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By David Keene
Conference showed that the values Reagan cherished still endure
Topic - Bernard Montgomery
Nearly seven decades have passed since the close of World War II, yet appreciation of its horrors seems to increase as time passes. More than 50 million people are estimated to have died from 1939 through 1945, 20 million of them in Russia. The extent of destruction and sacrifice that the war engendered remains difficult to comprehend.
Surrenders, like modern wars, are not what they used to be. Tuesday marks the 68th anniversary of the surrender of the German armies that ended the European half of World War II. The last explosions of the war were the popping of champagne corks at 3 o'clock in the morning in the city of Reims in northern France.
In 1956, Britain's Prime Minister, Sir Anthony Eden, saw Egypt's new president, Gamal Abdel Nasser, as a fascist riding a dangerous new wave of Arab nationalism. When Nasser seized control of the Suez Canal from its British and French owners, Eden was sure Nasser was an Arab Hitler and rejected any alternative to direct military action as "appeasement." Guy Mollet, the French premier at the time, shared Eden's opinion and joined with Britain and Israel in the attack on Egypt to remove Nasser.
British military historian Terry Brighton has written a biographical triptych of George Patton, Bernard Montgomery and Erwin Rommel, three of World War II's most colorful commanders.
He knew very well what they wanted, of course, and when they told him they were trying to avoid allowing German civilians to be mistreated by the Red Army he told them: "You should have thought about that before you started the war."
He told them their cause was hopeless and until they surrendered he intended to keep killing Germans.