In retrospect, it becomes clear that the Cold War “communist threat” was only a pretext for great powers seeking more power.

The British Normandy World War II Memorial in Ver-su-Mer, Normandy, France, June 6, 2024.  (Number 10 Downing, Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

By Diana Johnstone
Special to Consortium News

Ceremonies were held last week commemorating the 80th anniversary of Operation Overlord, the Anglo-American landing on the beaches of Normandy that took place on June 6, 1944, known as D-Day.  For the very first time, the Russians were ostentatiously not invited to take part in the ceremonies. 

The Russian absence symbolically altered the meaning of the festivities. Certainly the significance of Operation Overlord as the first step in the domination of Western Europe by the English-speaking world was more pertinent than ever. But without Russia, the event was symbolically taken out of the original context of World War II.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was invited to give a video address to the French Parliament in honor of the occasion.  Zelensky pulled out all the rhetorical stops to demonize Vladimir Putin, describing the Russian president as the “common enemy” of Ukraine and Europe. 

Russia, he claimed “is a territory where life no longer has any value… It’s the opposite of Europe, it’s the anti-Europe.”

So after 80 years, D-Day symbolically celebrated a different alliance and a different war — or perhaps, the same old war, but with the attempt to change the ending. 

Here was a shift in alliances which would have pleased a good part of the pre-war, British upper class. From the time he took power, Adolf Hitler had many admirers in Britain’s aristocracy and even in its royal family. Many saw Hitler as the effective antidote to Russian “judeo-bolshevism.”  

At the end of the war, there were those who would have favored “finishing the job” by turning against Russia. It has taken 80 years to make it happen. But the seeds of the reversal were always there.  

D-Day & the Russians

Soviet and Polish Armia Krajowa soldiers in Vilnius, July 1944. (Polish National Archive/Wikimedia Commons/Public domain)

In June 1941, without so much as a pretext or false flag, Nazi Germany massively invaded the Soviet Union. In December, the United States was brought into the war by the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.  

As the war raged on the Eastern front, Moscow pleaded with its Western allies, the U.S. and Britain, to open a second front in order to divide German forces.  By the time the Western Allies landed in Normandy, the Red Army had already decisively defeated the Nazi invaders in Russia and was on the verge of opening a gigantic front in Soviet Belarus that dwarfed the Normandy battle. 

The Red Army launched Operation Bagration on June 22, 1944, and by Aug. 19 had destroyed 28 of 34 divisions, completely shattering the German front line.  It was the biggest defeat in German military history, with around 450,000 German casualties. After liberating Minsk, the Red Army advanced on to victories in Lithuania, Poland and Romania.

[See: The D-Day of the Eastern Front]

The Red Army offensive in the East undoubtedly ensured the success of the Anglo-American-Canadian Allied forces against much weaker German forces in Normandy. 

D-Day & the French

As decided by the Anglo-Americans, the only role for the French in Operation Overlord was that of civilian casualties. In preparation for the landings, British and American bombers pounded French railway towns and seaports, causing massive destruction and tens of thousands of French civilian casualties. 

In the course of operations in Normandy, numerous villages, the town of St Lô and the city of Caen were destroyed by Anglo-American aviation.

The Free French armed forces under the supreme command of General Charles de Gaulle were deliberately excluded from taking part in Operation Overlord. De Gaulle recalled to his biographer Alain Peyrefitte how he was informed by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill:

“Churchill summoned me to London on June 4, like a squire summoning his butler. And he told me about the landings, without any French unit having been scheduled to take part. I criticized him for taking orders from Roosevelt, instead of imposing a European will on him. He then shouted at me with all the force of his lungs: ‘De Gaulle, you must understand that when I have to choose between you and Roosevelt, I’ll always prefer Roosevelt. When we have to choose between the French and the Americans, we’ll always prefer the Americans.’”

As a result, De Gaulle adamantly refused to take part in D-Day memorial ceremonies. 

“The June 6th landings were an Anglo-Saxon affair, from which France was excluded. They were determined to set themselves up in France as if it were enemy territory! Just as they had just done in Italy and were about to do in Germany! … . And you want me to go and commemorate their landing, when it was the prelude to a second occupation of the country? No, no, don’t count on me!”

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Excluded from the Normandy operation, in August the Free French First Army joined the Allied invasion of Southern France. 

The Americans had made plans to impose a military government on France, through AMGOT (Allied Military Government of Occupied Territories). 

This was avoided by the stubbornness of de Gaulle, who ordered the Resistance to restore independent political structures throughout France, and who succeeded in persuading supreme Allied Commander General Dwight Eisenhower to allow Free French forces and a Resistance uprising to liberate Paris in late August 1944.

De Gaulle and entourage on the Champs Élysées following the city’s liberation on Aug. 26, 1944. (Imperial War Museums, Wikimedia Commons, Public domain)

D-Day in Hollywood

France has always celebrated the Normandy landing as a liberation. Polls show, however, that views of its significance have evolved over the decades.  Soon after the end of the war, public opinion was grateful to the Anglo-Americans but overwhelmingly attributed the final victory in World War II to the Red Army.  

Increasingly, opinion has shifted to the idea that D-Day was the decisive battle and that the war was won primarily by the Americans with help from the British.  This evolution can be largely credited to Hollywood.

The Marshall Plan and French indebtedness provided the context for post-war commercial deals with both financial and political aspects. 

On May 28, 1946, U.S. Secretary of State James Byrnes and French representative Léon Blum signed a deal concerning motion pictures. The Blum-Byrnes agreement stipulated that French movie theaters were required to show French-made films for only four out of every 13 weeks, while the remaining nine weeks were open to foreign competition, in practice mostly filled by American productions. 

Hollywood had a huge backlog, already amortized on the home market and thus cheap. As a result, in the first half of 1947, 340 American films were shown compared to 40 French ones.

France reaped financial benefits from this deal in the form of credits, but the flood of Hollywood productions contributed heavily to a cultural Americanization, influencing both “the way of life” and historic realities.  

The Normandy landing was indeed a dramatic battle suitable to be portrayed in many movies. However, the cinematic focus on D-Day has inevitably fostered the widespread impression that the United States rather than the Soviet Union defeated Nazi Germany.

Alliance Reversal No. 1 – The British

Britain’s King Charles and the queen at a D-Day commemoration in Portsmouth, U.K., on June 5. (No 10 Downing, Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

By June 1944, with the Red Army well on the way to decisively defeating the Wehrmacht, Operation Overlord was hailed by Soviet leaders as a helpful second front. For Anglo-American strategists, it was also a way to block the Soviet Westward advance. 

British leaders, and Churchill in particular, actually contemplated moving Eastward against the Red Army once the Wehrmacht was defeated. 

It must be recalled that in the 19th  century, British imperialists saw Russia as a potential threat to its rule over India and further expansion in Central Asia, and developed strategic planning based on the concept of Russia as its principal enemy on the Eurasian continent.  This attitude persisted. 

At the very moment of Germany’s defeat in May 1945, Churchill ordered the British Armed Forces’ Joint Planning Staff to develop plans for a surprise Anglo-American attack on the forces of their Soviet ally in Germany. 

Top-secret until 1998, the plans even included arming defeated Wehrmacht and SS troops to take part. This fantasy was code-named Operation Unthinkable, which coincides with the judgment of the British chiefs of staff, who rejected it as out of the question.  

At the February Yalta meeting just three months earlier, Churchill had praised Soviet leader Joseph Stalin as “a friend whom we can trust.”  The reverse was certainly not true.  One might assume that Franklin D. Roosevelt would have dismissed any such plans had he not died in April.

Roosevelt seemed confident that the war-exhausted Soviet Union was no threat to the United States, which was indeed true. 

Seated from left: Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin at the Yalta Conference in 1945. (Wikimedia Commons/Public domain)

In fact, Stalin always scrupulously respected the sphere of influence agreements with the Western allies, refusing to support the communist liberation movement in Greece (which angered Josip Broz Tito, contributing to Moscow’s split with Yugoslavia) and consistently urged the strong Communist Parties in Italy and France to go easy in their political demands. While those parties were treated as dangerous threats by the right, they were fiercely opposed by ultra-leftists for staying within the system rather than pursuing revolution.

Soviet and Russian leaders truly wanted peace with their erstwhile Western allies and never had any ambition to control the entire continent.  They understood the Yalta agreement as authorizing their insistence on imposing a defensive buffer zone on the string of Eastern European States liberated from Nazi control by the Red Army. 

Russia had undergone more than one devastating invasion from the West. It responded with a repressive defensiveness which the Atlantic powers, intent on access everywhere, saw as potentially aggressive.  

The Soviet clampdown on their satellites only hardened in response to the Western challenge eloquently announced by Winston Churchill 10 months after the end of the war. The spark was lit to a dynamic of endless and futile hostility. 

Churchill was voted out of office by a Labour Party landslide in July 1945. But his influence as wartime leader remained overwhelming in the United States. On March 6, 1946, Churchill gave an historic speech at a small college in Missouri, the home state of Roosevelt’s inexperienced and influenceable successor, Harry Truman. 

The speech was meant to renew the wartime Anglo-American alliance – this time against the third great wartime ally, Soviet Russia. 

Churchill titled his speech, “Sinews of Peace.”  In reality, it announced the Cold War in the historic phrase: “From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent.”

The Iron Curtain designated the Soviet sphere, essentially defensive and static. The problem for Churchill was the loss of influence in that part of the world. A curtain, even if “iron,” is essentially defensive, but his words, were picked up as warning of a threat.

“Nobody knows what Soviet Russia and its Communist international organisation intends to do in the immediate future, or what are the limits, if any, to their expansive and proselytising tendencies.” (This despite the fact that Stalin had dissolved the Communist International on May 15, 1943.)

In America, this uncertainty was soon transformed into a ubiquitous “communist threat” that needed to be hunted down and eradicated in the State Department, trade unions and Hollywood.

Alliance Reversal No. 2: The Americans

Actor Brad Pitt, center, flanked by employees of the Pentagon’s Defense Media Activity, during the world premiere at the Newseum in Washington D.C. of the 2014 movie Fury, about the U.S. Army in World War II. (Department of Defense, Marvin Lynchard, Public domain)

The alleged need to contain the Soviet threat provided an argument for U.S. government planners, notably Paul Nitze in National Security Council Paper 68, or NSC-68, to renew and expand the U.S. arms industry, which had the political advantage of putting a decisive end to the economic depression of the 1930s. 

Nazi collaborators throughout Eastern Europe could be welcomed in the United States, where intellectuals became leading “Russia experts.”  In this way, Russophobia was institutionalized, as old-school WASP diplomats, editors and scholars who had nothing in particular against Russians made way to newcomers with old grudges.

Among the old grudges, none were more vehement and persistent than that of the Ukrainian nationalists from Galicia, the far west of Ukraine, whose hostility to Russia had been promoted during the time that their territory was ruled by the Habsburg Empire. Fanatically devoted to denying their divided country’s deep historic connection to Russia, Ukrainian ultra-nationalists were nurtured for decades by the C.I.A. in Ukraine itself and in the large North American diaspora. 

[See: Using Ukraine Since 1948]

We saw the culmination of this process when the talented comedian Volodymyr Zelensky, in his greatest role as  tragedian, claimed to be “the heir to the Normandy” invasion and described Russian President Putin as the reincarnation of Adolf Hitler, out to conquer the world — already an exaggeration for Hitler, who mainly wanted to conquer Russia. Which is what the U.S. and Germany apparently want to do today.

Alliance Reversal No. 3: Germany

While the Russians and Anglo-Americans joined in condemning the very top Nazi leaders at the Nuremberg trials, denazification proceeded very differently in the respective zones occupied by the victorious powers. 

In the Federal Republic established in the Western zones, very few officials, officers or judges were actually purged for their Nazi past.  Their official repentance centered on persecution of the Jews, expressed in monetary compensation to individual victims and especially to Israel. 

While immediately after the war, the war itself was considered the major Nazi crime, over the years the impression spread through the West that the worst crime and even the primary purpose of Nazi rule had been the persecution of the Jews.  

The Holocaust, the Shoah were names with religious connotations that set it apart from the rest of history.  The Holocaust was the unpardonable crime, acknowledged by the Federal Republic so emphatically that it tended to erase all others. As for the war itself, Germans could easily consider it their own misfortune, since they lost, and limit their most heartfelt regret to that loss.

It was not Germans but the American occupiers who determined to create a new German army, the Bundeswehr, safely ensconced in an alliance under U.S. control.  Germans themselves had had enough. But the Americans were intent on solidifying their control of Western Europe through the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. 

NATO’s first secretary general, Lord Ismay – who had been Churchill’s chief military assistant during World War II – succinctly defined its mission: “to keep the Americans in, the Russians out, and the Germans down.”

Nato Secretary General Lord Ismay in Chaillot’s Palace, Paris, 1953. (NATO, Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

The United States government wasted no time in selecting qualified Germans for their own alliance reversal. German experts who had gathered intelligence or planned military operations against the Soviet Union on behalf of the Third Reich were welcome to continue their professional activities, henceforth on behalf of Western liberal democracy.

This transformation is personified by Wehrmacht Major General Reinhard Gehlen, who had been head of military intelligence on the Eastern Front. In June 1946, U.S. occupation authorities established a new intelligence agency in Pullach, near Munich, employing former members of the German Army General Staff and headed by Gehlen, to spy on the Soviet bloc.  

The Gehlen Organization recruited agents among anti-communist East European émigré organizations, in close collaboration with the C.I.A. It employed hundreds of former Nazis.  It contributed to the domestic West German political scene by hunting down communists (the German Communist Party was banned).  

The Gehlen Organization’s activities were put under the authority of the Federal Republic government  in 1956 and absorbed into  the  Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND or Federal Intelligence Service), which Gehlen led until 1968. 

Gehlen in undated photo. (US Army, Signal Corps, Wikimedia Commons, Public domain)

In short, for decades, under U.S. occupation, the Federal Republic of Germany has fostered the structures of the Alliance Reversal, directed against Russia.  The old pretext was the threat of communism.  But Russia is no longer communist.  The Soviet Union surprisingly dissolved itself and turned to the West in search of lasting peace.  

In retrospect, it becomes crashingly clear that the “communist threat” was indeed only a pretext for great powers seeking more power. More land, more resources.

The Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, like the Anglo-American liberals, looked at Russia in the way mountain-climbers proverbially look at mountains.  Why must you climb that mountain? Because it’s there. Because it’s too big, it has all that space and all those resources. And oh yes, we must defend “our values”.

It’s nothing new. The dynamic is deeply institutionalized.  It’s just the same old war, based on illusions, lies and manufactured hatred, leading us to greater disaster.  

Is it too late to stop?

Diana Johnstone was press secretary of the Green Group in the European Parliament from 1989 to 1996. In her latest book, Circle in the Darkness: Memoirs of a World Watcher (Clarity Press, 2020), she recounts key episodes in the transformation of the German Green Party from a peace to a war party. Her other books include Fools’ Crusade: Yugoslavia, NATO and Western Delusions (Pluto/Monthly Review) and in co-authorship with her father, Paul H. Johnstone, From MAD to Madness: Inside Pentagon Nuclear War Planning (Clarity Press). She can be reached at [email protected]

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

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49 comments for “DIANA JOHNSTONE: D-Day 2024

  1. Susan Siens
    June 17, 2024 at 15:56

    Superlative essay by Diana Johnstone, as per usual, but the comments are overwhelmingly superlative as well. I do find Consortium News’ commenters the best online as many of them include some interesting history and references. CN should be proud of the people who read their website.

  2. Voltaria Voltaire
    June 17, 2024 at 11:12

    Thank you. It’s amazing how fast warmongers can turn allies into enemies. The Biden apologists, Blinken apologists and Austin III apologists all get duped into thinking they are backing a “good cause”. But anyone with half a brain would know that mass murder to stop mass murder doesn’t make sense. War always has been and always will be a lie. The only war we should be having is a non violent one against human rights abuses and irrationality.

  3. Drew Hunkins
    June 17, 2024 at 10:26

    “Ceremonies were held last week commemorating the 80th anniversary of Operation Overlord, the Anglo-American landing on the beaches of Normandy that took place on June 6, 1944, known as D-Day. For the very first time, the Russians were ostentatiously not invited to take part in the ceremonies.”

    This is like the 1990s Chicago Bulls having a reunion and not inviting Michael Jordan.

  4. David Otness
    June 16, 2024 at 21:35

    As ever, I am rewarded with my expectations met and surpassed whenever I chance upon Ms Johnstone’s writings.
    I always learn something unexpected. My deep and ongoing thanks for her stellar works.

  5. daryl
    June 16, 2024 at 15:08

    Wonderful article, expose, 80 years waiting.
    I had a dual major Economics and History, graduated from the UC system in 1967.
    I grew up believing we the US won WW2 for the world. And stanched the following Communist threat. Sounds so hollow now, but I really had no idea the depth of false knowledge we were fed even in our best Universities. False history so self serving most likely even easier to swallow because we didn’t suffer the war but profited from it. Having hundreds of movies to support our “reality”. In ww2 Europe and Asia we lost fewer than 450,000 soldiers and no civilians, Fewer than Yugoslavia. Slightly more that England. While Russia suffered some 10 million soldier deaths and possible another 12 million civilians.
    Suffering so deeply they defeated the evil we all feared. Their suffering and resolve is possibly why we cannot forgive them, and our need to falsify and exaggerate our role. Our role was to profit from that tragedy, we were untouched, giving us a head start economically which we frittered away. To this day we send our wealth to fight in Ukraine, rather than educate ourselves and our children. Peace is to be earned, as well as sustaining life on this orb.

    • Bushrod Lake
      June 17, 2024 at 12:12

      Ditto: I graduated in ’65 from Rutgers and never heard about this.

    • Susan Siens
      June 17, 2024 at 15:36

      You remind me, daryl, to be thankful I grew up in a home with at least some sense of accurate history. My father served in the European theater and never once was I told that the US won the war in Europe. And not going to ANY university helped keep my brain free for learning truth.

  6. Frank Lambert
    June 16, 2024 at 09:49

    What a great, informative and timely article by the erudite scholar and historian, Diana Johnstone. Too many Americans have little knowledge of past events of the 2oth century or what’s already transpired in the 21st and the cause and effect of those actions, reations or inaction.

    Russia was never totally accepted by Western Europe and the Nazis carried their bias to the extreme not only during Operation Barbarossa, but elsewhere in Europe.

    An important fact left out of American and British history books and commentary pertaining to World War Two is the Treaty of Versailles, which punished Germany beyond a reasonable doubt, and I believe was the catalyst which was the basis for soon to be Nazi Party. One of the many restrictions of that Treaty was Germany could only have a standing army of no more than a hundred thousand soldiers and with it restrictions on armaments like tanks, ships and aircraft, but the British imperialist, Churchill, and the leaders of France, and maybe even FDR here in the States, watched Hitler build up a massive military force in the 1930’s knowing his hatred of communism , socialism, and trade-unionism of the working-class, looked the other way, figuring let Germany attack the Soviet Union and after they tear each other to pieces, intervene and dominate both nations and take their resources. especially in the USSR
    As the saying goes, “Be careful of what you wish for.”

    Thank you again, Ms Johnstone for bringing “Light” (Truth) to this darkened world of mass deception by the money and power-mad misanthropes setting up the plan to initiate WWIII. Shame on them!

    • Konrad
      June 17, 2024 at 16:51

      watched Hitler build up a massive military force in the 1930’s knowing his hatred of communism , socialism, and trade-unionism of the working-class, looked the other way, figuring let Germany attack the Soviet Union and after they tear each other to pieces, intervene and dominate both nations and take their resources. especially in the USSR!!!
      More accurately, the AngloUS colonial empire actively supported and helped Hitler and his fascist state building up a massive military force intended to be used as a proxy for colonial conquest of Russia, same as today Ukraine Nazis are used as proxy to weaken Russia. A weakened Russia could have been invaded and colonised by the AngloUS empire much more easily, had German Nazis not spectacularly failed to conquer Russia and were Ukraine not spectacularly failing in weakening Russia. In other words the AngloUS colonial empire is an essentially fascist state and home of Nazi ideology, European reasoning of being has always been fascist and supremacist to the core, Europeans justify themselves as exceptionally entitled to everything evil they have been doing and are doing to tortured mankind on this planet for more than 500 years of attempted world domination and colonial enterprise. How it will end is unpredictable, could be heaven could be hell at the end of the tunnel we are being pushed through currently.

  7. TomLaney
    June 16, 2024 at 07:05

    Genocide Joe on D-Day!

    Enormous dis-respect to our troops who really did fight Nazis for democracy.

    Now practically obliterated by Biden/PNAC.

  8. Sam F
    June 15, 2024 at 19:28

    Thank you Diane Johnstone for this excellent analysis.
    The core US foreign policy is to make trouble everywhere, to sell MIC weapons as others die for nothing.
    The usual militarist tyrants manipulate tribal dependencies with zero concern for truth or justice.
    Tyrants must invent enemies to demand power as fake defenders, for MIC election bribes or promotions.

    The other interest groups that control where the wars are started, are the Antisocialists and the Zionists.
    The US used both to support the anti-USSR Afghan wars, then the Zionists for all Mideast/CE wars since.
    The Antisocialist wars are largely secret operations in this hemisphere. The public sees nothing.
    The US violation of agreements even when made prevents any basis for peace other than force.

    The root causes are:
    1. Our excessive social and economic dependency upon tribes;
    2. The failure of the US and the West to exclude the corruption of money from elections;
    3. The failure of the US and the West to exclude the corruption of money from mass media;

    The solutions are:
    1. Public and mass media education to identify tribes, and to avoid social dependency upon them;
    2. Constitutional amendments prohibiting election activity or funding beyond limited individual donations;
    3. Constitutional amendments prohibiting mass media activity beyond limited individual donations.

  9. wildthange
    June 15, 2024 at 19:08

    And Allen Dulles visited Hitler after he gained power and said Hitler had mostly domestic interests in mind but also disarmament in international affairs. So what changed other than interests in the US loans they had for WWI reparation the the Dulles Brother brokered after WWI.
    We cannot forget the allied forces attempting to interfere in the Russian revolution for 2 years as the after effect of WWI to be solved plus the main benefit of the defeat of the Ottoman Empire just as oil became the fuel of the military industrial complex of world power for the next wars.
    We may have Oppenheimer to thank for perhaps slowing development of the nuclear bombs they may wanted to help free Russia. Russia had not a minute to lose or their freedom would have been in grave danger. Only Japan had to suffer the test case of the best kind of bomb to be used.

    World War I and and outlawing war and disarmament was defeated in WWII for the principle of the permanent war industry. Fascism was a weapon of choice and soon fear of godless communism became the witch hunt of choice for religious war as well gay bashing of the US State Dept as trophy spies to despise.

    • Susan Siens
      June 17, 2024 at 15:40

      Jeezums, the comments on CN can be brilliant! Someone who knows that the West invaded Russia! That trash such as the Dulleses and Walker / Bush families loved fascism / Naziism.

      And your comment is why I totally support the Westerners who leaked the atomic information to the USSR. They had enough sense to know that letting the US loose on the world as the only nuclear power was sure doom.

  10. John Z
    June 15, 2024 at 17:10

    Hatred and suspicion, fueled by jealousy and greed, are the oldest drivers of behavior for rulers for time immemorial. This is just the latest chapter in our sorry history. The Roman Empire, taking advantage of such motives on the part of the occupied puppet leaders of Israel, put to death the Prince of Peace. The inconvenience of his resurrection and the persistent though minority voices of some of his followers through the 2000 years since still stand despite their voices being consistently repressed and persecuted. Peace and love of neighbor has been the true legacy inherited and promoted by true followers of the Prince. Others have followed the path of bedding down with rulers who have promised a share of the spoils of whatever war was being waged at any given time. The Declaration of Barmen, for example, issued by those choosing to follow the teachings of Jesus rather than Hitler during WWII still stand as a testament to the rag-tag minority of those who would follow the paths of peace and brotherhood instead of division and domination and tribalism. May those voices ever live on.


  11. Stephen
    June 15, 2024 at 15:31

    I would love to read the references in support of the claim that “For Anglo-American strategists, it was also a way to block the Soviet Westward advance. ”

  12. GBC
    June 15, 2024 at 15:22

    This is a fine and informative overview, and an important corrective to the common view prevailing today regarding who really won WW2. That the postwar Cold War was started and maintained by the UK and US as a way to, at the least, “contain” the Soviet Union, is still little known or understood. In fact, the imperial desires of the UK and now the US have been fully on display ever since the end of WW2. The West’s hostility to the USSR/Russia dating back to the 19th century (at least) has never abated. The new Cold War is the same as the old Cold War, only with more brazen “heat” applied by the West in desperation. The economic decline of the West as it follows the siren song of Neoliberalism, is marked by bullying and bluster, concealing foreign policy failure after failure. Ukraine is just the most recent, and most damning of those failures. Whether humanity can survive the determined sociopaths who rule the West is the question that should be on everyone’s mind.

  13. Richard Pelto
    June 15, 2024 at 14:46

    In researching and writing my two books, Cold War Roots, and Cold War Ironies, I noted that it was a combination of Truman and Churchill who created the Cold War. As Diana noted the Iron Curtain speech was a major factor, as was Truman’s early thinking in dropping the Atomic Bombs on Japan, and in his role during the creation of the McCarthy period.
    The Ironies book provides interesting history that makes clear that the military-industrial roots involved education, the mass media and most areas of influence right after the war, and may provide insight into how that has influenced events up to today, making “irony” even more of an interesting word in today’s political climate.

    • irina
      June 16, 2024 at 13:10

      Thank you for your research into and writing about this important period.
      Many years ago, I picked up a book on a library book sale table which illuminated
      the era into which I was born (early 1950’s). Written by historian Paul Boyer, the
      title is “By the Bomb’s Early Light” and it is a fascinating exploration of many facets
      of how society reacted to and integrated The Bomb into lived experience.

      Highly recommended. Chillingly, Boyer (who wrote the book during the ‘Star Wars’
      period of Reagan’s presidency) predicted that the most dangerous period was, at that
      time, yet to come: The time when almost all those who had first-hand memories of the
      early Atomic Bomb days were dead, when humanity had somehow survived many
      ‘incoming’ alerts and false alarms and had become more or less inured to the ongoing
      threat, when aging nuclear weapons and computer systems presented their own
      technological problems, when ‘mini nukes’ intended for battlefield use had been
      developed and may end up in rogue hands, and when multiple regional wars are
      being fought over land and resources as population pressure and climate shift
      creates mass migration events. These predictions sound an awful lot like today.

      I became fascinated by the explorations of Russian researcher Leonid Kulik into
      the Stony Tunguska region of Siberia to document the Tunguska Event of 1908.
      While the cause is still debated, something from space exploded with great force
      over this remote area. Kulik presciently understood what that might mean, should
      something similar happen over a populated area (had the earth rotated three more
      hours before impact, St. Petersburg — where Lenin lived at the time — would have
      been annihilated). A more recent example is the Chelyabinsk meteor strike of 2013.
      This was a much smaller event but caused considerable disruption. And most people
      don’t know that there is a large military airbase immediately adjacent to the city.
      What would have happened if that event had been on the order of the Tunguska event ?

      It would be the ultimate irony if a nuclear war was triggered by an errant space rock,
      landing on a sensitive area during a time of heightened tensions. Like now. Not all
      space rocks are identified or can even be tracked. We are blind to anything approaching
      from the sun, as it is lost in the glare.

  14. Mary L. Myers
    June 15, 2024 at 14:31

    Great analysis! I have been rethinking a lot of the stories (propaganda) against the Russians that I grew up hearing. All wars are predicated on lies, and all wars are fought for economic reasons.

  15. June 15, 2024 at 14:04

    Circle in the Darkness is a wide and deep review of events and developments in Europe (primarily) from the advent of the Cold War to 2020. Diana’s career in journalism within ‘western’ news agencies allowed an insider’s perspective through a true leftist’s lens.

  16. Paula
    June 15, 2024 at 13:55

    Reading The Sorrows of Empire by Chalmers Johnston, one can clearly see the trajectory of our foreign policy. Over 800 bases world wide, many serving no needed purpose except that of empire. It’s beyond me to understand the death cult of all those involved in forever wars. Why is peace so hard for them to elevate and celebrate and work towards. Death apparently is the only thing that pays well.

  17. Robert Edwards
    June 15, 2024 at 13:18

    The absurd ignorance and stupidity of the West (NATO and its neocons) engendered by the US and UK is so unthinkable and so banal that it makes a mockery of human intelligence. Is the West totally blind to historical events. Remember, it is Russia that brought the Third Riche to its knees. It was Russia that destroyed 28 out of 34 German division along the Eastern front, totally decimating the German ability to combat the US and UK arm forces. It was Russia that destroy communism in Russia. Remember also that Russian has the world largest nuclear capability with missiles that can go hypersonic (cannot be stopped) – bunkers will not save you.

    Food for thought: This was written by Eric Margolis, source Consortium News.
    June 27, 2016 “Information Clearing House” – War with Russia appears increasingly likely as the US and its NATO satraps continue their military provocations of Moscow.
    As dangers mount, our foolish politicians should all be forced to read, and then re-read, Prof. Christopher Clark’s magisterial book, ‘The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914.’ What is past increasingly appears prologue. We are seeing the same process at work today. The war party in Washington, backed by the military-industrial complex, the tame media, and the neocons, are agitating hard for war.
    US and NATO combat forces are being sent to Russia’s western borders in Ukraine, the Baltic and Black Sea. NATO is arming, financing ($40 billion so far) and supplying Ukraine in its conflict with Russia. Prominent Americans are calling for the US to attack Russian forces in Syria. US warships are off Russia’s coasts in the Black Sea, Baltic and Pacific. NATO air forces are probing Russia’s western air borders.
    Some of this is great power shadow boxing, trying to cow insubordinate Russia into accepting Washington’s orders. But much appears to be the work of the hard right and neocons in the US and Europe in spite of the desire of most Americans and Europeans to avoid armed conflict with Russia. Hence the daily barrage of anti-Russian, anti-Putin invective in the US media and the European media controlled by the US. Germany’s lapdog media behaves as if the US postwar occupation is still in force – and perhaps it is. Germany has not had a truly independent foreign policy since the war.
    In an amazing break with Berlin’s normally obsequious behavior, German’s foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, just demanded that Washington and NATO stop their ‘sabre-rattling’ against Russia. He speaks for many Germans and other Europeans who are deeply alarmed by the alliance’s provocations of Russia. In fact, many Europeans want to see the end of NATO-imposed sanctions against Russia that were ordered by the US. No one in Europe cares about Russia’s re-occupation of Crimea. The sanctions have been a big backfire, seriously hurting EU exports to Russia at a time of marked economic weakness. Nor are any Europeans ready to fight a war, or worse, even court nuclear war, for such dark-side-of-the-moon places as eastern Ukraine’s Luhansk or Mariupol.
    America’s numb-brained Republican members of Congress, who could not find Crimea on a map if their lives depended on it, may be counted on to beat the war drums to please their big donors and hard right religious donors.
    What the US and its sidekick NATO has done so far is to antagonize Russia and affirm its deeply held fears that the west is always an implacable enemy. But it seems very unlikely that the tough Vlad Putin and his battle-hardened nation is going to be cowed into submission by a few thousand US and NATO troops, a few frigates and some flyovers. Ever since Frederick the Great, wise European leaders have learned not to fight with Russia. Alas the US and UK are still not convinced.

    Those Russian subs off of Cuba do carry these missiles and will be treated as suicidal missions. As their missiles can be launch in seconds before the launch is detected by US subs and frigates.

  18. The only good nazi ...
    June 15, 2024 at 12:35

    When I was growing up Hillbilly, we used to take school trips to Huntsville, AL. There is a big NASA facility there, and as a young Hillbilly kid, a big Saturn V rocket, laying on its side, was very, very cool among a museum of lots of very cool stuff.

    The facility at Huntsville was created by the US military and NASA as an out of the way place to install Genocide Adolf’s rocket scientists, led by Werner von Braun, who were the core of NASA engine program and thus the entire space race. I didn’t have to be a college boy for too long before I could connect the dots and know that I had been given first hand, guided tours of America’s friendly relations with Nazis.

  19. JonnyJames
    June 15, 2024 at 12:32

    Excellent historical overview and context here, thank you. Also Mr. Lauria’s piece (Using Ukraine Since 1948) referenced in this article is a great addition.

    The historical ironies never cease. Napoleonic France, Nazi Germany and the US/UK all wanted, and even now want to destroy Russia. Zbig B.’s Grand Chessboard (1997) also outlined how Ukraine must be pried away from Russia to prevent Russia from becoming a great power again (Zbig must be rolling in his grave). Various US policy papers outline how the RF must be destabilized and broken up into more manageable vassal states.

    I have noticed for years that if Russians were not white, the “Russo-phobia” would be called racism. As Ms. Johnstone outlines, the denial of basic historical facts is unacceptable: The USSSR, and Russia especially, suffered the most casualties and destruction by far. The USSR, like it or not, had already destroyed over 75% of the Wehrmacht by the time “D-day” was launched. The message is: Russians are not like us, they are “the Other”, they are not really human beings, they are barbaric, backward and thuggish.

    So, they can pretend, like many Ukrainians do: Nazi Germany was only protecting itself from “Russian aggression” in WWII, and Hitler was not to blame. A young Ukrainian lawyer told me that with a straight face a couple of years ago, something I will not forget.

    • Susan Siens
      June 17, 2024 at 15:47

      I think your analysis vis-a-vis racism is spot on. I have wondered for years why one group of Slavs looks down on another group of Slavs, and after reading Diana Johnstone’s book A Fool’s Crusade it was clear that the Roman Catholic Church has something to do with that. Western Ukrainians, Croats, etc, are Catholics and think they are superior to those in the Orthodox churches. And western Ukrainians think Russians are “mongrels” (the very word they use) because Russia is so ethnically diverse while western Ukrainians are “pure” Slavs — oh, whoops, with some Nordic thrown in, but Nordic is good. People are phenomenally stupid.

  20. Martin
    June 15, 2024 at 12:06

    i don’t fully agree on dismissing the ‘communist threat’. ideologically it was the only threat to the existing western power structures. i tend to see ww2 (as many other wars) primarily as a war against the emancipation of the ordinary people (communism). i bet churchill, roosevelt and european monarchies were rooting for hitler behind closed doors from day one.

  21. The only good nazi ...
    June 15, 2024 at 11:57

    To back up the article with some dates. General Zhukov and the people’s Red Army defeated the German Field Marshall von Paulus at Stalingrad, and eliminated his 6th Army of 250,000 Nazi soldiers. The attack that surrounded the Nazis began in late Nov 1942, and the final surrender of von Paulus was I believe in Feb 1943.

    The largest tank battle in history, the Battle of Kursk, which was a solid defeat of the nazis, was in the summer of 1943. Genocide Adolf thought the way to respond to the Stalingrad defeat was a massive “counter-offensive” to regain the momentum behind a mass of the big new German tanks, the ones that began the current tradition of naming them after big cats … then Tigers and Panthers, now Leopards. If this sounds familiar, it should, because the same thing happened as with the more recent giant Nazi counter-offensive behind big tanks that was going to regain momentum. In 1943, the Red Army was waiting for them, had prepared fortifications and reserves as they attacked at a very predictable place, after a long buildup, and then as recently, the German big cat tanks suffered big losses and a major defeat.

    As the excellent Ms Johnstone points out, by 1944, the Red Army was launching a major attack from Belarus into Poland, driving backwards the main Nazi central front towards their Fuhrer’s Berlin bunker.

    All of this occurred before June, 1944, and when the Americans claim they defeated the Nazis by invading at D-Day. Ms. Johnstone touched on this, but since she needed to be brief as a part of this article, she didn’t make this point as forcefully as the list of dates of massive defeats and large losses of the Nazi armies in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics can do so. Genocide Adolf was well on his way to defeat before brave Americans died in machine gun fire on bloody Omaha beach.

    I found a video of 60,000 captured Nazis marching through Moscow. I think that these videos of 60,000 Nazi prisoners are taken on June 22, 1944, thus some 16 days after D-Day. At this time, the Allies were still pinned down near the beaches, and their mobile pier was getting torn up in a storm. Something they still haven’t fixed 80 years later apparently hxxps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JC6oJURg6Pk

  22. Randal Marlin
    June 15, 2024 at 11:49

    I think Diana Johnstone underestimates Hitler’s war aim of eradicating Jews. Special armed groups (Einzatzgruppen) were inserted into the Wehrmacht. Their sole purpose was to round up and murder Jews and other undesirables. I quote from Volume IV of the Trials of War Criminal Before the Nuernberg Military Tribunals:

    “These Einsatzgruppen, each comprising roughly from 800 to 1,200 men, were formed under the leadership of Reinhard Heydrich, Chief of the Security Police and SD. The officers were generally drawn from the Gestapo, SD, SS, and the criminal police. The men were recruited from the Waffen SS, the Gestapo, the Order Police, and locally recruited police. In the field, the Einsatzgruppen were authorized to ask for personnel assistance from the Wehrmacht which, upon request, invariably supplied the needed men.” (p. 414). In Ukraine there were many local people who eagerly collaborated in the slaughter. The methods used in murdering these innocent civilians make for gruesome reading.

    • Frank Lambert
      June 16, 2024 at 20:27

      Mr. Marlin, I don’t think Diana Johnstone underestimates Hitler’s war aim of eradication Jews anymore than eradicating Russian and some of the other Slavic people as they were considered inferior, with a percentage of them having some Mongol blood in their veins from the Mongol Empire and conquests which them as far west as Austria. For that matter, the sadistic and brainwashed Waffen SS, which as you know the Einzatxgruppen took orders from, more so from Himmler than his number two man in the SS, Reinhard Heydrich, who was killed in 1942.

      The story of the Ukraine is interesting. Ukrainians in the west side of Ukraine were pro-Nazi and the Ukrainians on the eastern side were pro-Russian during WWII. In fact, a Jewish woman who was detained at one of those infamous camps said the Ukrainian SS guards were worse on the Jewish inmates than the Germans and the Lithuanian SS guards were crueler than the Uko Nazis, (the Banderas Boys!) whom we now support with my tax dollars, because they are “anti-Russian.” And, without any surprise, the U.S. and the NATO goons support the three Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania who were pro-Nazi and anti-Russian during the Second War War.

      Truth be told, the Nazis and their allies killed more Gentiles, “including” blue-eyed blonds which the demented psychopath Heinreich Himmler wanted to breed. “Aryan Jews” (Nazi terminology) had a much better chance of surviving the shower rooms or the firing squads than Semitic Jewish prisoners.

      As a history buff, I believe Ms Johnstone accurately described historical facts and events in the article. Just my opinion.

      • Randal Marlin
        June 17, 2024 at 10:41

        Mr. Lambert, we are very much on the same page, as I am with Ms. Johnstone’s valuable contribution. I welcome your second paragraph. My critique was based on something nuanced, her statement that “While immediately after the war, the war itself was considered the major Nazi crime, over the years the impression spread through the West that the worst crime and even the primary purpose of Nazi rule had been the persecution of the Jews.” When you talk about an impression spreading, you suggest that the impression was false, as if the persecution of Jews was only a secondary purpose. The evidence I provided suggests that it was not really secondary, but was an integral part of the primary purpose.

      • Tim N
        June 17, 2024 at 14:14

        I’d second that.

  23. Jeff Harrison
    June 15, 2024 at 11:27

    I am put in mind of Edward Gibbon’s massive Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. By the time you get to the end of the 6th volume, you realize that the Roman Empire of the West collapsed because it was militarily defeated in a long series of losses on the battlefield. I am hoping that the collapse of the American empire will come as the result of the defeat of the US dollar, even though we have also endured a long series of military defeats as well.

  24. Vera Gottlieb
    June 15, 2024 at 10:17

    ANY lie will do…and so many continue to fall for them.

  25. pjay
    June 15, 2024 at 10:08

    Thank you so much for this. Diana Johnstone is a precious resource for the type of historical understanding that is rapidly disappearing. Everyone in the US and the West needs to know this history. Almost no one does. Instead, the Orwellian re-writing of history and ridiculously one-sided propaganda has become ever more blatant. I read this piece right after I read Putin’s speech on Ukraine at the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. They are very complimentary, as together they make clear that the dangerous precipice on which we are now teetering has been 80 years in the making. Diana’s last line is chilling. As I look for any sources of countervailing power or reason in the West I fear that it is.

  26. Patrick Powers
    June 15, 2024 at 09:59

    “In June 1941, without so much as a pretext or false flag, Nazi Germany massively invaded the Soviet Union.”

    This is incorrect. The Nazis dressed Polish prisoners of war in USSR unforms, shot them dead, and pretended the USSR had attacked German troops. The was heavily publicized.

    • Diana Johnstone
      June 20, 2024 at 09:21

      I think Mr. Powers confused Operation Barbarossa with the notorious Gleiwitz incident on the eve of the September 1939 German invasion of Poland. This SS false flag operation consisted of several attacks on German border positions carried out by SS pretending to be Polish. Six inmates from the Sachsenhausen concentration camp were dressed up in Polish uniforms and shot.

  27. TP Graf
    June 15, 2024 at 08:33

    I literally cringed hearing Zelensky “Churchill” say of Russia, “…a territory where life no longer has any value.” Now every person in the west ought to know how outrageous that is especially coming from a despicable leader who has shown he is just as willing as Lindsey Graham to allow blood to shed, limbs to be blown off to the last Ukrainian. Equally grotesque is the assertion the Ukrainians “fought the Russians” in WWII as some noble force. Good god, people. These were the Nazi enemy. We do a lot of rewriting of history, but the Ukraine fiasco is taking it to an entirely new level for the sake of some ridiculous paranoia and hatred of the Russian people.

    • Susan Siens
      June 17, 2024 at 15:52

      History is not respected in the West. And in Russia the teaching of history is considered of paramount importance. A stupid woman told my partner, “History is boring.” The truth was that she was boring and she brought her boring quality to everything she did or said. I feel sympathy for such people but I also know they support — through their passivity — American militarism / imperialism.

  28. Lois Gagnon
    June 15, 2024 at 08:14

    As long as we cling to capitalism, preventing war will be impossible. The two go hand in hand.

    • Begemot
      June 15, 2024 at 19:44

      There were plenty of wars before capitalism came on the scene.

      • daryl
        June 16, 2024 at 15:22

        Wars mostly religious, and territorial, Capitalism is a religion, a cancerous religion and won’t be satisfied until it get all the territory.
        Our planet used up and wasted, no life just capital and its spoils.

      • Lois Gagnon
        June 16, 2024 at 17:15

        Acquisition of land, labor and resources were certainly the driving force as well as egotistical lust for power. Has anything really changed?

      • Rafael
        June 17, 2024 at 00:42

        This doesn’t refute what Lois wrote. “Capitalism implies war” is not the same as “war implies capitalism”. The former is true, the latter is not (as your comment points out).

        World capitalism, moreover, incorporates imperialism, and imperialism also implies war. Wars for profits, wars for raw materials, wars for markets, wars to get out of economic depressions, wars to subordinate or destroy the colonies and neo-colonies, all these are ways in which capitalism produces war. This is the meaning of Lois’s comment.

      • Tim N
        June 17, 2024 at 15:21

        Yes, indeed, but none so totally destructive as during the Capitalist epoch. And repetitive. They’re readying for WW3 once again on Europe.

  29. jamie
    June 15, 2024 at 06:47

    This article offers a compelling exposition of the ongoing phenomena of deception, manipulation, greed, power-seeking, and superiority. These traits have been deeply ingrained in our culture “DNA” for centuries, perpetuating a dysfunctional culture that repetitively commits the same mistakes, probably, until resources are depleted or the cultural paradigm undergoes a transformation, which it appears to be the case today.

    It is noteworthy that the notion of a superior race, similar to that promulgated by the Nazis, was shared by many “Allies” America, Britain, Switzerland, and numerous other European countries. Even more, it is not uncommon today to hear Europeans express the view that if Mussolini and Hitler were alive, they would rapidly resolve the crisis in Ukraine. Credit should be given to Putin when he asserts that there is a “Nazi” problem; yet, this issue may extend well beyond Ukraine. The Swiss peace summit appears to be a gathering of “superior” leaders who solely possess the “qualities” to unilaterally determine the conditions for attaining peace, without consulting one of the “inferior” conflicting parties involved in the war. How about that?

    Information constitutes a vital element for our survival. It is my belief that the Big Bang theory, if still deemed viable today, not only released energy but also information. Information forms the foundational basis of life, and to enable life to adapt effectively and efficiently to a changing environment, information must be genuine and accessible. Throughout history, conflicts have been waged more with information than weaponry, and this phenomenon is even more pronounced today.
    I was taken aback upon discovering that Hollywood had served as a CIA instrument, that the Atlantic Council, affiliated with NATO, was concerned with countering fake news, filtering information, and that Facebook and other SNs had joined it. Also, I found it noteworthy that the main members of AC were neoconservative hawks, including Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, Henry Kissinger, and James Baker. They also included CIA directors such as Robert Gates, Leon Panetta, and Michael Hayden. And retired generals including Wesley Clark and David Petraeus. As well as senior technology executives. Many of whom tied to Bush family and the Infamous Iraqi wars.

    It seems to me “evil” not only tries to prevent information from flowing freely, to keep “life” in darkness, but it also engineers its information to deceive but even more to ensure its survival. Yet, the emergence of the Afd and the anti-elitist movement reveals that social engineering has significant limitations, and human life is far more complex than previously acknowledged.

    Thank you Diana Jonhstone

  30. mgr
    June 15, 2024 at 06:17

    The sordid history of the American/British alliance continues to this day. From the vantage point of the present, consider all the destruction that this alliance has caused to the peoples of the world and the earth itself. Quite a record. Much like a virulent virus. And, they still want more… That is the status quo they fight for and that status quo is proving to be suicide for humanity.

  31. Michael McNulty
    June 15, 2024 at 06:14

    I always said it was America driving the Cold War. I was a young lad in the ’60s when I used to sit through the news waiting for the kid’s TV to come on afterward, and those big planes carpet-bombing the jungles of SE Asia had white stars on their fuselage, not red stars. And during the gunfighting in the streets it was American voices I heard. I was too young to care what the newscasters were saying so the BS narrative went over my head but I know what I saw and it was America doing it.

  32. Bill Todd
    June 15, 2024 at 02:01

    Thank you for your valiant attempt to educate the babbling masses of the West who are so readily manipulated by their self-serving governments to the great detriment of actual democracy and peace. Was it ever thus? Have we pretty much run out of time to fix it?

  33. Cord MacGuire
    June 14, 2024 at 23:19

    Great article, great argument, great truths. Thank you, Diana.

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