Is history thumbing its nose at us? The parallels between the events unfolding between Russia and Ukraine today vs. Germany and Czechoslovakia in the 1930s are unmistakable.
No, I am not going to evoke the hyperbole, comparing Putin to Hitler. (I’ll leave it to Russian propagandists to talk about “fascists” taking over Ukraine.)
But the actual events are another matter.
Consider the parallels between the 1936 Berlin olympics and Sochi.
The parallels between the Third Reich’s prosecution of homosexuals and Russia’s.
The parallels between the Crimea and the Sudetenland.
The parallels between German cries of outrage about the maltreatment of ethnic Germans abroad, and Russia’s.
The parallels between a post WWI Germany, destined to be a Great Power but humiliated by defeat and a vindictive peace treaty, and Russia, destined to be a superpower but humiliated by the collapse of its Soviet empire and encroachment by NATO, Russia’s former arch-enemy.
The analogy is not perfect. Nonetheless we better smarten up before it’s too late. Ironically, the “war to end all wars” started exactly 100 years ago this year… and far from being a deliberate war, it broke out as a result of a series of deadly miscalculations, which in the end caused the deaths of tens of millions, the end of an unprecedented half century of prosperity, the collapse of the existing world order, and guaranteed instability and upheaval (not to mention another, even more devastating World War) in the coming decades.
I spent the first 50+ years of my life in peace and prosperity. I want to live out the rest of my (hopefully long) natural life the same way, not become a civilian casualty of a war more devastating than anything in history.