The Confederation of European War Veterans(CEAC) passed a statement drawn up by the Estonian Frontline Soldier’s Association in which the two regimes of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union were equalized in terms of brutality and oppression. The statement received unanimous agreement and were sent on to the European Parliament. Estonian soldiers fought both for the Soviet Union and for Nazi Germany. The Defense Minister of Estonia noted: “Estonia and its men fought on both sides of the frontline not for communism or fascism, but against both of them.”
The complex ethical and moral issues raised by World War II may appear distant from contemporary societies, but they must be addressed. To claim Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union in World War II were equal in threats to humanity is a complete misreading of history. Nazi Germany launched attacks on Poland and Western Europe with the intention of gaining complete control of Europe and then most of the world. The Soviet Union piggy backed on the German invasion and took control of eastern Poland and then of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. But, there never was any Soviet Union plan to attack nations of western Europe. There was no Soviet equivalent of the Holocaust in which Nazi Germany intended to kill every Jew they could find as well as Gypsies and Gays. There may have been communist rhetoric about overthrowing capitalism, but the words were never translated into action. Nazi Germany was the threat to human existence and during World War II its forces killed over thirty million people.
The Soviet Union acted in brutal ways toward the people of Estonia, but to equate that behavior with the threat of Nazi Germany to the peace and security of the world is not in accord with history. The Defense Minister of Estonia fails to mention in his statement that Estonian troops assisted the Nazi German murder of thousands of innocent Jews. Estonian soldiers who fought in the Red Army did not kill Jews.