Re-writing the history of the war against fascism

Post date: 25/06/2020

Spanish Republican prisoners greeting Allied troops liberating the Mauthausen concentration camp in May 1945.

The Marx Memorial Library has hosted an online panel discussion on current moves to distort the history of the Second World War and the longer fight against fascism in the 20th century. Held on 22 June, speakers included historian Michael Jones, author and activist Phil Katz and trade union official and MML Trustee Jonathan White.

Katz discussed the ongoing conflict in Europe over the memory of fascism and highlighted recent efforts in Spain to address Franco’s legacy as a positive development. Jones debunked persistent myths about the Second World War that originally derive from Nazi accounts of events. Lastly, White’s talk emphasised the importance of defending the historical record from revision.

The event was prompted by this year’s 75th anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany. It also came in the wake of concerns sparked by a controversial resolution on ‘European remembrance’ adopted by the European Parliament in September 2019. The resolution failed to mention the Spanish Civil War and the Munich Agreement as factors leading to the Second World War, ignored the role of the Red Army in the victory of Nazism and equated communism with fascism.

The IBMT’s 2019 Annual General Meeting unanimously carried a motion deploring the decision of MEPs. The motion pointed out that tens of thousands of communists from around the world volunteered to fight Franco, Hitler and Mussolini in Spain. Large numbers of them died, and survivors continued the fight in the Second World War, whether in Allied forces or in resistance and partisan movements in fascist Europe.

The IBMT afterwards sent letters of protest to Labour MEPs, all of whom had supported the European Parliament’s resolution.

Listen to the MML-hosted discussion here.

Posted on 25 June 2020.

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