I want you to imagine a surprise invasion of the United States. Enemy tanks, aircraft, and infantry invade our country along a front that stretches from Boston to Miami. They penetrate our country up to a depth of 1,000 miles. Though eventually we are able to successfully repel this invasion, it is done at a great cost. Around 25 million of our fellow countrymen are dead by the time it is over. Whole cities are obliterated. Orphans roam the streets. Entire regions are depopulated. What would that do to our country? To our nation? Now I want you to imagine that in this conflict we had an ally who's country was not damaged at all during the war. They fought against a small portion of the enemy's army. Now imagine that after the war, that country, our wartime ally, refused to acknowledge that the United States played any role at all in the victory. They raised generations of children who didn't even realize that we had been part of the war.
Sucks, doesn't it? Now you know how the Russians feel. This is a controversial topic, though it really shouldn't be. The Russian experience on the Eastern Front during the Second World War is something that we here in the United States know little about. For decades after the war, it was understandable given the fact that the Soviet Union was a closed society and not much was available here detailing their experiences. There is no excuse for it now. Professors who teach about World War Two without even mentioning the Russians very much other than to say that the Germans invaded do exist. Our textbooks even leave out hardly any mention of them. And that doesn't even take into account our high school curriculum.
Why do I have students who know nothing about the fighting between two giant totalitarian powerhouses? Why isn't this covered at all in the curriculum at any level? Yes, I get the fact that they were communist and we don't like communists in this country. But they took on roughly 80 percent of the German Army during the war and beat them! They also inflicted about an equal percentage of the casualties suffered by the German military. We would NOT have won the war had it not been for our Soviet allies. That, my friends, is a fact. Yes, we furnished them with vital supplies via Lend Lease, but they suffered the kind of casualties that our country would not have accepted in order to defeat the forces of Fascism. We could not have incurred those kind of losses.
Oddly enough, we also don't mention the atrocities committed by our Soviet allies against the civilian populations in Germany and also in the countries that they "liberated". It is kind of a paradox. Now I know that this is a controversial topic. However, acknowledging the sacrifices that our Soviet allies made during the War is in no way endorsing their system of government nor is it taking anything away from the sacrifices made by our fighting men during the war in Europe. We bore the brunt of the fighting in the Pacific and the Soviets did in Europe. That's just how it goes.
Yet many traditional academic historians still refuse to accept this reality and thus contribute to a society that doesn't know these facts either. But what do I know? I'm just a half a$$ historian.
My name is Lee Hutch and though I may be a half a$$ historian, at least I know about the Eastern Front!