00:06 GMT +322 November 2019
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    US Journalist Underscores Red Army's 'Key Role' in WWII Victory

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    May 9 will see wide-scale celebrations across Russia to mark the 71st anniversary of defeat of Nazi Germany in the Second World War, an event that slips by unnoticed to many Americans, according to the Washington Post.

    While Russia is set to celebrate the 71st anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II, most Americans are unaware of the significance of the event, which was called V-E Day (Victory in Europe) and occurred on May 8 in the United States, United Kingdom and elsewhere in western and central Europe. Unlike their wartime allies in the West, Russians see it as one of the biggest holidays of the year, according to the Washington Post's Michael Birnbaum.

    He recalled that "unlike the United States, which had two oceans that largely insulated it from attack after Pearl Harbor, Russia was besieged, bombed, invaded and re-invaded during World War II."

    "Then the Red Army swept toward Berlin and played a key role in toppling Adolf Hitler," Birnbaum pointed out.

    He quoted 44-year-old Pavel Elfimov as saying in an interview that in Russia there are very few families who weren't touched by the Second World War; both of Elfimov's grandfathers fought in the war, with one of them giving his life for victory.

    Birnbaum, for his part, also recalled that "Soviet losses were immense" referring to "most historians" who estimate the Soviet death toll between 27 million and 28 million people.

    Meanwhile, "World War II tends to be remembered in the United States as a victory by Americans, with the Red Army acting more or less as an adjunct," he said.

    Additionally, he mentioned processions in which Russian WWII veterans' children and grandchildren march on Victory Day, holding their grandfathers' photos, separately from the official state military parades.

    Also, Birnbaum referred to Russian President Vladimir Putin reviving "the Soviet-style tank parade in 2008, seeing the day as a way to rally citizens around the flag."

    "But despite the hundreds of missile launchers, warplanes and antiaircraft guns that roll through Red Square every year, many Russians say that the true meaning of the holiday is more personal, 71 years after the end of the war," Birnbaum said.

    When asked to choose which country played the most significant role in defeating Nazism during the Second World War between the United Kingdom, the USSR, the United States and the options 'other' and 'I don't know,' only 15 percent of respondents in a recent Sputnik.Polls survey chose the USSR.

    The majority of respondents in the United States (79 percent), France (58 percent) and half of those in Germany (50 percent) said that the US Army played a crucial role in the victory over Nazi Germany.

    All in all, according to various estimates, the Red Army liberated  almost 50 percent of the states that make up present-day Europe, without counting the European part of Russia, and suffered more casualties than any other force in the war.

    Related:

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    Seventy Years Ago Today: Red Army Takes Berlin
    Estonian Red Army Veteran: Russians Never Doubted They Would Win
    Tags:
    warplanes, event, veterans, anniversary, victory, World War II, Vladimir Putin, United States, Russia
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