It is today 65 years since that historical event of the Normandy invasion by Allied combined strategic forces in a first direct action to defeat the Nazi army deployed all over the European mainland.
In numerous occasions, other U.S. Presidents have crossed the Atlantic to commemorate such significant anniversary and honour their dead, American soldiers who lost their lives in a war waged against Hitler’s anti-Jewish oppression and lust to rule the destiny of Europe. Time and time again, European leaders have played host to ceremonies at French cemeteries when thousands of soldiers – Americans, Canadians and Europeans – share humble graves with a simple marker, either a cross or a Star of David surrounded by grass and poppies. Although a historic moment, war went on for over a full year and thousands of civilians has to lose their lives in bombings and raids all over Nazi-occupied Europe and in the bastions in Hitler’s demoralized Deutschland.
I was born scarcely a year later yet in another warfront thousands of miles away, when likewise more thousands of soldiers lost their lives in the retaking of a former American protectorate, The Philippines, invaded by Japan, an Axis ally of Hitler’s Germany. And when still unaware of what went on about me, the mighty United States of America dropped on the defeated Japanese Empire to psychologically destroy an already humiliated nation.
As a European, I have often asked myself how far much gratitude be demonstrated to the acclaimed liberators of Europe and the rest of the world. Not denying the values of those young Allied soldiers that gave their lives in the name of freedom, one cannot deny that having defeated the evils of Nazism, the United States and Great Britain had to accept an ally which was just as dangerous – Josef Stalin. In fact, Churchill always mistrusted the alliance with the Soviet leader, who had in 1939 has likewise signed an alliance with Hitler.
When President Obama was delivering his speech at Caen, I remembered that from the smouldering wreck of II World War rose new hopes for a better world; but also began the making up of an economic confrontation between a modified capitalism in the wake of Roosevelt’s New Deal and a Soviet counter-model to the image of a socialist-communist interventionist state.
Today, the U.S. Administration has again had to turn about the laxly regulated liberal capitalist model of the ‘80s to apply state intervention, in a clear sign of capitalism’s new excesses. Hopefully, no world war will be necessary to straighten out socio-economic politics in a globalised planet. Europe has paid a high price for Hitler’s ambitions and must pay no more. All commemorations must rest on the respect for our dead but we should stop it from being an annual revival of a debt I feel has been fully paid up.
Madrid, June 6, 2009