Saturday, May 9, 2015

Remembering victory

Seventy years ago today, May 9, 1945 in the Berlin suburb of Karlshorst German field marshal Wilhelm Keitel signed the act of surrender in the presence of Soviet field marshal General Georgii Zhukov.

Keitel had been head of OKW (Oberkommando der Wehrmacht - Supreme Command of the Army) for most of the war years.

It is generally accepted by historians and those thinking German soldiers that he was a sycophant. A colleague once said of him: "Keitel was an obedient lackey of his master. He was even called "Lackeitel", we only ever called him that."

Obviously a play of 'eitel' and Keitel but 'eitel' also means proud in German.

He was tried, found guilty and hanged at N├╝rnberg.

One of his daughters studied at Trinity College in Dublin in the 1930s.

Georgii Zhukov, who planned the encirclement of Paulus' Sixth Army on the Volga, went on to high office in the Soviet Union but his bosses were always afraid of him and in the end he was treated badly. Zhukov was no sycophant.

Tomorrow in Moscow German Chancellor Angela Merkel will lay a wreath to the fallen Soviet dead of World War ll. Because of the conflict in Ukraine she was unwilling to attend today's Moscow celebrations.

“We cannot close the book on our history,” Merkel said in her weekly video message on May 2. Despite deep differences with Russia over Ukraine, she said, “it is important for me to lay a wreath on May 10.
In the 'good days' Vladimir Putin addressed the Bundestag, speaking in German. Putin was KGB station chief in Dresden before the fall of the Wall.

Twelve million people took part in the celebrations across the Russian Federation today.

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