No one wants to believe that they’re the bad guy. World War II was the worst example of inhumanity, treachery, and barbarism the world has ever known, and it’s no surprise that decades later, the heirs of its legacy are still attempting to sort out its brutal inheritances. Audrey Wilson explains in Foreign Policy how this legacy affected the recent World Holocaust Forum in Jerusalem, writing (abridged):
In recent months, Putin’s government has downplayed parts of the Soviet Union’s World War II legacy—such as attacking Poland from the east as Germany attacked it from the west in 1939—and highlighted its role in the liberation of Poland from the Nazis. That’s led Poland to accuse Russia of rewriting history.
Putin last month appeared to blame Poland for the outbreak of war—remarks that were unusual even by his standards. While Putin has clearly done some archival research, his historical revisionism wouldn’t earn him a passing grade at any reputable university, Sergey Radchenko argues in FP.
What about Polish revisionism? Poland, meanwhile, has faced criticism that it is ignoring the role of some Poles who aided the Nazis. Indeed, the Polish government’s own questioning of Poles’ role in the Holocaust—and its effort to criminalize any mention of Polish responsibility—led to a diplomatic standoff with Israel last year and prompted Israel’s foreign minister to declare that Poles “suckle anti-Semitism with their mother’s milk.”
Read more here.