Blog Entries: 0 Joined: Sep 13, Messages: Deinhardt , Apr 6, Blog Entries: 0 Joined: Dec 19, Messages: HelmeriX , Apr 6, Agree x 2 Respectfully Disagree x 2. Blog Entries: 0 Joined: Jan 9, Messages: They absolutely did not have the same personnality and capability. Stalin was a paranoiac killing prevently his own people. This led to the great purges destroying the potential of the Red army for years, but maybe later because everyone was afraid of him, avoid a surrender. He did plenty of HUGE strategic mistakes : - he didn't want to admit than Hitler was going to attack him in and forbid any defensive preparation to its army until the very last moment - After the victory of Moscow during winter he pushed his army too far, he hoped to finish the war at that moment and losed his advantage - Then he refused to see than the German could attack south and was again in caught by surprise kharkov Battle and german caucasus campaign.
The SU was very close to total defeat at that moment. So the German could recover and gain their third and last chance to take advantage over the SU during the Kursk battle. That's not what I call a "great strategist". The ruling system based on fear didn't help him at the beginning because no one dared to argue against him. But he quickly understood that killing the failing generals will not help him, and began to just downrank them, and promote those who merited This permitted to his best marshalls and generals most important was Joukov to reach high ranks and helped him to elaborate much better strategies and decisive operations like bagration.
In fact, he learned a lot during the war and didn't commit significative mistake after Hitler, was a competent strategist, but, over confident, didn't work enough to lead a superpower in many times, while his generals required very urgent authorisations to move some army, he delayed too long and was obsessed by some things, like super-on-paper but absolutely non efficient weapon see ratte p landkreuzer, or super heavy tank Maus , micro managing units from far, and over things we cant talk about So in game I did not think neither Stalin or Hitler deserve any positive traits, but I'm ok with paradox using this to balance the game.
Ffire , Apr 6, Respectfully Disagree x 16 Agree x 3 Helpful x 1. Blog Entries: 0 Joined: Oct 19, Messages: Mrakvampire , Apr 6, Agree x 5 Helpful x 3 Respectfully Disagree x 1.
Blog Entries: 0 Joined: Feb 7, Messages: Last edited: Apr 6, Agree x 1 Respectfully Disagree x 1. Agree x 5 Respectfully Disagree x 1. Respectfully Disagree x 6. Agree x 8. Agree x 3. Agree x 3 Respectfully Disagree x 3. Respectfully Disagree x 3 Helpful x 1 Agree x 1. Agree x 6 Respectfully Disagree x 1. Blog Entries: 0 Joined: Jun 6, Messages: 2. Stalin knew that war is coming, true. Everyone knew, just read any book about war written in this period. Still, Stalin expected Hitler to be more sane person to not start two-front war.
That really was a mistake, but whose first? Stalin didn't expected Hitler to attack with half of his divisions only intel provided incorrect data. Still, Stalin has gave official orders about full combat readiness and before official there also were "unofficial" ones. So, whose fault is this that ZapOVO completely ignores everything, they were ordered.ldi.mx/includes/poetry/st-peters-monsters.php
Pavlov was shot in not because Stalin fealt jealous for his military triumphs. Stalin, being a paranoic in s, killing his best military genius? Above all, and exerting its influence well beyond the Trotskyists, the Khrushchev Report served as comfort for certain Marxist left circles who felt freed from the painful task of reconsidering the theory of the masters and the history of its effects.
It is true that, rather than withering away, the state was quite oversized in the countries that communists ruled; far from dissolving, national identity assumed an increasingly important role in the conflicts that led to the final dismemberment and burial of the socialist camp; there was no sign of the abolition of money or the market, which tended to expand alongside economic development. Yes, all of this was indisputable, but the problem And so there was no reason to question the hopes or certainties that had accompanied the Bolshevik Revolution and that had referenced Marx.
Despite their opposition to each other, these political-ideological spheres elaborated an image of Stalin that begins with colossal, arbitrary abstractions. For the left, the history of Bolshevism was virtually eliminated, and the history of Marxism even more so, from the history of the person who, for longer than anyone else, held power in the country that emerged from the revolution that had been planned and carried out according to the ideas of Marx and Engels. Stalinism was the terrible term of comparison that allowed each of its opponents, by contrast, to bask in their infinite moral and intellectual superiority.
Though they were based on strikingly different abstractions, these interpretations nevertheless ended up producing a kind of methodological convergence. By investigating the terror without paying much attention to the objective situation, it was reduced to the initiative of a single personality or of a restricted class of leaders, determined to reassert their absolute power by any means necessary. Admittedly, this mode of argument begins with a comparison of countries and leaders with very different characteristics, but should this diversity be explained exclusively through ideologies, or does the objective situation, i.
When we speak about Stalin, our thinking leads us immediately to the personalization of power, the concentration camps, the deportation of entire ethnic groups. However, were these phenomena and practices only found in Nazi Germany and the USSR, or did they also manifest in other countries, in different ways according to the greater or lesser intensity of the state of emergency and its longer or shorter duration, including in those countries with a more consolidated liberal tradition? Of course, one should not lose sight of the role of ideologies, but can the ideology to which Stalin claimed to be heir really be equated with the one that inspired Hitler, or would an unbiased comparison end up producing unexpected results?
But should such an approach be applied globally, or only to the movements that were inspired by Lenin or Marx? These questions will seem superfluous or even misleading to those who ignore the problem of the changing image of Stalin based on the belief that Khrushchev finally brought the hidden truth to light. However, it would demonstrate a complete disregard of methodology for a historian to consider the year of the definitive and final revelation, blatantly avoiding the conflicts and interests that spurred the campaign of de-Stalinization and its various aspects, and that had motivated the Sovietology of the Cold War even before then.
The radical contrast between the different images of Stalin should drive the historian not only to not take one as absolute, but rather to call all of them into question. If we now analyze On the Cult of Personality and its Consequences , read by Khrushchev at a closed meeting of the Congress of the CPSU and remembered afterwards as the Secret Speech , one detail immediately catches our attention: this is a speech of censure that advocates liquidating Stalin in every respect.
Responsible for many heinous crimes, he was a despicable individual both morally and intellectually. Rather than political logic or Realpolitik , the bloody repression he unleashed was dictated by personal whim and a pathological libido dominandi. The ruthless despot was so unscrupulous that he was suspected of plotting the murder of Kirov, the man who was, or seemed to be, his best friend, so that his opponents, actual or potential, real or imaginary, could be accused of this crime and be eliminated one after another The ruthless repression had not only fed upon individuals and political groups.
Had Stalin at least helped to save his country and the world from the horror of the Third Reich? On the contrary, insisted Khruschev, the Great Patriotic War was won despite the madness of the dictator: the troops of the Third Reich managed to penetrate so deep into Soviet territory, sowing much death and destruction, and were defeated only because of their own shortsightedness, stubbornness, and blind trust in Hitler. At the outbreak of the war we did not even have sufficient numbers of rifles to arm the mobilized manpower.
Sure, after some time, he finally yielded to the insistence of the other members of the Politburo and returned to his post. If only he had not! On 5 March students in Tbilisi went out into the streets to lay flowers at the monument to Stalin on the third anniversary of his death. Their gesture in honor of Stalin turned into a protest against the decisions of the Twentieth Party Congress. The demonstrations and meetings continued for five days, and on the evening of 9 March tanks were brought into the city to restore order.
Perhaps this accounts for the characteristics of the text we are examining. There are many points of convergence between these two portraits. To what extent do these two widely converging portraits stand up to the historical record? We should start by analyzing the Secret Speech , which, delivered officially to a Congress of the CPSU and to the top leaders of the ruling party, was quickly asserted as the revelation of a long-hidden but indisputable truth. Stalin had gained enormous prestige worldwide following Stalingrad and the defeat of the seemingly-invincible Third Reich.
It is no accident that Khrushchev lingers on this point. The new leader described in catastrophic terms the lack of military preparedness of the Soviet Union, whose army, in some cases, lacked even the most basic weapons. This grew at an increasingly intense rhythm as Operation Barbarossa approached. One statistic is especially revealing: in the Soviet Union had manufactured tanks, considerably more than other armies had available, but in the first half of the following year it manufactured 1, There are many things that can be said about these data, but not that the USSR came to the tragic meeting of the war unprepared.
There is no evidence of panic or hysteria. I was urgently summoned to the Kremlin. Germany has attacked the USSR. The war has begun [ Striking calmness, resoluteness, confidence of Stalin and all the others. The issue of socialist revolution is not to be raised. The Sov[iet] people are waging a patriotic war against fascist Germany. The political strategy that preceded the Great Patriotic War is clearly seen.
We will have to develop the idea of combining a healthy, properly understood nationalism with proletarian internationalism. Proletarian internationalism should be grounded in such a nationalism in the individual countries [ Between nationalism properly understood and proletarian internationalism there can be no contradictions. Rootless cosmopolitanism that denies national feelings and the notion of a homeland has nothing in common with proletarian internationalism.
Even in the narrow field of military affairs, the Secret Speech has lost all credibility. What can we say about this accusation? Meanwhile, information from friendly countries could be misleading as well: for example, on June 17, , Franklin Delano Roosevelt alerted Stalin to an impending Japanese attack, which ended up not happening The fact is that, in the early days of the Nazi invasion, the Soviet Union was forced to contend with major campaigns of distraction and disinformation.
The Third Reich was intensely dedicated to making it seem that the troop buildup in the east served only as a distraction from an imminent invasion across the English Channel, which seemed quite plausible after the conquest of the island of Crete. To this disinformation campaign Germany added another: rumors were circulated that the military deployment in the east was intended to pressure the Soviet Union, by means of an ultimatum if necessary, to have Stalin accept a redefinition of the terms of the German-Soviet pact and to agree to export more grain, oil, and coal, all needed by a Third Reich engaged in a war with no end in sight.
It wanted to make it seem that the crisis could be resolved with new negotiations and additional concessions from Moscow We should also not underestimate the disinformation campaign staged on the opposite side, which had begun two years earlier: in November , the French press published a nonexistent speech supposedly delivered to the Politburo on August 19 of that year in which Stalin exposed a plan to weaken Europe, promoting a fratricidal war within int, in order to then Sovietize it. There is no doubt that it was a forgery intended to break the German-Soviet non-aggression pact and direct the expansionist fury of the Third Reich eastward According to a widespread historiographical legend, on the eve of the Nazi attack, the government in London warned Stalin repeatedly and unselfishly, but, like a good dictator, Stalin had only faith in his Berlin counterpart.
In reality, while London communicated to Moscow information concerning Operation Barbarossa on the one hand, on the other Great Britain was spreading rumors about an imminent attack by the Soviet Union against Germany or the territories it occupied The British were clearly and understandably interested in hastening conflict between Germany and the Soviet Union or making it inevitable.
This came into play following Rudolf Hess's mysterious flight to England, clearly motivated by the hope of rebuilding the unity of the West in the fight against Bolshevism, and so giving concreteness to the program set out in Mein Kampf of the alliance and solidarity of the Germanic peoples in their civilizing mission.
Conversely, important figures within the Third Reich strongly defended the theory that Hess had been encouraged by Hitler. Perhaps it can be speculated that the second disinformation campaign staged by the Third Reich played an important role. Based at least on the transcript preserved in the archives of the Soviet Communist Party, despite taking for granted entry of the USSR in the conflict in the short term, Stalin emphasized in his speech on May 5, to graduates of the Military Academy that Germany had historically achieved victory when it had focused on one front, while it had suffered defeat when it was forced to fight east and west simultaneously Of course, Stalin could have underestimated the seriousness with which Hitler valued the opportunity to attack the USSR.
On the other hand, he knew that a hasty total mobilization would have provided the Third Reich with the casus belli on a silver platter, as had happened in World War I. To discredit Stalin, Khrushchev stresses the spectacular initial victories of the invading army, but ignores the forecasts made in the West at the time. Stimson had predicted on June 23 that everything would be over in a period of between one and three months Moreover, a current illustrious military historian observes, the devastating penetration of the Wehrmacht into Soviet territory was easily explained with a little geography:.
The 1, mile breadth of that front, and the scarcity of natural obstacles, offered the attacker immense scope for infiltration and manoeuvre. The diaries of Joseph Goebbels are revealing here. Within ten days of war, the formerly self-assured began to fall into crisis. In no way can we speak of a rout. We cannot doubt the fact that the Bolshevik regime, which has existed for almost a quarter century, has left deep scars on the peoples of the Soviet Union [ We should therefore clearly emphasize the hardness of the battle being waged in the east to the German people.
The nation should be told that this operation is very difficult, but we can overcome it and get through The Bolsheviks are displaying more resistance than we had assumed; in particular, they have more material means at their disposal than we believed He has suffered a lot. This is a serious crisis [ The campaigns we had carried out until now were almost walks [ In our German rigor and objectivity we have always overestimated the enemy, with the exception in this case of the Bolsheviks We calculated the potential of the Bolsheviks in a completely erroneous way Researchers of military strategy highlight the unforeseen difficulties in which to enter the Soviet Union is immersed machinery powerful, experienced and surrounded by war myth of invincibility as was the German The observation of an illustrious German historian, quoting these eloquent journal entries by General Fedor von Bock, 20 and 26 July respectively:.
The enemy wants to retake Smolensk at any price and is constantly mobilizing new troops over there. The hypothesis expressed by some that the enemy acts without a strategy is not based on any fact [ It is confirmed that the Russians have carried out for me a new and compact deployment of forces around the front. In many places they try to go on the attack. Surprising for an adversary who has suffered similar blows; they must have an incredible amount of material, in fact our troops still lament the potent effect of enemy artillery.
In Germany itself, three weeks after the start of Operation Barbarossa, voices that radically questioned the triumphalist version of the regime began to be heard. Hitler wanted to win the war in one gigantic battle. We can be proud of the fact that two of them have been victoriously fought by German armies. This is, of course, the attitude of a card player trying to justify the failure of his predictions. On the other hand, this relocation process had already begun in the weeks or months preceding the Nazi aggression see below, p.
There is more. Indeed, Stalin had insisted on it strongly, repeatedly. Only now was the value of space realized, making the blitzkrieg used by the German general staff more complicated than ever. It is precisely in the field of industrial equipment built in anticipation of war that the Third Reich was forced to confront the bitter surprises, as shown by two entries by Hitler. The Russian people were not being starved [at the time of the start of Operation Barbarossa].
Overall, we must recognize that: workshops of the scale of the Hermann Goering Werke have been built where two years ago there were only unknown villages. At this point it is convenient to give the floor to three experts, notably different from each other one Russian and the other two Western. The first, who once headed the Soviet Institute of Military History, and shared the militant anti-Stalinism of the Gorbachev years, seems moved by the intention to resume and radicalize the indictment of the Khrushchev Report. And yet, by the very results of his research, he is forced to make a rather more nuanced judgment: without being a specialist, much less the genius described in official propaganda, in the years preceding the outbreak of the war, Stalin dealt extensively with the problems of defense, the defense industry and the war economy as a whole.
In the end, the Soviet leader paid great attention to the political and moral dimension of war.
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On the positive assessment of Stalin as a military leader the two Western authors go even further. Especially that time of the final exam, the USSR shows quite well prepared from another essential point of view. Let us turn back to Goebbels, who, explaining the unforeseen difficulties of Operation Barbarossa, besides the military potential of the enemy, also refers to another factor:. For our confidants and our spies it was almost impossible to penetrate inside the Soviet Union. They could not acquire a precise vision. The Bolsheviks have worked directly to deceive us.
Of a number of weapons they possessed, especially heavy weapons, we were unable to learn anything clearly. Exactly the opposite occurred in France, where we knew practically everything and could not have been surprised at all. Reflection on the national question had finally resulted in an essay on language aimed at demonstrating that, far from dissolving after the overthrow of a certain social class, the language of a nation has a remarkable stability, as well as enjoying the stability of the nation that uses it. No Marxist-Leninist, no man of common sense can grasp how it is possible to make whole nations responsible for inimical activity, including women, children, old people, Communists and Komsomols [members of the Young Communist League ], to use mass repression against them, and to expose them to misery and suffering for the hostile acts of individual persons or groups of persons Out of the question are collective punishment, deportation imposed on poor populations suspected patriotic loyalty.
Of smaller proportion but of equal significance was the measures taken during the Second World War against Japanese Americans, who were deported and imprisoned in concentration camps see below, pp. Besides attempting to eliminate a potential fifth column, expulsion and deportation of entire peoples can be carried out according to the reconstruction or redefinition of political geography.
This is a practice carried out not only in the most varied geographical and political-cultural areas, but also in those years theoretically backed by great personalities. In fact, he would adhere to this very program ten years later. But here it is necessary to focus attention particularly in Central and Eastern Europe where a silent tragedy occured, despite being of the largest of the twentieth century. In total, about sixteen and a half million Germans were forced to leave their homes, and two and a half million did not survive the massive ethnic cleansing, or counter-cleansing.
What attitude did the latter assume in such circumstances? As always, we begin analysis starting from a historiography that can not be suspected of being lenient toward the Soviet Union:. It was the British government that since promoted a transfer of populations from East Germany and the Sudeten territories [ For expulsion is the method which, so far as we have been able to see, will be the most satisfactory and lasting.
There will be no mixture of populations to cause endless trouble, as has been the case in Alsace-Lorraine. A clean sweep will be made. I am not alarmed by the prospect of the disentanglement of populations, nor even by these large transferences, which are more possible in modern conditions than they ever were before. An American historian believes he can now conclude that. In the end, there was virtually no difference between noncommunist and communist politicians on the issue of the expulsions of Germans in postwar Czechoslovakia or Poland.
When it came to the issue of the forced deportation of the Germans, Benes and Gottwald, Mikolajczyk and Bierut, Stalin and Churchill all danced to the same tune. This conclusion alone would suffice to refute the implicit black-and-white contrast in the Khrushchev Report.
Eventually the American historian cited above would recognize the same. The Czechs look at them like cattle. A similar thing happened in Poland. In conclusion:. The Germans considered Soviet military personnel much more humane and responsible than the native Czechs or Poles. Russians occasionally fed hungry German children, while the Czechs let them starve. Soviet troops would occasionally give the weary Germans a ride on their vehicles during their long treks out of the country, while Czechs looked on with contempt or indifference The Czechoslovak communists—and other communists as well—found themselves in a difficult position when it came to the question of expelling the Germans.
That was no accident. Especially solemn is the stance of February The experience of history indicates that Hitlers come and go, but the German people and the German state remain. The strength of the Red Army lies, finally, in the fact that it does not and cannot feel racial hatred for other peoples, including the German people; that it has been trained in the spirit of equality of all peoples and races, in the spirit of respect for the rights of other peoples Even an anti-Communist as uncompromising as Ernst Nolte is forced to acknowledge that the attitude of the Soviet Union towards the German people does not show the racist tones otherwise displayed by the Western powers So far I have dealt with the deportations caused by the war and the war period, i.
At least until the s, the United States continued carrying out deportations in urban centers, which wanted to be, as posters in entrances warned, for whites only. The Secret Speech portrays Stalin as a tyrant so devoid of sense of reality that, by taking collective measures against certain ethnic groups, would not hesitate to punish the innocent or his own party comrades. It calls to mind the case of German exiles mostly enemies of Hitler who, just after the war with Germany, were held en masse in French concentration camps see below, p. Acknowledgments rendered to Stalin before then are all attributable to a cult of personality that was now dealt with forever.
The denunciation of the cult of personality is the main argument of Khrushchev. In his Speech , however, there is a seemingly vital question that is missing: Does the cult of personality have to do with the vanity and narcissism of an individual politician, or is it a more general phenomenon rooted in a certain objectively determined context?
It may be interesting to read the comments made by Bukharin while US preparations for intervention in World War I were being finalized:. Since the state machine is more prepared for military tasks, it transforms itself into a military organization, under which there is a dictator. This dictator is President Wilson. It has granted him exceptional powers.
It has an almost absolute power. In situations of acute crisis the personalization of power tends to intertwine with the transfiguration of the leader who holds it. When he arrived in France in December , the victorious American president was hailed as the Messiah, and his Fourteen Points were compared with the Sermon on the Mount Elected on the promise of remedying a rather worrying social and economic situation, FD Roosevelt held the post for four consecutive terms although dying early in the fourth : a unique case in the history of his country.
Beyond the long duration of this presidency, the predictions and expectations surrounding it were also extraordinary. In the World War we took our Constitution, wrapped it up and laid it on the shelf and left it there until it was over. Invited to behave like a dictator and man of Providence, the new president makes a broad use of his executive power since the first day or hours of its mandate.
With the outbreak of hostilities in Europe, even before Pearl Harbor, FDR begins on his own initiative to drag the country into war alongside England; then an executive order issued sovereignly imposes imprisonment in concentration camps of all American citizens of Japanese origin, including women and children. At least from the point of view of the opponents of the President, totalitarianism and the cult of personality had crossed the Atlantic.
Of course, the phenomenon we are investigating here the personalization of power and the cult of personality associated with it is manifested only in embryonic form in the American Republic, protected by the ocean from any attempted invasion, and carrying a political tradition quite different from that of Russia. It is on this country that we should focus attention.
On the eve of the summer offensive, which decisively changed the fate of the Russian army, the cult of Kerensky restricted in certain circles reaches its paroxysm:. Everywhere he was hailed as a hero. Soldiers carried him shoulder-high, pelted him with flowers and threw themselves at his feet. Many of them were on their knees praying; others were weeping.
As can be seen, it does not make much sense to explain, as did Khrushchev, the exalted form that reaches at a certain point the cult of personality seen in the USSR, through the narcissism of Stalin. At least compared to Kerensky, Stalin seems perhaps more modest. Confirms the attitude that assumes the conclusion of a war won in reality, not in imagination, as was the case of the Menshevik leader who loved strike Napoleonic poses.
Stalin displayed no such interest. Four years later, on the eve of his seventieth birthday, a conversation took place in the Kremlin that is worth quoting:. The people would not understand. I do not want to argue. No personal initiative! Stalin interrupted Malenkov and declared the matter closed. Naturally, it can be said that in the circumstances referred to here the political calculus plays a more or less important role and it would be very strange if it did not ; it is a fact, however, that personal vanity does not take the reins.
And it played little role in vital decisions of a political or military nature: during World War II Stalin invited its partners to speak bluntly, discussed animatedly, and even fought with Molotov, who in turn, despite taking good care not to question the hierarchy, continued to defend his own opinion. In seeking to condemn Stalin as solely responsible for all the catastrophes that occurred in the USSR, far from liquidating the cult of personality, Khrushchev merely transformed it into a negative cult. How clear is the image of in principio erat Stalin! Also in addressing the most tragic chapter in the history of the Soviet Union the terror and bloody purges, which spread on a large scale without exception for even the communist party , the Secret Speech has no doubts: it is a horror that is to blamed exclusively on a individual thirsty for power and possessed by a bloody paranoia.
Khrushchev believed Stalin was guilty of heinous crimes against his own party comrades, deviating from Leninism and Bolshevism and betraying the ideals of socialism. Indeed, mutual accusations of treason, which stimulated or deepened the internal bloodshed of the group that led the October Revolution of , were a major contributor to the tragedies that occurred in Soviet Russia. How can this bloodshed be explained? This also applies to the English Revolution and the American Revolution But in Russia this dialectic manifested in a particularly violent and prolonged manner. As the tsarist autocracy was collapsing, while attempts were being made to restore the monarchy or establish a military dictatorship, those who were determined to avoid a return to the past were faced with quite painful decisions: should they strive first for peace or, as the Mensheviks argued, should the war effort be continued or even intensified, as calls for democratic interventionism began to be heard in Russia?
The consolidation of the victory of the Bolsheviks certainly did not end the dialectic of Saturn, but intensified it further.
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But here it is worth focusing on the internal ruptures within the Bolshevik leadership group. One explanation for the especially devastating effect of the dialectic of Saturn is the messianic attitude that is prompted by a combination of circumstances, objective and subjective. The universal embarrassment and indignation at the unspeakable carnage of war waged by states with the bloodthirst of Moloch, each sacrificing millions and millions of men on the altar of homeland defense but, in reality, competing in an imperialist race for world hegemony, generated the demand for a completely new political and social order: this demand sprung up all at once for all the nations where the horrors had arisen since Fueled later by a certain vision for the world which with Marx and Engels seemed to invoke a future free of national borders, mercantile relations, the state apparatus, and even legal coercion and by an almost religious relationship with the texts of the founding fathers of the communist movement, this demand could not be disillusioned as the construction of the new order began to take shape.
Accusations or suspicions of treason would emerge at every step of this especially torturous revolution, driven by the need for government action to rethink some of the original utopian motives and, in any case, to weigh grand ambitions against the extreme difficulties of the objective situation. The first challenge faced by the new power was that of the dissolution of the state apparatus and the persistence of anarchism, widespread among peasants who had still not arrived at any conception of the state and nation, and were thus substantially indifferent to the drama of the cities with their lack of food resources.
The revolt of the Kronstadt sailors in can be placed in this context. It seems that, on this occasion, Stalin would have ruled in favor of a more cautious approach, that is, to continue to wait, based on the food reserves and fuel available to the fortress under siege; but in a situation where the dangers of internal civil war and the intervention of the counterrevolutionary powers had not yet been quelled, the quick military solution ended up prevailing.
The need to end all of it became imperative. Thus, in certain sectors of the communist movement arose a completely unrealistic internationalism, which tended to dismiss the various national identities as simple prejudice. We are turning the party into a dung heap [ We always said This was not the fantasy of just one person. With the coming of a globally unified humanity, over the ruins of war and following the world revolution, the first ministry to become superfluous would be the one that normally handles relations between different states.
In contrast with such an exalted perspective, how mediocre and degenerate must the reality and the political project outlined by the Brest-Litovsk negotiations have seemed, with the return of state and national boundaries, and even the reappearance of national interest! More than a few Bolshevik militants and leaders saw this event as the collapse, or worse, the vile and treacherous abandonment of a world of ideals and hopes.
Of course, resisting the army of Wilhelm II was not easy, but yielding to German imperialism simply because the Russian peasants refused to continue fighting, small-mindedly attached to their own interests and ignorant of the tasks of world revolution All the prestige and all the energy of the great revolutionary leader were required to overcome the crisis.
Crisis, however, would return a few years later. With the defeat of the Central Powers and the outbreak of revolution in Germany, Austria, and Hungary, along with its imminent arrival in other countries, the prospects which the Bolsheviks had to abandon at Brest-Litovsk seemed to be once again within the realm of possibility. Therefore, the imminent defeat of capitalism worldwide would be quickly followed by the fusion of different nations and different countries into a single body: again the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was about to become obsolete!
These illusions faded with the illness and death of Lenin. Much more serious was the new crisis that lay in the fact that the Bolshevik party now lacked an undisputed authority. The first to be accused this way was Stalin, who from the beginning had devoted special attention to the national question, with a view to the victory of the revolution at the international level, but within Russia first.
In upholding this line Stalin again distinguished himself, describing the situation during the civil war as follows:. In this respect the Denikin-Kolchak government is a supremely anti-popular, anti-national government. In this respect the Soviet Government is the only popular and only national government, in the best sense of the words, because it brings with it not only the emancipation of the working people from capitalism, but also the emancipation of the whole of Russia from the yoke of world imperialism, the conversion of Russia from a colony into an independent and free country However, as the civil war and the struggle against foreign intervention were moving forward, the illusion spread of a rapid expansion of socialism in pace with the successes of the Red Army and its advance beyond the limits sanctioned by Brest-Litovsk.
Thanks to his realism and especially his acute sensitivity to the national question, Stalin pointed out the dangers of penetrating deep into Polish territory:. The rear of the Polish forces differs very substantially from that of Kolchak and Denikin — to the great advantage of Poland. Unlike the rear of Kolchak and Denikin, the rear of the Polish forces is homogeneous and nationally united.
Hence its unity and staunchness. It was one thing to defeat an enemy in Russia who had been discredited at the national level, but it was something else to face a nationally motivated enemy outside of Russia. Consequently, for a long period of time humanity would continue to be divided not only between different social systems, but also between different linguistic, cultural, and national identities.
What relationship would be established between them? In , in an interview with Roy Howard of the Times , Stalin said:. The idea of exporting a revolution is nonsense. Thus, for instance, our country wanted to make a revolution and made it. Again, we have quoted verbatim. From the theory of socialism in a single country, it is a natural transition to that of revolution in a single country [ We more than once announced the duty of the proletariat of countries in which the revolution had conquered to come to the aid of oppressed and insurrectionary classes, and that not only with ideas but if possible with arms.
Nor did we limit ourselves to announcements. We in our own time aided the workers of Finland, Latvia, Estonia, and Georgia with armed force. We made an attempt to bring aid to the revolting Polish proletariat by the campaign of the Red Army against Warsaw. But this new principle, which was the result of a learning process and that, in any case, guaranteed the Soviet Union the right to independence in a hostile and militarily more powerful world, was to Trotsky a betrayal of proletarian internationalism; the rejection of the inescapable obligation of mutual solidarity with the oppressed and exploited of the world.
The dialectic of Saturn manifests in many other areas of social and political life. In the domestic sphere, how should we understand the equality that was supposed to be realized by the regime born of October? In relation to this practice and the ideology that developed around it, the outbreak of robbery caused by the NEP was overwhelming, with the emergence of new and strident inequalities brought about by the tolerance adopted towards certain sectors of the capitalist economy. Sometimes there is the impression that what was being regarded with suspicion or indignation was not just certain aspects of the economic situation, but the whole situation altogether.
We must not lose sight of the messianic expectations that are characteristic of those revolutions that are linked with the lowest strata of the population and that come after a prolonged crisis. In Russia, spurred by tsarist oppression and especially by the horror of World War I, this messianism was strongly demonstrated on the occasion of the February Revolution: hailing it as an Easter of resurrection, Christian circles and important sectors of Russian society had hoped for a total regeneration, with the emergence of an intimately unified community, and with the dissolution of the division between rich and poor, as well as of theft, lying, gambling, blasphemy, and drunkenness Disappointed by Menshevik politics and the prolongation of the war and bloodshed, this messianic expectation continued to inspire not a few supporters of the Bolshevik revolution.
This is the case, for example, with Pierre Pascal, a French Catholic who would later be deeply disappointed by the NEP, although he had initially greeted the events of October as follows:. This is the very realization of the fourth psalm of the Sunday vespers, and the Magnificat: the powerful cast from their throne and the poor man lifted from his hovel [ There are no more rich people: only poor and poorer.
Knowledge no longer confers either privilege or respect. The former worker promoted to director gives orders to the engineers. Salaries, high and low, are getting closer to each other. Judges are no longer obliged to apply the law if their sense of proletarian equity contradicts it This is what occurred in Russia after the catastrophe of World War I. In the s, a Bolshevik effectively described the spiritual climate of the immediate aftermath of the October Revolution, having emerged from a war provoked by imperialist competition, by the plundering of the colonies, by the conquest of markets and raw materials, by the capitalist hunt for profits and super-profits:.
We young Communists had all grown up in the belief that money was done away with once and for all [ This is a sentiment that found expression in the work of eminent Western philosophers as well. With the publication in of the second edition of The Spirit of Utopia , Bloch considered it appropriate to eliminate the quoted messianic passages. And yet the mood and vision that had inspired them did not wane within the Soviet Union or without If on the one hand the moral crisis was eased, the scarring over of the wounds opened by World War I and two civil wars one against the Whites and one against the kulaks , as well as the economic recovery, would sharpen the crisis again.
Especially after the collectivization of agriculture was completed and the new regime consolidated, it was no longer possible to refer to capitalist remnants and the immediate danger of collapse to explain the phenomenon of the persisting wage differentials: could they be tolerated, and up to what point? That is, under socialism, material equality is not possible; under communism, material equality no longer makes sense.
With inequality in the distribution of resources being understood, the step from unequal satisfaction of needs to equal satisfaction presupposes, besides the overthrow of capitalism, the prodigious development of the productive forces, and this can only be achieved through the affirmation, during the socialist phase, of the principle of compensation based on the different work each individual contributes. In this case, equality in remuneration and material distribution tended to be the objective of socialist society. It is not easy to reconcile the two perspectives, and their divergence played an unavoidable role at the time that the Bolshevik party and leadership were irremediably divided and crippled.
Equalisation in the sphere of requirements and personal, everyday life is a reactionary petty-bourgeois absurdity worthy of some primitive sect of ascetics, but not of a socialist society organised on Marxist lines; for we cannot expect all people to have the same requirements and tastes, and all people to mould their personal, everyday life on the same model [ By equality Marxism means, not equalisation of personal requirements and everyday life, but the abolition of classes Religious primitivism may be expressed as the aspiration to a community life in which individual differences are meant to be dissolved, to the detriment of the development of the productive forces:.
Leftist blockheads [ And yet the sincerity of aid to the poor is measured by its contribution to overcoming poverty as such In the climate of rejection of the bloodshed caused by capitalism and the auri sacra fames , the religious distrust of gold, of wealth itself, and the idealization of poverty, or at least of scarcity, were reproduced, understood and lived as an expression of spiritual fulfillment or revolutionary rigor. On the basis of this political line of levelling remuneration both in factories and in the state apparatus , it was quite difficult to promote the development of the productive forces.
To Stalin, remunerative differences did not imply the restoration of capitalism: the social differences that persisted under the new regime did not have to be confused with the old antagonism between exploiting and exploited classes. It is from this difference that the necessity arose in its time for breaking with the Social Democracy and creating the Third International According to Marx, socialism is also meant to overcome the opposition between mental and manual labor.
In this way the problem reappeared: how could such an ambitious goal be achieved? Some people think that the elimination of the distinction between mental labour and manual labour can be achieved by means of a certain cultural and technical equalisation of mental and manual workers by lowering the cultural and technical level of engineers and technicians, of mental workers, to the level of average skilled workers. That is absolutely incorrect. It was necessary to increase access to training for all the social strata that had until that time been excluded. The persistence of the division of labor and the persistence of economic and social inequalities were two sides of the same coin, namely, the return of capitalist exploitation and therefore the complete betrayal of socialist ideals:.
The new social differentiation has created conditions for the revival of the exploitation of man in its most barbarous form — that of buying him into slavery for personal service. In the lists for the new census personal servants are not mentioned at all. Does he have an automobile at his personal disposal?
How many rooms does he occupy? Not a word in these lists about the scale of earnings! If the rule were revived that exploitation of the labor of others deprives one of political rights, it would turn out, somewhat unexpectedly, that the cream of the ruling group are outside the bounds of the Soviet constitution. Fortunately, they have established a complete equality of rights Along with imperialism and capitalism, the October Revolution was also supposed to end the oppression of women.
To enable their participation with equal rights in political and social life, it was necessary to free them, using the broadest possible development of social services, from domestic imprisonment and a division of labor that humiliated and brutalized them; with the critique of traditional morality and its double standards, it would also be possible to guarantee women a sexual emancipation hitherto reserved, but in a partial and distorted way, for men.
After these major changes, would the institution of the family continue to make sense, or was it destined to dissolve? Moreover, it had to not be swayed by lamentations: the family was a privileged place for the cultivation of selfishness, encouraging attachment to private property as well. These ideas were harshly criticized by the Bolshevik leadership group as a whole. As late as the early s, a close associate of Stalin, Kaganovich, was forced to confront them.
In the words of his biographer:. Sabsovich, one of the leftist planners, had even proposed eliminating all living space shared by husband and wife, except for a small bedroom for the night. Therefore, the restoration of the institution of the family and the rejection of the communes, designed to absorb and dissolve it referred to the defense of the right of inheritance and property rights, and consequently assumed a clear counter-revolutionary meaning.
Actually, such an invocation was already on the horizon. In relation to religion, there is gradually being established a regime of ironical neutrality. Together with the family and the right to inheritance and property, the Marxian opium of the people could not help but return. Ending the bourgeois family, with its petty interests, inveterate prejudices and dead laws, the revolution would also create a space reserved exclusively for love, freedom and spontaneity.
And yet The genuinely socialist family, from which society will remove the daily vexation of unbearable and humiliating cares, will have no need of any regimentation, and the very idea of laws about abortion and divorce will sound no better within its walls than the recollection of houses of prostitution or human sacrifices This is the central question behind all the particular issues discussed above: when and under what modalities did the process of the withering away of the state after the abolition of capitalism, as envisaged by Marx, begin?
Therefore, as the construction of the new society proceeded, Lenin was forced, consciously or not, to increasingly pull away from anarchism as well as other of his previous opinions. This can be seen more clearly, just take a look at an important intervention, Better Fewer, But Better , published in Pravda on March 4, Of course, the realization of such an ideal can refer to a fairly distant future, but meanwhile, how should public property, which has now seen a huge expansion, be managed, and what forms should power take in Soviet Russia as a whole?
Controversy was sparked without delay. It is a controversy that ends up reaching far beyond Russia. It was not only circles and writers of a clearly anarchist orientation who adopted a critical stance. Exponents of the international communist movement also expressed dissatisfaction, disappointment and clear dissent. If the Soviets did not escape distrust, equally explicit was the contempt for Parliament, trade unions and political parties, perhaps including the Communist Party which was also based on the principle of representation and, therefore, affected by the virus of bureaucracy.
In the last instance, rather than the organs of power, it is power itself, power as such, which was being criticized. The situation changed significantly in the following years. To those who demanded that the problem of the extinction of the state be readdressed, Stalin responded in asking them not transform the teachings of Marx and Engels into a dogma and an empty scholasticism; the delay in the realization of the ideal was explained by the ever-present capitalist siege.
Of course, this was a rather problematic, and mystifying, statement: it certainly did not reflect the situation of the USSR in , when the terror was raging and the Gulag was growing monstrously. But here we are dealing with another aspect: is the thesis of the extinction of the state valid, and to what extent? There is no doubt that Stalin reveals uncertainties and contradictions, probably also driven by the political necessity of moving with caution through a minefield, where every small deviation from the classic thesis of the extinction of the State exposed him to the accusation of treason.
From the beginning, the leadership group that took power in October was deeply divided over the most important questions of internal and international politics. Barely contained while Lenin was active, the fractures became irreparable once the charismatic leader passed away. Did that shock remain limited to the political-ideological sphere? There were times in which, with respect to the case of Sergei M. The story and the insinuations contained in the Secret Speech had already aroused a patent perplexity in the mid-nineties We are therefore in the presence of a work whose anti-Stalinist credentials are more than proven; and yet, despite denying that after the murder had a vast conspiracy, destroys the version contained or suggested in the Secret Speech to the Twentieth Congress of the CPSU.
This open-minded man did not appreciate intrigue, lying, or deception. Stalin had to appreciate these character traits, which were the basis of their relationship. According to the testimonies of his contemporaries, Kirov was indeed able to make objections to Stalin, penetrating his suspicious spirit and roughness. Stalin was sincerely enthused by him and trusted him.
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An avid fisher and hunter, he often sent fresh fish and big game to Moscow. Until the end, nothing ever happened to disturb this relationship, as confirmed in the investigation of another Russian historian: the archives contain no evidence of a political divergence or a rivalry between the two. The turn to the right in foreign and domestic policies could not fail to arouse alarm among the more class-conscious elements of the proletariat [ To this must be added to dull rumbling among the youth, particularly among that section that, being close to the bureaucracy, observes its arbitrariness, its privileges and its abuses.
In this thick atmosphere, the shot of Nikolaev exploded [ Very likely he wished to protest against the party regime, the uncontrollability of the bureaucracy or the course to the right. The sympathy or understanding towards the perpetrator is transparent, and the contempt and hatred reserved for Kirov explicit. The victim was an individual against which the wrath of the revolutionaries had been growing for some time:.
As for the latest outburst of terrorism, it does not rest either upon the old ruling classes or upon the kulak. The terrorists of the latest draft are recruited exclusively from among the young, from the ranks of the Communist Youth and the party Now the oppressed would overthrow the oppressors:. Every revolutionary party finds its chief support in the younger generation of the rising class. The Mensheviks relied upon the more respectable skilled upper stratum of the working class, always prided themselves on it, and looked down upon the Bolsheviks.
Subsequent events harshly showed them their mistake. At the decisive moment the youth carried with them the more mature stratum and even the old folks This dialectic was destined to repeat itself. Owing to the immatury of the forms it initially assumed, the revolt against oppression always has a positive value. Having reaffirmed his contempt and hatred of Kirov, Trotsky adds:. Our relation to the assassin remains neutral only because we know not what motives guided him. And yet, these investigations did not produce results; Soviet authorities then began to look to the leftist opposition.
As we have seen, it was Trotsky who supported the new track, who not only stressed the revolutionary turmoil among the Soviet youth but also made it clear that those who resort to violence are not and can not be classes that had been definitively defeated and consequently already close to giving up:. The history of individual terror in the Soviet Union clearly marks the stages in the general evolution of the country.
At the dawn of the Soviet power, in the atmosphere of the still unfinished civil war, terrorist deeds were perpetrated by white guards or Social Revolutionaries. When the former ruling classes lost hope of a restoration, terrorism also disappeared. The kulak terror, echoes of which have been observed up to very recent times, had always a local character and supplemented the guerrilla warfare against the Soviet regime.
The terrorists of the latest draft are recruited exclusively from among the young, from the ranks of the Communist Youth and the party — not infrequently from the offspring of the ruling stratum If the old classes, which had dealt with before the October Revolution and afterwards with the collectivization of agriculture, had given up, the case was not the same regarding the proletariat, the protagonist of the revolution and blocked and oppressed momentarily by the Stalinist bureaucracy. True, Trotsky was quick to point out that individual terrorism is not really effective.
But this observation is not entirely convincing, and perhaps Trotsky was not entirely convinced himself. It characterizes the sharp contradiction between the bureaucracy and the broad masses of the people, especially the young.
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The overthrow of the Romanov dynasty had been preceded by a long series of terrorist attacks carried out by organizations that, despite the hard blows of repression, always managed to rebuild themselves. What threatened it was not necessarily acts of individual terrorism but rather the beginnings of another great revolution:.
All indications agree that the further course of development must inevitably lead to a clash between the culturally developed forces of the people and the bureaucratic oligarchy. There is no peaceful outcome for this crisis [
Related Stalin: Am Hof des roten Zaren (German Edition)
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