Author Topic: No Stalin, no Hitler?  (Read 100203 times)

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Robert_Hall

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Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
« Reply #285 on: February 27, 2009, 07:42:19 PM »
Cathy, what was the point of your post?  No one is denying the  horrible abuses of either regime.  The focus is on the control and personalities of these  2 men. At least, that is how I see it.

Offline Cathy

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Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
« Reply #286 on: February 27, 2009, 07:57:40 PM »
Information only - no opinions!

Robert_Hall

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Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
« Reply #287 on: February 27, 2009, 08:06:24 PM »
OK.  I think this, or something vry similiar was shown in the UK last year or so.
  However,  this does bring up the point of which was more brutal, in a way.  Hitler slaughetred many more Poles than Stalin ever did. [Amongst a lot of other peoples]  And was the agressor. Stalin,  was repressive as well but I do not think quite as determined until pushed.  When Stalin's counter-attack  came, it was brutal. Vengence, retalliation, justice? The Fall of Berlin by Beever is a day-by-record of the viciousness of the conflict.

antti

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Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
« Reply #288 on: February 28, 2009, 02:40:00 AM »
This has been very interesting discussion to follow. Which one is more evil Stalin or Hitler? My personal opinion is of course - Stalin. This is purely to my disgust to Bolshevism, Leninism, Stalinist, communism, socialism or whatever anybody wants to call it (same thing just a little different cover) and the enormous human suffering that came with it. This question has many times linked hear with question of II World War. Who started it, who is responsible of it.
My opinion is Hitler and Stalin both  are equally responsible of starting and allowing it to happen in Europe. Signing of the nonaggression pact in 1939 (Molotov-Rippentrop) and the secret protocol which gave Soviet Union basically free hands in eastern Poland, Baltic countries and Finland and Germany western Poland  and the rest of the Europe made the war possible.
In autumn 1939 Germany started the war and captured the western Poland. Two weeks later Soviet Union did the same and captured eastern Poland. At the same time soviet forced Baltic countries to negotiations to give them military bases. Balts gave in and basically were invaded. finally game Finlands turn and was called on negotiations to Moscow to give up land and military bases from Finland. Finland refused and on 30Th of November Soviet bombs started to drop down in Helsinki and other cityes - so called Winter War had started. Finland at that time had a population of less than 4 million was attacked by a nation of population of more than 140 million. For this aggression Soviet Union was expelled from the League of Nations. The whole world was amazed when they learned that a little Finland could resist the biggest military power of the world. Of course soon the numbers started to talk and Finland was forced for the peace in March 1940. Finland lost some of it's territory but kept it democratic institutions and independence.
In 1940 Hitler continued his invasions to Denmark, Norway and so on. But what is interesting Hitler did not give order to his generals to plan the invasion against Soviet Union until the disastrous Winter war which showed the world the real state of the Red army.

So let's return to question which one is more evil. By all means Stalin. Which one is more responsible for the II World War in Europe- they both are equally responsible.

Paul

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Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
« Reply #289 on: February 28, 2009, 02:26:46 PM »
Finland was a classic case of a country that did what it had to in order to survive. The fact that it remained the only functioning democracy that bordered the "Evil Empire" makes its achievement even more laudable. More power to them!

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

 

Robert_Hall

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Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
« Reply #290 on: February 28, 2009, 03:26:00 PM »
Well, the topic of this thread is not about which was worse, but if the were no Stalin would there have been no Hitler. Obviously we have  segued into various side topics. such as- Elisabeth, I received the book Totalitarian Art from Australia.  My, a hefty tome it is indeed! I am just skimming through it for now, as it will take time to read the entire work.  But it does illustrate both our views, that is the similarities  n for for pretty much the same purposes and the trend in art at that time was generally universal. Just just amongst the totalitarian regimes.
 And Paul, yes,  Hitler was  more "fashionable" in a way. He utilised that trend  for a good show. On the other hand, Stalin also used image to demonstrate the people overcoming centuries of imperial repression and  achieving the goal of communism for the common good.  Also to illustrate the evil obstructionism of the capitalists.
 But, to go back to the original subject of this thread, with or without Stalin, Hitler would have still come to power and fulfilled his agenda.  Communism was just another scapegoat to him, not Stalin himself. Hitler's main argument was the injustice of  the WWI terms of surrender and the subsequent treaties.

Elisabeth

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Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
« Reply #291 on: March 05, 2009, 01:20:38 PM »
Well, the topic of this thread is not about which was worse, but if the were no Stalin would there have been no Hitler. Obviously we have  segued into various side topics. such as- Elisabeth, I received the book Totalitarian Art from Australia.  My, a hefty tome it is indeed! I am just skimming through it for now, as it will take time to read the entire work.  But it does illustrate both our views, that is the similarities  n for for pretty much the same purposes and the trend in art at that time was generally universal. Just just amongst the totalitarian regimes.
 And Paul, yes,  Hitler was  more "fashionable" in a way. He utilised that trend  for a good show. On the other hand, Stalin also used image to demonstrate the people overcoming centuries of imperial repression and  achieving the goal of communism for the common good.  Also to illustrate the evil obstructionism of the capitalists.
 But, to go back to the original subject of this thread, with or without Stalin, Hitler would have still come to power and fulfilled his agenda.  Communism was just another scapegoat to him, not Stalin himself. Hitler's main argument was the injustice of  the WWI terms of surrender and the subsequent treaties.

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

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

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

Oh, and thank you, Antti, for bringing up the Russo-Finnish War. Yet another case of Stalin's aggression. My grandparents were Finnish Americans. Understandably, they hated and despised Stalin and the Soviet Union.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2009, 01:25:58 PM by Elisabeth »

Robert_Hall

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Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
« Reply #292 on: March 05, 2009, 02:00:15 PM »
OK, let's give it a go then...Hitler's plans were outlined long before he even heard of Stalin, in Mein Kampf.  Besides the "living room" in the East, he wanted revenge against the West for his perceived injustice to Germany from WWI. As for Stalin, well, I have never said he was an angel nor much of a hero.  There is no denying that the massive communal farms were a disaster and that  his massive industrialisation projects, although successful at the time, are now  either rusting or otherwise falling apart.  His oppression was indeed brutal and unjust, but law & order were enforced. He was unprepared for Hitler's double cross but he saved the USSR from  Nazi occupation at great cost to the people. But, they rallied, much like FDR rallied the US, Churchill the UK and Commonwealth. That was the brilliance of his leadership. There is also a massive difference between Hitler's extermination camps and Stalin's "relocation" policies. I would not be so naive as to justify either, though. Stalin's reorganisation of the Soviet state has lasted to this day. Admittedly, it could use some streamlining, which I think is slowing happening, but it has kept the country running for well  over 70 years now. Stalin has a mixed positive/negative memory [at least in Russia], whereas Hitler is just plain negative.
 I am sure you, nor anyone here, would want to read my opinion on the Russian-Finnish war, so I will not get into that.
  The book on totalitarian art- I love it. Not an easy read, to be sure, I have barely touched the text itself, only 2 chapters and am still a bit bewildered. And, it is a translation!  Marlene, on another thread has discussed what a published goes through for a translation. In this case, it is certainly worth it. Thank you very much for bring the book to my attention.

Zvezda

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Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
« Reply #293 on: March 05, 2009, 02:11:12 PM »
Concerning the outbreak of World War II, to put any blame on Stalin is a bit over the top. It were the Western powers, in the guise of nonintervention and neutrality, that pursued a policy of abetting the fascist aggressors. They calculated on diverting the threat of war from their countries, using Russia to destroy their imperialist rivals, and then destroying Russia with the help of these same rivals. They gambled on a mutual exhaustion of Russia and fascist Germany in a protracted and destructive war.

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

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

Quote
You don't think that perhaps some of those "excesses, errors, and distortions that arose from his leadership" were reflected in the officially approved art of the Stalinist period? Why can't, indeed, why shouldn't we compare the art of one totalitarian regime to that of another?
The very concept of "totalitarian art" is questionable.  For example, there is nothing "totalitarian" about the Soviet-era mass-song "Katyusha", which is now among the most popular songs of Russian culture. In literature, "Silent Don" by Sholokhov became a literary classic comparable to "War and Peace." Soviet-era art reflects the very best of Russian culture.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2009, 02:27:26 PM by Zvezda »

Robert_Hall

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Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
« Reply #294 on: March 05, 2009, 02:36:56 PM »
I would agree here with Zvezda about the art.  I have come no where near finishing the book, but my point all along has been it was the style odf the times, in all countries.  Not just totalitarian regimes.

Zvezda

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Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
« Reply #295 on: March 05, 2009, 02:48:35 PM »
Concerning the outbreak of World War II, to put any blame on Stalin is a bit over the top. It were the Western powers, in the guise of nonintervention and neutrality, that pursued a policy of abetting the fascist aggressors. They calculated on diverting the threat of war from their countries, using Russia to destroy their imperialist rivals, and then destroying Russia with the help of these same rivals. They gambled on a mutual exhaustion of Russia and fascist Germany in a protracted and destructive war.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Many people in eastern Poland greeted the Red Army as liberators from Polish rule, which cannot be said about the Germans and western Poland.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2009, 02:56:38 PM by Zvezda »

Elisabeth

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Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
« Reply #296 on: March 05, 2009, 05:55:29 PM »
The very concept of "totalitarian art" is questionable.  For example, there is nothing "totalitarian" about the Soviet-era mass-song "Katyusha", which is now among the most popular songs of Russian culture. In literature, "Silent Don" by Sholokhov became a literary classic comparable to "War and Peace." Soviet-era art reflects the very best of Russian culture.

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

In fact it would seem that the only great writers the Soviet Union ever produced were those who utterly rejected communism and all its works... I'm speaking of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and Joseph Brodsky, who both suffered exile from their native land as a result of their outspoken views.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2009, 06:06:42 PM by Elisabeth »

Offline Greenowl

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Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
« Reply #297 on: March 06, 2009, 05:03:57 AM »

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

What about Boris Pasternak? I always thought that he was rather good and he did win the Nobel Prize for literature. Another of my favourites, although probably not in the same league, is the recently deceased Chingiz Aitmatov.

Zvezda

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Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
« Reply #298 on: March 06, 2009, 02:58:46 PM »
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In fact it would seem that the only great writers the Soviet Union ever produced were those who utterly rejected communism and all its works
Gorky was perhaps the finest writer Russia ever had.

Elisabeth

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Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
« Reply #299 on: March 08, 2009, 02:39:23 PM »
Pasternak, Gorky, Akhmatova, Tsvetaeva, Mandelshtam, Blok, etc., all came of age in the decades immediately preceding the revolutions of 1917, and were already well established as famous authors by 1917. None of them can be described as products of the Soviet system. Even Mikhail Bulgakov (b. 1891) of The Master and Margarita fame, was educated under the imperial system and came to prominence in the decade immediately following the October Revolution. And he can hardly be described as a devoted supporter of the new Bolshevik regime.

I agree with Green Owl that Chingiz Aitmatov (b. 1928) is a distinguished writer, although I wouldn't describe him as a writer of the first rank. I repeat, the only truly great writers the Soviet Union ever produced during its brief lifespan were Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (born December 1918) and Joseph Brodsky (born 1940). And both of them heartily rejected the Soviet system in toto, as indeed did most of the great writers I mentioned above.
« Last Edit: March 08, 2009, 02:54:00 PM by Elisabeth »