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View Diary: Yes, Paul Robeson Was an Unrepentant Stalinist (175 comments)

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  •  Stalin? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BMarshall, Nulwee, sturunner

    worst Tyrant in history?  Where did you learn history?  Stalin was a tyrant, true, but history is long, a second tier actor by the standards of the long march of time.

    why the hyperbole?

    Those who hear not the music-think the dancers mad

    by Eiron on Sun Jan 23, 2011 at 03:53:19 PM PST

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    •  If you don't think he was one of the worst (4+ / 0-)
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      Yosef 52, kalmoth, pvlb, Mariken

      i have no idea who would be. He was responsible for the deaths of millions -- more even than Hitler.

      •  I've noticed that the people who charge (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BMarshall, sturunner

        death in the Soviet Union and surroundings from 1923 to 1945 soley to Stalin's personal account, which you have to do to reach this talley, generally have a political, virulently anti-left agenda for doing do.

        A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger (Proverbs 15:1)

        by Boreal Ecologist on Sun Jan 23, 2011 at 04:13:53 PM PST

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        •  Is evil to be measured strictly in numbers? (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Yosef 52, kalmoth, Eiron

          Pol Pot not quite as bad, because there were less people killed? Idi Amin? The horrible deaths in Rwanda, are these arguments?

          So yeah, Stalin systematically arranged the murder of millions, but more slowly over a longer period of time.

          Does this somehow make him less evil?

          If Pol Pot, Idi Amin and Stalin had reversed places, would any of them be more or less evil to lives of those who suffered? Do you think Pol Pot and Idi Amin killed all those people by their own hands?

        •  Huh? (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Yosef 52, kalmoth, satanicpanic

          death in the Soviet Union and surroundings from 1923 to 1945 soley to Stalin's personal account, which you have to do to reach this talley, generally have a political, virulently anti-left agenda for doing do.

          Stalin was in charge of the for most of the period and I believe that he set the policies that resulted in most of those deaths.  It's hard to see how you could say he's not responsible.

          Yes, anti-communism is something that pops up frequently on the right but that doesn't mean that communist governments didn't enact horrors on a truly epic scale during the 20th century.

          •  And one of those policies was expending (0+ / 0-)

            millions of lives to fight Hitler . . .

            Lives that the western allies were thereby spared, I suppose one could argue.

            The gratuitous killing of millions more of his subjects out of spite or worse, of course, is hard to justify no matter what color the sky is in one's world.

            •  This is complete BS (1+ / 0-)
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              Yosef 52

              Stalin didn't decide to fight the Nazis. How do you otherwise explain the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact and the fact, that Stalin was taken by surprise, when we (I'm German) attacked them?
              The policy goal of the Nazis was to kill more or less every single Russian. There was no alternative to fight, no possibility to capitulate and survive. If the Soviet Union had lost the war, roughly the same would have happened to Russians, what happened to the Jews before.

              If there is a person, whom you should thank for the fact, that it were eastern Europeans and not Americans, who died in the double digit millions, it is Neville Chamberlain.

              •  Stalin and Hitler always "planned" to (1+ / 0-)
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                stlsophos

                fight each other - I learned that from the History & Military Channels (which have about 27 hours of Nazi-related programming on each day . . .).

                And they often have narrators with British accents to give the presentation just that much more gravitas - so, I'm quite certain they know what they're talking about.

        •  when i get *ad hominem* attacks leveled (1+ / 0-)
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          Yosef 52

          against me I know I have won the argument.

          The facts are simple, there for all to see: Lenin ran a brutal police state. Trotsky was his right hand man. But neither engaged in mass slaughter of millions. Stalin did. His rule in the Soviet Union from the mid 1920s until his death in 1953 was personal and total. Would that Trotsky had been a bit more brutal; he could have marched the Red Army on Moscow and overthrown Stalin.

          Why are you defending him?

          I'm not virulently anti-left. I'm virulently anti-communist. And I make absolutely no apologies for it. And if you dispute me I'll have you explain to some people I know who escaped communist tyranny.

          •  Would that Trotsky had. (2+ / 0-)
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            BMarshall, Deoliver47

            However, this is not an ad-hominem attack, Charlie. It was an expression of dismay that we here need to rehash this history one more time.

            My reading is that Stalin's rule was not as personal and total as people assume....of course this is true of every large modern state.  

            The diarists hatred of Stalin is so extreme that he is bent on charging countless deaths inflicted by the Germans to Stalin's account, for instance, because of military treaties. One could as reasonably charge those deaths to the victors of WWI or to the architects of the Treaty of Westphalia.

            As for the Ukraine and he kulaks, let's discuss the tens if not hundreds of millions who have starved in the past century because of protectionist agricultural policies pursued by the western europe and the USA. Who do we personally blame for those? That's the kind of thing I am objecting to. The people directly killed by Stalin's orders add up to a plenty big enough pile.

            I am not defending Stalin, except in the trivial sense of pointing out that people who insist 80yrs later on his transcendent evil typically have an agenda. As for instance, virulent anti-communism. Which for decades, up until the present day, has been and is still used to bash any vaguely leftist policy. I am sick of it. Maybe you don't do this, charliehall2 (I don't think you do) but thousands have.  Including the diarist, who just can't leave it alone.

            A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger (Proverbs 15:1)

            by Boreal Ecologist on Sun Jan 23, 2011 at 04:38:30 PM PST

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      •  Main Stream historicans disagree with you (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Oh Mary Oh

        Usually for Hitler all the 50-55 million victims of WWII are counted. For Stalin "only" roughly 20 million people are counted as victims.
        Perhaps you mean communism, not just Stalin. Mao is often made responsible (in my opinion correctly) for considerably more dead people due to policies, that produced extreme famine (and ~80 million dead).

    •  I said, "ONE of the worst". (4+ / 0-)
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      shpilk, Mariken, hpchicago, charliehall2

      As for where I learned my history, it was at Illinois State University, Northern Illinois University, and the University of Illinois at Chicago.

      Stalin's forced collectivization campaign, which he himself casually noted killed more people than the First World War, probably devoured the lives of 12-14 million people, including 5-7 million victims of famine in the Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and the Don River basin of Russia. The GULAG camps, which devoured, at minimum, 4 million lives (Andrei Sakharov believed the figure to be much higher) killed people through overwork, starvation, shooting, exposure, and torture. In the period 1936-39 more than 800,000 suspected "enemies of the people" were murdered OFFICIALLY, and many more unofficially. You can find the mass graves of shooting victims all over western Russia, Belorus, and Ukraine. The Soviet secret police used every method of barbaric torture they could think of, including drilling teeth with a dental drill, breaking backs with a sledgehammer, whipping genitals with wet towels, and cutting out eyes with knives.

      In 1939, Stalin cynically made a deal with Hitler, and eventually forced the Germans to hand over 20 million non-Soviet citizens to his control. The USSR helped butcher Poland in 1939, and more than 1 million Poles were murdered either in Poland itself or in the Soviet GULAG. As the Nazis pushed into the USSR in 1941, the NKVD massacred whole prisons rather than let their inmates fall into German hands. In 1943-44 Stalin uprooted whole communities of "disloyal" nationalities, such as the Chechens, and had them moved en masse to the east. Those who resisted were burned alive. After World War II, more than 1.5 million repatriated soldiers and civilians, handed over to Stalin by gullible Western authorities, were massacred. Stalin's secret police fought a long-running guerrilla war in both the Ukraine and the Baltic States, the details of which are still sketchy, to crush independence movements there. After the war Stalin waged all out war on all cultural elements displeasing to him, and was preparing a mass deportation to Siberia of Russia's surviving Jewish population.

      Oh, and I should mention the crushing of the east European states and Stalin's green light for the Korean War.

      I call that a first tier tyrant. Wouldn't you?

      If the Democrats won't fight for me, why should I fight for them?

      by Yosef 52 on Sun Jan 23, 2011 at 04:11:18 PM PST

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    •  Yes (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Yosef 52, kalmoth, ybruti, charliehall2

      worst Tyrant in history?  Where did you learn history?  Stalin was a tyrant, true, but history is long, a second tier actor by the standards of the long march of time.

      why the hyperbole?

      Estimates put Stalin's victims at something like 10-20 million.  That's about on par or more than the Holocaust which had between 11 and 14 million victims. So yeah, I'd say Stalin counts as one of the worst tyrants in history.

    •  In the top 5 of the 20th Century in anyone's book (3+ / 0-)

      I would hope .. does it really matter "the worst"?

      It's sort of like arguing if GWB is Worst President Ever.

    •  Who beats Stalin ? (1+ / 0-)
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      kalmoth

      http://users.erols.com/...

      MEDIAN: 51 million for the entire Stalin Era; 20M during the 1930s.

      AVERAGE: Of the 17 estimates of the total number of victims of Stalin, the median is 30 million.

      "brutes have risen to power, but they lie!" Charlie Chaplin

      by indycam on Sun Jan 23, 2011 at 04:18:41 PM PST

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