On June 22, 1941, over four million troops of National Socialist Germany and its vassal states began a massive invasion of the Soviet Union along an 1,800-mile front. It was the largest-scale invasion in history, and it met immediate success. The Soviets, their command decimated by Stalin’s purges and lulled into complacency by the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, were thrown back everywhere. Stalin himself was stunned by the invasion, and even refused to believe initial reports that it was happening at all. In the crucial early days he retreated into silence and did nothing as his armies were cut to ribbons.
The Germans ultimately advanced so far that their armies could be heard inside Moscow. The fall of the Soviet Union seemed inevitable. Hitler was already the master of Europe. His hateful, genocidal agenda was already being implemented. He had outmaneuvered the weak and vacillating leaders of the Western democracies, who had tried to appease him and then, when war was inevitable, initially fought it half-heartedly. There seemed to be no stopping him, and no stopping Europe (and then the world) from plunging into darkness. And there was arguably no day on which his final victory seemed more assured than June 22, 1941.
But his final victory never came. Nor will the final victory of his children and heirs, the forces of darkness and oppression, of authoritarian control, of the forcible silencing and demonization of forces of freedom, ever come — as dark as things look today for the defenders of the freedom and the dignity of every human person. The blades of grass will ever spring up through the concrete. They cannot be stopped, and will never be stopped.