The Guardian 4 May, 2005

The defeat of fascism
and the socialist alternative


The defeat of Nazism and fascism required the most destructive and momentous war in history and its consequences are still being felt around the world.

Fascism has been described as the "open terrorist dictatorship of the most reactionary, most chauvinistic and most imperialist elements of finance capital" (Dimitrov, Against Fascism and War).

The defeat of Nazi Germany, fascist Italy and Japanese militarism was, at the same time, a defeat for imperialism everywhere.

One of the most important consequences of the defeat of fascism — seeing as the main contribution was made by the socialist Soviet Union — was to show to the people of the whole world that socialism was able to rapidly develop the economy and provide housing, hospitals, schools and universities. Furthermore it also inspired people to fight for the independence of their country.

The USSR was able to organise and provide the political and military leadership to a nation which proved capable of standing up to and defeating the most aggressive and heavily armed imperialist nation. Up to that time, all the other capitalist nations of Europe had fallen like ninepins before the aggression of Nazi Germany.

Europe

It is on this background that a number of new socialist states emerged in Europe soon after the defeat of fascism — Poland, Bulgaria, Hungary, Albania, Romania, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia and the German Democratic Republic. The territory of the Soviet Union was freed and consolidated. The Soviet Union emerged from the war with tremendous prestige.

Immediately after the defeat of Nazi Germany and fascist Italy in Europe, the Soviet Union transferred huge armies to the Eastern Front where the war against Japanese militarism was still raging. Despite being now isolated and facing inevitable defeat the Japanese armies continued the war.

The Japanese had over 31 divisions amounting to over 1 million men and their equipment fighting in Manchuria, China and the Korean Peninsula.

The Soviet forces entered the war against Japan on August 8-9 and rapidly defeated the Japanese armies on the Asian mainland.

The Soviet Union handed over captured Japanese weapons to the People’s Liberation Army under the leadership of the Communist Party of China which had been fighting Japanese occupation for many years.

This helped these armies to defeat the military forces of the Chinese Kuomintang (the government of China’s ruling circles) and led to the victory of the people’s revolution and the formation of the People’s Republic of China on October 1, 1949.

For its part, the US began giving large scale support to the Kuomintang in preparation to launch a crusade against the Communist-led armies of the north. The US landed troops in northern China and by the end of 1945 it had 113,000 US troops in China.

Asia

The defeat of the Japanese imperialists and the role played by the Soviet Union gave a huge stimulus to the national liberation movements in the whole of Asia. Ho Chi Minh set up a people’s government in Vietnam on August 25, 1945.

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was established in the northern part of the Korean Peninsula on September 9, 1948.

Indonesia, Malaya, the Philippines, India, Burma, Sri Lanka, Laos, Cambodia and other countries which had been the colonies of the European imperialist powers drove out the colonialists and established independent governments.

This was followed in Africa, the Middle East and Latin America over the next decades. This is reflected in the membership of the United Nations. Whereas the UN was originally formed by 45 nations, its membership today stands at 191 and almost every colony has won its national independence.

The existence of the Soviet Union and the defeat of Japanese imperialism helped the Vietnamese people in their struggle against both French and then US imperialist attempts to re-impose colonialism.

Cuba

For the first time in the western hemisphere a socialist state, the Republic of Cuba, emerged and fought off the never-ending attempts of US imperialism to destroy its socialist regime.

Now, in Latin America, other peoples are breaking free from governments advancing a pro-US neo-liberal agenda and which had been sustained with the military, economic and political assistance of the US. Venezuela is starting down the socialist path.

The people of Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Ecuador and other South and Central American countries are in struggle to establish for the first time, really progressive, people’s governments.

These historic developments were made possible by the defeat of fascism in WW2, by the example that there was and is a socialist alternative to capitalism and imperialism, by the international solidarity of the communist parties in the first place and by the fact that the socialist victories showed that it is possible for the ordinary working people, by their struggle, to win a better world.

The processes unleashed by the defeat of fascism in WW2 are still unfolding.

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