Remembrance and Reconciliation?
But reconciliation? If the history of Nazi Germany teaches us anything, it is that there are certain enemies with which “reconciliation” is not possible: or at least not possible without the sacrifice of one’s own liberties – without, in effect, surrender. Nazi Germany had quite simply to be defeated, without any concessions being made to its supposed “cause”. That is why what we commemorate today is precisely the unconditional capitulation of Nazi Germany. Britain and France had tried the “conciliatory” approach with Nazi Germany in 1938: they did so initially at the cost of Czechoslovakia and they would subsequently pay a heavy price themselves. Of course, reconciliation with the German people would be possible. But most certainly not on May 8, 1945 and never with those parts of the German people that remained committed to the program and “ideals” of the Nazi regime.
The spirit of, so to say, retrospective appeasement and revisionism that animates the GA Resolution is made even clearer, if we consider the entirety of its first operational paragraph, which,
Declares 8–9 May as a time of remembrance and reconciliation and, while recognizing that Member States may have individual days of victory, liberation and commemoration, invites all Member States, organizations of the United Nations system, non-governmental organizations and individuals to observe annually either one or both of these days in an appropriate manner to pay tribute to all victims of the Second World War.Note that the Resolution merely “recognizes” that some states might want to consider May 8 a day of victory. Apparently, the GA as such cannot bring itself to do so – and this even though the UN has its origins precisely in the Allied coalition that defeated Nazi Germany (and which was officially known as... "the United Nations").
But note especially the “invitation” to pay tribute to “all victims of the Second World War”. What does that mean: “all victims”? Does it mean just anyone who happens to have been killed or died as a result of the War? Does it mean, then, that we should also “pay tribute” to, say, the members of SS Einsatzgruppen who were responsible for the systematic murder of Jews and partisans on the territory of the Soviet Union – since some of them, after all, were also killed in battle? Does it mean that we should “pay tribute”, for instance, to those Wehrmacht soldiers who died in brutally suppressing the Warsaw Ghetto uprising? Does it mean that we should “pay tribute” to those Luftwaffe pilots who were shot down during the bombardments of Rotterdam, Belgrade, Coventry, and innumerable other European towns and cities? Does it mean, finally, that we should also pay tribute to Himmler, Goebbels, and, yes, Hitler himself, since they all died, if albeit at their own hands, as a result of the War? Is there no longer any distinction to be drawn between the victims of Nazi aggression and genocide, on the one hand, and the practitioners of the same, on the other – so long, namely, as some of the latter were killed in executing their crimes? Have the ones and the others, merely by virtue of their deaths, joined some grand fraternity of “victims”?
Well, according to the UN, the answer to all these questions is apparently “yes”. Thus, the UN Press release announcing the passage of Resolution A/59/26 reads as follows:
In other business, the Assembly adopted a resolution commemorating the sixtieth anniversary of the end of the Second World War, and declared 8 to 9 May as a time of remembrance and reconciliation and invited all Member States, organizations of the United Nations system, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and individuals to observe annually either one or both of those days in an appropriate manner to pay tribute to all who lost their lives in that War.