Who knows?

That nations cling to the chimera of glory and disremember failure is altogether human in its fallibility. In the same league, perhaps, is man’s perpetual underestimation of the amount of knowledge required before becoming able to judge on a subject. Perhaps ignorance may be bliss, as in Orwell’s 1984. Paul Fussell, historian and veteran of WW II, who was wounded 1945 in France, found numerous reasons to mistrust the victors’ polished platitudes and observed so many occasions of intentional misrepresentation in the treatment of the Second World War in American media that he felt compelled to conclude that “the allied part of the war of 1939-45 has been sanitized and romanticized beyond recognition by the sentimental, the loony patriotic, the ignorant and the bloodthirsty.”

Naturally, such groups derive their redactional liberty from the fact that their side won the war and hence is able to evade moral ambiguity. Nearly everybody agrees that the industrial killing of Jews, or Gypsies, with cyanide was a crime nearly without precedence in history, but so were other inventions of the twentieth century: area-bombing civilians with conventional explosives as in, say, Dresden or Tokyo, or with nuclear fire as in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. If the war had been lost, who could have explained the moral propriety of these undertakings?

Here the answers to the questions in Part I:

FIVE BATTLES, FATALITIES IN PARENTHESES: [1] OPERATION TYPHOON, THE BATTLE FOR MOSCOW 1941/1942 (1,582,000) [2] CASE BLUE, THE BATTLE FOR STALINGRAD 1942-1943 (973,000) [3] THE SIEGE OF LENINGRAD 1941-1944 (900,000) (4) OPERATION BARBAROSSA, THE BATTLE FOR KIEW 1941 (657,000) [5] OPERATION BAGRATION, SOVIET OFFENSIVE 1944 (450,000)

IDEOLOGIES: FASCISM, NATIONAL SOCIALISM, COMMUNISM, LIBERAL DEMOCRACY

BIGGEST CONCENTRATION CAMP: VORKUTA, USSR

LOSSES BY NATION/ETHNICITY: SEE DIAGRAM BELOW

MARITIME CATASTROPHE: GERMAN OCEAN LINER ‘WILHELM GUSTLOFF‘, TORPEDOED BY RUSSIAN SUBMARINE IN MARCH 1945, APPROXIMATELY 8000 FATALITIES

[SOURCES: DAVIES, ID., P.25 FF, DIAGRAM P.366]

SOME INTERESTING FACTS: BIGGEST EUROPEAN ARMY IN 1932 AFTER FRANCE: BELGIUM, 26 DIVISIONS – MOST TANKS IN 1940: FRANCE, OVER 3,000.

Losses / Casualties Diagram:

(© John Vincent Palatine 2015/18)