World War II: states instrumentalize the commemoration
On the 70th time, the end of World War II anniversary – but rather a sign of reconciliation to send, many states instrumentalize the commemoration. Who celebrates with whom – and what is at stake behind the scenes?
Not even the memory of their most successful collaboration, Americans and Russians agree: On May 8, the Western world celebrates the end of World War II in the early summer of 1945 – a day later commits Russia its’ day victory’. The reason for the curious: The surrender of the German Wehrmacht on 8 May 1945 entered into force late in the evening, as in Moscow already the ninth Mai was begun.
The various commemorative dates have nothing to do with the current crisis between Russia and the West, but illustrate a worrying trend: Instead of celebrating the victory over fascism in common use many states the commemorative year for their own purposes. The World War II commemoration in the global view:
veterans at World War II memorial in Washington: air shows and a gala
This is planned: In the United States there are around 8 May several commemorative events – such as the National World War II Memorial and at conferences across the country. In Washington an air show is planned with historic fighter planes, the political prominence comes together at a gala at the Aviation Museum. As US President Barack Obama will spend the Memorial, is not yet known – but at the annual Victory Day parade in Moscow, he does not want to participate in
This is what: Obama’s rejection of Russian President Vladimir. Putin shows how much the crisis between Moscow and the West overshadowed the world War commemoration. Both great powers lay claim to a large share of the victory over Nazi Germany. Obama and Putin associate the commemoration so strongly with the current political situation, but is new – and reminiscent of symbolism from the Cold War
President Putin with Veterans in the Crimea ( 2014):’ Victory Day’
This is planned: Russia celebrates on. 9 May, the end of the’ Great Patriotic War’, especially in Moscow. For hours transmits the TV on’ Victory Day’ gigantic military parade in which soldiers in dress uniform saluting the veterans hung with medals.
This is what: Because of the Ukraine conflict is President Putin remove the military parade on the side only a few foreign leaders this year – in the Czech Republic attended the debate even for a tangible diplomatic scandal, After coming UN Secretary General Ban and Chinese President Xi Jinping, the Putin wants to impress most. Already last year, Putin had celebrated without representatives of the West -. On the annexed Ukrainian Crimean peninsula
President Gauck, Komorowski in Gdansk ( 2014): Memory in Poland
This is planned: Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski plans for May 8, a Gedenkakt at Westerplatte in Gdansk (formerly Danzig), where in 1939 the German attack began on Poland. Moscow criticized this plan sharply: Poland try to be as’ to put the role of the Soviet Union as the winner of the Great Patriotic War in question’, the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin said in February.
This is what: Poland argues with Russia for a long time on its merits in the World War. Because Moscow replaced 1945 in Poland the Nazi system by Stalinism, after in 1939 after consultation with Adolf Hitler had been eastern Poland incorporated – what Putin defended until today. But the dispute over the Gedenkakt at Westerplatte is also a result of the Ukraine crisis: How many former Eastern bloc countries fear Warsaw to also be victims of Russian expansionism. The diplomatic crisis had already affected the commemoration of the liberation of the Auschwitz extermination camp in January: Putin remained the event remotely – allegedly because he had not received an invitation
Chancellor Merkel, Vice Chancellor Gabriel, President Gauck: invitation from Moscow
This is planned: For the cause of World War II, the current conflict is extremely delicate. Because it was the Soviet Union, which had to complain the most casualties in the war against the Wehrmacht and 1945 ended the Nazi regime in Eastern Europe. Therefore, a visit to Putin’s victory parade counts actually the diplomatic self-evident for the Chancellor that it also took part in 2010. But this year traveling Merkel a day later on in order to circumvent the military parade.
This is what: Because of the Ukraine crisis have been the USA, the UK, Poland and the Baltic states, Putin issued a rejection of the’ Day of Victory’. The debate in Germany provides also internal political dynamite, because the Left wanted Putin even invited to the Bundestag. The demand fizzled, but all can be Berlin the role of Russians in the liberation of Germany can not ignore: German President Joachim Gauck recalled already this Wednesday in a speech to the sufferings of Soviet soldiers in German captivity.
protests on’ Ochi Day’ 2011 in Thessaloniki: No to austerity
This is planned: Greece celebrates the end of World War II not, but commits 28 October another memorial – the’ Ochi Day’.’ Ochi’ in Greek means’no’. The bold No Greek government in the autumn of 1940 compared to an Italian ultimatum celebrates the Mediterranean country each year. Shortly after the rejection of Athens marched the army of the Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, in April 1941 followed by German troops and forced the Greek capitulation
This is what:. Greece suffered during the Second World War, very under the German occupation – and that now threaten to overshadow the memory. Because in the current debt crisis arguing primarily Berlin and Athens each other, even on reparations for German Nazi atrocities in Greece. Nazi comparisons around the Ochi day are so programmed. In the past, Greek cartoons had emerged that Merkel insulted as’ Hitler’s Daughter’ or Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble showed in Nazi uniform.
military parade in Beijing ( 2009): show of force in September
This is planned: China wants to remember the first time with a huge military parade at the end of World War II. Soldiers and armored vehicles to pull on 3 September by Beijing, exactly 70 years after the Japanese defeat in the war against China.
This is what: Japan occupied 1931-1945 huge areas in East Asia, particularly in China and committed cruel war crimes. Beijing considers Tokyo decades ago, insufficient prepare these past. In addition, President Xi Jinping will now probably take the opportunity to provide the military capability of his country showcased – including to Japan: Tokyo with Beijing arguing for years by several islands.
In summary: The memory of the Second World War, many states use to position themselves in the current conflict. Russia and China demonstrate their power with big military parades. At the same time it makes the Ukraine crisis, especially for the federal government difficult to behave tactfully.