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Perhaps it’s the wretched weather, perhaps it’s the fact that my braim is sliding into pre-vacation idle, but damme this has  seemed like a long week.

(BTW, the local country radio station plays a version of this song with all sorts of added effects and dialogue every Friday morning, a song much cherished by the gels.)

“If Hitler invaded Hell I would make at least a favourable reference to the devil in the House of Commons.”

-Winston Churchill on the German invasion of the Soviet Union, June 1941.

A kerfluffle has come up in the great Commonwealth of Virginny over the inclusion of a bust of Joseph Stalin at the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford.  On the one hand are those who argue that old Uncle Joe was such a first class monster, no better than Hitler himself, that it is a disgrace to honor him.  On the other are those who point out that without Stalin bleeding Hitler’s forces on the Eastern Front, there wouldn’t have been a D-Day.

I can see the argument about historickal honesty and Stalin’s critical contribution to the war effort, although it seems to me that it must be possible to educate visitors about Stalin’s geo-strategic importance without going so far as to give him a mark of honor visually equivalent to those of Churchill, Roosevelt and De Gaulle.   The memorial people at least don’t pull any punches with the text of the plaque that goes with the bust:

In 1922, Joseph Stalin became General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and spent the next seven years eliminating fellow revolutionaries. He next eliminated prosperous peasant farmers (Kulaks) as a class by displacing them to proto-gulags, thus precipitating famines that killed untold millions. Stalin’s “Great Terror” (1934-38) tried 50 million Soviet citizens; some 20 million were sent to gulags or executed. He also dispatched police (NKVD) to Mongolia, where tens of thousands died as “Japanese spies.” After entering a nonaggression pact with Hitler in 1939, Stalin invaded Poland, Finland, the Baltics, Bessarabia, and northern Bukovina. Between 1939 and 1949, he deported millions of Ukrainians, Poles, Koreans, Volga Germans, Crimean Tatars, Kalmyks, Chechens, Ingush, Balkars, Karachays, Meskhetian Turks, Finns, Bulgarians, Greeks, Latvians, Lithuanians, Estonians, and Jews.

When Hitler invaded Russia on 21 June 1941, Stalin turned West for help. To keep Hitler busy in the East,Churchill and Roosevelt gave it. An epigram penned by a wag in Britain’s Crown Film Unit exudes grim irony: “Once the Kremlin / Set us tremlin: / Now we’ve a pal in / Stalin.” Stalin repulsed Hitler at the Battle of Stalingrad then went on the offensive. At the Tehran Conference (November 1943), he influenced D-Day’s date and place, reset the borders of Poland, secured a carte blanche at home, and arranged to set up communist governments in Poland, Czechoslovakia, the Baltics, and Romania.

In memory of the tens of millions who died under Stalin’s rule and in tribute to all whose valor, fidelity, and sacrifice denied him and his successors victory in the Cold War.


“Mellontolatry, or the worship of the future, is a fuddled religion.”

-C.S. Lewis, God In The Dock

True, but I’m afraid the pews in its temples are full to overflowing.


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July 2010