Seventy years ago, the major powers plunged humanity into the horror of world war
Peter Taaffe, from Socialism Today, magazine of the Socialist Party, cwi in England and Wales
"Winston Churchill, wrote the following about Hitler’s rise to power (see picture opposite) in the 1939 edition of his book, Great Contemporaries: “I have always said that if Great Britain was defeated in war, I hope we would find a Hitler to lead us back to our rightful position among the nations”. The Nazis were financed and aided by the British ruling class with massive support from British big business so long as they faced east, towards attacking the Soviet Union. Thus Britain effectively backed Hitler’s rearmament programme in the 1935 Anglo-German naval agreement that allowed an expansion of the German navy that broke the Versailles Treaty’s limits."
And I can’t help but wonder now Willie McBride
Do all those who lie here know why they died?
Did you really believe them when they told you the cause?
Did you really believe them that this war would end wars?
But the suffering, the sorrow, the glory, the shame –
The killing, the dying – it was all done in vain.
For Willie McBride, it’s all happened again
And again, and again, and again, and again.
© Eric BogleThe lyrics to Eric Bogle’s haunting folk song, No Man’s Land (The Green Fields of France, or Willie McBride), set against the background of an imaginary young soldier killed in the first world war, are as relevant today on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the start of the second world war which falls on 1 September. War did happen ‘again and again’ with its countless victims and will continue to do so as long as capitalism remains. Indeed, the total number of victims of the second world war dwarfed even the carnage of the first. Estimates of the total number of casualties for the war suggest some 60 million died, 20 million soldiers and 40 million civilians.
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