World View

The State Of The World

A daily Commentary by Wayne Blank

"The State of The World" Number 7
Complete Index Of All Issues

Russia Or Europe - Who Has Been The Invader?

For those with just a "today," or "in my lifetime," view of history, Russia now seems like an ominous threat to "European freedom." But how long has that supposed Russian threat existed? When did it begin? Why did it begin?

There have been two major wars of invasion involving Europe (keeping in mind that the western part of Russia is itself in Europe) and Russia in the past two centuries. It was from those invasions that Russia's present attitude toward Europe originated.

The first invasion happened in 1812 when the French Empire under Napoleon Bonaparte invaded Russia. That French invasion of Russia, which is known in Russia as the "Patriotic War of 1812," resulted in the loss of over 210,000 Russian troops. Russian civilian losses from the European invasion were much higher - they have been estimated at 500,000 men, women and children. Russian cities and infrastructure were also severely damaged, including the capital city of Moscow.

Europe, not Russia, was the invader.

Napoleon Bonaparte

The second invasion happened over 125 years later. Europe again invaded Russia - Germany's Adolf Hitler in his "Operation Barbarossa." By the time that Russia had repelled that invasion, over 20 million Russians were dead - 7 million military and 14 million civilian.

Once again, Europe, not Russia, was the invader.

Invasion of Russia

Most people today get their view of Russia's military posture toward Europe from the "Cold War" era that began when the Second World War ended in 1945. At that time, Russian military forces had driven the European invaders right back to Berlin - the European capital city that had caused the deaths of 20 million Russians in Russia.

From that time of driving back the European invaders, from the east (Allied forces arrived at Berlin from the west), Russia has been viewed as having invaded Europe, or being a threat to Europe.

At least that's what those who merely have a "today" view of history think.

Wayne Blank