Alexander Palace Forum

Discussions about Russian History => The Russian Revolution => Topic started by: Lass on April 05, 2005, 12:26:12 PM

Title: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Lass on April 05, 2005, 12:26:12 PM
Josef Stalin or Adolf Hitler?

Hitler seems to be regarded as THE example of cruelty and tyranny. Do you think he was worse than Stalin?

(I hope this isn't out of place on this board.)
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: LisaDavidson on April 05, 2005, 01:07:21 PM
I vote for Stalin because a) he murdered more people - i.e. 40 million dead, making him the most prolific mass murderer in history, b) he was in power longer, from 1924 - 1953, so he was able to make more people suffer for a longer period of time and c) everyone gets how evil Hitler was, but there are still people in the former USSR who want Stalin back!
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: hikaru on April 05, 2005, 01:16:46 PM
Taking into consideration WWII I vote for Hitler for 1000%.
Stalin did not burn people.

If you will compare Stalin or Lenin I will say that the Lenin was worse for 100%. I think that nobody can not count yet how many people was murdered during the time of revolution.
(I do not want to say the Stalin was good but)
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Lass on April 05, 2005, 02:23:43 PM
Good points. :)

I'd be inclined to say Stalin was worse. For example, the famine that he created killed more people than we will ever know for sure. And that was just one atrocity. Altogether, he killed more people than Hitler, and the cult that surrounded him lasted for many years after his death. In addition, he brainwashed at least one generation with his ideas.

On the other hand, Hitler started a war that spread all the way round the globe, destroying not only the lives of his own people and those in neighbouring countries, but that of people worldwide. American, African and Indian troops died in WW2. In addition, he totally wrecked the economy and structure of Germany, leaving it in a situation that could have turned out as disastrous as post-WW1 Germany.

Still, I would tend to think that Hitler was individually resopnsible for WW2, while Stalin was just a successor to the Bolsheviks who first took over Russia...

It's not an easy question!

Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Elisabeth on April 05, 2005, 02:44:48 PM
I would say that Hitler and Stalin virtually tie for Most Evil Person Ever. As previously stated, Stalin was responsible for more deaths. We should also pause to remember that if it had not been for his treaty with Nazi Germany, carving up Poland (the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact), WWII might never even have started, because Hitler would have been faced with fighting a two-front war from the very beginning (in 1939 instead of 1941).

On the other hand, Hitler invented the "Final Solution," the deliberate attempt to exterminate every Jewish person in the world down to the last man, woman, and child - that's a magnitude of evil that I think even Stalin did not quite achieve. True, Stalin sentenced entire peoples to all but certain death, but there was always that slight chance one might escape, or one's children might, because the total extermination of ethnic minorities was not Stalin's ultimate goal - only their complete subjugation to the Soviet system.

So basically we're being asked to choose between two devils, and I guess that here I would follow the example of most Soviet citizens after the Nazi invasion of 1941 - who, much as they hated Stalin, eventually decided that of the two choices, Hitler or Stalin, Stalin was the lesser evil, the lesser devil.  
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Laura Mabee on April 05, 2005, 03:02:14 PM
Interesting question. Both men have a loaded history of cruelty. I wouldn't know who to pick
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Lass on April 05, 2005, 03:09:26 PM
But, bear in mind, Hitler regime ended in 1945. Stalin was in power for longer, and the affects of his rule were to last for decades.

Maybe I am going down the path of which results were worse... You're right, Elisabeth; Hitler killed the Jews because they were Jews. Stalin generally killed those who were a threat to him. Then again the millions that died in the famine were innocents. I don't think I'd be as charitable to Stalin. ;)
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: hikaru on April 05, 2005, 03:22:31 PM
Pls try to imagine: if Stalin did not stop the Hitler and did not save the Europe from Hitler, you never could not get the chance to see St. Petersburg and the palaces around -
Hitler had the plan to ruin the city and suburbs at 1942.
(He made Barbarossa plan , according to which he planned to win till the beginning of 1942)
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Lass on April 05, 2005, 04:34:35 PM
Hitler certainly was an evil man, and I am sure that he would not have stopped at Europe. Having conquered Britain and Russia, he would doubtless have extended the boundaries of his Third Reich across the Atlantic.

Stalin ran his full course; Hitler, mercifully, was stopped short.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Elisabeth on April 05, 2005, 04:38:23 PM
It's true what Hikaru says. Hitler planned the total destruction of St. Petersburg and Moscow, as symbols of hated Slavic culture.  And after he had finished exterminating the Jews, he planned to exterminate the Slavs. It is not well known, but the first deadly experiments with Zyklon B at Auschwitz were actually done on Russian prisoners of war. Literally millions of Russian prisoners of war died of starvation in Nazi camps, as part of a deliberate policy of extermination.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Lass on April 05, 2005, 05:07:29 PM
Too true. He put the Slavs on an equal level (at least almost anyway) with the Jews.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: felix on April 05, 2005, 05:53:46 PM
Stalin,he was our ally,so the evil things he did,didnt get noticed,but Hitler what can one say about him! Maybe they crossed each other out.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Lass on April 06, 2005, 06:45:28 AM
Quote
Stalin,he was our ally,so the evil things he did,didnt get noticed

Seems so awful to think that Britain associated with him. But that's the way of war, I suppose. Certainly, after the war, divisions became very apparent.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: rskkiya on April 06, 2005, 09:19:28 AM
     Hitler was by far the most wicked of the twentieth century --but if we want to run the gamut of history we can always add Oliver Cromwell to the top ten. Stalin was no angel, but I am persuaded that on this (rather silly list) Hitler has the pride of place.

rskkiya
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Lass on April 06, 2005, 09:37:54 AM
Oliver Cromwell? :o Sorry, no no!! :P
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: bluetoria on April 06, 2005, 10:03:50 AM
I think that both Stalin & Hitler were in fact quite insane. Whether they were insane when their quest for power began I am not sure, but I think once they had reached the pinacle of their ambition they were devoured by it & truly lost all sight of reality in their obsession with their own omnipotence & total disregard for anyone or anything which stood in their way.
They are both - IMO - embodiments of Shakespeare's Macbeth who began with a niggling ambition which, 'o'erreached itself.'

The quotation (by whom?? I forget) 'Power corrupts & absolute power corrupts absolutely' in both these cases could be applied to their own minds.

Their insanity does not excuse the evil that they did but is perhaps a warning of what happens when people seek only their own glorification.  
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: rskkiya on April 06, 2005, 05:05:12 PM
Quote
Oliver Cromwell? :o Sorry, no no!! :P

Lass
   Why not? He was a regicide, a dictator, and a religious bigot and he was responsible for massive military crimes if not actually 'crimes against humanity" in Ireland? Perhaps you are not familiar with him... he was not that nice a person.

rskkiya
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Georgiy on April 06, 2005, 05:31:34 PM
There will always be monsters like Stalin, Hitler, Lenin, Pol Pot, Idi Amin and, indeed, Cromwell ;).
The trouble is these days, (and I include those 20th century people with these days) with our more efficient ways of disposing of people, those people are able to kill far more people than someone in say Cromwell's time, who after-all wasn't able to gas people in concentration camps.

As GD Olga said, quoting her father, "the evil that is in the world will become yet more powerful, but in the end it is not evil that destroys evil, but only love". (Paraphrased)
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Lass on April 07, 2005, 08:10:46 AM
Quote
 Why not? He was a regicide, a dictator, and a religious bigot and he was responsible for massive military crimes if not actually 'crimes against humanity" in Ireland? Perhaps you are not familiar with him... he was not that nice a person.

Indeed, I am familiar with him. Before you condemn Cromwell as evil, remember the times he lived in. It was an accepted fact of war, that if you resisted and fought back, and were defeated, you could expect no quarter. The inhabitants of Drogheda knew that. They were offered mercy; they refused mercy, and they got none. If they had been on the winning side, they would have acted no less ruthlessly than Cromwell. I am not justifying what Cromwell did, but I am convinced that he was not evil.

Quote
Cromwell's time, who after-all wasn't able to gas people in concentration camps.

Surely you realise that is a gross mis-representation of Cromwell's character and attitude?! He did not condemn a particular race to die simply because of their race as Hitler did inthe concentration camps. He was, as stated above, acting within the acceptable laws of war at the time.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: rskkiya on April 07, 2005, 05:00:53 PM
lass
I am very familiar with Cromwell. Here it appears that we'll have to simply disagree. ::)
rskkiya

(PS I said nothing about 'concentration camps"!)
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Georgiy on April 07, 2005, 11:42:18 PM
Rsskiya, that was me talking about concentration camps. My point was that people use whatever means of destruction are available at the time and that these days we have nastier and nastier ways of disposal of people up our sleeves.

Lass- Ididn't want to imply that Cromwell was intent on wiping a race of people out, just what I (hopefully) have clarified in the above paragraph - that with different times there are different ways of killing people, and that these days, we have ways of destroying large numbers of people in one fell swoop. Thus 'monsters' of these days may well leave a legacy of more victims, but are they necessarily more monsterous than people from the past. To my mind it is the intent and the desire to eliminate people that is horrifying. (And of course even more horrific when they carry it out)
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Lass on April 08, 2005, 05:32:46 AM
But, as I have already said, Cromwell's mission in Ireland (as an example) was not to eliminate people. It was not the case that he did not kill as many as people/kill them as efficently as Hitler, because he did not have the means to. Given boundless powers over modern weapons and means of warfare/killing, I am convinced he would not have used them. As already stated, Cromwell was following the laws of war in his day in what he did at places such as Drogheda; he did not kill for the sake killing.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: hikaru on April 08, 2005, 01:22:10 PM
Cromwell took all gold art items (like jars, wine's bowl etc) of Great Britain and returned them to the pure gold condition. So
You could enjoy the 16-17th centuries unique gold
art items only if you could visit the Armoury Museum of Moscow Kremlin.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: AGRBear on April 08, 2005, 02:12:12 PM
For those who would like a detailed calendar of Stalin's (Joseph Vissarionovich Djugashvili) life, see the following web  site:

http://www.stel.ru/stalin/index.htm

Stalin's* Reign of Terror was not only tragic for Russia and the world, it is "unforgiveable".

Hitler was horrific  but I think he would have always been in Stalin's shadow.

AGRBear

*Note: Stalin had  the power to save his own son, who was a prisioner of the Germans,  but he did not  This is a mere footnote to his character.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: rskkiya on April 08, 2005, 06:09:32 PM
Quote
http://www.stel.ru/stalin/index.htm
Stalin had  the power to save his own son, who was a prisioner of the Germans,  but he did not  This is a mere footnote to his character.


  It would have been grossly inappropriate for any national leader to 'pull strings' to get his relatives out of internment durring a war ! Neither a saint not a sinner could justify that sort of behaviour -- so it's rather pointless to condemn poor Joseph D. for that!

    Ahhh well - how many angels can dance on a pinhead? What sort of dance would they do?

rskkiya
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Robert_Hall on April 08, 2005, 06:34:37 PM
Indeed, unlike our current lot of politicians, even WWII Roosevelt  had his sons serve, as did the Kennedys, no strings pulled.
Perhaps Bear is still looking under the bed.....
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: hikaru on April 09, 2005, 12:51:36 AM
As for the son, Peter the Great killed or ordered to kill his eldest son Alexis , the heir , because he thought that
Alexis is in oposition to his policy in the country.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Lass on April 09, 2005, 05:29:29 AM
Stalin probably thought it would be good for his image if his son was killed by the Germans. The people could relate to that.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: hikaru on April 09, 2005, 07:04:35 AM
As for Stalin's son .
He (Stalin's son) was defending his Patria as others, so for Stalin he was like one of the others.
If he would save only his child, russians could not be truste him for 1000%. During WWII , he was trusted and supported  for 1000%.
Do you know the slogan , crying  which Soviet Union won the war?
"For the Patria , for the Stalin". And it was not the propaganda, it was from the heart. Nobody was trying to kill the Stalin during the war as some upper Germans tried to kill Hitler. Because , at that time, everybody thought in Russia , that without Stalin , Soviet Union could not win WWII.

I think, Stalin suffered a lot knowing that his child will be killed.

As for Romanovs, they also participated in the war ,
For Example , Boris and Cirill Vladimirovich participated
in Russo-Japanese War ( Cirill was saved by miracle),
a son of Konstantin was killed by Germans (we could say , by relatives)

So , I think, it is the same with Stalin case.

Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: lexi4 on April 10, 2005, 06:12:39 PM
I would be hard-pressed to pick between the two. They were both evil, evil men.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Lass on April 11, 2005, 08:48:31 AM
Well, perhaps it's easier to say - which would you rather have as the dictator for your country?
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Olga on April 11, 2005, 11:03:30 AM
Quote
Perhaps Bear is still looking under the bed.....


She never stops.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: AGRBear on April 11, 2005, 01:15:27 PM
Quote

She never stops.


No, I never stop voicing the truth about Stalin,  who betrayed the Russian people.  I do have to give him credit for being a great con man.  Even to this day, many people are fooled into thinking he was was their hero instead of a person who was worst than Hitler.

AGRBear
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: rskkiya on April 11, 2005, 04:12:39 PM
    Agrbear -- well that is your opinion...I may suggest that 6 million jews  might disagree with you ... ohhh well ...  
   It seems that such obstinant rigid subjectivity makes discussions about this sort of thing rather pointless -- what fruit is better; apples or pears?

rskkiya

PS agrb- have you started a branch of  'the Stalin Haters club?'  
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Elisabeth on April 11, 2005, 04:30:21 PM
Rskkiya, whether you like it or not, Stalin was, numerically speaking, worse than Hitler. You have to wax philosophical - i.e., argue genocide vs. democide - to determine that Hitler was actually worse. Myself, I tend to believe it, but Bear is entitled to her opinion; intellectually, hers is a perfectly valid point of view.

BTW, I don't understand why you are still contributing to this thread, since last time I checked in, you were labelling it "silly."
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Lass on April 11, 2005, 05:21:41 PM
Well said, Elisabeth. :)

I started off the thread, and it was intended to be a perfectly sensible question. We certainly have had some much-appreciated sensible answers. I wanted to see the different angles people look at this issue from, and so I respect all opinions voiced in the thread.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: AGRBear on April 11, 2005, 07:27:11 PM
Quote
   

PS agrb- have you started a branch of  'the Stalin Haters club?'  


I will NEVER start any kind of club which spouts hatred toward anyone or anything.

AGRBear
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Robert_Hall on April 11, 2005, 07:37:04 PM
could have fooled me !
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: AGRBear on April 11, 2005, 08:23:02 PM
Quote
   Agrbear -- well that is your opinion...I may suggest that 6 million jews  might disagree with you ... ohhh well ...  
    It seems that such obstinant rigid subjectivity makes discussions about this sort of thing rather pointless -- what fruit is better; apples or pears?

rskkiya


Hilter murdered 6 million human beings*.
Stalin murdered more than 20 million human beings.

These numbers do speak for themselves.

Discussions are never pointless when it comes to talking about the true characters of Hitler and Stalin if it prevents the future Hitlers and the Stalins from gaining power over a nation of people.

AGRBear

*NOTE: Was referring to the number rysskiya gave when giving numbers of Jews having been murdered.  This did not mean the total number murdered under Hitler.
Quote
   
...[in part]...
Agrbear -- well that is your opinion...I may suggest that 6 million jews  might disagree with you ... ohhh well ...  
    It seems that such obstinant rigid subjectivity makes discussions about this sort of thing rather pointless -- what fruit is better; apples or pears?

rskkiya
...
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: AGRBear on April 11, 2005, 08:46:54 PM
Quote
could have fooled me !


It is not hatred nor revenge I seek.  And, if you have come to that conclusion, then I have not been very clear about where I stand.  What I'd like to see are facts, both good and bad.  Because all facts carry a message of some kind to those of us reading these post.   And, if we can not be honest about the past in our posts today then we've failed not only our selfs but also to all those who follow us in the future.

AGRBear
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Robert_Hall on April 11, 2005, 09:06:34 PM
You most clearly have failed, at least to me. You express intolerance, misunderstanding and lack of respect for those who have followed other flags in sincere belief  in whatever their perception of "Fatherland" is. Simply because others beileve in a different path, perhaps towards a same goal, does not make them evil or even wrong.
All leaders are fair tragets, but all of those leaders had millions saluting them and following orders to some [perhaps ill-defined] goal.
You, AGRBear, denegrate them and their memory. You should be ashamed in using the anti-Stalin vitriol in your aimless wandering in looking for spooks.
If the powers that be on this forum feel I have been too harsh, they are welcome to delete my post. Otherwise, I stand by what I have said.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: hikaru on April 11, 2005, 10:34:06 PM
I do not want argue, but I just want to add that during WWII with Hitler about 30 million  Russian people dead
(not 6 million) .
In this 30 million the people who dead in Stalin's camp was not included.
I just wonder why Hilter killed only 6 million?
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Robert_Hall on April 11, 2005, 10:54:17 PM
My dear Hikaru, ther is no argument. My point is- men [and women] died on many fronts. In many battlefields, many not made of armour and barbed wire.
I feel it is shamefull to put those who fought on a platter of unimportant idealogical chases.
How many bones does one have to dig up to convince some that they are REALLY DEAD ! That no matter how many dances over unfound graves- IT DOES NOT MATTER- they are dust.
The saints do not taste the salt of your tears, they only look above, and taste the sweetness of reward.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Georgiy on April 11, 2005, 11:23:58 PM
To my mind, it is not the numbers that are important - it is the intent to wipe out and destroy other people, of which both Hitler and Stalin, along with others such as Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein etc, which is the most awful and horrific thing. That is not to denegrate the people who have been slaughtered, I just don't think it is right to say X killed so many people,but Y killed this many people, so Y is worse. Both X and Y are guilty.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Olga on April 12, 2005, 05:49:44 AM
I have to agree with Georgi Georgievich.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: rskkiya on April 12, 2005, 08:49:18 AM
     After some examination, I too must agree with Georgie--one cannot really argue that a was worst than b anymore than one can argue that pears are better than oranges and anyone who prefers oranges is somehow morally questionable, disturbed or just wrong!
    And it's true I did say this was a silly topic...So sorry to have overstayed my welcome.

rskkiya
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Lass on April 12, 2005, 09:23:36 AM
Quote
How many bones does one have to dig up to convince some that they are REALLY DEAD !

We will never know just how many people died because of Stalin and because of Hitler.

Georgiy is right; numbers are not everything. Yet, I think, they are still important.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: AGRBear on April 12, 2005, 10:09:11 AM
Life is the mirror which reflects all of us so give your best, treat others with respect, and do to them as you would have them do to you, and, the mirror will reflect life as it should be.  The Hitlers and the Stalins of the world did not, do not and will not understand this and that was and is and will always be a tragedy in the history of all mankind.

The discussion "Was the Revolution Good for Russia" can be found over on the following thread:

http://hydrogen.pallasweb.com/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.cgi?board=revolution;action=display;num=1085981877;start=0

AGRBear
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Michelle on April 22, 2005, 10:06:10 PM
My vote for the more evil person I think would have to be Hitler.  He didn't just kill 6 million people.  That was just the number of Jews he killed.  I believe it was another 6 million people who were gypsies, Jehovah's Witnesses, Slavs, mentally retarded individuals, "political prisoners" (i.e. people who opposed the Third Reich), homosexuals, and the physically disabled whom were added into the equation alongside the Jews.  Of course this only makes about 12 million compared to Stalin's 20.  Yet there's just something about the way Hitler carried out such utterly horrifying genocide that makes me say that he was much worse.  Let's just say I would rather have been someone living under the communist regime (brutal as it may be) than someone who constantly lived under the threat of being gassed in Auschwitz, Sobibor, Treblinka, or any of those other terrifying little pits of hell.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Vera_Figner on April 22, 2005, 10:37:39 PM
Quote
I do not want argue, but I just want to add that during WWII with Hitler about 30 million  Russian people dead
(not 6 million) .
In this 30 million the people who dead in Stalin's camp was not included.
I just wonder why Hilter killed only 6 million?


Glad someone finally pointed this out. Far too often this particular figure is neglected and overlooked in history books.  Thank you, hikaru
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: lexi4 on April 22, 2005, 11:26:37 PM
You are right Vera, it is all too often overlooked.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Lass on April 25, 2005, 04:51:09 AM
Quote
I believe it was another 6 million people who were gypsies, Jehovah's Witnesses, Slavs, mentally retarded individuals, "political prisoners" (i.e. people who opposed the Third Reich), homosexuals, and the physically disabled whom were added into the equation alongside the Jews.

That made me think of something, so I shall throw a spanner in the works ;) and say what is not politically correct...

In today's Western "civilised" society, we will murder the young, infants in the womb. We will murder the old, under the glossy name of "euthanasia". We will murder the terminally ill, supposedly out of "mercy". We will now murder those who are in a serious condition but still with a possibility of recovery.

Take Terry Schiavo as an example. Terry Schiavo's death was murder. Not only was it murder, but it was a barbaric form of murder, i.e., starvation. Not only was it a barbaric murder, but the instruments involved in it were people who ought to be saving and treating human life, not destroying it, i.e., staff in the hospital.

Terry was an ordinary person who had an eating disorder; it was for this reason, at the end of the day, that she was killed. She was a helpless, yet innocent and still very much alive, person. The selfishness of mankind that he should murder those who are a burden to society!

I can hardly understand the blindness of those who will say that we are a civil society when we murder the defenceless, helpless members of our society. These are the people that need our best protection. And yet we look back on Nazi Germany with such apparent sorrow for the atrocities that society committed against its members!

Just what came to mind. :P


Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Olga on April 25, 2005, 05:12:09 AM
Quote
Terry was an ordinary person who had an eating disorder; it was for this reason, at the end of the day, that she was killed. She was a helpless, yet innocent and still very much alive, person. The selfishness of mankind that he should murder those who are a burden to society!


Terri Schiavo was not normal. She was braindead, with no chance of recovery.


Quote
I can hardly understand the blindness of those who will say that we are a civil society when we murder the defenceless, helpless members of our society. These are the people that need our best protection.


Take for example, euthanasia. Have you ever considered that people who choose this option do not wish to live and do not need your 'protection'?

Quote
And yet we look back on Nazi Germany with such apparent sorrow for the atrocities that society committed against its members!


The Holocaust was committed against living, breathing human beings who had already experienced their lives, and who did not want to die. To place abortion and euthanasia on the same table is ignorant and myopic.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Lass on April 25, 2005, 05:29:39 AM
Quote
Terri Schiavo was not normal. She was braindead, with no chance of recovery.

When I say she was normal, I mean that before she deteriorated into the state in which she died, she was as much a human being as the rest of us, and this did not change when she could no longer communicate in the normal way with other people.

Maybe you are unaware of the fact that the Terry Schiavo actually did have a chance of recovery.

Quote
Take for example, euthanasia. Have you ever considered that people who choose this option do not wish to live and do not need your 'protection'?

In Terry Schiavo's case, she was never asked whether or not she wished to live, and so I do not see what that has to do with this particular case. However, there are mentally ill people who, no doubt, could not care less if they were given euthanasia, because they have not the same ability to reason and comprehend exactly what that entails. Does this mean we simply go ahead and do it anyway? How can the answer be anything, but No?

Quote
The Holocaust was committed against living, breathing human beings who had already experienced their lives, and who did not want to die. To place abortion and euthanasia on the same table is ignorant and myopic.

Did Terry Schiavo want to die?

As for abortion, I wonder that you actually brought that in. What unborn child was ever asked if it wished to be born or to be murdered? What difference does it make that they have not the experience of life outside the womb? Are unborn infants any less 'alive' than adult human beings? To argue that they are somehow not alive is absurd.

Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Olga on April 25, 2005, 06:41:55 AM
Quote
When I say she was normal, I mean that before she deteriorated into the state in which she died, she was as much a human being as the rest of us, and this did not change when she could no longer communicate in the normal way with other people.


She could not communicate at all. Braindead people do not do that. Her 'communication' with her parents and people around her was the result of reflex actions.

Quote
Maybe you are unaware of the fact that the Terry Schiavo actually did have a chance of recovery.


There are no cases of people in Persistent Vegetative States recovering after more than two years in that state.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Olga on April 25, 2005, 06:45:09 AM
(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v453/Praskovia/avatars/sucks.gif)
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Michelle on April 25, 2005, 07:48:33 AM
Lass, finally a person on this board who MAKES SENSE!!!!!!!! Well, there are others here of course.  But you are very courageous for bringing this up and I agree totally 100% with you! :)
It's practices like this in the USA that I ABHOR and that is definitely a great failure of this country.  These things need to be stopped.  Sometimes I think our society is no better than Nazi Germany. >:( :'(
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Lass on April 25, 2005, 08:08:22 AM
Thank you, Michelle! :-*
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Lass on April 25, 2005, 08:19:41 AM
Quote

She could not communicate at all. Braindead people do not do that. Her 'communication' with her parents and people around her was the result of reflex actions.

She could smile. I would not call that a reflex action.

Quote
There are no cases of people in Persistent Vegetative States recovering after more than two years in that state.

OK, but what  has that to do with it? You said that Terry Schiavo had no chance of recovery; it is a fact that she did.

I do not know where you are living. I am in Britain, and this is what British law states:

Human Rights Act 1998, which implemented the rights/freedoms stated in the European Convention of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, signed in Rome in 1950.
Quote
Article 2.
1. Everyone's right to life shall be protected by law. No-one shall be deprived of his life intentionally save in the execution of a sentence of a court following his conviction of a crime for which this penalty is provided by law.

Article 5.
1. Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person.


Charter of Fundamental Rights proclaimed by leaders of the EU in December 2000.
Quote
Article 2.
Right to Life.
1. Everyone has the right to life.


EU and British law would appear to agree with me... ::)
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: rskkiya on April 25, 2005, 08:35:31 AM
Quote
 Sometimes I think our society is no better than Nazi Germany. >:( :'(


My (lack of) god Michelle, we agree!
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Michelle on April 25, 2005, 11:34:14 AM
Quote

My (lack of) god Michelle, we agree!


Wow!  That's a first! :o


Lass, Britain sounds like it has much more respect for life than America does.  What are the government's views on abortion over there?
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Lass on April 25, 2005, 01:01:58 PM
Quote
Lass, Britain sounds like it has much more respect for life than America does.  What are the government's views on abortion over there?


'Fraid Britain has nothing over the US...not that I know of anyway, as regards abortion. It goes on all the time, and, as a subject, is generally treated with careless indifference. We have around 150,000 abortions per year or something. To me, though, that seems to contradict both British and EU laws. If the legality of abortion was questioned, however, it would be the law that would be amended, not the carryings on in our hospitals. :(
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: LisaDavidson on April 25, 2005, 03:12:37 PM
Lass and Michelle: You are off topic. I'm sure there are places on the net where you can discuss topics such as Schivo, abortion, and euthenasia. This is not one of them.

The topic on this thread is who was worse, Hitler or Stalin. Kindly return to topic.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Lass on April 25, 2005, 03:33:44 PM
'Tis interesting (?) to note that this is your first contribution to the thread, Lisa. :P

It was me who started the thread, and also me who originally went "off topic". I don't consider it to be a crime. ;) If anyone wishes to post on the original issue, I'm sure they will not feel barred from doing so.

Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: TJ Jones on April 25, 2005, 04:17:56 PM
Well I'd say Stalin was worse he knew full well what he was doing and just didn't care. No emotions at all. Hitler honestly thought what he was doing was right, he was a mad man so he is excused. Stalin knew killing people was wrong but he didn't care. Hitler thought it best for Germany and the world he was just mad a wack job. Stalin was a communist which means he should see all men as equal he knew that, didn't care. Hitler thought with all his heart the Germans were the master race and that they should inherit the world. So my vote is for stalin who expressed no remorse. Hitler thought what the Japanese were doing in China was wrong so that says alot.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Lass on April 25, 2005, 04:32:24 PM
Quote
Well I'd say Stalin was worse he knew full well what he was doing and just didn't care.

Neither did Hitler care. A man who carried out the deeds he did could not really care, could he?

Quote
Hitler ... was a mad man so he is excused.

I myself, for one, grant Hitler no excuse.

Quote
Hitler thought with all his heart the Germans were the master race and that they should inherit the world.

Does not excuse him. Both Stalin and Hitler killed indirectly/directly out of their own greed for other things.

Quote
So my vote is for stalin who expressed no remorse.

Did Hitler express remorse? I don't remember. Maybe you're right, but I didn't think so.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: TJ Jones on April 25, 2005, 05:03:00 PM
What I mean is Hitler did not see what he was doing was wrong which means he had no concept of right and wrong. It does not excuse him..I should not have said that, but I'm saying basically Hitler was crazy he thought what he was doing was a good thing. Stalin knew he was wrong didn't care witch makes him something more sinister then a person who thinks hes doing the world a favor.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: LisaDavidson on April 25, 2005, 05:16:55 PM
Quote
'Tis interesting (?) to note that this is your first contribution to the thread, Lisa. :P

It was me who started the thread, and also me who originally went "off topic". I don't consider it to be a crime. ;) If anyone wishes to post on the original issue, I'm sure they will not feel barred from doing so.



I believe you are mistaken as to this being my first contribution - I recall chiming in quite early with my opinion. (I recall being the first to reply.) By sure number of people murdered, Stalin "wins" IMHO.

It's not a crime to be off topic, and don't recall I did anything but ask you to remain on topic. My reason is, as moderators, we want to keep the discussion going for everyone. Not everyone may be comfortable with a discussion about Hitler and Stalin turning into a discussion about Schiavo and abortion.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Vera_Figner on April 25, 2005, 05:38:26 PM
Quote
Well I'd say Stalin was worse he knew full well what he was doing and just didn't care. No emotions at all. Hitler honestly thought what he was doing was right, he was a mad man so he is excused. Stalin knew killing people was wrong but he didn't care. Hitler thought it best for Germany and the world he was just mad a wack job. Stalin was a communist which means he should see all men as equal he knew that, didn't care. Hitler thought with all his heart the Germans were the master race and that they should inherit the world. So my vote is for stalin who expressed no remorse. Hitler thought what the Japanese were doing in China was wrong so that says alot.


Stalin was a diagnosed paranoid. Not excusing him, but I am not sure he truly comprehended right from wrong in every instance.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Vera_Figner on April 25, 2005, 05:39:05 PM
Quote

I believe you are mistaken as to this being my first contribution - I recall chiming in quite early with my opinion. (I recall being the first to reply.) By sure number of people murdered, Stalin "wins" IMHO.

It's not a crime to be off topic, and don't recall I did anything but ask you to remain on topic. My reason is, as moderators, we want to keep the discussion going for everyone. Not everyone may be comfortable with a discussion about Hitler and Stalin turning into a discussion about Schiavo and abortion.



Thank you Lisa.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: pinklady on April 25, 2005, 07:57:32 PM
I would have to say in my opinion Stalin was the worst, he had more people killed and he had more decades to be in operation.

Now Hitler, the mad Austrian. He was evil and wicked too,  as he killed innocent people for being a different race, religion, way of life etc,
However I have to say, he only had 13 years, oh my goodness, imagine if he had more time.

So Stalin wins cos he had more time, but that's only cos Hitler didnt, so who knows what would have happened, thankfully he didnt finish his "agenda".  
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: lexi4 on April 25, 2005, 09:52:44 PM
Quote

I believe you are mistaken as to this being my first contribution - I recall chiming in quite early with my opinion. (I recall being the first to reply.) By sure number of people murdered, Stalin "wins" IMHO.

It's not a crime to be off topic, and don't recall I did anything but ask you to remain on topic. My reason is, as moderators, we want to keep the discussion going for everyone. Not everyone may be comfortable with a discussion about Hitler and Stalin turning into a discussion about Schiavo and abortion.

Thank you Lisa
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: LisaDavidson on April 25, 2005, 10:15:05 PM
Dear Vera and Lexi 4:

You're welcome! Happy posting!

Lisa
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Lass on April 26, 2005, 03:18:54 AM
Quote

I believe you are mistaken as to this being my first contribution - I recall chiming in quite early with my opinion. (I recall being the first to reply.) By sure number of people murdered, Stalin "wins" IMHO.

It's not a crime to be off topic, and don't recall I did anything but ask you to remain on topic. My reason is, as moderators, we want to keep the discussion going for everyone. Not everyone may be comfortable with a discussion about Hitler and Stalin turning into a discussion about Schiavo and abortion.

Fair enough. I will stay with the original topic, if you like. I'm sorry about my mistake with regards your post; I didn't see it. And I didn't realise you were a moderator until after I had posted. ;)

Quote
So Stalin wins cos he had more time, but that's only cos Hitler didnt, so who knows what would have happened, thankfully he didnt finish his "agenda".

If he had been given time to finish, I dread to think of the results ... :-/
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: rskkiya on April 26, 2005, 08:34:41 AM
This topic is rather pointless--I am the most evil person on the planet!

[glb]MWHAAAHAAAHAAA[/glb]

fear me!
rskkiya

the red
liberal
expat brit
:o :o :o
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: AGRBear on April 26, 2005, 12:03:07 PM
Quote
This topic is rather pointless--I am the most evil person on the planet!

[glb]MWHAAAHAAAHAAA[/glb]

fear me!
rskkiya

the red
liberal
expat brit
 :o :o :o


HHHHHHHHMMMMMMMMMMmmmmmmmmmmmmm.
Let me ponder on that rskkiya  ;)

No, I can't agree.

Surprised???

My vote still is for Stalin.

AGRBear
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: moonlight_tsarina on April 26, 2005, 12:40:50 PM
Quote
This topic is rather pointless--I am the most evil person on the planet!

[glb]MWHAAAHAAAHAAA[/glb]




???
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: C.J._Griffin on June 26, 2005, 03:37:28 PM
Quote
Josef Stalin or Adolf Hitler?

Hitler seems to be regarded as THE example of cruelty and tyranny. Do you think he was worse than Stalin?

(I hope this isn't out of place on this board.)


This is kind of like asking which serial killer was worse - Ted Bundy or John Wayne Gacy. Both Hitler and Stalin were totalitarian tyrants who murdered millions of innocent people in cold blood. If you're looking at body count, then Stalin was probably worse. If you're looking at intent, then Hitler was probably worse. I guess it just depends on your POV.

I think another totalitarian monster should be thrown into the mix. I have been reading a new biography on Chinese Communist dictator Mao Tse-tung by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday. This excellent and massive book, the product of over ten years of research, concludes that Chairman Mao was every bit as evil as Hitler and Stalin, and is probably the biggest mass murderer in all of history, killing more people than the two of them combined ("well over 70 million" - Chang). Review here:

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2102-1626700,00.html

Excerpts:

Quote
For generations, Mao Tse-tung was the acceptable, even fashionable face of communist tyranny....

Ever since the Soviet archives started to reveal the intimate story of Stalin’s tyranny, people have been tempted to compare Hitler and Stalin. Who killed more people? Who was more depraved...? Mao is never mentioned — but he will be now.

Mao: The Untold Story exposes its subject as probably the most disgusting of the bloody troika of 20th-century tyrant-messiahs, in terms of character, deeds — and number of victims. This study, by Jung Chang, the author of Wild Swans, and her husband, the historian Jon Halliday, is a triumph. It is a mesmerising portrait of tyranny, degeneracy, mass murder and promiscuity, a barrage of revisionist bombshells, and a superb piece of research. This is the first intimate, political biography of the greatest monster of them all — the Red Emperor of China. Using witnesses in China, and new, secret Chinese archives, the authors of this magisterial and damning book estimate that Mao was responsible for 70m deaths. He boasted he was willing “for half of China to die” to achieve military-nuclear superpowerdom.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Lass on June 27, 2005, 01:53:48 PM
Quote
Mao was responsible for 70m deaths. He boasted he was willing “for half of China to die” to achieve military-nuclear superpowerdom.

Evil would be an understatement there! Mao appears to have had both what Hitler had (the more wicked intent) and what Stalin had (the more wicked actions). Most certainly appears worse. And so chillingly recently!
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: C.J._Griffin on June 27, 2005, 02:40:27 PM
And unlike Hitler and Stalin, but like Saddam Hussein, Mao took a sadistic pleasure in watching films of his victims being tortured and killed.

He also boasted that nuclear war might be a good thing:

“Let’s contemplate this, how many people would die if war breaks out. There are 2.7 billion people in the world. One third could be lost; or, a little more, it could be half… I say that, taking the extreme situation, half dies, half lives, but imperialism would be razed to the ground and the whole world would become socialist.”

After all, according to Mao “If people don’t die, the earth won’t be able to hold them!”
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Margarita Markovna on June 30, 2005, 09:13:21 PM
Stalin or Hitler? Don't make us choose!
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Lyss on August 05, 2005, 07:41:27 AM
I don't think you can compare them very well.
But I think Hitler shocked the west more than Stalin, not only because it happened in the west, but because of the history.
Russia was still feodal. They never had the renaissance, communism was just another form of feodalism. (to keep it short and not to explain the entire history)
In feodalism life isn't worth a thing.
So if you look at the background, people in the west just couldn't believe something like that could happened, but also couldn't believe that people brought up like them could do those things.
I'm not trying to make Stalin look good, or explain why he did what he did.
It's just, that we're in the west so Hitler had a bigger impact on us because of the shock it caused on us.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Elisabeth on August 08, 2005, 01:29:46 AM
Quote
So if you look at the background, people in the west just couldn't believe something like that could happened, but also couldn't believe that people brought up like them could do those things.
I'm not trying to make Stalin look good, or explain why he did what he did.
It's just, that we're in the west so Hitler had a bigger impact on us because of the shock it caused on us.


Good point. It's helpful to look at Western media representations of the Holocaust in this context. Perhaps the majority of books and films on the Holocaust are about middle-class Jewish victims, usually from Western European countries like Germany, France, and Holland (even though the largest number of victims were in fact Polish Jews, many of them from the lower classes). Americans and other Westerners can closely identify with such victims because we share roughly similar cultural backgrounds and class origins. But in the case of Stalin or Mao, most of their victims - 20 million of Stalin's, 30 million of Mao's - were peasants. IMO Americans and western Europeans just have a hard time identifying with the fate of peasants because their way of life seems so incredibly remote to us. It's horribly unjust, but it's the sad truth.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Finelly on August 08, 2005, 01:38:10 AM
Good point, Elisabeth.

I also think, however, that a lot of this has to do with timing and secrecy.  The holocaust was no big secret after the Americans and Russians got to the camps, accompanied by photographers and reporters who quickly spread photos and news stories across the world.

In addition, the entire Western world was involved in WWII.  Each victory or loss meant something personal to the citizens of the US, Britain, France, etc.  Because of our soldiers, who were spreading out across the continents, we had a sense of connection to whatever was uncovered/discovered/determined.  

Mao and Stalin, however, did not welcome journalists, enforced censorship, and essentially did not allow the visual and first-hand stories to escape their control.  The vast majority of people in the world did not connect or relate to the peoples of Asia and the tremendous paranoia about Communism in the US, at least, made people avoid the subject of Russia altogether for quite some time.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: AlexP on August 08, 2005, 04:18:16 AM
Quote
I don't think you can compare them very well.
But I think Hitler shocked the west more than Stalin, not only because it happened in the west, but because of the history.
Russia was still feodal. They never had the renaissance, communism was just another form of feodalism. (to keep it short and not to explain the entire history)
In feodalism life isn't worth a thing.
So if you look at the background, people in the west just couldn't believe something like that could happened, but also couldn't believe that people brought up like them could do those things.
I'm not trying to make Stalin look good, or explain why he did what he did.
It's just, that we're in the west so Hitler had a bigger impact on us because of the shock it caused on us.


Really good analysis, Lyss.  It sent me to thinking.  Yes, indeed, perhaps it was shock value, the feodalism, etc.

I look forward to your continued postings.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Elisabeth on August 08, 2005, 07:34:36 AM
Quote
Good point, Elisabeth.

I also think, however, that a lot of this has to do with timing and secrecy.  The holocaust was no big secret after the Americans and Russians got to the camps, accompanied by photographers and reporters who quickly spread photos and news stories across the world.

In addition, the entire Western world was involved in WWII.  Each victory or loss meant something personal to the citizens of the US, Britain, France, etc.  Because of our soldiers, who were spreading out across the continents, we had a sense of connection to whatever was uncovered/discovered/determined.  

Mao and Stalin, however, did not welcome journalists, enforced censorship, and essentially did not allow the visual and first-hand stories to escape their control.  The vast majority of people in the world did not connect or relate to the peoples of Asia and the tremendous paranoia about Communism in the US, at least, made people avoid the subject of Russia altogether for quite some time.


We also should not forget that many leftist Western journalists and activists worked hand in glove with the Soviets (and later, the Chinese) in covering up the crimes that were going on. Sidney and Beatrice Webb were particularly guilty in this regard (visiting the Soviet Union and then denying the reality of the Great Famine to the international press - meanwhile some 9-10 million died of starvation). But so were many others. Some people had made such an emotional and political investment in the success of the Soviet experiment that they were reluctant to admit, even to themselves, that it had turned out to be a disaster.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Lyss on August 08, 2005, 10:12:03 AM
Quote from: AlexP


Really good analysis, Lyss.  It sent me to thinking.  Yes, indeed, perhaps it was shock value, the feodalism, etc.

I look forward to your continued postings.


thx AlexP, that realy kind of you.
it's realy nice when your "brainwork" can actualy attribute to something or someone, instead of being laughten away.
The lack of value in human life being still actual in Russia I saw by looking how Poetin reacted on situations like Beslan and the theater in Moscow and then looking at the reaction of Italy and France on the journalists being held in Iraq.  
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Joy0318 on February 28, 2006, 10:07:06 AM
Tough question here.

I think that they were both two of the most evil and bloodthirsty dictators the world has ever seen. It's difficult to say who was worse but I'd have to vote for Stalin because he was in power much longer and he killed many more people. But Hitler did start WWII which killed millions around the globe.  
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Chelsea on March 29, 2006, 08:03:02 AM
Tonight at 8pm ET and 12am ET:
Hitler and Stalin: Roots of Evil
An examination of the minds of two of the 20th century's most brutal dictators and mass murderers--Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin. Based on recent psychological and medical studies, the program explores the personalities of these ruthless leaders, who were directly responsible for millions of deaths--their paranoia, suspiciousness, cold-bloodedness, sadism, and lack of human feeling. Includes interviews with Martin Bormann's son and Hitler's butler.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Tania+ on March 29, 2006, 01:45:32 PM
Chelsea,

Re : The program : Hitler and Stalin: Roots of Evil

Unfortunately, I did not have any prior understanding that this would be available, nor in my area of country or state.

If anyone has taped it, i would like to gain a tape of it if at all possible. If there is a place to purchase this I would like to purchase it. Chelsea, would you or anyone know from where, or whom this may be gained ? Thank you in advance for any information available.

Tatiana+


Quote
Tonight at 8pm ET and 12am ET:
Hitler and Stalin: Roots of Evil
An examination of the minds of two of the 20th century's most brutal dictators and mass murderers--Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin. Based on recent psychological and medical studies, the program explores the personalities of these ruthless leaders, who were directly responsible for millions of deaths--their paranoia, suspiciousness, cold-bloodedness, sadism, and lack of human feeling. Includes interviews with Martin Bormann's son and Hitler's butler.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: hellokitty2121 on March 29, 2006, 07:13:11 PM
Why not visit the history channel website -  they may have videos or dvds for sale.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Tania+ on March 30, 2006, 02:25:47 AM
I would love to visit the history channel, but we have just basic tv. But thanks for the idea.

Tatiana+

Quote
Why not visit the history channel website -  they may have videos or dvds for sale.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Chelsea on March 30, 2006, 11:14:53 AM
historychannel.com has a vhs copy of Hitler and Stalin:Roots of evil (50 minutes) for $24.95 and a dvd copy for $29.95, but if you are going to buy a copy of a documentary on Stalin I would recommend Stalin: Man of Steel (100 minutes) also from the history channel and for the same price.  Hitler and Stalin only offered a very basic comparison of the two, nothing that hasn't been discussed on this board, the similarities between thier childhoods, their severe paranoia, and thier crimes against humanity.  Stalin: Man of Steel, although it does not provide a comparison between the two, gives you much more indepth information about Stalin and his reign of terror and allows you to use your own knowledge of the  two men to draw your own conclusions as to thier similarities.  
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Tania+ on March 30, 2006, 08:47:18 PM
Dear Chelsea,

Thank you for taking time to respond to my post. I will follow your suggestions. Thanks again !

Tatiana+
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Mie on June 01, 2006, 03:32:01 PM
Huuh..  :o you guys have really strong converstation going on here.. or should I sey HAD! But I'd like to give my opinion here. Stalin. He was a man who killed his own relatives couse of he was so  all mixed up and suffered from paranoia. He was all the time so scared someones conna kill him (shame no one did though) and everyone who said anything from was about to kill. When there was formal situation NO ONE DARED TO BE THE FIRST ONE TO STOP ABLODES COUSE THEY WERE SO SCARED!!!! Stalin.. well.. people scared to SMILE in that Russia couse if they did someone maybe started think of something  :( :( they thought wrong things to puplic :( it was very messy country -no fenc to those who are Russian and if I hurt someones feelings I'm sorry! Most of all I'm sorry for you'r relatives who had to live that time... I remember how a old war veteran told me that when the war ended we(finland) had to send bac the Inkeri's peoples who moved to Finland during the war. Everybody knew to where they was order to send: Siperia: how many survived .. ? :( : they famlies was ript of... and.. the veteran also said that if Russia would have conquerd Finland the soldiers knew where they were to send... hmm.. funny: when Russia occupied Finland in 1808-1809 Aleksander I promised us very much good.... attacked in 1939 the only sure thing was we would not have lived very hapilly..  :'(

About Hitler. He did TERRYBEL THINGS!! THERE'S NO DOUPT OF IT. But it just feels that anything bad what happen to the west-world (Europe, America) is so wrong and everybody's talking about it... but if something happens in Africa, Russia or Irack.. why the silence? Is the Europe so fancy that anything like Hitler could not be bossible to happen! I mean.. during the IIWW and after it.. it was very hard to any country to believe what Hitler really did. But even today people do talk about Hitler even in numbers Stalin did more terryble things. Do you really think Russia was worth of it? :(
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Tania+ on June 01, 2006, 04:55:09 PM
Hello Mie, and welcome to the AP Forum !

So, your from Finland. Never been there, but I have met many Finlandians and they were most gracious.
Your opinion is yours, and you are always free to offer it. Stalin was not a very nice man. Yes, I know he killed his own relatives. I know for sure he had his own son killed, and did not lift one finger to save him. Some father. :(  Stalin was a very, very ill person. Your right, many occasion were missed in taking him down. So many suffered under his rule, and so many were killed needlessly. There is no reason Mie to feel badly, you have not hurt anyone's feelings. You speak the truth, and there is no harm here in expressing your feelings, or stating the truth.

Hitler was also a very very bad man. He indeed did very terrible things. Your right, silence should not be, when so many people as in Africa, Russia, and Iraq have been harmed, killed, etc., but that is another thread, and one that has no relation to this thread. War anywhere in the world is terrible, at any time frame.

Personally, I think Stalin was worse in the atrocities he commited than Hitler. Over 30 million people were killed, murdered by Stalin, and still the world has yet to come to terms with that terrible figure of loss of life. Silence remains, doesn't it ? That people perished, and were cruelly harmed in Russia, no, I don't think it was worth it at all.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts Mie.

Tatiana+
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Mie on June 02, 2006, 03:43:03 PM
Dear Tania!

I'd like to thank you for you're understanding and nice letter. I'm glad I do not harm anyones feelings. These are those things were so easylly can people get conlflict with eacother -these are so sore and sad things. I'm happy to hear you like finss :)
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Bev on January 25, 2007, 09:58:36 PM
I moderated a panel a few months ago whose topic was Linkage theory - cause and effect in foreign investment (of which I happen to be a proponent) and though the panel discussion was limited to a specific time frame, someone did raise the raise the question, "if there had been no Stalin, would there have been no Hitler?"  This was generally dismissed by most participants, but I have been thinking quite a bit about the questions since then, and wondering if perhaps the claim has some validity if the parameters are moved outward - "no Russian bolshevik revolution, no nazism."  If we accept that nazism was a reactionary movement, to what was it reactionary?  (And of course it was a nationalist movement also, which must be taken into account)   When Drexler started the party it was as a reaction to bolshevism and socialist democratization and its goal at the time of its founding was to maintain the class structure.  The nature of the party changed with the ambitions of Hitler and his cohort's takeover of the party, but still it was very much opposed to bolshevism and socialism.  This of course hardened when the power of the bolsheviks was concentrated in one man, Stalin, but Stalin did enable Hitler's ambitions, so is it possible to prove linkage? 

If the claim," no Stalin, no Hitler"  is stated so, what arguments can be made to support the claim, and what arguments can be made to refute the claim?  Or if there had not been a Russian revolution would there have been a German revolution which had such profound effect upon the world?
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Elisabeth on January 26, 2007, 11:09:30 AM
What an absolutely awesome topic, Bev, not to sound too much like a surfer girl. I am impressed. I do think there's more than sufficient linkage between the Nazi and Stalinist regimes to warrant a discussion - for that matter, a very long and complex discussion.

Two things occur to me right off the bat - I'm harkening back to my college days and my lectures in Soviet history for this first point. As you and others here might recall, but which fact nevertheless came as a total shock to me as an undergraduate in Russian history courses, Stalin actually forbade German communists to oppose Hitler's rise to power during the years 1929-1933 (that doesn't mean that various other socialist groups, not beholden to Moscow, didn't fight, oftentimes literally in the physical sense, Hitler's Nazis). As Adam Ulam summarizes in his famous biography of Stalin:

"... the approaching demise of Weimar Germany was viewed by Stalin with more than equanimity, for all the friendly relations that had prevailed between the U.S.S.R. and Germany since 1922. Hitler was preferable to the Catholic and Social Democratic politicians who had been seeking a rapprochement with Britain and France. Hitler and his followers might destroy what remained of German democracy, but they certainly could set up a viable and long-lasting regime of their own. A Hitlerian interlude would only serve to radicalize the German masses, turn them toward the only party that could solve the social and economic problems - the Communist party. The prospect of a Communist Germany must have been contemplated by Stalin with special pleasure" (Ulam, Stalin: The Man and His Era, p. 363).

So Stalin in a very real sense - in his power over the German Communists who obeyed every ruling from Moscow - was partly responsible for the rise of Hitler to power in Germany in the early 1930s. At the same time (and here's my second point), the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact of 1939, whatever way you slice it (yes, it might very well have been a canny move on Stalin's part to delay the inevitable Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union - but somehow I doubt it), allowed the second World War to begin.

As for the question of the German middle and upperclass fear of Bolshevism, as a factor in voting for Hitler, or at least looking the other way while others voted that way, IMHO everyone should read Victor Klemperer's diaries from 1933 to 1945, which have been published in English. From Klemperer's personal account, it's quite clear that the professional and upper classes feared Bolshevism terribly - on the other hand Klemperer, as a Jew, was able to discern all the many resemblances that Bolshevism and Nazism had in common. His is the best account of Hitlerian or Nazi rule that I have yet to come across. Seriously - if you want to understand Nazi Germany, or for that matter Bolshevism, then read Victor Klemperer's diaries of the period.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: James1941 on January 29, 2007, 01:32:18 PM
It wasn't Hitler's anti-Bolshevism nor his anti-Semetism that made so many desparate sections of the German society support him. Therefore, even without a Russian revolution and a Soviet state Hitler would have risen to the top. Those were factors in his appeal but not the main reasons he was so popular with the German masses.
It was his nationalism. German defeat in World War I had been a traumatic affect on the German psyche. Then the vindictive and unrealistic Versailles Treaty had been insult upon injury. The German people of all classes, economic status, religious affiliation, political association, etc. had been humiliated by the defeat and treaty. This humiliation was like a cancer in the body politic.
Hitler had one main theme in his program. Revenge. Revenge for the loss of the war and revenge for the treaty. He preached over and over and over that if he and his movement came to power it would reverse the loss of the war, ovethrow the treatiy's provisions, and make Germany a respected and great power once again.
This is what most appealed to such diverse elements as the aristocratic military leadership and the labor organizations, the churches, the peasant farmers, the middle class professionals, and those who couldn't tell a Bolshevik from a Balarog. If it had been only anti-Bolshevism or anti-Jewish diatribes that Hitler spouted then few of these groups would have given the time of day to this Bohemian corporal from Austria. His party would have remained one of the hundreds of fringe groups jockeying for a few votes.
Even after he took power and his dictatorship coaleased and it became clear what he was up to these diverse elements in Germany still continued to support him because he was doing what he promised----destroying the treaty and making Germany a player again. Revenge is a powerful narcotic for the human psyche.
Today, it is humiliation that is the motivating factor in the so-called Islamofascist jihadist movement, or whatever. Humiliation at how the British and French divided up the Arab world with the Sykes-Picot agreement and became the occupying power in the Middle East, leading to the humiliation of the Israeli state and countless other defeats to a proud people. It isn't poverty or political dictatorship or even
western culture that drives most of these men. It is revenge.
Hitler skillfully played upon this pyschological need in the German people and they responded. This was the cake of his appeal. Anti-communism was just whip cream on that cake. It had alure but was about as substantial. Hitler would have made it to the top even if there had been a sovereign holy orthodox tsar ruling Russia from the Kremlin instead of a communist commissar.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Tsarfan on January 29, 2007, 03:25:13 PM
German defeat in World War I had been a traumatic affect on the German psyche. Then the vindictive and unrealistic Versailles Treaty had been insult upon injury . . . .  Hitler had one main theme in his program. Revenge.

Absolutely.

Many people today fail to realize just how punitive was Germany's treatment after World War I.  When Germany began to stagger economically under the reparations payments, the French and Belgians moved in to occupy the Ruhr industrial region in 1923 to insure the payments (over British and U.S. objections).  When the German government declared passive resistance and tried to cover lost wages in the Ruhr region, the currency began to hyper-inflate, wiping out the life savings of the entire German middle class within a few months.  (By November 1923, one U.S. dollar would buy four trillion  German marks.  Germany had effectively become a barter economy.)

Not surprisingly, all hell broke loose that same year.  First, the Bavarian government declares a state of emergency to fend off an explosion of ultra-rightist sentiment.  On October 1, the Buchracker Putsch tries to lure the army into launching a war against France.  In Sachsen and Thuringen leftist governments form and launch paramilitary units (the "red hundreds").  Admiral Tirpitz of WWI fame tries to launch a rightist quasi-putsch with the cooperation of army leaders and leading businessmen.

Then this dismal year ends with the Hitler-Ludenforff Putsch in Munich on November 8 and 9.  While the putsch is a near-term failure, Hitler emerges with the patina of a national hero willing to stand up for Germany and Germans.

Somehow, people can deal with losing sons and brothers to war.  They have considerably more trouble with losing their silver, their homes, their sense of economic security . . . and their sense of self-worth.

Without the springboard of the events of 1923, Hitler might never have made his swan dive into infamy.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Tania+ on January 30, 2007, 01:11:27 AM
James your last posting was right on. You are so correct as to how Hitler played on and used the use of psychological games on the German peoples. But I always thought in my reading and understanding about him is that he hated the communists, and worked to eventually topple them. I must say that in the following post that it is a rather general statement to say, that people in general, can deal with losing sons and brothers to war. I have a feeling that times have changed and most people today are more than affected by the loss of life as it is today in the present war. While it is true that some may be troubled by losing silver, or their homes, it is to that by, how their loss comes about. I would imagine from those who have endured out right swindlers, that might be the most in difficulty to comes to grip with. Everyone worries about economic security, as history has proven. Self-worth for any human being is of course of extreme importance.

On your statement James, re : Humiliation at how the British and French divided up the Arab world with the Sykes-Picot agreement and became the occupying power in the Middle East, leading to the humiliation of the Israeli state and countless other defeats to a proud people. It isn't poverty or political dictatorship or even western culture that drives most of these men.

Would you care to send me a bit more information on the Sykes-Picot agreement? I think it would make for very interesting reading. Thanks for sharing your insight and commentary. I always enjoy your postings!

Tatiana+
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Tsarfan on January 30, 2007, 04:15:30 AM
I must say that in the following post that it is a rather general statement to say, that people in general, can deal with losing sons and brothers to war.  I have a feeling that times have changed and most people today are more than affected by the loss of life as it is today in the present war.

Britain, France, Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Russia all lost significant percentages of two generations of men in World War I.  The Russian Revolution was ignited not by a shaky regime's declaration of war, but by its failure to keep the urban centers supplied with food and fuel.  Germany overthrew its monarchy not for entering the war, but for losing it.  Ditto for Austria-Hungary.  And Germany's subsequent democratic regime destabilized not over the loss of life from the war, but due to loss of sovereignty over the Ruhr and loss of economic security.  None of the victors, who lost proportionatey as many young lives, saw political destabilization as a result of war.

As for the present war (which I assume means Iraq), it became unpopular not when people started dying, but when it became apparent we could not win it.  I am unable to name a single war on which any nation turned its back solely at the prospect of loss of life.  If you can, I would be glad to consider it.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: James1941 on January 30, 2007, 09:55:05 AM
Thank you, Tania, for your kind comments.
I am no expert on the Middle East and I am sure others could do a better job of explanation, but I shall give it a try.
When the Ottoman Empire (foolishly, in my opinion) entered the war (World War I) as allies of Germany, Austria-Hungary and Bulgaria it opened up a new theater of fighting. The British, using mainly Indian troops, tried to take Iraq by coming up from the Persian Gulf but got bogged down and that area became a stalmate until late 1917.
The other area was across the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt, up through Palestine and Syria---the old route that armies had fought over for milleniums.
Then, the Arabs, who had been unhappy with Turkish rule, decided to revolt, led by the Sherif of Mecca, Hussein. This Arab Revolt caputred the imagination of the world, mainly because of T.E. Lawrence, aka Lawrence of Arabia.
By 1917 it became apparent that the Ottoman Empire would eventually fall, thus leaving its territories open for the grabbing. France, represented by M. Picot, and Britian, represented by Mr. Sykes, decided to divide up the spoils of war. France had always been interested in the Levant (Lebanon and Syria and the Holy Land) and Britain had a eye on the oil of Mosul and Basra as a compliement to their control of the oil of Persia. So an agreement was reached that France would get its area of interest and Britain would get its area of interest in Iraq. They would be the controlling power either by direct colonies or through client Arab kingdoms which they would control. This was the Sykes-Picot agreement.
The history of the Zionist movement to establish a Jewish homeland in Palestine is very complicated, but essentially Balfour of Britain was presuaded to back a plan for allowing Jewish immigration there in return for Jewish support of the war. So, to encourage Jewish support, and at the same time encourage Arab support for the British effort he issued the Balfour Declaration. It essentially said Britain would help establish a Jewish area in Palestine but would also not "displace" Arabs in the same area. It was an impossible plan and was probably issued knowing full well he would never had to implement it.
When the war ended with Turkish defeat, the Arabs fully expected, from everything they had been led to believe, that they could establish a free, independent Arab nation, or nations, in the lands liberated from the Ottomans. The Zionist fully expected they could have a "homeland" in Palestine. Britiain and France were playing the old colonial game and looking to pick up new parts of their empire.
In the Versailles Treaty, they got just that, under the fig leaf of League of Nations mandates. Mandates would be territories that would supposedly become independent but until they were ready they would be under the control of either France of Britain. So, Lebanon was established as a French mandate, Syria was made a French mandate. When the Arabs there objected and revolted, the French put them down with the military. Palestine was made a British mandate. Sherif Hussein got his Kingdom of the Hejaz, with Mecca and Medina. His son Feisal, who hoped to be king of Syria, had to make do with a made up kingdom from the old Messopotamia provinces and called Iraq. He became King of Iraq, but only after the Brtish put down several revolts. His brother, Abdullah got another artificial kingdom called Trans-Jordan, today Jordan. It army was controlled by British officers.
Thus the west interferred in Arab politics and culture right up to World War II. Then, the Jews and Arabs in Palestine fought a bloody civil war. Britain, bankrupt, pulled out and laid the whole question in the lap of the United Nations. This body agreed on 'partition', or dividing the land equally between the Jews and the Arabs.
The Jews reluctantly accepted and proclaimed the State of Israel. The Arabs, confident that they could crush this little, weak Jewish enclave, refused to accept, and seven (I think) Arab armies invaded. The result was the totally unexpected victory of the Israeli armies and the humiliating defeat of the Arabs. They haven't recovered from that to this day.
Sherif Hussein of Mecca lost his kingdom in the early 1920s when it was invaded and conqured by King Ibn Saud, founder of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Thus the Saudis became rulers of the holy places of Mecca and Medina. It was of course in Saudi Arabia that Wahabism was founded.
In Iran, first the British, then the Americans made sure that they got oil cheap. Both the Arabs and the Persians have had long and glorious histories but failed to advance into the Industrial Age like Europe and the United States. Their humiliation at having to be lackeys to the Europeans and Americans has been like an oozing sore every since 1919.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: James1941 on January 30, 2007, 01:58:37 PM
My how we have digressed from the original topic (giggle). Sorry about that.
I believe the original question was--if there had been no Stalin would there have been a Hitler?
I suppose first we must define the exact question.
1. Do you mean Stalin literally, as the person Josef Stalin? Or do you mean the Bolshevik Soviet state, and communism which Stalin came to control?
If so, I would say yes, there would have been Hitler even without Stalin. Stalin did not become the all powerful dictator he would become until late in the 1920s when he eliminated Trotsky, then Kamenev and the other Old Bolsheviks. By that time Hitler had built the NSDAP into a rather formidable party and had made himself "leader" of it without much opposition. Even the man who might have challenged him, Ernst Rohm, was in exile.
2. If you mean for Stalin to be a metaphor for Bolshevism, the Russian Revolution and the communist state, then that is another matter.
Bev, your thoughts?
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Bev on January 30, 2007, 02:42:20 PM
The better question in my opinion, is if there had not been a Russian revolution, would there have been a German revolution? No Stalin, no Hitler is rhetorical in the sense that it covers a very broad area of discussion.  Of course, we could ask the question in a somewhat literal way, because Stalin quite obviously enabled Hitler (as did others) in his ambitions. 

I believe that in many ways the German revolution was as cataclysmic as the Russian revolution for Europe.  It certainly unleashed movements (such as fascism) and sentiments (such as anti-semitism) that while always simmering beneath the surface erupted with out check in the 1930s.  Of course the part that the aristocracy played in the rise of nazism along with the Prussian army officer class cannot be discounted.

In some ways the Russian revolution gave the Germans a kind of symbolic permission to throw off monarchy as a form of government.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Elisabeth on January 30, 2007, 04:54:58 PM
It wasn't Hitler's anti-Bolshevism nor his anti-Semetism that made so many desparate sections of the German society support him. Therefore, even without a Russian revolution and a Soviet state Hitler would have risen to the top. Those were factors in his appeal but not the main reasons he was so popular with the German masses.
It was his nationalism [....] Hitler would have made it to the top even if there had been a sovereign holy orthodox tsar ruling Russia from the Kremlin instead of a communist commissar.

I'm not quite convinced by this argument. It seems to me Hitler always needed an Evil Other, the Jew/Communist, who must be defeated (or better yet, exterminated) for the safety of all and especially of the German Reich, but also in order for Nazism to succeed. Remember that not only Germans, but also Western Europeans in general, and even Americans in large numbers, tried for the longest time to view Hitler and his policies in the most positive light imaginable - One might well ask, why was that so? Why indeed was appeasement of the growing Nazi threat such a popular approach throughout the Western world for the duration of the 1930s? IMO, precisely because Hitler represented National Socialism as the final bulwark against Communism. I think it's hard for us now to understand the mindset of most middle-class and upper-class Germans (and other Europeans) in the 1930s - they had a genuine terror of Bolshevism (remember, this terror was not exactly without foundation!) - to the extent that in the 1930s diaries of the German Jewish literature professor Victor Klemperer one even hears German Jews (!) making excuses for Hitler:

"May 27 [1936] Wednesday evening [....]

Then Frau Hirche telephoned, and yesterday afternoon she was here for coffee. Her husband was unemployed and receiving dole for a year - the Director of the Eschebach factory, the owner of a Packard, the father of a lieutenant - now he is a traveller for a sheet metal company and on the road for weeks. They are not well-disposed to the Nazis, but even they repeat the nonsense that is hammered into everyone and is current among Jews as well: But after them there would be the Communists and that would be even worse!"

- Victor Klemperer, I Will Bear Witness, 1933-1941, pp. 166-167. 
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: James1941 on January 30, 2007, 08:02:38 PM
If there had been no Bolshevik coup in Russia there would still have been a change in the German system of government. The monarchy was brushed aside because it would not end a war that had become unacceptable to Germans by 1918. They were simply sick of it, and the obstacle to ending it seemed to be the monarchical system. There might not have been the sailor's soviets in Kiel and the soldier's soviets in other cities but there would have been revolt. What kind of government might have emerged is certainly open to debate, but the defeat, the Versailles "diktat" and the treatment of Germany as a "pariah" nation, and a war criminal would still have been there. And this was what motivated Hitler to enter politics, not anti-Bolshevism. The Spatakists coup in Berlin and the various Soviet republics that briefly held power in the Lands were just one manifestation of the defeat Germany had suffered, all as one in Hitler's mind. Communism was allied to German defeat and humiliation and the destruction of the Teutonic state.
I am not so stupid as to try and maintain that anti-communism was not one of the platforms he skillfully used to attract support, but I still maintain it was not the primary one. Had that been the only issue in the NSDAP agenda it would never have attracted the mass support it did. But he still would have arisen if there had been no communist issue in Germany.
And in answer to Elizabeth. I will submit this. The quote you gave from Klemperer was dated 1936, and I feel irrelevant to the basic question here. By that year democratic republicanism and the moderate middle had been discredited by both the left and right. Hitler and the Nazis had power. Yes, if they collapsed then the only alternative was communism. But in 1919, 1920, 1921 when Hitler began his rise to power this was not the case. The Germans had many options then.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Bev on January 30, 2007, 08:58:16 PM
I think that Elizabeth has a point, in that Hitler needed a reactionary cause in order to climb to power.  Without it, he would have been just another "politician" - without polarization, what would have set him apart?  It just so happened that in the nazi party as founded by Anton Drexler he hit upon the perfect combination - nationalism and anti-semitism. 

I do agree with James that there probably still would have been a German revolution, but I also think that the Russian revolution was the impetus - the German naval mutinies, the army mutiny of units, the strikes - that was antithetical to German thinking, and while I know I am stereotyping here, the Germans weren't exactly known for stepping out of place.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: James1941 on January 30, 2007, 10:07:37 PM
A small digression again. My apologies but the subject is so interesting.
The German experience in 1918-1919 is what should have happened in Russia in 1917-1918 but, unfortunately, didn't. Let me see if I can explain congently.
War exhaustion and looming defeat sweep aside a monarchy that had become not only disliked by irrelevant.
The Reichstag and its political parties take power (as did the Provisional Government) but it was weak and there were many contending factions. There is a leftest coup attempt--the Spartakists led by Leibnicht--which is put down by the army and the freikorps. The weak center parties hang on to power. Then there is a rightist coup--the Kapp revolt, which is put down by a coalition of social democrats and communists and others. The weak center hangs on. Finally there is a consitutent assembly held in Weimar. A new, republican constitution is drawn up. It is flawed but for the first time gives wide political expression and participation to the German people. A republic is formed that functions fairly well and does better than it has been given credit for. Unfortunately it has formidable opponents on the right and left, and world events beyond its control weaken it in the eyes of the people. Then, a conspiracy of reactionary polticians cynically make a deal with another politician and brings him to power. He then cleverly uses that power to institute a dictatorship.
What if this had happened in Russia. What if the center had managed to defeat the Bolshevik coup and then the Constituent Assembly had given Russia a constitution that was fairly democratic. What a change in history that would have been. Would there have been a Russian Hitler? Would the Bolsheviks eventually taken power perhaps by constitutional means? Would Russia have developed into a functioning democracy?
The permutations are mind boggling.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Tsarfan on January 31, 2007, 02:43:00 AM
The German experience in 1918-1919 is what should have happened in Russia in 1917-1918 but, unfortunately, didn't.

I tend to line up with James on the question of the dissimilarities between Germany and Russia at the end of World War I.  Please excuse my repeating an earlier post from another thread, but it remains my view.  That post, too, worked off a Klemperer observation quoted by Elisabeth (which I always find fascinating):


I wanted some time to think about the Klemperer quote.  In fact, I largely agree with it.  If there was to be a radicalization of German politics, I do not think it surprising that it would have had the characteristics of National Socialism.  As I said earlier, German society had strains such as anti-semitism, xenophobia, a craving for order, a tendency toward extreme manifestation, and some degree of militarism -- all of which were drawn into a single, coherent (albeit absurd) philosophy by the Nazis.

But my point about the difference between Russian and German history was that I think a radicalization of German politicis was an "if" requiring a convergence of certain factors, whereas radicalization of Russian politics was more foreseeable over a wider range of scenarios.

Remember that Russia had already seen revolution only nine years before WWI began.  Throughout the nineteenth century, elements of her population had consistently radicalized -- first the intelligentsia, then the skilled workers.  The peasant craving for land redistribution was a pressure cooker forming its own head of steam.  Murder was a staple of political life.  A tsar was assassinated in 1881.  The Governnor of Moscow was assassinated in 1905.  The Prime Minister was assassinated in 1911.  And, as you and James1941 pointed out on the "Assassinations" thread, there were innumerable assassinations -- far more than anywhere else in Europe -- of lower-level officials throughout the period.  Wealth distribution was the most lopsided in the developed world.  The middle class -- a great stabilizing force in any society -- constituted a smaller element of Russian society than in any other of the great powers.  While all industrial workers had reason to complain throughout Europe, only in Russia was the state of regulation pulling back from a tentative experiment with a progressive policy.  Only in Russia was the agrarian class ready to burn down manor houses at the drop of a hat, as they did in 1905.  Only in Russia was organized violence by the civilian population, as manifested through pogroms, a recurrent habit into the 20th century.

It might have been hard to guess it would be the Bolsheviks specifically who came to power.  But it was not hard to foresee that the tsarist regime would collapse and that a centrist democratic order would not be strong enough to contain whatever the explosive forces were that precipitated that collapse.

The situation in Germany was not remotely similar to that of Russia going into the Great War.  Even when Germany was defeated, civil society remained stable.  The Kaiser was allowed to skulk away to a genteel retirement.  Germans, ready to give democracy a real chance, were nevertheless quite happy to leave the judiciary of imperial Germany intact to exert a conservative brake on their new democracy.  War heroes, people from the landed gentry, and people closely associated with the old regime were elected to the new offices.  Left to her own devices, a prostrate Germany had the ability to pick herself up and move on.

What destabilized Germany's experiment with democracy was not the latent forces embedded in her body politic.  It was the destruction of the German economy by reparations payments and the hyper-inflation that literally wiped out the entire middle class of the nation.

Any society can radicalize in the right circumstances.  People today forget how nervous some politicians in the U.S. were in the early 1930's about the forces unleashed here by the Great Depression.  We forget that social and political changes unleashed by our rather short involvement in the Great War spawned a huge upsurge in Ku Klux Klan membership and activity.  And just look at how ready Americans were in the aftermath of 9/11 to swallow fabricated information and to attack another sovereign nation without provocation.  Imagine what we might have done and how many more Patriot Acts to curtail our civil rights we would have passed had there been another similar attack within, say, a year.

Once Germany radicalized, it doesn't surprise me that she produced a Hitler.  It was the radicalization itself that would not have been foreseeable to a student of German history but for the intervening external imposition of crushing reparations payments.  I simply do not believe that a student of Russian history would have had as much trouble foreseeing a collapse of tsarism and some new form of autocratic government replacing it.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Elisabeth on January 31, 2007, 10:52:55 AM
I'm not sure I disagree with you completely, James and Tsarfan. I nevertheless believe that there was a definite and definable upsurge in militarism in Prussia/Germany throughout the second half of the nineteenth century. In other words, militarism, and military aggression, started well before the Treaty of Versailles, much less Hitler. And while we're at it, I think we shoud leave out anti-Semitism and the Holocaust for a moment, and just consider Germany's military record in the first world war. According to recent historians, the atrocities the German army committed against ordinary civilians (not necessarily Jews) in Belgium turn out to have been true, in large part, despite contemporary (and later) insistences that all atrocity stories about the "Huns" were gross exaggerations by enemy nations or the enemy press.

So I don't think we should forget that the second half of nineteenth-century European history, and the first half (if not more) of twentieth-century European history, is all about Germany striving to become the top-dog nation (to put it very crudely, in the spirit of 1066 and All That). The irony is that Germany would have attained this status even without fighting two twentieth-century world wars, although arguably, not without fighting the nineteenth-century ones. So yes, while I would agree that nationalism is important in explaining the rise of Hitler, nevertheless nationalism in and of itself is an insufficient explanation for this phenomenon - firstly, because there were economic and imperial interests at stake, not only for Wilhelm II but also for Hitler, and secondly, because every fanatical nationalist needs an evil Other to oppose - you simply cannot have one without the other.

Also, I don't think the point of my earlier quote from Klemperer's diaries is that it dates from 1936 (although please note, this is still pre-Kristallnacht and still pre-World War II!), but the fact that it is completely representative of Klemperer's observations about ordinary Germans - "Aryans" and Jews alike - during the years leading up to World War II. And if you don't believe me, then I urge you to read the diaries themselves. Klemperer records an all but pervasive atmosphere of fear of Bolshevism amongst the middle and professional classes in Germany throughout this entire period and well after. (And his testimony is certainly confirmed by the memories of Albert Speer, as recorded by Gita Sereny in her marvelous biography - or as some might call it, exposé - of Hitler's favorite architect.)
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Tsarfan on January 31, 2007, 12:28:06 PM
According to recent historians, the atrocities the German army committed against ordinary civilians (not necessarily Jews) in Belgium turn out to have been true, in large part, despite contemporary (and later) insistences that all atrocity stories about the "Huns" were gross exaggerations by enemy nations or the enemy press.

I don't think it took recent historians to point this out.  It was highly public -- and accurate -- contemporary knowledge that Germany invaded a Belgium that had declared neutrality and that, on their way to Paris, German troops destroyed one of Europe's greatest collections of medieval scholarship by burning the library of Liege, for reasons that can only be described as cultural envy (of the same sort that caused them to destroy the Catherine Palace, Pavlovsk, and other hallmarks of Russian culture three decades later).

It was no happenstance that it was Belgium and France that occupied the Ruhr in 1923 over British and U.S. objections.  Unlike Britain and the U.S., Belgium and France had seen Germany's gratuitous brutality at first hand.

So yes, while I would agree that nationalism is important in explaining the rise of Hitler, nevertheless nationalism in and of itself is an insufficient explanation for this phenomenon . . .

I should not attempt to speak for James, but I did not read his posts to say that nationalism was the sole or even the primary cause of Hitler's rise.  Any nation that is treated by the international community as a pariah nation is likely to have an extreme reaction, no matter what the degree of its inherent nationalism.  (One can think of how dictators of Iran and Iraq used international sanctions to create support for the central governments of countries with highly-fragmented and even warring internal constituencies.)

And I certainly did not mean to suggest nationalism was the cause of Hitler's rise in my posts.  I was arguing that it was the destruction of economic security -- especially among the middle classes -- that, more than any other one factor, occasioned Hitler's emergence into national prominence.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: James1941 on January 31, 2007, 12:38:45 PM
I can accept your argument, certainly. I have read his diaries and found them fascinating, and highly instructive as a first person source. Certainly fear of communism was a strong psychological force on the German thinking. Especially for the middle and professional class. The effects of the depression and the instability of the political situation frightened them terribly, because for many it was a fear of sliding back into the lower class status many had worked so hard to rise from. And, by the 1930s the horror stories coming out of Soviet Russia made many confront the real face of communism. With the moderate parties unable to offer hope of solution it was only natural that many turned to the parties of the extreme. There was no place else to go.
Still, I will maintain that Hitler's promise of REVENGE for the humiliation of the lost war and the diktat, and more importantly his mishmash of ideas about a Teutonic superman, that made him popular with all elements of the German pulbic, not just those who feared a communist government. It was this 'new thinking' that made fascism so popular in many European countries.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Kurt Steiner on February 25, 2007, 05:21:41 AM
Without Lenin and Stalin, there would be no Communist Revolution in Germany in 1918. It was that which led to the creation of the Nazi Party. (Hitler was in fact pro-Communist himself for a very brief time, until he found out that the German Communists were loyal to the Soviet leaders in Moscow, and so Hitler became anti-Communist because he didn't want Lenin controlling Germany by proxy.)

The threat of Communism was the 'evil' that Hitler and the Nazis used to terrify the German people into accepting them.

"Vote Hitler! Only Hitler can save Germany from the Communists!"

Without the Communist threat, Hitler would never have risen to power in Germany, and so there would be no Second World War.

However... another big trump card Hitler and Geobbles used to attain power in Germany was the Treaty of Versailles and the embarrasment of the once powerful German empire reduced to a impoverished state. Even without a Communist Russia there still could be other Communist groups in other countries including Germany. Just because Communism failed to establish its foothold in post 1917 Russia, it does not mean it wouldn't spring up somewhere else.

Both China and Germany had strong Communist organizations prior to WW2 and either one of these could have been the first "people's paradise" had Russia not done so. Marx and Engels had more ties to Western Europe than Russia, so their writings could have fomented revolt in almost any disaffected nation.

Without the Stalinist example of viscous totalitarianism, Communism would also be less tainted and more politically accepetable to those with Socialist leanings.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Alixz on March 16, 2007, 10:46:20 PM
This may seem odd, but I agree with both James1941 and Tsarfan.

I have always believed that the Versailles Treaty and conference which put such a heavy burden on the German nation and in turn its people was a huge factor in the the German attitude during the Wiemar Republic and the rise of Hitler during the 1930s.

The Treaty of Versailles brought about, not only, Germany's drive toward WWII, but also some of the problems that plague the Middle East today.

The indiscriminate carving up of conquered countries and the propping up of other governments by the WWI "winners" set in motion much of what is going on in the Middle East right now.  The Allies had a "winner take all" attitude and a "holier than thou" take on what the rest of the world should be like after WWI.

The Allies thought they were getting the "spoils of war" in their retribution and punitive methods.  But instead they sowed the seeds of future destruction and religious and national animosity which we are bearing the burden for today.

And that includes not only the Middle East today, but also Viet Nam in the past.  If only those insufferable fools could see what they did in 1919 and the legacy that they left for us and the mess that that legacy caused.

Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Lyss on April 11, 2007, 09:32:53 AM
I always wonder what if Hitler would have got in to the academy of fine arts (he was rejected twice) ?
Or what if he hadn't been going to school with Wittgenstein? Would his hate of the jewish people never reach such levels?
Or what if they've found Lenin's testament in which he states that he doesn't want Stalin to occupy any high position in the party?

Lyss
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: ferngully on June 22, 2007, 07:35:26 AM
we were taught that just before ww2, britain would rather side with hitler becuase they believed he would halt communism. they viewed communism as more of a threat than nazism so without each other, there would be no scapegoat
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: dmitri on August 18, 2007, 03:09:52 AM
No world war one and there would have been no Stalin or Hitler. Communism came in due the fall of Tsardom and Nazim occurred due to the collapse of the Hohenzollern monarchy and the failure of the Weimar Republic. The first world war was preventable and a total disaster for mankind.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Kurt Steiner on August 18, 2007, 12:15:59 PM
No world war one and there would have been no Stalin or Hitler. Communism came in due the fall of Tsardom and Nazim occurred due to the collapse of the Hohenzollern monarchy and the failure of the Weimar Republic. .

I agree, somehow, although the Tsardom was doomed even without WW1.

The first world war was preventable and a total disaster for mankind.

I don't agree. The alliance systems made absolute sure a war. The only way to have avoided WW1 was

a) A-H forgetting about the murder of Sarajevo and letting Serbia to be. Even if the latter "could" be possible, the former was not.

b) Having the Kaiser and the Tsar not getting involved with the A-H declaration of war, so, the thing gets reduced to a clash between Serbia and A-H. Some kind of Fourth Balkan War, so to speak. However this time was not to be. This was impossible for several reasons that, IIRC, have been stated before in another thread. Political prestige, for instace.

Or, let's say that Franz Ferdinand avoids getting killed in Sarajevo. How long would take till we have another incident? We will never know.

War had been closer enough when the incident of Tanger in 1905 and the Bosnian Crisis of 1908. Sooner or later a bigger crisis would have risen: Sarajevo or somewhere else.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: klava1985 on October 21, 2007, 10:55:24 PM
Another great thread, brought to us by the same folks behind the abdication thread in The Final Chapter section... what is this, a conspiracy to have a civilized, thought provoking discussion in which issues are taken with positions and not with individuals? :)

I recently read a philosphical novel... I can't remember the title or the author; I'll have to scan my shelves... It was about a father grieving a daughter killed by fascist terrorists in Italy. Anyway, it viewed fascism as a reaction to both Marx and Freud. Where Marx said we were at the mercy of historical forces, Freud said we were at the mercy of our infantile longings. (I'm simplifying, clearly. And grossly.) Neither presented an image of the individual that was terribly attractive. Fascism, on the other hand, which is about traditional values and ancestry and belonging to something concrete that is nonetheless larger than oneself, offered a "way out," if you will. Assuming you were going to be radicalized, and assuming that nationalism might be a trigger point for you, fascism might be a lot more attractive to the common person, just psychologically speaking, than communism, not to mention democracy. If you want to feel a sense of agency while at the same time feeling immersed, and a sense of superiority, fascism is just the thing. A lot more localized than communism, with its emphasis (then) on transcending nationalism to connect with a huge international proletariat (not exactly a draw for the upper classes anyway), and a lot more familiar than democracy, which requires an uncomfortable focus on the individual.

You can be a member of any class and be a fascist; a bonus.

I don't think your average German was sitting around going, hmmm, Marx, Freud, or Hitler, but the communist revolution made one option more clear, and made the fascist story easier to tell. It's always easiest to define yourself against something. I think the Russian Revolution helped galvanize and clarify Nazism.

I guess the question is, was the humiliation of the German empire enough of a crucible in an of itself to account for Hitler's rise, or did it need communism as well. Were both necessary, or was one of these factors sufficient?
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Tania+ on October 27, 2007, 11:24:48 AM
I am wondering just a bit after reading all these posts, and especially after reading James 1941. There has been a lot of emigration from Germany and Russia, going to all parts of the globe. I see the news in some parts of the world of facism rising, and Communism not entirely out of the picture in Russia. Jim mentions 'new thinking' in his post, on this thread. Would you say that facism is becoming stronger, or that communism has not exactly exited the global picture ? Thanks in advance for any views offered.

Tatiana+
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Kurt Steiner on October 29, 2007, 05:03:29 AM
I guess the question is, was the humiliation of the German empire enough of a crucible in an of itself to account for Hitler's rise, or did it need communism as well. Were both necessary, or was one of these factors sufficient?

A good question, indeed. I don't think we can extricate both issues. The humilliation of Germany by the Treaty of Versailles -the Diktat, as the Nazis called it- was hard enough. But, for Hitler and many of them, the key factor that caused defeat and thus the humilliation, the so called treason myth, was the revolution -Kiel and so on- that made the continuaton of the war utter impossible. Thus, you cannot say that one of those factors was enough, as one lead to the other, I guess.

Of course, having an enemy to terrify the voters helped Hitler a lot.

Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: dmitri on October 29, 2007, 07:08:22 AM
Stalin had nothing to do with the rise of Hitler. Hitler came about through a set of unique circumstances caused by the collapse of the Hohenzollern Empire, the hyper-inflation of the early 1920s, the failure of the Weimar Republic after the Wall Street crash. He was not linked at all to anything to do with Stalin until the Pact that Ribbentrop signed with Molotov.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: klava1985 on November 02, 2007, 06:16:39 PM
I guess the question is really would Hitler have been as successful absent a Boshevik revolution in Russia... perhaps not Stalin per se...

Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Robert_Hall on November 02, 2007, 07:53:45 PM
I agree with Dmitry.  Circumstances and  power-plays created both political magalomaniacs.
 They might have parrallled each other, but they were not in tandem.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Louis_Charles on November 03, 2007, 09:02:34 PM
I think Hitler was linked to Stalin, especially during the period in which he came to power. He used the existence of international evangelical Bolshevism as a rallying point for the nascent Nazi Party, and the de facto leader of that movement was Stalin. Although the racial nonsense tended to overshadow it by the end of the 1930s, Bolshevism was always viewed as the chief enemy after the Jews (and of course Hitler linked his two bete noires in his mind).

Had Stalin's Russia not existed, I don't think that German businessmen would have been so quick to support Hitler's party prior to 1933.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: dmitri on November 03, 2007, 10:27:05 PM
Read "Mein Kampf" and you will see that eradication of the Jews and Lebensraum (living space) are the two main points made by Hitler. There is no connection between the rise of Hitler and Stalin. They came from completely different backgrounds and had different agendas and political viewpoints.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Lyss on November 04, 2007, 08:46:08 AM
Maybe the question should be asked in a different way; What if there was no Hitler, would eastern europe never become communist? Because if there never would be a war, the would be no excuse for Stalin to enter those countries, to "save" them from the occupation. Or would it happen anyway? Without Hitler, would it be Stalin to invade eastern europe?
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Louis_Charles on November 04, 2007, 11:21:31 AM
Read "Mein Kampf" and you will see that eradication of the Jews and Lebensraum (living space) are the two main points made by Hitler. There is no connection between the rise of Hitler and Stalin. They came from completely different backgrounds and had different agendas and political viewpoints.

Thanks, I've read it. Which I think is more than can be said of most people who supported Hitler during his rise to power. My point is that Hitler used the spectre of international, evangelical Bolshevism during the 1920s and 1930s to make the Nazis logical candidates for German business to support. Which it did. Check Richard Evans, William Shirer, Alan Bulloch, or indeed any historian of the Third Reich.

You forgot to mention that Anna Anderson is not the Grand Duchess Anastasia, Dmitri.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: dmitri on November 04, 2007, 01:33:08 PM
Lyss you are quite correct. Without Hitler there would have been no Soviet occupation of Eastern Europe. Hitler was quite completely insane. Sadly millions and millions had to die because of this.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Lyss on November 05, 2007, 07:56:00 AM
I find Hitler very difficult to understand, was he so blinded that he thought the rest of the world would permit him to invade every country? I must say, the west permitted a lot, even after he invaded Poland, England and France didn't do anything. It's weird, but in some point I believe to understand Stalin better that Hitler; Stalin needed fear and slaves to build his nation. Stalin knew he could keep on going without being disturbed, but Hitler must have known he couldn't keep invaded whole of Europe.
As for the most completely insane dictator, I vote for Pol Pot. Murdering 1/3 of your nation can realy be a proof of complete insanity.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Greenowl on November 05, 2007, 05:51:11 PM
Yes, the Western countries appeased Hitler, while Stalin signed a non-aggression pact (the Ribbentrop-Molotov pact) with Germany, thus giving Hitler a free hand to do as he pleased. In this way he was able to remilitarise the Rhineland, annex Austria, the Sudetenland and cause problems in the free city of Danzig. Surely Britain and France declared war on Germany after Hitler invaded Poland on 1st. September 1939? I don't understand what you mean when you say they did nothing after he invaded Poland. Please clarify! These two allies did, however, behave in a shameful manner at the Munich conference in September 1938, and in spite of the fact that France had a defence pact with Czechoslovakia, the country was more or less handed over to Hitler. Two of the most cynical comments at that time came from Chamberlain, (1) that he had secured "peace in our times" and (2) that it seemed wrong that people in Britain were preparing for a war to defend "a people who they knew nothing about and whose name they could hardly pronounce". Had Chamberlain and Daladier NOT appeased Hitler at that stage it just MIGHT have prevented (or minimised) the Second World War. However, they appeared to be misguided and in their anxiety to prevent another war they failed to recognise the fact that Hilter was a monster who could not be trusted.

I don't think one can indulge in absolutes with regard to dictators. They were ALL extremely evil.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: dmitri on November 05, 2007, 06:41:55 PM
It is interesting to know that the German troops had orders to withdraw if the French attacked when they went ahead with the occupation of the Rhineland. The French however were weak and did nothing. Hitler probably would have fallen if he had been humiliated at this time.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Lyss on November 06, 2007, 08:12:43 AM
France and England declared themselves responsable for Poland, even before the war. But They betraded Poland when Hitler invaded the country. The did declare war on Hitler, but only on paper. They didn't send any troops to help the Poles. Hitler and Stalin invaded the country from two sides (as was planned). Poland didn't stand a chance. Being a Polish emigre (I was 6 when we emigrated to Belgium) I see the Poles still blame France and England for their actions, as well at the beginning as at the end (the conference at Livadia)

Lyss
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: dmitri on November 06, 2007, 02:27:46 PM
There really was not much Britain could do to assist Poland. I tend to think Nazi Germany had to be stopped and at its very worst Britain was the only country remaining that stood firm when Nazi Germany had occuppied all the rest. I guess many Poles today have mixed feelings. That is to be expected. Many Poles are also choosing to migrate to Britain in search of a better life. That is very telling indeed. 
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Lyss on November 06, 2007, 04:14:04 PM
After the anexation of Austria,  during the conference in Muchen on 28the of september 1939 Hitler, Mussolini, Chamberlain and Daladier came together and corresponded that Germany could anex Sudentenland. On the 31 of March 1939 France and Great Britain garanteed the Polish independance. If Poland would be attacked, both countries had to declare war on the agressor. They declared war, but they didn't engage themselves in it. The funny fact is, that in 1938 both France as well as England signed a non-aggression treaty with Germany.
In the crisisperiod of august 1939 both Daladier and Chamberlain send their negotiators on a boat to Moscow. There, the sovjets found out that both F&E would not fullfill their military obligations when needed; England did not have an army on land and France thought the distance too great.
So on the 1th of september 1939 the Germans invaded Poland, on the 3th of september war was declared towards Germany by E & F, but nothing happened. On the 17th of september Stalin's troops invaded Poland.
These are just some brief facts, I'm not going to put the entire course of WW II, because 1)that's way too lon, 2) you can look it up your self.
It's just that Dimitri, I don't understand your answer. You tend to think nazi Germany had to be stopped, but England didn't think that way untill Churchill came along (Churchill's interview on the BBC on the 22th of june 1941: "We are determined to destroy Hitler and every trace of the nazi regime...")
I also don't see how the curant Polish migration has anything to do with the actions of E&F during WW II?

ps: all my information comes from the first chapter of Prof. Y. Vanden Berghe "De Koude Oorlog", a Dutch book on the cold war.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Greenowl on November 06, 2007, 05:06:06 PM
Thanks for that clarification Lyss. I now understand what you mean. It is interesting (or shocking, as the case may be) that due to one’s background one can have a whole different perspective on things. Due to my background I tend to see the Second World War first and foremost from a Czech perspective and always found it shocking that the Western Powers could literally sacrifice a sovereign state in order to maintain peace, regardless of the consequences for the people of that nation. To me it always seemed that they behaved more honourably towards Poland, in that they actually declared war on Hitler and ceased their policy of appeasement once and for all. However, I realise that from a Polish perspective the situation appears quite differently. At 8am, on 1st. September 1939, Poland requested immediate military assistance from France and Britain, but it was not until noon on 3rd. September that Britain declared war on Germany, followed by France at 17h00 that same day.  The delay was apparently due to their hope that Hitler would respond to demands to end the invasion. Western military commanders were still thinking in terms of the strategies of World War One and thus entirely unprepared for the rapid invasion of Poland as they expected the Germans to bombard the Polish line with heavy artillery for several weeks before launching a full invasion. Thus as the Germans advanced, French troops did nothing more than confine themselves to scouting and mapping the German 'West Wall', while awaiting the deployment of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) and full mobilisation. They had no offensive strategy, because France expected to fight a defensive war, and had invested heavily in the Maginot line. The RAF dropped no bombs on Germany but merely leaflets, urging a peace settlement. What can one say? The western powers were totally unprepared and had completely underestimated Hitler. Had they, as Dmitri correctly states, attacked when Germany went ahead with the remilitarisation of the Rhineland, it might have been a different story.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Greenowl on November 06, 2007, 05:25:50 PM
Hi Lyss,

I did not see your second post until AFTER I had written and posted my last post. I had no idea (Deep shame!) that in 1938 Britain and France signed a non-aggression treaty with Germany. Can you give me more details or the name of the treaty so that I can look it up? Interesting that such a treaty can be "forgotten". The fact is that Hitler enjoyed a largely positive press in the west throughout the period 1933-8, as evidenced by the hosting of the 1936 Olympics in Berlin and the visits by the Duke of Windsor and ex-British prime-minister David Lloyd George. Public opinion in the west broadly regarded the Treaty of Versailles as flawed and believed that communism was a greater threat to western democracies than fascism. Thus many welcomed a rearmed Germany as a bulwark against the Soviet Union, and, as I mentioned in a previous post, seemed to have no qualms about sacrificing a sovereign state ("whose name they could hardly pronounce") in order to maintain peace and keep Hitler happy. The Nuremberg laws of 1935 and their application were also no secret in western Europe and nobody seemed to bother, thus what can one say?

Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Colm on November 06, 2007, 05:29:54 PM
Maybe the question should be asked in a different way; What if there was no Hitler, would eastern europe never become communist? Because if there never would be a war, the would be no excuse for Stalin to enter those countries, to "save" them from the occupation. Or would it happen anyway? Without Hitler, would it be Stalin to invade eastern europe?



Maybe the British had intentions to involve them selves in Eastern Erope, why were the Polish goverment in London at the start of German invasion?
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: dmitri on November 06, 2007, 05:35:02 PM
I think what is forgotten is that nobody wanted another war. Britain had not recovered terribly well from the first world war and the effects of the great depression. It was buying for time which was very much needed. George VI paid a State Visit to USA in an effort to shore up support with Roosevelt. The Americans were isolationist though the State Visit opened doors. I doubt unless Pearl Harbour had been bombed that America would have come into Europe at all. USA still though supply many goods to Britain before entering world war two. Poland was also not terribly easy to each by planes wanting to return to UK. Sweden never did anything during world war two to help the Poles. That is very telling. I tend to think Britain should be praised for what she did and not criticised. It took great courage to stand alone for so long against Nazi Germany.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: klava1985 on November 06, 2007, 06:09:39 PM
So, I was browsing the bookstore and saw a book by Robert Gellately called Lenin, Stalin and Hitler: The Age of Social Catastrophe, making the case that Hitler and Stalin were totally co-dependent. :)

I didn't get it bec it seemed like maybe only one chapter was worthwhile, but you can read the reviews on Amazon.


It seems like a book Elisabeth would like; it sees ideology as causative in the atrocities of both regimes.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Lyss on November 07, 2007, 03:23:30 AM
Greenowl,
I don't know the names of the two seperate pease treaties with Germany, only that England signed one on the 30th of september 1938 and France on the 6th of december 1938. That's all wath my source tells me.
About the difference in view, it still exists even so many years after WW I. The Economist printed an article about it (I'll have to look it up) in regard of the EU: where the west sees 1945 as the end of WW II and thus an occation for celebration, the east sees it as a beginning of the sovjet occupation, and nothing to celebrate about.
Dmitri, you do realise that your first statement is incorrect. The treaty of Versailles was made up with the hope for a second war, albeit not as devastating as the first one. France made the Germand debtprovisions impossibly high as to assure a future attack. And why am I not allowed to critisize? As long as I base myself on facts, why is it wrong?
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Lyss on November 07, 2007, 03:43:04 AM
I've found the link to the article of The Economist about the difference in view of history, especialy WW II:
http://www.economist.com/world/europe/displaystory.cfm?story_id=9185774

an extract:
Above all, the authorised version of European history has floundered in the face of new members for whom the second world war is not the end of any debate, but a starting-point for new rows. The EU now has a fistful of ex-communist countries for whom, as one Brussels official puts it, “Strasbourg is not a symbol, and 1945 is not a magic year”. When Polish politicians mention Auschwitz, it is often to complain about it being called a “Polish death camp”, rather than the wording they feel is correct: a Nazi death camp located in Poland. ... If the EU does not learn to listen to and understand different views of the past, it may find itself stumbling when confronting future conflicts inside and outside the union. And that would be an historic mistake.

Although this isn't directly linked to "No Stalin, no Hitler?" and this forum here is not the EU, I do believe it's important, while discussing, we take in mind the different views of the past we all have. I'm not saying the are all right, but it can help us understand each other.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Greenowl on November 08, 2007, 06:56:53 AM
Thanks for that information Lyss. I'm very busy at present but when I have a spare moment I will search for those treaties you mentioned.

I second your statement that it is important to bear in mind that each person/nationality has the different views of the past and that only by acknowledging this can we hope to understand each other.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: rgellately on November 09, 2007, 03:06:14 PM
Hi all,

I just happened upon this very interesting site when my name and book showed up there. I have read the many interesting posts on "No Stalin, No Hitler."

I have a long argument about that in my book, where I discuss at length not just the interrelationships between Stalin and Hitler, but also with Lenin. I wish I had found this site before.

I heartily recommend taking a look at my book, whose title in fact fits so many of your posts: "Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler: The Age of Social Catastrophe."

Anyone can find it free at their local bookstore. Pay for a coffee and read the book. At the very least you'll enjoy the coffee.

If you have any questions about the book, by the way, I will be happy to answer them here.

Best wishes,

Robert
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: dmitri on November 10, 2007, 10:21:22 AM
There are countless primary and secondary sources on the topic already. Interesting you also have published secondary source opinions.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: rgellately on November 11, 2007, 09:30:52 AM
Dmitri,

Your "comments" here -- as in the others you put forward on this theme -- demonstrate an appalling case of misplaced arrogance. You should have it looked into. I recommend reading a good book or two, especially the ones you denounce or toss aside with disdain without having looked at them.

For people like you who apparently do not want to hear uncomfortable truths, it is easy to say there's nothing new under the sun and we've heard it all before. Every new book can easily be dismissed without ever bothering to thumb through them.

You seem to be captive of the idea that there is a fixed sum of "historical facts" out there that are gathered up like wheat at harvest time. In truth, most of the new and most successful books coming out about the Russian Revolutiion, Lenin, Stalin, or Hitler, do not provide sensational new revelations. When they make such claims the books often turn out to provide rather less than they promised. Most books deal with the same finite set of documents -- for example, on the Cold War. However, there are dramatic differences in the interpretation of these documents, which is as it should be, given their complexity and the fact that they are always incomplete. 

With the passage of time since 1917, and with new generations, there have arisen many new perspectives and new research interests. Above all we raise new questions about the documents and, indeed, some new documents emerge. We see connections that other researchers were not interested in, ignored or overlooked. We also provide new interpretations. We are interested not merely in what Lenin or Stalin said, but the significance of what they said.

All of these factors and more cause us to write and re-write history in an on-going conversation of the present with the past. In that sense, all history in contemporary history, it never reaches a final "finished product" that everyone accepts. For no sooner is there wide agreement or even consensus on some topic such as the Russian Revolution or the fall of Communism, then the consensus begins to be questioned, new interpretations are offered, and the process continues.

The events that opened with the war in 1914 and more or less concluded in 1945 were so complex that questions about them will go on being asked long into the future. Anyone who has read just the published works of Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler will be humble enough to say, as I do, that the most I could do was to attempt an understanding these complex figures. However, my interpreation differs substantially from those provided before and it may not be to everyone's taste who actually reads the book.

Historians are driven by many motives, and mine can be stated simply: I have a passion for justice and truth and I am interested in improving our understanding of the past. I am drawn to what seem to me to be life and death questions, like injustice, repression, mass murder, racism, and those who support it. It is a fallacy to assume that our understanding of these matters cannot be improved or that we "know it all already." 
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: dmitri on November 12, 2007, 12:31:45 AM
Good for you. I'm glad you also have an interest in history. Vive la difference.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: rgellately on November 12, 2007, 10:10:57 AM
If you curious to see how one person reacted to how I compared AND contrasted Communism and Nazism via a historical analysis of Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler, the following article is just one click away.

http://www.economist.com/books/PrinterFriendly.cfm?story_id=9616751
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Colm on November 12, 2007, 02:17:10 PM
If you curious to see how one person reacted to how I compared AND contrasted Communism and Nazism via a historical analysis of Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler, the following article is just one click away.

http://www.economist.com/books/PrinterFriendly.cfm?story_id=9616751
Hi Robert
Well done with the book, i read the economist preview, i look  forward to getting a copy, i'm in the middle of one on Churchill and Hiter at the moment and it is amazing the link between the west and the making of these three leaders, ie, Nazism and Communism seemed to have been born out of capitalism.
and that the wall sreet crash was engineered to cause the 2nd war, would you have any oppinion on this 
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Lyss on November 13, 2007, 07:42:42 AM
a very interesting article in the economist.
As for the rehabilitation of Stalin, can it be compared to the one of Mao? In China some belive Mao to be a semi god, is this also the case in Russia perhaps?
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Robert_Hall on November 13, 2007, 10:47:22 AM
I have been to both China and Russia.  In Russia, I have noticed a rather quiet admiration of Stalin from  certain circles.  Most of that admiration comes from his leadership during WWII, of course [convienently forgetting the pact with Hitler] and because of the percieved "good old days" when the trains ran on time, so to speak. Obviously these people  were not ones who suffered under the man's regime.
 In China,  thousands line up each day to view Mao's body in his temple-like mausoleum. People, even young people, quote his poetry, cite his political thoughts by rote and generally "what would Mao do or say"  is the norm. Of course, the Party is still in charge in China, it  [Mao] is seen as China's saviour from Western Imperialism and expoitive capitalism form corrupt bourgeoisie. Which is why corruption in China now is so harshly and publicly  punished, I imagine.
 Both examples I am using are from the ordinary, everyday  "people on the street".  I am no sociologist, but it was pretty easy for me to see this [usually just by asking the right questions, I quess].
 What Hitler had in common with both men was his amazing leadership ability.  He still has his admirers as well, albiet they tend to be crackpot, violence prone hooligans, who I doubt have ever even read a book, let alone Mein Kampf, but they are there none the less. And of the three, he was the only one lawfully elected to his office.  What happened after that, is of course, a different matter.
 Stalin  achieved his mantle by skillful manoevering and assasination. No one elected him freely.
 Same with Mao. He "invented"  the modern China, there was never a question of who was in charge and he left the country with a basically collective leadership that, for the most part, works, in a uniquely Chinese way, in my opinion. China's  current prosperity, power and influence is directly the result of Mao's foundations. There were mistakes along the way, no doubt, but the perception is that the struggle  was worth it.
 Just my observations
(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v289/Markhall/Nico2006192.jpg)
(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v289/Markhall/China1006.jpg)
 
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Colm on November 13, 2007, 06:12:29 PM
Great my first post.
those photo's really added some light to this topic,.
 what was the relationship between Mao and Stalin? was it similar to the one between  Churchill and Rossevelt?  out of these leaders countries what alliance would Hitler have wanted to have kept? Maybe if he had defeated Russia would the allies have struck an accord? i know it's pointless to ask what if's.
 but any oppinions, what would world oppinion have been of him then?
 hope i don't get misinterpeted as i am not trying to glorify anyone, it's just that, like the Mid East when Kirdish people where murdered with chemical weapons in Northern Iraq nothing was said, because Hussein was on the right side against Iran at the time, in fact they helped him with the technology. just looking back through some posts on this topic it was noted that the Jewish slaughter did not start until Stalin and Hitler went to war, was Hitler doing some other countries dirty work in Russia? was the plan for replacement of Jewish people to madascar stopped, maybe because it was not accepted by the half Allies of Saddam,or of Hitler, and who turned out to be only half allies of Stalin in th end
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: rgellately on November 14, 2007, 09:52:06 AM
Thanks Colm and Lyss,

If you want to read an interesting review of Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler by perhaps the Stalin expert today, Simon Sebag Montefiore. See his review "Killers with Ideologies" in the Washington Post. It is also only a click away:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/09/AR2007080901981.html

Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: rgellately on November 14, 2007, 10:22:22 AM
A thought about the Stalin revival:

There seems little doubt that a Stalin revival is under way in Russia, complete with revised school textbooks such as A. Filippov's "A Modern History of Russia: 1945-2006." This is what will be read in the schools, so watch out.

Anyone wishing for a short account of the revival and excerpts from Filippov's book can go to the article by Andrew Kramer, "Yes, a Lot of People Died, but"... in the NYT. Here it is:

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/12/weekinreview/12kramer.html?n=Top/Reference/Times%20Topics/People/S/Stalin,%20Joseph

Interestingly enough, Kramer suggests that the new trend is to compare Stalin, not to Hitler, but to Bismarck. The way the story goes is that just as the Iron Chancellor united Germany, Stalin united the USSR in the 1930s, under threat from Hitler. The vast differences, however, are brushed aside, like the small point that Stalin used murderous methods on his own people that would have put Ivan the Terrible to shame. He personally signed the death warrents of tens of thousands and issued personal instructions to beat men who had once been close comrades.

What about Stalin's role in the war? One could argue, as did numerous Soviet generals after Stalin was gone, that the USSR survived the Nazi onslaught not because of Stalin, but in spite of him. Not only did his failure at the beginning to the war costs hundreds of thousands their lives. In addition, his direct orders on countless occasions at the end of the war cost Soviet casualties far, far in excess of what was necessary. See, for example, the senseless charges during the siege of Budapest or the mad rush to get to Berlin.

In the course of the war it is still true that Stalin emerged as a symbol of the will to fight on. He was far more popular at war's end, a veritable God, but nothing like Bismarck. The latter's considerable faults seem like mere skin blemishes compared to Stalin's deeds.

Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Robert_Hall on November 14, 2007, 11:19:53 AM
Very interesting review, Robert. I have just finished Montefiore's Young Stalin and have ordered Court of the Red Tsar.  An engaging writer. I like his narrative style.
 I  find the point that Hitler did not kill his own people  rather odd. He ordered the slaughter of the SA and  the first concentration camp at Dachau was for political and social enemies.  The "mercy killings" of the disabled and other "social misfits" precluded the war. These were all German citizens. Admittedly, this was not on the scale of Stalin, but then again, Stalin had a vastly larger population to cull.
 I have always had mixed feelings about Lenin.  I know very well that he was no angel, but at the same time, his manifesto that terror was a legitimate tool of the revolution was quite pragmatic, if sinister.  Obviously, it is a weapon used to this day by far different "revolutionaries" of varied stripes.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: rgellately on November 14, 2007, 02:22:35 PM
I shall have to call you Robert I, to disguish you and avoid making it appear that I am talking to myself!

Dear Robert I,

With all due respect, the review of my book cited above from The Washington Post does not quite say what you suggest. To quote: "This book shows that the Nazis believed themselves to be popular, whereas the Bolsheviks had no illusions about themselves. The Nazis felt they did not need to kill their own people, and in particular they spared the Prussian generals because the officer class was basically loyal (and willing to ignore the slaughter of Jews and Slavs) so long as Hitler delivered victory. Only when faced with total disaster in the summer of 1944 did the spirit of resistance attain the momentum to launch a plausible attempted assassination and coup -- the July '44 plot.

Afterward, Hitler started killing his own officers -- because he needed to do so. With the start of his Russian invasion, the regime's nature was revealed in the massacres of Jews and commissars. The Nazis considered the killing of non-Germans as part of the struggle for German racial survival, and the more severe the fighting became on the Eastern Front, the more imperative it became to kill "polluting" civilians such as the Jews. The Holocaust started as soon as Hitler invaded Russia."

You are certainly correct, Robert I, to remind us all that the Nazis persecuted and killed their own. Generally speaking, however, this coercion was far more restrained in the years of peace (1933-39) than often supporsed. It was used then and later against social outsiders of various kinds, people already unloved and unwanted. On the political front, the Communists suffered most, but even many of them were won over to the cause. The repression inside Germany did not cause general terror as much as it won Hitler support. The real terror was directed at Jews and non-Germans, above all the Slavs.

Thus the conclusion of my book is that Hitler's was a consensus dictatorship.

Lenin, the "good Lenin" I seek to unmask in my book, created all the essential institutions usually attributed to Stalin, who built on the foundations of Leninism in more ways than one. Together theirs was, in contrast to Hitler's, what I call a vanguard or avant-garde dictatorship.

Hitler felt a need to be in accord with popular opinion, while Lenin and Stalin brushed it aside or crushed it, for they knew the Marxist texts and ran roughshod over the ignorant and those who suffered from "false consciousness," even if that amounted to many millions of their own people. 
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Robert_Hall on November 14, 2007, 09:36:04 PM
I agree wholeheartedly that Hitler,as well as all the others, effectively were  "consensual" dictatorship as they  either had no or eliminated opposition.
 Politically, they were vastly different, in my view.
 I have never figured out exactly what National Socialism was  intended to be. Whatever it was, it  seems to me to be  just opprotunism for gaining power, with not much of an ecconomic reality in focus. Ultra nationalism and scapegoating  was the tactic.  What was the realpolitik goal?  I do not buy the "liebenstraum" [sic!]  nor even the  "racial purity"  bit.  Also seen today in various guises. I know these were the vocal  manifistaions justifying  their hold on  power, but  what else? Blustering oratory and victimisation was the modus operandi for NS, as I see it, with not much of  an end purpose.
 Communism, however, has a clear goal,  an ideal, which, of course has never been achieved. Stalin did not  single out individual racial groups, per se.  He did dislocate massive groups of people, but I do not think  that was because of racial prejudice. It was more political  expediency and surviavl of his hold on power. Whether or not he actually believed the goal of communism was achievable, I have not a clue.
 In my opinion, both men became so wrapped up in their megalomania that they forgot what they started out for.
  I should like to read your book, Robert.  This is a very important topic, in my view, in order to understand what happened before and why and how it is happening now.
 Cheers,
 RobertI
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Peter C on November 15, 2007, 07:18:34 AM
A few words about Fascism:

"Whoever refuses to discuss capitalism should keep silent about Fascism.” Max Horkheimer: Die Juden und Europe, in Zeitschrift für Sozialforschung, Vol. 8 (1939).

Fascism is first and foremost a capitalist phenomenon. Bourgeois historians and the Western mainstream media often refer to Fascism, Communism and capitalism as if they were three different systems. That is a totally false distinction.

Fascism is a specific historical form of capitalism, generated in a specific set of circumstances. Italy, Germany and Spain were capitalist societies throughout the rules
Of Mussolini, Hitler and Franco.

One of the best books about Fascism is Behemoth, the structure and practice of National Socialism 1933-45, Franz Neumann, Harper and Row, New York, 1963.

In turbulent post-WW 1 Italy and Germany, the middle and upper classes were split into fractions with conflicting economic and political interests, e.g. industrialists, landowners, bankers, small manufacturing firms, small farmers. They were unable to form an effective political front against the working class and the Communist parties.

Mussolini realized that one of the few things these fractions had in common was fear and hatred of Communism – i.e. the potential power of the working class, including both social-democrat and Communist-led trade unions. Both Mussolini and Hitler promised each fraction that their demands would be satisfied, but after seizing power they focused on the needs of the upper class, i.e. the capitalist owners of major corporations and banks.

E.g. Himmler responded to demands from small businessmen and farmers for State regulation of banks and big monopoly companies: “It will be business as usual”.

Big business eagerly supported both Mussolini, Hitler and Franco. Hitler's party was receiving considerable sums from large German companies as early as 1923. This support increased throughout the 1920s, as the German Communist Party gained strength.

Details of finance provided by German capitalists from 1923 onward are given in The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, William L. Shirer, Simon and Schuster, 1959. Without this financial support the Nazis would never have come to power.

Over and over again, Hitler announced that the enemy was Bolshevism, and often, but not always, Judeo-Bolshevism.
 
Hitler often said that Jews were the main carriers of the plague of Marxism that was infecting Europe. It was true that there was a dispro¬portionately high number of Jews  in the top levels of the Soviet CP as well as in the Soviet government and civil service. Hitler said that the Jewish Marxists were "using the workers against the bourgeoisie".


The main points of Hitler's announced program in the 1920s were to defeat the Communism movement, expand German rule to the east, which would require a vast rearmament program, smash the organized left (Communists and Social Democrats) in Germany, and release Germany from the restrictions of the Versailles Treaty.

As noted, German capitalists did not support Hitler because he said he wanted to get rid of the Jews. They supported him because he had identified Communism as the main enemy. Capitalists in other Western countries supported him for the same reason.

This explains why discussions of Fascism virtually never include the govern¬ments in Italy and Spain, under Mussolini and Franco. Mussolini was not an anti-Semite, and his long-term mistress was in fact Jewish. How could the Western media account for Fascist movements that did not feature anti-Semitism, without revealing the true nature of Fascism as a capitalist phe¬nomenon?

E.g. Carl Weinberg, a Jew, was Deputy Chairman of the Board of IG Far¬ben. He told visitors from the giant US chemical firm Du Pont that he supported the Nazis wholeheartedly. See The Crime and Punishment of IG Farben, Joseph Borkin, The Free Press, 1978. Another director of IG Farben was in charge of planning the rearmament program that was to lead to Operation Barbarossa.

Weinberg moved to Switzerland in the late 1930s and continued to collect dividends on his shares in IG Farben while the company manufactured Zyklon gas and supplied it to the concentration camps, where it was used to kill inmates.

General Erhard Milch was State Secretary in the German Air Force and Herman Goering's right-hand man. He was also Jewish. Goering prom¬ised to protect Milch, saying "I'm the one who decides who's Jewish and who isn't around here - basta", (quoted in Borkin).

Hitler came to power in what was essentially a coup d'état, engineered in alliance with the German upper class because electoral support for the Nazis was declining. The coup involved the arrest of 81 legally elect¬ed Communist deputies to the Reichstag.

The first major actions of the Nazi government after the seizure of power were directed against Communists, union leaders and the working class. All labor unions were shut down and their financial assets confiscated. Communists were arrested or killed. Revision of German labor-market legislation quickly returned the German worker to the status quo 1840.

The economic outcome of Fascist regimes at the national level was and is a capitalist's dream, as shown in Late Capitalism, Ernest Mandel, Verso, London, 1978. Mandel calculates that real wages for German workers declined by 25% during the 1930s, while profits for big industry and banks reached record levels.

Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: rgellately on November 16, 2007, 08:11:43 AM
Dear Robert Hall,

Your sensible remarks are most welcome. I do hope you will read my Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler book, as it deals with so many of the points you raise and have been mentioned in these exchanges on this site.

With all due respect I must disagree slightly with one of your points. You say that "Stalin did not  single out individual racial groups, per se.  He did dislocate massive groups of people, but I do not think  that was because of racial prejudice. It was more political  expediency and surviavl of his hold on power."

In fact the closer one looks at social or ethnic repression under Stalin, the more it seems laced with race-like thinking. There were in fact tens of thousands people from numerous ethnic groups who were deported during the war years. The story of what happened to the Tartars looks and feels like racial persecution to me, but I could add numerous other cases.

I could point to other groups, but here I would call your attention to the persecution of what the Soviets called "former people." Although Stalin said at one point "the son should not pay for the sins of the father," in fact "former people" -- former kulaks, policemen, nobles, etc., and even the children and grandchildren of these "formers" were persecuted. The secret police noted (but did not stop) the absurdity of repressing not just kulaks, nor even the sons and daughters of former kulaks, but the grandchildren of former kulaks. More was involved than a horrible joke, because my point is that social persecution in the USSR is not so easy to distinguish from racial persecution. There were many cases when it would seem the sin "was in the blood." A horrible paradox that suggests we should not overlook how social categories under Stalin took on almost race-like features.

We can save the story for later of how after the war Stalin turned in a distinctly anti-Semitic direction...



Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: rgellately on November 16, 2007, 08:34:03 AM
Dear Peter C,

I seems to me you might consider moving your reading a generation or two forward. I think you are wrong about Fascism, just like Adorno and Stalin. The Soviet leader did not understand fascism and gave all kinds of wrong advice to German Communists about how to oppose it.

Stalin's great error was to consider Nazism in materialistic terms, seeing it as one of two examples of monopoly capitalism: The other example was democracy as practiced in the United States and Britain. What Stalin failed to realize (just like you, Peter and Adorno), was that the Nazi movement was a catch-all social protest movement that soon won over the great majority in the country. Do you really think Hitler was unpopular and the Nazis were the agents of capitalism? 

Stalin's error cost the lives of millions of his own people. His mistake was to assert that Hitler was motivated by materialistic considerations and so would never invade the USSR if the Soviets gave him freely in trade what he (and the German capitalists) wanted. Stalin, like so many others, failed to understand that Hitler was motivated most of all by his ideology, dreadful as it was. Since the early 1920s he was moved by a determination of battle what he called "Jewish Bolshevism." By the early war years that belief had deepened to the point that he wanted to conquer the USSR, partly also as a way of knocking Britain out of the war, for with the Soviets out, the British would have no allies and have to sue for peace. In the meantime on June 22, 1941 trains from the USSR were running west carrying goods essential to the German war machine. This happened right up to the very day when the Nazi crusade against Communism crossed the border heading east.

Stalin refused to believe the news, and against all the evidence kept on insisting the "attack" was at most a "provocation." A German attack made no sense to his way of thinking. Why go to war to gain booty, when the Soviets were giving Hitler everything he asked for?

Alas, the war was not about capitalist greed. The real answer is that Hitler wanted more than booty. It was not the primacy of economics (God forbid!), but the primacy of ideology. He knew little and cared less about economics. His passions (apart from architecture) were built around dreams of race and space, ultimately world conquest.

Because we find Nazi ideology repugnant, we should not delude ourselves into missing the point that many people at the time in Germany (and in many other parts of Europe), found it very attractive.

Anyone who keeps on regarding the Nazis primarily in materialistic terms  -- as was unfortunately the case in the 1930s, is, thus, bound to miss the most important part of the story.   
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Robert_Hall on November 16, 2007, 02:47:36 PM
I would agree that  Hitler's National  Socialism was more nationalistic than socialist. In his mind,  the "race & space"  And his ultimate tactic was any means justifies the end. The capitalists were just as much a tool to him as the Jews and other inferiors [in his way of thinking] provided him with scapegoats to justify his actions to the German people.
 Stalin, on the other hand did had an essential ecconomic goal- communism, to defend and promote.  Essentially a ruthless thug, I doubt he much understood the theory behind it though.
 Not to justify his actions by   any means, but I still do not see his purges based on race issues at the reason. I may very well be naive about this, and I really look forward to Red Tsar to learn more, but I think he targeted anyone who was in his way, or simply opposed him for whatever reason.  Dure he displaced the Tartars, amongst others, but was it just because they were Tartars? I think not.
 I do not think Stalin held grudges for very long. He simply eliminated the problem as soon as possible and - well, no more grudge.
  Robert- I will get your book when I come to England next moth. I look fowrad to reading that as well.
 Cheers,
 Robert1
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Peter C on November 17, 2007, 08:21:13 AM
Hello rgellately!

The Comintern in general made a series of grave tactical misjudgements about the power of the Nazi movement, but as far as I know no one including Stalin identified Nazism with monopoly capitalism. An ideology, even the mishmash that Hitler spouted, cannot be identified with capitalism, which is an economic system. But there is no question that Nazism served the interests of German monopoly capitalism and was supported by it. Nor did anyone in the Soviet government identify democracy with monopoly capitalism. They correctly viewed the US and the UK as examples of bourgeois democracies which were dominated by the representatives of monopoly capitalism. By the way, I did not quote Adorno in my entry.

Nazism did not win over the “great majority in the country”. The Nazi share of the vote peaked in 1932  at about 42% and then declined, which is why – as I wrote – the coup d’etat was organized in 1933. Subsequent to the coup the Nazis ruled by terror, not by consensus.

Neither Stalin nor anyone else in the Soviet government in the 1930s believed that the USSR would not be eventually attacked by Germany. That is why foreign minister Litvinov was in shuttle traffic between the European capitals from 1934-38, trying to establish mutual agreements to block German aggression. Unfortunately, he was unsuccessful. The British and French finally sent a delegation to Moscow in 1939 to discuss a Soviet proposal for an alliance. When the Soviets learned that the members of the delegation were not authorized to sign an agreement, they gave up and decided to seek a non-aggression pact with Germany.

For the Stalin government, the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact was an attempt to buy time. They thought that it might delay the awaited invasion until 1942. According to the pact the USSR supplied Germany with grain and other agricultural produce – not with “goods essential to the German war machine”. Those goods were being supplied by German companies such as Opel, owned by General Motors, and other Western companies such as IBM and Bofors. The Germans supplied the Soviets with machine tools and other badly needed industrial products.

Thus your statement that “A German attack made no sense to (Stalin’s) way of thinking”..because “the Soviets were giving Hitler everything he asked for” is a product of your fantasy and has no relation to the facts. Stalin did not “refuse to believe” that an attack had taken place. As Molotov points out in Molotov Remembers, Felix Chuev,  Ivan R Dee, 1993, reports from the front were very confused on June 22-23 and for some days afterward. It took almost a week before a clear picture of the situation could be determined.

Hitler did not attack the USSR because “with the Soviets out, the British would have no allies and have to sue for peace.” At the time of the attack the UK was not allied with the USSR, and the British had already refused an alliance on several occasions.

You seem to be confused about Nazi ideology and the economic reality of fascist society. Hitler’s ideological pronouncements were intended to rally the population behind his government. But the economic policies of the government were clearly designed to further the interests of German monopoly capital, as Franz Neumann, Ernest Mandel, Arthur Schweizer and others have shown.

The public pronouncements made by political leaders to justify wars of aggression rarely reflect the true motivation. Mystical flimflam designed to mislead the public was an essential part of fascism in the 1930s, as it is today. Naturally, Hitler didn’t tell the German middle-class that they had to go to war to boost profits for monopoly capital, any more than Lyndon Johnson told Americans that Vietnam had to be attacked in order to secure supplies of wolfram and other minerals for large US companies. Nor did George W. Bush publicly motivate the war on Iraq by telling his compatriots that it is in the interests of Halliburton, other big US companies and Israel. Do you really believe that the war in the Middle East is motivated by George Bush’s passion for freedom and democracy, or that WW2 was motivated by Hitler’s “dreams of race and space”?

WW2 was most definitely motivated by capitalist greed and fear of Communism. Not least because Tsarist Russia had been a gold mine for Western capitalists, which is why Winston Churchill said that “Bolshevism must be strangled in its cradle”. The directors of IG Farben, Krupp and other big German companies were determined to expand, particularly in the east. If Hitler’s party hadn’t served their interests, they would have looked for someone else. Without their support the Nazi party would have become irrelevant, as shown in recent decades by bourgeois German historians such as Karl-Dietrich Bracher, Martin Broszat and Ernst Nolte.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: rgellately on November 17, 2007, 08:22:40 AM
Dear Robert Hall,

Of course there is a difference between race-based persecution, and social persecution. My point was that in the Stalinist USSR, the line between the two was not as firm as we sometimes think. In my research I was struck by how "the wrong kind" of social origins came to be used and thought of by Social officialdom almost like racial or ethnic origins -- i.e., people's social origins and the "sins" of their parents or grandparents were considered more or less ineradicable.

When it comes to ethnic cleasning during the war, however, the line disappears that divides racial or ethnic persecution from social persecution. A whole range of people (and not just the Soviet citizens of ancient German ancestry), above all the many peoples in the Caucasus were persecuted for their ethnic origins, also because of their religions.

I cover this in detail in my Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler, in a chapter called "Ethnic Cleansing in Wartime Soviet Union."

Contrary to what is often supposed, Tartars were indeed persecuted as Tartars. The same fate followed for more than a dozen ethnic groups, from the Kalmyks, Karachays, Balkars, Ingush, all the way and perhaps most infamously to the Chechens. Massive numbers were involved in this ethnic cleansing -- which has been likened to genocide. When some people could not or would not move quickly enough, they were shot on the spot or shut into buildings, which were then burnt to the ground.

The entire Crimean Tartar population of around 200,000 was deported in May 1944. Tellingly, non-Tartar spouses could stay behind, suggesting that race was indeed a major factor in who was persecuted and who was spared. Tartar culture was put to the torch, and records of their identity (like birth certificates) were erased. Tartar historians estimate half their people died in this nightmare, but even those who survived were expressly forbidden to return to what had been their homeland even long after the war.

The total of all the ethnic groups inside the Soviet Union who were deported or destroyed during the war reached the astounding figure of  nearly 2 million, of whom an estimated 300,000 died.

My dear Robert Hall: I'm afraid there's nothing for it. You are going to have to read my book, particularly if you think Stalin did not understand what he was doing...
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Peter C on November 17, 2007, 08:46:44 AM
With refernce to the Soviet prposals for an Anglo_british-Soviet alliance against Hitler, the wisdom of these proposals was later admitted by several Western leaders, e.g.:

"Can anyone doubt that if we had had in 1939 the unity between Russia, this country and the United States that we cemented at Yalta, there would not have been the present war?" - Anthony Eden in the House of Commons, 1945.

“Today, when one rereads the draft for the Anglo-French-Soviet treaty, one may well ask how blind and petty our diplomacy must have been in its approach to this matter, losing the opportunity for concluding a treaty of such crucial significance.” - French General André Beaufre in Le drame de 1940, Plon, 1965. (Beaufre had been a member of the delegation from he Uk and France, sent to Moscow in 1939.)

See also 1939: The Alliance That Never Was and the Coming of World War II, Michael Jabara Carley, Chicago, Ivan R. Dee. 1999.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Colm on November 17, 2007, 10:46:46 AM
What was Hitlers stance on religion? was he in favour of protecting catholics against protestantism,
 and would this have had any roll in the outbreak of the war?
It just seems like, that this old problem in Europe, and all over the world, had not gone away at that time
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Lyss on November 17, 2007, 11:02:36 AM
I also heard he preferred protestantism over catholisism, because the former was more open to reinterpretation and Hitler advocated positive christianity (a sort of christianity consisted with nazism) As wikipedia points out:
Adherents of Positive Christianity argued that traditional Christianity emphasized the passive rather than the active aspects of Christ's life, stressing his sacrifice on the cross and other-worldly redemption. They wanted to replace this with a "positive" emphasis on Christ as an active preacher, organizer and fighter who opposed the institutionalized Judaism of his day. At various points in the Nazi regime, attempts were made to replace orthodox Christianity with its "positive" alternative.
But at the Nurember trials, it became known that at the end of WWII Hitler intended to destroy christianity.
So I don't know if the whole idea of "posiive christianity" was just an act to get the church on his side, what would make one opponent less. I remember from my universityclasses (history of international politics) that Hitler wanted to get back to the old, pure and strong Germanic traditions.
What his real personal feelings were, I don't know. Stalin presecuted the orthodox church on one hand, but during WWII he prayed every single day in church. So what does this mean?
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: rgellately on November 17, 2007, 11:39:09 AM
Peter C,

You really do have to start looking at newer books than the ones you cite, most of them a generation or two old and/or written by died-in-the wool Trotskyites. Your interpretation of Hitler’s regime and fascism sound remarkably like the ones put forward by the Comintern in the 1930s. If you think Hitler was unpopular and you don’t like my book then try Ian Kershaw’s 2 vol. study of Hitler. On Hitler’s popularity, there is now scholarly consensus, even it you cannot agree with it.

No one doubts that capitalists in Germany initially gained with the end of trade unions and so on. They benefited when the economy recovered quickly. So did the unemployed workers, for which, in spite of everything, they thanked Hitler. It did not matter that Hitler himself had not invented the make-work projects, the return of the economy to better times happened on Hitler’s watch and he got the credit. Workers thanked him for much else besides, including for tearing up the Treaty of Versailles. But I tell the full story of how the majority was won over in my book. 

You suggest I have a fantasy about Stalin when it comes to why he failed to listen to those who kept warning of the German invasion – even on the day it took place. The background of my “fantasy” is in the trade relations between Germany and the USSR. These were regulated by three different trade treaties. Without going into all the details, these required mutual trade. In return for Soviet raw materials of various kinds, the Germans were to supply arms and even industrial secrets – such as how to make more efficient airplane fuel. The latter exchange was much resented by IG Farben, who did not want to share such information.

The trade volume between the two countries under these treaties was considerable and the trade kept flowing punctually right up to the outbreak of war. My point is that Stalin was doing everything possible to fulfill Germany’s “material” wishes. To illustrate the extent of the trade, we can look at just the last months. In 1941 up to April of that year alone, the Soviets delivered 632,000 tons of grain, 232,000 tons of petroleum, 23,500 tons of cotton, 50,000 tons of manganese ore, and 67,000 tons of phosphates. Moreover, by agreement, the Soviets permitted the Germans to import essential war materials (like rubber) from the Far East and to ship these across the USSR to Germany. The total of all materials was vast, whether the goods were of Soviet or Far Eastern origin. These materials were obviously essential to the German war effort – just like the food. It is likely that still more goods would have crossed the Soviet frontier, save that there was a shipping backlog because the gauge of track in the USSR was different than the one used to the west, and the goods had to be transferred to western freight trains.

Stalin’s economic appeasement could hardly have been greater. His great fear was that Hitler would use it as a “provocation” if the USSR cut shipments or even delayed them. 

When it comes to why Stalin was fooled so badly about the invasion – on this you can see the great biography of Stalin by Simon Sebag Montefiore, if you won’t believe me – historians have put forward many explanations. These include his failure to imagine the Germans would start a war so late in the summer, to his belief that Hitler did not want a two-front war. Other hypotheses can be put forward, which is all we have, for Stalin never admitted the reasons for his grave error. Hitler definitely stated that part of his reasoning was to knock the USSR out of the war so that Britain would have no one on the continent to look to, and might “see the light.” He made these statements behind closed doors, and were not meant for public consumption. 

Now to return to Stalin’s imagination: It is my opinion, based on reading everything Stalin wrote, (including Molotov’s later rationalizations) that Stalin’s lack of imagination was also colored by his Marxist-Leninist ideology. His world view tended to emphasize economic or materialistic motives to all historical actors. Hitler was different, and definitely no tool of the capitalists, in spite of what the Comintern might have asserted. Certainly Hitler was not getting everything he wanted from the east, and worried that his oil supplies could be cut, but what really drove him when all was said and done was his ideology. That was, as you suggest, essentially anti-Communist and anti-Semitic. Stalin failed to take Nazi ideology seriously, a problem that many on the Left shared. 

Hitler could not be appeased by Western statesmen, nor could he be appeased by Stalin, because in principle his ideological or political aims were unlimited.   
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Colm on November 18, 2007, 01:28:42 PM
Peter! i would have to agree with you that without capitalism this war and many others would have been avoided, but also for the war mongering (war criminal) of Churchiill and his bringing of the Polish foreign minister to London, when Hitler wanted a meeting to avoid a war, was no doubt the nail in the coffin, or in most cases no coffin, for so many.
 and it's so very frightening that this propoghanda, in the past few decades has covered up the truth, as to what really happened.
 >:(
 
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: rgellately on November 19, 2007, 03:46:54 PM
I'll grant you one thing Colm, your latest posting is a definite conversation stopper.

It leaves me wondering both why you are apparently angry and with whom you are angry.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Robert_Hall on November 19, 2007, 03:59:03 PM
Robert, in my view, Stalin was essentially a hooligan who bullied  everyone into submission to his will. Whatever his will happened to be at the moment.
 Whereas Hitler, cajoled with flattery and dramatic oration. He generated genuine devotion to his person as Fuhrer.  At least Hitler had a political agenda, while Stalin stumbled along making a big botch of the communist ideal.
 Yet, Stalin won, did he not?  While Hitler died in ashes from suicide.
 Who had the greater talent, in your opinion?
 Cheers,
 Robert1
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Colm on November 20, 2007, 08:54:46 AM
I'll grant you one thing Colm, your latest posting is a definite conversation stopper.

It leaves me wondering both why you are apparently angry and with whom you are angry.
Robert
My anger is towards the western media and historians, th 2nd world war was started by England with provocation, they then bombed hospitals and civilians from day one, and then afterwards twisted it all around, by using the holocaust
Just like they and their allies have done in countless of  other countries it doesnt matter what nationality,who dies as long as they are not white anglo saxons protestants,

It would appear that Hitler done all in his power to avoid a war
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Colm on November 20, 2007, 09:06:34 AM
I'll grant you one thing Colm, your latest posting is a definite conversation stopper.

It leaves me wondering both why you are apparently angry and with whom you are angry.
Robert
My anger is towards the western media and historians, th 2nd world war was started by England with provocation, they then bombed hospitals and civilians from day one, and then twisted it all around, by using the holocaust
Just like they and their allies have done in countless of  other countries it doesnt matter what nationality,who dies as long as they are not white anglo saxons protestants,

It would appear that Hitler done all in his power to avoid a war
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Robert_Hall on November 20, 2007, 04:15:08 PM
Colm, I find your view a bit skewed and verging on Holocaust denial.  Hitler did everthing he could to provoke war, when appeasement failed him.   He also started the bombing of civilian targets. And to be fair, the German people are, for the most part Saxon Protestants.
 I agree wholeheartedly that the history is written by the winners, and that Germany had a rotten deal in loosing WWI, but to try and excuse Hitler as a "peaceful" leader is incredible. His manifesto itself- Mein Kampf- is a testament to his agenda. Racial purity and war are carved in stone, so to speak, in those pages.
 However, the topic of this thread is Hitler AND Stalin. It is my view that Stalin did not actively  encourage war. He knew the Soviet Union could not support an agressive  campaign. When defense and victory became the issue, he came to his best form.  Both men were brutal and "took no prisoners" and at great costs, Stalin "won". in a  manner of speaking.
 Hitler has become a sort of cult figure by people who  have never even read his history, his deeds. Those who admire, or at least respect, Stalin have read something about him, I think.
 Both are fascinating men. Their leadership qualities amaze me. Both used idealogy and nationalism to mobilise their populace to action.  Naturally the opposing powers did the same, but in reaction, I think, not instigation.
 Just some of my thoughts.
 Robert1
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Lyss on November 21, 2007, 07:35:14 AM
I must say I'm quiet shocked by the ignorance by some of the posters here. I know that through dialogue and discussing we all try to learn, but I believed this to be an intelligent, scientific forum. Most of the posters here are scholars and people who read a lot but after reading some post of other posters I came to this conclusion:
Those who read less and are the more ignorant tend to be the onces the most sure of their right, and even arrogant some times when proven wrong (and proven it is, scientifical and by using references). I also noticed they never refere to any scientific source, they just aclaim what they say to be the truth. Whilest the scholars and the intellectual onces are less eager to provoke or even answer o such an ignorance and tend to refer much more to the sources of their claims.
So I present a solution; when trying to prove you'r position or opinion, use references, sources. That way, pointless discussion will be prevented. There is a big difference in what you believe and what is. And yes, history is written by the winners. And you don't have to agree ith it, but is your right. But that is also your opinion, and not an acclaimed fact. So don't try to present it as one.
Thank you
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Peter C on November 21, 2007, 08:43:48 AM
Hello rgellately!

Let’s start over. Fascism is a capitalist phenomenon. The fascist societies in Italy, Germany and Spain were capitalist, i.e. the production system was owned by a tiny minority of the population, the main goal of production was to maximize the accumulation of capital by the owners, and in order to so the owners aimed at maximizing the surplus value that they could extort from the actual producers, i.e. the working class. Any objections?

The upper class, i.e. the owners, supported the fascist parties because they understood that fascist policies would benefit them. In particular, they appreciated the fascist antagonism to Marxism and therefore to the working class. The interests of the upper class are in conflict with the interests of the working class. Do you disagree?

In Germany, big capital began supporting the NASDP in 1923 (100,000 gold reichsmarks donated by the steel trust) ?? and increased throughout the 1920s. Information on this support is given in Shirer’s book. Do you have any evidence to show that he was wrong?

You write that capitalists in Germany “initially gained with the end of trade unions and so on”, which sounds rather inconsequential. Elimination of trade unions along with the bans on strikes, collective bargaining, mediation, arbitration, worker participation in industrial affairs and collective action by labor organizations “established the principle that organized labor had no place in a state politically dominated by the Nazi party” (Schweizer). Is this statement incorrect? Were the above decrees in the interest of big capital, or not? As for “initial gains”, in the period 1932-38 nominal wages rose by 10%, the cost of living by 7%, and the length of the working day by almost 40%. In other words, the rate of exploitation of the working class intensified dramatically. This translated directly into higher profits by capitalists also rose, from RM 8 billion in 1932 to RM 20 billion in 1938 (Mandel).

Unemployed workers benefited, according to you, but at the same time the Nazi government prohibited job changes that were not approved by employers. This of course removed any possibility of bargaining for higher wages. The regulation of the working class by the Nazis was a captalist’s dream come true.

Ernest Mandel was a Trotskyite, and although I definitely do not share his political opinions his economic analyses are very reliable. If you accept condemnation of authors because of their political opinions, we will be forced to disregard all works produced by people who approve of capitalism, the cruelest and most murderous system in world history.

Hitler was obviously popular with employers, both middle- and upper class. If he was so popular with the working class, why did the regime find it necessary to maintain an enormous apparatus for internal surveillance and suppression that included the Gestapo, the Sicherheitsdienst, concentration camps, press censorship and a very expensive propaganda machine?

You write that Hitler was not motivated by materialist considerations. Why did the 1939 pact stipulate shipment of materials to Germany? You claim that these materials were essential to the German war machine. Essential means absolutely necessary, i.e. indispensable. If the Soviet supplies were indispensable, how did the German war machine keep going without them after 22 June 1941? The value of these shipments June 1940-June 1941 amounted to less than half of 1% of the German GDP.

I never wrote that the Nazis were “the agents of capitalism”. I repeat - capitalists supported fascist governments because it was in their interest to do so. German imperialism could only expand through war, and that is exactly what Hitler aimed at. There are few projects more materialistic than war. Whatever Hitler’s passions may have been, his government advanced the cause of German imperialism. If it hadn’t, the capitalists would have had him removed.
 
You refer several times to me and Adorno. I have neither quoted nor referred to him.

I’m running out of space, so I will deal with your comments on Stalin in another posting.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Peter C on November 21, 2007, 09:41:39 AM
Hello again rgellately!

On 16 November you wrote that Stalin asserted “that Hitler was motivated by materialistic considerations and so would never invade the USSR if the Soviets gave him freely in trade what he (and the German capitalists) wanted”. Further, “A German attack made no sense to his way of thinking. Why go to war to gain booty, when the Soviets were giving Hitler everything he asked for?” Why then had the Stalin government spent more than four years trying to cement an alliance with the UK and France against Hitler? Why hadn’t they simply given Hitler everything he asked for? You also wrote that Stalin “failed to listen to those who kept warning of the German invasion – even on the day it took place”.

In July 1940, less than a year after the pact with the Germans was signed, Major General Vasilevsky submitted the draft of a war plan that “assumed an attack by Germany, supported by Italy, Finland, Rumania and possible Hungary and Japan” (When Titans Clashed, : How the Red Army Stopped Hitler, Glantz and House, University of Kansas Press, 1993.). The plan was rather prescient, don’t you think? The draft was modified and reviewed by Stalin and others and approved on 14 October, when it become the basis for Mobilization Plan 41. Were Stalin and the General Staff just kidding around? Colonel Glantz (US Army ret.) was one of the founders of the Army’s Soviet Army Studies Office and is widely regarded as an expert on Eastern-front operations in WW2.

The principal error was that the plan assumed a main German attack in the southwest to secure grain, coal and other minerals in the Ukraine and the Donbas. Glantz:  “Yet Stalin was correct to insist that Hitler was interested in economic resources”. Of course, When Titans Clashed was written way back in 1993, which probably makes it suspect in your eyes.

Zhukov’s memoirs and The Unknown Stalin by Z and R Medvedev also contradict your argument. This book was written in 2003 and published in English in 2006. Is that modern enough for you?

The Medvedevs show that by January 1941 the Soviet government knew the basic details of Operation Barbarossa, originally scheduled for launch in May 1941, “and there is no reason to think that the Soviet leadership questioned this date for the start of the war”. I assume you know that Stalin was part of the Soviet leadership at the time. The Medvedevs claim that the invasion date was changed because the Germans had to subdue Yugoslavia and Greece, which required transferring tanks and planes from the eastern front.
 
On 21 June Stalin ordered the Moscow anti-aircraft defenses to be put on full alert. Does this indicate that he didn’t anticipate an invasion? Later in the day Zhukov told Stalin that according to a German deserter the attack would start the next day. Stalin replied “Come to the Kremlin with the Defense Commissar in 45 minutes”. At about 23.00 that day Stalin, Zhukov and Timoshenko sent a directive ordering all military units to be brought to full preparedness in anticipation of a surprise attack on the following day, 22 June. So much for your fantasy that Stalin disregarded the threat of an invasion “even on the day it took place”.

The Medvedevs have consulted the visitors’ book from Stalin’s Kremlin office, published as Istorichesky Arkhiv in 1994-97. Is that too long ago for you? Stalin was working virtually 24 hours a day from 05.45 June 22 onward. Molotov’s “rationalization” turns out to be true after all. The Medvedevs also show (with support from Marshall Zhukov) that Stalin’s insistence on not committing reserves to the front in late June and early July 1941 and keeping the main forces 200-300 kilometers from the border (as established by the pact) “was absolutely correct” in terms of tactics. The Medvedevs are correct in their statement that “the strategic advantages of the pact (for the Soviets) were all too obvious”. It enabled the USSR to move its borders 200-300 kilometers westward, as Molotov pointed out.

As for Montefiore, he is not a historian, any more than Conquest, Beevor, Pipes and the rest of the propaganda brigade. His book on Stalin is a docu-soap opera, complete with titillating details that have no foundation in reality. At any rate, Stalin was not “fooled so badly about the invasion”, and therefore hypotheses advanced by Montefiore and others are irrelevant. It is clear that Stalin was hoping to be able to postpone a German invasion until 1942, but that was a mistake in judgement, not a lack of imagination.

Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Peter C on November 21, 2007, 09:42:52 AM
Hello again rgellately!

Since you have read everything Stalin wrote (“including Molotov’s later rationalizations” – did Stalin write these?), would you care to comment on his 1938 article on dialectical and historical materialism for the Soviet Encyclopedia? In case you don’t remember, he briefly describes the principal features of Marxist dialectics: a) Things, phenomena and processes cannot be understood in isolation, but only by considering their relations with other things, phenomena and processes. b) Nature is in a state of continuous movement and change. c) Development involves a continuous process of quantitative changes that lead to qualitative changes which often occur rapidly and abruptly. d) Internal contradictions are inherent in all things, phenomena and processes, for they all have negative and positive sides, a past and a future, something dying away and something developing, and the conflict between these opposites constitutes the internal content of the process of development.

I take it that you disagree with statements a-d. Am I correct? If so, you have a problem, because they are part of the foundation of modern particle physics according to my neighbor, who is a member of the Swedish Academy of Science.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: rgellately on November 21, 2007, 02:25:53 PM
Peter C,

You've heard of Sisyphus, no doubt, the poor soul who, according to ancient Greek mythology, was condemned for all time to roll a boulder up a hill, only to watch it roll down again. His punishment was to begin and try to finish the task over and over for all eternity.

Peter C, with all due respect, I must say that the concept of a "work of Sisyphus" springs to my mind when I read your posts. I wonder what I can say to plug the many gaping holes in your dated arguments. You make unfounded or misinformed statements much faster than I can read them. There’s hardly time to provide the better evidence that exists in abundance. By the way, you might also work at eliminating the non-sequiturs in your posts. Perhaps your friends at the Swedish Academy of Science could be of assistance.

With regret I have to say that I think it is scandalous of you to defame honest and hard-working writers like Simon Sebag Montefiore as “non historians” or partisans. People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones...

Your defamation of Richard Pipes is also inexcusable. He does not need me to defend him, but suffice it to say that as the emeritus professor of Russian history at Harvard, with a half-dozen classics to his name, I think it is fair to say that he has forgotten more about Russian history than most people will ever learn. Robert Conquest’s works, thanks to revelations since 1991, have been sustained and supported. For years he was subject to the worst slanders and now he turns out to be proven right on most of the key issues. 

What really is your problem? I may have been only partially correct to suggest the source of your confusion was that you had not read anything new. (You still do not cite anything published in this century, by the way, and it shows.) However, your limited exposure to newer, better-informed and non-biased literature, regrettable to be sure, is compounded by your curious view of the world and your own obvious prejudices. 

The clue to your way of thinking comes from one of the more astounding revelations you made in one of your rapid-fire posts. You insist, as if it was self-evident, that capitalism is “the cruelest and most murderous system in world history.”

Really? That’s a bit of a stretch, don’t you think?

Capitalism may well have its faults, just as “bourgeois democracy” (as Lenin and Co. would call it), may do as well. But to assert as you do that capitalism is more cruel and murderous then, say, the Meisterwerke of social engineering performed by Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot and comrades, is utter nonsense.

There is no need to get into body counts and still more of your exaggerations. Please spare us the rigmarole about the relationship between the final stages of capitalism and the inevitable outgrowth of imperialism a la Lenin.

Anyone who really thinks, in spite of all the gruesome revelations out of the former USSR, China or Cambodia, that capitalism is “the cruelest and most murderous system in world history” is living in a world of illusions.

In fact there’s a good book on that by Francois Furet, called “The Passing of an Illusion: The Idea of Communism in the 20th Century.” Quiet a read. M. Furet, a former Communist himself, lays it all on the line. Especially interesting is the part about the fellow travelers who supported the Soviet “experiment,” in spite of its “dark side.”

The sympathizers always said: “You can’t make an omelet without breaking an egg” i.e., the “worthy experiment” had social costs. That’s a hideous theory, particularly if you’re one of the eggs.

Robert Hall rightly reminded us that the thread (our theme on this site) is “No Stalin, No Hitler”?  Peter C’s very own thread, in so far as I can discern it, is “No capitalism, no Hitler,” a theme that is old hat. 

Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Colm on November 21, 2007, 02:54:15 PM
Members
I did not realise other opinions were so one sided in all of this, and i should put my facts in place when posting, but i only have what is written by others,  i tend to judge history on the present and if you look at the current major war of today, you will find the two main allies Britain+ America, Poland Ausralia along with former enemies of ww2, German, Italian, and the Japanese, it's probable that these countries feel they owe a dept still for the past, but i would object to any E.U country taking part in this crusade,
i would not denounce the holocaust as i'm sure there was mass murder, however Stalin and Hitler did have a strong pact, and communism and socialism are the scourge of capitalism
Churchill helped to established m.I5 around 1900 and his motto was truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies, all i am saying that the old divide and conquer trick may ave been used to seperate Stalin and Hitler, over the Polish affair, and the Versailles treaty which was intended to cause 20 million German lives, it all set off a chain of events, that caused one invasion after another, having read Hitlers speeches, i am of the oppinion that he wanted peace for his people, and not as i was led to believe. now that Germany is well out of the way since the 1940's,  the capitalist allies are moving closer to the Rusian border with the missile defence system to drive home the real plan
apologies if i have offended any race or religion.
 
 
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Peter C on November 21, 2007, 06:07:18 PM
Hello again rgellately!

I'll be traveling until next week so you'll have to wait for a detailed answer.

I notice that you don't answer any of my questions. Why not?

You write "you still do not cite anything published in this century, by the way, and it shows”. Can't you read? The Medvedev book was published in Russian in 2003 and in English in 2006. Which century are you living in?

Robert Conquest worked for MI6. Dissemination of disinformation has always been his profession. In The Great Terror he wrote that that rumor is the best source of truth. Do you agree? Answer the question and skip the childish insults, also the “all due respect” rubbish. The majority of Conquest’s sources in Harvest of Sorrow are Ukranian or German Nazis. Do you regard them as reliable? Answer the question. Have you read From Hitler to Harvard by Douglas Tottle? Answer the question.

Since you don’t give any evidence that contradicts Neumann, Schweitzer or Mandel we can assume that this particular case is closed.

Montefiore may work hard, but he is still a charlatan. I’ll provide you with an example next week. Curious that you are irritated by criticism of professors in the US and at the same time feel free to denigrate professors in Sweden. Have you read Getty, Manning, Ritterspoor, Zemkov, Tauger, Wheatcroft and others who have refuted Conquest, Pipes et al? Answer the question.

I don’t have any friends at the Swedish Academy of Science. My neighbor is a member. Have you really read Stalin’s article on dialectical and historical materialism? Did you understand it?

“There’s hardly time to provide the better evidence that exists in abundance.” There’s plenty of time, given the length of your posts. Provide it.

Next week I will give you some figures on the capitalist holocaust. In the meantime, have a look at Late Victorian Holocausts, by Mike Davis. “…no need to get into body counts”. Why not? Hasn’t that been a staple argument of Conquest et al?

Here’s a body count for you. In 1990 the first UN Human Development Report indicated that about 10 million children under 5 years would die that year for want of basic medical care. Virtually all of them died in countries controlled by capitalists. Since then the figure has been 10-12 million annually, or at least 170 million over the past 17 years. Who cares? Do you? Answer the question.

As for “my thread” one of the contributors to this site made a comment about fascism.. I made another. You replied. But you continue to evade questions. I have never suggested “No capitalism, no Hitler.” You’re making things up again.

As to Pol Pot, you are surely aware that the US, the UK and other Western nations recognized his one of his underlings as Cambodia’s representative to the UN for years after the Vietnamese drove his forces out of Cambodia. If you’re in doubt, get in touch with John Pilger.

I also suggest that you read The Condition of the English Working Class by Engels. But it’s probably too old for you. What is the cut-off date for historical accuracy?

Yours for more truth in academia.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Terence on November 22, 2007, 01:39:00 AM
Here’s a body count for you. In 1990 the first UN Human Development Report indicated that about 10 million children under 5 years would die that year for want of basic medical care. Virtually all of them died in countries controlled by capitalists. Since then the figure has been 10-12 million annually, or at least 170 million over the past 17 years. Who cares? Do you? Answer the question.
What utter nonsense.
What is the cut-off date for historical accuracy?
Apparently none in your mind.
Yours for more truth in academia.
I don't think so. Call me silly, but I see an agenda here. JMHO
Terry
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: rgellately on November 22, 2007, 07:51:50 AM
Terence,

You are quite correct. Good to know there are sensible people around. I see an agenda as well. It's obvious.

Anyone who would try to answer the complete nonsense that Peter C keeps dragging out of the grave must give up in despair. I must.

I shall have no more exchanges with him. Indeed, Peter C's contributions, in combination with Colm's particularly sad ones, have led me to the conclusion it's time to trade in my password and move on.

Peter C is not interested in discussion, but polemics. It's like the Cold War never ended for him. He takes my "non-responses" to his incredibly biased and nonsensical claims as validation for them, just the way fanatic would do. When I refuse to answere his very strange claims which reached a new low in his latest post, he adopts an interrogative tone worthy of a member of the Cheka. He's not interested in dialogue, but diatribes.

Auf Wiedersehen!

Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Colm on November 22, 2007, 11:38:37 AM
Open debate is a great thing and it's such a pity that world leaders at the time did not engage in more of it, but what the capialists want they always get, I noticed that George Bush's great Grandfather contributed to Hitlers Nazi party in a financial way, i'm not suprised that a Klu Klux Klan member would back  such a party, in an infiltrated way to get at the bigger fish.
Stalin. (who could not be bought)
Just as Bush Snr. backed the Baath party in support of Hussein and then turned on him, i don't support any leader of any other country, but i do notice that any one who, when Britain+America and allies are finished with come to a bad end, this has been proved in countless conflicts and you do not have to be a scholar to figure it out how they have operated, and still continue to this day, in spite of public oppinion
 both Stalin and Hitler would not have proved so brutal, if not for outside influence from these two Western countries who always use a lot of propaganda followed by democracy as a cover to plunder and murder,
it might be sad outlook but it's my oppinon and i am entitled to it
 
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Lyss on November 22, 2007, 01:34:00 PM
I wonder in what effect the lack of colonies had anything to do with the rise of Hitler and Stalin?
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Colm on November 22, 2007, 02:18:02 PM
Lyss

Well done for breaking the ice with this question, i would say, (and it's only my oppinion) that if it was not for colonies in the first place,then these two leaders would not have to protect and rule with iron fists,  and it may well have contributed to their coming in power, it would appear there was attempts to set up colonies in the region and it was not until after WW2 that it sort of dissapeared and independence was won for most colonised areas, it still exists now in a totaly diffirent immoral form ,if anyone could elaborate? or correct me if i am wrong?
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Lyss on November 23, 2007, 06:38:31 AM
Hitler wanted to colonize eastern europe (because of the lack of German colonies, Germany became a country when the other western european countries already had colonies) but so did Stalin (in his case the excuse was "communism" but more a Russian sovjet leninism with Moscou as it's centre).
What I'm trying to find out is if we can see Hitler and Stalin's actions in a process of colonisation?
Were national-socialism and leninism theories of colonisation or were they something else?
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Colm on November 23, 2007, 09:13:46 AM
Stalin did have a big input in Yugoslavia and i think when Hitler's troops invaded there,it started the war with Russia,
but the overall cause of the war was British attempts to colonise Poland.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Lyss on November 23, 2007, 09:42:38 AM
I'm not talking about the attemps of the war, but those of the ideologies. I guess you didn't understand my question.
And where do you get this information about Britain wanting to colonise Poland? I'm Polish and my stepmom is a Polish historyteacher and none of us have ever heard or read anything like this. The British wanted to re-establish the Polish throne, but because of Hitler's invasion, that never happened.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Colm on November 23, 2007, 11:22:34 AM
I would rather we did not discuss Polish history, as a reminder was posted earlier what the thread is about no Stalin no Hitler
but the access to Danzig and a construction of a road through the Polish corridor was a major starter coupled with that, the Polish government were in London at the time of invasion,and the nonaggression pact signed with Hitler and Poland in 1934 was broken through British influence, ie a form of colonization
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Lyss on November 23, 2007, 12:43:19 PM
As you point out this thread is about Stalin and Hitler, and not about Polish history, so I won't discuss it further.
I would like though, as I pointed out in an earlier post in this thread, you would use sources for your assumptions. As you clearly avoid doing this, I assume your statements are your own opinion and I will consider them as being so.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Colm on November 23, 2007, 02:21:22 PM
I have had the pleasure of visiting Poland on 3 occasions, while there i went to most museums, my main source of information comes from the library of congress cathaloging in publication data,
which parts do you need clarified?
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Peter C on November 29, 2007, 03:15:28 AM
Terence claims that the figures in the annual UN Development Report for deaths of children under five are nonsense. I’d like to see him prove his claim.He also hasn’t understood my reference to a historical cut-off date for truth. Rgellately seems to think that books printed in e.g. the 1960s are too old to rely on, if they contradict his own convictions. That’s why I asked for a cut-off date.

Gellately has now moved on, so I won’t continue flogging him. But if you read our exchanges you will see that his replies to questions are simply insults. For example, see replies 80-82.

A few comments on Richard Pipes are in order for the sake of historical accuracy and his links to US and Israeli crimes in the Middle East (I am an atheist Jew and anti-Zionist). Rgellately was horrified when I called Pipes a propagandist. “Your defamation of Richard Pipes is also inexcusable. He does not need me to defend him, but suffice it to say that as the emeritus professor of Russian history at Harvard, with a half-dozen classics to his name, I think it is fair to say that he has forgotten more about Russian history than most people will ever learn.”

A scoundrel like Pipes can’t be defamed. Among other things, he was head of he infamous “Team B” assembled by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and George Bush Sr. in 1974, when Gerald Ford was US president. Rumsfeld and Bush believed that  CIA intelligence reports on the USSR were unreliable and underestimated the “Soviet threat”. Team B’s task was to generate alternative, more accurate reports. The team was selected by apprentice criminal Richard Perle and included at least one other other apprentice criminal, i.e. Paul Wolfowitz.
 
In 1974 Richard Pipes’ Team B obediently submitted a report which stated that the CIA was unaware of a new and secret Soviet WMD - nuclear submarines that were undetectable and could penetrate US coastal waters, where they could launch missiles with nuclear warheads that would annihilate the US.

The only problem was that the Pipes team’s entire report was a pure fabrication. As such it was a prototype of the lies which the Bush Jr. administration used to justify the attack on Iraq, which Pipes considers to be correct. This makes him an accessory to war crimes. Although – or perhaps because – the report was a lie, Pipes was appointed to the National Security Council under Ronald Reagan, where he presumably endorsed the criminal attack on Grenada.

Like the other neo-cons, Pipes has always been a fervent supporter of Zionism, which also makes him an accessory to war crimes.

Pipes’ scholarly productions include a history of the Russian revolution that is a travesty. See e.g. Peter Kenez, The Prosecution of Soviet History: A Critique of Richard Pipes’ The Russian Revolution, The Russian Review, 50 (1991). Pipes does not discuss the secret US financing of Cossack terror, for which see America’s Secret War Against Bolshevism, David Foglesong, University of North Carolina Press, 1996.

Pipes also wrote Property and Freedom, an ahistorical quasi-metaphysical work in which he claims that there is an “inseparable connection” between private property and freedom. He does not explain how this connection is reflected in e.g. the slave-trading operations of the US and UK bourgeoisie and the cotton and sugar-cane plantations they owned in the US and the Caribbean.

For a typical evening of rubbish by Richard Pipes, visit http://www.fee.org/publications/notes/notes/property.asp, where he reaches new depths as he states that Plato was “the first communist in intellectual history”.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: klava1985 on December 11, 2007, 07:54:40 PM
Well, I am glad my comment about Gellately's book caused him to chime in; sorry I missed the show. I repeatedly am disappointed in this board: we sometimes attract the participation of professional, published historians, and then we drive them out. So we're left with the same old people saying the same old thing and the people who could tell us something new leave. Drag.

I'm sorry that I said that only one chapter of RG's book seemed worth reading; what I meant was that only one chapter or so seemed to present new information, or to marshall it in a new way. But now I see I will have to take a more careful look. Anyway, I hope that if RG peeks back at this thread he'll perhaps engage again. He need not enter into sparring matches if he doesn't care to, but he could perhaps provide information that could clarify some of these issues.

As for Montefiore, I agree that he's done a lot of research and I'm interested in the info he presents. However. He's a crappy writer. Peter C is correct--he has a sordid style that really makes you question whether he is presenting history or going for ratings. For example, a chapter entitled "The Bolshevik Temptress," and the like. But if I can look past that and try to get at the meat of what he's saying, surely we can work with a far more solid historian such as Gellately. Just because a writer makes a point you disagree with or has a rotten style doesn't mean he or she is a total idiot. And few people on this board have the credentials to make such a dismissal anyway. Go write your own book...
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Nicolay on December 21, 2007, 04:23:35 AM
I'm not talking about the attemps of the war, but those of the ideologies. I guess you didn't understand my question.
And where do you get this information about Britain wanting to colonise Poland? I'm Polish and my stepmom is a Polish historyteacher and none of us have ever heard or read anything like this. The British wanted to re-establish the Polish throne, but because of Hitler's invasion, that never happened.

Hi Lyss,
a lot of Poles do not share your opinion, they feel that Britain and France (esp. Britain) sold them out to Russia,
after they fought on the French and British side for so very long.
Britain gave Poland to Russia.
THEY FELT BETRAYED!
Poles also feel more anger with Russia than Germany, because
"Quote"
"Germany never pretended to be their friend and savior (but still treated them somewhat decently PLEASE DO NOT TAKE THIS THE WRONG WAY)"
(Just remember what Russia and the Ukraine did to Polish people during this period!)
"While Russia, France and Britain where their Friends, but in turn decimated their country"
I am quoting here thoughts from Polish people!

But back to Hitler,
has anybody ever considered one more reason for the Holocaust,
Germany was economically in ruin after WWI,
as was pointed out previously.
Hitler needed money to keep his promise of giving work and money to the Germans,
so he could gain their confidence and support until he was established as the dictator we know him as!
Of course as we know most of it went into his war machine!


Who still had money during this time and lots of it!

What I am trying to say is>>>
Hitler had some pretentious communistic ideas,
which might have been pleasing to Stalin!

This is just to stimulate a discussion!
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Nicolay on December 25, 2007, 02:39:19 AM
Since I can't edit my post I will continue in a separate post!

Browsing through history, I am always coming across partial informations
that American, British and Jewish "Power-Players"  like Bankers, Government Officials ...etc.
actually funded Hitler and his goals in his early years,
didn't they look at his track-record in Vienna/Austria were the whole thing started,
the whole movement was already known for it's brutality in Austria before it even spread to Germany!
(At least it should have been known to those insiders, since they read their newspapers daily)

What made Hitler so attractive - what did he promise or what did they promise them selfs through his regime?

Maybe somebody has an answer as to why Hitler was so attractive to those Power-Players?
Did this include Stalin that early in his rise to power, among many others?
What was going on during this time, that these foreign Financiers look at Hitler as an attractive solution?
(And a solution to what???)
I am hoping for answers from historians!
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Colm on December 29, 2007, 04:38:18 PM
I am not a qualified historian, but first of all, Britain did not give Poland to Russia, the Russians liberated it, from Germany, while the rest of the allies stood by,
it was obivious to the allies at the time, exactly what was happening on mainland Europe, ie the concentration camps were visible from the air, the Germans let the British army go free at Dunkirk, and the Brits, who were kept busy killing the palistinians, did nothing to counter attack until the yanks joined in, after being attacked by Japan, for some reason,
it would appear, like i said in a previous post that the western governments at the time wanted a change from Stalin and an end to communisim more in Russia, than they did in Hitlers socialist Germany,and they were prepared to use whatever means nessesary even the nazi party, to achieve this, hence the financial support, and the attempts to colonise Poland, to be closer to the Russian borders 
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Nicolay on December 29, 2007, 06:29:50 PM
Hi  Colm,
Thank you for your reply!
Since we all weren't there!
I thought it might be fair to invite a Polish opinion and asked a friend to give us his take/opinion on
this, because all WE can do is assume - what they went through and or feel!
He strongly suggests to read this book http://www.sprawahonoru.com/SwiatoweWydania.htm
he says it explains the events to those who are interested in it!
Title
"A QUESTION OF HONOR"
By
LYNNE OLSON & STANLEY CLOUD 2003

Maybe somebody would be so kind and translate his comments,
since I can't read Polish!

Nie trzeba byc wykwalifikowanym historykiem zeby rozumiec sprawy takimi jakie sa na prawde . Tego co wielu ludzi dowiedzialo sie z zaklamanych ksiazek do historii lub komercyjnych programow TV nie mozna nazwac lekcja historii,ale wypadalo by posluchac ludzi ktorzy poniekad byli w to zaangazowani. Historie Polski i jej stosunki z Rosja rozumieja sami Polacy ( w tym Ja) i potrafia ocenic ja prawdziwie gdyz to nas polakow dotyczyla ta nie ciekawa historia. rosja nigdy nie wyzwolila Polski spod niemieckiej niewoli , to czynny opor min. polakow i globalnych rozmiarow wojna doprowadzila do upadku nazistowskich Niemiec. Rosja wykorzystala sutuacje w ktorej znalazla sie na w pol "zywa"   Polska i nie "pomogla " Polsce wyzwolic sie z pod okupacji niemieckiej ale, zagarnela Polske pod takim haslem na 60 lat wprowadzajac ustroj koministyczny z marionetkowym rzadem slurzacym Rosji. Zrobila tak tez z innymi panstwami  nazywanymi pozniej republikami. Tak wyglada prawda a nie telewizyjne lub ksiazkowe ukladanie histori . Jak wiemy :" historie pisza zwyciescy". Sprawa Angli to drugi temat jednak bardzo spojny, odwoluje wszystkich to lektury  http://www.sprawahonoru.com/  opisujaca historie polski i polskich pilotow bioracych udzial w bitwie o Anglie. Ksiazka napisana zostala przez dwoch amerykanskich pisarzy. Orginal dostepny w jezyku angielski. Kawal dobrej prawdziwej histori.i 
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Kurt Steiner on December 31, 2007, 04:27:32 PM
Before we end loosing our minds discussing what was anyone doing, as for instance the Brittish (El Alamein to anyone?) or dealing with something that has little to do with the initial sense of this thread, perhaps it would be wiser to return to the original topic or just to let this thread be closed.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Nicolay on December 31, 2007, 05:43:58 PM
If the claim," no Stalin, no Hitler"  is stated so, what arguments can be made to support the claim, and what arguments can be made to refute the claim?  Or if there had not been a Russian revolution would there have been a German revolution which had such profound effect upon the world?

Maybe what I was writing was to high,
so to answer the original question:
No because there are many more aspects to be considered
as I tried to demonstrate that Hitler and or Stalin did not create each other
nor did they create themselves!


As to closing this thread,
Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.


With that said,
I wish everybody a happy New Year and FUTURE,
way wisdom and joy guide you through your live!
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Zvezda on February 06, 2008, 08:28:37 PM
Quote
Why indeed was appeasement of the growing Nazi threat such a popular approach throughout the Western world for the duration of the 1930s? IMO, precisely because Hitler represented National Socialism as the final bulwark against Communism. I think it's hard for us now to understand the mindset of most middle-class and upper-class Germans (and other Europeans) in the 1930s - they had a genuine terror of Bolshevism (remember, this terror was not exactly without foundation!) - to the extent that in the 1930s diaries of the German Jewish literature professor Victor Klemperer one even hears German Jews (!) making excuses for Hitler:
This argument is not very convincing because it basically seeks to blame the Communists for the rise of Hitler. In fact, popularity of the Nazis went from negligeable in 1928 to massive in 1932 exclusively because of the failures of the capitalist system. Fascism did not appear out of thin air in the post-war period but was the product of the political tradition in Europe against revolutionary movements. The predecessors of the fascists include the Black Hundreds in Russia and Action Française. This 'theory' that the Communists are responsible for the rise of Hitler and therefore the Final Solution and World War II smacks of cheap imperialist propaganda that seeks to deflect attention from the behavior of the Western Powers that made the rise of Hitler possible. It should not be downplayed that monopolistic cartels like Kirdorf and Thyssen played a significant role in the rise of Hitler. Hitler could have easily been stopped following his illegal re-occupation of the Rhineland in 1936. But the Western Powers were more interested in inciting Hitler to wage war on Russia by their systematic appeasement. Hitler's adventures were influenced by the failure of the Western Powers to act against the aggression of Japan towards China and Italy towards Ethiopoia.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Zvezda on February 07, 2008, 02:36:55 PM
In response to Gellately, I would likle to tell him that his latest book, at least as far as Russia is concerned, is a perfect example of everything that is wrong with historical debate in the English-speaking countries. Though Gellately's work on Germany hold some scholarly validity, he demonstrates a degree of competence inadequate to analyze Russian history. In sections where the Russian Revolution is the focus, Gellately draws almost exclusively from the venomous drivel written or inspired by the right-wing polemecist Richard Pipes. Gellately's lack of knowledge of the Russian language precludes him from being able to carry out new research or contribute original interpretations. As a result, the sections on Russia bear resemblance to a 101 essay paraphrasing the work found in the books of Richard Pipes. With similar books by Alan Bullock and Richard Overy making the arbitrary comparison of Stalin and Hitler appearing several years earlier, there is a serious lack of originality to Gellately’s approach.

To start, Gellately’s approach to the Russian Revolution is deeply flawed. He begins by focusing on the effects the first world war had on Russia and suggests that this was the main reason for the revolution. But this approach is oblivious to the revolutionary upheavals that shook Russia in previous decades. There was a revolutionary situation of the late 1870s and early 1880s that arose as a result of social and political contradictions in post-reform times. In 1878-79 there were 88 strikes and 25 instances of disturbances among the workers. The exacerbation of social contradictions, the growth of public discontent, spontaneous outbreaks among the masses, and the heroic struggle of the People’s Will sowed confusion in the regime. In 1905, the first popular revolution of the era of imperialism developed after the tsar’s troops fired upon a peaceful demonstration of St Petersburg workers. Between January-March 1905, 800,000 workers went on strike. For the first time in history, the workers created soviets, which in 1917 developed into the state form of the dictatorship of the proletariat. Any observation of the Russian Revolution requires the analysis and measurement of the Russian revolutionary struggle in the 1878-1905 period.

Concerning the events of February 1917, Gellately is at best misinformed when he states “The Bolsheviks had nothing to do with this liberal revolution that swept away the Romanovs.”(p.23) Gellately’s lone attempt to prove this controversial argument is by pointing out that Lenin was in Switzerland and Stalin was in Siberian exile as though these two individuals composed the entire Russian Social Democratic Party. But the fact of the matter is the Bolsheviks were the only faction that prepared the people for decisive struggle against the autocracy under the most difficult war conditions. During the war, the Bolsheviks at workers’ gatherings and in leaflets called upon the people to wage a decisive struggle against the autocracy. The Russian Bureau of the Central Committee in Petrograd maintained regular contact with the Foreign Bureau headed by Lenin in Switzerland. Late in 1916 the Russian Bureau in Petrograd under the leadership of Shliapnikov, Zalutsky, and Molotov discussed staging revolutionary demonstrations and a general strike. The Bolsheviks led the strike at the Putilov factory in February 1917, and this served to influence the growth of the workers' struggle in the city. On International Women’s Day, the Bolsheviks held meetings and rallies protesting the war, the high prices, and the hardships of women workers, which were particularly turbulent on the Vyborg side of the city. The meetings developed spontaneously into strikes and revolutionary demonstrations that roused the entire working class of Petrograd. On March 9 the number of strikers grew to 214,000. The next day a general political strike began. Gellately's attempt to erase the Russian Social Democrats from the development of the February Bourgeois Revolution is tantamount to historical falsification.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Zvezda on February 07, 2008, 03:21:53 PM
Gellately writes that Lenin wanted to conquer the world by force of arms. Although Lenin, like every other statesmen, desired growth in the influence of political allies in foreign nations, by no means can this be interpreted as an attempt to conquer the entire the world by force of arms. This allegation by Gellately is inconsistent with Lenin’s writings as well as the existing reality of Russia’s political and economic situation at the time. With the collapse of the military, its economy in shambles and territory under a foreign occupation, Russia could not invade Germany much less Poland in the 1918-20 period even if it wanted to.

The offensive in Warsaw that Gellately refers to was in fact part of a war started by the unprovoked invasion by Poland against the Ukrainian Soviet Republic in April 1920. Gellately is quick to distort Lenin’s words, dishonestly take them out of context, and conveniently ignore other statements by Lenin that refute his thesis. “We wanted peace. It was just because Soviet Russia proposed peace to the whole world that in February German troops attacked us.”, Lenin wrote. “What we prize most is peace and an opportunity to devote all efforts to restoring our economy”, Lenin said in a speech. Lenin’s view was expressed by the Russian government concerning Poland in February 1920, before the Polish invasion: “Our enemies and yours deceive you when they say that the Russian Soviet Government wishes to plant communism in Polish soil with the bayonets of Russian Red Army men. The communists of Russia are at present striving only to defend their own soil; they are not striving, and cannot strive, to plant communism by force in other countries.” Gellately does not understand the politics he tries to analyze, because Lenin wrote that no forces would have been able to undermine capitalism if it had not been undermined by history. Communists proceed from the premise that capitalism is doomed by its own internal laws of development. The fate of capitalism will be decided not by the export of revolution but by the class struggle in the capitalist countries, according to Lenin. “Our slogan has been and remains the same: Peaceful coexistence with other governments, no matter what kind they are.” the Russian government declared in 1920.

Gellately repeatedly tries to demonize Lenin by through quoting that is selective and out of context. At times, Gellately even falsifies Lenin’s words. “Lenin, who talked about how up to 300,000 more “spies and agents” in the Crimea should be tracked down and ‘punished.’ In fact, what Lenin said was: “There are at present 300,000 bourgeois in the Crimea. However, we are not afraid of them. We shall take them, distribute them, and make them submit.” Clearly, Lenin advocated a policy of non-violence. Although there are 55 volumes of Lenin’s writings with each totaling 500 pages, Gellately only cherry picks material for the sake of trying to portray Lenin in the worst possible light. Curiously omitted by Gellately is Lenin’s statement “Violence, of course, is alien to our ideals”.

Gellately slanders Lenin, alleging "he did not care about the suffering of people". This, however, is difficult to reconcile with Lenin’s writings on which Gellately supposedly bases his claims. On the eve of the Balkan wars, Lenin regretted:” Hundreds of thousands and millions of wage slaves of capital and peasants downtrodden by the serf-owners are going to the slaughter for the dynastic interests of a handful of crowned brigands, for the profits of the bourgeoisie in its drive to plunder foreign lands.”

Gellately quotes a telegram by Lenin in which he called for a violent insurrection in Penza to be suppressed and for reprisals to be taken against those responsible. However, the act of suppressing an armed revolt against established state authority has happened thousands of times in history. If rebels have the right to resort to violence, then it would only be consistent for the state to respond with violence. That Lenin called for an armed revolt to be suppressed while Russia was facing a blockade, famine, and foreign occupation would render him a responsible statesmen trying to preserve peace in his country. For the Soviet state to have used violence against its opponents would also have been consistent with the terrorism of the Socialist Revolutionaries and others. Up to July 1918, 4000 Soviet activists had been murdered. In the period August-September, prior to the assassination attempt on Lenin, another 6400 had been murdered in August-September 1918. As a matter of self-defense, the soviet state set out to proportionately respond to the conduct of its adversaries. Overall, about 6000 people were executed by the organs of the soviet state in 1918, including many corrupt officials, hooligans, and common criminals. By contrast, the Kolchak government shot some 25,000 people in the Ekaterinburg area alone. Ataman Krasnov's “All Great Don Host” meted out 25,000 death sentences in the Don province from May 1918 to February 1919. The Denikin and Petliura bands pursued a policy of genocide against the Jews, murdering 150,000 of them. The White Guard regime in Finland executed or murdered in concentration camps some 25,000 people during the brief civil war in Finland. And on and on.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Zvezda on February 07, 2008, 03:40:33 PM
Gellately essentially attributes superhuman qualities to the soviet Russian state by blaming it for a famine that struck Russia in 1921. Gellately claims "Communists demanded more grain, not less from the peasants to the point that they were driven to starvation." Gellately’s characterization of the famine, however, is at odds with the facts. Famine first emerged in Russia in 1916, leading to food riots in the spring of 1917. The shortages turned into a major crisis following the 1917 harvest. The Soviet government was able only to collect a fraction of the necessary grain which was transferred from village to town in normal years. During most of the civil war, the vital agricultural regions of Ukraine, the North Caucasus,Siberia, and part of the Volga were under the occupation of the White Guard forces and foreign interventionists. As a result, Grain collections by the Soviet state declined from 8. million tons in the 1916/17 season to to 2.0 million in 1918/1919. In 1920/21, the grain requisitions increased to 6 million tons, most of which had come from territory that just been liberated. In the spring of 1921, the government moved away from requisitioning and reintroduced the market. The famine resulted from poor weather and a poor harvest in 1920 and severe drought in 1921. The 1920 harvest was only 60 percent of the pre-war level in 1920 and even smaller in 1921. The Soviet Government had always publicly acknowledged famine and accepted proposals from international agencies to organize aid. Gellately's claim that the Soviet state was "exporting large amounts of grain" is factually incorrect. Russian statistics show that only 115 tons of grain were exported in 1921-22 compared to 3000 thousand tons in 1926. In other words, the export level of 1921 was basically 0 percent of a normal economic year. Grain requisitions were put in place by the Tsarist autocracy during the war. Even in the grain rich areas of Ukraine and South Russia, and Siberia,the regimes of Kolchak, Skoropadsky, Denikin, and Wrangel resorted to coercion to take grain due to shortages. In Siberia, the Kolchak "government" imposed a law requiring all surpluses to be transferred to the state. Wrangel invaded the Crimea in search of grain and even introduced a foreign trade monopoly in order to prevent exports. Gellately gives an excessive degree of emphasis on the surveillance by the Soviet state of famine relief organizations. Evidently, the activities of relief organizations were not obstructed because they fed more than ten million people. Any other government in the Kremlin would have resorted to similar measures; during the famine in 1921 Russian territory in Siberia was still under a foreign occupation.

Gellately violates the standards of scholarly integrity by uncritically accepting second and even third hand sources. Although Gellately writes that 50,000 people were executed following the liberation of Crimea in late 1920, he does not point out that the author of his source Sergei Melgunov was a member of the "Popular Socialist Party", a fringe right-wing faction of the SR Party. Melgunov purports to catalogue the "crimes" of what he calls the "Bolshevist tyranny" by citing the propaganda reports of the Denikin Government. Gellately does not entertain the thought that those invading Russian territory would have good reason to fabricate and exaggerate the actions of their enemies.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Zvezda on February 07, 2008, 03:56:27 PM
Gellately in a sort of sarcastic manner tries to blame the Soviet state for the civil war. But there are significant facts omitted by Gellately that refute his thesis. On November 8, 1917, the ex Prime Minister Kerensky started a civil war by ordering the commanders of the troops at the front, the commanders of the inner military regions, and the Cossack warlords to carry out military aggression against Soviet authority. On November 8, the forces of the Cossack thug Krasnov began an offensive, seized Gatchina and Tsarskoe Selo, and created a direct threat to Petrograd. The Cossack “governments” in the Don, Kuban, and Orenburg, led by the warlords Kaledin, Filimonov, and Dutov, announced their nonrecognition of Soviet authority and began a war against Russia. Curiously, Gellately glosses over the foreign invasion and occupation of Russia. In December 1917, an agreement was concluded between England and France on dividing the spheres of influence in Russia. In February 1918, the Austro-German forces began an offensive along the line from the Baltic to the Black sea, the Romanians seized Bessarabia, and Turkish troops invaded Transcaucasia. In March, the British invaded Murmansk, followed by aggression in Vladivostok by the Japanese. The Germans seized Rostov in May and propped up a regime centered around the Krasnov. In May the Entente prepared and provoked a mutiny of the Czechoslovak Corps that invaded and occupied Samara and Cheliabinsk, followed by Ufa and Ekaterinburg in July. Baku was invaded first by the British in July and then by the Turks in September. On the Don, the German puppet Krasnov invaded Tsaritsyn in August. By the end of the summer of 1918, three-fourths of the territory of Russia was under the occupation of the invaders and their proxies.

Gellately gives disproportionate emphasis to a rather pathetic display of opposition to the rule of the soviets in the winter of 1917-18. He overemphasizes a lockout by a few thousand bankers, clerks, and other insulated bureaucrats. While most continued working as if nothing had happened, others resorted to sabotage cloaked as a strike. However, the lockout was a failure. The workers and soldiers ignored the lockout. The Union of Clerks, Couriers, and Guards organized an anti-strike initiative. The Soviets won over burreaucrats with promises that they would be represented on workers councils. Young women also provided a source of clerks for the soviets. As a result, the sabotage came to an end early in January. While Gellately is quick to highlight signs of opposition to the soviets, he undermines his credibility by omitting the massive displays of opposition against the Provisional Government. Gellately fails to discuss the July Days during which the Bolsheviks were able to lead a massive peaceful demonstration of 500,000 people in Petrograd. One looks in vain for any reference to the massacre by the Government's forces against the demonstrators, leaving about 700 people killed and wounded. Equally significant, there is an omission by Gellately of the more than one million workers on strike on the eve of the October Revolution.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Zvezda on February 07, 2008, 04:41:55 PM
Gellately slanders Lenin by saying that he took money from the Germans. Gellately's allegation, at best, is spurious. While Lenin inevitably came into contact with German agents, he knowingly had no provable operating connections with the German mission in Bern or with other German agents before March 1917. In the 1950s, when the German Foreign Ministry archives were opened for Western use, Z. Zeman and Werner Hahlweg published documents concerning German efforts to bring revolution in Russia. Zeman noted: There is no evidence among the documents of the Foreign Ministry that Lenin, a circumspect man, was in direct contact with any of the official German agencies." Instead, there now developed a picture of go betweens: Alexander Keskula, Parvus-Helphand, Alexander Tsivin, and Carl Moor. That Tsivin, Parvus, Keksula, and Moor worked as German agents of one sort or another, is not to be denied. They certainly gave the Germans information about various emigres, including Lenin. Yet there is no evidence that they transmitted anything from the Germans to Lenin. Regarding Parvus, Scharlau and Zeman in a biography concluded that there was no cooperation between the two. They declared, "Lenin refused the German officer of aid." Parvus's bank account showed that he paid out only a total of 25,600 Swiss Francs between his arrival in Switzerland in May 1915 and the February Revolution of 1917. Parvus simply did nothing noteworthy in Switzerland. There are more grounds for suspicion in considering the activities of of Jacob Furstenburg-Hanecki, a Polish supporter of Lenin who also worked for Parvus in Scandinavia. Polish and Soviet Russian historians insisted that Hanecki's relationship to Parvus was strictly one of business: the two were employees at a firm. Dubious as this may seem, we have no hard and fast evidence to the contrary in the period before the February revolution.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Zvezda on February 07, 2008, 05:35:18 PM
Gellately’s voluntarist revisionism characterizes the October Revolution a “Bolshevik coup”. Gellately downplays a key piece of information significant enough to refute this argument: by a resolution of the Second All-Russian Congress of Soviets, state power legally passed over to the Petrograd Soviet of Workers and Soldiers Deputies. The transfer of state power to the soviets was not met with any serious resistance: out of 84 provincial capitals and other large cities, only 15 came under Soviet authority as a result of armed struggle. From Petrograd to Vladivostok the local workers in the soviets took power into their own hands. Gellately ignores the objective development and antagonistic contradictions in the country at the time, an absolute prerequisite for any evaluation of 1917. In that year, a revolutionary situation matured, embracing all spheres of social, economic, and political relations. The February Revolution did not resolve fundamental questions concerning an end to the imperialist war and the conclusion of peace, the elimination of the system of large land ownership, labor questions, and the abolition of national oppression. In April 1917, a crisis arose during which some 100,000 workers and soldiers in Petrograd came out in a demonstration demanding peace and the transfer of power to the soviets. In June, a demonstration with some 500,000 participants was held under the slogans “All Power to the Soviets,” and “Bread, Peace and Freedom.” Meanwhile, the Provisional Government opened an offensive against the Germans in July that quickly collapsed. A spontaneous peaceful demonstration was held in Petorgrad on July 4 with more than 500 thousand people calling for power to be turned over to the soviets and an end to the criminal war. The Provisional Government brutally attacked the demonstrators, murdering or wounding more than 700 people in an episode reminiscent to Bloody Sunday. In September-October 1917 there were strikes involving over 1 million people by the Moscow and Petrograd workers, miners of the Donbas, metalworkers of the Urals, oil workers of Baku, and railroad workers on 40 different lines. The misguided policies of the Provisional Government had brought the country to the brink of a catastrophe. Industrial production in 1917 had decreased by 35 percent from 1916. Fifty percent of all enterprises were closed down in the industrial centers, resulting in mass unemployment. The cost of living increased sharply: real wages fell about 50 percent from the 1913 level. Russia’s national debt in October 1917 had risen to 50 billion rubles. The grain harvest in 1916 was reduced from that of 1913 by 1.5 billion poods, resulting in food riots in the cities. In this context, the revolutionary situation intensified. In conclusion, Gellately places too much emphasis on the politics of the upper leadership of the Bolshevik faction to the exclusion of Russia's deep revolutionary upheavel and economic crisis.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Zvezda on February 07, 2008, 05:35:35 PM
Gellately mentions the Constituent Assembly, but does so in a misleading manner. The Provisional Government had blocked the convocation of an assembly throughout 1917 because they feared it would yield a majority to peasants who were more to the left than the Socialist-Revolutionaries. The Bolsheviks did not reject the idea of such a body, but they exhorted the people to a revolutionary struggle, pointing out that practice and the revolution tend to push parliamentary bodies into the background. Lenin emphasized that the soviet was a superior form of democracy than a parliamentary republic with a nominally representative constituent assembly. The SR electorate was part of the Russian peasantry, and political power was held in the city. Numbers could not be translated into power. About half the elctorate did not even take part in the voting, suggesting tacit approval for the rule of the soviets. The machinery for handling the elections was in the hands of commissions appointed by the the Provisional Government, leaving the results susceptible to fraud. There was no clear winner in the election. The Bolsheviks polled 24 percent of the vote and the SRs 38 percent. The result did not reflect the actual interralation of political forces in the country because the influence of the working class and the Bolshevik party on the nonproletarian mases was incomparably stronger in the extra-parliamentary than in the parliamentary struggle. Nor did the election reflect the split of the Socialist Revolutionary Party whose Left faction supported soviet power. The election was held when the Soviet Government was still just becoming established and a sizable portion of the population was not acquainted with its decrees. Even the formal results, however, proved that the Revolution conformed to the laws of history: the Bolsheviks won in Petograd, Moscow, on the Northern and Western fronts, in the Baltic fleet, and in 20 districts of the Northwest and Central Industrial regions. The majority of the working class and almost half of the military voted for the Bolsheviks. When the Constituent Assembly convened, only 410 deputies out of 715 even bothered to show up. The Bolsheviks, the Left SRs, and the representatives of several other groups withdrew. The Constituent Assembly was legally dissolved by a decree of the Central Executive Committee of the Congress of Soviets.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Belochka on February 07, 2008, 06:22:21 PM
Gellately slanders Lenin by saying that he took money from the Germans.

The deceased cannot be slandered.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Zvezda on February 07, 2008, 06:27:26 PM
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We can save the story for later of how after the war Stalin turned in a distinctly anti-Semitic direction...

Historians do not accept the theory that Stalin was an anti-Semite. Indeed, many of Stalin's comrades including Kaganovich, Mekhlis, Ehrenburg, and others were themselves Jews. The Communist Party in Hungary was dominated by the Jews Rakosi, Gero, Revai, and Farkas. It seems your motive for attributing anti-Semitism to Stalin is part of your campaign to equate him with Hitler in an effort to rehabilitate capitalism from its role in unleashing the second World War.

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Stalin's error cost the lives of millions of his own people.

In no way can Stalin be held responsible for Hitler's choice to invade Russia. It would be more convincing to blame Chamberlin and other Western leaders for emboldening and abetting fascist aggression in order to have Hitler eliminate Russia for them.

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Since the early 1920s he was moved by a determination of battle what he called "Jewish Bolshevism."

The way you frame this seems as though you are blaming the Communists for the rise of Hitler. While you seem to take the view that Nazi anti-Semitism came from the presence of Jews in the Communist movement, this is something of a fallacy. Karl Liebknecht, the most prominent German Communist, was not a Jew. Yet, Nazi propaganda still identified him as one.

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His mistake was to assert that Hitler was motivated by materialistic considerations and so would never invade the USSR if the Soviets gave him freely in trade what he (and the German capitalists) wanted.


It is incontrovertible that the motivations of the fascist rush to war was indistinguishable from that of their predecessors of World War I. Similar to the regimes on the eve of World War I, the Nazis sought the repartition of the world and spheres of capital investment. German big business pressed for a policy of expansion into eastern Europe. As nations at the core of capitalism competed to expand their exploitative sphere, their interests intersected and conflicted with one another, producing the two deadly world wars.

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In the meantime on June 22, 1941 trains from the USSR were running west carrying goods essential to the German war machine.

There was nothing extraordinary about trade between Russia and Germany in the 1930s. American oil cartels in 1938 sold some $35 million worth of petroleum to Germany. Throughout the 1930s, a large volume of Poland's foreign trade was with Germany. Looking at the big picture, the USSR was by no means an arsenal for Germany the way the United States was for England in 1939-41. America had even been the arsenal for Japan in its aggression against China to a far greater extent than Russia ever was for Germany. The only trade between with Russia and Germany involving a war commodity was oil. While Russia sent up to a million tons of oil, the United States supplied more than three times that to Japan.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Zvezda on February 07, 2008, 06:30:39 PM
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Because we find Nazi ideology repugnant, we should not delude ourselves into missing the point that many people at the time in Germany (and in many other parts of Europe), found it very attractive.


While you continue to insist that that Hitler and the Nazis received some sort of consensus from the German populace, the fact remains that the Nazis only polled about one-third of the in elections. Hitler was even defeated by the senile geezer Hindenburg in the 1932 election. The popularity of the Nazis did not exceed that of the combined forces of the Social Democrats and Communists. Of course the Nazis had widespread popularity in the 1930-32 period. But the exact same statement can be made about the Social Democrats and Communists in Germany.

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Tartars were indeed persecuted as Tartars. The same fate followed for more than a dozen ethnic groups, from the Kalmyks, Karachays, Balkars, Ingush, all the way and perhaps most infamously to the Chechens. Massive numbers were involved in this ethnic cleansing -- which has been likened to genocide.

There are numerous flaws in your statements. While of course "massive numbers" of them died, in no way can this be attributable to the process or resettlement or their presence in Turkestan. There will always be a death rate among a populace of about 10 to 15 per 1000 from natural causes. Russian demographic records demonstrate that the crude death rate among the Crimean population in Turkestan was no different from the Russian population as a whole in 1950. Available evidence on the livelihood of these people suggests that the Crimeans and Germans in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan were significantly better off in terms of economic status than the local titular population.

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Tellingly, non-Tartar spouses could stay behind, suggesting that race was indeed a major factor in who was persecuted and who was spared.
German women married to Russian males were able to stay behind. This fact undermines your theory that the resettlement of these groups was motivated by race.

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Tartar culture was put to the torch, and records of their identity (like birth certificates) were erased. Tartar historians estimate half their people died in this nightmare, but even those who survived were expressly forbidden to return to what had been their homeland even long after the war.
This is incorrect. A Crimean Tatar section had been set up within the Uzbekistan Writers Union and a section for Crimean publications was established in Tashkent. The Crimean Tatars were not necessarily forbidden to return to Crimea: the 1989 census shows the presence of 40,000 Crimean Tatars in Crimea. Conviently, you do not consider the fact that Chechens, Ingushetians, Kalmyks, Karachais, and Balkars were all permitted to return to their homelands in the mid-1950s.

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The total of all the ethnic groups inside the Soviet Union who were deported or destroyed during the war reached the astounding figure of  nearly 2 million, of whom an estimated 300,000 died.
The allegation that their deportation led to large numbers of death is misleading and exaggerated. Out of a population of 225 thousand, some 30,000 Crimean Tatars died between 1944-45. But this was because Russia as a whole endured great hardship during the war and immediate reconstruction period; a famine resulting from drought in 1946 killed some one million people throughout the country. By 1950, the Crimean Tatar crude death rate of 11 per 1000 was on par with the Soviet crude death rate of 10 per 1000. The Crimeans, Germans, and others experienced nothing different from the rest of the Russian population.

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Stalin failed to take Nazi ideology seriously, a problem that many on the Left shared. 

This is a distortion of history. The Fourth Comintern Congress (1922) recognized the organization of resistance to world fascism as one of the most important tasks of communists; it pointed to the tactic of a united labor front as the main means of struggle against fascism. In response to the fascist offensive, the antifascist movement unfolded in Italy in 1921. Beginning with antifascist strikes and demonstrations, the workers later moved to armed resistance against the blackshirts. The high point of the antifascist movement in Italy was the bloody battles that accompanied the general strike declared in August 1922. The September Uprising of 1923 in Bulgaria enriched the experience of the antifascist movement in other countries. The fascist putsch in France in February 1934 failed because of the decisive actions of the antifascists led by the Communists. In 1936-39, workers from over 54 countries came to the defense of Spain in the international brigades.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Zvezda on February 07, 2008, 06:41:37 PM
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The entire Crimean Tartar population of around 200,000 was deported in May 1944.

While you like to talk about "ethnic cleansing" in Russia, you do not provide any context or background on the situation that necessitated these measures.  The Crimean Tatars were not the only ones resettled from the region. Greeks, Bulgars, and Armenians were subject to similar measures. In regard to the German population in Russia, similar measures were taken in other countries in far less threatening circumstances. The justification of the deportation of the Kalmyks, Karachais, and Balkars was not as convincing, for only small numbers of them collaborated with the invaders.

The Germans wanted to make Crimea into a German Riviera. Hitler allowed the formation of Tatar "self-defense" units in January 1942. The Muslim Committee, established by the Germans in Simferopol, raised eight Tatar batallions. Tatar units acted in cooperation with the SS Einsztsgruppe D and were involved in atrocities against prisoners of war, Gypsies, and Jews. They fought the Red Army in Sevastopol and Kerch. In total, 20,000 persons enlisted in Tatar batallions and "self-defense" units. Out of a Crimean Tatar population of 180,000, males constituted about 50 percent. Therefore, nearly one-quarter of all Crimean Tatar able-bodied males committed treason by collaborating with the enemy. By extrapolating this rate of collaboration to the ethnic Russian population, one would be able to infer that Russia today be ruled by Reichskommissariat Moskau.

The Chechens did not collaborate with the Germans because of the fact that Chechnya was occupied. However, some 10,000 Chechen bandits were engaged in an anti-Soviet insurrection in 1941-44 that proved to be of assistance to the German invaders. When the authorities attempted to conscript Chechens into the army in 1942, the police reported "all the male population fled to the montains." Out of 14,000 Chechens liable for conscription, only 4395 were enlisted and of those 2365 deserted. At one point the number of registered deserters and draft evaders reached 13,000 men. 16 percent of Kabardins, 20 percent of Karachis, but only 4 percent of Chechens and Ingush were drafted many of whom deserted. From Nov. 1941 to June 1943, the NKVD Security Regiment in Chechnya kiled 973, captured 1167 bandits, and arrested 1413 insurgents. The regiment suffered 88 fatalities.

Of course the deportation of these groups was unfair in that the Latvians were no subject to similar sanctions. But this still does negate the fact that there was widespread collaboration and rebellion at least among the Crimean Tatars and Chechens.

For further reading on anti-Soviet rebellion and collaboration during 1941-44:
http://muse.jhu.edu/login?uri=/journals/kritika/v006/6.2statiev.html
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Multiverse on January 01, 2009, 09:47:29 PM
I don't entirely buy the idea that had there been no Stalin there would have been no Hitler.

Yes, The German People were afraid of Communism and of The Communist Soviet Union, and Hitler did effectively use that as one of his tools in his climb to power, but it was not his only tool.

There was a worldwide economic depression in the 1930's and Germany was especially hard hit by it. I've read stories of people in Germany taking wheelbarrow loads of money to the store to buy bread. That depression was bigger than one country or one economy and it would have been there regardless of whether Russia was Communist or not. It would have been there even if Russia had remained Tsarist.

Also, the treaty that ended World War 1 was especially harsh to Germany. It blamed Germany for the war, it imposed tough sanctions on Germany, and badly humiliated Germany and The German people.

Hitler played on both the humiliation factor and the economic factor. He promised The German People that he would make Germany proud, and strong, and prosperous again. In the person of The Jews he even had a ready made enemy to blame the economic problems on and rally The German People against. It didn't matter that The Jews had nothing to do with Germany's economic problems, there was already anti-semitism in Germany, they were just an easy target for Hitler.

Even without Stalin, the economic factors and the humiliation from the end of World War 1 would have still been there, regardless of what kind of government there was in Russia. Even if Tsar Nicholas II had still been on the throne of Imperial Russia in the early 1930's, the economy and the humiliation would still have been there in Germany waiting for someone like Hitler to use them. Hitler and his Nazi Party would still have come to power in Germany and there would still have been a World War 2. 
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Elisabeth on January 12, 2009, 03:42:31 AM
I don't entirely buy the idea that had there been no Stalin there would have been no Hitler.

Yes, The German People were afraid of Communism and of The Communist Soviet Union, and Hitler did effectively use that as one of his tools in his climb to power, but it was not his only tool.

There was a worldwide economic depression in the 1930's and Germany was especially hard hit by it. I've read stories of people in Germany taking wheelbarrow loads of money to the store to buy bread. That depression was bigger than one country or one economy and it would have been there regardless of whether Russia was Communist or not. It would have been there even if Russia had remained Tsarist.

Also, the treaty that ended World War 1 was especially harsh to Germany. It blamed Germany for the war, it imposed tough sanctions on Germany, and badly humiliated Germany and The German people.

Hitler played on both the humiliation factor and the economic factor. He promised The German People that he would make Germany proud, and strong, and prosperous again. In the person of The Jews he even had a ready made enemy to blame the economic problems on and rally The German People against. It didn't matter that The Jews had nothing to do with Germany's economic problems, there was already anti-semitism in Germany, they were just an easy target for Hitler.

Even without Stalin, the economic factors and the humiliation from the end of World War 1 would have still been there, regardless of what kind of government there was in Russia. Even if Tsar Nicholas II had still been on the throne of Imperial Russia in the early 1930's, the economy and the humiliation would still have been there in Germany waiting for someone like Hitler to use them. Hitler and his Nazi Party would still have come to power in Germany and there would still have been a World War 2. 

All this could well be true, but the fact remains that Hitler and the Nazi party might never have come to power in Germany if it had not been for Stalin, who directed German Communists not to support the Social Democratic party in the March 1933 election in Germany. According to Donald Treadgold, in his book Twentieth-Century Russia, "in February 1933 the [German] Social Democrats made a final effort to win over the Communists to an agreement to stop the Nazis. The German [Communist] party leadership replied, 'The Nazis must take power. Then in four weeks the whole working class will be united under the Communist Party'" (290). Actually, as Treadgold explains, after the Nazis won a slim majority in the March 1933 election, "the German Communists were among the first to feel the full force of Nazi terror...the party was soon destroyed" (290). The German Communists got their political comeuppance, in other words, because their concerted attempts to "bring down the [Weimar] Republic" succeeded only too well, but obviously not with the outcome they had intended.

BTW, has it occurred to anyone else that this "Zvezda" person with his/her multiple, inordinately lengthy as well as inordinately propagandistic posts, all celebrating the glory that was the superpower formerly known as the Soviet Union, might in reality be working as an agent of reactionary forces in the Putin/Medvedev government? It seems like a definite possibility to me.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Olga Maria on February 06, 2009, 07:26:01 AM
Was the Bolshevist Lenin an inspiration to the Nazist Hitler?
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Robert_Hall on February 06, 2009, 09:12:15 AM
Personally, I doubt that very much. They had opposing views on economy to start with.  Hitler was an expansionist while Lenin gave territory away. Lenin aimed for a classless society while Hitler wanted to cultivate the upper classes for support. Hitler wanted "racial purity" whereas Lenin did not care as far as I know. Lenin was a revolutionary while Hitler  used the status quo to achieve his  goals. This could go on, but I have given my view
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Elisabeth on February 06, 2009, 10:50:52 AM
Was the Bolshevist Lenin an inspiration to the Nazist Hitler?

No. As a matter of fact, it was Stalin who was an inspiration to Hitler. The two dictators had a sort of unofficial mutual admiration society going on back in the 1930s. Stalin apparently admired Hitler's quick and efficient destruction of Roehm and the SA in 1934 (the "Night of the Long Knives") and took it as an example of how to seek out and destroy enemies in his own military (during the Great Terror a few years later). As for Hitler, even in the early 1940s, in his "table talk" to his Nazi cronies, he is recorded as saying how much he admired Stalin, who, unlike himself, didn't have any bourgeois hang-ups about the use of violence. Isn't that sweet?

Hitler and Stalin also exchanged political prisoners after the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. This meant that German communists who had sought refuge from Hitler in the Soviet Union suddenly found themselves back in Nazi Germany, incarcerated in concentration camps for the duration of the war, if they survived that long. As for political refugees from Stalin who had sought refuge in Germany - they were promptly handed back to Stalin - and they apparently met a similar fate, only this time in Soviet concentration camps.

The two totalitarian systems had such a lot in common. I have even read that during the long "honeymoon" period of the 1930s, prior to Hitler's invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941, that the Gestapo and SS and the Soviet secret police shared technical knowledge with each other - not only effective ways of torturing political prisoners, but also how to design and establish concentration camps. Frankly I don't know if all this is strictly speaking true. It nevertheless rings true.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Olga Maria on February 07, 2009, 03:41:52 AM
What a sinister conspiracy, huh?! Thanks, Elisabeth....

I think in those times that the Germans and Russians met each other revived the thought of "Pogroms".
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Robert_Hall on February 07, 2009, 08:40:55 AM
I do not believe that there was any "conspiracy" at all. It is obvious that Hitler used the  so-called "honeymoon" to lure Stalin into a false sense of security. It worked, he almost did conquer Russia. See Montefiore books on Stalin.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Elisabeth on February 07, 2009, 02:23:33 PM
I do not believe that there was any "conspiracy" at all. It is obvious that Hitler used the  so-called "honeymoon" to lure Stalin into a false sense of security. It worked, he almost did conquer Russia. See Montefiore books on Stalin.

I have to agree, there was no "conspiracy" per se. It was just a case of two genocidal dictators who appreciated each other's talents and seized the opportunity to learn from each other. I mean, how often do two genocidal dictators appear during the same historical period? They must have felt extremely gratified. Nevertheless they remained, I suspect, deadly rivals to the end... after all, if you're a genocidal dictator, then only one dictator's allowed to remain standing at the end of the day.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Robert_Hall on February 07, 2009, 02:44:19 PM
Elisabeth, you use " genocidal" for both brutal dictators. Well, there is no argument with Hitler. He used it as a justification for "racial purity" and a slave workforce as well as scapegoats for the ills of Germany.. On the other hand, Stalin just called it population movement, which, in the outside of logic, could be justified. Remember, he, Stalin himself was not Russian but Georgian. I do not think he reminded many people of that fact, though.  I think Hitler has been analyised to the hilt, but Stalin? I doubt we have even scratched the surface on that man.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Elisabeth on February 07, 2009, 03:34:19 PM
Elisabeth, you use " genocidal" for both brutal dictators. Well, there is no argument with Hitler. He used it as a justification for "racial purity" and a slave workforce as well as scapegoats for the ills of Germany.. On the other hand, Stalin just called it population movement, which, in the outside of logic, could be justified. Remember, he, Stalin himself was not Russian but Georgian. I do not think he reminded many people of that fact, though.  I think Hitler has been analyised to the hilt, but Stalin? I doubt we have even scratched the surface on that man.

This is the problem with Soviet studies, especially in the area of Stalinism, somehow defintions seem to break down or otherwise lose meaning. Ukrainians even today would argue that the Great Famine was a genocidal policy directed against the Ukrainian people by Stalin and his communist government. Other historians are uncomfortable with the term "genocide" as applied to Stalin's murderous activities, not only against Ukrainians, but also against Soviet citizens in general, and instead term these murders acts of "democide." Frankly, I don't know where I come down on this issue. "Genocide" is sufficient, I suppose, as shorthand for an unprecedented scale of mass murder directed against entire social and ethnic groups - but perhaps you're right and it's not entirely accurate (although this does seem to me to be quibbling over details). At the very least, Stalin was ultimately responsible for the mass murder of hundreds of thousands of Soviet citizens (well, the mass graves discovered in Belorussia and Russia proper, not to mention Siberia, in the early 1990s are testimony to that fact). He was also, let us not forget, responsible for ethnic cleansing on a massive scale - directed against the Kazakhs, the Chechens, the Crimean Tatars, and other minority ethnic groups in the Soviet Union. He accused some of these groups of "collaboration" with the Nazis but it's difficult to understand why they wouldn't have initially collaborated with the forces they perceived as their liberators from communist and in particular Stalinist tyranny... At any rate, there's no excuse for the crimes against humanity that Stalin perpetrated during his regime. And that's even leaving out his war crimes, like the cold-blooded massacre of Polish officers at Katyn and other locations during World War II.

Genocide, democide, ethnic cleansing - frankly I think Stalin was guilty of all these crimes, and then some. Perhaps he was even guilty of crimes we haven't yet learned to define, because he as much as Hitler set the precedent for 20th-century mass murder inflicted on civilians by sovereign states operating outside the realm of international law.
   
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Robert_Hall on February 07, 2009, 03:55:38 PM
Well, treason and collaboration were offences punishable by death, under that regime, and there is no doubt he used that as a justification.  There is also no doubt that the offences were real. Stalin's famous  purges were , in my mind,  a result of paranoia and perceived  rivalries. Many induced by  his inner circle in their own persuit of influence. Settling  grudges, so to speak.
 Now, I am in no way defending Stalin's policies, but I do not see the movement of whole populations as "racial cleansing". HIS justification was that they were  in one way or the other as abetting the opposition to his state.  Hitler murdered the ones he did not care for, Stalin simply moved them.  Which was the more evil ? That is my view, at this time.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Elisabeth on February 07, 2009, 04:39:10 PM
Well, treason and collaboration were offences punishable by death, under that regime, and there is no doubt he used that as a justification.  There is also no doubt that the offences were real. Stalin's famous  purges were , in my mind,  a result of paranoia and perceived  rivalries. Many induced by  his inner circle in their own persuit of influence. Settling  grudges, so to speak.
 Now, I am in no way defending Stalin's policies, but I do not see the movement of whole populations as "racial cleansing". HIS justification was that they were  in one way or the other as abetting the opposition to his state.  Hitler murdered the ones he did not care for, Stalin simply moved them.  Which was the more evil ? That is my view, at this time.

Please, Robert. What on earth were the Chechen people remotely guilty of? Most of them were ordinary, law-abiding citizens, not by any stretch of the imagination Nazi collaborators, and yet they were dragged away from their native land, off into exile, and many thousands died on the way, because (obviously) no provisions had been set up for them. And how do you explain Stalin's postwar paranoia about the Jews? The infamous show trial of the JAC, the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee? Or the so-called Jewish doctors' plot? Face it, Stalin was every bit the psychopath that Hitler was. In fact, he was no doubt worse because he lasted longer.

As for Stalin simply "moving" entire populations, that literally meant deporting them by cattle cars into inhospitable regions hitherto unknown to them. (Much as Stalin had earlier deported tens of thousands of "kulaks" during collectivization - they either froze to death in the Siberian or Arctic tundra - because there was initially no shelter provided for them - or else, if they were "lucky," survived long enough to slave away for the state in labor camps.)

Face it, Stalin invented "ethnic cleansing" long before Milosevic. He also engaged in "class cleansing" (and that's not even an official term yet, but after Lenin and Stalin, it should be). I'm ever so confident that Stalin felt he had his reasons for engaging in such actions. But then, Hitler had his own reasons for the Holocaust and the Lebensborn program. Just as Milosevic had his reasons for ethnic cleansing. And so it goes, straight on to hell and damnation.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Robert_Hall on February 07, 2009, 06:32:34 PM
Well, hell and damnation  do not matter if you do not believe in them , do they?
I am not, by any means, denying that Stalin was a nutcase.  What I am saying is that the movement of populations was because of some perceived threat. What that threat was is anyone's guess, but it was not a racial issue. Of course it was brutal and murderous, but there was some sort of perverted reason behind it. Stalin was weird.  The Jewish plot you referred to resulted in a purge of many Jews who were neither involved nor even anti-Stalin. But, "they" were persecuted anyway just because they were perceived as a threat.  Not because they were Jewish.
 Stalin saw shadows when there were none, but reacted as if there were anyway.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Elisabeth on February 08, 2009, 12:45:39 PM
The Jewish plot you referred to resulted in a purge of many Jews who were neither involved nor even anti-Stalin. But, "they" were persecuted anyway just because they were perceived as a threat.  Not because they were Jewish.

That's not true, Robert. Stalin was virulently anti-Semitic in his later years (according to the testimony of many witnesses, including his daughter Svetlana) and was apparently even planning a major campaign against the Soviet Jews just before he died. Again, this campaign against Jews was probably designed to take the same form as the great leader's earlier ethnic cleansing campaigns against minority groups (i.e., deportation - in this case, Stalin seems to have intended to deport all Soviet Jews to the specially established Jewish Autonomous Region).

But it should also be remembered that Stalin's earlier, "successful" purges of Jews (because there was more than one after World War II) resulted in the actual judicial murders of members of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee as well as the judicial murders of many prominent Jewish authors. And then there was the so-called Jewish Doctors' Plot, which as far as I know was still under investigation when Stalin died in March 1953. IMHO, it's quite obvious from the historical record that Stalin was an anti-Semite, and a particularly vicious one at that.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Robert_Hall on February 08, 2009, 03:11:50 PM
I would mildly disagree,  Elisabeth.  I cannot deny that Stalin was most likely anti-Semetic, but I do not think he was any more so than the average Russian at that time. Stalin was paranoid, , he was afraid of anything and everything, but, he kept the country running during it's most trying times. Is that good or bad?
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Terence on February 08, 2009, 06:17:24 PM
I would mildly disagree,  Elisabeth.  I cannot deny that Stalin was most likely anti-Semetic, but I do not think he was any more so than the average Russian at that time. Stalin was paranoid, , he was afraid of anything and everything, but, he kept the country running during it's most trying times. Is that good or bad?

Sorry to jump in here between Elizabeth and Robert...
but Robert ARE YOU SERIOUS!  I hope that is a rhetorical question to stimulate discussion.

Let's see...1,000,000,000s, that's millions of human beings killed by Stalin, but he kept the trains running on time, well mostly.  ::)

Nah, the ends don't justify the means.  I vote BAD, very BAD.

JMHO,
T
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: RichC on February 08, 2009, 07:44:44 PM


Let's see...1,000,000,000s, that's millions of human beings killed by Stalin, but he kept the trains running on time, well mostly.  ::)

Maybe he needed the trains to run on time in order to transport all those vicitims! 
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Robert_Hall on February 08, 2009, 08:46:10 PM
Terence- please read my previous posts on this thread. I am NOT a fan of Stalin.  However, I do feel he is badly misunderstood from our perspective. From my several visits to Russia, I have a different view of the man than what I had previously. Be that as it may, of course the man is still a dictator. BTW, the "made the trains run on time" epithet is actually attributed to Mussolini,  as I recall. I just borrowed it for Stalin.  But he [Stalin] did accomplish as much as he failed in the human rights issues.  His rebuilding of the Russian, or Soviet, infrastructure,  the  some times successful 5 year plans,  the tremendous leadership to defeat Hitler.  As I recall, he wanted to be rid of Zhukov as he was jealous of his popularity. He was dissuaded from that by braver men than I am because it would have damaged his already fragile reputation.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Elisabeth on February 09, 2009, 12:03:02 PM
Terence- please read my previous posts on this thread. I am NOT a fan of Stalin.  However, I do feel he is badly misunderstood from our perspective. From my several visits to Russia, I have a different view of the man than what I had previously. Be that as it may, of course the man is still a dictator. BTW, the "made the trains run on time" epithet is actually attributed to Mussolini,  as I recall. I just borrowed it for Stalin.  But he [Stalin] did accomplish as much as he failed in the human rights issues.  His rebuilding of the Russian, or Soviet, infrastructure,  the  some times successful 5 year plans,  the tremendous leadership to defeat Hitler.  As I recall, he wanted to be rid of Zhukov as he was jealous of his popularity. He was dissuaded from that by braver men than I am because it would have damaged his already fragile reputation.

Robert, please don't leave! The discussion is only truly interesting when the participants disagree (and best of all, disagree vehemently). I understand that you are saying there was a gray zone in Stalinist Russia that I and other members here are not taking into account. Well, in case you weren't aware of the fact (although I'm sure you are) there are plenty of eminient revisionist social historians (by birth Western) from the 1970s and 80s who are all on your side. Many of them are still very active and influential; Sheila Fitzpatrick is I believe the exemplar (as well as one of the founders) of this movement in Soviet studies. These historians have contributed a vast amount to our store of knowledge about the Soviet period and Stalinism in particular, esp. as it worked out in the daily lives of average Soviet citizens. Understand, they never argue that Stalin was a "good" or "great" leader, per se, they just argue that life wasn't so bad and in fact might even have improved for most Soviet citizens under Stalin's regime.

My quibble with them is simply this: if there had been no Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact in 1939, and Hitler had never invaded Poland, and World War II had never started, and most of all, if there had never been a Holocaust, then Hitler would no doubt to this day be regarded by many eminent Western historians as a great gift to the German people. After all, he got Germany back on its economic feet, so to say; he returned to most Germans a sense of national pride and identity; he negotiated successfully with European leaders over territorial disputes - all of them in fact concluded in Germany's favor.

But to me the clear and obvious historical fact that Hitler seems to have made the majority of Germans happy and prosperous does not and can not set aside the fact that even before 1939 he also oppressed and persecuted significant minority groups. After all, he passed the most discriminatory laws in the Western world with the Nuremberg Laws of 1935, by which German Jews were basically ostracized from German society, on every level - politically, professionally, and personally. These years also witnessed the establishment of concentration camps, not only for German Jews but also for politicians and political activists who in one way or another were viewed as "opposing" Hitler. There was the "Night of the Long Knives." There was Kristallnacht. And so on and so forth.

It could well be true that Stalin had more points in favor of him than Hitler (well, after all, he did beat Hitler in World War II). It could even be true that up until the postwar period (when Milovan Djilas for one thought that if Stalin was not senile, then he was rapidly approaching that state), Stalin operated from a relatively pragmatic and "sane" position (erg, if you only knew what it cost me even to write that), at least compared to Hitler, who was obviously a complete ideological fanatic and psychopath. The question before us is, do Stalin's crimes outweigh his "good" points? I believe they do. And since he lasted much longer in political power than Hitler, he necessarily got to perpetrate his crimes for a much longer period, as well. I also happen to believe he was an ideological fanatic and psychopath but again, that's just my personal opinion. (And yet another question we could address, if you would only stay, Robert! It will be so incredibly boring without you - in fact the entire discussion will grind to a screeching halt!)
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Robert_Hall on February 09, 2009, 12:33:04 PM
Yes, Elisabeth, I am  very well aware of the revisionist historians.  In some cases, I do believe history  must needs be revised.  Especially here, as we have been  fed anti-Communist rhetoric since childhood. The vast majority of  prejudice and ignorance. That was when I started  visiting the Soviet Embassy in D.C. and made a few friends, Saw their system in a different light that we usually did. At about the same time [this was many years ago] I had a school assignment-  write a paper defending Hitler!  Talk about difficult.  At the time, there simply was nothing positive about him in print to use as a reference. I understood the point of the exercise and wrote a paper, received good marks, But, I did not believe a word of it. This is when I first read Mien Kemp. I also got on the mailing list for the American Nazi Party.[ talk about disgusting, and it did not sit well with my school either, it was a boarding school so their papers came to me there].
  The problem with Hitler, besides the obvious, is that he spelled out his plans beforehand. The expansionism, military build-up, etc. Those who failed to notice his intentions have only themselves to blame, as I see it.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: RichC on February 09, 2009, 01:01:16 PM
Terence- please read my previous posts on this thread. I am NOT a fan of Stalin.  However, I do feel he is badly misunderstood from our perspective. From my several visits to Russia, I have a different view of the man than what I had previously. Be that as it may, of course the man is still a dictator. BTW, the "made the trains run on time" epithet is actually attributed to Mussolini,  as I recall. I just borrowed it for Stalin.  But he [Stalin] did accomplish as much as he failed in the human rights issues.  His rebuilding of the Russian, or Soviet, infrastructure,  the  some times successful 5 year plans,  the tremendous leadership to defeat Hitler.  As I recall, he wanted to be rid of Zhukov as he was jealous of his popularity. He was dissuaded from that by braver men than I am because it would have damaged his already fragile reputation.

Robert, please don't leave! The discussion is only truly interesting when the participants disagree (and best of all, disagree vehemently). I understand that you are saying there was a gray zone in Stalinist Russia that I and other members here are not taking into account. Well, in case you weren't aware of the fact (although I'm sure you are) there are plenty of eminient revisionist social historians (by birth Western) from the 1970s and 80s who are all on your side. Many of them are still very active and influential; Sheila Fitzpatrick is I believe the exemplar (as well as one of the founders) of this movement in Soviet studies. These historians have contributed a vast amount to our store of knowledge about the Soviet period and Stalinism in particular, esp. as it worked out in the daily lives of average Soviet citizens. Understand, they never argue that Stalin was a "good" or "great" leader, per se, they just argue that life wasn't so bad and in fact might even have improved for most Soviet citizens under Stalin's regime.

My quibble with them is simply this: if there had been no Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact in 1939, and Hitler had never invaded Poland, and World War II had never started, and most of all, if there had never been a Holocaust, then Hitler would no doubt to this day be regarded by many eminent Western historians as a great gift to the German people. After all, he got Germany back on its economic feet, so to say; he returned to most Germans a sense of national pride and identity; he negotiated successfully with European leaders over territorial disputes - all of them in fact concluded in Germany's favor.

But to me the clear and obvious historical fact that Hitler seems to have made the majority of Germans happy and prosperous does not and can not set aside the fact that even before 1939 he also oppressed and persecuted significant minority groups. After all, he passed the most discriminatory laws in the Western world with the Nuremberg Laws of 1935, by which German Jews were basically ostracized from German society, on every level - politically, professionally, and personally. These years also witnessed the establishment of concentration camps, not only for German Jews but also for politicians and political activists who in one way or another were viewed as "opposing" Hitler. There was the "Night of the Long Knives." There was Kristallnacht. And so on and so forth.

It could well be true that Stalin had more points in favor of him than Hitler (well, after all, he did beat Hitler in World War II). It could even be true that up until the postwar period (when Milovan Djilas for one thought that if Stalin was not senile, then he was rapidly approaching that state), Stalin operated from a relatively pragmatic and "sane" position (erg, if you only knew what it cost me even to write that), at least compared to Hitler, who was obviously a complete ideological fanatic and psychopath. The question before us is, do Stalin's crimes outweigh his "good" points? I believe they do. And since he lasted much longer in political power than Hitler, he necessarily got to perpetrate his crimes for a much longer period, as well. I also happen to believe he was an ideological fanatic and psychopath but again, that's just my personal opinion. (And yet another question we could address, if you would only stay, Robert! It will be so incredibly boring without you - in fact the entire discussion will grind to a screeching halt!)

I actually have a huge amount of respect for folks like Sheila Fitzpatrick.  I'm familiar with her, as I said before Elisabeth, because she was a professor of mine when I was a student (and gave me an "A" on my bachelor's paper, for which I'm eternally grateful!)

Fitzpatrick's body of work (what I have read of it, which I admit is only a small part of the total) is interesting because in my view it doesn't so much let Stalin off the hook as it exposes the entire Russian population as being somewhat complicit in vast upheavals that took place in Russia under Stalin.  According to Fitzpatrick, life did improve for segments of the Russian population under Stalin, but only at the expense of others.  I don't recall her ever denying crimes and misery which stemmed from Stalin's policies.  One thing that sticks in my mind is her use of the word "cadre" in describing groups of people who would step in for those who had been replaced/arrested/exterminated.  It was a Russian version of affirmative action.

Fitzpatrick wrote a book in 2000 called Everyday Stalinism: Ordinary Life in Extraordinary Times.  Unless I'm mistaken it was very well received.

RichC
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Elisabeth on February 09, 2009, 01:49:16 PM
You're so lucky to have had Sheila Fitzpatrick as a professor, RichC. I haven't read her book Everyday Stalinism but I know it was "well received" because I've read numerous reviews of it, also at least one very interesting interview with her (it's in an issue of last year's journal Kritika as I recall). But as I was saying, and as I clearly stated above, I am not accusing revisionist social historians like Fitzpatrick of saying that Stalin was a "great" or even a "good" leader. My point was more subtle. It's only that whether or not life "improved" for certain "segments" of Soviet society, it's those minority dead-as-doornails millions that should disturb one's peace. As we all know by heart, by 1934 millions of Soviet peasants had either been murdered outright or died of starvation (whether the Great Famine was due to a deliberate policy on the part of Stalin or simply an example of governmental incompetence, or a mixture of the two, in a sense doesn't even matter - whatever was the case, Stalin and his regime were ultimately responsible). Other peasants had been exiled to Siberia (often to die there, too, since in many cases there was no "welcoming committee," i.e., food or shelter provided), forced into slave labor camps, or forced into collective farms (which, as far as I can see, demanded pretty much the equivalent of slave labor).

Sorry for the rant. I do have a point, however. Since pre-revolutionary Russia was overwhelmingly a peasant society, by something like 80 or more percent, it seems to me that most Soviet citizens were affected by collectivization. If not directly, then indirectly through family members. I would even venture to say that most Soviet citizens were traumatically effected in some way by these events. Therefore, it seems to me that those that took advantage of this situation (and the Great Terror that followed in the late 1930s), in order to gain for themselves better jobs and housing - were the very dregs of the dregs of Soviet society. Which might explain why modern-day Russia seems to lack a moral or ethical core.

If you want to compare Stalin's regime in this respect with Hitler's regime, it's easily done. Up until the Allies started bombing Berlin, life improved tremendously for German gentiles, new job opportunities were everywhere, particularly after the Nuremberg Laws were passed in 1935, since these laws banned professional Jews from practicing their professions. Victor Klemperer's diary is very eloquent on that point. He lost his job in Dresden as a professor of French Literature, and what made matters worse, almost every single one of his Aryan colleagues at his university - and other German universities - ostracized him, up until the end of the war. Understandably, he later wrote in his diary: "If one day the situation were reversed and the fate of the vanquished lay in my hands, then I would let all the ordinary folks go and even some of the leaders, who might perhaps after all have had honorable intentions and not known what they were doing. But I would have all the intellectuals strung up, and the professors three feet higher than the rest; they would be left hanging from the lampposts for as long as was compatible with hygiene" (August 16, 1946).

If I had been in his shoes I wouldn't have let the leaders go, much less all of the "ordinary" people. A moral conscience does not demand high intelligence... Frankly, I think there's no point to the study of history at all unless there's some kind of moral aspect brought to bear on it. I know that sounds incredibly 19th century and humanist... but there you go. I'm a 19-century kinda gal. Fancy the history of the United States told without a moral bent (well, the blacks and the Indians suffered, it's true, but everybody else did mighty well, eventually! Even the Irish and the Jews!).
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: RichC on February 09, 2009, 10:08:12 PM
Thanks, Elisabeth, for mentioning the Kritika article in your previous post.  I found it, read it, and was quite fascinated by it.  You are always such a wealth of information, not just about Russian history itself, but about the various cross-currents going on in western academia which hold such sway over history's narrative.  It's a singular and very important contribution to this board.

Fitzpatrick basically describes herself as a socialist (at least when she was younger) and also says she was, as a graduate student at Oxford, an "anti-moralist" and "anti-anti-Soviet".  She basically says, if I'm reading between the lines of the interview, that much scholarship about the USSR throughout the 60's and 70's was much more politicized (both on the left and the right) than it is today. 

Interestingly, Fitzpatrick is part of an ongoing international project in comparative history, which re-examines the Nazi and Stalinist eras by having scholars in both areas co-author articles.  I'll see if I can find more about this project.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Elisabeth on February 10, 2009, 12:49:56 PM
Thanks, Elisabeth, for mentioning the Kritika article in your previous post.  I found it, read it, and was quite fascinated by it.  You are always such a wealth of information, not just about Russian history itself, but about the various cross-currents going on in western academia which hold such sway over history's narrative.  It's a singular and very important contribution to this board.

Fitzpatrick basically describes herself as a socialist (at least when she was younger) and also says she was, as a graduate student at Oxford, an "anti-moralist" and "anti-anti-Soviet".  She basically says, if I'm reading between the lines of the interview, that much scholarship about the USSR throughout the 60's and 70's was much more politicized (both on the left and the right) than it is today. 

Interestingly, Fitzpatrick is part of an ongoing international project in comparative history, which re-examines the Nazi and Stalinist eras by having scholars in both areas co-author articles.  I'll see if I can find more about this project.

Thanks as ever for your kind words, Rich. You know very well that you yourself contribute an amazing amount of information and insight to this board. I for one find it extremely interesting that there's now a special international scholarly project to re-examine and re-evaluate the Nazi and Stalinist periods. Before your post, I hadn't heard about this. Needless to say, it's a very valuable and valiant effort. And I would greatly appreciate any further, more detailed information you can give us about it!

As for the great debate, I think every good scholar has something to contribute to our understanding of these regimes... whether they are so-called Cold War warriors like Robert Conquest or revisionist, so-called pro-Soviet scholars like Sheila Fitzgerald. In the end, one's political stance doesn't count for so much, it's the factual information one uncovers and the occasional astonishing insight that one imparts to the rest of us that endure through each succeeding generation of historians. I suspect that in the long run, scholars will come down somewhere in the middle of the "moralist" versus "anti-moralist" debate regarding the Soviet Union. Apparently now, in the first decade of the 21st century, there is already a strong school of revisionists of the revisionists in American Soviet studies, and I suspect the same phenomenon has occurred in recent German studies of the Nazi regime as well (there was a revisionist trend even there, too, wasn't there, back in the late 1980s or early 1990s? It met with a lot of flak by other scholars specializing in that period, but frankly speaking, IMO, if you can do revisionist history of Stalin's Soviet Union, then you can do revisionist history of Hitler's Nazi Germany, too!).
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Zvezda on February 10, 2009, 07:57:04 PM
Quote
IMHO, it's quite obvious from the historical record that Stalin was an anti-Semite, and a particularly vicious one at that.
This is an oversimplification. Zhores Medvedev concludes that Stalin was not anti-Semitic as much as he was hostile to Zionism, which were seen as a threat to the country. The Soviet Government was opposed to all forms of racism, including anti-Semitism and Stalin made many public statements to that effect. Stalin was surrounded by Jewish officials.

Quote
or forced into collective farms (which, as far as I can see, demanded pretty much the equivalent of slave labor).
Frankly, it is ridiculous and offensive to deride collective farmers as slaves. A farm boy like Gorbachev could not grow up to be President of his country under a slave-holding system. My uncle and his family lived on a collective farm and they were happy with their lives.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Robert_Hall on February 10, 2009, 08:31:13 PM
Thank you, Zvezda.  The Soviet sytem also provided health care and education for the people.  Also, a stable social  enviornment. Scientific progress and secure borders. The collective farms were for the common good,  some, of course were failures, some, great sucesses. I would guess the same ratio as capitalists experiments.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: GoldenPen on February 11, 2009, 06:48:42 AM
Robert_hall, first the government health care in Soviet was behind compare to the United States. In fact it was reported the death rate was 6 times higher as well. The stable environment was only stable because the wealth went to the higher up pies, while the workers would wait hours for bread, shoes or toilet paper. The capitalist government is success or fail type of government, but with that said you can go to the limits but not with soviet.  You would give away many of the freedoms, why the people with power would get all the good stuff.


Truly, GoldenPen
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Elisabeth on February 11, 2009, 07:45:54 AM
Quote
IMHO, it's quite obvious from the historical record that Stalin was an anti-Semite, and a particularly vicious one at that.
This is an oversimplification. Zhores Medvedev concludes that Stalin was not anti-Semitic as much as he was hostile to Zionism, which were seen as a threat to the country. The Soviet Government was opposed to all forms of racism, including anti-Semitism and Stalin made many public statements to that effect. Stalin was surrounded by Jewish officials.

Yes, let us by all means take the word of an outsider like Zhores Medvedev over that of Stalin's own daughter, Svetlana. Towards the end of World War II, her Jewish lover, the journalist and war correspondent Aleksei Kapler, was arrested by Stalin's secret police for being, as Stalin told her personally, a "British spy." But let Svetlana relate her confrontation with her father in her own words:

"'Writer!' he [Stalin] muttered. 'He can't write decent Russian! She couldn't even find herself a Russian!' Apparently the fact that Kapler was a Jew was what bothered him most of all" (Twenty Letters to a Friend, p. 181).

It's also a patent falsehood that the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee was "Zionist," as you put it. Their sin in Stalin's eyes was not only that they were Jewish, but that they persisted in maintaining contacts with foreign Jews even after the war had ended.

Solomon Mikhoels, the great and internationally renowned director of the Moscow State Jewish Theater, was brutally murdered by Stalin's thugs in 1948. His body was run over by a car so that it would look as if his death had been an accident. Mikhoels was not by any stretch of the imagination a "Zionist." Nor were most if not all of the other illustrious members of the wartime Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee who were subsequently put on trial and murdered by Stalin in cold blood.

You know, you and Robert really have a double standard where Hitler and Stalin are concerned. You hold Hitler to much higher standards than you do Stalin. Stalin could murder millions, and yet, Zvezda, you argue that it was somehow rational and for the greater good. I, on the other hand, would argue that Stalin's fear of so-called Zionists was every bit as irrational and paranoid (and delusional and anti-Semitic) as Hitler's fear of the so-called international Jewish conspiracy.

But then we're forgetting all those Soviet prisoners of war released from German concentration camps, those thousands of soldiers who had somehow managed to survive the mass starvation in Nazi POW camps that killed hundreds of thousands of their comrades in the first years of the war (by the by, did you happen to know, the first batch of prisoners gassed at Auschwitz - the Nazis were testing the effectiveness of Zyklon B - were four hundred Soviet POWs?)... Anyway, most of these men, these survivors of Nazi camps, including death camps, the minute they set foot on the soil of their homeland, were arrested as traitors, collaborators, and/or foreign spies, and dispatched to Soviet (!) slave labor camps. Solzhenitsyn dedicates more than a few pages to their fate in his magnum opus,  Gulag Archipelago.

Was this a "rational" strategy on Stalin's part? If I follow your and Robert's arguments to their logical conclusion, then I have to say yes - not only the kulaks and the right deviationists and the left deviationists and the Jews and the Trotskyites but also the former POWs were all out to get comrade Stalin... Ever heard of a self-defeating proposition? That is, if you regard virtually everyone on earth as your enemy, then they will eventually become your enemy? Hence Stalin's miserable death, left to stew in his own bodily wastes for some 48 to 72 hours without any kind of medical assistance. And according to some contemporary rumors, he collapsed not because of a stroke but because he was actually poisoned. By Beria. Now wouldn't that have been true poetic justice? The ultimate mass murderer... executed by his own chief henchman.

Frankly, it is ridiculous and offensive to deride collective farmers as slaves. A farm boy like Gorbachev could not grow up to be President of his country under a slave-holding system. My uncle and his family lived on a collective farm and they were happy with their lives.

Zvezda, I believe I was very specifically addressing the Stalin era when I said that peasants on collective farms were treated little better than slaves. Both Gorbachev and Yeltsin lost close relatives to the brutalities of collectivization. Yeltsin's family in particular can hardly be said to have prospered under Stalin's regime. His recollections of the Stalin era are horrendous.

There was a bit of a turnaround, though, wasn't there, in the state's attitude toward the peasantry and other "dangerous" social classes after Stalin's death in 1953 and Khrushchev's famous speech against the cult of personality in 1956? Some liberalization occurred, yes? Most (not all) political prisoners were freed and peasants on collective farms were given small plots of land (gardens) on which to raise produce for personal use. Life improved a little bit... for those particular "segments" of the population you are otherwise so willing to overlook.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Robert_Hall on February 11, 2009, 08:30:56 AM
Elisabeth, Hitler  and Stalin were  two different men with different agendas, so yes, I suppose you could say I have a double standard. How many times have I said Stalin was paranoid?  I do not think anyone could deny his murderous attitudes, but his methods were far different from those of Hitler, were they not?  A few of my Russian friends come from  a collective background, not one of them have said anything negative to me about  their experience.  I know I am a foreigner to them, and they are intensely proud of being Russian, which can have it's good points and bad. Just like anywhere else.
 I am not well read enough to go into an academe treatise, but I do go by the experience the people I know have related to me. And, for some of the older ones, they miss the well ordered society that  Stalin built. The younger ones[well, under 50]  are saddened and dissapointed in the collapse of their society.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Elisabeth on February 11, 2009, 08:58:32 AM
Elisabeth, Hitler  and Stalin were  two different men with different agendas, so yes, I suppose you could say I have a double standard. How many times have I said Stalin was paranoid?  I do not think anyone could deny his murderous attitudes, but his methods were far different from those of Hitler, were they not?  A few of my Russian friends come from  a collective background, not one of them have said anything negative to me about  their experience.  I know I am a foreigner to them, and they are intensely proud of being Russian, which can have it's good points and bad. Just like anywhere else.
 I am not well read enough to go into an academe treatise, but I do go by the experience the people I know have related to me. And, for some of the older ones, they miss the well ordered society that  Stalin built. The younger ones[well, under 50]  are saddened and dissapointed in the collapse of their society.

I think murder is murder, plain and simple, and both Hitler and Stalin had the same clear-cut agenda: power, power, power, and then more power. They were narcissistic, selfish personalities to the core, psychopaths or sociopaths or both, whatever you want to call them. They were also extremely gifted and even perhaps geniuses in certain fields. Hitler was a stellar orator and manipulator of men; Stalin seems to have been a very able adminstrator and also, like Hitler, a genius at manipulating the emotions and personalities of the people around him.

As for Russians... My experience has been completely different from yours, but maybe that's because I am of a slightly younger generation. All the young Russians my age (and younger) I met as a student in the old Soviet Union in 1991 were incredibly impatient with the old communist system. They hated it, to the very depths of their being, primarily because it interfered with their talents and their prospects. I remember quite clearly one young woman, an architect, complaining to me about how inefficiently and even stupidly her office was run. She was particularly outraged that a bunch of old fuddy-duddies, who should have been fired for their incompetence long ago, were instead safely ensconced in superior positions. Granted, maybe some of her outrage was the natural product of youthful enthusiasm and impatience with older people. Nevertheless, I found an overall disgust with communism to be the pervasive attitude among the young Petersburg and Muscovite professionals I met during my stay.

And from what I can gather, a similar attitude holds sway among the educated Russian elite even in 2009. Communism is absolutely dead, as far as the intelligentsia, middle class, upper class, and the political leadership is concerned. Any residual nostalgia for Stalin or the old communist order seems to be strictly confined to the working class, and it's largely the product of the new state ideology of Russian nationalism, which vaunts the power of the Russian state as an international political player. According to this new ideology, Lenin was bad but Stalin was good. Try passing that idea off on to any educated Russian person and in my experience all you get is a cynical laugh.



Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Robert_Hall on February 11, 2009, 09:49:11 AM
I would not argue that communism is not a viable economic system. As I have said before, it works only on a very small scale. Even then, it is rather shaky.
 I do, however disagree that Hitler & Stalin were cut of the same cloth. If one wishes to be  very technical about it, Hitler's methods were legal- UNDER THE LAWS OF GERMANY AT THE TIME. Admittedly, those laws were arbitrary and  prejudiced in the most extreme, but, the were promulgated legally, nonethe less. Even if it was a rubber stamp Bundestag, it remained legal and it took the end of the war to abrogate them. { I realise I am treading on very thin ice here].
 Whereas Stalin rarely used the legal aspect and acted on his whims. Tragically, of course.
My own connections to the [former] Soviet Union  go back to student days in the late 60's. Culminating with  several visits in this century.  So, I think I have a fair, if minority, cross section of opinion.  I never visited  Russia under the Soviet regime, but I knew not a few that lived under it. Of course there were complaints- where is there not?
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Zvezda on February 11, 2009, 12:36:02 PM
My family came from Armenia, a country that has been destroyed by capitalism. It has been 20 years since the restoration of capitalism in that country and the consequences have been disastrous: the GDP level today is still below that of the 1990 level. While Armenia under soviet power achieved a level of development that would normally take hundreds of years to achieve, the country has made no progress in 20 years. In a period of twenty years, the literacy rate increased from 5 to 90 percent. But nearly twenty years after 1990, the city of Leninakan remains in rubble. There has been a catastrophic war with Azerbaijan caused by the national enmity that is inevitable under capitalism. More than one million people or one-third of the popualtion has fled this terror. Imagine if 100 million Americans left their country to find a livelihood in distant lands. Capitalism in Russia has been especially catastrophic.

Quote
Hitler and Stalin had the same clear-cut agenda
Any comparison of Hitler to Stalin is to be rejected. This kind of over-the-top moral equivalence is characteristic of a negationist, revisionist, and extreme right-wing propaganda campaign waged in the West and in certain ultra-nationalist countries of east-central Europe. The demonizers of Stalin are more dangerous than his crazy cultists. Although terrible mistakes were made during Stalin's leadership of the Party, in no way can they negate the progress and enlightenment accomplished during socialist construction. It is ungrateful the way ultra right-wingers in the West have been so keen to demonize Stalin when his country proved to be the most steadfast ally of America and England during the war. Without Stalin, perhaps their countries would be under German rule. Stalin is also to be credited for being a dedicated revolutionary who struggled courageously against the tsarist-capitalist yoke, an outstanding internationalist who was a friend to the interntional labor movement, and one of Russia's finest patriots who extirpated her most vicious enemies. After the war, Stalin worked tirelessly to preserve peace. Stalin also rendered invaluable aid to national liberation movements around the world in countries like China and Vietnam.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Robert_Hall on February 11, 2009, 01:29:47 PM
Just a few of the major complaints I have listened  to recently, from Russians themsleves i  the the lack of medical care, which was, under the old system, provided for. OAPs are almost forgotten and education  is now quite costly. The military is in a shambles and  only the rich, and tourists can afford  "the good life".  Welcome to capitalism. Of course, we have seen our own system to be a facade as well.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Elisabeth on February 11, 2009, 02:08:31 PM
My family came from Armenia, a country that has been destroyed by capitalism. It has been 20 years since the restoration of capitalism in that country and the consequences have been disastrous: the GDP level today is still below that of the 1990 level. While Armenia under soviet power achieved a level of development that would normally take hundreds of years to achieve, the country has made no progress in 20 years. In a period of twenty years, the literacy rate increased from 5 to 90 percent. But nearly twenty years after 1990, the city of Leninakan remains in rubble. There has been a catastrophic war with Azerbaijan caused by the national enmity that is inevitable under capitalism. More than one million people or one-third of the popualtion has fled this terror. Imagine if 100 million Americans left their country to find a livelihood in distant lands. Capitalism in Russia has been especially catastrophic.

Zvezda, I am quite sorry for your and your family and country's tragedy. Of course, it is a tragedy. But it's not entirely or even mostly the fault of "capitalism," or the "West," or whatever other non-Soviet demon you want to blame it on. The fact is that the Soviet Union was completely unviable and unsalvageable by 1991 - economically, politically, and socially. I saw this with my own eyes when I visited the capital cities of the USSR, Moscow and St. Petersburg, as a privileged foreigner. I was, I admit, taken aback by the overall poverty and dilapidation I saw all around me... Don't get me wrong, every capital city in every country has homeless people and bad sections, but to find huge holes in the middle of Nevsky Prospekt, St. Petersburg's main thoroughfare, and cracks in the foundation of the Winter Palace, not to mention scores of little old ladies begging for bread in the streets in the center of Moscow, while nice young college students prostituted themselves to foreigners in and around the Kremlin.... yeah, frankly I was horrified.

It wasn't the evil Western capitalists who did this to the Soviet Union. This is a fact hard for Russians to accept, I realize. But it was Russians themselves who did this to themselves, and to the host of subject peoples who made up the former Soviet Union (including the Armenians - Zvezda, are you actually ethnically Armenian or are you an ethnic Russian born in Armenia?).

Any comparison of Hitler to Stalin is to be rejected. This kind of over-the-top moral equivalence is characteristic of a negationist, revisionist, and extreme right-wing propaganda campaign waged in the West and in certain ultra-nationalist countries of east-central Europe. The demonizers of Stalin are more dangerous than his crazy cultists. Although terrible mistakes were made during Stalin's leadership of the Party, in no way can they negate the progress and enlightenment accomplished during socialist construction. It is ungrateful the way ultra right-wingers in the West have been so keen to demonize Stalin when his country proved to be the most steadfast ally of America and England during the war. Without Stalin, perhaps their countries would be under German rule. Stalin is also to be credited for being a dedicated revolutionary who struggled courageously against the tsarist-capitalist yoke, an outstanding internationalist who was a friend to the interntional labor movement, and one of Russia's finest patriots who extirpated her most vicious enemies. After the war, Stalin worked tirelessly to preserve peace. Stalin also rendered invaluable aid to national liberation movements around the world in countries like China and Vietnam.

Zvezda, I think it's rich that you would identify me as part of a "negationist, revisionist, and extreme right-wing propaganda campaign" to "demonize Stalin." I wasn't aware that it was even necessary to "demonize" Stalin (in case you haven't noticed, you're one of the few people on this earth who doesn't regard him as a mass murderer and the very epitome of evil). I was also unaware that I was an "ultra right-winger" when I've always identified myself as a moderate liberal. I know, we stinking humanists, what have we brought the world to... demonizing that poor persecuted, much abused and misunderstood man Stalin, leader of his people, defender of nations, blah blah blah. Tell me, where do you come from, Zvezda? Since you're so free with the insults, I'd venture to say that you're some poor ethnic Russian stuck in a former Soviet republic who is either out of her mind with nostalgia for the former glory days of the Soviet Union, or else out of her mind on ultra-nationalist, right-wing Russian propaganda. Because that's all you're spouting, the hard right ultra Russian nationalist line, and it's frankly an embarrassment to me and no doubt to most everybody else here.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Robert_Hall on February 11, 2009, 03:49:55 PM
Gee, Elisabeth, I hope you do not think me as accusing you you of "tight wing  revisionism".  I think you are fairly liberal and open to opposing thought. By the same token, I also feel  Zvezda is not "spouting" anything but her own opinions. Much the same as I do.
 Just because we may have a different view of Stalin does not mean we  do not listen to others.
 The infrastructure problems you mention, are endemic of the problems  with the collapse of the Soviet system. The people who would take care of potholes on Nevski and cracks in the Winter Palace  are, for the most part- gone. No longer state supported enterprises now must find their own funding. It is happening here as well, is it not?  The same with those "little old ladies" begging on the streets. I was in  Russia when  the OAPs went on a major protest over loosing their subsidies- that was a mess, but Putin gave in. A lot of them are a scam, just like here.
 BTW, have any of  our readers been to the exposition park in Moscow ?  This is really a beautiful place that have showcase pavilions of each of the SSRs. With other exhibitions on science, space  achievements, etc.  Sadly, it is falling into disrepair and is sort of tacky, but still shows some signs of the former USSR's glory. I know full well it was a propaganda piece, but it is still lovely to stroll through. 
However, as this  thread is really supposed to be about Hitler/Stalin,  I understand Hitler had a similar plan in mind for Nuremburg and Linz, long before the Moscow park. His ideas and plans for a grand rebuilding of Berlin were more of a testament to his own ego than Stalin ever came up with. I would say that Stalin's lasting memorial would be the subways, which are indeed a work of art and, well, work!
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Zvezda on February 11, 2009, 05:34:19 PM
Quote
Zvezda, I think it's rich that you would identify me as part of a "negationist, revisionist, and extreme right-wing propaganda campaign" to "demonize Stalin."

I did not identify you as negationist or revisionist. Rather, I was referring to those who spout rubbish such as "Stalin was worse than Hitler." Any comparison of Russia's actions to the Nazis amounts to negationist and revisionist propaganda. Nothing can possibly compare to the Nazis' premeditated, industrialized slaughter of entire nationalities and the imposing of unprecedented destruction on the European continent. To suggest that Stalin can be compared to Hitler effectively amounts to Holocaust denial.

Quote
Since you're so free with the insults, I'd venture to say that you're some poor ethnic Russian stuck in a former Soviet republic who is either out of her mind with nostalgia for the former glory days of the Soviet Union, or else out of her mind on ultra-nationalist, right-wing Russian propaganda.
I was not insulting you personally, but was attacking the point of view propagated by ultra-right negationists in the West that Stalin was either equal to or worse than Hitler. I am not a Russian nationalist, but I am of Armenian nationality.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Terence on February 11, 2009, 06:18:52 PM
There has been a catastrophic war with Azerbaijan caused by the national enmity that is inevitable under capitalism. More than one million people or one-third of the popualtion has fled this terror. Imagine if 100 million Americans left their country to find a livelihood in distant lands. Capitalism in Russia has been especially catastrophic.

That's ceratinly a different view of history.  Some might blame your hero Stalin as the source of the conflict.
92109: Armenia-Azerbaijan Conflict
A clash between the principles of territorial integrity and self-determination is occurring in the Caucasus, creating the longest interethnic dispute in the former Soviet Union. Armenians of the Nagorno-Karabakh region, part of Azerbaijan since 1923, seek independence. Armenians comprise the majority in Karabakh and have a different culture, religion, and language than Azeris. Azerbaijan seeks to preserve its national integrity. Sharp differences over history, goals, events, casualties, cease-fires, and the roles of outsiders between Armenians and Azeris hinder mediation. The dispute has been characterized by violence, mutual expulsion of rival nationals, charges and countercharges. Armenian and Azerbaijan government control over combatants, at times, was loose. After the December 1991 demise of the Soviet Union and subsequent dispersal of sophisticated Soviet weaponry, the conflict worsened. Thousands of deaths and 1.4 million refugees have resulted...
A territory approximating today's Karabakh became part of a province of the kingdom of Caucasian Albania in the first century A.D. Armenians remained in the region after their last kingdom in the 11th century. The Persian and Ottoman Empires vied for control in the 17th and 18th centuries. In 1805, Russia captured the territory, and, in 1828, the Tsar created an Armenian province that did not include Karabakh. The Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 provoked ethnic violence. Armenia and Azerbaijan both claimed Karabakh when they became independent in 1918. Soviet dominion over the two republics was established in 1920; each then expelled many rival nationals. Karabakh was ceded briefly to Armenia and, in July 1921, the Transcaucasia politburo voted to join Karabakh to Armenia. Stalin reversed the decision, he said, to further peace among Armenians and Muslims and acknowledge Karabakh's economic tie to Azerbaijan, and reportedly to please Turkey. In July 1923, the region became the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast, part of Azerbaijan with a degree of self-rule. The Soviet Constitution of 1936 continued the designation.
http://www.fas.org/man/crs/92-109.htm

T
PS I'll vouch for Elisabeth's liberal credentials also.  If she's an "ultra right-winger" someone gave her the wrong playbook. LOL
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Elisabeth on February 11, 2009, 06:30:36 PM
I did not identify you as negationist or revisionist. Rather, I was referring to those who spout rubbish such as "Stalin was worse than Hitler." Any comparison of Russia's actions to the Nazis amounts to negationist and revisionist propaganda. Nothing can possibly compare to the Nazis' premeditated, industrialized slaughter of entire nationalities and the imposing of unprecedented destruction on the European continent. To suggest that Stalin can be compared to Hitler effectively amounts to Holocaust denial.

I fear you are spouting the usual obfuscatory nonsense, Zvezda. In case it escaped your attention, in this forum I have repeatedly compared Stalin to Hitler, I am still comparing Stalin to Hitler; furthermore, I plan to continue to compare Stalin to Hitler for as long as I live, because both were brutal dictators who engaged in unprecedented levels of mass murder of their own citizens. Okay? So by your definition that does make me an "ultra-right negationist" and a "revisionist," not to mention someone prey to "Holocaust denial." And by the same token I will continue to call you an ultra-reactionary Russian nationalist who would put Stalin, the mass murderer of millions, on a moral pedestal rather than admit that his and Lenin's empire turned out to be not only a huge mistake but also definitively evil. Indeed, the Bolsheviks destroyed so much, and created so very little, that Russians and their former subjects are still paying for it, whether you realize it or not (for God's sake, look at the demographics, if nothing else).  

You seem to be absolutely clueless about what I stand for, as an individual and a human being. I don't think you've been reading my posts at all attentively.

I was not insulting you personally, but was attacking the point of view propagated by ultra-right negationists in the West that Stalin was either equal to or worse than Hitler. I am not a Russian nationalist, but I am of Armenian nationality.

So, whether you intended to or not, you were insulting me personally. And I don't for a millisecond believe that you're an ethnic Armenian. You might be of Armenian nationality, but that's a totally different thing, as you very well know.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Elisabeth on February 11, 2009, 06:40:17 PM
There has been a catastrophic war with Azerbaijan caused by the national enmity that is inevitable under capitalism. More than one million people or one-third of the popualtion has fled this terror. Imagine if 100 million Americans left their country to find a livelihood in distant lands. Capitalism in Russia has been especially catastrophic.

That's ceratinly a different view of history.  Some might blame your hero Stalin as the source of the conflict.
92109: Armenia-Azerbaijan Conflict
A clash between the principles of territorial integrity and self-determination is occurring in the Caucasus, creating the longest interethnic dispute in the former Soviet Union. Armenians of the Nagorno-Karabakh region, part of Azerbaijan since 1923, seek independence. Armenians comprise the majority in Karabakh and have a different culture, religion, and language than Azeris. Azerbaijan seeks to preserve its national integrity. Sharp differences over history, goals, events, casualties, cease-fires, and the roles of outsiders between Armenians and Azeris hinder mediation. The dispute has been characterized by violence, mutual expulsion of rival nationals, charges and countercharges. Armenian and Azerbaijan government control over combatants, at times, was loose. After the December 1991 demise of the Soviet Union and subsequent dispersal of sophisticated Soviet weaponry, the conflict worsened. Thousands of deaths and 1.4 million refugees have resulted...
A territory approximating today's Karabakh became part of a province of the kingdom of Caucasian Albania in the first century A.D. Armenians remained in the region after their last kingdom in the 11th century. The Persian and Ottoman Empires vied for control in the 17th and 18th centuries. In 1805, Russia captured the territory, and, in 1828, the Tsar created an Armenian province that did not include Karabakh. The Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 provoked ethnic violence. Armenia and Azerbaijan both claimed Karabakh when they became independent in 1918. Soviet dominion over the two republics was established in 1920; each then expelled many rival nationals. Karabakh was ceded briefly to Armenia and, in July 1921, the Transcaucasia politburo voted to join Karabakh to Armenia. Stalin reversed the decision, he said, to further peace among Armenians and Muslims and acknowledge Karabakh's economic tie to Azerbaijan, and reportedly to please Turkey. In July 1923, the region became the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast, part of Azerbaijan with a degree of self-rule. The Soviet Constitution of 1936 continued the designation.
http://www.fas.org/man/crs/92-109.htm

T
PS I'll vouch for Elisabeth's liberal credentials also.  If she's an "ultra right-winger" someone gave her the wrong playbook. LOL

Dear Terence, thank you for vouching for me! And thanks for the post in general, which is indeed a prime example of Stalin's nationalities policy. I don't think it's widely known that Stalin presided over a whole host of simmering regional conflicts, more or less guaranteeing that they would endure or even become worse if the Soviet Union ever broke apart. An addition to your example is that Stalin divided Ossetia into North and South, giving the former to the Russian Republic of the USSR, and the latter to the Georgian Republic, thus pretty much ensuring that, if the Soviet Union ever collapsed, Russia and Georgia would come to blows in this region (as indeed they finally did last summer). Stalin was truly diabolical. I've never understood people (especially historians) who denigrate his intelligence and political acumen. He was genuinely brilliant in some ways. So brilliant that he's still causing major problems to this day... over 50 years after his death! As he no doubt intended.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Zvezda on February 11, 2009, 07:06:50 PM
Quote
your hero Stalin
Stalin is not my hero, for I condemn the excesses, errors, and distortions that arose from his leadership.

Quote
Some might blame your hero Stalin as the source of the conflict.
Before the restoration of capitalism in the USSR, there was no ethnic enmity between Armenians and Azerbaijanis. They were like brothers who worked at the same jobs, went to the same schools, and lived in the same apartments. All that changed with the economic catastrophe of 1989-91. To attribute the conflict to the soviets' administrative policies is ridiculous because it is impossible to have territorial divisions in the Caucasus free of problems. The Caucasus has perhaps the most complex demographics in the world. Dagestan alone, for example, is a province with dozens of nationalities. Without the dissolution of the USSR by Yeltsin and his corrupt cronies, my country would have been much better off.
Quote
Indeed, the Bolsheviks destroyed so much, and created so very little, that Russians and their former subjects are still paying for it, whether you realize it or not (for God's sake, look at the demographics, if nothing else). 
In 1920, my parents' hometown of Yerevan was little more than a mud village. The Communists turned it into what had been a sophisticated and prosperous city. Concerning demographics, it has solely been a consequence of capitalism. In 1946-47, Armenia with a population of 1.2 million received 150,000 immigrants from Syria, Iran, and the countries of the Balkans. But no one would move to that bananna republic today because everyone is desperate to get out.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Terence on February 11, 2009, 09:17:13 PM
Before the restoration of capitalism in the USSR, there was no ethnic enmity between Armenians and Azerbaijanis. They were like brothers who worked at the same jobs, went to the same schools, and lived in the same apartments. All that changed with the economic catastrophe of 1989-91. To attribute the conflict to the soviets' administrative policies is ridiculous because it is impossible to have territorial divisions in the Caucasus free of problems. The Caucasus has perhaps the most complex demographics in the world. Dagestan alone, for example, is a province with dozens of nationalities. Without the dissolution of the USSR by Yeltsin and his corrupt cronies, my country would have been much better off.

You are either woefully ignorant of your own homeland's history or just spouting anti-capitalism propaganda.  While the long-standing ethnic hatred was suppressed under Soviet rule (troublemakers were shot or exiled of course), it was obviously still there.  Since the the Nagorno-Karabakh War started in Feb. 1988 it's nonsense to blame it on economic problems from 1989-91.

The USSR self-destructed, perhaps w/ a little help from the military spending forced upon it by Reagan's strong stand against Soviet tyranny.  If it wasn't Yetsin someone else would have come along.

It's understandable long-suppressed people may have trouble handling freedom at first, but to make capitalism the scapegoat is way off the mark.  Freedom isn't free, it requires hard work and responsibility.

T

Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Elisabeth on February 12, 2009, 06:37:48 AM
Gee, Elisabeth, I hope you do not think me as accusing you you of "tight wing  revisionism".  I think you are fairly liberal and open to opposing thought. By the same token, I also feel  Zvezda is not "spouting" anything but her own opinions. Much the same as I do.
 Just because we may have a different view of Stalin does not mean we  do not listen to others.
 The infrastructure problems you mention, are endemic of the problems  with the collapse of the Soviet system. The people who would take care of potholes on Nevski and cracks in the Winter Palace  are, for the most part- gone. No longer state supported enterprises now must find their own funding. It is happening here as well, is it not?  The same with those "little old ladies" begging on the streets. I was in  Russia when  the OAPs went on a major protest over loosing their subsidies- that was a mess, but Putin gave in. A lot of them are a scam, just like here.

Robert, I guess I was not clear enough, I was in Moscow and St. Petersburg for six weeks in the summer of 1991 - when Gorbachev and the Communist party still reigned, and the Soviet Union was still intact - well, barely. It was obviously rapidly disintegrating, in fact. No thanks to capitalists or what have you, the overall poverty and dilapidation were merely superficial signs of a much deeper, underlying decay, I would even go so far as to say that they were indicative of the rot that had by now overtaken the entire system. And this wasn't just my own impression. Back in the 1980s a virtual task force of Russian scholars in Akademgorodok (Novosibirsk) was recruited by the Soviet government to research the country's economic, social, and demographic prospects. As I recall, the report they came up with was very dire indeed, emphasizing serious, endemic problems. I believe this report only went to the highest officials in the Soviet government (it was understandably top secret as far as the public was concerned), and to my recollection it was one reason why, when Gorbachev came to power, he was so urgent to reform the system as quickly as possible. He and everybody else who mattered in the Soviet leadership probably knew or at the very least feared that the entire edifice they'd built their lives on was on the verge of total collapse.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Robert_Hall on February 12, 2009, 12:35:42 PM
I would not deny that the collapse of the USSR and the ensuing chaos distressed many, if not most citizens at that time.  I did not start visiting Russia until 2005, but I have a friend who was there at that time, doing business and he described it as "wild west". Also, my closest friend in Russia was in the Red Army then, so I do have some first hand accounts. It is no different than anyplace  else, when the system you believe in and rely upon  disappears.
 However, this thread is supposed to be about Hitler and Stalin. All that happened long after they both had left the stage.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Elisabeth on February 12, 2009, 02:00:21 PM
Well, getting back to Hitler and Stalin, I just picked up an interesting book, Totalitarian Art in the Soviet Union, the Third Reich, Fascist Italy and the People's Republic of China by Igor Golomstock. It begins with a quote from Werner Haftmann:

"Totalitarianism is the concept which subsumes three such seemingly different movements as the Leninist-Stalinist stage of Bolshevism, Mussolini's Fascism, and Hitler's National Socialism. The deepest and most striking expression of the inner affinity of these three movements, all of which were directed against human freedom, is that they produced identical aesthetic conceptions and the same brand of official art."

It's true. This book is accompanied by plentiful color reproductions of Stalinist and Nazi works of art (so-called), often juxtaposed so that one sees how incredibly similar in style, composition, and theme these works really were. I only wish I had a scanner so that I could reproduce some of these pictures here - however, maybe I can find them on the Internet. Give me some time.

P.S. Well, there seem to be many websites devoted to this subject. Here is a sample of one, an art history course slide show from Northwestern University that demonstrates the striking similarities between artistic renderings of Der Fuhrer, Lenin, Stalin, and Il Duce.

http://faculty-web.at.northwestern.edu/art-history/werckmeister/May_13_1999/index.html
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Robert_Hall on February 12, 2009, 02:50:31 PM
Quite interesting, Elisabeth. I hope you found the book at a good price, as it is not cheap. I have a copy coming from Australia.
 I have seen exhibitions of  Soviet art at Somerset House, in London. I tried to collect this stuff a while ago, but it just became too costly.  On the other hand, my partner is in the antiques business and has a huge demand for Fascist art from Italy. Also china from Mao's era. I would agree they are all very stylised, but quite dis-similiar except, perhaps in function.  Soviet art, as I see it, was more functional whereas Nazi art [rare and costly to acquire] was pure propaganda. I think art from Italy at that time was, as it is now, more about style.  All 3, of course were using the trend at the time, as was everyone else- Art Deco. The stuff I see from China though, is personality cult mixed with function. Mao tea pots ? Although I tend to collect porcelain, one can compare posters from that era, from each  European country as well as the USA and see the artistic trend.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Elisabeth on February 12, 2009, 03:11:10 PM
Quite interesting, Elisabeth. I hope you found the book at a good price, as it is not cheap. I have a copy coming from Australia.
 I have seen exhibitions of  Soviet art at Somerset House, in London. I tried to collect this stuff a while ago, but it just became too costly.  On the other hand, my partner is in the antiques business and has a huge demand for Fascist art from Italy. Also china from Mao's era. I would agree they are all very stylised, but quite dis-similiar except, perhaps in function.  Soviet art, as I see it, was more functional whereas Nazi art [rare and costly to acquire] was pure propaganda. I think art from Italy at that time was, as it is now, more about style.  All 3, of course were using the trend at the time, as was everyone else- Art Deco. The stuff I see from China though, is personality cult mixed with function. Mao tea pots ? Although I tend to collect porcelain, one can compare posters from that era, from each  European country as well as the USA and see the artistic trend.

You shed a very interesting light on the collectibility of these art pieces. I only know a little about Russian and Soviet art; apparently not only the official artists of the Soviet regime but also all the socialist realist painters of the Stalinist period in general are in huge demand right now, or at least they were up until recently, before the global economic crisis. (As, for that matter, were the postmodernist artists who have so successfully satirized socialist realism in the last few decades.)

I disagree that Soviet art of the Stalinist era was "more functional" compared to Nazi art, which you say was "pure propaganda." I think both were pure propaganda. Gosh darn it, if I just had a scanner I could show you what I'm talking about. There's an absolutely stunning example given on page 256 of Golomstock's book - the Soviet Motovilov's statue of "The Stonebreaker" side by side with the Nazi Koelle's statue of - yeah, you guessed it - "The Stonebreaker." They are virtually identical. Half-naked studs with big muscles.  Even in the same pose. I can't even imagine what a serious art collector would pay to have both of these statues in his possession. Probably a cool million dollars, don't you think? For bad art. But historically "important." It's such a laugh.
 
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Robert_Hall on February 12, 2009, 03:58:55 PM
My scanner is dead as well, so I do not fret about it. The book is on it's way to me.
  Now, Soviet art, and I am talking about the  best, [former] Imperial Porcelain factories products, were not really intended for the masses.  The works were given to foreign dignitaries and Party elite. Naturally there were tonnes of cheap statues and busts, but that stuff was usually just for offices, like here,  where every government office has a picture of the president, governor, et al. They were also given as awards to workers [big thrill, I am sure they would have preferred a monetary bonus]
 In Nazi Germany, they wanted this stuff in every household.
 As I mentioned before, that same statue you mention can be found in FDR's WPA programme it is all style, isn't it? Different messsages but using the artistic trend of the era. You can see the very same trend in post-war Argentina with the Evita cult.
 Personally, I like the art deco movement.  There is a commonality in design, but a lot of differences in the message.
 I once had a wonderful statue of Hitler,  really angular cut, in a "Caesar" type pose.  I will admit I was not proud to display it, [actually, I did not, it was kept in a cabinet until we sold it] but the message it sent was a lot different than the "common good" of the  Stalinist era in art.
 Also, the Hitler regime paid for real design talent. Stalin used the resources at hand. Which, of course was considerable.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Elisabeth on February 13, 2009, 10:15:16 AM
As I mentioned before, that same statue you mention can be found in FDR's WPA programme it is all style, isn't it? Different messsages but using the artistic trend of the era. You can see the very same trend in post-war Argentina with the Evita cult.
 Personally, I like the art deco movement.  There is a commonality in design, but a lot of differences in the message.
 I once had a wonderful statue of Hitler,  really angular cut, in a "Caesar" type pose.  I will admit I was not proud to display it, [actually, I did not, it was kept in a cabinet until we sold it] but the message it sent was a lot different than the "common good" of the  Stalinist era in art.
 Also, the Hitler regime paid for real design talent. Stalin used the resources at hand. Which, of course was considerable.

Robert, unlike you, I am not at all an expert on art, only an interested dilettante. With my overall ignorance understood - I do agree that American art showed a lot of the same stylistic "symptoms" as continental art, including Nazi and Italian Fascist, as well as Soviet art during the pre-World War II era. After all, wasn't the great Mexican communist artist Diego Rivera recruited by the American government - as well as a major automobile manufacturer in Detroit? - for one or more mural projects back during the Great Depression? (It's strange, Rivera's art today seems quite dead, historical artifacts at best, whereas his wife Frieda Kahlo's art remains as vibrant and moving as it was the day it was created.)

That said, it does seem to me that this Socialist Realist or I would even venture to say "imperialist" style prevailed far longer in Soviet (and Chinese) art than it did elsewhere on the globe. Even "official" American art gave way to a new and more updated style after World War II. Whereas in the Soviet Union the official art seems to have been pretty much unvarying, even stagnant in nature after around 1930. Which is why even to this day it provides such rich material for satirists.

I like Art Deco, too, very much. Although one of my favorite German artists of the twentieth century can hardly be described as a promoter of Art Decoism - I am speaking of Max Ernst. As I know you know, Robert (but maybe other people here don't) Ernst was a founder of the Dada and Surrealist movements, arrested a few times under the Nazis and forced to emigrate to the United States, where he continued his successful career, apparently quite unperturbed.  His was an example of the "degenerate" art so despised and calumniated by Hitler (which speaks only volumes in Ernst's favor, as far as I can see).

Robert, do you remember the officially designated "degenerate" German artist who was forbidden to paint under the Nazis, to the extent that the secret police would periodically turn up at this poor man's apartment, sniffing around for the smell of paint or turpentine? I can't remember the name of this artist, and it's driving me crazy!

Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Robert_Hall on February 13, 2009, 12:08:04 PM
There were so many...you can check google under "degerate art in Nazi Germany, that  has seral listed.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Elisabeth on February 13, 2009, 03:20:17 PM
My husband has just reminded me that it was Emil Nolde (1867-1956). There is an entry for him in Wikipedia, although it leaves out most of the colorful bits of his life, such as the fact that he initially supported Hitler and apparently only became disgusted with the Nazi movement when some of his paintings were selected for the infamous Nazi exhibit of "degenerate" modern art, after which of course he experienced much persecution by the state (as I described above, the secret police actually used to inspect his home to make sure he wasn't painting - it was during these years that he began producing miniature paintings, easily hidden away).

Here is the Wikipedia entry:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emil_Nolde

There's also an impressive array of reproductions of Nolde's art available on the Internet if you just Google images "Nolde." Obviously this artist could never have been in line with officially approved Nazi art. I rather like his work.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Zvezda on February 14, 2009, 02:35:05 PM
Quote
While the long-standing ethnic hatred was suppressed under Soviet rule (troublemakers were shot or exiled of course), it was obviously still there. 

There was no enmity between nations under socialism. Foreigners in Russia were not savagely attacked by neo-Nazi hooligans. There existed genuine friendship among all nations.

Quote
Since the the Nagorno-Karabakh War started in Feb. 1988 it's nonsense to blame it on economic problems from 1989-91.
Although there was violence between the two communities in 1988, the situation was not a full-scale war. By 1992 sporadic clashes had developed into full-scale conflict. Groups of people do not suddenly start killing each other but are motivated by economic factors.

Quote
The USSR self-destructed, perhaps w/ a little help from the military spending forced upon it by Reagan's strong stand against Soviet tyranny.  If it wasn't Yetsin someone else would have come along.
The USSR did not "self-destruct" but was dissolved illegally by Yeltsin and his cronies. It was the will of the people to preserve the country's progressive economic and social system as the referendum of March 1991 demonstrated. The claim that Reagan's catastrophic economic policies even remotely played a role in the political developments of the USSR is baseless.
Quote
It's understandable long-suppressed people may have trouble handling freedom at first
To attribute a deadly war to your crazy interpretation of "freedom" is rather offensive.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Elisabeth on February 15, 2009, 10:55:43 AM
Zvezda, I'm only responding to your last post in order to rejuvenate this thread - which is probably a futile effort, all things considered. In general, I don't feel it's constructive to argue with Russian nationalists; for one thing, nationalists are such ideologues that you can predict all their arguments before they even make them.

Thus, I could respond to your post about how under the Soviets "there existed genuine friendship among all nations," by quite baldly stating that the United States and the nations of Western Europe could hardly be described as "friendly" in their attitude towards the Soviet Union - it was called the Cold War for a reason, mind you. Or, perhaps you are arguing that friendship among nationalities within the Soviet empire remained benign - But that hardly seems logical, since as we all know Stalin deported entire populations of ethnic and class minorities both before, during, and after World War II. These people were deprived of their homelands and sent off by cattle cars to unknown, often uninhabitable regions, where many of them perished for lack of adequate food and shelter. As a result, it's highly doubtful that these particular nationalities today feel anything more than total disdain for the former Soviet empire and Russians in general. Because any semblance of Soviet "friendship" between nationalities in the USSR was only established by means of force and ethnic (or class) cleansing.

But of course you will respond that these particular ethnic groups and classes (like the kulaks and other better-off peasants in the Ukraine) represented some very real threat against the Soviet state and therefore deserved to be treated like animals. But if you were to make such an argument, you would be completely contradicting yourself, because you would then be admitting that serious ethnic (and class) conflict existed within the Soviet Union even prior to the first deportations. In other words, your entire argument about the so-called friendly relations between Soviet nationalities rests on a false premise.

As for the Soviet Union self-destructing, quite obviously it did, without the need for any secret "conspiracies" against it (whether the secret conspiracists were Reagan or Yeltsin, the theory that some "evil" force destroyed the USSR is simply nonsense). As previously stated (how many times?) the entire Soviet economy had tanked by the summer of 1991. It had been tanking for decades, according to the regime's own researchers. Just one example: the Soviet Union had no native computer industry to speak of. It had earned no share in the expanding international economic market of information technology. When it came to globalization, the dear old USSR looked to be a complete and utter failure. There's no way that it could have competed with other first world nations in the remaining decade of the 20th century, much less the 21st century, unless some radical changes were made. Gorbachev understood this, as did Yeltsin.

One final thought - I'm sure economic conditions affect ethnic relations, even are at the heart of ethnic and religious conflicts - however, they cannot be considered the only cause for these conflicts. There are usually serious, historically long-standing ethnic and religious hatreds existing between such groups who suddenly (as if without warning) start attacking each other. You can argue that the Soviet empire put a lid on simmering ethnic conflicts (usually, probably always, at the point of a bayonet). You have a good argument there. What you cannot really argue is that those ethnic conflicts ever entirely went away. They didn't, and as a result they boiled over once the Soviet Union (and its secret police) disintegrated.

Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Silja on February 15, 2009, 11:33:10 AM


One final thought - I'm sure economic conditions affect ethnic relations, even are at the heart of ethnic and religious conflicts - however, they cannot be considered the only cause for these conflicts. There are usually serious, historically long-standing ethnic and religious hatreds existing between such groups who suddenly (as if without warning) start attacking each other.

For which the former Yugoslavia is of course the perfect example. Once Tito had died the artificially created and only superficially happy union of the southern slaves started to disintegrate until the final break up in the early 1990s.


Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Robert_Hall on February 15, 2009, 12:09:56 PM
I have stepped aside until now, because I believe both Zvezda and Elisabeth make valid points. However, if I am not mistaken, by "nations" Zvezda is referring to the former SSRs. Although the Soviet Union did have not a few  friends in the larger world picture as well.  The ethnic tensions surfaced only after  the USSR broke apart. And the "foreigners" attacked by neo-nazi thugs are usually ethnic minorities from the territories, not tourists from the West. This is tragic, but what should the response be to the terrorists of the Moscow  bombings and the the school massacre? As Sija pointed out, the same thing happened when the former Yugoslavia broke up. This is what happens in any well-ordered society when law & order  are dismantled and replaced with chaos.
 We are not immune either, are we ? Even Sija's beautiful Germany had [and may still have] tensions between the former East and the relatively prosperous West.
 And in the USA- well, we have no room to brag.  Racism has led to riots and burning, McCarthyism led to witch hunts and we even started to collapse of the world economies, to a great extent.
 BUT, all this is off topic, isn't it?
 Both Stalin and Hitler had their adherents and admirers.  One simply cannot deny that.  Hitler's personality cult was probably stronger, until  war with Russia broke out. Then, Stalin came into his own, as I see it. Both made firm enforcement of law & order their first priority, and no doubt achieved it  through  similar mean, namely fear to no small extent. But  Stalin's Soviet Union lasted longer than Hitler's 3rd Reich But, their use of deportation was generated by very different reasons. Under Stalin, I do not think any particular race was considered "inferior" unlike Hitler's reasoning.
 There is more to say, but this is enough from me, for now.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: RichC on February 15, 2009, 02:19:48 PM
Zvezda, I'm only responding to your last post in order to rejuvenate this thread - which is probably a futile effort, all things considered. In general, I don't feel it's constructive to argue with Russian nationalists; for one thing, nationalists are such ideologues that you can predict all their arguments before they even make them.

Thus, I could respond to your post about how under the Soviets "there existed genuine friendship among all nations," by quite baldly stating that the United States and the nations of Western Europe could hardly be described as "friendly" in their attitude towards the Soviet Union - it was called the Cold War for a reason, mind you. Or, perhaps you are arguing that friendship among nationalities within the Soviet empire remained benign - But that hardly seems logical, since as we all know Stalin deported entire populations of ethnic and class minorities both before, during, and after World War II. These people were deprived of their homelands and sent off by cattle cars to unknown, often uninhabitable regions, where many of them perished for lack of adequate food and shelter. As a result, it's highly doubtful that these particular nationalities today feel anything more than total disdain for the former Soviet empire and Russians in general. Because any semblance of Soviet "friendship" between nationalities in the USSR was only established by means of force and ethnic (or class) cleansing.

But of course you will respond that these particular ethnic groups and classes (like the kulaks and other better-off peasants in the Ukraine) represented some very real threat against the Soviet state and therefore deserved to be treated like animals. But if you were to make such an argument, you would be completely contradicting yourself, because you would then be admitting that serious ethnic (and class) conflict existed within the Soviet Union even prior to the first deportations. In other words, your entire argument about the so-called friendly relations between Soviet nationalities rests on a false premise.

As for the Soviet Union self-destructing, quite obviously it did, without the need for any secret "conspiracies" against it (whether the secret conspiracists were Reagan or Yeltsin, the theory that some "evil" force destroyed the USSR is simply nonsense). As previously stated (how many times?) the entire Soviet economy had tanked by the summer of 1991. It had been tanking for decades, according to the regime's own researchers. Just one example: the Soviet Union had no native computer industry to speak of. It had earned no share in the expanding international economic market of information technology. When it came to globalization, the dear old USSR looked to be a complete and utter failure. There's no way that it could have competed with other first world nations in the remaining decade of the 20th century, much less the 21st century, unless some radical changes were made. Gorbachev understood this, as did Yeltsin.

I just have to second Elisabeth's post that the Soviet Union destroyed itself from within.  There's so much evidence that this is the case, it's almost sinful that one has to say it.  But I think all we have here is another textbook case of ideological belief trumping reality.  Zvezhda believes what she believes and that's it.  It's like people who believe the earth is flat. 

Regarding the Soviet computer industry, I remember in the early 90's hearing a joke about "Soviet computer chips" -- the joke was that Soviet workers would create the BIGGEST and best computer chips the world had ever seen.  Just look at the mess they made with their "Central Planning" schemes going back to 1918.  Not only did this lead to massive waste (what's the name of that phony city in Siberia?) but the Soviet government ruined their nation's environment.  Check out what they did to the Aral Sea. 
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Robert_Hall on February 15, 2009, 03:03:00 PM
Rich C, you know how much I value your opinions, but  I think it is much like the pot calling the kettle beige to say that the Soviet Union ruined their environment.  As if they were the only ones to do so.  We have plenty of our own messes & disasters here to clean up, do we not? And, the past Bush administration was willing to going on doing it! [and I do not mean clean ups]
 But all this is  some way from Hitler & Stalin, isn't it? If it going to be a discussion  about capitalism versus socialism/communism, perhaps a new thread is in order ?
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Zvezda on February 15, 2009, 06:35:03 PM
Quote
As previously stated (how many times?) the entire Soviet economy had tanked by the summer of 1991.
The countries of the Soviet Union experienced serious economic problems only after the restoration of capitalism with "perestroika." It was in the period 1990-91 and the years after when the economy of Russia tanked.

In the first half of the 1980s, the annual rate of growth for industrial production in the USSR was higher than that of the United States. The economic problems of the USSR were less severe than those of western countries. Capitalism has been going experiencing a serious crisis since the mid-1970s.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: RichC on February 16, 2009, 02:00:48 AM
Rich C, you know how much I value your opinions, but  I think it is much like the pot calling the kettle beige to say that the Soviet Union ruined their environment.  As if they were the only ones to do so.  We have p;plenty of our own messes & disasters here to clean up, do we not? And, the past Bush administration was willing to going on doing it! [and I do not mean clean ups]

The level of environmental destruction wrought by American companies cannot even begin to compare with the damage the Soviets did.  I know a little bit about this because I studied the Chernobyl disaster (and other disasters) in college.  And if you bring up Three Mile Island, you're only revealing your own ignorance.  Comparing Three Mile Island to Chernobyl (or Chalyabinsk for that matter) is like comparing a house fire to the Great Fire of Chicago. 
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Elisabeth on February 16, 2009, 01:59:52 PM
Hear, hear, RichC (and many thanks to you and Silja both for rejoining the thread!). One of my most enduring memories of Moscow as a capital city in the early summer of 1991 was that the air was so polluted that it actually left black streaks of dirt (or toxins?) all over your clothes and any exposed body parts. I remember returning home from a day of sightseeing and my jeans would be absolutely covered in this grime. If you wore a white shirt, then you were just asking for trouble. All this because there was so much heavy industry in and around Moscow at that time that the air quality was obviously absolutely abysmal.

Since 1991 and the collapse of communism most, if not all of this heavy industry has been shut down, at least in Moscow and its environs, because it was inefficient, costly, and unproductive. Let's face it, while the rest of the world had moved on to the production of micro chips and other electronic information technology, the Soviet Union had remained mired in manufacturing products of heavy industry, like steel, which I believe had fallen tremendously in price on the international market by the late 1980s. Heavy industry factories like these were shut down in the 1990s not because of some kind of evil "plot" on the part of Yeltsin and his cohorts but because they were no longer cost-efficient - in other words, they no doubt cost far more to run than they actually produced.

Zvezda, IMO you are living in a dream world if you believe the Soviet Union had a productive economy from the 1970s onward. Every study I have read emphasizes that the Soviet economy was only kept afloat during these years by internationally high oil prices (plus quite possibly the Soviet black market). When oil prices fell in the 1980s, the Soviet Union went into a death spiral. Because that's all the USSR had to offer the world after decades of intense, state-enforced industrialization - natural resources like oil and natural gas.

And ironically enough, that's all the Russian Federation has to offer the world now, in the 21st century - oil and natural gas. So for all we know the Russian Federation is currently in a death spiral, too.
 
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: RichC on February 16, 2009, 05:39:54 PM
Thanks, Elisabeth.  It really all goes back to the old communist saying that "the ends justify the means".  It's this kind of thinking that got Soviets to design and build nuclear power plants based on risky designs that would never have been allowed in the West.  In order to keep pace with the West, the Soviets took enormous risks and made "penny-wise/pound-foolish" decisions over and over again.  Another example of the stupidity of Soviet planning were the hydroelectric plants built beginning in the 1930's on slow-moving Soviet rivers.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Elisabeth on February 18, 2009, 04:05:59 PM
Very interesting, Rich, sorry I have been away. I think we have exhausted the subject of the Soviet Union's awful economy and environmental pollution. I want to get to (or go back to) another, but probably equally or even more familiar subject.

Which is, why on earth do you, or anybody here for that matter, think that Stalin was so incredibly trusting of Hitler? Because it's historically documented that Stalin refused to believe not only Western intelligence reports that Hitler was planning to invade the Soviet Union in June 1941 - Stalin even refused to believe his own Soviet intelligence services who were reporting the same thing! Even his generals apparently wanted him to beware of a possible Nazi invasion in the summer of 1941, and he still denied that this would happen!

As a result, Nazi Germany's Operation Barbarosa initially met with unparalleled success. They virtually destroyed the Soviet military and air force overnight. They also took hundreds of thousands of hapless Soviet soldiers as POWs, most of whom were treated like animals in Nazi POW camps, and died like animals, of starvation. Arguably the USSR only recovered from this terrible disaster thanks to massive amounts of Allied (mainly American) aid.

What do you all make of it? Why was Stalin so gullible when it came to Hitler? Or was it not gullibility, but some other factor at work? At any rate, IMO Stalin seriously miscalculated Hitler.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Robert_Hall on February 18, 2009, 04:31:30 PM
Elisabeth, we are at one again, in our view on this topic. I think Stalin horribly miscalculated  when it comes to Hitler. He knew war was inevitable, but thought he was buying time. He was also a fool for not following the advice of his  general staff. Hitler was far more foxy than Stalin and knew this about  him. As we all know, Stalin was ruthless and I think he would have sacrificed all of European Russia to avoid surrender.  He came very close to it in Leningrad and Stalingrad. It was the sacrifice of  the Russian people, not his cleverness that saved those cities.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Elisabeth on February 18, 2009, 05:16:18 PM
We are indeed as one here, Robert!

I am just wondering, do you or anyone else here lend credence to the theory on the part of some revisionist German historians that Stalin was actually planning to invade Nazi Germany at some point in the 1940s? And that Hitler simply beat him to the punch? This would make sense to me. Otherwise, what real sense can you make of Stalin's stubborn unwillingness to believe that Hitler was about to invade the Soviet Union? Do you put it all down to mutual admiration between Stalin and Hitler, the "oh, you're my soul mate" dictator stuff, or was it in essence a far more practical and pragmatic relationship (although the one does not necessarily rule out the other).
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Multiverse on February 18, 2009, 05:33:30 PM
Hitler's rise to power was not about Stalin or Communism. Even without Stalin, even if Russia had remained Tsarist with a Tsar Autocrat on the throne, Hitler would still have risen to power in Germany.

Adolph Hitler's rise to power was really about conditions inside Germany. The treaty that ended World War I was very extremely humiliating to Germany and left Germany with a military so weakened as to be almost a joke. It forced Germany to pay war reparations to most of the World War I Allied powers. Then along came The Great Economic Depression of the 1930's which totally devestated Germany's economy. Humiliated for years, an economy bottoming out, and a population heading toward poverty. Then along comes Hitler promising The German People he would again make Germany proud, and powerful, and prosperous. In The Jews he even had a ready made enemy to rally The German People around.

Yes there was a fear in Germany of Communism and The Soviet Union. But Hitler's rise to power had nothing really to do with Stalin, Communism, or The USSR.

Hitler's rise to power was about a humiliated people facing poverty and a charismatic leader promising to again make them proud, powerful, and prosperous.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Robert_Hall on February 18, 2009, 07:06:10 PM
I doubt there was any mutual admiration between the 2.  Hitler considered himself superior than even his allies. And, he had been using Communists as scapegoats from the beginning. They never met personally and the only contact they really has was between their respective foreign ministers, two of the sleaziest men to ever fill those posts. Hitler thought Stalin was a dolt and almost pulled it off. He was not as foxy as he thought though. He did not count on a massive Russian revolt not happening, nor the resilience of the Russian people and even the Russian winter.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: RichC on February 19, 2009, 08:10:14 AM
I honestly believe that Stalin was so used to being the one who did all the backstabbing that he couldn't believe it when he was the one who got stabbed in the back (by Hitler) in June 1941.  It just stunned him.  That's my opinion.

Has anybody heard about the new Polish film, Katyn, and the Soviet liquidation of the Polish Officers Corps in 1940?  There's a review in today's NYT.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Robert_Hall on February 19, 2009, 11:03:05 AM
Excellent thought, RichC.  I think you are correct.  Stalin was a back stabber, he tossed his best Friends into the fire without a second thought, didn't he...
 I was watching the German film "Downfall" yesterday. [probably for the 5 or 6th time]  It is a good reference for the final days in Berlin. Anyway, there is one line that struck me. Hitler was ranting on about betrayal by his  military staff and sputters out "I should have shot them all, like Stalin did." The film is based on his secretary's memories so I imagine it to be pretty close to the truth. And it sounds like Hitler in his rants.
 I wonder if Stalin ever regretted his pre-war military purges ?
 In any case, it does seem a fitting epithet to both of them.
 I have heard of Katyn, but not likely to see it. Too depressing and I am sort of "dictatored out" for now.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Silja on February 19, 2009, 04:23:21 PM
Nevertheless I also heard from a Russian friend and other sources there were signs or maybe even evidence Stalin had actually been preparing forinvasion and NOT at all for defence. I've never studied the subject, so I wonder what evidence there really is to support this theory.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Zvezda on February 19, 2009, 10:31:19 PM
Quote
I disagree that Soviet art of the Stalinist era was "more functional" compared to Nazi art
It is outrageous for you to liken the art of my country to that of Nazi Germany. The Monument of David at Sasun (http://loosavor.org/yerevansculpture1/2/1a_small.JPG) (1959) and the monument to Mother Armenia (http://www.aradio.md/images/festivali/16.jpg) (1967), in typical socialist realist style, are important landmarks for my nation.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Elisabeth on February 27, 2009, 10:16:54 AM
Stalin is not my hero, for I condemn the excesses, errors, and distortions that arose from his leadership.

Zvezda, I'd just like to call your attention to what you said in an earlier post. I think this needs emphasizing, so I will quote you again, your very own words: "I condemn the excesses, errors, and distortions that arose from his [Stalin's] leadership."

You don't think that perhaps some of those "excesses, errors, and distortions that arose from his leadership" were reflected in the officially approved art of the Stalinist period? Why can't, indeed, why shouldn't we compare the art of one totalitarian regime to that of another?

I have to say, Zvezda, I am continually amazed by your ability to reconcile two utterly contradictory ideas simultaneously in your own mind: e.g., Stalin bad (excesses, errors, distortions); Stalin good (strong nation, defeated Hitler, etc.). I believe George Orwell termed this kind of thought process "doublethink," and characterized it as typical - indeed, symptomatic - of the ideological mindset of totalitarian regimes like those of Hitler and Stalin.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Robert_Hall on February 27, 2009, 04:38:16 PM
I see no contradiction in Zvezda's points. I too condemn the man for his brutal paranoia, but give him credit  for his achievements.  One can do this with most leaders. Not all, by any stretch.
 As for art, Elisabeth, every regime that ever ruled has used art as a propaganda tool as well as an embodiment of the ideals and goals they have in mind. As I pointed out earlier, our administrations have used it as well.  And it goes back to ancient Egypt of the pharaohs, does it not?
 I think Hitler's Nazis were far more repressive, as well as greedy, when it comes to art, amongst other things. There was far more diversity allowed in Soviet art, although only "party approved" works were widely distributed. Art in Russia has always been very diverse.  It was generally the only way for an illiterate population could express themselves. Russian art museums., most set up during Stalin's regime, were a mecca  for the people, as were the concert halls and theatre. Naturally, state commissioned works had to fit the above mentioned criteria. That is who paid for it, after all.
 Recently, here in California, liberal  Costa Mesa [odd but true for Orange county]  a high school wants to stage as their thaetre presentation { RENT.  My how times have change since my days in those years! Anyway, there was some controversy, as the play is rather "in your face" about current issues.  It was to be  stopped, for just that reason. Was that censorship?  Imposing "moral values" of the ruling elite?  Well, it is back on  due to  student and community protests as well as a lot of negative media coverage.
 Now, Stalin might have allowed it, as it deals with housing and medical needs, social injustice, etc. Probably not during the war, as morale was needed to be kept up.
 Hitler- never. We will never know, of course.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Cathy on February 27, 2009, 07:34:47 PM
Description of Katyn:
The award winning PBS documentary presenting the mass murder of more then 15,000 Polish Army officers and civilians by the Soviet NKVD; attempts to blame the crime on the Nazis; the overwhelming evidence pointing to Moscow; the complex conspiracy of the U.S. and England to cover it up. A story no novelist could conceive...but everything actually happened. Includes reenactments and actual graphic footage.

And a part of the NYT article:
..."The chaos and terror form a living tableau of Poland’s terrible predicament in the middle of the last century, when it was caught in the pincers of two toxic strains of European totalitarianism. In 1939 Hitler and Stalin pledged mutual nonaggression, a pact that lasted long enough for their armies to collude in the destruction of Polish sovereignty.
In the spring of 1940 the Soviets proceeded with the “liquidation” of the Polish officer corps, shooting nearly 15,000 men in Katyn Forest, including Mr. Wajda’s father, and burying them in mass graves. As Mr. Wajda makes clear, the intent was not simply to destroy Poland’s military command but also to purge its population of engineers, intellectuals and other citizens whose education and expertise might help the country to function independently.
The Nazis, meanwhile, contributed to this project by shutting down universities and rounding up professors. Just as one character, the army captain Andrzej (Artur Zmijewski), awaits his fate at the hands of the Russians, his father, a professor in Krakow, falls into the hands of the SS.
Afterward, when the Nazis and the Soviets resumed their customary aggression, each used the other’s barbarity for propaganda. The Germans dug up the bodies in Katyn and promoted themselves as protectors of the Poles against Bolshevik terror. When the tide of war turned, the Red Army repeated the exercise, blaming Hitler and fudging the dates of the massacre so it could be added to the list of German atrocities.
After the war the falsified Russian version of history was enforced by the usual police-state means. Even as the truth about Katyn continued to haunt Poles’ memories, it became, for much of the rest of the world, a hazy footnote, a symbol of Poland’s enduring historical bad luck."
...
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Robert_Hall on February 27, 2009, 07:42:19 PM
Cathy, what was the point of your post?  No one is denying the  horrible abuses of either regime.  The focus is on the control and personalities of these  2 men. At least, that is how I see it.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Cathy on February 27, 2009, 07:57:40 PM
Information only - no opinions!
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Robert_Hall on February 27, 2009, 08:06:24 PM
OK.  I think this, or something vry similiar was shown in the UK last year or so.
  However,  this does bring up the point of which was more brutal, in a way.  Hitler slaughetred many more Poles than Stalin ever did. [Amongst a lot of other peoples]  And was the agressor. Stalin,  was repressive as well but I do not think quite as determined until pushed.  When Stalin's counter-attack  came, it was brutal. Vengence, retalliation, justice? The Fall of Berlin by Beever is a day-by-record of the viciousness of the conflict.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: antti on February 28, 2009, 02:40:00 AM
This has been very interesting discussion to follow. Which one is more evil Stalin or Hitler? My personal opinion is of course - Stalin. This is purely to my disgust to Bolshevism, Leninism, Stalinist, communism, socialism or whatever anybody wants to call it (same thing just a little different cover) and the enormous human suffering that came with it. This question has many times linked hear with question of II World War. Who started it, who is responsible of it.
My opinion is Hitler and Stalin both  are equally responsible of starting and allowing it to happen in Europe. Signing of the nonaggression pact in 1939 (Molotov-Rippentrop) and the secret protocol which gave Soviet Union basically free hands in eastern Poland, Baltic countries and Finland and Germany western Poland  and the rest of the Europe made the war possible.
In autumn 1939 Germany started the war and captured the western Poland. Two weeks later Soviet Union did the same and captured eastern Poland. At the same time soviet forced Baltic countries to negotiations to give them military bases. Balts gave in and basically were invaded. finally game Finlands turn and was called on negotiations to Moscow to give up land and military bases from Finland. Finland refused and on 30Th of November Soviet bombs started to drop down in Helsinki and other cityes - so called Winter War had started. Finland at that time had a population of less than 4 million was attacked by a nation of population of more than 140 million. For this aggression Soviet Union was expelled from the League of Nations. The whole world was amazed when they learned that a little Finland could resist the biggest military power of the world. Of course soon the numbers started to talk and Finland was forced for the peace in March 1940. Finland lost some of it's territory but kept it democratic institutions and independence.
In 1940 Hitler continued his invasions to Denmark, Norway and so on. But what is interesting Hitler did not give order to his generals to plan the invasion against Soviet Union until the disastrous Winter war which showed the world the real state of the Red army.

So let's return to question which one is more evil. By all means Stalin. Which one is more responsible for the II World War in Europe- they both are equally responsible.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Paul on February 28, 2009, 02:26:46 PM
Finland was a classic case of a country that did what it had to in order to survive. The fact that it remained the only functioning democracy that bordered the "Evil Empire" makes its achievement even more laudable. More power to them!

As to whether Hitler or Stalin was the worst? Take your pick. Nazi Germany was visually stunning & enthralling- but malignant beyond belief. The Soviet Union was a drab, ugly, & ham-fisted thug. Take your pick.

 
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Robert_Hall on February 28, 2009, 03:26:00 PM
Well, the topic of this thread is not about which was worse, but if the were no Stalin would there have been no Hitler. Obviously we have  segued into various side topics. such as- Elisabeth, I received the book Totalitarian Art from Australia.  My, a hefty tome it is indeed! I am just skimming through it for now, as it will take time to read the entire work.  But it does illustrate both our views, that is the similarities  n for for pretty much the same purposes and the trend in art at that time was generally universal. Just just amongst the totalitarian regimes.
 And Paul, yes,  Hitler was  more "fashionable" in a way. He utilised that trend  for a good show. On the other hand, Stalin also used image to demonstrate the people overcoming centuries of imperial repression and  achieving the goal of communism for the common good.  Also to illustrate the evil obstructionism of the capitalists.
 But, to go back to the original subject of this thread, with or without Stalin, Hitler would have still come to power and fulfilled his agenda.  Communism was just another scapegoat to him, not Stalin himself. Hitler's main argument was the injustice of  the WWI terms of surrender and the subsequent treaties.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Elisabeth on March 05, 2009, 01:20:38 PM
Well, the topic of this thread is not about which was worse, but if the were no Stalin would there have been no Hitler. Obviously we have  segued into various side topics. such as- Elisabeth, I received the book Totalitarian Art from Australia.  My, a hefty tome it is indeed! I am just skimming through it for now, as it will take time to read the entire work.  But it does illustrate both our views, that is the similarities  n for for pretty much the same purposes and the trend in art at that time was generally universal. Just just amongst the totalitarian regimes.
 And Paul, yes,  Hitler was  more "fashionable" in a way. He utilised that trend  for a good show. On the other hand, Stalin also used image to demonstrate the people overcoming centuries of imperial repression and  achieving the goal of communism for the common good.  Also to illustrate the evil obstructionism of the capitalists.
 But, to go back to the original subject of this thread, with or without Stalin, Hitler would have still come to power and fulfilled his agenda.  Communism was just another scapegoat to him, not Stalin himself. Hitler's main argument was the injustice of  the WWI terms of surrender and the subsequent treaties.

I'm so glad you received the book about totalitarian art, Robert. It's very interesting, very good, isn't it, even if you don't agree with all the points made by the author?

I have to say, I agree with Antti that if it had not been for Stalin, World War II might indeed never have happened. The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact - that despicable treaty of AGGRESSION signed by representatives of both Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union - made war with the western powers inevitable. I don't know how on earth, Robert, you can claim that Stalin was non-aggressive and played no part in the horrible cataclysm that overtook Europe in the twentieth century. And what exactly were Stalin's achievements? Please explain. He collectivized agriculture at the cost of literally millions of lives, not to mention the destruction of Soviet agriculture (and please note: Russian agriculture has yet to recover from this particular manmade disaster); he was the impetus behind the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, which ensured that he would take over the Baltic states and half of Poland, but only at the cost of starting a second world war, a war which would see the deaths of some 20 million Soviet citizens; he refused to believe that Hitler would invade the Soviet Union in June 1941, despite all the intelligence reports he received from his own spies and those of Britain, an error which, again, cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of innocent Soviet soldiers, not to mention Soviet Jews swept up in "Operation Barbarossa" which had its share of Einsatzgruppen (death squads). Oh, and I forgot to mention, the complete success of the Nazi "surprise" Barbarossa also destroyed tons of war materiel, including planes and tanks. Without the American Lend Lease program, it's somewhat doubtful that Stalin's Soviet Union could have put up any real defense (aside from partisan warfare) after this particular debacle.

In short, I really don't see where Stalin deserves that much credit. His talents - administration, primarily, and taking advantage of other world leaders' weaknesses - were far outweighed by his faults. He was not only a bad and deplorable ruler, he was a palpably evil one. It's time Russia and Russians came to grips with that fact.

Oh, and thank you, Antti, for bringing up the Russo-Finnish War. Yet another case of Stalin's aggression. My grandparents were Finnish Americans. Understandably, they hated and despised Stalin and the Soviet Union.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Robert_Hall on March 05, 2009, 02:00:15 PM
OK, let's give it a go then...Hitler's plans were outlined long before he even heard of Stalin, in Mein Kampf.  Besides the "living room" in the East, he wanted revenge against the West for his perceived injustice to Germany from WWI. As for Stalin, well, I have never said he was an angel nor much of a hero.  There is no denying that the massive communal farms were a disaster and that  his massive industrialisation projects, although successful at the time, are now  either rusting or otherwise falling apart.  His oppression was indeed brutal and unjust, but law & order were enforced. He was unprepared for Hitler's double cross but he saved the USSR from  Nazi occupation at great cost to the people. But, they rallied, much like FDR rallied the US, Churchill the UK and Commonwealth. That was the brilliance of his leadership. There is also a massive difference between Hitler's extermination camps and Stalin's "relocation" policies. I would not be so naive as to justify either, though. Stalin's reorganisation of the Soviet state has lasted to this day. Admittedly, it could use some streamlining, which I think is slowing happening, but it has kept the country running for well  over 70 years now. Stalin has a mixed positive/negative memory [at least in Russia], whereas Hitler is just plain negative.
 I am sure you, nor anyone here, would want to read my opinion on the Russian-Finnish war, so I will not get into that.
  The book on totalitarian art- I love it. Not an easy read, to be sure, I have barely touched the text itself, only 2 chapters and am still a bit bewildered. And, it is a translation!  Marlene, on another thread has discussed what a published goes through for a translation. In this case, it is certainly worth it. Thank you very much for bring the book to my attention.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Zvezda on March 05, 2009, 02:11:12 PM
Concerning the outbreak of World War II, to put any blame on Stalin is a bit over the top. It were the Western powers, in the guise of nonintervention and neutrality, that pursued a policy of abetting the fascist aggressors. They calculated on diverting the threat of war from their countries, using Russia to destroy their imperialist rivals, and then destroying Russia with the help of these same rivals. They gambled on a mutual exhaustion of Russia and fascist Germany in a protracted and destructive war.

Throughout the 1930s, Russia pursued a policy aimed at restraining fascist aggression. It fought for the creation of collective security that avert war and ensure peace. The Western powers did not want to conclude an agreement for a struggle against the fascists as proposed by Russia. They wanted to draw Russia into a single-handed war with Germany. The negotiations, which lasted until the middle of August 1939, failed because Paris and London were sabotaging constructive Soviet proposals.The position of the Western powers foreordained the breakdown of the Mosocw negotiations and confronted the Soviet Union with two alternatives. Either it could remain isolated in the face of a direct threat of an attack by Germany or sign a neutrality pact with Germany after exhausting negotiations with the West. The situation made the second alterantive inevitiable.

Concerning Lend-Lease, it is not helpful to exaggerate its importance The Germans suffered their strategic defeat in December 1941--well before Lend-Lease started to have an impact.

Quote
You don't think that perhaps some of those "excesses, errors, and distortions that arose from his leadership" were reflected in the officially approved art of the Stalinist period? Why can't, indeed, why shouldn't we compare the art of one totalitarian regime to that of another?
The very concept of "totalitarian art" is questionable.  For example, there is nothing "totalitarian" about the Soviet-era mass-song "Katyusha", which is now among the most popular songs of Russian culture. In literature, "Silent Don" by Sholokhov became a literary classic comparable to "War and Peace." Soviet-era art reflects the very best of Russian culture.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Robert_Hall on March 05, 2009, 02:36:56 PM
I would agree here with Zvezda about the art.  I have come no where near finishing the book, but my point all along has been it was the style odf the times, in all countries.  Not just totalitarian regimes.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Zvezda on March 05, 2009, 02:48:35 PM
Concerning the outbreak of World War II, to put any blame on Stalin is a bit over the top. It were the Western powers, in the guise of nonintervention and neutrality, that pursued a policy of abetting the fascist aggressors. They calculated on diverting the threat of war from their countries, using Russia to destroy their imperialist rivals, and then destroying Russia with the help of these same rivals. They gambled on a mutual exhaustion of Russia and fascist Germany in a protracted and destructive war.

Throughout the 1930s, Russia pursued a policy aimed at restraining fascist aggression. It fought for the creation of collective security that avert war and ensure peace. The Western powers did not want to conclude an agreement for a struggle against the fascists as proposed by Russia. They wanted to draw Russia into a single-handed war with Germany. The negotiations, which lasted until the middle of August 1939, failed because Paris and London were sabotaging constructive Soviet proposals.The position of the Western powers foreordained the breakdown of the Mosocw negotiations and confronted the Soviet Union with two alternatives. Either it could remain isolated in the face of a direct threat of an attack by Germany or sign a neutrality pact with Germany after exhausting negotiations with the West. The situation made the second alterantive inevitiable.

Concerning Lend-Lease, it is not helpful to exaggerate its importance The Germans suffered their strategic defeat in December 1941--well before Lend-Lease started to have an impact.

Quote
You don't think that perhaps some of those "excesses, errors, and distortions that arose from his leadership" were reflected in the officially approved art of the Stalinist period? Why can't, indeed, why shouldn't we compare the art of one totalitarian regime to that of another?
The very concept of "totalitarian art" is questionable.  For example, there is nothing "totalitarian" about the Soviet-era mass-song "Katyusha", which is now among the most popular songs of Russian culture. In literature, "Silent Don" by Sholokhov became a literary classic comparable to "War and Peace." "Worker and Kolkhoznitsa" by Vera Mukhina is one of the finest sculptures ever constructed; it became a landmark of Russia.  Soviet-era art reflects the very best of Russian culture.

Quote
In autumn 1939 Germany started the war and captured the western Poland. Two weeks later Soviet Union did the same and captured eastern Poland.

There was no equivalence between Germany's invasion of Poland and Russia's intervention in the Ukrainian and Byelorussian provinces occupied by Poland.

First, Poland was practically defeated by the time of Russia's intervention on 17 September. The Polish Army was insufficiently equipped with tanks, aircraft, and antiaircraft artillery. Polish strategy depended upon the intervention of the Western Powers, which of course would not happen. The Germans already reached the outskirts of Warsaw by 8 September.

Many people in eastern Poland greeted the Red Army as liberators from Polish rule, which cannot be said about the Germans and western Poland.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Elisabeth on March 05, 2009, 05:55:29 PM
The very concept of "totalitarian art" is questionable.  For example, there is nothing "totalitarian" about the Soviet-era mass-song "Katyusha", which is now among the most popular songs of Russian culture. In literature, "Silent Don" by Sholokhov became a literary classic comparable to "War and Peace." Soviet-era art reflects the very best of Russian culture.

I wonder, Zvezda, if you are quite au courant with the recent scholarship about Sholokhov... he has a rather bad reputation in academic circles, because his authorship of And Quiet Flows the Don (or as it is elsewhere translated Silent Don) is much disputed. One theory has it that Sholokhov stole the manuscript of this novel from a Cossack writer who was killed whilst serving in the White Army during the Civil War. This is a likely scenario if only because Sholokhov's subsequent novels never even remotely approached the artistry of And Quiet Flows the Don. It's obvious the author who wrote the sequels was not nearly as talented as the author of the first novel, and that indeed, they were quite probably entirely different individuals.

In fact it would seem that the only great writers the Soviet Union ever produced were those who utterly rejected communism and all its works... I'm speaking of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and Joseph Brodsky, who both suffered exile from their native land as a result of their outspoken views.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Greenowl on March 06, 2009, 05:03:57 AM

In fact it would seem that the only great writers the Soviet Union ever produced were those who utterly rejected communism and all its works... I'm speaking of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and Joseph Brodsky, who both suffered exile from their native land as a result of their outspoken views.

What about Boris Pasternak? I always thought that he was rather good and he did win the Nobel Prize for literature. Another of my favourites, although probably not in the same league, is the recently deceased Chingiz Aitmatov.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Zvezda on March 06, 2009, 02:58:46 PM
Quote
In fact it would seem that the only great writers the Soviet Union ever produced were those who utterly rejected communism and all its works
Gorky was perhaps the finest writer Russia ever had.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Elisabeth on March 08, 2009, 02:39:23 PM
Pasternak, Gorky, Akhmatova, Tsvetaeva, Mandelshtam, Blok, etc., all came of age in the decades immediately preceding the revolutions of 1917, and were already well established as famous authors by 1917. None of them can be described as products of the Soviet system. Even Mikhail Bulgakov (b. 1891) of The Master and Margarita fame, was educated under the imperial system and came to prominence in the decade immediately following the October Revolution. And he can hardly be described as a devoted supporter of the new Bolshevik regime.

I agree with Green Owl that Chingiz Aitmatov (b. 1928) is a distinguished writer, although I wouldn't describe him as a writer of the first rank. I repeat, the only truly great writers the Soviet Union ever produced during its brief lifespan were Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (born December 1918) and Joseph Brodsky (born 1940). And both of them heartily rejected the Soviet system in toto, as indeed did most of the great writers I mentioned above.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Robert_Hall on March 08, 2009, 04:28:35 PM
This has gone way off topic. Unless there is some connection to Stalin/Hitler which I have not seen...
 Now, to my mind,  Hitler was preparing Germany for war, in infrastructure and  military power. He prepared the  country beforehand for his aggression. Whereas Stalin was trying to industrialise his own country for internal benefit.  I do not think either was prepared for the resilliance of the other. Of course, Hitler got the worst of it and Stalin survived quite well,  the tolls were tremenodous, were they not?
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Elisabeth on March 09, 2009, 07:21:45 AM
This has gone way off topic. Unless there is some connection to Stalin/Hitler which I have not seen...
 Now, to my mind,  Hitler was preparing Germany for war, in infrastructure and  military power. He prepared the  country beforehand for his aggression. Whereas Stalin was trying to industrialise his own country for internal benefit.  I do not think either was prepared for the resilliance of the other. Of course, Hitler got the worst of it and Stalin survived quite well,  the tolls were tremenodous, were they not?

There is a connection, Robert, in so far as that under both the Nazi and Stalinist regimes, great art and literature did not exactly thrive. Mediocre art and literature, yes.

But to address your major point. I do think it is unlikely that Stalin's great industrialization campaign and military rearmament were implemented for the goal of invading Nazi Germany. However, and it is a big however, Stalin was indeed power-hungry (look at his aggression against Finland during the Finno-Soviet War), not to mention a great improviser. He was a seat-of-your-pants kind of decision maker. When Hitler presented him with the opportunity of seizing the Baltic states and half of Poland (Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, 1939), Stalin was only too happy to take advantage of the situation. This is not the description of a ruler who was inclined to privilege domestic prosperity over international status and prestige. This is the description of an inherently aggressive ruler who was entirely caught up in his own visions of glory and world revolution.

IMO, most historians are agreed that Stalin believed Hitler would eventually invade the Soviet Union. He just refused to believe that the invasion would come as early as the summer of 1941 - despite all evidence to the contrary - I mention again the top-secret reports he received from both the Allies and his own military intelligence. He ignored these reports, a decision which ultimately cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of Soviet soldiers taken as prisoners of war by the Germans (who were either totally unprepared or totally unwilling to feed such a huge contingent of POWs). It also cost the Soviet Union tons of war materiel in planes, tanks, etc. Stalin was never a great prognosticator. He was at his "best" when he was reacting to a particular set of historical circumstances and personalities he could manipulate. Once Hitler invaded the Soviet Union, Stalin was obviously no longer in the position where he could manipulate the Nazi leader. And as a result of Operation Barbarossa, living proof of Hitler's duplicity (in other words, Hitler's superior manipulativeness), Stalin apparently experienced a complete nervous breakdown lasting several days if not weeks. But once he recovered, he recovered fully and fought back with a vengeance. I'm willing to give him this much credit - he was a real fighter, in so far as he refused to be knocked out no matter how many blows were aimed against him.

But let's face it, many of these blows were at least partially self-inflicted. I repeat, it was Stalin who instructed German communists to support Hitler and not the Social Democrats up to March 1933. (He seems to have sincerely believed that an electoral victory by the Nazis would result in a full-scale revolution in Germany that would bring to power the communists.) And the German communists responded to Stalin's demands like sheep... to the point that once the Nazis attained power, and Hitler was appointed chancellor, most if not all of these German communists wound up in Nazi or Soviet concentration camps.


Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Robert_Hall on March 09, 2009, 08:41:45 AM
There are several sides to the Finland story and I would not alienate any of our friends from Finland by taking a particular side.  Art, as I have posted several times was contemporary for the times, used by all regimes. As I wade through the Golomstock tome, [and it is a chore, I tell you!] I am even more convinced.  As for literature, well, I am not as well versed as you, so will go back to the previous point- that is, it was used to promote certain viewpoints by ALL governments. Admittedly,  the Western  regimes had less control, but  censorship  was not endemic to only the wartime. McCarthy and his henchmen carried into the 1950's in the USA.  That mindset  has existed here  still, [particularly during the  previous administration.  Hitler called it "protecting German morals' Stalin  used " State security".   I guess ours was a combo of both.
 But, back to Stalin ...his infamous failures, namely the 5 year plans, were not  so bad in the short run. His huge industrialisation, for the time, was a success.  His foreign relations are a definite mixed result.
 Hitler, on the other hand,  built an infrastructure  with the semblance of providing work for the masses of unemployed, whilst all along intending the rails and autobahn, for example for military use. The Hindenburg and the huge  "worker's holiday"  and resorts ships were  were intended all along for  rehabs for war wounded.
 Stalin also had a political structure that he could manipulate, whilst Hitler   relied on his "cult" to do his bidding.
 This is the way I see them. at least for now.
 I firmly believe they both could have existed without the other.
 
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Zvezda on March 09, 2009, 12:12:24 PM
Quote
preceding the revolutions of 1917
The Revolution was greeted enthusiastically by Gorky, Benyi, Serafimovich, Mayakovsky, Blok, Birusov, Esenin, Veresaev, Prishvin, Trenev, Shishkov, and Sergeev-Tsensky. The works of Gorky, Mayakovsky, A. Tolstoy, Sholokhov, Tvardovsky, Fadeev, Leonev, and many others became permanent part of the world’s cultural heritage.

Soviet-era Russian literature inherited the best and most progressive elements from the spiritual culture of the Russian people. Soviet literature developed such traditions of Russian classics as realism, national spirit, patriotism, and humanism. It is permeated with optimism and educates man to be the builder of a new world. Soviet-era literature strengthens its ties with the life of the people, truthfully reflects the richness of the new world, and denounces forces opposed to progress.

Quote
. One theory has it that Sholokhov stole the manuscript of this novel from a Cossack writer who was killed whilst serving in the White Army during the Civil War.
This theory has been discredited. An analysis of the allegations against Sholokhov found on the DVD of "Quiet Don" has confirmed that he did write the book.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Zvezda on March 09, 2009, 12:23:44 PM
Quote
But let's face it, many of these blows were at least partially self-inflicted. I repeat, it was Stalin who instructed German communists to support Hitler and not the Social Democrats up to March 1933.

This is another myth of western historiography.

The right-wing leadership of the SDP stubbornly rejected the proposals of the KDP to unite for the defeat of fascism. Only the KPD consistently opposed the growing threat of fascism, showing that it was possible to prevent the establishment of fascism only by struggling against reaction and striving for the creation of a unified front.

SPD leaders countered the KPD efforts to mount a united front of the working class. They supported the imperialists’ rearmament of Germany, which was most evident in the policies of the coalition government under SPD leader H. Müller (1928-30). The SPD leaders advanced the theory of the “lesser evil,” which amounted to support for the reactionary government of Brüning, which pandered to the Nazis.

SPD restrained the workers from active struggle against the advancing fascist danger. Right-wing Social Democrats stopped at nothing to thwart the KPD-inspired anti-fascist campaign of the summer and fall of 1932, whose goal was to unify all toilers against fascism. After Papen’s government carried out a coup d’etat in Prussia, KPD immediately summoned the people to a general strike and turned to the leadership of SPD with a proposal for joint struggle against the reaction. But the SPD leaders once again refused to cooperate with the KPD. This brought about a strengthening of the position of reaction and the demoralization of a part of the working-class. The split in the working class, caused by the opportunist policy of the rightist SPD leaders, made it all the easier for Hitler to come to power.

And SPD leaders tried to accommodate themselves to the fascist regime. On March 23, 1933, at the opening of the Reichstag, SPD leaders made a statement on cooperation with the Hitler regime.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Elisabeth on March 09, 2009, 04:10:15 PM
Quote
preceding the revolutions of 1917
The Revolution was greeted enthusiastically by Gorky, Benyi, Serafimovich, Mayakovsky, Blok, Birusov, Esenin, Veresaev, Prishvin, Trenev, Shishkov, and Sergeev-Tsensky. The works of Gorky, Mayakovsky, A. Tolstoy, Sholokhov, Tvardovsky, Fadeev, Leonev, and many others became permanent part of the world’s cultural heritage.

Soviet-era Russian literature inherited the best and most progressive elements from the spiritual culture of the Russian people. Soviet literature developed such traditions of Russian classics as realism, national spirit, patriotism, and humanism. It is permeated with optimism and educates man to be the builder of a new world. Soviet-era literature strengthens its ties with the life of the people, truthfully reflects the richness of the new world, and denounces forces opposed to progress.

You mention a helluva lot of writers, Zvezda, most of them virtually unknown, some of them completely obscure. As for the prominent ones, remember that Maksim Gorky penned Untimely Thoughts, his very negative reflections on the Bolshevik revolution of October 1917. It's simply false that Gorky welcomed this revolution and its immediate aftermath with open arms. He had very serious reservations and criticisms of the Bolsheviks in power - and this despite his lifelong sympathy for the Bolsheviks.

As for Blok... it's true he initially hailed the October Revolution, but it's somewhat doubtful that his feelings about it were completely unambivalent... His poem "The Twelve" is decidedly ambiguous in its meaning. At any rate, since he died in 1921, one could argue that he didn't live long enough to see the initial "promise" of that revolution destroyed and betrayed, as his fellow poet Osip Mandelshtam did.

As for officially approved Soviet literature, 75-90 percent of it is utter crap (I'll make some important exceptions for writers like Mayakovsky, Ilya Ehrenburg, and some authors who were published during and after the Thaw period under Khrushchev). But just try to read Gladkov's execrable novel Cement. It's so bad it is unreadable. It only figures on graduate student reading lists at American universities today because of its historical value - much as Chernyshevskii's almost equally awful 19th-century novel, What Is to Be Done? survives on the same lists for the same reason.



Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Elisabeth on March 09, 2009, 04:41:19 PM
Stalin also had a political structure that he could manipulate, whilst Hitler   relied on his "cult" to do his bidding.
This is the way I see them. at least for now.
I firmly believe they both could have existed without the other.

Yeah, but heck, Robert, Stalin and Hitler wouldn't have been able to set the entire world on fire, i.e., start a new world war, without the help of each other. BFF.

And by the way, Hitler had a political structure every bit as or more complex than Stalin's. There's plenty of evidence that Hitler's ministries and the officials within them competed and vied with each other for political power and policy reasons - no evidence whatsoever that they were merely abject slaves of a "cult" centered around Der Fuehrer. The career of Albert Speer is testimony to that fact. As minister for armaments and munitions, by dint of his pure administrative genius, which was not always in line with Hitler's views or that of other government officials, he managed to prolong the war for an entire year. If not for Speer, World War II would probably have ended in 1944. (So I hope he's burning in hell right now, I truly do.)
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Robert_Hall on March 09, 2009, 05:11:07 PM
I disagree, Elisabeth.  Hitler's "machine was purely his creation, whist Stalin used the one already in place.  Both were one-party states, but Stalin did allow more diversity, as I see it.  He was not nearly as dogmatic as Hitler.  Stalin did believe and sponsored world domination of  the ultimate communism- through  revolution and indoctrination, not war.  The Soviet Union  had enough territory of it's own  with it's own resources, so his aim was to protect his borders, not expand them. Hitler was the exact opposite. In that regard, Hitler  was far more cunning.  By "cult" I meant  what I said, Hitler had a personal following, why he could mesmerize an entire country into war I do not know. Of course  there was jealousy and  chess-boarding in his ranks, just like any  charismatic leader.  The closer to the throne, the more treacherous, so to speak.
 And, Stalin did not start WW2, he reacted to Hitler's actions.
 As for Speer, he did what he could for "the cause" but he did not create the situation, did he?  He also attoned for his actions, served his time and admitted guilt. Which is more that can be said of the  rest of the Nazi elite. And, one has to believe in hell to suffer from it, doesn't one?  I personally  am of the Andy Hamilton school of "Old Harry's Game"  Radio4 regulars would know what I am saying.......
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Elisabeth on March 10, 2009, 01:42:53 PM
Robert, it's been proven by at least two historians (Gita Sereny, in her quite lengthy personal interviews with Speer before he died, and a scholar whose name now escapes me) that Speer lied and lied repeatedly under oath at Nuremberg about his knowledge both of Nazi slave labor (which he himself employed) and the extermination of the Jews. There's virtually no controversy about this issue any longer. It's an established fact - Speer knew everything, or almost everything, long before Nuremberg, and he lied about it at Nuremberg. Indeed, he was lying about it to the very end of his life. Whatever remorse he expressed was purely self-serving, a means of emotional and spiritual survival (oh, and let's not forget, at Nuremberg also physical survival, since he was facing a death sentence) by an ultimately very selfish, narcissistic, and overly ambitious man. Speer was completely incapable of confronting his own guilt in helping to both establish and maintain the Third Reich. Don't make excuses for someone just because he happened to be a genius, or a near genius.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Elisabeth on March 10, 2009, 01:54:33 PM
I disagree, Elisabeth.  Hitler's "machine was purely his creation, whist Stalin used the one already in place.  Both were one-party states, but Stalin did allow more diversity, as I see it.  He was not nearly as dogmatic as Hitler.  Stalin did believe and sponsored world domination of  the ultimate communism- through  revolution and indoctrination, not war.  The Soviet Union  had enough territory of it's own  with it's own resources, so his aim was to protect his borders, not expand them. Hitler was the exact opposite. In that regard, Hitler  was far more cunning.  By "cult" I meant  what I said, Hitler had a personal following, why he could mesmerize an entire country into war I do not know. Of course  there was jealousy and  chess-boarding in his ranks, just like any  charismatic leader.  The closer to the throne, the more treacherous, so to speak.
 And, Stalin did not start WW2, he reacted to Hitler's actions.

Robert, Stalin was power-mad and power-hungry. He built up and entire cult of personality around himself. I'm surprised you're not aware of this. In his famous 1956 speech Khrushchev actually termed it "the cult of personality." It was one of his strongest criticisms of Stalin as a political leader.

How you can say that Stalin did not intend to expand his borders when he managed to absorb the Baltic States as well as half of Poland merely by dealing with the devil (another devil) Hitler, is beyond me. He also declared war on Finland even before the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. But you don't want to get into that.

I do think it's a little weird that you're so pro-Communist, even pro-Stalinist. Do you know, the recent poll of Russian citizens as to who was the greatest Russian who ever lived had to be rigged, because Stalin was winning by a landslide? So the pollsters (i.e.., the government) fixed the votes in favor of Alexander Nevsky. As one of my friends put it, "The Russians are by nature still slaves. It's either Stalin, the greatest mass murderer in history except for Mao, or Alexander Nevsky, the Quisling of medieval Russia. Either way - slaves all the way."

This is more than a bit harsh, but there's a grain of truth in it. I can't imagine Americans voting for Jefferson Davis or Richard Nixon as the greatest American ever. I can't imagine Germans voting for Hitler as the greatest German ever. IMHO, Russians should be ashamed of themselves for even thinking of Stalin as a great Russian. He wasn't ethnically Russian anyway - and there's the rub - he was Georgian!
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Robert_Hall on March 10, 2009, 03:01:51 PM
I am not justifying Speer. I just see him differently than you do. As for Stalin,  Kruschev used that as way to discredit him and his cronies, or what was left of them. Hitler actually had a large, loyal following whereas Stalin  ruled through fear and terror of  consequences. I know quite well his iconic  status of the war hero. My friends in Russia, although much to young to have lived under his rule, talk about him a lot,  just from what they learned in school and from their parents. I would not call it idolatry or even reverence.   Somewhat less than any of that
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: RichC on March 10, 2009, 08:27:07 PM

I do think it's a little weird that you're so pro-Communist, even pro-Stalinist. Do you know, the recent poll of Russian citizens as to who was the greatest Russian who ever lived had to be rigged, because Stalin was winning by a landslide? So the pollsters (i.e.., the government) fixed the votes in favor of Alexander Nevsky. As one of my friends put it, "The Russians are by nature still slaves. It's either Stalin, the greatest mass murderer in history except for Mao, or Alexander Nevsky, the Quisling of medieval Russia. Either way - slaves all the way."

This is more than a bit harsh, but there's a grain of truth in it. I can't imagine Americans voting for Jefferson Davis or Richard Nixon as the greatest American ever. I can't imagine Germans voting for Hitler as the greatest German ever. IMHO, Russians should be ashamed of themselves for even thinking of Stalin as a great Russian. He wasn't ethnically Russian anyway - and there's the rub - he was Georgian!

I've also heard the slavery slam made against Russians.  A former professor of mine claims that the Russians are the only nation in history, to this day, to truly enslave their own people.  Other countries have had slavery, but there was always some distinction between the enslaved and the masters.  Not the case in Russia. 

As for Nevsky, this same professor thinks he was a traitor to his own people!
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Zvezda on March 10, 2009, 08:38:31 PM
Quote
How you can say that Stalin did not intend to expand his borders when he managed to absorb the Baltic States as well as half of Poland merely by dealing with the devil (another devil) Hitler, is beyond me.

It's worth remembering that Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania became part of Russia between 1720-95. Moreover, Soviet rule in these regions had precedence. Soviet power was established in Estonia on the same day as in Petrograd. After the German occupation ended, Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania again became soviet in December 1918. Soviet power was overthrown in these states as a result of aggression by the Germans, Entente, and the Russian White Guard. They separated not because of their peoples' national desires, but as a consequence of the Civil War and foreign military intervention. Stalin's desire to restore soviet power in these areas was hardly expansionist. The same is true with Poland's former eastern provinces such as Lvov, Ivano-Frankovsk, etc in which Ukrainians and Byelorussians were the majority. Poland came to rule these areas as a result of Pilsudski's policy of aggression against Ukraine and Byelorussia.

Quote
He also declared war on Finland even before the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. But you don't want to get into that.
The Soviet-German non-aggression pact was signed in August 1939 while the Soviet-Finnish war broke out at the end of November 1939. Soviet policy towards Finland was hardly expansionist, for there was no desire to establish soviet power in the country.

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I can't imagine Americans voting for Jefferson Davis or Richard Nixon as the greatest American ever. I can't imagine Germans voting for Hitler as the greatest German ever. IMHO, Russians should be ashamed of themselves for even thinking of Stalin as a great Russian. He wasn't ethnically Russian anyway - and there's the rub - he was Georgian!
Stalin's role in Russian history can be compared to that of Abraham Lincoln or Franklin Roosevelt in America. He is adored by many Russians for the same why Churchill is beloved in the Anglo-American bloc. It is grotesque and ludicrous to overlook Stalin's accomplishments and reduce his memory to a macabre tally shee of crimes. Demonizers of Stalin are no better than his cultists. Westerners' opinion of Stalin is tainted by Cold War demonization of Russia that started with Truman. And I don't see what relevance Stalin's ancestry had. He may have been and raised in the Caucasian provinces, but he spent most of his life in Moscow. Remember that Russian political leaders started with Catherine II were of predominantly German ancestry.

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greatest mass murderer in history except for Mao
It is offensive for you to slander Mao Zedong as a mass murderer. Chinese people honor the legacy of Mao Zedong.

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Alexander Nevsky, the Quisling of medieval Russia
It's worth noting that if not for Eisenstein's film, Nevsky would be seen as an obscure figure in Russian history.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: antti on March 11, 2009, 01:45:05 AM
Unbelievable reasoning from you Zvezda and Robert After reading some of your posts I really thank the God that my grandparents generation stopped the evil forces of Stalin and his red army 1940 and again in 1944. If Soviet Union would have concurred Finland perhaps I would writing here about happy times in collective farm. ( most propably my family would have been killed to a last member).
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Zvezda on March 11, 2009, 01:59:59 PM
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or Alexander Nevsky, the Quisling of medieval Russia.

Alexander Nevsky showed himself to be a careful and farsighted politician. He rebuffed attempts of the Papal Curia to provoke a war between Russia and the Golden Horde, because he understood that war with the Mongols was bound to be unsuccessful. His skilful policy helped prevent destructive Mongol raids against Russia. On several occasions he was able to free Russians from the obligation to serve in the armed forces of the Mongol khans. Nevsky devoted much energy to strengthening the office of grand prince to the detriment of the power of the boyars.

Quote
But just try to read Gladkov's execrable novel Cement. It's so bad it is unreadable. It only figures on graduate student reading lists at American universities today because of its historical value - much as Chernyshevskii's almost equally awful 19th-century novel, What Is to Be Done? survives on the same lists for the same reason.
Gladkov’s “Cement” is an account of the heroic accomplishments of the working people and portrayed the Social Democrats’ inspiring ideas. Gorky valued Cement highly. He noted that the book illuminated the most important theme of the times—labor.

The novel “What is to be Done?” by Chernysehvsky is one of the finest works in Russian literature. The characters include Rakhmetov, the first professional revolutionary in literature and Vera Pavlovna, a progressive woman who devotes her life to socially useful work. The novel popularized the ideas of women’s equality and artel production. It is a synthesis of the author’s political and philosophical views and provides a plan of action for progressive youth. The novel had a great effect on Russian society and contributed to the education of many revolutionaries. 
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: RichC on March 11, 2009, 04:42:42 PM

Quote
greatest mass murderer in history except for Mao
It is offensive for you to slander Mao Zedong as a mass murderer. Chinese people honor the legacy of Mao Zedong.


Ok, now I know Zvezda is full of it...
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Constantinople on March 15, 2009, 03:38:48 PM
I shuddered when i read the comparison between Abraham Lincoln and Stalin.  Lincoln believed in freeing people and Stalin in exterminating them. 

I would suggest you read a good biography or the Stalinesque period.  I just finished Norman Davies Europe and he roughly estimates the death toll of Russians under Stalin to be somewhere between 30 and 40 million.
   
As for Mao Tse Dong, you just have to look at the Cultural Revolution to see the good that he did.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Silja on March 16, 2009, 02:21:36 PM

The right-wing leadership of the SDP stubbornly rejected the proposals of the KDP to unite for the defeat of fascism.


And rightly so. If the SPD had united with the KPD they might just as well have united with the National Socialists. The communists were just as extremist and antidemocratic as the nazis. Just like the nazi party they were hostile to democracy and aimed at the abolition of the democratic system of the Weimar Republic. The tragedy of 1932  was the fact that nearly two thirds of the German electorate had become contemptuous of the democratic system and voted for extremist parties - the Nazis and the KPD.

But such a unification with the KPD would certainly have been to the taste of a Stalinist like Zvezda. It would have anticipated what happened in 1945 in the SBZ, that is, East Germany, where the forced unification of SPD and KPD into the SED took place. Since 1990 Germany has had to invest billions of Euros to reconstruct the decrepit and completely bankrupt East. Long before 1989 East Germany managed to survive economically only by receiving huge credits from the West German class enemy.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Zvezda on March 16, 2009, 02:35:13 PM
Silja, you have no idea what you're talking about. Ever since Lenin wrote "'Left-wing' Communism", Communists participated in the facade of bourgeois democracy and defended it against fascists. In Spain, Communists were at the forefront in the defense of the Republic. In France, Communists formed a coalition with the so-called Socialists. This was also the case in the post-war era.

And to characterize the Weimar system as democratic is a joke. When the workers tried to establish true democracy in January 1919, the bourgeois regime sent its goons to drown the revolution in blood. This was also true in the Bavarian Councils Republic and the March Actions of 1921 .
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Zvezda on March 16, 2009, 06:00:18 PM
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I wonder, Zvezda, if you are quite au courant with the recent scholarship about Sholokhov... he has a rather bad reputation in academic circles, because his authorship of And Quiet Flows the Don (or as it is elsewhere translated Silent Don) is much disputed.
To even question whether Sholokhov wrote the book is outrageous. It is you who is not not aware of recent scholarship about Sholokhov. A special investigation in the late 1920s in Russia upheld Sholokhov's authorship and the malicious slander was denounced in Pravda.

Sholokhov's archive was destroyed in a bomb raid during the war and only the 4th volume survived. Sholokhov had his friend Vassily Kudashov, who was killed in the war, look after it. Kudashov's widow then took posession of the manuscript  but she never disclosed the fact of owning it. The manscrupt was finally found in 1999 with the help of the Prime Minister Putin. It is currently held by Russia's Academy of Sciences. The manuscript consists of 885 A-4 pages and the writing paper dates back to the 1920s. 605 pages are written by Sholokhov and the rest are transcribed by his wife and sisters.

You can view PDF copies of the manuscript here
http://feb-web.ru/feb/sholokh/1927/1927.htm
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: JStorey on March 18, 2009, 04:42:35 PM
Quote
But just try to read Gladkov's execrable novel Cement. It's so bad it is unreadable. It only figures on graduate student reading lists at American universities today because of its historical value - much as Chernyshevskii's almost equally awful 19th-century novel, What Is to Be Done? survives on the same lists for the same reason.

Quote
Gladkov’s “Cement” is an account of the heroic accomplishments of the working people and portrayed the Social Democrats’ inspiring ideas. Gorky valued Cement highly. He noted that the book illuminated the most important theme of the times—labor.

The novel “What is to be Done?” by Chernysehvsky is one of the finest works in Russian literature. The characters include Rakhmetov, the first professional revolutionary in literature and Vera Pavlovna, a progressive woman who devotes her life to socially useful work. The novel popularized the ideas of women’s equality and artel production. It is a synthesis of the author’s political and philosophical views and provides a plan of action for progressive youth. The novel had a great effect on Russian society and contributed to the education of many revolutionaries. 

Zvezda, while I disagree with virtually everything else you have written, in this particular case I am going to back you up 100%. 

Gladkov's "Cement" is not remotely unreadable; it is an excellent and historically important novel.  It vividly captures a profound moment in human history.  The pithy, sharp style of prose predates many similar and lauded works in western literature.  In short, I truly enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone.

Chernyshevsky's novel, "What is to be Done?" is a brilliant work and one of the most influential books I have ever read, as far as shaping my world view and understanding its impact on others.  Those who argue Chernyshevsky's work falls short in fundamental areas of novel structure, plot, etc., miss the point entirely.  It is like judging the characters of Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle" as straw men (when that is precisely what they are:  straw men serving to illustrate a larger moral and ethical societal issue). 

Chernyshevsky, writing about a very serious topic, is both very funny and filled with brilliant asides on all variety of subjects (he is a dizzying encyclopedia of 19th century science).  Some of his insights are so profound one must put down the book and digest before moving on.  He apologizes on the first page for his "striking scenes" which he confesses outright will only serve the purpose of furthering his ideas.  In other words, he is very transparent in his agenda, to the point of humor.  And despite all that one comes to genuinely care for the characters within.  I would urge anyone interested in modern history to read it.  A world of swindlers and fools, indeed...

Gorky, incidentally, isn't a bad read either.  He's a very sentimental fellow, a humanist who is just as capable as Chekhov in capturing small, meaningful moments in life.  I'd recommend all three as vital additions to Russian literature, right up there with Bulgakov (my all time favorite), Turgenev, Gogol, Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, etc.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Olga Maria on March 19, 2009, 04:25:51 AM
Oh, you can continue all your arguments after this comment. I would just like to ask if Russia finally admitted that the NKDV committed the Katyn Forest Murder?
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Silja on March 19, 2009, 04:35:51 PM
When the workers tried to establish true democracy in January 1919,

Very amusing indeed.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: RichC on March 19, 2009, 05:53:44 PM
Oh, you can continue all your arguments after this comment. I would just like to ask if Russia finally admitted that the NKDV committed the Katyn Forest Murder?


Yes, they did in the late 1980's.  I think both Gorbachev and Yeltsin admitted it and released thousands of documents about it.  Beria, apparently played a major role in approving the details of the massacre.  But Putin has backtracked on a lot of it. 
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Elisabeth on March 19, 2009, 10:12:46 PM
Gladkov's "Cement" is not remotely unreadable; it is an excellent and historically important novel.  It vividly captures a profound moment in human history.  The pithy, sharp style of prose predates many similar and lauded works in western literature.  In short, I truly enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone.

Chernyshevsky's novel, "What is to be Done?" is a brilliant work and one of the most influential books I have ever read, as far as shaping my world view and understanding its impact on others.  Those who argue Chernyshevsky's work falls short in fundamental areas of novel structure, plot, etc., miss the point entirely.  It is like judging the characters of Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle" as straw men (when that is precisely what they are:  straw men serving to illustrate a larger moral and ethical societal issue). 

Chernyshevsky, writing about a very serious topic, is both very funny and filled with brilliant asides on all variety of subjects (he is a dizzying encyclopedia of 19th century science).  Some of his insights are so profound one must put down the book and digest before moving on.  He apologizes on the first page for his "striking scenes" which he confesses outright will only serve the purpose of furthering his ideas.  In other words, he is very transparent in his agenda, to the point of humor.  And despite all that one comes to genuinely care for the characters within.  I would urge anyone interested in modern history to read it.  A world of swindlers and fools, indeed...

Well, needless to say I disagree. Gladkov is hardly "pithy" or "sharp" - in fact his style is a primary example of Soviet ornamentalism, very popular in the 1920s, and which, at its worst, as in his case, led to over-elaborate, overworked, ponderous prose.

IMHO, Chernyshevsky also couldn't write a decent novel to save his life. (I found nothing humorous in his prose, either. It was all dead serious and dead boring.) See Nabokov's novel The Gift, large parts of which serve as a commentary on Chernyshevsky and his magnum opus What Is to Be Done?. Nabokov is not unsympathetic to Chernyshevsky at all - in fact, the reader of The Gift is left weeping over the poor socialist's fate - but that doesn't mean that Chernyshevsky was a good or even a halfway decent writer, as Nabokov makes clear. What Chernyshevsky did have in abundance were... good intentions. And good intentions count for absolutely zero when it comes to aesthetics. I repeat, neither Gladkov's Cement nor Chernyshevsky's What Is to Be Done? would even be read today if they were not important historical documents. In other words, artistically they amount to very little, but historically speaking they are of course quite interesting and illuminating.

But on the question of aesthetics... I will grant you this much... as the great writer Jane Austen so PITHILY and SHARPLY put it, "half the world cannot understand the pleasures of the other half."
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: JStorey on March 20, 2009, 12:08:20 PM
But Elisabeth, what about Gorky!  Don't you want to skewer him as well or are you going to leave him alone?

If you found Cement to consist of "over-elaborate, overworked, ponderous prose" I'm not sure you read the same book I did...  It is a very quick read; Gleb is a simple pragmatist who takes little time to ponder over anything!  But fair enough, I may be going overboard in comparing it to Russian greats. 

The criticisms of Chernyshevsky are of course well known...  "Dead serious" as far as I know, is not among them.  If you want to discard the artistic merit and focus on historical value, more power to you, but you are still left with a VITAL read.  If anyone here is inspired to read it, I'd recommend Michael R. Katz translation..

You're right about aesthetics; my tastes are admittedly a little eclectic (my favorite Tolstoy is "The Cossacks", for example)...  So we'll leave it to Jane Austen and agree to disagree. 
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Elisabeth on March 20, 2009, 08:03:32 PM
Yes, let's leave it to Jane Austen and be tolerant of one another's tastes. Most of this is purely subjective in the long run, anyway.

I wasn't going to touch on Gorky only because I found his novel Mother almost as unreadable (and laughable, in a bad way) as Cement or What Is to Be Done?. Which is to say, these are all very didactic novels, novels in the grand Russian tradition of telling people how to live their lives as the author sees fit. To be honest, I just couldn't stand Mother for its sentimentality and preachiness.

On the other hand, I liked Gorky's autobiographical novels, especially Childhood very, very much, and I would highly recommend them to anyone who is curious about working class and/or peasant life in Russia in the late nineteenth century. IMHO Gorky, unlike Chernyshevsky and Gladkov, was a writer of real talent. Unfortunately he often subjugated his artistry to didacticism, i.e., to the moral and social message he was trying to impart, or later in his life, to historical exigencies, which is somewhat but not completely understandable, given the pressures he was under living in the Soviet Union during the Stalin period. Still, he chose freely to return to the Soviet Union and he chose more or less freely to write paeans to the Stalinist regime. The passage about Gorky visiting the Gulag in Solzhenitsyn's Gulag Archipelago is more than a little damning. I can't imagine Tolstoy or Dostoevsky, or for that matter Chekhov, behaving in such a spineless and cowardly manner.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Zvezda on March 21, 2009, 01:33:42 PM
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I repeat, the only truly great writers the Soviet Union ever produced during its brief lifespan were Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (born December 1918) and Joseph Brodsky (born 1940
None of these anti-social outcasts achieved any notable success in their native country. Because they were hopeless failures, they sold themselves out to Russia's enemies in the propaganda war against the country. When the enemies of Russia succeeded in destroying the country with the help of traitors like Yetlsin, the likes of Solzhenitsyn lost any usefulness for the imperialists and monopolists and were abandoned by the popular media. There were literally thousands of far more successful, talented and intelligent writers such as the Writers' Union chairmen Vladimir Stavsky, Alexander Fadeyev, Nikolai Surkov, Konstantin Fedin, and Georgi Markov whose works were ignored by western mass media.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Elisabeth on March 23, 2009, 07:26:39 PM
Quote
I repeat, the only truly great writers the Soviet Union ever produced during its brief lifespan were Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (born December 1918) and Joseph Brodsky (born 1940
None of these anti-social outcasts achieved any notable success in their native country. Because they were hopeless failures, they sold themselves out to Russia's enemies in the propaganda war against the country. When the enemies of Russia succeeded in destroying the country with the help of traitors like Yetlsin, the likes of Solzhenitsyn lost any usefulness for the imperialists and monopolists and were abandoned by the popular media. There were literally thousands of far more successful, talented and intelligent writers such as the Writers' Union chairmen Vladimir Stavsky, Alexander Fadeyev, Nikolai Surkov, Konstantin Fedin, and Georgi Markov whose works were ignored by western mass media.

Zvezda, you make me laugh, you really do. You think utter nonentities like Stavsky, Fadeyev, Surkov, etc., are even worthy to be mentioned in the same sentence as great authors like Solzhenitsyn and Brodsky? Let me tell you, all the best minds in the USSR in the 1960s and 1970s knew who the best Russian-born writers were, and needless to say, those writers weren't the (deservedly unknown today) communist party hacks you name here.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Zvezda on March 26, 2009, 03:29:09 PM
Quote
You think utter nonentities like Stavsky, Fadeyev, Surkov, etc
Authors like Fedin, Fadeyev, Markov, etc won several prizes and orders for their outstanding achievements in literature. Their work was highly favored by the critics and was read by millions of people. There is a monument to Konstatin Fedin in his native Saratov. The same cannot be said of mentally unstable outcasts like Solzhenitsyn and Brodsky in their native countries. The Western mass media constructed cults around the likes of Sinyavsky not because of their talent but simply as part of their propaganda warfare against Russia.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Elisabeth on March 26, 2009, 05:51:02 PM
Quote
You think utter nonentities like Stavsky, Fadeyev, Surkov, etc
Authors like Fedin, Fadeyev, Markov, etc won several prizes and orders for their outstanding achievements in literature. Their work was highly favored by the critics and was read by millions of people. There is a monument to Konstatin Fedin in his native Saratov. The same cannot be said of mentally unstable outcasts like Solzhenitsyn and Brodsky in their native countries. The Western mass media constructed cults around the likes of Sinyavsky not because of their talent but simply as part of their propaganda warfare against Russia.

Yikes, Zvezda, you really do seem to have a problem with facts. Both of your so-called "mentally unstable outcasts like Solzhenitsyn and Brodsky" won the Nobel Prize for literature, Solzhenitsyn in 1970 and Brodsky in 1987. I suppose you sincerely believe that socialist Sweden (home of the Nobel Prize) was "out to get" the Soviet Union by any means necessary in awarding two great Russian writers (and dissidents) this prestigious prize... Fedin might be famous in Saratov (most Westerners would ask, where the heck is that?) but the names of Brodsky and Solzhenitsyn are famous all around the world, at least amongst the educated.

It seems to me that you have demonstrated a sad lack of knowledge about the state of modern Russian literature. And that you are somewhat surprisingly out of step even with the current Russian government, which outwardly praises the accomplishments of writers like Solzhenitsyn and Brodsky (even if it perhaps inwardly deplores their independence of mind and refusal to adhere to the state's party line).

The way you talk, Zvezda, I would think you belonged to the Stalinist generation, and not of that of the Thaw or even the perestroika period... You seem surprisingly out of sync with just about everybody in the Russian cultural sphere with the possible exception of those representing the Red-Brown coalition. Might I ask, do you like Limonov, by any chance? Or other such writers of the communist-fascist persuasion?
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Silja on March 28, 2009, 12:00:29 PM

Fedin might be famous in Saratov (most Westerners would ask, where the heck is that?)

I've actually been to Saratov, but nobody would draw our attention to such a monument. Apparently, not even Russians consider this writer, of whom I've never heard, worth mentioning.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: JStorey on March 30, 2009, 03:13:19 PM
Yes, let's leave it to Jane Austen and be tolerant of one another's tastes. Most of this is purely subjective in the long run, anyway.

I wasn't going to touch on Gorky only because I found his novel Mother almost as unreadable (and laughable, in a bad way) as Cement or What Is to Be Done?.

Unreadable...  Laughable in a bad way...  Hmm, doesn't sound terribly tolerant to me.  Why such visceral condemnation? 
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: JStorey on April 08, 2009, 02:08:31 PM

I think what bothers me is to condemn legitimate works so viscerally - as if having no merit whatsoever, just because, I suspect, she doesn't agree with their point of view.    Personally I think writers like Gorky, Chernyshevsky, Gladkov, Sholokhov, etc. should be strongly encouraged to anyone interested in Russian literature, if only because they provide a lesser known and much broader spectrum to a tremendous literary tradition.  A wider range in point of view is vital - I would argue - to our understanding of Russian culture and history.  Certainly, like them or not, none of these novels are "laughable, in a bad way" or "unreadable".  I don't find that sort of criticism to have any constructive value whatsoever.  Are they flawed?  Sure.  But so is "Dead Souls"...

Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: LisaDavidson on April 08, 2009, 03:24:57 PM
With J Storey's cooperation, I have removed personally unfavorable information from this topic. I trust this meets with the Members' approval.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Elisabeth on April 09, 2009, 09:23:21 AM
I think what bothers me is to condemn legitimate works so viscerally - as if having no merit whatsoever, just because, I suspect, she doesn't agree with their point of view. Personally I think writers like Gorky, Chernyshevsky, Gladkov, Sholokhov, etc. should be strongly encouraged to anyone interested in Russian literature, if only because they provide a lesser known and much broader spectrum to a tremendous literary tradition.  A wider range in point of view is vital - I would argue - to our understanding of Russian culture and history.  Certainly, like them or not, none of these novels are "laughable, in a bad way" or "unreadable".  I don't find that sort of criticism to have any constructive value whatsoever.  Are they flawed?  Sure.  But so is "Dead Souls"...

Dear J. Storey, obviously I've offended you with my frank comments on certain authors and books, but I fear that you are crediting me with much more influence over members of this forum than is actually warranted. I don't think that my personal opinions about Gladkov's Cement would matter one jot to a person who is determined to read that novel, especially if he or she is at all interested in Soviet prose of the 1920s (and please do note, that I mentioned that Gladkov was a well-known practitioner of Soviet ornamentalism, which is not a criticism, but merely a fact, and BTW, one of great interest to anyone studying the development of literary style in the years immediately following the October Revolution).

I also did say, as I recall, that I regard Gorky as a writer of real talent, and that I do recommend his autobiographical novels. I simply don't happen to like or admire his novel Mother. Unlike his autobiographical novels, I find it soppy, sentimental, and didactic. How on earth can you describe this as a "visceral" reaction?

I also quite like Sholokhov's And Quiet Flows the Don. (Even if it's not by Sholokhov, but by some anonymous Don Cossack writer lost to posterity.) I would, again, highly recommend it.

So excuse me for saying so, J Storey, but you are really not being at all fair to my judgments and opinions. There are plenty of literary works where I don't agree with the author's so-called message but I take real aesthetic pleasure in his/her style and genius. Mayakovsky is a good example. I think he was a superb poet, and even though I condemn his politics, I still enjoy reading his poems, whether or not they're highly political (they usually are).

We just don't agree on what level of literary expertise constitutes a great writer. I don't think Gladkov was anywhere near being a great writer, he was a moderately competent one, the kind who gets his books published every day in the United States by virtue of their sensationalism and immediate relevance to present-day political and social events. (But nowhere did I say one shouldn't attempt to read Gladkov, precisely for this historical immediacy - I only said that I personally found him unreadable.) But I honestly don't believe that one should compare writers like Gladkov and Chernyshevsky in the same breath with writers like Gogol, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, or even Chekhov. It's the equivalent of comparing Lawrence Durrell with Shakespeare. (And I happen to like Lawrence Durrell, or I did the last time I read him, which was a good twenty years ago!)




Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: JStorey on April 09, 2009, 10:36:38 AM
Elisabeth - Fair enough and well said.  I thought you were a little strong in your condemnation of what I consider some very important contributions to Russian literature, but you have qualified your comments gracefully.  And perhaps I went a little overboard initially in lauding their praises, thus provoking their qualification.

I agree I wouldn't put Gladkov up there with the greats, but I think he is a much better writer than you give him credit for.  And his is probably the only novel that captures so vividly the initial spirit of Soviet life in the early 20's; it is the first book I'd recommend to someone wanting to better understand that perspective.

Chernyshevsky is a tough one because of the obvious flaws in his novel (which, again, he admits himself in the first few pages), but the book is so critically important to understanding modern history I would hate for someone not to experience it because it was reported to be unreadable.  It isn't. 

At least we've given anyone reading this thread (No Hitler, No Stalin - whoops we're a bit off topic) the basic range of opinion regarding these works; I don't think either of us has said anything that hasn't - more or less - been said before.

But Elisabeth, I have gone quite too far in suggesting you might be in favor of book burning - certainly in very poor taste - and for that I most sincerely apologize.

Respectfully,
- JT Storey
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Elisabeth on April 09, 2009, 03:07:25 PM
Dear J Storey,

Thank you for such a gracious apology, but I don't think it was even necessary, because I completely missed any remarks you might have made about book burning. I quite understand how these misunderstandings can occur in the forum - usually, as in this case, they're of no real consequence because both writers were carried away by the intensity of the argument and didn't pause for a moment to consider the fundamentals we have in common. Which is another way of saying, I applaud anyone who reads Gladkov's Cement or Gorky's Mother, because, as you have pointed out repeatedly, they are very revealing and evocative historical documents. Also, we have this in common, dear J., we both believe that Russian literature and indeed even Soviet literature is important. Everybody should read as much of it as possible, and make up their own minds! In a way, Russian literature from the nineteenth century through the twentieth is all of a piece. I know of no other country's literature that is so preoccupied as a whole with moral and ethical questions about the fate of humankind.

But to change the subject somwhat, J., I just came across a very interesting book, which might get us back on track as far as the topic of this thread goes. It's called Lenin's Brain and Other Tales from the Soviet Secret Archives and it's by Paul R. Gregory (Stanford, CA: Hoover Institute Press, 2008). It's all about various "mysteries" from the Soviet era, which have been more or less solved by the opening of formerly secret Soviet archives - such as Soviet scientists' desire to find in Lenin's brain physical proof of his genius, the Katyn massacre of Polish officers, Stalin's tragic relationship with his sons, etc. I'm hoping to get this book from our local university library as soon as possible.

There's another book that interests me very much, by Nicolas Werth, Cannibal Island: Death in a Siberian Gulag (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2007). The subject matter is certainly grim but the book has received good scholarly reviews and it seems to provide excellent insights into one very infamous deportation (or "forced migration" of peoples) that took place in the Soviet Union during the Stalin era, in this case in May 1933.

There's also Herman Ermolaev's See No Evil: Literary Cover-Ups and Discoveries of the Soviet Camp Experience (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1999). The title pretty much says what it's about - the Soviet regime's stranglehold on writers, which demanded a whitewashed version of the Gulag in official literature.

Sometimes I literally can't keep track of all the fascinating books that are out there. I'm wondering if anybody here has read any of these books or wants to share with us other books on related topics that they've read and recommend.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: RichC on April 10, 2009, 01:05:57 PM
I'm definitely going to check out the Lenin's Brain book.  Sounds like great reading!
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Alixz on April 11, 2009, 10:00:48 PM
Hitler's rise to power was not about Stalin or Communism. Even without Stalin, even if Russia had remained Tsarist with a Tsar Autocrat on the throne, Hitler would still have risen to power in Germany.

Adolph Hitler's rise to power was really about conditions inside Germany. The treaty that ended World War I was very extremely humiliating to Germany and left Germany with a military so weakened as to be almost a joke. It forced Germany to pay war reparations to most of the World War I Allied powers. Then along came The Great Economic Depression of the 1930's which totally devastated Germany's economy. Humiliated for years, an economy bottoming out, and a population heading toward poverty. Then along comes Hitler promising The German People he would again make Germany proud, and powerful, and prosperous. In The Jews he even had a ready made enemy to rally The German People around.

Yes there was a fear in Germany of Communism and The Soviet Union. But Hitler's rise to power had nothing really to do with Stalin, Communism, or The USSR.

Hitler's rise to power was about a humiliated people facing poverty and a charismatic leader promising to again make them proud, powerful, and prosperous.

This would be my take on the subject.  The German people had a tough go of it after the disastrous Treaty of Versailles.  They wanted to lift their heads and feel proud again.  Hitler was promising that and more.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: RichC on April 15, 2009, 04:05:31 PM
But to change the subject somwhat, J., I just came across a very interesting book, which might get us back on track as far as the topic of this thread goes. It's called Lenin's Brain and Other Tales from the Soviet Secret Archives and it's by Paul R. Gregory (Stanford, CA: Hoover Institute Press, 2008). It's all about various "mysteries" from the Soviet era, which have been more or less solved by the opening of formerly secret Soviet archives - such as Soviet scientists' desire to find in Lenin's brain physical proof of his genius, the Katyn massacre of Polish officers, Stalin's tragic relationship with his sons, etc. I'm hoping to get this book from our local university library as soon as possible.

I picked up Lenin's Brain yesterday, Elisabeth, and read most of it by last night.  It's a slender volume but it's packed with tons of information and analysis.  I think you would really like it, even though it's dedicated to Robert Conquest, who, if I am recalling correctly, is not your favorite scholar.   (I think we may have argued in the past about Conquest's claim that the roots of Soviet totalitarianism go back to Russia's distant past as far back as the 15th century)

The overall gist of the book was that basically, a totalitarian regime cannot exist without imposing terror on its population.  And the extent of the terror, and how many people were affected by it is staggering.

Most of the chapters focus on Lenin and Stalin, but extend all the way up through Gorbachev.  For example, one of Stalin's modus operandi was to force his henchmen to fully participate in his blood-curdling schemes to rid the Soviet Union of any and all possible "enemies" of the state.  For instance, in the chapter on the Great Terror, it's explained how the order promulgating the Great Terror of 1938 (in which almost 700,000 innocent people were summarily shot) had to be proposed to the Politburo by Sergei Ezhov, the head of the NKVD.  The order had to be typed up and circulated to each member by currier.  After each member signed, (including Stalin), the proposal was approved and the "plan" carried out.  The planning was meticulous and actually resembled a Five-Year Plan, with orders communicated to each of 65 different regions of the U.S.S.R. with target quotas assigned to each region for the number of those to be shot and the number to be sent to the Gulag.  And just as with a Five-Year Plan, party bosses were expected to exceed their assigned "quotas".  And the actual killings were required to be handled by career oriented military officers rather than random soldiers.  Of course Stalin was behind the whole thing, but he made anyone with a future in the Soviet regime participate with gusto.  And Stalin's plan worked because for decades after his death many of these people he forced to carry out these horrible deeds rose up to be the leaders of the U.S.S.R., all the way through the 1980's.  Even Gorbachev could not bring himself to come entirely clean about the Katyn massacre until the fall of communism.

And btw, the families of those killed in the Great Terror were never told the truth about what happened to their relatives.  Instead they were told the relatives were to be jailed for 10 years with no right of any sort of communication.  So, in the late 1940's, when the families expected to see their loved one's again and nobody showed up (because they were dead the whole time), the government went to the trouble of fabricating phony death certificates for all of these people, showing that they had died in prison of various illnesses. 

I recommend this book to anyone with an interest in modern Russian history.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Terence on April 15, 2009, 06:52:48 PM
Rich's post reminded me of some interesting reading prompted by someones mention of Figes' book about life under Stalin.  There are 4 interviews translated into English available on the net, http://www.orlandofiges.com/englishMaterials.php  I was fascinated by the Netto interview, stayed up way too late reading it.
These first hand accounts give a real feel for life under Stalin.

T
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Zvezda on April 18, 2009, 05:32:09 PM
Quote
For instance, in the chapter on the Great Terror, it's explained how the order promulgating the Great Terror of 1938 (in which almost 700,000 innocent people were summarily shot) had to be proposed to the Politburo by Sergei Ezhov, the head of the NKVD.

The tragic events of 1937-38 were just an overreaction to very real foreign and domestic threats. About one-third of those given a death sentence were from Polish, German, Finnish, Latvian nationalities that composed about one percent of the country's population. A large proportion of thsoe repressed were also members of the Communist Party, government burreaucrats, and common criminals. When the Russian Government saw how things got out of control, Yezhov and his henchmen were appropriately punished. To call these events "Great Terror" is improper, because repression was carried out by the legal organs of the Russian state; it's not like death squads were not despatched to carry out massacres.

Rich's post reminded me of some interesting reading prompted by someones mention of Figes' book about life under Stalin.  There are 4 interviews translated into English available on the net, http://www.orlandofiges.com/englishMaterials.php  I was fascinated by the Netto interview, stayed up way too late reading it.
These first hand accounts give a real feel for life under Stalin.

Figes' book is rubbish. My grandparents lived in Soviet Armenia from 1946-81, and their lives were not at all like the accounts found in Figes' book. They were regular working-class people who sought and lived normal lives.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Alixz on April 19, 2009, 08:37:18 AM
As moderator for this forum, I am watching where this thread is going.

FA is very strict about any posts that would even have a hint of anti-Semitism.  Please, everyone, post sources if you are going to make any statements that would seems to cross the line in any way.

Personal opinions on this issue are not allowed.  Nor would they be allowed in any cases where posts hint at racisim.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Mariia on April 19, 2009, 09:36:15 AM
Could the Admin make a rule that would require anyone who posts anything that might be viewed as anti-something also post sources? Because otherwise you're insulting the Jews by suggesting that every other nation can take criticism, except the Jews.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Alixz on April 19, 2009, 10:26:30 AM


Personal opinions on this issue are not allowed.  Nor would they be allowed in any cases where posts hint at racism.

As you can see I mentioned racism as well.  Of course no type of personal opinion that would or could be construed as personal bias would be allowed.  And that would be for any subject.

That goes for nationality, race, color, creed, and personal lifestyle.  There is also no gender bias or anti gay or lesbian sentiment allowed.

Everyone here should be treated with respect and dignity.  No one or any one segment of the world's population past or present should be libeled in any way.

Please contact the FA if you have any confusion about this.

Alixz
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: LisaDavidson on April 20, 2009, 01:05:57 AM
I would like to offer my support to the directions of Alixz.

Some of the remarks posted recently by members make it sound as if the killing of 700,000 people is justified by the fact that the government in question did the killing - and in another case, that the killing of 6 million Jewish people is justified by the supposition that they knew they had done things that made their countrymen dislike them. (And that saying anything in defense of these Jewish people is insulting to them.)

These types of remarks are bound to cause hard feelings at the very least among our members, but they have not been removed because understanding cannot take place without discussion. However, as Alixz said, we are watching them very carefully because they could be seen as anti Semetic and/or advocating genocide - or seem to be very close to that. I would urge posters to be careful about what they say, because as she said, we will not tolerate hate speech here, nor should we.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: RichC on April 20, 2009, 10:59:24 AM

These types of remarks are bound to cause hard feelings at the very least among our members, but they have not been removed because understanding cannot take place without discussion.

Thank you very much, Lisa, for making this important statement.  I'm glad the posts weren't removed because, as abhorrent as they are, such views about various types of minorities do exist among a great many people and it's a fact of life that we have to live with.  I'm not Jewish, but I'm gay and as a gay man, I've found the best thing to do when confronted by such hatred is to fight back with every ounce of one's energy rather than run away, pretend you didn't hear what was said, etc.  It's a hard thing to do but it's better in the long run.  I guess what I'm saying is it's better to know your enemies than to pretend they do not exist.


Quote
For instance, in the chapter on the Great Terror, it's explained how the order promulgating the Great Terror of 1938 (in which almost 700,000 innocent people were summarily shot) had to be proposed to the Politburo by Sergei Ezhov, the head of the NKVD.

The tragic events of 1937-38 were just an overreaction to very real foreign and domestic threats. About one-third of those given a death sentence were from Polish, German, Finnish, Latvian nationalities that composed about one percent of the country's population. A large proportion of thsoe repressed were also members of the Communist Party, government burreaucrats, and common criminals. When the Russian Government saw how things got out of control, Yezhov and his henchmen were appropriately punished. To call these events "Great Terror" is improper, because repression was carried out by the legal organs of the Russian state; it's not like death squads were not despatched to carry out massacres.

Sorry Zvezda, but did it ever occur to you that these so-called "foreign and domestic threats" could have just been sent home instead of shot?  Because you are basically saying that Stalin was justified in killing them because of their nationality.  That's pretty sick.  Maybe it meets some kind of standard in your particular set of values (I guess that means you're ok with Katyn) but not mine. 

And what about the quotas?  You seem to be forgetting that the law was passed first and the victims supplied after the fact.  The whole purpose was to impose terror on the civilian population; NOT to remove threats to the system.



Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Zvezda on April 20, 2009, 04:43:08 PM
Quote
Some of the remarks posted recently by members make it sound as if the killing of 700,000 people is justified by the fact that the government in question did the killing - and in another case, that the killing of 6 million Jewish people is justified by the supposition that they knew they had done things that made their countrymen dislike them. (And that saying anything in defense of these Jewish people is insulting to them.)
For you to conflate the mass repression of suspected traitors, spies, and criminals carried out in a disorganized, ad hoc way to the premeditated, industrialized slaughter of millions of people by the fascist hordes borders on Holocaust denial. No one justified the tragic events of 1937-38. In fact, Stalin was denounced at the 1956 Party Congress for the unjustified repression of many thousands of people.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: RichC on April 20, 2009, 04:58:17 PM
Quote
Some of the remarks posted recently by members make it sound as if the killing of 700,000 people is justified by the fact that the government in question did the killing - and in another case, that the killing of 6 million Jewish people is justified by the supposition that they knew they had done things that made their countrymen dislike them. (And that saying anything in defense of these Jewish people is insulting to them.)
For you to conflate the mass repression of suspected traitors, spies, and criminals carried out in a disorganized, ad hoc way to the premeditated, industrialized slaughter of millions of people by the fascist hordes borders on Holocaust denial. No one justified the tragic events of 1937-38. In fact, Stalin was denounced at the 1956 Party Congress for the unjustified repression of many thousands of people.

What nerve.  YOU are the one engaging in denial with your use of the word "repression" as a euphemism for murder. 

And BTW, the Great Terror was hardly disorganized or ad hoc.  As the records of the Soviet archive shows, it was carefully planned down to a "T" by the highest "organs" of state power in the same manner as a Five-Year Plan. 

Stalin was denounced in 1956 but it was done in secret.  The public (who were the families of the victims after all) was never told. 

At least in Germany, those who participated in genocide were brought to justice.  Not so in Russia.  Those who weren't themselves exterminated in Stalin's meat grinder (like Ezhov) got away scot-free.  You don't think Khrushchev and Brezhnev did their share of butchering? 

Perhaps if you tried to imagine how you would feel if you had a loved one (think of someone dear to you) and that person is suddenly taken away and never seen or heard from again.  You are given no reason except that the person is to be imprisoned for 10 years and no communication is allowed under any circumstances.  You don't even know where the person is going or what he or she is doing.  You don't know anything at all except that he or she is going to be gone for 10 years.  What is happening here is you are being terrorized.  You do not DARE do anything which may endanger your loved one locked away in some gulag. 

In reality of course, your loved one (who you are pathetically waiting for) is lying in some common unmarked grave, shot in the back of the head along with 700,000 other innocent people.  And the loved one is killed by someone who is picked because he has a bright future in the communist party and may some day rise up to be one of the ruling class of the Soviet Union.  (One of Ezhov's biggest practical concerns in organizing the Great Terror was arranging for enough quantities of vodka to be shipped to the killing fields for the benefit of the executioners -- most of them were drunk while they were slaughtering). 

So, 10 years go by and nobody shows up for the big homecoming.  What happened?  Inquiries follow and go unanswered.  Finally, after hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people start bombarding government offices asking for word of their loved ones, the government lies to them, generates phony death certificates (so-and-so died from TB in 1942, etc.) and that's the end of it. 

That's how terror works.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: LisaDavidson on April 20, 2009, 07:54:19 PM
Quote
Some of the remarks posted recently by members make it sound as if the killing of 700,000 people is justified by the fact that the government in question did the killing - and in another case, that the killing of 6 million Jewish people is justified by the supposition that they knew they had done things that made their countrymen dislike them. (And that saying anything in defense of these Jewish people is insulting to them.)
For you to conflate the mass repression of suspected traitors, spies, and criminals carried out in a disorganized, ad hoc way to the premeditated, industrialized slaughter of millions of people by the fascist hordes borders on Holocaust denial. No one justified the tragic events of 1937-38. In fact, Stalin was denounced at the 1956 Party Congress for the unjustified repression of many thousands of people.

Stalin got off easy. Not so his victims. If he was only denounced (kind of ineffective for a dead guy, don't you think?) for the "repression" - and here I agree with Rich C - how dare you use a euphemism for murder! - of thousands - when he murdered millions of people, spare me your hanky. Here is where I agree with you - the murder of so many of its own people by a government was a tragedy. The murder of so many military officers nearly cost Russia her nationhood when Hitler invaded.

We can go ahead and have our disagreements, Zvezda, but do not insult the memories of those who died in the Holocaust or in the Stalinsit purges by using euphemisms for murder, I must insist on this point.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Zvezda on April 21, 2009, 01:35:32 PM
Quote
What nerve.  YOU are the one engaging in denial with your use of the word "repression" as a euphemism for murder. 

"Murder" is not the proper term, for repression was carried out by the judicial organs chosen by the Russian people themselves. Many of those repressed were undoubtedly guilty of serious crimes against the state and society while others were wrongly convicted of crimes they did not commit. While many mistakes, excesses, and errors were made during the events of 1937-38, that does not meant that the concept of punishing people for serious crimes is inhuman. The intentions were correct, but the ends were excessive.

The events of 1937-38 were no less murderous than the executions of Vlasov, Krasnov, and other traitors to the motherland. The main difference for the events of 1937-38 was that some people were wrongly convicted of anti-state crimes.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: LisaDavidson on April 21, 2009, 03:27:33 PM
Quote
What nerve.  YOU are the one engaging in denial with your use of the word "repression" as a euphemism for murder. 

"Murder" is not the proper term, for repression was carried out by the judicial organs chosen by the Russian people themselves. Many of those repressed were undoubtedly guilty of serious crimes against the state and society while others were wrongly convicted of crimes they did not commit. While many mistakes, excesses, and errors were made during the events of 1937-38, that does not meant that the concept of punishing people for serious crimes is inhuman. The intentions were correct, but the ends were excessive.

The events of 1937-38 were no less murderous than the executions of Vlasov, Krasnov, and other traitors to the motherland. The main difference for the events of 1937-38 was that some people were wrongly convicted of anti-state crimes.

I don't know whether to scream or to hope you eventually can develop compassion for people who are killed (murdered, butchered, executed, deprived of life) unjustly by their governments. No one here has suggested that it is inhuman to punish people for truly serious crimes. Every civilized country does this, and that's not the point.

The point is, you can not seem to distinguish between justice and murder by government. I do hope some day you can do this.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Elisabeth on April 21, 2009, 07:10:08 PM
I think George Steiner had a point when he said in one essay that Hitler's idea of murdering every last Jewish child that existed on earth was particularly reprehensible and somehow even worse (if anything could be worse) than what happened in the Soviet Union under Lenin and Stalin. But he should have included the Roma (Gypsies) in this ultimate condemnation of the Nazi regime. That's the thing, whenever anyone's arguing a particular side on this issue, they always leave at least one crucial part out of it.

The fact of the matter is, Nazi genocide was directed not only against Jews but also against the Gypsies. Gypsy children and even infants went to the gas chambers. And the next target on the list? Slavs. In fact, as far as I recall, Russian POWs were the first (experimental) victims of the poisonous gas Zyklon B at Auschwitz. In other words, Slavs were only one step above Jews and Gypsies on the Nazi racial ladder. They, too, were ultimately expendable.

I think the normal human mind has difficulty grasping the full range of human evil. Which is to say, that the Soviet democide (which is to say, deliberate and/or negligent governmental actions resulting in the mass deaths of certain civilian populations, usually on the basis of class or nationality or political allegiance) was, to my mind, somewhat different than the Nazi genocide, although both were similar in their results - millions of deaths of innocent people. In the end, it hardly matters who was responsible for more deaths in the cursed twentieth century - Stalin, Hitler, or, for that matter, Mao. They were all mass murderers and they all have blood on their hands. I hope they are all rotting in hell, and indeed, I wish Dante had invented a special circle of Hell for criminals of this kind.



 
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: LisaDavidson on April 21, 2009, 11:22:16 PM
I think George Steiner had a point when he said in one essay that Hitler's idea of murdering every last Jewish child that existed on earth was particularly reprehensible and somehow even worse (if anything could be worse) than what happened in the Soviet Union under Lenin and Stalin. But he should have included the Roma (Gypsies) in this ultimate condemnation of the Nazi regime. That's the thing, whenever anyone's arguing a particular side on this issue, they always leave at least one crucial part out of it.

The fact of the matter is, Nazi genocide was directed not only against Jews but also against the Gypsies. Gypsy children and even infants went to the gas chambers. And the next target on the list? Slavs. In fact, as far as I recall, Russian POWs were the first (experimental) victims of the poisonous gas Zyklon B at Auschwitz. In other words, Slavs were only one step above Jews and Gypsies on the Nazi racial ladder. They, too, were ultimately expendable.

I think the normal human mind has difficulty grasping the full range of human evil. Which is to say, that the Soviet democide (which is to say, deliberate and/or negligent governmental actions resulting in the mass deaths of certain civilian populations, usually on the basis of class or nationality or political allegiance) was, to my mind, somewhat different than the Nazi genocide, although both were similar in their results - millions of deaths of innocent people. In the end, it hardly matters who was responsible for more deaths in the cursed twentieth century - Stalin, Hitler, or, for that matter, Mao. They were all mass murderers and they all have blood on their hands. I hope they are all rotting in hell, and indeed, I wish Dante had invented a special circle of Hell for criminals of this kind.

 

Me, too. Thanks, Elisabeth.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Forum Admin on April 22, 2009, 09:20:25 AM
Quote
For instance, in the chapter on the Great Terror, it's explained how the order promulgating the Great Terror of 1938 (in which almost 700,000 innocent people were summarily shot) had to be proposed to the Politburo by Sergei Ezhov, the head of the NKVD.

The tragic events of 1937-38 were just an overreaction to very real foreign and domestic threats. About one-third of those given a death sentence were from Polish, German, Finnish, Latvian nationalities that composed about one percent of the country's population. A large proportion of thsoe repressed were also members of the Communist Party, government burreaucrats, and common criminals. When the Russian Government saw how things got out of control, Yezhov and his henchmen were appropriately punished. To call these events "Great Terror" is improper, because repression was carried out by the legal organs of the Russian state; it's not like death squads were not despatched to carry out massacres.


Excuse me, I don't mean to be rude, but this idea is RUBBISH.  To say the repression (code speak for the murder of 700,000 PEOPLE without benefit of a trial) was  "ok" because it was "carried out by the legal organs of the Russian State" is EXACTLY THE SAME as if you said "To call these events "the Final Solution" is improper because the repression was carried out by the legal organs of the Nazi State: it's not like death squads were not despatched to carry out massacres"

How can the pre meditated murder of 700,000 human beings merely "suspected of some alleged crime" being carried out a totalitarian regime be EXCUSED by anyone??

Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Zvezda on April 22, 2009, 11:06:06 AM
Quote
was  "ok" because it was "carried out by the legal organs of the Russian State" is EXACTLY THE SAME as if you said "To call these events "the Final Solution" is improper because the repression was carried out by the legal organs of the Nazi State: it's not like death squads were not despatched to carry out massacres"

Nazi genocide and war crimes were carried out as a result of aggression against the countries of Europe, which was fundamentally illegal. For you to conflate what the Nazis did to the excesses and mistakes of Russia's government is offensive. You are trivializing the Nazis' premeditated genocide against the peoples of Russia, which stops short of Holocaust denial.
Quote
Stalin, Hitler, or, for that matter, Mao. They were all mass murderers and they all have blood on their hands.
It is similarly obscene to conflate Hitler to Stalin and Mao. The latter two political leaders were adored by their people and brought unprecedented progress and propserity for their nations. Both of them worked actively to safeguard world peace and rendered invaluable assistance to people struggling for freedom, democracy, and justice from Korea to Algeria. When they died, everyone in their countries was struck with grief. They are considered to be national heroes: Stalin is buried along the Kremlin wall and Mao has a prominent mausoleum that is visited by many people. By contrast, the death of Hitler brought nothing but joy to people around the world.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Forum Admin on April 22, 2009, 04:10:33 PM
Quote
was  "ok" because it was "carried out by the legal organs of the Russian State" is EXACTLY THE SAME as if you said "To call these events "the Final Solution" is improper because the repression was carried out by the legal organs of the Nazi State: it's not like death squads were not despatched to carry out massacres"

Nazi genocide and war crimes were carried out as a result of aggression against the countries of Europe, which was fundamentally illegal. For you to conflate what the Nazis did to the excesses and mistakes of Russia's government is offensive. You are trivializing the Nazis' premeditated genocide against the peoples of Russia, which stops short of Holocaust denial.


You clearly have no idea then about genuine history of the Nazi German Regime...The Nazi Genocide had NOTHING whatsoever to do with "aggression against the countries of Europe..." (sounds vaguely like some old Soviet era textbook to me...) Here is some genuine history for you:

 As early as 1922, Hitler told Major Joseph Hell, at the time a journalist:
“    Once I really am in power, my first and foremost task will be the annihilation of the Jews. As soon as I have the power to do so, I will have gallows built in rows – at the Marienplatz in Munich, for example – as many as traffic allows. Then the Jews will be hanged indiscriminately, and they will remain hanging until they stink; they will hang there as long as the principles of hygiene permit. As soon as they have been untied, the next batch will be strung up, and so on down the line, until the last Jew in Munich has been exterminated. Other cities will follow suit, precisely in this fashion, until all Germany has been completely cleansed of Jews."  Hell, Josef. "Aufzeichnung", 1922, ZS 640, p. 5, Institut für Zeitgeschichte, cited in Fleming, Gerald. Hitler and the Final Solution. Berkeley: University of California Press. 1984. p. 17, cited in "Joseph Hell on Adolf Hitler", The Einsatzgruppen.

Goebbel's diary the day after meeting with Hitler: The Fuehrer again voices his determination to remorselessly cleanse Europe of its Jews. There can be no sentimental feelings here. The Jews have deserved the catastrophe that they are now experiencing. They shall experience their own annihilation together with the destruction of our enemies. We must accelerate this process with cold brutality; by doing so we are doing an inestimable service to humanity

and here are Goebbels own words about his own COUNTRYMEN who were German Jews still in Berlin, on September 23, 1942,
There are still 48,000 in Berlin. They know with deadly certainty that as the war progresses they will be packed off to the East and delivered up to a murderous fate. They already feel the inevitable harshness of physical extermination and therefore they harm the Reich whenever possible whilst they yet live.

I could go on for pages....
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Zvezda on April 22, 2009, 10:16:15 PM
Some factors of the tragic events of 1937-38 in Russia are worth discussing.

Oleg Khlyevnyuk argues that the the government considered repression as its main method of struggle with a potential fifth column. The basis for repression iincluded participation in the civil war on the side of Russia's enemies, membership in opposition groups, previous convictions, and membership of suspicious nationalities in sensitive frontier regions.

To a large extent, the Yezhovschina was aimed at those allegedly tied to hostile outside forces. Diaspora nationalities of the country such as the Germans, Poles, Latvians, Greeks and others made up about one-third of total death sentences, according to Terry Martin's research. These same groups composed less than two percent of Russia's population.

According to Melanie Ilic's research on the social composition of those affected by the repression, about 17 percent of a sample of those convicted in Leningrad province were defined as "without definite occupation". They included people living illegally in Leningrad, religious personnel, and military men. These groups composed less than 0.03 percent of Russia’s population. Also in Ilic’s research, Communist Party members (1.5 percent of the population) composed about 7 percent of death sentences in the Leningrad sample.

Scholars such as J.Arch Getty point to the autonomous and chaotic progress of the repression in the localities and to the extent of denuniciation initiated at a grassroots level -- such as workers against managers, for example. Ordinary citizens were active participants in the shaping of Russia's society and politics in the 1930s.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Elisabeth on April 23, 2009, 09:10:43 PM
Some factors of the tragic events of 1937-38 in Russia are worth discussing.

Oleg Khlyevnyuk argues that the the government considered repression as its main method of struggle with a potential fifth column. The basis for repression iincluded participation in the civil war on the side of Russia's enemies, membership in opposition groups, previous convictions, and membership of suspicious nationalities in sensitive frontier regions.

To a large extent, the Yezhovschina was aimed at those allegedly tied to hostile outside forces. Diaspora nationalities of the country such as the Germans, Poles, Latvians, Greeks and others made up about one-third of total death sentences, according to Terry Martin's research. These same groups composed less than two percent of Russia's population.

According to Melanie Ilic's research on the social composition of those affected by the repression, about 17 percent of a sample of those convicted in Leningrad province were defined as "without definite occupation". They included people living illegally in Leningrad, religious personnel, and military men. These groups composed less than 0.03 percent of Russia’s population. Also in Ilic’s research, Communist Party members (1.5 percent of the population) composed about 7 percent of death sentences in the Leningrad sample.

Scholars such as J.Arch Getty point to the autonomous and chaotic progress of the repression in the localities and to the extent of denuniciation initiated at a grassroots level -- such as workers against managers, for example. Ordinary citizens were active participants in the shaping of Russia's society and politics in the 1930s.

Okay, Zvezda, then by your same logic, back in the 1950s and 60s the government of the United States of America would have been perfectly justified in "repressing" (i.e., shooting in the back of the neck, i.e., literally exterminating) the entire American Communist party, since they were largely (indeed, as it turns out, hugely) funded by the Soviet Union for the precise purpose of conducting subversive activities against the elected American government.

As for what you call the "autonomous and chaotic progress of the repression" against so-called enemies of the state under Stalin, I should remind you that much the same situation prevailed in Nazi Germany. Loads of people "autonomously" denounced their neighbors to the government either out of spite (long-standing personal feuds), or, far more frequently, out of greed, the desire for personal gain (usually the desire to take over someone's house or apartment, which could even include furniture and personal belongings - and considering the overall poverty of Germany after the Great Depression, not to mention the overall poverty of most Soviet citizens in the 1930s, this was a very real incentive).

Zvezda, I would advise you to read the diaries Victor Klemperer wrote as a persecuted Jew in Nazi Germany. They are completely of a piece with the works Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn wrote about the mentality of the average Soviet citizen under Stalin - which could be boiled down to, "either survive, or thrive." The politically "repressed," as you so poetically put it, were bent on surviving, usually without much luck (if they even had a glimpse that they were about to be "repressed," since many of the murdered were ordinary people simply pulled off the streets by the secret police, in order to fulfill top secret death quotas handed down from on high). Those who weren't politically "repressed" (i.e., imprisoned, exiled, and/or murdered out of hand by Stalin's butchers) were quite often the scumbags of the earth, to put it bluntly. These were the very same people who denounced their neighbors for being spies, the very same people who took over their "repressed" neighbors' apartments without a moment's regret. Again, read Victor Klemperer's diaries. He tells very much the same story about Nazi Germany.

People are not very nice to each other, even at the best of times. So try to imagine the worst of times.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Tsarfan on April 24, 2009, 09:36:28 AM
. . . Stalin and Mao. The latter two political leaders . . . worked actively to safeguard world peace and rendered invaluable assistance to people struggling for freedom, democracy, and justice . . . .

Zvezda, your posts are riddled with so many distortions and outright lies that it is really difficult to know where to begin taking you apart.

Stalin working to safeguard world peace and assist those struggling for freedom?!?   The same Stalin who entered into the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact with the secret protocol that facilitated the Soviet Union's takeover of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania and that ensured Soviet coooperation with Germany in invading and dismantling Poland?

You are either hopelessly ignorant of major events in European history, or you are comfortable with outright lying on this forum while wearing a smirk.  Or both.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: RichC on April 24, 2009, 12:51:06 PM
Some factors of the tragic events of 1937-38 in Russia are worth discussing.

Oleg Khlyevnyuk argues that the the government considered repression as its main method of struggle with a potential fifth column. The basis for repression iincluded participation in the civil war on the side of Russia's enemies, membership in opposition groups, previous convictions, and membership of suspicious nationalities in sensitive frontier regions.

The purpose of the Great Terror had nothing to do with worries over phantom resistance to Soviet power.  By 1937 there was no organized resistance to speak of anyway.  Everyone knew that.  Stalin simply felt that state sponsored mass terrorism on a regular basis was the best way to maintain the status quo.  In other words it was just a regular part of governing.  And it did not really matter who wound up getting shot or sent to the Gulag because the records show that after Ezhov's top secret orders were delivered to party bosses in each of the 65 regions of the U.S.S.R. (with the gulag being considered one of the regions) local officials were given 5 DAYS to come up with the lists of the victims (with everything being done by hand -- no computers).  All Moscow cared about were that the quotas were met or exceeded.  Again, the main goal was simply to terrorize the population rather than root out specific enemies of the state.  Otherwise why give only 5 DAYS to round everyone up.  For example, there were numerous cases of mistaken identity where authorities knocked on the wrong door and, because of the haste involved, just dragged off whoever opened it.  So, obviously, it did not really matter who the victims were -- just as long as Stalin's thirst for blood was quenched.  The quota had to be met.  The whole country was turned into a charnel house.

It is true that the quotas were set higher in certain areas (like border regions as well as the gulag, Moscow and Leningrad) but officials did not spend much time checking and rechecking the lists of the victims within each area.  Whether they were "guilty" or innocent was pretty much secondary. 



Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Zvezda on April 28, 2009, 03:32:46 PM
Quote
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn wrote about the mentality of the average Soviet citizen under Stalin - which could be boiled down to, "either survive, or thrive."

Research by scholars such as Robert Thurston suggest that most people in the country were not afraid of being repressed. Indeed, they genuinely believed that there were dangerous enemies in the country.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: RichC on April 28, 2009, 04:03:32 PM
Quote
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn wrote about the mentality of the average Soviet citizen under Stalin - which could be boiled down to, "either survive, or thrive."

Research by scholars such as Robert Thurston suggest that most people in the country were not afraid of being repressed. Indeed, they genuinely believed that there were dangerous enemies in the country.

I assume you are referring to Life and Terror in Stalin's Russia.  This book was written in 1996 and from what I can gather, many of Thurston's conclusions (basically that Stalin wasn't so bad after all) have been debunked.  But even Thurston admits that Stalin ruled by terror and intimidation.  You can read the dust jacket flap on Amazon.  It reads, in part, "Ironically, Stalinism helped prepare the way for the much more active society and the reforms of 50 years later."

What a joke.  Maybe in 1996 it looked like Russia was "reforming" and had an "active" society, but not now! 
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Zvezda on April 28, 2009, 04:19:13 PM
Quote
I assume you are referring to Life and Terror in Stalin's Russia. 
I was referring to his essays from scholarly journals:

"The Soviet Family during the Great Terror, 1935-1941"
Soviet Studies, Vol. 43, No. 3 (1991), pp. 553-574

"Social Dimensions of Stalinist Rule: Humor and Terror in the USSR, 1935-1941"
Journal of Social History, Vol. 24, No. 3 (Spring, 1991), pp. 541-562

"Fear and Belief in the USSR's "Great Terror": Response to Arrest, 1935-1939"
Slavic Review, Vol. 45, No. 2 (Summer, 1986), pp. 213-234

Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Elisabeth on April 28, 2009, 05:39:20 PM
Quote
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn wrote about the mentality of the average Soviet citizen under Stalin - which could be boiled down to, "either survive, or thrive."

Research by scholars such as Robert Thurston suggest that most people in the country were not afraid of being repressed. Indeed, they genuinely believed that there were dangerous enemies in the country.

Well, if historians such as Robert Thurston are correct, then Daniel Rancour-Laferriere is also correct in his supposition that the chief national characteristic of Russians is their slave mentality. I can't imagine any other people on the face of this planet who would submit willingly - no, worse yet, with their very best wishes! - to a government that exterminated, imprisoned, and/or exiled millions of people solely on the basis of the possibility that they were, as you so vaguely put it,  "dangerous enemies" of their country (reminder: the American communists funded by the Soviet Union could be viewed as dangerous enemies of the United States government, could they not? So why didn't the US government shoot them all in the back of the neck? Hmmmm? By your logic the American government had the perfect right to do so... But you have yet to address this point, which is not surprising, because you never answer any pertinent question, you only engage in evasion and obfuscation).
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Zvezda on April 28, 2009, 07:06:34 PM
Concerning American Communists, they were repressed by the U.S. Government under the notorious "Smith Act". In 1948, Gus Hall, Eugene Dennis, and other leaders of the Communist Party were prosecuted and sentenced to prison. Gus Hall was released from prison in 1957, under house arrest until 1959, and remained under legal restrictions until 1966.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Forum Admin on April 28, 2009, 08:48:12 PM
Concerning American Communists, they were repressed by the U.S. Government under the notorious "Smith Act". In 1948, Gus Hall, Eugene Dennis, and other leaders of the Communist Party were prosecuted and sentenced to prison. Gus Hall was released from prison in 1957, under house arrest until 1959, and remained under legal restrictions until 1966.

Perhaps they were in prison, but they were not subjected for forced labor, starved for food, given no clothing, shot in the head or summarily "disappeared" in the middle of the night never to be heard from again, all as Stalin did against those he chose to repress....I see no genuine comparison here to how Americans treated Communists in the 1950s and the murders of millions of his fellow countrymen Stalin carried out....no comparison at all.  Apologize for Stalin all you want, but you will never erase the blood of some 30 MILLION Russian citizens he murdered on his lunatic whims without benefit of trial, evidence or even legal representation... Ever. Stalin was more of an embarrassment to Russian History than Ivan the Terrible.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Tsarfan on April 28, 2009, 09:49:29 PM
. . . the notorious "Smith Act".

The tragic events of 1937-38 were just an overreaction . . . .

So Stalin's random and summary executions of innumerable Russian citizens was "just an overreaction" while the Smith Act was "notorious"?

Case proven.  Alternate universes really do exist.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Zvezda on May 01, 2009, 02:59:08 PM
Quote
Apologize for Stalin all you want
I don't apologize for Stalin's errors and excesses, but in fact have been strongly critical of them. I prefer a more scientific and balanced analysis of Stalin's leadership rather than deifying or demonizing him.

Quote
, but you will never erase the blood of some 30 MILLION Russian citizens he murdered on his lunatic whims without benefit of trial, evidence or even legal representation.
If you are familiar with serious scholarship by Zemskov and others, then you would know that about 500,000 alleged traitors and criminals were executed in 1937-38. Another one million died in prisons, mostly during the war. None of these actually qualify as "murder". Even the events of 1937-38 would have to be classified as judicial executions.

And it is an established fact that the 4-5 million deaths from famine of 1933 to a large extent resulted from natural causes. The most that can be said about the Russian Government is that it unintentionally exacerbated the famine conditions.

Quote
Stalin was more of an embarrassment to Russian History than Ivan the Terrible.
Along with great patriots like Nevsky, Dmitry Donskoi, Minin & Pozharsky, Kutuzov, Suvorov and great revolutionaries like Bolotnikov, Pugachev, Razin, Bulavin, and the martyrs of the Narodniki and People's Will, Stalin was one of the finest men in Russian history.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Elisabeth on May 01, 2009, 07:56:51 PM
Quote
Apologize for Stalin all you want
I don't apologize for Stalin's errors and excesses, but in fact have been strongly critical of them. I prefer a more scientific and balanced analysis of Stalin's leadership rather than deifying or demonizing him.

Quote
, but you will never erase the blood of some 30 MILLION Russian citizens he murdered on his lunatic whims without benefit of trial, evidence or even legal representation.
If you are familiar with serious scholarship by Zemskov and others, then you would know that about 500,000 alleged traitors and criminals were executed in 1937-38. Another one million died in prisons, mostly during the war. None of these actually qualify as "murder". Even the events of 1937-38 would have to be classified as judicial executions.

And it is an established fact that the 4-5 million deaths from famine of 1933 to a large extent resulted from natural causes. The most that can be said about the Russian Government is that it unintentionally exacerbated the famine conditions.

Quote
Stalin was more of an embarrassment to Russian History than Ivan the Terrible.
Along with great patriots like Nevsky, Dmitry Donskoi, Minin & Pozharsky, Kutuzov, Suvorov and great revolutionaries like Bolotnikov, Pugachev, Razin, Bulavin, and the martyrs of the Narodniki and People's Will, Stalin was one of the finest men in Russian history.

"Stalin was one of the finest men in Russian history"? You really want to be remembered for wild statements such as this? Truly, Zvezda, how can anyone reasonably or rationally respond to such an unreasonable and irrational post as yours? It's all but impossible because any reply to you will undoubtedly fall on deaf ears. You've demonstrated over and over again where you fit into the current Russian political scene. It's quite clear from your innumerable (and may I add, largely insufferable and historically inaccurate) posts that you are a stalwart, indeed a fanatical supporter of the Red-Brown (Communist-Fascist) coalition. In other words, you have everything to be ashamed of and the Russian patriots you cite here are rolling over in their graves at the very idea that you could mention Stalin's name in the same sentence as theirs. Not to mention the fact that most if not all of them would have been shot by Stalin as subversives - with your full approval, I'm sure.

Please, give it a break, you are only embarrassing yourself as the latest example of 21st-century Russian nationalism run amok. The more I read your posts, the more I think that Daniel Rancour-Laferriere's psychoanalytic theories about the Russian national identity are probably... absolutely...correct.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: LisaDavidson on May 01, 2009, 11:11:52 PM
Indeed, we have strayed very far off topic. Zvezda, I'm sure Stalin would be very proud of your doublespeak, that is before having you summarily shot for being part of some mythical plot against him.

The topic is, "No Stalin, No Hitler". Let us discuss that or let us terminate this discussion.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Zvezda on May 02, 2009, 01:41:02 PM
Quote
indeed a fanatical supporter of the Red-Brown (Communist-Fascist) coalition.

It is strongly offensive for you to slander me as a Fascist.

If I'm a supporter of the "Red-Brown Coalition", if such a thing even exists, then where does that place you? I take it that you are of the Yeltsin-Gaidar-Yabloko camp that resulted in the country's catastrophe? Basically, in Russphobes' eyes like yourself, the only thing the country can do good should be to surrender, given western monopolies control over the country's resources, limit their ambitions, and award Berezovsky a medal.


Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: LisaDavidson on May 02, 2009, 07:57:43 PM
Quote
indeed a fanatical supporter of the Red-Brown (Communist-Fascist) coalition.

It is strongly offensive for you to slander me as a Fascist.

If I'm a supporter of the "Red-Brown Coalition", if such a thing even exists, then where does that place you? I take it that you are of the Yeltsin-Gaidar-Yabloko camp that resulted in the country's catastrophe? Basically, in Russphobes' eyes like yourself, the only thing the country can do good should be to surrender, given western monopolies control over the country's resources, limit their ambitions, and award Berezovsky a medal.




As much as I disagree with most of your postings, I think it's fair to allow you to defend yourself against being called a Fascist, something most Communists would find objectionable.

Having done so, if I don't see any further on topic discussion, I'll get this topic shut down.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Elisabeth on May 03, 2009, 05:45:30 AM
I apologize if my previous post did not seem relevant to the topic at hand, but frankly I think it is. No Stalin, no Hitler? is the question. It is still relevant to this day. Are we about to see emerge from the current economic and political chaos that is the Russian Federation a new Stalin or a new Hitler? I would respond yes, quite possibly. It is a very real threat. Furthermore, I would argue that in Russia's current political climate, the new leader who could emerge could be both a new Stalin and a new Hitler, that is, he could very well be a Russian nationalist who embodied some of the worst traits of both the Nazi and the Communist parties.

It's no secret that Russian left-wing and right-wing extremists have found common ground for political rabble-rousing in recent years. One of their chief points in common is Russian nationalism (it could also be called Russian chauvinism), combined with the glorification of Stalin as a great leader of Russia, perhaps Russia's greatest leader ever.

But this is no surprise. Communism and Nazism have always shared many deplorable tenets and practices, even aside from mass murder. As Victor Klemperer wrote in his famous diary in December 1933, "I have again and again emphasized that in the end I equate National Socialism and Communism: both are materialistic and tyrannical, both disregard and negate the freedom of the spirit and of the individual" (I Will Bear Witness, 1933-1941: A Diary of the Nazi Years, New York: Modern Library, 1999, p. 45).

Our great misfortune as human beings is that the legacies of Communism and Nazism live on to this day.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: LisaDavidson on May 03, 2009, 09:43:48 AM
Elisabeth, your posts have been very much on topic for the most part.

I happen to agree with you that National Socialism and the USSR were regretfully similar in the way they trampled over the individual.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: JStorey on May 03, 2009, 12:25:55 PM
Can we go back to discussing Chernyshevsky?  That was more fun.  We could rename the post:  "No Chernyshevsky, No Lenin, No Stalin, No Hitler"
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Elisabeth on May 03, 2009, 03:40:04 PM
Can we go back to discussing Chernyshevsky?  That was more fun.  We could rename the post:  "No Chernyshevsky, No Lenin, No Stalin, No Hitler"

Hi, J, good to see you back! But let me assure you, I don't for a minute equate Chernyshevsky with Lenin, Stalin, or Hitler. As evidenced by his famous novel, Chernyshevsky was a man brimming with good intentions and love for humanity. To put it mildly, I don't think that description quite fits the above-mentioned major tyrants of the twentieth century. Lenin might have been inspired by What Is to Be Done? but he obviously interpreted it in his own unique way, i.e., no doubt not in the way Chernyshevsky had intended. I don't think we should blame writers and artists for the bad deeds their work might seem to inspire in some very mentally unstable or just plain evil people.

On the subject of Russian or even Soviet literature: I do love Mayakovsky. He's so masculine, so strong in a very male way and yet vulnerable at the same time. (What could be more touching to a female reader than a title like A Cloud in Trousers?) Mayakovsky always tried to project this very macho, revolutionary, super-Communist image, and of course a large part of that image was true to life, but it wasn't sufficient to mask the individualist and human being underneath. I'd like to think that no one who really believed as he said he did in shooting counterrevolutionaries in the back could write a poem like his last one, "Past One O'Clock..."  But then of course I must be right because there's no evidence whatsoever of Mayakovsky ever shooting anyone, and no doubt he had plenty of opportunities. In the end he only shot himself.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: JStorey on May 03, 2009, 04:04:27 PM
Sorry, I have a bit of a dry sense of humor.  I was joking.  I find the topic a little absurd.

Chernyshevsky I could discuss forever.  I was and am highly influenced by what he had to say; his novel helped shape my world view.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Elisabeth on May 03, 2009, 04:18:22 PM
Sorry, I have a bit of a dry sense of humor.  I was joking.  I find the topic a little absurd.

Chernyshevsky I could discuss forever.  I was and am highly influenced by what he had to say; his novel helped shape my world view.

Never fear, I got the joke, J, but I also got the fact that you could indeed discuss Chernyshevsky "forever"!

Perhaps a more interesting and serious topic would be, to expand on the title of a famous book by the historian Theodore H. Von Laue, "Why Lenin? Why Stalin?" and indeed, "Why Hitler?" Would anyone else be interested if I started a new thread?
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: JStorey on May 03, 2009, 05:37:55 PM
Replacing "No" with "Why" would, in my mind, bring this particular thread to a satisfactory end.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: LisaDavidson on May 10, 2009, 09:45:31 PM
Sorry, I have a bit of a dry sense of humor.  I was joking.  I find the topic a little absurd.

Chernyshevsky I could discuss forever.  I was and am highly influenced by what he had to say; his novel helped shape my world view.

Never fear, I got the joke, J, but I also got the fact that you could indeed discuss Chernyshevsky "forever"!

Perhaps a more interesting and serious topic would be, to expand on the title of a famous book by the historian Theodore H. Von Laue, "Why Lenin? Why Stalin?" and indeed, "Why Hitler?" Would anyone else be interested if I started a new thread?

Yes.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Colm on July 03, 2009, 05:34:30 PM
Hi  Colm,
Thank you for your reply!
Since we all weren't there!
I thought it might be fair to invite a Polish opinion and asked a friend to give us his take/opinion on
this, because all WE can do is assume - what they went through and or feel!
He strongly suggests to read this book http://www.sprawahonoru.com/SwiatoweWydania.htm
he says it explains the events to those who are interested in it!
Title
"A QUESTION OF HONOR"
By
LYNNE OLSON & STANLEY CLOUD 2003

Maybe somebody would be so kind and translate his comments,
since I can't read Polish!

Nie trzeba byc wykwalifikowanym historykiem zeby rozumiec sprawy takimi jakie sa na prawde . Tego co wielu ludzi dowiedzialo sie z zaklamanych ksiazek do historii lub komercyjnych programow TV nie mozna nazwac lekcja historii,ale wypadalo by posluchac ludzi ktorzy poniekad byli w to zaangazowani. Historie Polski i jej stosunki z Rosja rozumieja sami Polacy ( w tym Ja) i potrafia ocenic ja prawdziwie gdyz to nas polakow dotyczyla ta nie ciekawa historia. rosja nigdy nie wyzwolila Polski spod niemieckiej niewoli , to czynny opor min. polakow i globalnych rozmiarow wojna doprowadzila do upadku nazistowskich Niemiec. Rosja wykorzystala sutuacje w ktorej znalazla sie na w pol "zywa"   Polska i nie "pomogla " Polsce wyzwolic sie z pod okupacji niemieckiej ale, zagarnela Polske pod takim haslem na 60 lat wprowadzajac ustroj koministyczny z marionetkowym rzadem slurzacym Rosji. Zrobila tak tez z innymi panstwami  nazywanymi pozniej republikami. Tak wyglada prawda a nie telewizyjne lub ksiazkowe ukladanie histori . Jak wiemy :" historie pisza zwyciescy". Sprawa Angli to drugi temat jednak bardzo spojny, odwoluje wszystkich to lektury  http://www.sprawahonoru.com/  opisujaca historie polski i polskich pilotow bioracych udzial w bitwie o Anglie. Ksiazka napisana zostala przez dwoch amerykanskich pisarzy. Orginal dostepny w jezyku angielski. Kawal dobrej prawdziwej histori.

  
I eventually got around to having this translated, well at least the important points,included  in the post, it says history is written by the winners,, it also mentions that Russia ruled Poland for 60 years, through puppet governments and communism,post WW2, it also mentions the brave Polish fighter pilots of the R.A.F.
It goes off topic, what has that got to do with the thread, discussion on, no Stalin no Hitler,  a direct contradiction of what made them both merge, the answer is imperialism,
and royalty.
  
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: bkohatl on July 04, 2009, 07:52:47 PM
Oliver Cromwell "invaded" Ireland and created a great swath of death and destruction, purely out of religious hatred. And make no mistake about it, Oliver Cromwell was a VICIOUS CHRISTIAN.  He would murder men, women, children, babies, so he could steal their land and give it to his Puritan supporters. Many people forget that the Puritans fled persecution in England, because they had been persecutors themselves: after the fall of Cromwell, it was payback time.
As to Stalin and Hitler, if World War I could have been avoided, I'm convinced that there would have been no Lenin, Stalin or Hitler, because Stolypin's reforms would have worked given enough time.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: Lyss on July 21, 2009, 11:05:36 AM
Stolypin was killed in 1911, 3 years before WWI. So maybe if he wouldn't have been killed... But you know, we can go on forever with the "what and ifs".
I haven't studied Stolypin thoroughly, but I don't think that Stolypin's reforms would have worked. He was not a democrat, he wanted to strengthen the tsarist state by undermining the autocracy (shifting power from the court to the national institutions) which created enemies from above (the court). Second, he ordered lots of deportations, executions and abolishments of any critics which created enemies amongst the educated classes. Third, he was so occupied by changing the system and wanting to transform the lower classes into the new system which he had in mind, that to my opinion, if he had lived, he would have gotten the same problem as communism: forcing a system from above without talking to the people and considering what they want or need or even how they live is not gonna work. Except for one point: communism had more adherents, Stolypin was alone. When he died, all his reforms died with him.
I think he started well but after a while just got buried in his own ideas that he forgot to communicate, look for compromise. You can not force something from above without first connecting with the people you want to reform.

This way you can compare Stolypin and even communism with today's failing development aid. I'll give a short recent example from Liberia: western developmentworkers were trying to introduce a new, more resistant rice variety to better the farmer's situation. So they gathered the men together, held a long speech about why this ricevariety was better and should be planted, afterwards they send the men home. After the harvesting season was over, they came back and realized that none of the rice they introduced had been sown.
What was the problem. Well, the growing of rice is a women's business in Liberia. Men have nothing to do with it.The women can recognise 30 different kinds of rice by eye. Since the developmentworkers assumed the men were in charge, the women never heard the explanation and when the men came home with the new rice, the women cooked it.

What I'm trying to explain with this little anecdote is that if you try to force something on people (even when you have good intentions) it doesn't work unless you first connect with them (the importance of anthropology). First you have to understand, then teach and the suggest

I think that even if Stalin wouldn't' have existed, there were plenty others (Trotsky?) to take his place and act "from above", maybe not so many would have been killed, who knowes. I don't.
Title: Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
Post by: klava1985 on November 22, 2009, 06:36:03 PM
To Elisabeth's point about whether the new Russia is a Stalin or a Hitler, I too am creeped out by what I see. However, I don't think Putin and his minions will engage in mass murder on anywhere near the scale we have seen in the past. Why? Because they don't need to. They are secure in their power *and in the direction of the flow of wealth*. They'll kill off an occasional journalist, including my good friend Paul Klebnikov (who wrote a lot about the gangster structure in Russia and how the whole Chechen conflict was really a turf war between the Chechen and Moscow-based (topped by Yelstin) mobs. I don't doubt they would roll into a province and subdue it, but I don't think you'll see the kind of democide (nice term) you saw in the past.

China on the other hand...there's something to really worry about.