Today marks the 75th anniversary of the outbreak of World War II.
One would have to be pretty old to remember that day in the summer of 1939.
I’m this old and remember this particular day and what made it important. My dad told us, that there was a war on and the government ordered all windows to be blacked out so an incoming enemy air plane was not able to see and recognise anything.
Dad wanted to put some old wall paper over the glass of the windows and used some drawing pins to stick the paper to the window frames. He soon ran out of them. He sent me, his four year old son, to the shop to buy some more drawing pins, I was not surprised for I had done some errands before. I sort of remember buying ice creams and toffee lollies on my own.
On the way back the air raid siren started howling. Dad told the family there was nothing to worry about, it was only a drill. Long after the war I learnt that the air defence made a mistake and mistook a German plane for a Polish one.
On the day we children did not take the news of war in any way seriously. I have no idea how my parents felt. Much later I learnt that dad was a communist who hated Hitler intensely. Still, in January 1940, he joined the Army. He returned after the war in May 1946 after having been a POW.
For me exciting times were ahead. But as a little child I would not have known anything about the reasons for that war. During the next five and a half years, slowly the excitement turned into horror and it all ended in May 1945 with the unconditional surrender of the military forces of the German Reich.
Where are we now seventy five years later? The world is in turmoil. Historians tell us, it is the most peaceful time in all of history. What we are doing is concentrating on one or two events and we think it is the big one. Well, I know history too and I can see what the Western powers are up to. We, the public, see only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. We know nothing of what the big powers are really playing at. What we hear and read is only propaganda. Lies upon lies are heaped onto a mountain of misinformation and before we know it, we have a big war in which young men are being sacrificed and the women of the world are crying.
In Eastern Europe, at the border between the Ukraine and Russia, storm clouds are forming. The enlargement of the EU and the encroachment of NATO towards the Russian borders is seen by the Russians as an attack on their national and cultural identity. The interest of the Russians in the affairs of Ukraine is not territorial but cultural and deeply emotional. Their feelings about “Mother Russia” is bordering on the religious. In Czarist times they called it “Holy Mother Russia”. I dare say, no other people on Earth feel so deeply about their country.
“The modern peoples of Belarus,Ukraine, and Russia all claim Kievan Rus’ as their cultural inheritance.” this is a quote from the Wikipedia about the country, Kievan Rus’. Now Russia, feeling stronger than at any time since 1990, feels it has to resist the encroachment by the West. The proposed association of the Ukraine with the European Union was the last straw. If the West does not grasp this fact it is sliding into a confrontation of unimaginable consequences.
Today, at this important anniversary, we are closer to WW III than at any time since the end of the Cold War and we should be mindful of what Albert Einstein said, “I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”
Let that be a warning to us all.