Beginning of the War and the End of the War

I was lucky to a certain extent. After restoration of independence of Lithuania I had an excellent opportunity to study international security matters in a cosy and quiet Switzerland. The global policy that I was observing fr…

I was lucky to a certain extent. After restoration of independence of Lithuania I had an excellent opportunity to study international security matters in a cosy and quiet Switzerland. The global policy that I was observing from the shore of the Lake Geneva was completely different from the one we saw in Lithuania with still not pulled out occupational troops.
Professors in Geneva dedicated one seminar to the discussion whether Lenin, Stalin, Brezhnev, etc. had some long-time strategy for the development of their country or whether everything they did was just behaviour ‘according to the situation’. 
I know that even now we can meet a number of people who believe that in the minds of these devil geniuses since their young days they had matured plans to destroy nations, deport and create other fear empires. That way back we, Lithuanians, Poles and Hungarians, have been included in the list of anticipated victims. I had a different opinion. Russia in the 20 century was taken over by illiterate greedy clueless people. They wanted power and fame; however they did not know how to behave in the other way. What they did was not just logical, but simply foolish: finally they destroyed themselves. They wanted everything here and now, but they could achieve that just by capturing, destroying and subjugating…    
I had to write a text about commemoration of the end of the war, thus I will talk about this. However, it is awkward with the end (and also with the beginning). We all became so smart that don’t know anything. We know that the World War II existed, that it was rather horrible, however do we know when it started and ended? 
You might say that these historical facts cannot become some artistic interpretations, however they have become such. If you studied at the soviet school and at least once could see the textbook of history of that time, so you can remember that the war started in June 1941 and there was a big war of a big country that was won by that country. From not educational soviet sources we know that it started with occupation of Poland in 1939, long before fighting for the motherland, helped Hitler to destroy Poland, attacked Finland, annexed Baltic States and Bessarabia. 
Not long ago Russian sources decided that Poland began the mentioned war by occupying a small area of Czechia. Maybe the war began before that with some venture of Mussolini in Abyssinia or a conflict between China and Japan. 
A similar confused story is with the end of the war, too. Two weeks ago there was an occasion to commemorate two capitulations of Germany, after which we still have no clear picture which was the legal one and when the war ended. I remember that a German super pilot Erich Hartmann, who blasted 352 aircrafts of the enemy, brought down the last one on 8 May. I saw graves of Soviet soldiers where the date of their death is 9 May. We still have the war in Asia, resistance to occupation. For a Lithuanian the war probably ended with withdrawal of Russian troops… Japan formally has not finished the war yet – the issue of northern territories is still open. Maybe the pattern of Moscow propaganda is right – it the day of victory of the USSR but not the date of the end of the war.   
When do the wars end? And how? For those who know less about theories of war and peace I will remind that teaching of Carl von Clausewitz, a German war theoretician of the 19 century,   about the end of the war is rather interesting in this aspect. He singled out two ends of the war or two goals of the war. One (called Ziel) is the proof of superiority. Superiority, which allows dictating political conditions. The other (according to Clausewitz – Zweck) is a political solution of the post-war time – conciliation of the belligerent states.    
According to him, to win a war is not bad, since victory gives a rise to a new conflict, revenge and dissatisfaction in the existing World Order. In the opinion of Clausewitz, the only good end of the war is peace. When we fight we have to think how we will live after the war. In this case the mission of the winning party is to give a hand to the losing party and give it an alternative of further respectable life. However, Karl Marx and his Leninist – Stalinist followers here should state that the losing party simply obeys political solutions of those who won. Fairness or unfairness of the solutions has nothing to do with the moral – they are dictated as if by laws of the process of  history discovered by Marx himself. 
Anyway, the history of the 20 century painfully and at the same time hopefully supported rightness of Clausewitz. The main mistake of the end of the World War I was that the losing party had to take all rap for the war. The end of the war was not a peace, but a punishment. This is one of the factors that later turned into Nazi revenge. The World War II ended in a Marxist way to the East. In Klauseviwitz way to the West. The Soviet Union defeated all enemies and imposed their rules on them. The USA and allies made enemies into allies and included them in their developed security system. The East finally became the empire that won the quarry. The West became a union of democratic countries. Namely they, who then conciliated became superior to those who motivated their further politics with the victory and capitulation of the enemy. By the way, it seems that teaching of Clauswitz in many ways reminds of the Christian idea to create eternal resignation or Immanuel Kant’s dreams to reach Eternal peace in a lawful way.
Let’s go back to the very beginning. Did the USSR have its great strategy? Actually, the USSR was a country that changed its orientation several times in a ten-year time. It started as a Hitler’s ally, later it became its savage enemy and after the war it became the enemy of those with whom it made an Anti-Hitler coalition. Thus, whom it was fighting against and against whom it won. Maybe it failed to win everything it wanted to. It failed to conquer the whole world –   commoners of politics reckon with gentlemen of the politics?
However, commoners have not changed even nowadays. The current Russia has no other meaning of the end of the war just the meaning of victory. The USSR, having won the war, simply took the geopolitical spoils of the war. Actually, after 1990, when the Eastern bloc collapsed, and later  – the USSR, too, it was not clear what the USSR actually won. If it has not won anything, then the victory is rather weird…    
The Cold War was preparation for the World War III for Soviets that also had to end with their victory. However, the Soviet state totally lost the Cold War. The West (in this case, winners) proposed peace to Russians – an invitation to the Western community, however the current Russia does not value peace. It still feels like a country, which lost and still has to have its revenge. To have revenge over whom? To the allies of the World War II or opponents of the Cold War, Ukrainians, Poles…?  
What about attempts to rewrite the history – is it a genius plan or another common silly thing. We can celebrate, of course. If you want you will always find a reason to celebrate. You will find somebody who will greet you or who will ‘participate’ even during the pandemic. However, it is not important. It is more important to understand that currently Russia is still suffering from trauma of the USSR collapse. The former Soviet countries and most Russians (not necessarily of those who love V. Putin) see it as a defeat, after which the peace has not been made. Russia feels    unhappy and this means waiting for continuation, some kind of revenge.
It is easy to say – feel happy and this is the way it should be. However, we know not much what the Happy Russia should be, which  does not wish to revenge, capture, which does not want to give its power to illiterate commoners? Maybe we know, however we do not dare to tell… However, this is already another topic. 
 
Egidijus Vareikis

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Autorius: Voras Online