If your education in history was as pitiful as mine, you can answer this question easily. The Allies won WWII, and especially America. Who were the Allies? We might get a little fuzzy on that one; let’s see, Great Britain was involved, France dropped out kind of early-but mostly America! If not for America, we’d all be speaking German.
Was Russia an ally? Did they do anything to win WWII? Um, oh yeah, I remember a picture of Stalin (a pox on his name) sitting with FDR and Churchill at some conference. Imagine!-Russia was an ally. But years before I was born, Russia stopped being an ally and became the enemy. Russia remained the enemy almost my entire life.
I sought, about five years ago, to correct my abysmal ignorance of history; this ignorance existed in spite of the fact that I took two history courses in college and aced both of them. Perhaps I had a lopsided, Americo-centric view of history?
I was quite shocked to find that Russia bore the brunt of WWII. All those telegrams home to American families: “We regret to inform you…” 405,399 of them. So much grief and pain. Both my mom and my dad served and I’m glad they lived through it. But for all the others…
On the other hand, Russia suffered over 20 million killed in the war. Let that sink in for a minute. 20 million families getting the dread news. Twice as many Russians died in the battle of Stalingrad alone as Americans died in the whole war. Their country was invaded, decimated, total war, POWs shot, burning of farms, killing of livestock. Hitler meant to clear the land for expansion by German families. He even had a plan at one point to simply send all the Jews to Siberia to sink or swim. That plan, as we know, did not work out.
The Chinese took a beating from Japan, too. But then they are semi-enemies, so we don’t talk about that. Japan became a friend, and so we don’t talk about their atrocities.
Putin has stated that exceptionalism, believing you are the chosen people who should rule the world, is a dangerous idea. This was Hitler’s idea and any nation that lost 20 million of its sons to an idea has a right to make that statement. He also wasn’t about to let the Russians in Crimea be ruled by Neo-Nazis. This also has a strong historical basis that our shallow news media doesn’t recognize. Maybe they took the same history courses I did. Probably aced them, too.