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Time Marches On

70 years ago this month Germany surrendered to the allies, signaling the end of the European share of World War II. Italy had already surrendered and Japan would sue for peace in August of the same year, but with the suicide of Adolph Hitler and the unconditional surrender of Germany, the end of the war was in sight.

The United States had entered the war in 1941, after the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, and had fought for more than three years across Africa, Western Europe and the Pacific. Although the U.S. had certainly earned its share of credit in the fighting, the Soviets would capture Berlin.

After the incredible losses they had suffered at the hands of Nazi Germany – between 8.5 and 14 million military deaths and an additional 17 million or more civilian deaths – the Soviets felt they had earned the right to capture and control Berlin. In comparison, the United States had lost 407,000 military members and 12,000 civilians during the war.

Veterans GraveThe fall of Germany and the end of the war just a few months later marked the beginning of the Cold War. The cycle of war in the 20th century was to take an unexpected twist. The Cold War and the veterans who fought in it, would last for 50 years and see the Soviet Union and United States divide the world into two separate armed camps.

The history of these conflicts, although it has been written many times, will soon be found only in books and films. Once we have lost the living memories of the conflict, we have lost a huge resource. It seems that only a few short years ago we were seeing the end of a generation of warriors who had fought in World War I, but with the passing of years, soldiers and sailors who were young in 1945 have entered their eighth or even ninth decade.

We are quickly losing this precious resource. Even with advances in health and medicines, the veterans who were involved in the war to stop fascism are passing quickly from this mortal coil. It is an unfortunate fact of life that death awaits everyone, but we can still learn from these brave men and women about what life and war was like 70 years ago. All too quickly, we will not be able to hear their stories unless they have been recorded.

Take the time and listen. Ask. Learn about how the world was when the entire world was involved in stopping fascism from remaking the established order into a twisted vision of world domination. But do it quickly, time is running out.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

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Matt Towns

Matt is a former military journalist who spent 10 years in the US Navy. He served in various posts during his career, including a couple of deployments on the USS Valley Forge (CG-50). After leaving the Navy, he worked in management for a number of years before opening his own businesses. He ran those businesses until 2012 when he chose to leave the retail industry and return to writing. Matt currently works as a freelance writer, contributing to the US Patriot blog and other websites about political affairs, military activities and sailing.
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