On May 8 and 9, 1945, the world celebrated the victory in Europe of the Allies — the U.S., Britain and the USSR — over the forces of Hitler fascism that first destroyed democracy in Germany and then overran and terrorized country after country on the continent.

At the time, it was widely recognized even by the extreme right in the U.S. that this victory — rolling back the looming shadow cast over the world by Nazism — could never have been won without the heroic efforts and terrible sacrifices of the socialist USSR. Without the resilience demonstrated by the world’s first socialist country in the long fightback from Stalingrad to the liberation of Eastern Europe, the world’s peoples might still be struggling to throw off the shackles of fascist domination.

Washington’s imperial ambitions and its fear of socialism’s proven strength quickly led to the Cold War and the vilifying of socialism. Nevertheless, the USSR continued throughout its existence to uphold world peace and mutual security, and to support people around the world struggling to decide their own future.

Among these were the people of Vietnam — fighting for freedom first from French colonial rule and then from a U.S. ruling class determined to “roll back Communism” and willing to use lies to ignite the flames of war.

Today, though the Soviet Union no longer exists and millions living in its former territories are experiencing sharp suffering, the Vietnamese people have again shown socialism’s resilience in their rise from the nightmare of carpet bombings and Agent Orange. Thirty years ago, on April 30, 1975, they restored their country’s unity and won the right to build the society they chose.

As the world marks these two anniversaries, people everywhere are rising up to demand freedom. They call for abolition of nuclear weapons, an end to war and occupations in Iraq, Palestine and Haiti, a chance to build societies of their choice and to form international relations of peace, mutual respect and cooperation.

Fairness and justice — qualities the American people hold in high regard — demand that all Americans of good will join in these worldwide demands.