Friday, 4 September 2009
‘People’s War against Fascism’
I didn’t deliberately miss the historic fact those 70 years ago on 3 September 1939, marked the start of the Second World War as we have come to know it.
I just didn’t think that this was an anniversary; that I as a Socialist could commemorate, particularly given the situation in Afghanistan which has intensified over recent weeks with the return - and I’ve now lost count of the number of British casualties’.
There is and has never been such a thing as a ‘Just War’ ever in the world, and the Second World War is no exception.
George Lansbury then I think the Leader of the Labour Party; made the following statement in opposing rightly that war: “I would close every recruiting station, disband the Army and disarm the Air Force. I would abolish the whole dreadful equipment of war and say to the world "do you're worst."
George Lansbury was of course, famously a pacifist, and I think that the older I’ve become the more I think that I’m a pacifist, because war and violence is not only primitive but an uncivilised and barbaric 'toss back' to when the human race knew no better.
The consequences that led to the Second World War, the collapse of the United States economy following the Wall Street Crash, which reverberated around the world meant that European countries, especially Germany, were hit hard by the Great Depression, which led to high rates of unemployment, poverty and much civil unrest. Some of the other things that need to be considered that helped Hitler and the Nazi Party to power are the following: After the First World War Germany lost her colonies and territories, she had to pay reparations and anti- German feelings were still running high and this in turn damaged German exports. At the end of hostilities Germany had to hand over “huge quantities of industrial machinery including, merchant shipping, railway engines and wagons”. As the economy collapsed, the currency became worthless and social unrest rose. However in 1929 the economy did begin to recover economically; then the Great Depression destroyed her economy; this briefly led to the rise to power of Hitler and the Nazis.
Many on the so-called left particularly in Britain see WW2 as the ‘People’s War against Fascism’. If this is the case then they are wrong; for how on earth can it be described as such, when it was lead by the ruling class with Churchill at its head along with the fact when war did break out in September 1939, some men volunteered to join the armed services, but Britain could still only raise 875,000 men. Other European countries had kept conscription between the wars and were able to raise much larger armies than Britain. In October 1939 the British government announced that all men aged between 18 and 41 who were not working in 'reserved occupations' could be called to join the armed services if required. Conscription was by age and in October 1939 men aged between 20 and 23 were required to register to serve in one of the armed forces. They were allowed to choose between the army, the navy and the air force. About 60,000 men applied for Conscientious Objector status; this itself suggests, anything but a people’s war!
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