Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Terrible Toll (III)

Here's a follow up to yesterday's post on the book post on the book Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin by Timothy Snyder and the disparate attention given to the roles that the Nazis and Soviets played in the bloodletting. Round Two from the Crazy Uke:

The problem with this book for the Left is that it objectively and historically puts both dictators on an equal footing. In turn, this thesis neuters and disarms the Left’s campaign to demonize the right by labeling them as Nazi’s (national SOCIALISTS, right?!?!) and then effectively demonstrates that the Marxist-leftist Soviet paradigm was EVEN MORE EVIL!!!

The ignorance of history, and the willful (intentional?) shuttering of intellectual inquiry regarding this “inter-war” period is most distressing and disappointing, specially given my parochial (Ukrainian) interests. The exigencies of a World at War, and the “Romanization” of American actions and intentions, completely overshadow the historical fact that Stalin and Hitler jointly started World War II with their jointly coordinated invasion of Poland. The dictators also jointly conspired to divide the “Spoils of War’ (i.e. Poland) under the terms of a secret (Molotov-Ribbentrop) Pact. That’s NOT the history of Uncle Joe Stalin we all remember, or were taught.

Soviet cooperation with their Nazi brethren post-Kristallnacht, (see J. Goldberg - “brown on the outside, red on the inside”) included significant amounts of the raw materials needed to feed and grow Germany’s armies. Ironically enough, this economic collusion enabled Hitler’s invasion (via Ukraine) of the USSR. Stalin was so into his new BFF Hitler, that he intentionally decimated the Soviet Army General Officer Corp via purges, literally on the eve of Operation Barbarossa. The largest military defeat in history; the encirclement, surrender and death of over 700,000 Soviet soldiers at Kiev, Ukraine can be laid directly at Stalin’s feet. Again, in war as in peace, both of these depraved demons disregarded human decency and somewhere between 90-95% of both German and Soviet held POW’s died in captivity, due to disease, deprivation, deportation or starvation.

Genocidal habits die hard apparently. Witness Hitler’s order for the Final Solution, which continued operating with brutal efficiency even as Germany was being defeated. Or Stalin’s treatment of a half-million (forcibly!) repatriated Soviet citizens – post-war survivors of slave laborer, conscription, POW’s, refugees, etc., virtually all of whom where eradicated in the Gulag. Last but not least, the fight against “Cosmopolitism”, the purge which was being prepared by Stalin in 1952-53, (history suggests a possible anti-Semitic theme, i.e. the ‘Doctor’s Plot”) just before his untimely expiration.

Sounds like this is a book I should read.

It's a book that a lot of people--especially those with short or selective memories--should read.