Tag Archive for ‘World War II’
Yesterday, Poland commemorated the 70th anniversary of the 1943-44 Volhynia and Eastern Galicia massacres perpetrated by Ukrainian nationalists of the OUN (Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists) and UPA (Ukrainian Insurgent Army) led by Stepan Bandera and Roman Shukhevych. Bands of armed Ukrainians descended upon Polish villages in Galicia and Volhynia and massacred at least 40,000 people, mostly women and children. On July 11, 1943 alone, 100 Polish villages were attacked and the inhabitants murdered in the most brutal fashion: with knives and axes.
The areas through which Bandera’s bands rampaged were previously part of Poland and were seized by Stalin in 1940, only to be lost to the Nazis a year later. With the Nazis’ active encouragement, Ukrainian nationalist detachments, which previously helped the Nazis murder the Jews, swooped down on defenseless Polish villages, inhabited mainly by women, children, and the elderly.
An OUN order from 1944 stated with bloodthirsty vehemence:
Liquidate all Polish traces. Destroy all walls in the Catholic Church and other Polish prayer houses. Destroy orchards and trees in the courtyards so that there will be no trace that someone lived there… Pay attention to the fact that when something remains that is Polish, then the Poles will have pretensions to our land.
Unfortunately, the butchers of the OUN/UPA are considered national heroes in today’s western Ukraine, long infamous for its hatred of Russians, Jews, and Poles. A third of the inhabitants of the city of Lviv (Lemberg) have declared themselves followers of Bandera and monuments to him and other butchers of Poles and Jews sprinkled up all over western Ukraine.
Former Ukrainian president Yushchenko, the darling of the eurocrats and the Western establishment showed his true colors when he awarded Bandera and his fellow genocide perpetrator Shukhevych the country’s highest award – Hero of Ukraine. Like today’s Croatia, where the Ustasha murderers are venerated and glorified, western Ukraine genuflects before the butchers of Volhynia.
Sixty-five years ago, on August 6, the United States dropped the first offensive nuclear weapon in history. This bomb, code-named “Little Boy,” killed around 140,000 people in Hiroshima, Japan. The U.S. military dropped the second and last nuclear weapon ever used in war, “Fat Man,” three days later on nearby Nagasaki, killing approximately 39,000 people. Whether these bombings were justified is a matter of dispute.
The decapitation of the Polish government last weekend, including President Lech Kaczynski and the military leadership, on that flight to Smolensk to commemorate the Katyn Massacre, brings to mind the terrible and tragic days and deeds of what many yet call the Good War.
In a previous contribution to Chronicles‘ Filmlog, “Three for the Resistance,” I discussed movies portraying the plight of small nations—Norway, the Netherlands, and Finland—overwhelmed by ruthless Nazi and Communist force during the World War II era.
World War II has provided a vast amount of material for cinema in Europe, America, and Japan. Some if this is superb. Much of it is hokey entertainment and propaganda. We perhaps did not realise how hokey until the horrors of D-Day were portrayed in Saving Private Ryan. That useful dose of realism deserves to be set off against Stephen Spielberg’s many sins against culture
On Sept. 1, 1939, Hitler’s panzers smashed into Poland. Two days later, an anguished Neville Chamberlain declared war, the most awful war in all of history. Was the war inevitable? No. No war is inevitable until it has begun. Was it a necessary war?
Anyone questioning the wisdom of neoconservative foreign policy is likely to be told that he is “blaming America first,” as if American foreign policy were synonymous with the nation. So it is only fair to point out that neocons, too, “blame America” when it doesn’t follow their policies. Reviewing a book about the 1920 presidential campaign, David Frum writes that “Americans made very bad choices in those years, terrible choices, choices that would precipitate a global depression and then another and even more horrible war.” In Frum’s view, America’s adherence to our traditonal protectionist system led to the Great Depression and World War II. Of course, those making similar pronouncements about contemporary American foreign policy are liable to be branded as “unpatriotic” by Frum.