China's big wartime role now better known

By Earl Bousquet
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, September 9, 2015
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I was born 11 years after World War II. However, my father served in the British Merchant Navy, and was decorated several times.

He told me fantastic stories about life at sea during the war. One of his brothers wrote a letter to the War Office in London complaining that volunteers from Britain's West Indian colonies were being given menial non-combat jobs on arrival in England -- from cooking to cleaning toilets -- rather than being sent to meet the Nazi threat.

The Caribbean was distant from the main war theaters, but my generation grew up believing we owed our survival to British and American troops. Many of the previous generation served, but hardly anything was known apart from the names on the Cenotaph in the capital city, Castries, dedicated to the St. Lucians who died in the two world wars.

However, as he annually dragged me along to every Memorial Day celebration in November, Dad always reminded me: "If it wasn't for the Russians, we would be speaking German."

We knew a German submarine had attacked two ships in the Castries harbor during World War II. Yet we knew little of the overall role played by the Soviet Union, although Dad assured us: "Stalin and the Russians paid a very high price to stop Hitler!"

Even more obscure was the fact that World War II really started when Japan attacked China, or that it ended when China defeated Japan.

How times have changed!

For 70 years, Caribbean people (and the world) were kept in the dark about the true and full role of the socialist community in World War II. However, 70 years after it ended, China's commemoration activities last week attracted worldwide attention.

Selective silence on the important roles and sacrifices in World War II has also been obvious in dealing with the role of the Soviet Union 70 years on. Using Ukraine as an excuse, the major Western leaders -- whose countries were Soviet allies in the war against Hitler's Germany -- boycotted Russia's 70th Anniversary commemorations. Russia's loss of 20 million people in a global war for peace was simply brushed aside in favor of selfish strategic military, economic and geo-political reasons.

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