Russia has officially accused the United States of deliberately minimizing the role of the Soviet Union in the Second World War. The diplomatic incident was triggered by a tweet and Facebook post from the White House on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War. In the post, the White House states that “America and Great Britain” defeated the Nazis on 8 May 1945. There is no mention of the Soviet Union.
However, on the European battlefield, there were three major powers in the much larger group of allied forces: the US, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union. The army of dictator Joseph Stalin, for example, reached Berlin first in mid-April, long before there were any Americans or British in the German capital.
What’s more, of all the Allies, the Soviets paid by far the highest human toll in the war, with more than 25 million civilians killed, and 11 million soldiers killed, according to the British historian Max Hastings. That’s 95 percent of the number of deceased soldiers of the three major allied forces combined, according to Hastings.
The United States lost about 400,000 soldiers, the United Kingdom, including troops from its colonies 380,000. The leaders of the three countries later joined by France, each occupied part of Germany after the war.
Moscow is now asking for a “serious conversation” with the US government on the matter. “We are extremely outraged at the attempt to disrupt the effect of our decisive contribution,” said the Russian foreign ministry this afternoon.
“US officials have neither the courage nor the will to pay tribute to the undeniable role and gigantic death toll of the Red Army and the Soviet people in the name of humanity.” Moscow, therefore, calls on Washington to make the memory of 1945 “not to make the memory of 1945 a new problem for bilateral relations, which are already difficult enough.”
In the president’s official message on the White House website, Trump does, by the way, refer to the “allied forces”, making a more neutral reference to the opponents of Nazi Germany.