Celebration of D-Day marred by U.S.-backed imperialist wars
On D-Day, U.S. troops wade ashore at Omaha Beach in Normandy, France. The Allied invasion of June 6, 1944, finally opened the Second Front against the Nazi empire that the Soviet Union and progressives in the U.S. had been advocating for years. | U.S. Army via AP

On June 6, 1944, U.S. and allied troops finally crossed the English Channel, opening a second front against the Nazis in Europe. The opening of that second front was a demand long made by the Soviet Union and by progressive forces here at home.

This newspaper’s predecessor, the Daily Worker, was among those demanding an opening of that second front. The Soviet Union bore the brunt of the war against Hitler fascism for the three years prior to the Allied landing at Normandy. It was Soviet-U.S. cooperation and support from anti-fascists around the world, after that, which ended up in victory over the Nazis.

U.S. and other veterans travel to Normandy this week to remember the history they made. Tragically, imperialist-backed wars today hang like dark shadows over the celebrations in Normandy.

It is a disgrace that the Biden administration has called the French to task for inviting Russia to the celebrations. U.S. and Soviet troops met and celebrated at the Elbe River in Germany when they defeated the Nazis in that country. The Soviet Union lost 27 million in that fight.

Modern wars conducted by the U.S. today, not Russian attendance at the Normandy events, are the things that really insult the memory of the fight against fascism in World War II.

The Biden administration claims the war in Ukraine disqualifies Russia from attending. Why then has the U.S. attended these celebrations every year even as it destroyed and killed in country after country since World War II, including Vietnam, Serbia, Yemen, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, and many others. Nor has Russia or anyone else called for the exclusion of the U.S. from the ceremonies for its blatant backing of genocidal policies in Gaza.

Now, during the celebrations at Normandy, is the time for the people of the U.S. to demand that our lawmakers honor the victory over fascism by fighting the danger of fascism in our country today. How can the U.S. claim leadership in the fight against fascism when right-wing MAGA extremists and their enablers operate with impunity here at home?

No right to the legacy

Politicians who dismantle the gains resulting from the fight against fascism in the 20th century have no right to claim the anti-fascist legacy today.

The United Nations, a favorite punching bag for the right,  itself was a result of that noble fight against fascism. A country could not join the UN unless it could prove it had fought the fascist power structures in Germany, Italy, and Japan. Support for cooperation and friendship among countries like the U.S., Russia and China were another requirement for a country wanting to join the respectable international community of nations.

The sacrifice of their lives by veterans of World War II gave us this new path to replacing world war with peace and fascism with democracy. It has never worked out perfectly but the level of opposition to peace and progress in the U.S. today is rising to dangerous levels.

Treating the history of the fight against fascism with respect is a must. Rather than arguing why countries should be excluded the U.S. should be calling to mind all of the major victories against fascism in World War II, including not just D-Day but also the heroic battles at Stalingrad and the Soviet liberation of Berlin itself. Heroic anti-Nazi liberation movements rose up all over Europe and around the world with many of them led by communists. Those too should be celebrated. U.S. vets were part of it all.

Right wing politicians today, including MAGA Republicans and also some Democrats, have forgotten the accomplishments of that fight in the last century. After World War II a respect for immigrants was fostered. Millions were displaced by that war and special measures were taken to care for them.

Today the MAGA Republicans in the U.S. and unfortunately now the Biden administration, are supporting anti-immigrant policies on the Southern border of the U.S. – another massive insult to the legacy of the 20th century fight against fascism, a legacy that supports rather than denigrates immigrants.

The Refugee Convention of 1951 set out universal obligations to refugees because of the repression to which they had been subjected. Those obligations are ones that our government is now trying to forget. Countries in Europe are joining the U.S. in trying to erase these obligations to immigrants.

This and all the rest of the right-wing politics in the U.S. betray the heroic veterans who landed in Normandy and what they had fought for.

Also betraying the veterans are the attacks on abortion rights and labor rights and all the other needs of the people.

Failure to respect and teach the real history of the fight against fascism covers up the theft of the people’s wealth by a tiny corporate elite. It helps erase the cause of the rise of extreme right politics, a politics of grievance and hate funded by billionaires

The real commemoration of D-Day must be to organize against the purveyors of hate. The fights for peace and for socialism are the best way to remember D-Day and its meaning.

Morning Star contributed to this article.

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John Wojcik
John Wojcik

John Wojcik is Editor-in-Chief of People's World. He joined the staff as Labor Editor in May 2007 after working as a union meat cutter in northern New Jersey. There, he served as a shop steward and a member of a UFCW contract negotiating committee. In the 1970s and '80s, he was a political action reporter for the Daily World, this newspaper's predecessor, and was active in electoral politics in Brooklyn, New York.