Stanley's blog

Coming to terms with the past

The causes of World War II are complex but certain facts are clear. In 1939, the Ribbentrop-Molotov pact included a secret protocol dividing Northern and Eastern Europe into German and Soviet spheres of influence. Germany and the Soviet Union then invaded their respective sides of Poland, dividing the country between them.

But contrast what Angela Merkel and Vladimir Putin said during the ceremonies marking the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of the war.

Merkel stated:“I pay tribute to the 60m people who lost their lives in this war unleashed by Germany.” The scars remain today, she added.

Putin admitted that the Ribbentrop-Molotov pact was “immoral” but suggested that the pact was no different from the deals western countries made with Hitler, such as the 1938 Munich Agreement.

Germans have been told what happened between 1939 and 1945 and indeed and about the inhuman behaviour of Hitler. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Russian knowledge of the war and of Stalin’s inhuman behaviour.

No country can really progress without coming to terms with its past. Germany has. Russia has not.

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