Author Topic: No Stalin, no Hitler?  (Read 92051 times)

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Offline Peter C

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Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
« Reply #165 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.

Offline Colm

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Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
« Reply #166 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
« Last Edit: November 17, 2007, 10:51:42 AM by Colm »

Offline Lyss

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Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
« Reply #167 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?
Never attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by ignorance or stupidity.

rgellately

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Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
« Reply #168 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.   

Offline Colm

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Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
« Reply #169 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.
 >:(
 
« Last Edit: November 18, 2007, 01:47:06 PM by Colm »

rgellately

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Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
« Reply #170 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.

Offline Robert_Hall

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Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
« Reply #171 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
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 Colm

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Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
« Reply #172 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
« Last Edit: November 20, 2007, 09:08:56 AM by Colm »

Offline Colm

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Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
« Reply #173 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

Offline Robert_Hall

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Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
« Reply #174 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
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 Lyss

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Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
« Reply #175 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
Never attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by ignorance or stupidity.

Offline Peter C

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Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
« Reply #176 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.

Offline Peter C

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Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
« Reply #177 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.


Offline Peter C

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Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
« Reply #178 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.

rgellately

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Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
« Reply #179 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.