Who actually Won the War?


The events of the last few days have led me to ask the question: “Who actually won World War II?” Noises from the political elite in Germany and an even greater hoohah in Poland have got me thinking about two issues: (1) the necessity for Germany to feel responsible for the Holocaust and the slaughter of so many innocent lives in World War II, and (2) the growing rise of negationism, or rather historical relativism.

German Revisionism
The surprising news that has come out of Germany is that the two political powerhouses, the CDU and CSU, have called for the European Parliament to back a decision to condemn all forms of forced
repatriation. Without such a joint EU declaration, Germany has intimated that it will not agree to further expansion of the European Union. This is all well and good and indeed forced repatriating should be condemned but this issue deflects away from the causes of the last forced exodus in Europe. As we all know, the forced repatriation of millions of European citizens was a direct result of the Nazi attack on Poland in 1945. The CDU and CSU have also added that all laws and rights violated through repatriation need to be reversed. This appears to be a call to give compensation to those Germans who were forced out of Poland after the war, a war the Germans began!

Polish Oversensitiveness
This has caused an almighty explosion of outrage in Poland. The first to respond to Germany’s call was Jarosław Kaczyński who has called upon PM Donald Tusk for his Civic Platform (PO) to leave the the European People’s Party-European Democrats (EPP-ED) political group, the group to which both PO and the CDU and CSU belong in a mark of protest against this German revisionism. He has also called the PO “weak” in the face of German brute force and expansionism. Germany has also stated that it wishes the German language to be stronger within the EU. There’s no getting away from the fact that Jarosław Kaczyński made these statements for political gain but he’s not all that wrong about Germany trying to deflect away from the cause of Europe’s most recent forced bout of repatriations.

European Problems
Yes, Poland is oversensitive. But wouldn’t you be a little touchy if you had experienced what the inhabitants of Poland experienced during the war. Not only was Poland’s Jewish population wiped out but its other citizens also faced humiliation, torture and death at the hands of the German Nazis. Any calls for a re-evaluation of the facts will unsurprisingly cause a stir. Two things need to happen for Europe to take a good look at itself and grow up. Firstly, not only Germany and Poland but ALL of the EU’s member states need to sit down and talk, not only at the ministerial level but at the level of local communities to see how these issues still affect us all today. Secondly, Europe needs to learn the true meaning of solidarity and the meaning of ‘being European’, whatever that means.


18 thoughts on “Who actually Won the War?

  1. So, since the first part of the 20th century, we have progressed from blatant expansion of empire to hypocritical blather about the wrongs perpetrated on displaced citizens…. As a non-European and an outside observer, I am interested in your concluding statement about finding the meaning of being European. A worthy challenge, and I would be interested to see you explore that further. Having recently been reading about the origins of WWI, I would say that alliances among nations do not appear to be the final answer!

  2. Jenny,
    Many thanks for your comments and how true your final statement (alliances among nations do not appear to be the final answer) is!
    I too would like to know what happens. 🙂

  3. I’ve been hunting through the German press, and I haven’t found any evidence of that statement. If anyone can find links to those words from _non-Polish_ sources – be they in German, English or whatever – I wd appreciate it.

  4. “the CDU and CSU have called for the European Parliament to back a decision to condemn all forms of forced repatriation. Without such a joint EU declaration, Germany has intimated that it will not agree to further expansion of the European Union.”

    “The CDU and CSU have also added that all laws and rights violated through repatriation need to be reversed.”

    Whither these statements?

  5. Okidoki. Thanks. They were taken from the Polish press with most of the big newspapers and internet news sites running the piece. I too did a scan of the European press and found nothing about this. Odd, isn’t it?

  6. Being european today and for future… thus interesting, too complex a question for just a comment on a blog… still, the roots of the franco-german european idea was “never again the worst things we made and lived”

  7. meant that individuals are not necessarily personally responsible for what their government decided for them at a given date and that people are only individually responsible for what they actually made.
    Never again the worst things we made (for example : WWI, WWII, contributing to nazi/fascisms crimes against humanity … and I miss lots of others)and never again the worst things we lived (the same as above)… the intent was to try a peaceful Europe, and forced repatriations is a violence made to individuals (consecutive to forced settlements in foreign places, or to historical settlements of population):individuals are not the states…
    No indication of any decision/resolution project or even debate about “forced repatriations” over the European parliament web site… and no echo in French news

  8. Thanks for the comment. Yes, it seems that this is only being covered in the Polish press (which doesn’t mean that the problem doesn’t exist).
    I fully understand what you’re saying when you write “individuals are not the states” but that doesn’t mean that individuals are not responsible for their actions. They are. An SS officer who says he was just ‘doing his duty’ is as guilty as the state…

  9. Various cases :
    – if a person is voluntarily implied in conception:performances of acts that are against “usual military service” in war times(meaning war crimes or crimes against humanity), no doubt on liability ; or if someone in a lower hierarchical position, do worst acts than requested from him by its hierachy : I do fully agree with you !
    – if something that’s against “usual military practices” is requested from someone who’s not able to make a contrary decision because of lower hierarchical position, not to comply with order is resistance… and could resistance be demanded from any individual?
    – if someone has been (peacefully) living in a country of which he is not citizen for years, should the fact that at a moment in time host country and nationality country are in war justifies an expulsion ?
    … sensitive questions… and I think as well of some kind of massive repatriation no later than in the nineties in Europe (even if not in the EU)

  10. We are a bit paranoid I must say. It not only comes from WWII but also from over four decades of Soviet inspired Communist anti-German propaganda. Whatever Russophobic sentiments Poles had, were countered with extremely persuasive anti-German propaganda. Germany was seen as an expansionist nation (at the expense of Poland), and not only historically. Drang nach Osten was seen as a continuation of centuries of German expansion and we were told that it did not stop with the defeat of Nazi Germany. First, because FDR was an “imperialist capitalist member of NATO.” Then it changed to economic expansion of Germany who wanted to “buy out” Poland. Even, and especially, the supposed anti-communist right wing parties bought into the communist propaganda.
    It is understandable, still wrong though, that Germany wants to shed its past and will try to achieve this in many ways. Poles however need to deal with these things from today’s perspective, otherwise they risk being seen by other European states as paranoid scare mongers who are unable to get past their history.

  11. Well Poland needs to stop seeing everything as a continuation of history. Germany is not the same country it was 70 years ago, or 700 years ago. Neither is Poland. Not every German move is designed to somehow weaken Poland. We must learn from our past, not constantly live it. We must try to understand our neighbors not just be afraid of them because sometime ago we were enemies. I just had a conversation on Sunday that made me think that Poles indeed have not moved on. Paranoia (some of the reactions of the Missile Shield pull out lead me to believe this) is alive and well in Poland. While Poland’s neighbor and allies will always act in self interest, it does not automatically mean that the action are aimed against Poland.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s