Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler

Who was the most evil? An interesting book review. To quote:

We will never know how many people Stalin murdered -- Gellately discusses various numbers for what he calls "Soviet-on-Soviet killing" that range from 10 to 20 million, not even half the approximately 40 million who died in World War II because of Hitler, not to mention the 6 million Jews. Weighing the evidence sensibly, Gellately concludes that these two terrible regimes, with all their differences and similarities, were jointly responsible for an age of social catastrophe.

This is familiar, but the inclusion of Lenin is the difference. Gellately is right to consider Lenin a maniacal mass-murderer, the creator of the repressive Soviet dictatorship and the promoter of Stalin. I was taught at school that Lenin was decent, Stalin a mad butcher. This was Khrushchev's argument in 1956, and it became leftist orthodoxy. We now know it's a lie. Richard Pipes's Unknown Lenin (1996) and Robert Service's Lenin (2000) have shown the real, brutal Lenin. In my own research into young Stalin, I found much new evidence of an early and close relationship between him and Lenin. Their alliance really started in the years 1905-07 when Stalin, a ruthless bankrobber and gangster kingpin, became Lenin's chief fundraiser: "Exactly the sort of man I need," said Lenin. (Gellately's allegorical granny should have been spinning for some time.) Gellately's material on Lenin is nothing new, but he presents a fine synthesis of it. Share

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Finally Americans and Western Europeans are starting to realize that Lenin was the mastermind behind Stalin's crimes. And Trotsky was no better either.
The suffering that Russia and Eastern Europe went through needs to be known better in the West.
Thank you for posting this link.

Philomela

alaughland said...

From Lenin came the groundwork upon which so many 20th Century dictators the world over, even in emerging nations such as in Africa, based their horrific regimes of mass obliteration and 'ethnic cleansing'.