Author Topic: No Stalin, no Hitler?  (Read 100204 times)

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Offline RichC

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Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
« Reply #270 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. 

Elisabeth

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Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
« Reply #271 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.
 
« Last Edit: February 16, 2009, 02:05:28 PM by Elisabeth »

Offline RichC

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Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
« Reply #272 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.

Elisabeth

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Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
« Reply #273 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.
« Last Edit: February 18, 2009, 04:15:35 PM by Elisabeth »

Robert_Hall

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Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
« Reply #274 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.

Elisabeth

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Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
« Reply #275 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).
« Last Edit: February 18, 2009, 05:20:43 PM by Elisabeth »

Multiverse

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Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
« Reply #276 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.

Robert_Hall

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Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
« Reply #277 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.

Offline RichC

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Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
« Reply #278 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.

Robert_Hall

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Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
« Reply #279 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.

Silja

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Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
« Reply #280 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.

Zvezda

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Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
« Reply #281 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 (1959) and the monument to Mother Armenia (1967), in typical socialist realist style, are important landmarks for my nation.

Elisabeth

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Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
« Reply #282 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.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2009, 10:20:03 AM by Elisabeth »

Robert_Hall

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Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
« Reply #283 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.

Offline Cathy

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Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
« Reply #284 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."
...