ASTANA – The United States embassy in Kazakhstan has launched a series of programmes under the title One Victory, to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Allied Victory in World War II.
The official website of the U.S. embassy in Kazakhstan reported that the mission has been organising cultural events to commemorate WWII and honour the generation of Kazakhs and Americans whose sacrifices and struggles made victory possible, as well as support local organisations in recording and preserving veterans’ stories for future generations.
Numerous activities supported by the U.S. mission have already been held in Kazakhstan.
A photo exhibition took place featuring photos of the fighting on the front lines, the achievements of women during the war, life on the Kazakh and U.S. home fronts and cooperation between the United States and the Soviet Union, including the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic (SSR). The exhibition features Kazakh and U.S. heroes, untold stories and a declassified map displaying the routes used by Allied Forces to transport supplies through the Kazakh SSR to the Soviet Union and China. The photo exhibition was scheduled to and will remain open in Almaty and Astana in May and then continue on to other cities throughout Kazakhstan.
As part of the Living Histories project, in February the Council of WWII Veterans met via Skype with representatives of the U.S.-based organisation Veterans of Foreign Wars to discuss international best practices in honouring and preserving the memories of veterans worldwide. Also, throughout March and April, the Council of WWII Veterans and Access Microscholarship English Language Programmes each organised student volunteers to document the memories and experiences of veterans and share them with their schools.
In partnership with local cinemas throughout April, the U.S. Embassy featured films documenting life during WWII free of charge.
In order to highlight songs popular in both the U.S. and the Kazakh SSR during WWII, on April 20-28, the 1940’s jazz group the Ari Roland Quartet visited Almaty, Astana and other selected Kazakh cities to perform for veterans and the general public.
The Heritage Association of Afghan Veterans is producing a documentary film featuring WWII veterans recounting their part in the victory and will broadcast the programme throughout Kazakhstan.
It is planned that eminent historian Dr. Timothy Naftali will deliver lectures on cooperation between the Allied Forces during WWII in Astana and Almaty in May. Dr. Naftali has a Ph.D. from Harvard University and is the former director of the Richard M. Nixon Presidential Library.
Also, the U.S. mission has an active social media campaign. Since February it has regularly posted photos, infographics, and other information about World War II on the Embassy and its Almaty Consulate Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, and Instagram accounts.
As the Embassy’s Facebook page reiterated, the United States provided vital lend-lease supplies to the Soviet Union. The Kazakh SSR was a key partner in this effort and an important transit corridor during World War II.
Before World War II, it seemed unlikely that the United States would help the communist country, which was led by Joseph Stalin. However, in 1940, President Franklin Roosevelt decided to improve relations with the USSR because of his strong belief that Hitler’s Germany was the biggest threat to world peace, the Share America web site read.
During World War II, all the republics of the former Soviet Union suffered catastrophic casualties. Official figures say that 26.6 million Soviet citizens died, including 8.7 million military personnel, the largest loss of life among the allies.
According to Share America, although the U.S. was still formally neutral when the 1941 Lend-Lease Act was approved, the law allowed it to become what Roosevelt called the “arsenal of democracy” by sending military supplies to those fighting Nazi Germany. The Soviet Union became the second-largest recipient of U.S. aid; the British Commonwealth received the most, acquiring $11.3 billion worth of munitions and other materials, including industrial equipment, raw materials, clothing and food.
The Lend-Lease Act was the principal means for providing U.S. military aid to foreign nations during World War II. The act authorised the president to transfer arms or any other defence materials for which Congress appropriated money to “the government of any country whose defence the President deems vital to the defence of the United States.” Britain, the Soviet Union, China, Brazil, and many other countries received weapons under this law, www.history.com reported.