Star comment: Lessons from history still apply today

We must not become fatigued by the constant news coverage.

World War II reenactors gather on Omaha Beach in Saint-Laurent-sur-Mer, Normandy, France Monday, June 6, 2022, the day of 78th anniversary of the assault that helped bring an end to World War II. (AP Photo/Jeremias Gonzalez)
World War II reenactors gather on Omaha Beach in Saint-Laurent-sur-Mer, Normandy, France Monday, June 6, 2022, the day of 78th anniversary of the assault that helped bring an end to World War II. (AP Photo/Jeremias Gonzalez)

The anniversary of D-Day remains hugely significant for us all.

That was the day when armed forces set foot on the Normandy Beaches as they fought to liberate Europe. It was a remarkably brave and risky venture and many perished under fire. The war, however, was won and a dictator was defeated.

There are parallels between what happened between 1939 and 1945 and what is happening today in Ukraine. Russia is fighting a war of aggression as it seeks to take ground through force. It is laying waste to land, it is slaughtering innocents, women and children are being attacked, men are being tortured.

We must not become fatigued by the constant news coverage. We must hold our resolve, as our forebears did during the 1940s.

There must be diplomacy, of course, though not a weakening of resolve.

Putin’s invasion has stalled because of the strength of the Ukrainian resistance and the cohesion of the West. Ukraine has been tougher, smarter and more fearless than anyone in the world might have thought – including Vladimir Putin.

The support of the West has been critical and will continue to shape the outcome of Putin’s war. The provision of better weapons, defensive and offensive, is key.

We ought to be under no illusions, if Putin is successful he will want to expand his power base further. He is intent on the restoration of the USSR and the acquisition of more territory. Notwithstanding western sanctions, the huge revenues from oil and gas continue to bankroll his war on Ukraine and will provide the funding for further assaults on other free and democratic nations.

Anyone doubting the devastating impact tyranny brings should read the incredibly powerful interview with former MP Peter Bradley. His family suffered the most unimaginable cost at the hands of Hitler’s Nazi regime. Only years later did Mr Bradley find out the real truth.

The fact he is now telling the story is important. We should never tire of understanding the destruction caused during the Second World War, or of the impact of a warped ideology.

It is easy to turn a blind eye, to appease or to look the other way. As the horrors of Russia’s advance on Ukraine unfold, some will be tempted to do so. The cost, however, is too great and we must remain resilient. Churchill said we should never, never, never give up. He was right.

History is enormously important and teaches us lessons that apply to the modern idiom.

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