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Honoring our grandfathers: 75 years ago we defeated Nazi Germany – The war against fascism was won in May 1945

75 Years ago (May, 1945) the United States, Great Britain, The USSR, and Allies emerged victorious over Fascism in Europe; Nazi Germany surrendered.  While the price was high (hundreds-of-thousands of American soldiers dead, tens-of-millions more around the world), no one can rationally argue that the sacrifice was not needed. This was, after all, a Just War; one of the few which lacked any moral ambiguity. We were on the side of right, engaged in a historic battle against evil incarnate. Fascism had to be crushed if we were to not enter a new dark age of barbarism equipped with ledgers and death camps.  The drum beat of war had to be answered as no other response was capable of overcoming this existential threat to liberty.

Submitted to Enough 14.

Coming out of the Great Depression, my Grandfathers and Great Uncles, like countless others, served in the U.S. Army during the war.  The Greatest Generation did their part and are owed a debt that can never be repaid.  With victory we won a reprieve from the horrors of Fascism for generations to come. But the ghosts of Nazism were never completely exorcized from our consciousness – this hatred, born out of social alienation, fear, and economic pressures, still persists.  Charlottesville reminds us that the twisted vision of Nazism still lurks in dark places, waiting to emerge if our collective will grows weak and if not beaten back through physical force.  The xenophobia proclaimed, at times, from the White House, and the camps on our southern border, where even children are caged, also gives form to real concerns that Fascism can again infest the highest halls of state power (and will grow if left unchecked). 

Despite the continuing threat of this dark phantom of hatred, we can take solace in the fact that our Grandfathers defeated this monster once before in 1945. Our ancestors of 75 years ago show us that when we are united, and when we demonstrate a will to combat evil, we can prevail.

So on this anniversary of victory, in this time of crisis and uncertainty, let us revere those that came before who did their part in securing a more free world.  Let us honor those veterans who gave everything in World War II.  And let us praise those contemporary anti-fascists who even today are unafraid to confront and combat the fascistic demons that haunt the contemporary human condition.  Through our unity we have won in the past, and through a new working class unity we can and will win again.

Solidarity,

David Van Deusen

President of the Vermont AFL-CIO


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