Soviet Communism's Downfall YEARS AGO

VFW Magazine, November/December 2011 | Go to article overview

Soviet Communism's Downfall YEARS AGO


The Cold War has been lost to history, only a dim memory to all but a few.

Startling finding: according to a citizenship test administered by Newsweek and reported in the March 28 & April 4, 201 1, edition, a whopping 73% of Americans could not identify communism as the ideology America opposed during the Cold War.

As Fred Kempe recently wrote in his book, Berlin 1961, "The Cold War is still the least understood and worst reported of our three world wars." Judging from the Newsweek revelation, this is apparently so.

Communism, it appears, is totally absent from the curriculum, as well as the public mind. Someone has done an efficient "cleansing" of post-WWII history of one of the most momentous events of the 20th century. As the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Soviet Union nears - it collapsed on Dec. 25, 1991 - it would serve us well to take a jaunt down memory lane.

From 1917 to 1991- almost 75 years- U.S. foreign policy was engaged in combating communism. Some 95,491 Americans lost their lives in three wars (Korea, Vietnam and the various campaigns lumped under the Cold War) waged against that ideology. Yet nearly three-fourths of the American public has no recollection of that life and death struggle.

Perhaps a stark reminder is in order. In his The Great Big Book of Horrible Things: The Definitive Chronicle of History's 100 Worst Atrocities (20 1 1 ), Matthew White concluded:

"Never trust anyone who argues against communism on theory. The bigger problem is that every Communist regime in history killed huge numbers of its own people. . . . Death and destruction have followed every single Communist regime ever established, there would seem to be a flaw somewhere in the system."

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Above: On Dec. …

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