The European Parliament’s recent decision to equate communism with Nazism and to ignore British appeasement of fascism as one of the key factors leading to the Second World War has been roundly condemned by the IBMT.
A motion carried at the Trust’s annual general meeting in London on Saturday (5 October 2019) pointed out that tens of thousands of communists from around the world, motivated by international solidarity and opposition to fascist ideology, volunteered to fight Franco, Hitler and Mussolini in the Spanish Civil War. Thousand of them died in Spain, and survivors continued the fight in the Second World War, whether in Allied forces or in resistance and partisan movements in fascist Europe.
Carried unanimously, the IBMT motion went on to deplore the ‘unforgivable insult’ by MEPs for failing to acknowledge the decisive role played by the Red Army in defeating Nazism, along with the enormous sacrifice of the Russian and Soviet people in the war.
There was dismay at the IBMT meeting that Labour MEPs and others in the parliament’s S&D socialist and social democrat group had voted in favour of the resolution on ‘the importance of European remembrance for the future of Europe’ on 19 September. The IBMT will be sending these MEPs – and others who supported the controversial resolution – a copy of the motion carried at its AGM.
Moving the motion, IBMT Chair Jim Jump said the European Parliament’s resolution was a dangerous attempt to rewrite history. It was designed to give cover to growing number of apologists in Europe who wish to rehabilitate the memory of pro-Nazi, fascist and collaborationist groups during the Second World War.
‘It is an outrage,’ he declared, ‘that those guilty of the crimes of Guernica and Auschwitz are being likened to the men and women who fought fascism in Spain or, in the case of the Red Army, liberated the Nazi death camps of Eastern Europe.’
Full text of the motion carried at the IBMT’s Annual General Meeting
This Annual General Meeting of the International Brigade Memorial Trust deplores the resolution adopted by the European Parliament on 19 September 2019 on the importance of European remembrance for the future of Europe.
The European Parliament’s resolution makes highly contentious statements about the causes of the Second World War. Specifically it ignores the defeat of the Spanish Republic as an important factor in hastening the advent of the war. The non-intervention treaty adopted by Britain and other countries in relation to the Spanish Civil War and the wider policy of appeasement towards the fascist powers emboldened the expansionist ambitions of Hitler and Mussolini. We find it alarming that the resolution makes no reference to the war in Spain, nor to the Munich Pact that sacrificed another European democracy, Czechoslovakia, to Nazi aggression.
We also reject in the strongest terms the equivalence given to communism and fascism in the European Parliament’s resolution. We note that tens of thousands of communists from around the world, motivated by international solidarity and opposition to fascist ideology, volunteered to fight Franco, Hitler and Mussolini in the Spanish Civil War. Thousands of them gave their lives. Many more continued the fight against fascism in the Second World War, whether in Allied forces or in underground resistance and partisan movements, including communist and other patriotic forces. We salute their bravery, sacrifice and memory.
In addition, we note with deep concern that the European Parliament’s resolution fails to acknowledge the decisive role played by the Red Army in defeating Nazism and the enormous sacrifice of the Russian and Soviet peoples in doing so. This is an unforgivable insult to their memory and, by equating communism and Nazism, seeks to place the liberators of Auschwitz on the same moral footing as the perpetrators of the Holocaust.
Finally, we note with dismay that the resolution was carried by MEPs with 535 votes in favour, 66 against and 52 abstentions and that among those voting in favour were members of the S&D socialist and social democrat group in the European Parliament, including the Labour Party. We resolve therefore to send a copy of this resolution to the European Parliamentary Labour Party.
Posted on 7 October 2019.