The End of World War II: German Defeat or Liberation?
Alice Weidel, cochairwoman of Alternative für Deutschland (AfD), refuses to celebrate “the defeat of one’s own country with a former occupying power.” Her statement came in response to the decision of her cochairman, Tino Chrupalla, to celebrate the anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany at the Russian Embassy earlier this year on May 9. Bild wrote on September 11, “When we celebrate ‘Liberation Day’ in Germany, Alice Weidel is talking about defeat.”
Germany’s surrender was signed on May 8, 1945, but due to time zone differences, it was May 9 in Russia. That’s why Russia celebrates Victory Day every year on May 9, while others celebrate on May 8. Victory Day is understandably a complicated day for Germany. Some, like Weidel, ignore it altogether, saying they don’t want to celebrate the defeat of their country. Others celebrate a “liberation,” viewing Victory Day as the day Germany was freed from an evil regime. Others use May 9 as an opportunity to focus on Germany’s relationship with Russia.
At first glance, celebrating liberation on May 8 or 9 seems to be the best option. No one wants to celebrate the defeat of one’s own nation. But calling the defeat a liberation is not historically accurate.
The directive issued to the commander of United States forces in 1945 read: “Germany will not be occupied for the purpose of liberation but as a defeated enemy nation.” This sounds cruel, but according to the New York Times: “Most Germans who experienced May 8, 1945, did not view the Allies as liberators” (May 8, 2021).
Liberation would mean freeing a people held captive against their will. But many Germans hated the American and British people. The carpet bombing of German cities was meant to break illusions, but it stoked the flames of hatred.
Germans didn’t want to admit defeat, and they fought to the death against it. As a result, U.S. forces were not seen as liberators but occupiers. Germans mourned the destruction of their cities. They saw and abhorred the evils committed in the concentration camps, but they haven’t turned so far from this evil that they could never do it again.
Even after Germany was rebuilt, the hatred lingered. The Allies were unable to heal this division, yet they recruited Germany as an ally against Soviet Russia. In the June 1952 Plain Truth, Herbert W. Armstrong likened the rebuilding of Germany to creating a Frankenstein monster that would eventually turn on its maker.
As explained in Germany and the Holy Roman Empire, Germany’s denazification process was a farce. Instead of teaching right morals, it left Germany to its own devices; many Nazis reentered high political, societal and industrial roles.
In Isaiah 42:9, God reveals: “Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them.” God has foretold another war will erupt that will cause the destruction of all mankind unless He intervenes (Matthew 24:21-22). As Germany and the Holy Roman Empire proves, Germany will start this war.
Here is an astonishing truth: Before a human being can be liberated, he has to experience and admit defeat. Mr. Armstrong explained this in Mystery of the Ages using his own personal example:
This surrender to God—this repentance—this giving up of the world, of friends and associates, and of everything—was the most bitter pill I ever swallowed. Yet it was the only medicine in all my life that ever brought a healing!
For I actually began to realize that I was finding joy beyond words to describe in this total defeat.
After Mr. Armstrong learned to celebrate his own defeat, he started celebrating victories with God.
The removal of an oppressive system is not enough to bring liberation. Each human being has to surrender to God. Conditions in Germany and our world reveal we are still far from this point. The question is: What will it take for us to realize our need for liberation? Our world, Germany and each of us individually will have to answer this question in the near future.