Lest we forget

This is a quote from the book “The suicide of Europe” written by prince Michel Sturdza, former foreign minister of Romania who served in the diplomatic corps of his country for twenty-five years without any interruption other than for his tour of duty during WorldWar I, in which he fought first in a squadron of mounted artillery and then as chief of an armored car section, and for a period of service as prefect in Transylvania. During his career, he held posts in Durazzo (Albania), Athens, Bern, Budapest, Vienna, Washington (as Councillor and then Charge d’Affaires of the Rumanian Legation) ; he acted as Envoy Extraordinary and as Minister Plenipotentiary in Riga, Reval, Helsinki, and Copenhagen . His time abroad was interrupted several times by periods of service in the Foreign Office in Bucharest .

“Roosevelt and Churchill knowingly handed over, at Teheran and
Yalta, to the same Stalin and Molotov, and to the Kremlin gang of
murderers and tormentors, one hundred and twenty million Europeans .
They did this at the very time when, to their knowledge and with their
tacit approbation, the Kremlin was inaugurating a new cycle of slaughters
and massive deportations corresponding more than anything else in
modern times to the definition of “genocide .” At Teheran, when Stalin
asked Roosevelt’s consent to seize those doomed peoples, Roosevelt gave
it without any hesitation, asking him only to keep this agreement secret
until after the next presidential election in the United States .

When General Wladyslaw Sikorski, Prime Minister of the Polish Government-in-Exile, with indisputable proof in his hands, told Churchill that fifteen thousand Polish officers, the flower of Poland’s heroic youth, had been butchered in Katyn and in the Arctic, the British Prime Minister shrugged his shoulders and answered coldly : “If they are dead nothing you can do will bring them back .”‘ And on the same page of his
memoirs that he relates Stalin’s confession of the liquidation of ten
million peasants Churchill informs us that future generations will bless
the name of Stalin because they will have more to eat thanks to the
collective farm system? This not only indicates the imperturbable cynicism
of the man who has been called by some “the conscience of the
world,” but also his supreme ignorance of agricultural, economic, social,
and psychological matters . Furthermore, with the same astonishing amorality,
Churchill boasts of the way he proposed to share the countries of
Eastern Europe with Stalin, the mass-murderer :

The moment was apt for business, so I said, “Let us settle about our affairs
in the Balkans. Your armies are in Rumania and Bulgaria . We have
interests, missions, and agents there . Don’t let us get at cross-purposes in
small ways . So far as Britain and Russia are concerned, how would it do
for you to have ninety percent predominance in Rumania, for us to have
ninety percent of the say in Greece, and go fifty-fifty about Yugoslavia?”
While this was being translated I wrote out on a half-sheet of paper :
Rumania
Russia
90%
The others
10%
Greece
Great Britain
90%
(in accord with U.S.A.)
Russia
10%
Yugoslavia
50-50%
Hungary
50-50%
Bulgaria
Russia
75%
The others
257
I pushed this across to Stalin, who had by then heard the translation .
There was a slight pause . Then he took his blue pencil and made a large
tick upon it, and passed it back to us . It was all settled in no more time
than it takes to set down . . . .
After this there was a long silence . The pencilled paper lay in the centre
of the table . At length I said, “Might it not be thought rather cynical if it
seemed we had disposed of these issues, so fateful to millions of people, in
such an offhand manner? Let us burn the paper .” “No, you keep it,” said
Stalin .

President Truman, despite the fact that Japan had manifested the
desire two months earlier to lay down its weapons, wantonly ordered
that two atomic bombs be dropped on that country, killing or maiming
more than two hundred thousand innocent beings .4 For a long while
the story of the bombardment of Dresden, contrary to that of other
German cities, was tabu for chroniclers, historians, and newspaper people.
Credible accounts place the total number of dead at 250,000 . The
number of casualties might have been still greater-according to certain
reports-in a city crowded with refugees (there were up to one million
permanent and temporary inhabitants), without any air raid shelters,
which received in a few hours the full impact of 3250 heavy bombers . We
read in the London Times of February 16, 1945, only three days after the
Dresden air raid:
Dresden which had been pounded on Tuesday night by 800 of the 1,400
heavies sent out by the R .A.F. and was the main object of 1,350 Fortresses
and Liberators on the following day, yesterday received its third heavy attack
in thirty-six hours . It was the principal target for more than 1,100
United States 8th Army Air Force bombers .5
We will let F. J. P. Veale further describe for us this brilliant aerial
operation in his book Advance to Barbarism which everybody ought to
have read and which few dare to open :

The modern city of Dresden has grown up round the medieval town, now
known as the Altstadt, which lies at the southern end of the bridge crossing
the Elbe . In the eighteenth century Dresden became one of the great show
cities of the world through the construction of a number of magnificent
public buildings, all of which were erected in the Altstadt district of the
city. Within a radius of half a mile from the southern end of the Augustus
Bridge was built a unique group of palaces, art galleries, museums and
churches-the Schloss, containing the famous Griines Gewolbe with its
priceless art treasures ; the beautiful Briihl Terasse extending along the left
bank of the Elbe; the beautiful Catholic Cathedral, the domed Frauen
Kirche; the Opera House, the Johanneum Museum and, above all, the famous
Zwinger Museum containing one of the finest collections of pictures
in the world, including among its many treasures Raphael’s Sistine Madonna,
purchased by the Elector Augustus II, in 1745, for 20,000 ducats .
Within this small area, so well known to British and American travellers
on the continent, there were, and could be, no munition factories or, in fact,industries of any kind . The resident population of this district was small .
The main railway station of Dresden is situated a mile away to the South
and the railway bridge which carries the main line to Berlin is half a mile
down the river .This, then, was the target, and here are the details of this raid which
might well count as one of the most illustrious instances of what have
been called war crimes, and even of what has been called genocide .

On the morning of the fateful February 13, 1945, fast enemy reconnaissance
planes were observed flying over the city. The inhabitants of Dresden
had no experience with modern air warfare and the appearance of these
planes aroused curiosity rather than apprehension . Having been for so long
outside any theatre of war, the city lacked anti-aircraft defenses, and these
planes were able to observe in complete safety all that they desired . No
doubt, they observed and reported that all the roads through and around
Dresden were filled with dense throngs moving westward . . . . It was common
knowledge that a frantic orgy of murder, rape and arson was taking
place in those districts of Silesia which had been overrun by the Soviet
hordes. It should not have been difficult to deduce in these circumstances
that many people in districts threatened by the Russian advance would decide
to try to escape westwards .
Some hours after night had fallen, about 9 :30 p.m., the first wave of attacking
planes passed over Dresden. The focus of the attack was the Altstadt
. Terrific fires soon broke out which were still blazing when the second
wave of attackers arrived shortly after midnight . The resulting slaughter was
appalling, since the normal population of the city of some 600,000 had been
recently swollen by a multitude of refugees, mostly women and children,
their menfolk having remained behind to defend their homes . Every house
in Dresden was filled with these unfortunates, every public building was
crowded with them, many were camping in the streets . Estimates of their
number vary from 300,000 to 500,000. There were no air raid shelters of
any kind, unless we so regard the enormous cloud of stifling black smoke
which, after the first attack, covered the city and into which the second and
third waves of attackers dropped their bombs . Adding a unique touch to
the general horror, the wild animals in the zoological garden, rendered
frantic by the noise and glare, broke loose : it is said that these animals and
terrified groups of refugees were machine-gunned as they tried to escape
across the Grosser Garden by low-flying planes and that many bodies riddled
by bullets were found later in this part . . . .
The circumstances made it impossible for the authorities to undertake the
task of trying to identify the victims . So enormous were the number of bodies
that nothing could be done but to pile them on timber collected from
the ruins and there to burn them . In the Altmarkt one funeral pyre after
another disposed of 500 bodies, or parts of bodies, at a time . This gruesome
work went on for weeks .”

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