TURES COLUMN: No, American and allied forces in NATO are neither Nazis nor Nazi allies

Published 10:30 am Saturday, May 28, 2022

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In days before Memorial Day, extremists on the left and right have painted NATO, which consists of American armed forces and Canadian as well as European allies, with the “Nazi” brush. It’s important to remember the truth about World War II, the Cold War, the War on Terror, and NATO’s role in each.

Georgia Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene tweeted “NATO has been supplying the neo-Nazis in Ukraine with powerful weapons and extensive training on how to use them.  What the hell is going on with these #NATONazis?” In addition to echoing Russian media, she’s in lock step with the World Socialist Web Site, which makes similar claims about Germany’s contemporary support of Ukraine, using the “Nazi” label as well to describe the Ukrainians resisting Russians.  Leftists and Right-wing extremists are united (again)!

Here’s the truth.  In the 1930s, Ukraine endured Stalin’s brutal purges of political leaders, the bitter forced famine known as the Holodomor that produced nearly 4 million dead Ukrainians, and the shuttering of Ukrainian churches. During Hitler’s invasion, locals cheered their people being freed from Soviet prisons, the reopening of local churches, an end to USSR starvation, and the promise of an independent government. Enthusiastic Ukrainians even pulled down statues of Lenin. But Hitler planned for more of the same, preparing to cut Ukraine “this big cake, in a handy way,” so that he could “1) occupy it, 2) administer it, and 3) exploit it,” according to Time-Life’s Russia Besieged.

Sure enough, five days after Ukrainians formed their own government, the S.S. dissolved it and arrested their leaders and supporters, according to Time-Life. Territory was given to the Polish puppet regime set up by the Nazis, as well as Nazi ally Romania. As for those Ukrainians remaining, they were to be persecuted by Nazi Leader Erich Koch, who gleefully described himself as a “brutal dog,” and promised “the utmost severity” to the Ukrainians. 

Once the S.S. had liquidated the Jewish population, Koch turned on the Ukrainians, executing hundreds on flimsy excuses, and using methos of “depopulation” that resemble what Putin’s Russian invaders are doing to locals.  Stopping food and sanitation, they also sent Ukrainians abroad to labor camps, which soon turned into death camps.  “There is no Ukraine,” Koch as quoted as saying, and of his fellow Nazis “We must remember that we are the master race.”

Put on trial for war crimes in Communist Poland, Koch was found guilty of killing as many Ukrainians as Stalin slaughtered, sentenced to death, but was never executed due to “poor health.” He was allowed to live in comfortable accommodations for the rest of his life, dying decades later in 1986, with no explanation of why Communists gave Koch cozy treatment. NATO was set up after World War II to resist the kind of totalitarianism of Stalin, Hitler, and modern-day emulators. It was never an anti-Russian alliance. The NATO Charter never mentions the words Russia or Soviet. In fact, NATO reached out to Russia with an olive branch after the Cold War, the “Partnership for Peace” program which could have paved the way for Russian membership in that collective defense organization, had Putin not swatted it away later, replacing the plans of an East-West Alliance with his own Neo-Soviet vision. Ask yourself why Russian occupiers in Ukraine are bringing back Soviet flags and Lenin statues to places in Eastern Ukraine like Henichesk and elsewhere, after Ukrainians removed them.

As a collective defense organization, NATO peacekeepers ended some terrible conflicts in the former Yugoslavia (I’ve been fortunate to work with two U.S. Generals who played a role in these successes). NATO formed the resistance to Al-Qaeda and its brutal 9/11 attack, something extremists on the right forget to mention. As we remember NATO’s ability to stand up to Communism and Terrorism, let’s also oppose this “#NATONazis” slur on our Memorial Day.