Epigraph: “History is not a teacher, but a warden; history does not teach anything, but only punishes for unlearned lessons ... "(V.O. Klyuchevsky)
Until now, I believed that World War II ended on September 2, 1945 with the victory of the USSR over Germany's last ally, militaristic Japan (it began on September 1, 1939, ended on September 2, 1945 - I knew from school, it was easy to remember). And then suddenly to my surprise I learn that, it turns out, it ended not on September 2, but on September 3. How so, I think, a mistake, probably? I definitely remember this date since childhood. But no! It turns out that the State Duma of the Russian Federation on April 14 this year in the third reading adopted a law on the postponement of the Day of the end of World War II from September 2 to 3. What nonsense, I think, why?
According to the explanatory note, the document was prepared in order to strengthen the historical foundations and patriotic traditions, preserve historical justice for the victors in World War II, and perpetuate the worthy memory of those killed in the defense of the Fatherland. The law proposes to abolish the old memorable date of Russia "September 2 - Day of the end of World War II (1945)" and establish a new day of Russia's military glory "September 3 - Day of the end of World War II (1945)". The initiative was introduced by a group of deputies led by the Chairman of the Defense Committee Vladimir Shamanov. According to the Defense Committee, the proposed wording symbolizes the transition from a state of war to peace, the search for ways of peaceful coexistence and cooperation.
Do you understand something? And me too! Maybe, I think, in this way they deliberately detach themselves from the Western values imposed on us. They also have May 8 - Day of Sorrow. Well, let them grieve, they lost this war, and we are the winners, we won it, and therefore we celebrate Victory Day, which is sacred for us on May 9. But at least the reason is clear there - when the "Act of complete and unconditional surrender of Germany" was signed in Berlin, it really was on May 8. But all this action only took place at 22 hours 43 minutes, in Moscow by that time it was already past midnight, May 9 came, the time difference between Berlin and Moscow was 2 hours (Berlin lived then, and now lives according to Central European time).
What's wrong with Tokyo? When did the Kwantung Army surrender there? So, on August 16, 1945 (surrendered to the Soviet command in pursuance of the order of the Imperial General Staff). About nothing at all! The expeditionary army in China capitulated the day before (these surrendered to Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek). The rest of the Imperial Japanese Armed Forces surrendered to the Allies gradually, as the Allied forces arrived, until November 30, 1945, when the commander of the Southern Army Group, Marshal Terauchi Hisaichi, surrendered to Louis Mountbatten in Saigon. And Japan's surrender was officially recorded on September 2, 1945, by an act signed aboard the battleship Missouri. This event officially ended the fighting in World War II. What did we have with time in the Pacific on September 2? Minus 9 time zones, the difference with Moscow is 8 hours. This means that at the time of signing in Moscow it was still September 1. Generally excellent, we started the war on September 1, graduated on September 1, lafa for schoolchildren. But no, the State Duma appointed him to the 3rd. What was guided by, I do not know. Well, they were definitely not thinking about schoolchildren.
And what about then? In the explanatory note, the authors of the bill refer to the decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR declaring September 3 the holiday of Victory over Japan and the day of national celebration. More than 1,8 million people were awarded medals "For the victory over Japan", on the back of which the date "September 3, 1945" is indicated, the explanatory note says. The authors of the initiative also refer to the fact that the Victory Day of the Chinese people in the war with Japan is also celebrated on September 3. Clear? Now we are checking our watches in China. The winners write history. Therefore, it is not surprising that the State Duma rewrote the date for the end of World War II. There is no need for us to lag behind the western historiography; we will now move on to the eastern one.
Winners and losers in WWII
In general, I have a lot of questions about history. How did the French find themselves among the winners in World War II, who lost to Hitler, and who were less in the ranks of the Resistance than in the ranks of the Waffen SS who fought for Hitler? Somebody knows? Although, if you delve into history, then the names of generals Charles de Gaulle and Henri Giraud, who fought the Nazis in the ranks of the Free French Forces, and later under the banners of the French Committee for National Liberation, created by them in 1943, still surface. There were other glorious sons of France who fought the Nazis under the banner of the committee - General Jouin, who landed in December 1943 as part of the allied forces in Italy at the head of the French Expeditionary Force. Or General Leclerc, who participated in the head of the 2nd French armored division, together with the Allied troops in their joint landing on July 31, 1944 in Normandy and liberated France with them. There was also the 1st French Army, which landed in southern France on August 15, 1944, along with the 7th US Army, which fought in southwestern Germany and met the end of the war in Tyrol.
But what to do with the French Legion, which fought on the Eastern Front since September 1941 under the German banners, through which 1941 thousand Frenchmen passed between 44-6,5, and the 33rd SS Volunteer Infantry Division "Charlemagne", which became his successor (German 33. Waffen-Grenadier-Division der SS "Charlemagne" - tactical formation of the SS troops of Nazi Germany), formed from volunteers, French citizens, who fought first in Pomerania (Feb. 1945), and then valiantly defended Berlin? For those who did not study history well, I will remind you that Hitler's bunker was defended to the last by the French SS men from the 33rd Waffen-SS Grenadier Division. They fought fiercely, during the day of the battles for Berlin on April 28, out of a total of 108 Soviet tanks destroyed, the French “Charlemagne” destroyed 62. And SS Unterscharführer Eugene Valo for the destruction of six of them was even presented to the highest Reich award Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross, becoming one of the his last cavaliers (three days later he died from a bullet of a Soviet sniper, not having lived only a month before his 22nd birthday and a week before the end of the war). When on the morning of May 2, after the announcement of the surrender of the Berlin garrison, Soviet troops took the Reich Chancellery, there, except for 29 Frenchmen, no one was left alive. All of them, of course, are heroes! Only they fought on the wrong side.
Why, then, there are no Poles among the winners in World War II, they, too, fought the Nazis as part of the Polish Army. And they have no less merit than the French (I generally keep quiet about the victims!). The 1st Infantry Division named after Tadeusz Kosciuszko was created from Polish patriots and Poles living in the USSR in 1943. She joined the 1st Polish Army, which took part in the Vistula-Oder operation, the Battle of Kolberg, and also in the Berlin offensive. Of the 40 thousand officers of the Polish Army, about half (18996 people) were officers of the Red Army, including 36 generals. You also know everything about Victory Marshal Rokossovsky, who also became the Marshal of Poland. Although this is our Pole. Why is he worse than de Gaulle? Didn't come out in height? However, Konstantin Konstantinovich is a sin to complain. He is not bypassed by fame, Poland is simply not a country that won fascism, but everything is smooth.
In general, I'm not sure that most of you will be able to name the countries of the Hitler axis without looking at Wikipedia. If everything is clear with the anti-Hitler coalition - the USSR, the USA, Britain, although there, besides them, there were also Poland (after all, it all began!), And China (he fought with Japan since 1931), not counting the British dominions (Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa and India), then with the Hitlerite coalition there is generally a mess in people's heads. If everyone remembers Germany, Italy and Japan, but they guess about Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria and Finland (although the Finns with a blue eye claim that they did not enter the Hitlerite axis, but fought the USSR on their own, but what difference does it make to us?) about the Kingdom of Thailand (January 25, 1942 - Aug 16, 1945), the Kingdom of Iraq (May 2 - May 31, 1941), Slovakia (September 1, 1939 - April 4, 1945), Croatia (June 15, 1941 - May 8, 1945), Greece (April 30, 1941 - 12 October 1944), Serbia (Nedich regime), Norway (Quisling regime), the Netherlands (Mussert regime), France (Vichy regime) are remembered after only one, being confused in the testimony (in brackets are the dates of entry and exit from the Second World War on the side axis). About Austria, the Czech Republic, Belgium, Denmark, Luxembourg, Albania, Slovenia, Macedonia and Montenegro, occupied and annexed by Hitler and Mussolini, I am already silent, but all these countries, one way or another, worked for the Reich. And Italians, Romanians, Hungarians, Bulgarians, Croats, Slovaks, Finns, Spaniards and French also fought for him. They fought as best they could, some by numbers, some by skill. Among the recipients of the highest award of the 3rd Reich, the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross, there were 73 foreigners: 18 Romanians, 12 Latvians, 9 Italians, 8 Hungarians, 4 Belgians, 4 Estonians, 4 Dutch, 3 Danes, 3 French, 2 Spaniards, 2 Japanese, 2 Slovak, 2 Finnish Swedes.
The most efficient, according to the German generals, were, oddly enough, the Hungarians. Hungary was the last of Hitler's allies (not counting Japan) to withdraw from WWII (April 12, 1945) and fought there, not sparing its belly (the loss of the Hungarians amounted to 148 thousand people, among the dead was the son of the ruler of the Hungarian Kingdom, Horthy). Of the rest, it is worth highlighting only the Ustasha-Croats Pavelic, who on June 22, 1941 was the first of the Axis members to enter the war against the USSR, sending an infantry regiment of 2200 bayonets and a fighter squadron to the Eastern Front. The infantrymen did not show anything special, but the pilots turned out to be aces: they shot down 259 Soviet aircraft, losing 23 of their own. At the same time, the two best shot down 37 and 38 cars. But during the liberation of Yugoslavia in the fall of 1944 in the confrontation with the Red Army, the Ustasha, according to the Soviet command, showed amazing fortitude and perseverance in the war not only in the air, but also on land.
Romanians and Italians are still warriors, Bulgarians refused to fight against the USSR; the Finns, having occupied the areas lost during the Winter Campaign, further only imitated hostilities, and Mannerheim even banned Finnish aviation flights over Leningrad; Hitler was generally afraid of letting Slovaks into the Eastern Front, and when he did, it ended with their massive surrender and transfer to the Soviet side (after the Slovak uprising in September 1944, all 27 aircraft of the Slovak Air Force that were in good order at that time flew over to the side of the USSR) ... All these allies, as the Soviet troops advanced, left the WWII on the Axis side and declared war on Hitler on the side of the anti-Hitler coalition, however, they did not fight, or imitated the war, like the Finns (the so-called "Lapland War" against the Germans in Norway).
You will laugh, but the fascist Spain of General Franco did not enter the war on Hitler's side, only the Blue Division volunteers who went to the Eastern Front for ideological reasons took part (4 thousand remained in the ground there), and in July 1943 Franco generally declared his neutrality. In addition to Spain, 6 more countries have retained their neutral status - Switzerland, Sweden, Portugal, Liechtenstein, Afghanistan and Tibet. All the rest, one way or another, took part in the war. In the Waffen SS troops, I generally found everyone, including both Russians and Belarusians, not to mention Ukrainians; all sorts of Flemings, Dutch, Walloons, Danes, Norwegians, Estonians, Latvians, Finns, Italians, Albanians, Hungarians, Croats, Serbs, Slovaks, there were not only Czechs, Romanians, Poles and Lithuanians (and this is a historical fact!).
Tell me, uncle ...
In general, we all live in captivity to stereotypes. To the simplest question, who won the Borodino or the equally famous Prokhorovka tank battle, half of you, without hesitation, will answer that the Russians. How could it be otherwise? After all, Borodino is our everything! And who could have won there, not the French? And why Moscow, scorched by fire, was given to the Frenchman, none of you seems to think. Well at least most people still remember who we fought there. Although not everyone will say a year. They will still think, 1812 or maybe some other.
It's even worse with Prokhorovka. I don't even ask about the year there. July 1943, Battle of Kursk. This, like our Father, everyone knows. But they also firmly declare that in that battle we ground the tanks of Paul Hausser. But this is far from the case. The only military-historical criterion in determining the winner is the factor behind the battlefield. Both at Borodino and at Prokhorovka it remained with our enemy. Therefore, the irrecoverable losses in that battle for the Germans are several times less than for us. They were able to drag all their damaged but not burnt tanks from the battlefield and repair them, but we did not. However, in the end it did not save them. We lost that local tank battle near Prokhorovka, but we won the entire battle for the Kursk salient, which went down in history as the Kursk Bulge, which became a turning point in the entire history of World War II and influenced its final outcome.
PS This concludes the history lesson. Let's move on to the geography lesson. Backfill question - how many oceans do you know? Answer: four is wrong. I also thought so before - Pacific, Indian, Atlantic and Arctic. At least that's how we were taught at school. Now in schools they teach something different. Oceans, it turns out, are not four, but five. To the already known, the South was added, washing the northern shores of Antarctica, made up of the southern ends of the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic oceans. Wonders! Live and learn. How many wonderful discoveries the spirit of enlightenment is preparing for us ...
We are waiting for new impressive discoveries from historians and geographers of the State Duma of the Russian Federation.