I haven’t read the book, but did run across a review of it in Salon (of all places). I ended up spending most of that night in the comments section, full of deniers, skeptics, apologists, relativists, “pure” ideologues or “pure” communists, or both. In truth, if I understood the intent of the book’s author, it was to put Hitler’s depredations in historical context and identify then as equal too, or on par with, Stalin’s precedent.
Unfortunately, the reviewer (stalwart lefty that he is) while sympathetic to the thesis, soft pedals the analysis as a potentially doctrinaire dispute between competing theories of historical interpretation. Moreover while struck by the enormity and scale of the forced Ukrainian Famine-Genocide, and emotionally flayed by explicit and retching descriptions of wide-spread cannibalism, the reviewer devolves into a discourse on the depth of depravity to which mankind can descend, rather than focusing on the inconceivable hell-on-earth created and caused by Stalin and his committed, kulak killing and collectivizing cadres.
The sheer scope of this modern-day horror is absolutely staggering. Leave aside the mass deportations, mass purges and mass executions; targeting clerics, educators, intellectuals – the leaders of the Ukrainian nation. At Stalin’s command, the borders of Ukraine were closed, and hundreds of thousands of party activists decamped to Ukraine’s villages (in the “Bread Basket of Europe) and forcibly removed all food, food stuffs and seed grains, resulting in death by forced starvation of five to seven million people. Ukraine’s “death-toll” caused by the glories of Communism may total as much as seven to ten million lives. Tens of millions of sheep, goats, pigs, cows, horses and other livestock greatly exacerbated and extended the suffering and loss of life.
There is no question that this was planned and predetermined. 97%-98% of these fatalities occurred in 1932-1933, and 90-95% of all deaths within the ethnographic boundaries of Ukraine.
I have always equated Hitler’s relationship with Stalin to that of mentor and protégé’. Hitler literally followed Lenin’s roadmap for immediate establishment of a Secret Police, the State’s mechanisms of terror and concentration camps. First by targeting and destroying his political allies, then political his opponents, and finally moving on to the class and race enemies. It’s still genocide, no matter the ideological justification.
And most of all, the one thing I always come back to. The Holocaust never happened! If not for Eisenhower, if not for the timing of the war’s end, Hitler would have succeeded in copying Stalin once more.
To this day, (see Salon article above) apologists, fellow travelers and ideologues continue to maintain that any “famine” is exaggerated, that other individuals or factors other than Stalin (nee Hitler) are responsible for whatever degradation occurred, that there are no written orders as evidence, and certainly with the park like settings of Treblinka and Sobibor, no physical evidence would exist of the attempt to liquidate European Jewry. (or the Ukrainian people).
While Stalin, by and large, actually succeeded (in large measure aided and abetted by Walter Duranty, the NYT and Roosevelt’s “communists in the government” third column) in white-washing history and hiding a Holocaust of his own making, from the eyes of the world and the conscience of history.
Thanks to Robert Conquest and individuals like the author of Bloodlands, one of the largest mass-murders in history, and the genocide he perpetrated on the Ukrainian people, is finally seeing the light of day.
Seventy-five years is not too long to wait.
Round Two tomorrow.