Happy Barbarossa

WehrmachtHipsters

Seventy-five years ago today, the Soviet Union, as it then was, was invaded by German hipsters.

Seventy-five years ago today, the Soviet Union, could start pretending the Second World War has officially begun for them. They could also start claiming the membership of the victims of aggression club, together with Poland they co-invaded in 1939 and the Baltic states they annexed in 1940.

Seventy-five years ago today, the largest ever invasion force ever assembled, 4-million strong, went into action, commencing by far the bloodiest stage of the bloodiest conflict in human history. Some 17 million of men (and a few women) under arms were to perish on both sides in the great meat grinder of the Eastern Front, in addition to over 20 million civilians.

Seventy-five years ago today, history showed once again that trusting and trying to appease a warmongering dictator is not really a smart long-term policy. At dawn of the 22nd of June, the German units allowed the last freight trains with wheat and oil to roll across the border to the Reich moments before themselves started rolling in the opposite direction.

Seventy-five years ago today, despite having around 100 clear indications of imminent Nazi attack, the Soviet Union was caught with their pants down, literally. Writes Anthony Beevor, “Border guards were shot down still in their underwear, and their families were killed in their barracks by the artillery fire… Less than half of the strongpoints [along the border] had any heavy weapons. Artillery regiments lacked their tractors, which had been sent to help with the harvest.”

Seventy-five years ago today, communists worldwide all of a sudden discovered that opposing fascism is now a thing. In France, the Communist Party, which stayed strangely mute as their country was invaded and occupied by a Soviet ally a year earlier, now finally called for armed resistance against the Germans. In Australia, the Communist Party switched its policy and started supporting conscription.

Seventy-five years ago today.

(photo borrowed from John Schindler @20committee)

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