Author Topic: No Stalin, no Hitler?  (Read 87512 times)

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Offline Colm

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Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
« Reply #150 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 

Offline Lyss

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Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
« Reply #151 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?
Never attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by ignorance or stupidity.

Offline Robert_Hall

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Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
« Reply #152 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


 
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Offline Colm

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Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
« Reply #153 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
« Last Edit: November 13, 2007, 06:33:03 PM by Colm »

rgellately

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Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
« Reply #154 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


rgellately

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Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
« Reply #155 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.


Offline Robert_Hall

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Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
« Reply #156 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.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2009, 10:12:09 PM by Alixz »
Life may not be the party we expected, but while we are here, might as well dance..

Do you want the truth, or my side of the story ?- Hank Ketchum.

rgellately

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Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
« Reply #157 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. 

Offline Robert_Hall

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Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
« Reply #158 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
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Offline Peter C

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Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
« Reply #159 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.


rgellately

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Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
« Reply #160 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...




rgellately

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Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
« Reply #161 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.   

Offline Robert_Hall

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Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
« Reply #162 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
Life may not be the party we expected, but while we are here, might as well dance..

Do you want the truth, or my side of the story ?- Hank Ketchum.

Offline Peter C

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Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
« Reply #163 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.

rgellately

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Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
« Reply #164 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...