Author Topic: No Stalin, no Hitler?  (Read 87516 times)

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Offline dmitri

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Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
« Reply #135 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. 

Offline Lyss

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Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
« Reply #136 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.
Never attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by ignorance or stupidity.

Offline Greenowl

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Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
« Reply #137 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.

Offline Greenowl

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Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
« Reply #138 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?


Offline Colm

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Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
« Reply #139 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?

Offline dmitri

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Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
« Reply #140 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.

Offline klava1985

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Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
« Reply #141 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.

Offline Lyss

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Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
« Reply #142 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?
Never attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by ignorance or stupidity.

Offline Lyss

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Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
« Reply #143 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.
Never attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by ignorance or stupidity.

Offline Greenowl

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Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
« Reply #144 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.

rgellately

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Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
« Reply #145 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

Offline dmitri

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Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
« Reply #146 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.

rgellately

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Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
« Reply #147 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." 

Offline dmitri

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Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
« Reply #148 on: November 12, 2007, 12:31:45 AM »
Good for you. I'm glad you also have an interest in history. Vive la difference.

rgellately

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Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
« Reply #149 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