From the News & Messenger:

BEDFORD, Va. (AP) — The National D-Day Memorial plans to reinstall a bust of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin that drew opposition from veterans groups, local officials and some lawmakers.

 Memorial President Robin Reed told The News & Advance that the bust will be included in a new Allied leaders section. The new exhibit also will include busts of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, Harry S. Truman, Charles de Gaulle, Clement Attlee and Chiang Kai-shek.

 The exhibit is expected to open in 2011. Reed says memorial officials are still working on the design.

 The Stalin bust was originally installed at the memorial in June. The bust was removed in September after veterans groups and others protested its display.

I dislike Stalin as much as the next guy.  My father, a WWII vet, also hated Stalin.  The family joke around the house was always if only people had listened to Churchill, Patton and my father, we would not have the problems we are having (cold war).  However, to deny his existence in WWII is a little much.  There is also the point of view that we might not have won had Stalin not been in the picture. 

Countries are often morally compromised in wartime.  They often find themselves in alliance with dubious characters.  In times of war, most countries aren’t in the position to take the high road. 

This new area of the D-Day Memorial sounds like a good plan and a compromise.  Donations were down significantly because of the Stalin bust.  It was removed after much controversy.  We can’t  ignore the fact that the dictator was an ally((well, sort of)   and we also don’t want to allow his wretched presence to stand over a memorial  to our heroes and our war dead. 

Stalin was a killer.  Historians make a good case for him being worse than Hitler in sheer number of people killed under his orders.  No glory or honor for him is deserved.  Let there be a ‘leaders’ section.’    That will just have to do.  Perhaps the controversy has been good for the country.  We need to not forget the evil that some men do.

(The removal of the bust of Stalin was in 2010.)

National D-Day Memorial



23 Thoughts to “Bust of Stalin to Return to D-Day Memorial in 2011”

  1. Stalin was a monster, but I’ve met tons of WWII vets who appreciate the Eastern Front that saved the lives of literally thousands and thousands of American lives.
    The Nazi’s put tremendous resources into the “Russian Front” and they all could have been used to fight the European/North African Battles.
    Patton was a phenomenal soldier, but he as a minor political mind.
    War is what it is.
    For those that think an attack on Russia could have prevented the Cold War I again state my passionate feelings for a Universal Draft. When you’ve got some “skin in the game” war is more real than all this phony patriotism.
    If we had a draft, our Middle East pain would be in the rear view mirror.

    My New Year’s advice… View the DVD RESTREPO and read Sebastian Junger

  2. Displaying some’s presence does not necessarily honor them.

    Millions, not thousands of Russians died during WWII. I call that skin in the game.

  3. e

    perhaps they can put stalin’s bust in the white house to replace the bust of churchill that obama unceremoniously and ignominiously gave back to the brits

  4. Emma

    @e That was a very shameful and embarrassing foreign relations bungle.

  5. I missed that and am glad I did. Churchill is one of my favorite imperfect people in this world.

    But more to the point, what do you all think about Stalin’s bust being in the D-Day Memorial?

  6. Stalin should not be part of a D-Day memorial. If this is a NEW, DIFFERENT memorial, presenting busts of those leaders involved in WWII, then he should be presented. Alone, separate from the others leaders.

    Then, again, someone in Ukraine had the right idea about communists…..

  7. Just had a thought….Chang Kai-shek and Mao were fighting the Japanese…..Should they get busts too?

    1. I think they are going to have busts of them, @Cargo.

  8. Cargo, Stalin was the leader of a country who was one of the allied powers. To say he shouldn’t be represented simply whitewashes history. Would we have even won that war were it not for the Russians coming in from the east? Can we discredit the millions of Soviets who perished? The Seige of Leningrad is one of the most horrible accounts of war I have ever read about. Millions of civilians died. Probably a million soldiers. But it also kept the German army occupied.

    I think all of us distain Stalin. He was a murderer along the lines of Hitler. We probably will only know half his sins because Russia was not a conquored nation.

    The fact remains that he and his country were allies, for better or worse. Wartime makes some strange bedfellows also. I say he stays–not because he is great but because he was there and I do not like whitewashed history. Perhaps his presence should be a reminder of American sacrifice also–this is who we had to chum with to get to where we are today.

  9. Censored bybvbl

    I think Stalin’s bust should return to the memorial. It’s a whitewash of history to think that he wasn’t an ally at the time. That doesn’t negate what has been learned about him since, but not acknowledging his role at the time is dishonest. If the US were involved in an all out war right now, I imagine we’d take practically any help we could get to win and perhaps regret some of the alliances later.

  10. Stalin was not involved directly in D-Day. He does not belong in a D-Day memorial.

    Stalin belongs in whatever memorial or representation that is set up for the respective winning leaders of WWII. Stalin was the leader of the only winning AXIS country since he got everything and more that he bargained for with Hitler.

  11. Wolverine

    Cargo — Your sentiments are worthy ones. But it does occur to me that, if you remove that bust of Stalin, you become his imitator in a way. That was one of his favorite tactics of dictatorial rule: whitewash history; and make your opponents become “non-persons.”

    Long ago, in an East European capital under the crushing thumb of the Soviet Union, I visited a small museum dedicated to Lenin and Stalin. (If there was surveillance behind me, that must have confused the Hell out of them!). The chief curator latched onto a rare American visitor with unbelievable haste and gave me a personal tour. Actually, I found that I was the only visitor in the place. I played the personal tour with a very straight face; but inside I was laughing. From the displays in that museum you would have thought that America had had almost no role at all in the victory over Hitler. We are a lot bigger than that, I would think.

  12. We are bigger than that, Wolverine. I agree with you. Unless one do some digging, the war efforts of the Soviets is certainly not given much in the way of limelight from the American side.

    Churchill and FDR did not trust Stalin. In fact, he was not told about the Manhattan Project. However, the Russians were needed. They kept the eastern front plenty busy while Americans, Canadians and Brits all landed on the beaches of Normandy.

    These vet groups need to pull in their horns and examine who some of their allies were in whatever war they were involved with. I seem to remember South Vietnamese kids of draft age riding around on those goofy scooters all over Saigon while our men were off getting pungi sticks in the foot and their guts in their hands for their frigging freedom. Worthy allies? Many would say no. The Saudis? Hrummppphhhhh !!!! The Afghanis? Double Hrummpphhhh!!!!History should be free of politics.

    During war the enemy of my enemy is my friend has to prevail for simple logistics. You can go back to being enemies later.

  13. Cato the Elder

    Here’s an artist’s rendition of what it could look like when finished:

  14. The new section also will include the busts of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, Harry S Truman, Winston Churchill, Charles de Gaulle, Clement Attlee and Chiang Kai-shek.

  15. As I said, putting him in the new section concerning the leaders is fine, just not in the D-Day memorial. He was not directly involved.

  16. I agree that we don’t need him crossing the English Channel and storming Omaha Beach. 🙄

    Man, he really was a rotten bastard. I wonder how many he truly ordered killed.

  17. Estimates put it as high as 15-20 million. The Black Book of Communism estimates that, AT LEAST, 100 million people died during the 20th century due to Communism and its fellow travelers.

    1. @Cargo,

      Does that include those troops and civilians who perished during WWII?

  18. I don’t think so, but, maybe. Stalin’s idiotic policies kill most of his troops, not the Germans. But, I think that this total is only the civilian deaths caused by communistic policies. The Book also includes other communist leaders other than the USSR’s, like Mao.

  19. That’s why I said ‘perished,’ although so many of those in Leningrad starved to death.

    We will probably never know.

  20. Ya know, since President Obama returned Churchill’s bust, I’m sure he would have a place of honor for this guy….. 😉

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