Friday, June 27, 2008


The democratic decision of the Irish people to reject the dishonest Lisbon Treaty (the EU “Constitution” under another name) in the Meitheamh/June 12 referendum was greeted in the European Parliament last week by several venomous interjections by representatives from France and Germany who competed with each other to insult and denigrate the Irish Nation for daring to challenge the bureaucratic monster at the heart of EU administration and their deceitful attempt to grab power by political bullying and intimidation which was characteristic of the ‘Yes’ campaign in our country.


These disgraceful anti-democratic outbursts show how far the bureaucratic mindset has penetrated the political elites of major EU countries including those who are nominally “socialist” like Martin Schultz, leader of the Socialist Group in the EU parliament and Daniel Cohn-Bendit, (Green Party). We have already referred to Mr Cohn-Bendit’s ignorant remarks below.

Martin Schulz, SPD, Leader of the EP Socialist Group (PES).

Mr Schulz, whose social-democrat party, SPD, is in coalition with Angela Merkel’s right wing CDU in Germany, has the brass-neck to attempt to lecture us on our “behaviour” as Europeans in being so impudent as to reject the Lisbon Treaty despite Mr Schulz telling us how ungrateful we are because of the funds received by us over the years from various European schemes.
Well, first, let us kill off this myth that we are net beneficiaries of European largesse stone dead. Statistics now available from Eurostat, the official EU statistical bulletin, show that over the period 1975 to present other EEC/EU countries benefited from taking fish from Irish territorial waters(the largest in the EU) to the tune of €180bn. Ireland received €37bn in various EU funding over the same period, mostly in agricultural subsidies and latterly in infrastructure supports, giving the EU a net gain of €140bn from our membership and that’s only the official catch declared, it does not cover the huge illegal hauls by Spanish, French, Portuguese and Dutch boats with their false bottoms and illegal sized nets. We also remind Mr Schulz that German farmers received the same level of subsidies as the Irish and since there are millions of them, compared with a few hundred thousand here, Germany received far more from the EU than Ireland ever could.

Mr Schulz attacked Irish Commissioner, Charlie McCreevy, former Fianna Fáil Minister for Finance in Dublin, for his alleged failures to promote the ‘Yes’ campaign and a statement from McCreevy to journalists that he hadn’t read the Lisbon Treaty himself, just like his leader, Taoiseach Brian Cowen, and many other politicians supporting the ‘Yes’ campaign, going by their incoherent and rambling statements during the last few weeks. Now, we on this blog have no great regard for the politics of Mr McCreevy, either in the past or currently, but it is known that he has a slight speech impediment which sometimes makes it difficult to understand exactly what he is saying, especially if he is agitated. Mr Schulz, in an interview on RTÉ Irish television,Monday, Meitheamh/June 23, made sly, disparaging remarks concerning this on the lines that he had to use the translator equipment in the EU parliament chamber to understand Mr McCreevy. If this is the content of the “argument” being made by Mr Schulz in favour of Lisbon, then it is at a very low level indeed and unworthy of someone pretending to “lead” the Socialist Group in the European Parliament.

We are not surprised, though, at this overweening insolence, as it has characterised the ‘Yes’ campaign, both here and on the Continent since the referendum campaign began. What it shows clearly to the Irish people is that the extreme bureaucratic element within the EU administration and Parliament has no respect, either for the individual human beings who make up the populations of the various member countries or the elected representatives, even on their own side, who do not “perform” to the requirements of the fanatical supporters of the EU Super-state like Mr Schulz.

The sourgrapes were not confined to ignorant members of the French and German delegations; Avril Doyle, MEP (Fine Gael) supposedly “representing” Irish electors in the Parliament chose to waste her time speaking against the media stunt of the members of the UK independence Party(a British anti-EU political group) who were wearing T-shirts celebrating the Irish NO-vote, (see photo), instead of reminding the Parliament that the Irish people’s vote was a sovereign, democratic decision and that therefore the Lisbon treaty could not be ratified. Instead, Ms Doyle ranted against the UKIP and failed to deal with the principal issue which has arisen; the lack of democracy in the administration of the EU which the Irish people have given their verdict on.
Avril Doyle, MEP (Fine Gael): more worried about UKIP
T-Shirts than lack of democracy in EU.

Don't Lose Your Head!

In an interview in the Irish Times, Thursday, Meitheamh/June 26th, former French President(1974-81), Giscard d’Estaing and President of the Convention which drafted the EU “Constitution” which, having been rejected by French and Netherlands voters, was re-hashed as the Lisbon Treaty, re-iterated the bureaucratic line that there “is no alternative to a second Irish vote” and when challenged on the question of the existing rule of unanimity stated the EC was founded on unanimity but “We are evolving towards majority voting because if we stay with unanimity we will do nothing”. The aristocratic arrogance of this shows that M. d’Estaing seems to forget that he was President of the French Republic and now thinks like Louis XV1. Well, we have news for M d’Estaing, the people of this Republic are not for bullying or intimidation; the essence of democracy is the consent of the individual citizen to the doings of Government and we have not given our consent to this Lisbon Treaty.

It is part of the propagandist view of the Irish political elite to suggest that the NO-vote in Ireland was somehow due to the malign influence of a handful of right-wing agitators rather than the mature decision of an alert people defending their democratic rights. This fits in with their own shameful subservience to the Brussels Bureaucrats and their failure to condemn the political manoeuvering by French and German leaders to promote ways of ignoring the Irish vote. This will be remembered by the people at the European Parliament elections next year.

FearFeasa Mac Léinn
Áth Cliath/DUBLIN, 27 Meitheamh/June 2008.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


The decision of the Irish People last Thursday, Meitheamh/June 12, 2008, to reject the Lisbon Treaty has left the political elite in disarray not only in Ireland but, across the European Community. Some of the reaction, from French President Sarkynoze and German Foreign Minister, Steinmeier, is petulant and counter-productive as their arrogance proves the NO case even more than was stated during the referendum campaign. The Lisbon Treaty is a dead duck; the sooner the political elite accept this and stop digging deeper into the hole they have made for themselves by trying to bypass democratic support of the peoples of Europe for whatever unity and levels of cooperation can be agreed, the better for everyone. European Unity is not a development for the sole enjoyment of government elites and the bureaucrats, it is only justified if the rights of the people are protected and their living standards are improved thereby.
Daniel Cohn-Bendit, French MEP and retired “revolutionary” from the days of Paris 1968, was reported in “Der Spiegel” as saying the “Irish NO voters don’t give a shit about the EU” and should be asked again “if they really want to stand to one side and block everything”...”I’m sick of phantom debates, I want clear decisions about what’s to become of Europe”. Leaving aside the incongruity of speech as to how one can block anything by standing to one side, we suggest Mr Cohn-Bendit looks in the mirror as he was one of the members of the unelected convention which drew up the original EU Constitution of which the Lisbon Treaty is the identical twin. So, if there is lack of clarity of decisions, he knows where to look. We, for our part, are sick of pig-ignorant remarks from the likes of Mr Cohn-Bendit who don’t bother themselves to try to understand the criticisms being made of their dogmatic prescriptions for Europe which are not shared by the vast majority of people in Europe.

In an ocean of ignorance it was welcome to see some excellent common sense from former French Foreign Minister, Hubert Védrine, a minister in Chirac’s government, who stated “European elites want to act as if they were in a federation, but, it’s not a federation. You cannot make peoples disappear, so, we’re going in circles. “We’re wasting time looking for the ideal Treaty when we should be concentrating our efforts on having policies on energy, on ecology, on how to act towards China… it’s not Treaties that prevent us doing so”. “For 10 or 15 years people have been showing that they are happy to live in peace, to cooperate and have shared projects, but, they don’t want to be merged together. The elites don’t accept this idea, so they keep trying to invent new mechanisms”.
Exactly. It should be a warning to the other smaller states of the Community that if Ireland is bullied on this occasion, it could be they will be next on some other issue which is in their vital interest. Beware.

FearFeasa Mac Léinn
Áth Cliath/DUBLIN, 17 Meitheamh/June 2008.

Monday, June 16, 2008

..... And NO again.

In a crushing and humiliating defeat of the Brussels Bureaucrats, the intelligence and wisdom of the Irish People and their passion for Democracy made a historic step in the development of a People’s Democratic Europe. The despicable and dishonest Lisbon Treaty, the EU Constitution under another name, has been consigned to the rubbish bin, the political elites and the bureaucrats have suffered the inevitable consequence of their contempt for the people and democracy.

The result of last Thursday’s Constitutional Referendum, 12 Meitheamh/June, 2008, shocked the political establishment of the Irish Republic as the people took into their own hands the defence of their own democracy and trounced the latest bid of the Brussels Bureaucrats to grab unjustified and unwarranted power to themselves and diminish the rights of all the peoples of the European Community in a sly and deceitful document deliberately calculated to confuse and mislead the voters.

On Friday morning, Meitheamh/June 13, 2008, as the avalanche of NO votes emptied from the ballot boxes all over the country, the political elite and their hangers on stood dumbstruck and shocked to the core as they stared defeat in the face and realised that the people had rejected the lies, bullying and threats of the shambling ‘Yes’ campaign and asserted their authority and sovereignty as the Constitution, Bunreacht na hÉireann, declares.

As the piles of NO votes mounted, the international media, crowded into the precincts of ancient Dublin Castle at the national count centre, broadcast the news around Europe and the world that the Irish People had decisively rejected the Lisbon Treaty in a stunning defeat of a Government proposal, unprecedented by its majority in the history of the Irish Republic.

As the shockwave of the result swept across Europe, the Bureaucrats of Brussels and the leaders of those countries who had refused their own peoples the right to vote on this Constitutional Treaty, stood in dismay that the people of one small island had brought a halt to the conspiracy against democracy represented by this damnable Treaty. The political situation in the EU is transformed. One thing should be made clear; not only do we reject the Lisbon Treaty but we also reject any attempts to keep it in existence by backdoor methods or illegal pressure on the Irish Government or people.

Such attempts would be disastrous for social peace and cooperation in Europe and, let there be no doubt, would result in widespread unrest and dissent in all of the member states which the political elite would not be able to contain. They enter upon that road at their peril. We hope wiser counsel will prevail and that the deficiencies in the administration of European cooperation be remedied by establishing involvement of the peoples at every level of development, without unnecessary delay, and a permanent end to bureaucratic diktat and closed door manoeuvring. The people of Ireland and the rest of Europe demand no less.



FearFeasa Mac Léinn
Áth Cliath/DUBLIN, 14 Meitheamh/June, 2008.

Sunday, June 08, 2008


The release of the latest Irish Times/TNS MRBI poll results rocked the political elite in Leinster House, Friday, 6 Meitheamh/June 2008, as the poll showed a dramatic slide in the ‘Yes’ vote on the Lisbon Treaty from 46% support in February to only 30% this week and an equally dramatic increase in the NO vote from 18% to 35%. This is an unprecedented collapse of support, in a few weeks, of any Referendum proposal put to the people since the Constitution, Bunreacht Na hÉireann, was adopted in 1937.


Last week, in an example of the shambles of the pro-Treaty supporters campaign, consternation broke out in the ‘Yes’ side with newly elected Taoiseach, Brian ‘Biffo’ Cowen attacking pro-Lisbon parties Labour and Fine Gael for not doing enough campaigning to increase the ‘Yes’ vote percentage in recent weeks. This brought a sharp response by Labour leader, Éamonn Gilmore, and Fine Gael Leader, Enda Kenny, splitting the ‘Yes’ campaign wide open and exposing the contradictions between these parties and their sham alliance in favour of Brussels’s power grab in the Lisbon Treaty. Going by General Election results last year, these three parties represent 85% of the electorate which means that only half their voters are convinced of the empty arguments in favour of this dishonest referendum proposal. Biffo is quite obviously trying to set up Labour and Fine Gael as scapegoats for a defeat in the referendum and avoid the political fall-out from attaching to Fianna Failure and it’s blundering, pig-ignorant campaign. Biffo Cowen, and several ministers have admitted to not even having read the Treaty which they want people to vote for; a shocking contempt for democracy and the intelligence of the voters.

While that shambles was being fought out over the air waves and the press, Biffo, under severe pressure from the Farmer’s organisations to make a statement regarding the use of Veto by Ireland if the WTO trade talks produce results unfavourable to Irish agriculture has been forced to concede the question to the ICMSA at a meeting on Monday, Meitheamh/June 2 and the use of the veto was conceded to the IFA at a tense meeting at Leinster House. The distinct impression, noted by most observers, media and diplomatic, is that of a shambling government in blind panic at this late stage in the Referendum campaign as the spectre of historic defeat on Thursday week looms.

The bluff and bluster of the Yes campaign has fallen apart in spectacular fashion. Despair has set in various quarters, especially in the Brussels elite who are seeing their plans for more power accruing to them vanish by the minute. Conceding to the Farmers organisations has put Cowen in the position of risking an official NO vote by SIPTU, Ireland’s largest Trade Union at their meeting this week, having rejected SIPTU’s demand that the government bring in legislation to guarantee collective bargaining for Trade Union members, within Irish Law, which Cowen rejected last week. Now he has been seen to publicly cave-in to the Farmers, Trade Unions must be wondering whether they count for anything in Cowen’s view of the world.

Despite all the lies, deliberate misinformation, the threats, bullying and predictions of disaster if the ‘Yes’ campaign was defeated, the people have shown that they will not be intimidated by the likes of the CockRoche, government Minister for European Affairs, who has been desperately trying to divert attention from the actual proposals in the Lisbon Treaty and chase the hares of supposed “punishments” for Ireland if we dare to vote NO, and the constant emphasis on the alleged massive benefits Ireland has received from EU funding.

Nevertheless, as the discussion level has increased, the bluff and bluster of the ‘Yes’ campaigners coupled with a hectoring, bullying attitude by almost all of their spokespeople, the voters have had the sense to see that they are being railroaded into voting for an unworkable, unwanted load of gobbledegook which is just a cover for increasing the power of the bureaucrats at the centre of the EU administration in Brussels.

The Trade Union movement is also split on this referendum with ICTU officials recommending ‘Yes’ and individual unions taking both ‘Yes’ and NO positions. Trade Unions and the Labour Party who have decided to support this Treaty have as their main plank, the so-called “Charter of Fundamental Rights” which is attached to the Treaty as a declaration of aspirations but not given any legal force or process of jurisprudence despite being described as “legally binding” by supporters of the Lisbon Treaty.

The Charter “rights” are nowhere concretised in the Lisbon Treaty and are not enforceable in any court. In fact, they are several times countered by other articles giving supremacy to national laws or EU objectives as stated in the treaty. So, in no way can these rights be described as “fundamental” except in an aspirational sense only; you can’t have a “fundamental” right that is restricted by other laws and directives. By this dishonest sleight of hand the Commission bureaucrats create the illusion of rights being available in the Lisbon Treaty by mere mention only but, not enforceable, while the economic structures of markets, banking and currency, free movement of capital and labour and free competition are all given concrete form and enforceable diktat under EU created bureaucratic law .

The Law is what I say it is….

In the “Irish Times”, 27 Bealtaine/May 2008, Ruairi Quinn, former leader of the Labour Party, criticises ‘NO’ campaigners for focussing on legal cases of which they “have little or no understanding” in the European Court of Justice in arguing that the Court is not favourable in its judgements in any way towards the rights of workers in the EEC. The case most quoted being the recent “Viking” case

But, in another “trivial” case as long ago as 1964, eight years before we joined the then EEC, the ECJ ruled, confirming a similar judgement a year before in 1963;

‘By contrast with ordinary international treaties, the EEC Treaty has created its own legal system which became an integral part of the legal systems of the Member States and which their courts are bound to apply. By creating a Community of unlimited duration, having its own institutions, its own personality, its own legal capacity and capacity of representation on the international plane, and more particularly real powers stemming from a limitation of sovereignty or, a transfer of powers from the States to the community, the Member States have limited their sovereign rights and have thus created a body of law which binds both their nationals and themselves…..It follows that the Law stemming from the Treaty, an independent source of law could not, because of its special and original nature, be overridden by domestic legal provisions, however framed, without being deprived of its character as Community law and without the legal basis of the Community itself being called into question. The transfer by the states from their domestic legal system to the Community legal system of the rights and obligations arising under the Treaty carries with it a permanent limitation of their sovereign rights, against which a subsequent unilateral act incompatible with the concept of the Community cannot prevail’.
(Case6/64 Costa v. ENEL(1964) CMLR 425)

The notable thing about this judgment is that there is NOTHING in the Treaty of the EEC which declares Community Law to be superior to National Law and the ECJ had made law on its own volition without any authority whatsoever. We are now expected to believe that this so-called “Court of Justice”, which it is no such thing, as our High Court and Supreme Court are here in Ireland, but an economic bench of arbitration only, and an adjunct to the Brussels bureaucracy, will be the stalwart defender of worker’s rights throughout Europe? If you believe that, you might also believe in the Tooth-Fairy.


Senator Eugene Regan S.C., of Fine Gael, in a letter to the “Irish Times”, Monday, Meitheamh/June 3rd claimed that by signing the Accession Treaty in 1972 and amending the Irish constitution in the subsequent referendum, Ireland had “signed up” to this decision of the ECJ. Now, Senator Regan is an experienced lawyer and has also worked in the Commission Offices in Brussels as Chef de Cabinet for former Irish Commissioner, Peter Sutherland, so he knows that a contract in which implications for one of the contracting parties is concealed from view or not actually written in the substantive document containing the articles of agreement cannot be valid. Yet, he persists in making these claims in public as part of Fine Gael’s ‘Yes’ campaign.

Later this week, Wednesday, Meitheamh/ June 4th, when challenged on this matter at a public meeting in Dún Laoghaire, Senator Regan failed to answer the question by evasion and further attempted to muddy the waters by implying that because there was “nothing new” in the Lisbon Treaty that hadn’t been part of the previous amended Treaties, of Maastricht, Amsterdam and Nice that the legal status of Irish v. EEC Laws remained the same. In his initial statement at that public meeting Senator Regan failed to inform the audience that the Lisbon Treaty created a new legal entity called the “European Union” and formally replaced the “European Economic Community” of the previous treaties. Again, when challenged, Senator Regan was forced to admit these provisions in the Lisbon Treaty but, tried to play down and reduce the significance of it. The establishment of the “European Union” as a legal identity does create an entirely new situation. It creates a new “citizenship”, which was not in existence previously, alongside national citizenship of the member states which is everyone’s birthright. The are obligations attached to this new citizenship which have implications for the future of everyone which have not been debated or addressed by any of the supporters of the ‘Yes’ campaign. Another example of the deliberate obfuscation and deceit which has characterised the whole campaign of the ‘Yes’ side in this debate.

It is quite clear that the main articles of the Lisbon Treaty give total leeway for the privatisation of essential public services such as health, education, transport and domestic water supply. Privatisation and competitive bidding of the public sector services does not, in fact, lead to free competition but to its opposite; capitalist monopoly economy. Particularly in the circumstances of the European Union concentrated ownership, labour costs are pushed down in the name of supranational stabilisation controlled by the European Central Bank, which is not answerable to any government or political authority. And once again, the purchasing power of wage earners weakens while unearned incomes of stock options and bank credit manipulations increase astronomically.

The political scene is now a wide open one in this Referendum campaign; the smug, self-satisfied politicians of Leinster House, the government which wanted to give themselves fat salary increases this year, equivalent in some cases, to an entire years wages for an ordinary worker, now have to get up off their asses and actually work to get some kind of positive response to their blundering, shambling campaign. Having announced the date of the Referendum as 12 Meitheamh/June this year they now have only one week to go not only to reverse their decline but, build a majority vote for their dishonest proposal. We believe that they will fail to do this, but, it is now imperative that the forces of the Left on the NO side must do everything they can organisationally and personally to get the true message across about the reality of the consequences for democracy in Europe if this Treaty gets approved. No scaremongering, no unrealistic promises, just the plain facts are all that is needed to defeat this dishonest Referendum proposal.

The ‘Yes’ side have not produced one piece of evidence of a positive benefit to Ireland if we accept this flawed Treaty. They have ducked and woven on all occasions when challenged on either the facts of the wording of the Articles or the admissions of Barroso, Giscard d’Estaing or even Blank-Cheque Bertie himself that this Treaty was the previous EU Constitution proposal with only minor cosmetic changes. This constitution was rejected by France and the Netherlands and neither those countries nor the EU collapsed. Life went on and they did not lose any of the benefits or funding they were entitled to under current EU rules.

Contrary to the lies of Cowen, the CockRoche and others, the Irish ‘NO’ Campaign is being followed with great interest by the populations of our EU neighbours, denied their democratic rights to vote on this Treaty by the “democratic” EU Bureaucracy and is receiving massive support from all over the EU from ordinary people who are looking to us to defend democracy for everyone and rout the Bureaucrats and their plans for dictatorship in Europe.

Demand Democratic Vote for ALL peoples of Europe on the Lisbon Treaty!!

VOTE NO to 4th REICH Modern Fascism!!

Abolish Warmongering NATO military alliance with Washington!!

FearFeasa Mac Léinn
Áth Cliath/DUBLIN, 07 Meitheamh/June 2008.

On Friday, Bealtaine/May 9, the Russian people celebrated the 63rd Anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany by the Soviet Red Army in WW2 in 1945.
The event this year was notable for the fact that, for the first time since the dissolution of the Soviet Union (USSR) in 1990 and the establishment of the Russian Federation as a successor state; tanks, missiles and other heavy weapons were on display along with the 8,000 marching troops who took part in the Parade in Red Square, Moscow.

The achievements of the Russian people, the allied nations of the former Soviet Union, and their military, constitute the greatest epic of struggle and eventual victory in the history of human conflict, never likely to be equalled whatever the fate of humanity in the future.

Adolf Hitler’s Fascist German hordes invaded the Soviet Union in 1941, hoping for a quick victory against a despised and denigrated ‘sub-human’ Russian Slavic people by the Third Reich “Master Race”. Hitler had disposed of all opposition in Western Europe except Britain and calculated that a defeat of the Soviet Union would force Britain to come to peace terms soon after.

The Fascist Dictator wildly underestimated the resistance of the Soviet peoples and the quality of their military and armaments.

Although the fascist armies made initial breakthroughs of Soviet defences and occupied large tracts of Soviet territory, stubborn resistance in the rear and Soviet counter-attacks soon ground the invasion to a halt by the winter of 1941. In 1942, the fascists tried further expansion of their gains but were rebuffed by resolute Soviet defences at Leningrad(St Petersburg), east of Moscow, the Capital, Sevastopol, Crimea and Stalingrad(Volgograd) on the Volga river. Hitler needed to retain Stalingrad to control the Caucasus oil-fields which his forces had just captured.

The German 6th Army was told to capture and retain Stalingrad at all costs. After bitter street fighting which lasted for a couple of months, the Germans captured 90% of Stalingrad by November. The Soviets however had been building up massive forces on the flanks of Stalingrad and launched Operation Uranus on November 19 , with twin attacks that met four days later trapping the Sixth Army in Stalingrad. The Germans requested permission to attempt a break-out, which was refused by Hitler, who ordered Sixth Army to remain in Stalingrad where he promised they would be supplied by air until rescued. About the same time, the Soviets launched the Second Rzhev-Sychevka Offensive in a salient near the vicinity of Moscow. Its objective was to tie down Army Group Center and to prevent it from reinforcing Army Group South at Stalingrad. In December German relief forces got within 30 miles of the trapped Sixth Army before being turned back by the Soviets. By the end of the year, Sixth Army was in desperate condition, as the Luftwaffe was only able to supply about a sixth of the supplies needed.
After the surrender of the German Sixth Army at Stalingrad on February 2 , 1943 , the Red Army launched eight offensives during the winter, many concentrated along the Don River, Russia near Stalingrad. Operation Citadel On July 4, the Wehrmacht launched a much-delayed offensive against the Soviet Union at the Kursk salient. Their intentions were known by the Soviets who had hastened to defend the salient with an enormous system of earthwork defenses. Both sides massed their armor for what became a decisive military engagement. The Germans attacked from both the north and south of the salient and hoped to meet in the middle, cutting off the salient and trapping 60 Soviet divisions. The German offensive got ground down as little progress was made through the Soviet defenses. The Soviets then brought up their reserves and the largest tank battle of the war occurred near the city of Prokhorovka. The Germans had exhausted their armoured forces and could not stop the Soviet counter-offensive that threw them back across their starting positions. In August Hitler agreed with his commanders to a general withdrawal to the river Dnieper line and as September proceeded into October 1943, the Germans found the Dnieper line impossible to hold as the Soviet bridgeheads grew, and important Dnieper towns started to fall.
Early in November the Soviet forces broke out of their bridgeheads on either side of Kiev and recaptured the Ukrainian capital. First Ukrainian Front attacked at Korosten on Christmas Eve. The Soviet advance continued along the railway line until the 1939 Polish-Soviet border was reached. In the north, a Soviet offensive in January 1944 had relieved the siege of Leningrad . In March, two Soviet fronts encircled Generaloberst Hans-Valentin Hube 's German First Panzer Army north of the Dniestr river. The Germans escaped the pocket in April saving most of their men but losing their heavy equipment. In early May, the Red Army's 3rd Ukrainian Front engaged German Seventeenth Army of Army Group South which had been left behind after the German retreat from the Ukraine. The battle was a complete victory for the Red Army, and a botched evacuation effort across the Black Sea led to over 250,000 German and Romanian casualties.
With Soviet forces approaching, German troops occupied Hungary on March 20 as Hitler thought that the Hungarian leader, Admiral Miklós Horthy , might no longer be a reliable ally. Finland sought a separate peace with Stalin in February 1944, but the terms offered were unacceptable. On JUNE 9 , the Soviet Union began the Fourth strategic offensive on the Karelian Isthmus that after three months would force Finland to accept an armistice.

Operation Bagration, a Soviet offensive involving 2.5 million men and 6,000 tanks, was launched on June 22 and was intended to clear German troops from Belarus. The subsequent battle resulted in the destruction of German Army Group Centre and over 800,000 German casualties, the greatest defeat for the Wehrmacht during the war. The Soviets swept forward, reaching the outskirts of Warsaw on July 31.

After the destruction of Army Group Center, the Soviets attacked German forces in the South in mid-July 1944 and in a month's time cleared the Ukraine of German presence. The Red Army's 2nd and 3rd Ukrainian Fronts engaged German Heeresgruppe Südukraine, which consisted of German and Romanian formations, in an operation to occupy Romania and destroy the German formations in the sector. The result of the battle was complete victory for the Red Army, and a switch of Romania from the Axis to the Allied camp.

The Red Army's 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Baltic Fronts engaged German Army Group Centre and Army Group North to capture the Baltic region from the Germans. The result of the series of battles was a permanent loss of contact between Army Groups North and Centre, and the creation of the Courland Pocket in Latvia. From December 29 , 1944 to February 13 , 1945, Soviet forces laid siege to Budapest which was defended by German Waffen-SS and Hungarian forces. It was one of the bloodiest sieges of the war.

Warsaw, 6 June 1944.

The proximity of the Red Army led the Poles in Warsaw to believe they would soon be liberated. On August 1 they rose in revolt as part of the wider Operation Tempest. Nearly 40,000 Polish resistance fighters seized control of the city as German army units moved into the city to put down the revolt. The resistance ended on October 2 . German units then destroyed most of what was left of the city. The Poles acted prematurely, as the Soviet forces had not sufficiently replaced losses in materiel or manpower to launch a sufficiently strong offensive against the Germans in Warsaw. The main consideration being the ultimate defeat of the Wermacht in the field rather than the liberation of one city, however desirable to the inhabitants.

Despite raucous criticism from the western Allies and the Polish nationalists in exile in London, the Soviet commanders held to their original strategy and on January 12 1945 the Red Army was ready for its next big offensive. Marshall Ivan Konev 's armies attacked the Germans in southern Poland, expanding out from their Vistula River bridgehead near Sandomierz.

January 14, Marshall Konstantin Rokossovsky's armies attacked from the Narew River north of Warsaw. They broke the defences covering East Prussia. Marshall Zhukov's armies in the centre attacked from their bridgeheads near Warsaw. The German front was now in shambles. On January 17 , Marshall Zhukov took Warsaw. On January 19, his tanks took Lodz . That same day, Marshall Konev's forces reached the German pre-war border. At the end of the first week of the offensive the Soviets had penetrated 100 miles deep on a front that was 400 miles wide. By February 13, the Soviets took Budapest. The Soviet onslaught finally halted at the end of January only 40 miles from Berlin, on the Oder river.

The Red Army (including 78,000 soldiers of the 1st Polish Army ) began its Battle of Berlin on April 16 . By now, the German Army was in full retreat and Berlin had already been battered due to preliminary air bombings. By April 24 the three Soviet army groups had completed the encirclement of the city. Hitler had sent the main German forces which were supposed to defend the city to the south as he believed that was the region where the Soviets would launch their spring offensive and not in Berlin.

As a final resistance effort, Hitler called for civilians, including teenagers, to fight the oncoming Red Army in the Volkssturm militia. Those forces were augmented by the battered German remnants that had fought the Soviets in Seelow Heights. But even then the fighting was heavy, with house-to-house and hand-to-hand combat. The Soviets sustained 305,000 dead; the Germans sustained as many as 325,000, including civilians. Hitler and his staff moved into the Führerbunker , a concrete bunker beneath the Chancellery, where on April 30 1945 , Adolf Hitler , along with his bride, Eva Braun committed suicide.
Admiral Karl Dönitz became leader of the German government after the death of Hitler, but the German war effort quickly disintegrated. German forces in Berlin surrendered the city to the Soviet troops on May 2 , 1945 . The German forces in Italy surrendered on May 2 , 1945 and German forces in northern Germany, Denmark, and the Netherlands surrendered on May 4 ; and the German High Command surrendered unconditionally all remaining German forces on May 8th in Potsdam. The Soviet Union celebrated " Victory Day " on May 9 . The last Allied conference of World War II was held at the suburb of Potsdam, outside Berlin, from July 17 to August 2 .

The Potsdam Conference saw agreements reached
betweenthe Allies on policies for occupied Germany. Subsequently, political differences between the wartime allies led to a “Cold War” between the USA/Western Europe and the Soviet Union and its allies which lasted for 45 years, until 1990.
Nothing of subsequent history, however, could diminish the consummate victory of the Soviet Red Army against Hitler Germany, all those years ago in 1945 and the massive sacrifices of 20,000,000 or more casualties and huge losses of material values which were entailed by that victory.

FearFeasa Mac LéinnÁth Cliath/DUBLIN, 09 Bealtaine/May 2008.