In Berlin, the Fifth Anniversary of D-Day
|"Children watch CARE parcels being unloaded at a warehouse in Berlin, immediately after the lifting of the Berlin blockade in 1949. The organization Cooperative for American Remittances to Europe was initiated in the 1940s." (H. William Tetlow/Getty Images) (source)|
June 6, 1949
Today is a holiday for the American troops in Europe in commemoration of the historic landings in Normandy.
Joseph Stalin once called this Allied expedition to the French coast the greatest single achievement in the history of wars.
However, today the Communist tune has changed. Only one Berlin newspaper so far makes any reference to the D-Day anniversary—the Russian-licensed Berliner Zeitung—and according to the present party line, we might as well have not made the effort on June 6, 1944.
According to the German Communist military analyst, the Normandy landings were made at a time when the Russian army had already won the war at Stalingrad. In fact, according to the pro-Soviet military editorialist, the war was decided even before we started bombing Germany.
On top of all this, the Communist newspaper makes the old charge that the Western Allies held off the invasion of the continent for two years for devious political reasons—America and Britain wanted the Red Army to emerge from its victory as weak as possible.
Germany was weak when we landed in France, the Communist paper says: "It is daydreaming to believe that a similar invasion, or even stronger force, could be successful if met by a strong and determined opponent."
This kind of propaganda poison probably has little effect here in Germany where people know something of the might the Western Allies used in gaining their share of victory.
However, this kind of smear campaign against the West attacks a basic concept the democracies hold in their struggle to gain a permanent peace: the notion that peace can only be achieved by a mutual understanding and respect among the peoples of the world.
This kind of peace was most certainly closer on D-Day five years ago when the Kremlin was praising the courage and sacrifice of the men who stormed the Normandy beaches.
It would appear that the prewar Chamberlain phrase "peace in our time" has been exchanged by the Kremlin to read "peace on our terms, and our terms only."