight the evil of Fascism/Socialism which has sought to enslave and destroy all humanity.

    • nickwilde

      A shameful statement. You show the true face of many on the left.

      • Inverted Meniscus

        That is the face of the entire left.

    • Hexhamgeezer

      ……….and, as you’ve said in the past, by ‘continue the fight’ you mean reinstate the Gulag

    • global city

      a step too far in your campaign of contrariness.

    • Wessex Man

      You dsgusting piece of work!

    • Kitty MLB

      Utterly disgraceful thing to say on this day.
      Very shameful indeed. People died so that you can enjoy
      the life you have today.

      • telemachus

        I am truly humbled
        And telemachus has been moved by the tributes today in Normandy
        *
        And that truly is why we must be vigilant not to let Britain or any other European country drift to the right
        That is the right beyond reasonableness
        *
        It is on this day that we remember why the founding fathers put the European project together
        What therefore God has joined together, let not Man put asunder
        *
        Do not Ladybird question the loyalty of .telemachus to his Country, or to his fellow man

        • Kitty MLB

          I should think so too little wasp.Just behave
          for once.

          • telemachus

            As I said
            We must be vigilant

            • Andy

              Against Fascist Socialist scum like you.

        • Colonel Mustard

          Hitler and his gang were men of the left. National socialists.

          • Kaine

            By which logic North Korea is a democratic republic and the Conservative Party is conservative.

            • Colonel Mustard

              It is not so much a matter of logic but more a matter of historic record. And it only applies to the NSDAP (and New Labour which shared many traits with the NSDAP hierarchy). Some NSDAP quotes:-

              “It is thus necessary that the individual should finally come to realize that his own ego is of no importance in comparison with the existence of the nation, that the position of the individual is conditioned solely by the interests of the nation as a whole.”

              “In relation to the political decontamination of our public life, the government will embark upon a systematic campaign to restore the nation’s moral and material health. The whole educational system, theatre, film, literature, the press and broadcasting – all these will be used as a means to this end.”

              Could have been said by Miliband – or telemachus.

              “We are socialists, we are enemies of today’s capitalistic economic system for the exploitation of the economically weak, with its unfair salaries, with its unseemly evaluation of a human being according to wealth and property instead of responsibility and performance, and we are determined to destroy this system under all conditions.”

              Compare to Miliband:-

              “Yes, I am a socialist. What I do say is that there are big unfairnesses in our society, and part of the job of government is to bring about social justice and to tackle those unfairnesses.”

        • Fergus Pickering

          You don’t give a damn abot your country. What you want is the Socialist International, O boot-licker of Uncle Joe.

        • Terry Field

          The wallop of the cod has been displayed by you in plain sight.

    • Bill_der_Berg

      The jackbooted Fascist octopus is singing his swansong.

    • Terry Field

      AN unworthy and squalid little note from an unworthy and squalid little nom-de-plue.

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