Stalin, Fascists and Freedom

The texts assigned for Friday’s class portray the changing views, which the Soviet Union held towards Germany and other Western nations. While the Hitler-Stalin Pact suggests a mutual understanding between the two leaders (and, by extension, their nations), the later documents paint a far different view of a ‘fascist’ Germany.

In Stalin’s speech in February 1946, he seems to align the Soviet Union with the Western world in a coalition against fascism, and describes the USSR (and other countries involved in the coalition) as freedom-loving.… Read the rest here

The Realities of Collectivization

In 1928, Joseph Stalin addressed the need for collectivization of grain farms and the procurement of grain from villages throughout the Soviet countryside. His speech, “Grain Procurements and Prospects for Development of Agriculture,” attacks villages throughout Siberia who refused to relinquish their surplus grain to the State. He cites the grain shortage occurring throughout the country, and states, “The effect will be that our towns and industrial centres, as well as our Red Army, will be in grave difficulties; they will be poorly supplied and will be threatened with hunger.… Read the rest here

Habitual Violence

In the article “States of Exception”, the authors Mark Edele and Michael Geyer examine the extraordinary and unique violence that occurred on the Eastern front, the conflict between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. The authors assert that the relationship between the two states produced the violence, and it’s escalation. They argue that “the devastating nature of this war, [they] suggest, is the consequence of the inimical interrelationship of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union”1. … Read the rest here

Habitual Terror

The In Sheila Fitzpatrick’s book Everyday Stalinism; Ordinary Life in Extraordinary Times: Soviet Russia in the 1930s, the chapter “A Time of Troubles” analyzes the nature and evolution of the Great Purges of 1937-1938. She introduces the notions of surveillance, when the State monitors its population, and terror, when the population are the target of extreme State violence, and tracks their relationship in the Soviet Union1 . She writes about how State violence, originally aimed at specific classes, eventually turned inward and escalated due to paranoia and publicity.… Read the rest here

Leadership

Leadership from the top.   Two books, Three New Deals by Wolfgang Schivelbusch and Beyond Totalitarianism, a book with a collection of works by various authors, explored the term leadership and how it applied to FDR, Hitler, and Stalin. Schivelbusch’s book two new deals focused on the connection FDR and Hitler had with its population using the term ‘charisma’ while Chapter 2 of Beyond Totalitarianism primarily focused on the political make up of Hitler and Stalin and the differences between the two men.… Read the rest here

The Importance of Totalitarianism

Friedrich and Brzezinski utilized the term totalitarian dictatorship to separate the governments of Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia from other autocracies in “Totalitarian Dictatorship and Autocracy.”  In the words of Friedrich and Brzezinski the totalitarian dictatorship “emerges as a system of rule for realizing totalist intentions under modern political and technical conditions”, or put more simply, a system of complete control using modern technology and infrastructure (17).  Published in the 1950s “Totalitarian Dictatorship and Autocracy” lost credibility with its false prophecy that the only way to neutralize a totalitarian state was from an external conflict with the destabilization of the Soviet state in the 1980s.… Read the rest here

Stalin’s Reply to Churchill

3 Observations

1. Churchill had a similar view to Hitler, believing that one racial group should control all the power.  Instead of believing the Aryans had all the power Churchill believed that English-speaking nations should rule over the world.

2. The world must notice that the Soviet Union has lost more men in German invasions then both the United States and the United Kingdom.

3. The common people are being controlled by Churchill and his party and need to think for themselves.… Read the rest here

European Dictators: The Worse of Two Evils?

While viewing pictures of the gulags on gulaghistory.org, I was reminded of the pictures of Auschwicz  I had seen in high school during our holocaust unit. The starvation, disease, and forced labor I read about on the site, as well as in the book A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich seemed reminiscent of the Nazi concentration camps.

These facts made me wonder why in American culture Joseph Stalin’s crimes often seem to be minimized.… Read the rest here