No, I couldn’t think of a more gripping or less longwinded title for this article. Every item gets the headline it deserves, I guess – and this time the cliche proverbial saying ‘it is what it is’ seems quite fitting. To put it more clearly: what you’re looking at is a (somewhat forced) comparison between the geopolitical developments in Europe at the eve of World War II and the current Ukrainian crisis.
It occurred to me yesterday that such parallels were more likely to exist than those between WW1-Germany and current-day Russia, a comparison which heavily littered a recent (and very interesting, thought-provoking) Vox article on the subject of possible Global Escalation in our times. So I got to work and, after a few hours of picking my brain, came up with a mildly-entertaining take on my own hypothesis.
The German component in my favoured equation spans from 1918 up until 1939’ish; the Russian scenario starts somewhere in the mid-90s and theoratically ends in the not-too-distant future. That’s basically 21 years worth of tactical manoeuvres from either side of the equation. Not bad for one long night of brainstorming, is it?
(Although, admittedly, most of the ‘action’ takes place within a timeframe of only a couple of years. But, hey: ‘a 21 year build-up’ has a more dramatic ring to it than ‘a 16 month lead-in’, so let’s just leave it the way it was. This wretched headline can do without such trivial addendums anyway; it’s quite lengthy in and by itself.)
Clickable, all-in-one oversight maps that actually are very likely to confuse the reader:
Map 1: German geopolitics, 1918-39
Map 2: Russian geopolitics, 1994-2015+
A few words on the basic premise, then: I tried to design and describe a chronologically-ordered set of parallels (labeled #1-6 in both maps and text paragraphs); a collection of facts & fables largely based on hindsight, with a little bit of recent experience thrown in for good measure. I’ve always considered myself somewhat of a WW2-buff; and having lived/worked in Russia for a while has given me ample food for thought with regards to the population’s current mindset and its future expectations.
However, nobody’s perfect; and although people regularly call me a ‘nobody’, I’m not claiming to hold the one and only truth on this matter. Obviously some parallels are a bit far-fetched: it’s not easy fitting an unclear present + unreliable future prediction into the simple framework of an established truth that is, say, a well-researched history book on the Rise & Fall of the Third Reich.
I’m aware of the fact that my article covers a delicate subject, which is we I’ve avoided tendentious terminology as much as possible (notice that I haven’t even mentioned ‘Nazi-Germany’ anywhere, for instance). I’m not comparing ideologies here: I’m comparing geopolitical developments & tactics. Just take this article for what it is: an interesting look at some of the more noteworthy parallels between two seemingly disconnected eras and empires.
Undoubtedly the article will be updated every now and then. I welcome your input, feedback and pointless yelling about who’s a Nazi and why exactly. Let’s all just find consolation in the fact that hardly any animals were hurt during the making of this fluff piece, okay? Cool.
(The sequence of events 1 through 6 will now be explained in detail, so please click the ‘(more…)‘ link below if you haven’t done so already).