Why Stalin was better then Hitler.

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john2
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Re: Why Stalin was better then Hitler.

Post by john2 » 13 Dec 2019 17:13

This cannot be considered simply as policy evolved over time and was multi-faceted. However one significant point is that Hitler's plan was not to settle Poland with pure Germans either.
My understanding is that Hitler planned German settlements deep into western Russia. Countries like Poland that were in the way were to have their populations killed off/deported. It was the generalplan ost I believe. And I just found it on wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generalplan_Ost Stalin didn't have anything like this in mind as far as I know. From the article -
In 1941 it was decided to destroy the Polish nation completely and the German leadership decided that in 15–20 years the Polish state under German occupation was to be fully cleared of any ethnic Poles and settled by German colonists.
Last edited by john2 on 13 Dec 2019 20:37, edited 1 time in total.

gebhk
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Re: Why Stalin was better then Hitler.

Post by gebhk » 13 Dec 2019 19:49

And I just found it on wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generalplan_Ost
Unfortunately this article even contradicts itself on this issue.
Stalin didn't have anything like this in mind as as I know
I think the Don Cossacks or Kazakhs would beg to differ, to give just two examples.

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Re: Why Stalin was better then Hitler.

Post by michael mills » 13 Dec 2019 23:35

number of such operations which included the Ukrainian, Byelorussian, Jewish, Finnish, Latvian, Greek, Bulgarian, Chinese, Korean and German operations.
There were Polish, German and Korean operations in the context of the Great Terror of 1937-38. They were directed against ethnic minorities with links to states that Stalin regarded as deadly enemies of the Soviet Union (Koreans were regarded as Japanese).

There were no Ukrainian, Byelorussian, Jewish, Finnish, Latvian, Greek, Bulgarian or Chinese operations, they are fictional. Individuals from those nationalities may well have fallen victim to the Great Terror, but they were victimised as individuals, not as members of a targeted ethnic group.

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Re: Why Stalin was better then Hitler.

Post by David Thompson » 14 Dec 2019 00:33

Readers interested in "Generalplan Ost" can find more information in the documents and discussions posted here:

Generalplan Ost
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=20050
German Plans to Seize Food from the Soviet Union
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=11976
Generalplan Ost revisited
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=96574
The "artificial" famine in the German-occupied USSR
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=203766
Nazi occupation policies for the USSR
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=61454
Hitler's plans for Ostland -- Fuehrer Conference 16 Jul 1941
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=60772

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Why Stalin was better then Hitler.

Post by Sid Guttridge » 14 Dec 2019 12:18

Hi gebhk,

None of the Soviet examples you give are directly equivalent to the Nazi massacre of Jews. For example, the assault on the Ukrainian kulaks was "only" on a particular caste of Ukrainians, not the entire people, though millions of the latter also died in the process. Even then, it was possible for some kulaks to recant.

The word "genocide" has been much watered down by its modern legal definitions, embracing cultural, linguistic and other secondary considerations. However, its original meaning was literally the killing (-cide) of a race (genus).

Only the Jews at the hands of the Nazis seem to have faced the original, literal meaning. The Nazi assault on the Jews from 1942 was implacable to a degree not witnessed in the USSR, bad as that often was. It even embraced new-born babies as a matter of policy. The Gypsies were similarly marked for literal extinction.

Cheers,

Sid.

gebhk
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Re: Why Stalin was better then Hitler.

Post by gebhk » 15 Dec 2019 14:25

Sid - I don't think the efficiency or 'success rate' are suitable measure of morality or badness and goodness in this respect. Even if we go down that dubious pathway, then it is an incontrovertible fact that the Jews are, as a people, happily, still with us. Ergo Hitler's attempt at their genocide, in your definition, failed - not for lack of trying, of course. The same cannot be said of a number of the peoples in the former USSR under Stalin - and for that matter in many other places under many other rulers over the course of history.

I am very uncomfortable about the suggestion that some innocent victims are more innocent than others and that, therefore, the murderer of the latter is somewhat better than the murderer of the former. That the murder of Jews or Gypsies because they are Jews or Gypsies is somehow worse than the murder of Polish doctors or Harbin Russians because they are Polish doctors or Harbin Russians or the families thereof. And that, therefore, the one who, proportionally, did more of the former is worse than the one who did more, proportionally, of the latter is somehow 'worse'. This viewpoint seems uncomfortably close to the viewpoint that serial killers of women in general (often described as 'innocent' in the headlines) are worse than serial killers of prostitutes, suggesting the latter were somehow co-responsible for, or deserving of, their own murder.

In relation to the assault on the Ukrainian Kulaks - that is an example you give, not I. And I think you conflate a number of assaults into one. I cannot see, for example, how the Hlodomor was not directed at the Ukrainian people as a whole? Ironically - real 'Kulaks' were about the least likely to become victims - the most likely were the poorest, youngest and eldest. Interestingly in the context of this debate, the chances of someone accused of being a Pole, German, Bulgarian etc of surviving were substantially lower than of someone accused of being a kulak.

Michael - The testimony of Stanislaw Redens, for one example, suggests the operation or operations against Latvians, Estonians, Iranians, Greeks and Bulgarians is more than mere myth. The fact that one had a Polish, Latvian or Bulgarian-sounding name registered in the telephone directory was sufficient to have you arrested and shot according to him. Of course the conclusive proof in the form of NKVD order 00439 (German Operation) and 00485 (Polish Operation) is not AFAIK available for other 'national' operations but, given the Soviet Union's and its Legal Successor State's track record of economy with their archives, this is not strong evidence that such orders did not exist.

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Re: Why Stalin was better then Hitler.

Post by john2 » 15 Dec 2019 20:11

I know you weren't addressing me but my argument was of a practical nature. Hitler's goal was primarily extermination where Stalin's wasn't therefore people had a better chance of surviving under Stalin. From a morality point view both dictators were just as bad.

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Sergey Romanov
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Re: Why Stalin was better then Hitler.

Post by Sergey Romanov » 16 Dec 2019 07:14

> I cannot see, for example, how the Hlodomor was not directed at the Ukrainian people as a whole?
Our view of Stalin and the famine is close to that of Robert Conquest, who would earlier have been considered the champion of the argument that Stalin had intentionally caused the famine and had acted in a genocidal manner. In 2003, Dr Conquest wrote to us explaining that he does not hold the view that "Stalin purposely inflicted the 1933 famine. No. What I argue is that with resulting famine imminent, he could have prevented it, but put ''Soviet interest'' other than feeding the starving first-thus consciously abetting it".

(Source: R.W.Davies, S.G.Wheatcroft, "Stalin and the Soviet Famine of 1932 - 33: A Reply to Ellman", Europe-Asia Studies, Vol. 58, No. 4, June 2006, 625 - 633.)

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Sergey Romanov
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Re: Why Stalin was better then Hitler.

Post by Sergey Romanov » 16 Dec 2019 07:19

https://www.the-american-interest.com/2 ... ng-stalin/
RA: In terms of the famine, what do you make of Anne Applebaum’s argument that Ukraine was particularly punished?

[Stephen Kotkin]: I’m an empirical person. Today, in our country, it’s more important than ever to have facts and to line up your facts and to substantiate, to document. You can’t just argue what you want to be true, you have to argue on the basis of evidence. What’s the evidence we have on this question of the intentionality or not of the famine of 1931-33?

First, there is no question of Stalin’s responsibility for the famine, his policy caused the famine. The controversy, to the extent that there is one, is about his intentions. We have an unbelievable number of documents showing Stalin committing intentional murder, with the Great Terror, as you alluded to earlier, and with other episodes. He preserved these documents—he would not try to clean up his image internally–and these documents are very damning. There is no shortage of documentation when Stalin committed intentional murder.

However, there is no documentation showing that he intended to starve Ukraine, or that he intended to starve the peasants. On the contrary, the documents that we do have on the famine show him reluctantly, belatedly releasing emergency food aid for the countryside, including Ukraine. Eight times during the period from 1931 to 1933, Stalin reduced the quotas of the amount of grain that Ukrainian peasants had to deliver, and/or supplied emergency need. Ask yourself, why are there no documents showing intentional murder or genocide of these people when we have those documents for all the other episodes?

Secondly, why is he releasing this emergency grain or reducing their quotas if he’s trying to kill them? No one could have forced him to do this, no one on the inside of the regime could force him. These are the decisions that, once again, were made grudgingly, and they were insufficient—the emergency aid wasn’t enough. Many more people could have been saved, but Stalin refused to allow the famine to be publicly acknowledged. Had he not lied and forced everyone else to lie, denying the existence of a famine, they could have had international aid, which is what they got under Lenin, during their first famine in 1921-23. Stalin’s culpability here is clear, but the intentionality question is completely undermined by the documents on the record.

There are many other examples of this, but let’s take one more piece. There is a story about how Stalin blocked peasants’ movement from the regions of starvation to the areas where there might have been more food. With all those documents, we also know that of the roughly 17 million farmers in Ukraine, about 200,000 peasants were caught up in this interdiction process. The regime’s motivation for this was to prevent the spread of disease that accompanied the famine that the regime caused, however unintentionally. It was a foreseeable byproduct of the collectivization campaign that Stalin forcibly imposed, but not an intentional murder. He needed the peasants to produce more grain, and to export the grain to buy the industrial machinery for the industrialization. Peasant output and peasant production was critical for Stalin’s industrialization.

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Re: Why Stalin was better then Hitler.

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 16 Dec 2019 07:42

gebhk wrote: I don't think your analogy takes you anywhere near to the Hitler/Stalin judgement.
Resolving the meta-ethical question never does. It does, however, set you up for the next stage of analysis and eliminates wrong answers.

If I'm right on the meta-ethical question, for example, then statements like "Stalin killed more people so Stalin is worse" are eliminated. That's all I want from the analogy.
gebhk wrote:I am not sure what you mean here. Surely the generality we are seeking is why these men had people killed on an industrial scale? And the answer is fairly straightforward - if groups of people stood in their way or it was merely thought they may stand in the way, they were exterminated.
At a certain level of generality, both men killed because their victims were odious.
That's not a wrong way to describe their actions but it gives no content either - it's too general.

Your third sentence, however, is specific enough for me to reject the characterization as wrong. Even if Jews were standing well out of Hitler's way - on some dessert island for example - he'd have raised at least a finger to kill them, IMO. There's a separate debate about the historicity of this psychological picture of Hitler, I concede (e.g. he would have been happy with them in Madagascar).

Whether Madagascar was actually the goal or whether it was politically palatable cover for his real goals, let's assume it's the latter for now and investigate the case for its import.

Do you dispute that someone who would give any amount of effort to kill someone on a remote dessert island is not killing them because they're "standing in their way?"

You might say the standed Jewish person is "standing in the way" of "a world without Jews." But that's not a real distinction, IMO. If the ultimate goal is annihilation of a group then the "standing in the way" characterization merges with the victim's identity and there's no way to treat these motivations as separate.
gebhk wrote:The correct thought experiment question, therefore, in my opinion, is if the Jews emigrated to, say, Africa and promised never to come back, would he have had them murdered? Oh, but hang on, isn't that exactly what was being explored as an option up until the end of 1941 or thereabouts? So if the objective was extermination from the outset, why where these options even being explored?
I wrote the foregoing before I got to this. Apparently we're converging on the proper thought experiment. Great minds... ;)

But then you duck the actual experiment by implying that Hitler wouldn't have killed Jewish persons permanently displaced to Africa.

Please answer the thought experiment: If he'd have killed those permanently-displaced Jews, is he worse than Stalin?

That will at least further define the standards of moral evaluation, then we can proceed to determining the facts of the case (would he have killed the permanently displaced as a matter of fact?), then we can apply the rule in making a judgment.
gebhk wrote:Perhaps one was less bad than the other by causing fewer deaths and misery, but that is a question the statisticians will probably argue till doomsday.
See above re the metaethical question. I don't think the statisticians have an important role in moral questions.

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Sergey Romanov
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Re: Why Stalin was better then Hitler.

Post by Sergey Romanov » 16 Dec 2019 08:39

> example, then statements like "Stalin killed more people so Stalin is worse" are eliminated

Since Stalin obviously killed fewer, those statements are eliminated in any case.

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Re: Why Stalin was better then Hitler.

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 16 Dec 2019 09:17

Sergey Romanov wrote:
16 Dec 2019 08:39
> example, then statements like "Stalin killed more people so Stalin is worse" are eliminated

Since Stalin obviously killed fewer, those statements are eliminated in any case.
And vice versa. "Hitler killed more so Hitler is worse" is also eliminated insofar as the statement claims to resolve all relevant moral considerations.

What's your take on the dessert island thought experiment?

For me there is something more deeply depraved - therefore worse - about killing under that scenario. It's perverted in a way that killing for some instrumental reason isn't. Does anyone else have that intuition? It seems so obvious to me but maybe I'm weird.

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Sergey Romanov
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Re: Why Stalin was better then Hitler.

Post by Sergey Romanov » 16 Dec 2019 09:50

I don't have much to say on a dessert island beyond this
https://pbfcomics.com/comics/nunez/

As for a desert island, I don't see it proving that Stalin was less evil than Hitler.

Stalin and Hitler had different groups they wanted to exterminate, but they were sufficiently ruthless to the target groups and on a sufficiently large scale to be equally evil in my judgment. (Any such judgment is subjective, of course.)

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Re: Why Stalin was better then Hitler.

Post by gebhk » 16 Dec 2019 11:57

We seem to be heading off in a puff of logic into maybes if maybes of maybes. Would Hitler have murdered the Jews if they had emigrated? Who knows. However if his aim was from the outset to murder every last Jew in the world, then it is difficult to rationalise why many were allowed to migrate out of his grasp. AFAIK there were no German hit squads roaming the world murdering Jews en masse. There certainly were assassins eliminating people Stalin didn't like even after they had emigrated.
For me there is something more deeply depraved - therefore worse - about killing under that scenario. It's perverted in a way that killing for some instrumental reason isn't. Does anyone else have that intuition? It seems so obvious to me but maybe I'm weird.
Again, I'm afraid I don't share this viewpoint and I would reiterate that, generally, emotional reasons for committing murder are viewed as mitigating circumstances rather than the other way round. Relevant in this context is the concept of 'Black rage' for example. There is a reason why 'cold blooded murder' is a term reserved for particularly odious killings.

We seem to have ranged our discussion over a number of definitions of 'better' (and I concur with Sergey that 'better' is a strange word to use in this context). We have considered 'better' from a moral standpoint, the overall practical outcomes standpoint and the standpoint of certain groups.

Morality:
To make reliable moral judgement we need to know what was in men's minds, and we will never really know that. One important issue is whether the 'accused' had a guilty mind. And I suspect psychologists will argue that one for ever. On the one hand it could be argued that both saw the elimination of 'the enemies of the state' as justified and therefore not wrong - the 'war' analogy seems to come up regularly in their utterances. On the other hand the transparent attempts to cloak their action in a veneer of legality, however thin, suggests that deep-down they felt those actions were wrong. However, there seems little to choose between Stalin and Hitler on this score.

Motivation is another factor and here I think it can be clearly demonstrated that both men had large groups of people murdered because they stood in the way of policy; because they were a challenge to authority; because they were actual or potential competitors; because they engendered paranoia; to terrorise populations; and on a personal whim. I'm afraid that I don't buy the argument that some innocent victims are less innocent than others and therefore it is somehow morally less repugnant to murder them. I concede that people have different viewpoints on this as well as double standards - for example I am sure many people believe that it is OK to rape someone who is promiscuous but would not think it OK to rob a person who is generous. Again, sorry, but I see no reason to judge one of them better than the other.

Practical considerations
Was one of them better because he had fewer people killed in total? That is a question on which statisticians will debate for ever and is not nearly as clear-cut as Sergey would have us believe. For one thing there is little confidence in the data and we are talking about gross estimates. The equations on which these estimates are based have so many moving parts, it is impossible to avoid likely huge error. Are we comparing like with like? Do we include just people killed by bullet, gas or guillotine? Or do we include those who died as a result of exhaustion and beatings in concentration camps? Do we include people who died as a result of forced migration? What about those who died from starvation and neglect as a result of deliberate policies with predictable outcomes such as the Hlodomor, the theft of food from German-occupied countries during the war. Or the fate of young children and dependent elders after they were thrown out on the street after the breadwinners had been murdered and their property 'confiscated'?

Do we look at the total numbers (Stalin had a much longer time to carry out his murders) or the rate of murders per annum? Raw data or per capita? Globally or from the point of view of a particular group or groups? It is this latter that seems to cause much controversy and, indeed, John2 clarifies that this is his area of his interest.

From a Jewish perspective, I think it is clear that Stalin was a better option than Hitler. However, it needs to be noted that Stalin was hardly a bed of roses for the Jews either. For a number of reasons Jews tended to be more vulnerable to the Soviet Terror than average, not least because of their culture and concentration in certain professions. After the USSR invaded Poland in 1939, the Jews in the parts annexed by Stalin were substantially more likely to be persecuted than people of other ethnicity. However, if you look at it from the point of view of many other national or ethnic groups, things look very different. And I think the point is pertinent, that while Hitler ultimately failed in his attempts to wipe out the peoples he hated, Stalin succeeded, at least in some instances. In other words, this suggests the chances of certain individuals, peoples and cultures to survive, were smaller through no fault of their own under Stalin, than those of the Jews and Gypsies under Hitler.

In summary, the old Polish adage applied to the Soviets and the Nazis as a choice between the plague and the pestilence seems very apt. I completely agree with Sergey - we seem to be having a conversation akin to whether Adrei Chikatilo was a 'better' serial killer than Ted Bundy.

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Re: Why Stalin was better then Hitler.

Post by Sid Guttridge » 16 Dec 2019 12:40

Hi gebhk,

You post, "I don't think the efficiency or 'success rate' are suitable measure of morality or badness and goodness in this respect." Neither do I. My point is about intent.

Hitler's regime's intent against the Jews was, from 1942, more implacable than anything Stalin unleashed. Hitler's regime was intent on killing every single Jew within reach, of whatever age, including new born infants, as a matter of policy. There was no escape for them because the Nazis themselves defined what they meant by "Jew". Jews could not recant, or be re-educated, or complete a prison term for the "crime" of being Jewish under the Nazis.

The Ukrainians had a terrible 15 years from 1930 to 1945, but nobody was trying to kill every last one of them to the tiniest baby. Indeed, it could be argued that the USSR cemented the idea of a Ukrainian national identity more firmly than the Czars had done by giving Ukraine its own republic within the USSR. The successor is the independent Ukrainian state we have today.

Cheers,

Sid.

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