In his speech at the UN General Assembly on September 22, Russian President Vladimir Putin stressed the threat posed to the modern world order by attempts to distort the history of the Second World War. Beijing agrees with this point of view, which supports Moscow’s efforts to protect historical memory. At the same time, both powers associate attempts to revise the results of the Second World War by Western countries with the stability of the UN. About how China preserves the historical memory of the Second World War, and what can be expressed in cooperation with Russia in this direction, to the correspondent of “Eurasia.The expert ” was told by the Deputy Secretary General of the research center “One Belt, One Road” at the Academy of Social Sciences of the People’s Republic of China Xu Wenhong.

– China, together with Russia, will defend the results of the Second World War, says the congratulatory telegram sent by Chinese President Xi Jinping to President Vladimir Putin on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the end of the war. How can such protection manifest itself?

– I think that the international system, with the UN at its center, is itself the most important result of the Second World War. International law, which is based on the UN Charter, is the main tool in the settlement of international conflicts. This is the foundation on which peaceful life has been based for the 75 years since the Second World War. It seems to me that China and Russia should unite all countries to ensure compliance with the principles of the international system, in which the UN plays a central role.

Moscow and Beijing could jointly make a more significant contribution to the cause of peace and global development, provide more public goods to achieve peace, stability and prosperity throughout the world. Personally, I think that this is the duty and duty of such worthy great powers as China and Russia. And, as President Xi wrote to President Putin, if China and Russia are together, they will cope with such tasks. Our countries could propose a program for reforming the UN: the organization should adapt to modern realities. A deep process of reforms in the UN, it seems to me, would contribute to improving the situation with respect for the principles of international law, which are constantly violated by the West.

– Some Western countries are trying to rewrite the results of the Second World War. In your opinion, how can we resist the falsification of history?

– Yes, indeed, recently some countries and politicians, despite the well-known historical facts, distort the realities of the Second World War.

Former US President Abraham Lincoln said: “You can constantly deceive several people or all people for a while, but you can’t deceive all people all the time.” Rewritten pages of historical textbooks cannot replace historical facts. Their attempts resemble the intention of certain people in the past to teach other people that the sun rises in the west. I think that even those whom they managed to deceive hardly have complete confidence in the fake “facts”. Their attempts are in vain. They can only cause laughter and contempt.

Our countries could mobilize their efforts to promote and agitate the real results of the Second World War at the level of the media, cinematography, and academic sciences.

For example, you can try to introduce a special program about the real events of the Second World War into the curriculum of our schools and universities, as well as bring this information to the attention of foreign students studying both in Russia and in China.

I believe that we should put a great emphasis on young people in working on this task. For example, conducting regular lectures in Russian and Chinese universities. In American universities, influential political scientists conduct lectures on various international topics related to Russia and China. So why not strengthen our joint work in this direction as well? This would have a positive effect.

– While Germany started a war in Europe, China was attacked by militaristic Japan 75 years ago. How do you assess the role of China in achieving victory in the Second World War?

– Maybe because of the language barrier, Chinese civilization and the history of the Middle Kingdom are little known in the English-speaking world. Ordinary Europeans are not so well aware of the relationship between the Second World War and the war against Japan, which was waged by China.

The Chinese Anti-Japanese War (1931-1945) was an important part of the world anti-fascist war. The incident that occurred on September 18, 1931, was the first time that after the end of the First World War in 1918, one State resorted to using powerful military means to settle its disputes with another State. This, in turn, led to the violation of the already fragile global peace. The mediation of the League of Nations did not play a proper role, as did Great Britain, the United States and other Western Powers.

Inspired by this terrible precedent, Italy invaded Abyssinia (now Ethiopia) in 1935, and Germany, along with the same Italy, intervened in the Spanish civil war in 1936.Large-scale military conflicts pushed the countries of the world to a global war, and China officially declared war on Japanese militarists on July 7, 1937 after the incident at Lugouqiao.

According to Professor Rana Mitter of Oxford University, the shootout on the Lugouqiao Bridge is similar to the murder of Crown Prince Franz Ferdinand in June 1914, which directly led to the outbreak of the First World War. This means that China is the first country in the world to be subjected to aggression.

The Second World War in Europe began in 1939, and the anti-Japanese war in China began three years earlier.

After the incident at Lugouqiao on July 7, 1937, about a million main forces of the Japanese army were concentrated on the territory of China, which is two-thirds of the total number of the armed forces of Japan. In addition, the Anti-Japanese War of the Chinese people lasted the longest. It ended only on September 2, 1945.

China has always been the main arena of the struggle against fascist evil in Asia. More than 1.5 million Japanese militarists were captured in China. After the defeat of Japan, its army, which surrendered to China, amounted to more than 1.28 million people. The war is over, but our world has not become calmer because of this. The Chinese nation, which is following the path of great revival, will play a more active role in fulfilling the mission that falls on the shoulders of a responsible great power, making a more significant contribution to the development of humanity and ensuring universal peace and security.

– How well are Chinese youth aware of the results of the Second World War? What kind of work is being done in this direction?

– In all Chinese schools and universities, students and students are taught the history of the Second World War at a high level. Basic knowledge about it is an important part of the university entrance exam.

Almost all Chinese youth are well aware of the results of the Second World War. We have special days when we honor the memory of those who fell in it. In addition, historical museums, cultural programs, films, and so on play an important role in instilling in young people knowledge about the Anti-Japanese War of the Chinese people and the Second World War in general. Only a high awareness of war is the way to understand the difficult peaceful life, and thus the next generation will firmly defend universal peace.

– What does the Chinese society know about the contribution of the USSR to the victory over fascism? What do Chinese textbooks say about the role of Russia?

– To be honest, the Chinese society knows quite well about the contribution of the USSR to the victory over fascism. The Second World War was a war of the Allies led by the four major powers: The Soviet Union, the United States, Great Britain and China against the Axis countries led by Germany, Italy and Japan. Since the beginning of the Soviet-German war, the Soviet Union has been the main force in the fight against Germany. The Soviet army detained and destroyed almost 70% of the German troops; almost 27 million citizens of the Soviet Union died.

The USSR made a huge contribution to the victory over fascism. In Chinese history textbooks, they write about all this objectively.

In addition, it tells about the exploits of Zoya and Shura. The older generation is well aware of their heroism. As for the youth, the real symbols of courage for them are the sniper Vasily Zaitsev, the scout and the hero Richard Sorge. In addition, it tells in detail about the 900-day blockade of Leningrad, the storming of Berlin – all these are well-known historical facts, which ordinary Chinese are well aware of.

– What role did the Soviet Union play in the liberation of China from the Japanese occupation?

– The Soviet Union made a great contribution to the liberation of China from the Japanese occupation. From 1937 to 1941, 3,665 Soviet soldiers, including more than 2,500 pilots and technicians, were sent to help China in its war against Japan. 14 of them received the honorary title of Hero of the Soviet Union, more than 200 soldiers sacrificed their precious lives in China. Today in Nanjing, Chongqing, Wuhan, Guangzhou and other cities of China there are institutions bearing the names of Soviet heroes. Monuments have been erected to them, at the foot of which there are always fresh flowers.

By Xu Wenhong

The material is posted with the permission of the author of the publication


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