Andrei Movchan: “The myth of the Victory has become objectively more important than Victory itself...”
After crushing Nazism in Germany with its racial policy, concentration camps, secret police machine, repression and murders, its aggression against the outside world, the Allies simultaneously crushed the same things in themselves.
A very interesting point of view, a kind of a peculiar and convincing apology of the “exaggerated victorious hysteria” was expressed by economist Andrei Movchan on his blog on the events of 75 years ago:
“Victory in World War II is perhaps the most universal and often used historical myth of modern political and public discourse, and no wonder - it meets all the requirements for a rhetorical argument: relative proximity (emphasized by the thesis “grandfathers fought”), overscale (many victims , the maximum level of suffering and, in general, manifestations of emotions, geographical scope, the involvement of many parties, etc.), binary, easy to perceive (we are against them, victory or defeat, glory or shame), security in relation to the current moment, untying your hands with respect to interpretations (no one in their right mind certainly thinks that repetition is possible, that’s why you can shout “we can repeat” outrageously), public consensus on the basic elements of the myth and their interpretation.
The word "myth" in relation to the Victory in WWII can certainly warp someone, so I want to specifically make a reservation: I do not mean at all that there was no Victory or that it was very factually different from the description that encyclopedias give today. Not at all. Of course it was, and the events of the Second World War are reproduced in the sources quite accurately. But on the basis of a historical event, mankind creates myths - this is how it has been arranged for the last 70,000 years, after a cognitive revolution. A myth is a story about an event, designed not only to convey its chronology and details (not necessarily accurate), but on the basis of such a transfer to establish the boundaries of good and evil, law and its absence, benefit and harm, encourage the listener to follow a positive example and establish ethical standards and morality. Victory in WWII has long become a myth in this sense of the word - there is nothing wrong with it (in fact, any significant event becomes a myth). For us, however, it is important what myth becomes the event - what myths, such and such a life.
Sometimes it happens that the myth of an event becomes in its objective meaning much more important than the event itself. This happened with the Victory. No, of course, the historical significance of the Victory in WWII is enormous - there was a redrawing of the map of the entire Earth, the formation of new blocs, new international organizations, etc. But the historical significance of so many events is enormous - World War I led to no less changes; the creation of a nuclear bomb prevented the third world war, the capture by the Bolsheviks of all of Europe and ensured peace for many years; Deng Xiaoping's reforms stopped the repression machine, which killed more people than WWII claimed. However, we do not celebrate the end of 1 MV, nor the day of the creation of the nuclear bomb, nor the birthday of Dan.
The fact is that the World War I did not leave us space for a good myth. Well, countries fought for markets on an insignificant pretext. Well, some have relatively won, others have lost. And, of course, you cannot create any myth from a nuclear bomb. WWII is precisely because it becomes the main myth that it is a great myth in its social significance.
The main thing here is not to confuse what we are talking about. Of course, the soil of a great history gives rise to many myths, myths and myths - for the sake of groups, groups and groups that want to privatize a piece of this story and adapt it to their immediate needs. An official in Russia today will tell you the myth that Russia 2020 is the successor to the Victory, about the “ring of enemies”, about “ukrofashists” (funny, this is an absurd mistake - we fought with the Nazis, fascism was only touched by the edge, although fascism, of course , no better), about the same "we can repeat". A statesman-patriot on a salary uses Victory to tell a tale about the fact that the USSR was universal good, Germany - universal evil, and the allies - cunning crooks who used “us” (and will say that “us” that never served in the army storyteller) and almost conspired with Hitler. An activist who makes money from the budget will rely on “sacred memory” for which divers should climb lakes with portraits of front-line soldiers, children in kindergartens draw bloody battles and play captive Nazis, and firewalls with Finnish soldiers on deer should appear on houses. Anti-Semite will adapt Victory to "we saved the Jews, and they spoil us." The military uses Victory to say: "We need to increase defense spending, otherwise we will not be ready again, as in 41m."
We are not talking about this - nothing in the world is protected from parasites. We are about the main myth of Victory, the one that tells about the basic Good and Evil.
The Second World War is unique in that the front line in the myth about it (not the first time, of course, but there were very few such cases in history) did not separate the interests of different countries or peoples, but two opposing ethics. In real history, of course, this was not so - in the USSR there were repressions, the scope of which was greater than in Germany (and Stalin may have already prepared his Holocaust, which he almost carried out in 1953); British colonial policy was no better than Nazi ideas about subjugating the world and the dominant race; in England, members of the royal family (and in Italy the Vatican) flirted with Nazism; in the United States, the largest institutions refused to hire Jews, and African Americans were segregated. But (almost like the myth of the liberation of slaves about the American Civil War), the myth of the clash of two ethical systems has become the central myth about WWII - central and generally recognized. Accordingly, the victory in the WWII coalition of the Allies became the mythological victory of ethics, in the framework of which a new, post-war world was to be formed: the ethics of the equality of nations and peoples; ethics of the primacy of human life; ethics of denial of totalitarian regimes and ideologies; ethics of cooperation in the face of common danger; ethics of respect for minority rights.
We create myths with completely utilitarian goals; however, if they are well created, they become independent, and then begin to control us. The myth based on the idea of “ethics of the allies” turned out to be just such a myth - born for the Victory, it, and not the allies, turned out to be a real winner.
After crushing Nazism in Germany with its racial policies, concentration camps, secret police machine, repression and murder, its aggression against the outside world, the Allies simultaneously crushed the same in themselves. Rejecting these manifestations of the enemy, they could no longer act on the same pattern. The transition did not happen in one second and not one year, but it was the victory over the External Evil that led to the gradual death of the Internal Evil. After 8 years, the USSR will abandon the practice of mass terror and repression and will seek a “human face”; after 20, segregation will collapse in the USA; in spite of the Cold War no one will ever think of world domination - it will be unethical to say it out loud.
Ethics, opposed to Nazism, became sacred after WWII. It became impossible to do like the Nazis. When they wanted to exclude Sakharov from the Academy of Sciences at the height of stagnation, it was enough to recall Kapitza that Einstein was expelled from the German Academy during Nazism, so that the question would be removed once and for all. I well remember that the argument "so the Nazis did" acted without fail on teachers in my childhood. The superiority of one nation over another? - this is fascism. To beat the weak? - Only the Nazis do this. Soviet dissident intellectuals, unable to openly criticize the Soviet system, wrote, shot, talked about Nazi Germany, drawing tracing paper from Soviet practices, putting official Soviet slogans and arguments into the mouths of the heroes — this went through any censorship and this substantially corrected morals; Who was the hunt like the Nazis?
75 years after the end of WWII, we live in the world of this very new ethics. Today it is possible to bring down markets and stop economies in order to save people from a new infection; no one says "let the weak die out" - that is what the Nazis said. Today we apologize and are shy if we are suddenly not ready to give minorities more rights than most - this is because the Nazis infringed on minorities. Our language has become politically correct - it does not contain the word Negro, and the pronoun "he", meaning a third person, has turned into "he / she" - after all, it was the Nazis who insulted other races and assigned the woman a lower place in the hierarchy. We still often behave inconsistently in a new ethics (we are people - we are base creatures, we fight, steal, envy), but no one boasts of this: we are forced to wage hybrid wars and robberies, because we are ashamed and they will not support us: the Nazis did this , and we defeated them.
The myth of Victory in WWII gradually conquers our world. Having become the starting point for change, it grows over time (through the efforts of those who try to earn dividends with it), and in parallel, the influence of ethics that it brings to the world grows. And in this sense, this myth is extremely important, and deserves all-round support. Nobody is forgotten, nothing is forgotten - and first of all, the ideals proclaimed by this myth are not forgotten. And let it be as long as possible. And with those who are trying to turn the great history of the Victory and the great myth about it into a means to earn, maintain or strengthen their power, or simply feel more meaningful, do not seriously fight. As often happens in nature, the invisible hand of myth and their efforts wraps around the benefit of the whole world. We remember - that means the likelihood of a repeat of Nazism in all its forms and with any names becomes less. And this is the main point.
Happy Victory Day!”