It has been suggested that some of those out there on the right of the Tory Party tone down their screamingly Europhobic language as the Brexit débâcle brings yet more tension to the political atmosphere. But one of those taking no notice at all is the Member for Rayleigh and Wickford Mark Francois, whose appreciation of what happened during World War 2 consists of much sound and fury, but little substance.
Siri, show me the Parliamentary definition of Gammon
Francois’ view of what happened during that conflict is one-sided, so much so that he really believes the liberation of Europe from Nazism began on D-Day, perhaps because his father had something to do with it. He is plain flat wrong, but sadly, his moronic view of history is then picked up by the Europhobic press and transmitted to impressionable readers. So let me put fumbling Francois right on the subject.
This is what his website said about Francois’ trip to France in 2014: “Rayleigh and Wickford MP and Armed Forces Minister, Mark Francois travelled to Normandy recently to play a part in the events to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the D-Day Landings, which began the process of liberating Europe from Nazi Germany”.
The dead of the Soviet Army remembered: overlooking Budapest ...
And to that I call bullshit. For starters, the Western allies had already begun to roll back the Wehrmacht in Italy, a campaign that even now is regarded as “forgotten”. It took many months of hard fighting to reach Rome, and yet more to reach the Alps.
Also, and more significantly, ignored by Francois is where the real hard work was put in, by the Soviet Army as they first of all stopped the Nazi advance, then ruthlessly and indeed viciously rolled them back, first of all out of Russia, and then across eastern Europe in a series of bloody and unrelenting battles before finally reaching Berlin.
... at Slavín, overlooking Bratislava ...
And the numbers made for grim reading: 74 years ago this month, the Nazis were cleared out of two cities on the River Danube. On April 4th 1945, Bratislava was liberated. More than 6,800 Russians died; their sacrifice is commemorated in a memorial at Slavîn, overlooking the city. Most were buried in mass graves.
Ten days later, Vienna saw the fascists expelled. In a yet more bloody battle, 17,000 Soviet soldiers died. Their memorial is at the south end of Schwarzenbergplatz. More tens of thousands perished dislodging the Nazis from Budapest, which Hitler had ordered to be defended to the last man. Many of those who died had not yet reached their 20th birthday.
... and at Vienna's Schwarzenbergplatz
Whatever our view of the Soviet Union, and especially of Josef Stalín, had that sacrifice not been made at Budapest, Bratislava and Vienna, and other cities across eastern Europe, the Western Allies would not - could not - have rolled back the Third Reich from France, Belgium, the Netherlands and elsewhere.
Mark Francois thinks that the liberation of Europe started in June 1944. Wrong. It started at Stalingrad, in Leningrad, and near Moscow. So there should be no surprise at his blustering and ignorance when it comes to the EU.
After all, he doesn’t even know his own specialist subject. Sad, really.
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