Why Stalin was better then Hitler.

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gebhk
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Re: Why Stalin was better then Hitler.

Post by gebhk » 16 Dec 2019 15:06

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.
I am glad we can agree on that.
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.

However, I think this argument too is problematic because you can substitute the words 'enemy of the people' into the equations you give and 'Soviets' for 'Nazis' and the statement would, in my view, still hold. Once accused of being a Jew by the Nazi state, you could try to prove you were not. Good luck with that. The same is true of someone accused of being an 'enemy of the people' in the Soviet Union. Perhaps the only difference is that there were more definitions of 'enemy of the people', than there were of 'Jews' and that priority shifted from one sub-group to another more in the Soviet Union. In short the same activity was being carried out, just on a wider front. I can't see how the fact that that Stalin appears to have been more mercurial in who was to be murdered on a given day, makes him any better than Hitler. Would we be saying that Ted Bundy was a worse serial killer than Andrei Chikatilo because the former murdered young girls and women while the latter was less discerning in his victim selection?

From the point of view of the 'statistical' citizen, one could argue that life under Hitler was less worrisome. Unless you happened to be a member of one of the unfortunate minorities that Hitler disliked - Jews, Gypsies, Communists etc, so long as you minded your ps and qs and took care not to antagonise the local party informer, you could be relatively secure. In the Soviet Union, you had the constant worry that for some reason, often absurd and usually entirely out of your control, you could become a member of the 'enemies of the people' overnight.

Also, I think, the data is skewed when we only consider people who were murdered directly by bullet, gas etc. The White and Red Czar's Empire had a resource that AH did not - the ability to move whole peoples thousands of miles and to dump them in appalling conditions exposing them to crippling mortality and morbidity. This was a tool of genocide, in many ways as effective as mass murder - with the Circassian Genocide of the 1860s proving just how effective it could be.

However, I would point out again that the comparison of the fate of the Jews with that of the Ukrainians is yours not mine. A comparison with the fate of the Crimean Tartars and many other peoples is probably more apt. Or of the Polish, German and other 'national' operations of the 1930s. Clearly the intent was to destroy anyone who belonged to those ethnic groups.

This is not directed at you, Sid, but I can't help the feeling that the argument Stalin's apologists are intent on making is that 'I didn't drown him m'lud. I merely chucked him overboard knowing full well he couldn't swim". I don't buy it.
Last edited by gebhk on 16 Dec 2019 17:38, edited 1 time in total.

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Sergey Romanov
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Re: Why Stalin was better then Hitler.

Post by Sergey Romanov » 16 Dec 2019 16:13

> Clearly the intent was to destroy anyone who belonged to those ethnic groups

That's not entirely correct, albeit there's a grain of truth here. The official criterion during the operations was a real or an imaginary contact with the "bourgeois" state. There was a natural ethnic correlation but no provable ethnic intent from above (which is why during each "national" operation people of numerous ethnicities were repressed). But obviously, when the local NKVD men had to fulfill their arrest plans, they would unofficially use the ethnic criterion and arrest mostly Germans during the anti-German operation or mostly Poles during the anti-Polish one and falsely accuse them. So in effect ethnicity played the main role, whether so intended above or not.

That said, children were not shot, and e.g. the majority of Poles were not shot either (there were 636k Poles in USSR before the terror acc. to the 1937 census), so the claim in its current form is nevertheless not correct.

gebhk
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Re: Why Stalin was better then Hitler.

Post by gebhk » 16 Dec 2019 17:29

That said, children were not shot
True (depending on your definition of 'children'). However I have little doubt that mortality and morbidity of children ripped from their homes in the dead of winter and transported thousands of miles in unheated cattle wagons was not insignificant. Equally, I doubt that those responsible for the Hlodomor were not aware that children would make up a disproportionally large part of the dead. Jezov's NKVD order 00486 about the treatment of children and other dependants of those convicted makes for grim reading and again, leaves little doubt that mortality and morbidity among them would be very high.
So in effect ethnicity played the main role, whether so intended above or not.
And I think that is the most relevant criterion. As for intent, the testimony of Stanislaw Redens, again makes interesting reading. He states that Jezow at least knew exactly how the accused were selected and that his only concern when signing batches of convictions was how many 'Polaks' there were in each 'album' with the implication that the more the better.
the majority of Poles were not shot either (there were 636k Poles in USSR before the terror acc. to the 1937 census),
That too is, of course, true and my intention certainly wasn't to claim that all Poles in the Soviet Union were murdered. However circa 110K were murdered outright, around 30K sent to the gulags from whence few came back and I'd warrant even fewer in good health and approximately 100K were deported and whence few too came back. I'd guess that even fewer would have survived had Barbarossa not occurred. Sergey quite correctly points out that not all people persecuted in the Polish national operation were necessarily ethnic Poles, so comparing the figures above is not straightforward. Nevertheless, I think we would all agree that the Polish operation and other 'national' operations probably made a significant dent in the Polish community in the Soviet Union. The only difference is that while AH continued to hammer the same groups, Stalin moved from one to another. The point being that if you were, say, a Latvian during 'lets kill Latvians week' your chance of surviving an accusation of being a Latvian (even by dint of having a Latvian-sounding name) was no greater (or possibly even less) than that of being accused of being a Jew in AHs Germany.

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Why Stalin was better then Hitler.

Post by Sid Guttridge » 16 Dec 2019 18:45

Hi gebhk,

Being "an enemy of the people" under Stalin and being Jewish under Hitler were rather different things and not directly equatable. One could not inherit being "an enemy of the people" from ones ancestors (unless, I guess, you were a Romanov?). Nor were the babies of "an enemy of the people" at direct risk of murder (again, unless you were a Romanov?). By contrast, from 1942 Jews under Hitler couldn't recant, or be re-educated, or convert to another religion. Their doom was presumed to be immutably in their DNA.

You post, "I can't see how the fact that that Stalin appears to have been more mercurial in who was to be murdered on a given day, makes him any better than Hitler." It certainly makes him less implacable. For Stalin's victims survival may well have been a bit of a lottery, but for Hitler's Jewish victims it was not. It was inevitable. From 1942 Hitler's regime was cold, focused and utterly implacable in their extermination. Jews didn't have to do anything, or even be accused of doing anything, to merit death. They just had to be Jewish by the Nazis' own definition.

The Crimean Tartars survived their exile under Stalin, even though half of them died. They are perhaps the most severely at risk group since Putin's seizure of the Crimea, but at least they are back in the homeland.

Cheers,

Sid.

gebhk
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Re: Why Stalin was better then Hitler.

Post by gebhk » 16 Dec 2019 20:06

One could not inherit being "an enemy of the people" from ones ancestors
One certainly could if one was a Pole or even had a Polish-sounding name when that happened to be flavour of the month. Nor is the Romanov name a bad example.
Nor were the babies of "an enemy of the people" at direct risk of murder
Perhaps babies weren't murdered directly in the same numbers, but I really think that is just splitting hairs. Creating deliberately a situation where predictably and inevitably thousands of babies will die I do not see as in any way morally, ethically or practically 'better'. Back to the 'we didn't drown them, we just tossed them into the lake' argument. What do you think the survival rates of neonates sent to the gulags on the teats of starving mothers in cattle trucks in the depth of winter would have been?
It certainly makes him less implacable.
This again seems to be making the argument that the murderer who kills only one class of victim is worse than one who has more varied tastes. Sorry, but I cannot buy that.

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Sergey Romanov
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Re: Why Stalin was better then Hitler.

Post by Sergey Romanov » 16 Dec 2019 22:12

> One could not inherit being "an enemy of the people" from ones ancestors

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Family_me ... Motherland

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Sergey Romanov
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Re: Why Stalin was better then Hitler.

Post by Sergey Romanov » 16 Dec 2019 22:13

> This again seems to be making the argument that the murderer who kills only one class of victim is worse than one who has more varied tastes. Sorry, but I cannot buy that.

Agreed. As if "implacability" is a valid criterion here.

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Why Stalin was better then Hitler.

Post by Sid Guttridge » 17 Dec 2019 10:46

Hi Sergey

The text of your link regarding "Enemies of the People" confirms what I suggested above, "....children were to be placed in labor camps, corrective labor colonies, or special-regimen orphanages". These were options Jews under Hitler could only have prayed for. From 1942 their children were marked for death.

Thus implacability is very much "a valid criterion here." Its implacability marks out Hitler's regime from 1942 as going a step beyond Stalin's more erratic one. That is why, in the limited terms of the thread question, ".....Stalin was better than Hitler".

Cheers,

Sid.

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Sergey Romanov
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Re: Why Stalin was better then Hitler.

Post by Sergey Romanov » 17 Dec 2019 11:28

It refutes your point about non-inheritability of the status.

And implacability is not a valid criterion of relative goodness or badness when we're talking about the crimes on this scale, as it only indicates *relatively* slightly more or less harm and harm doesn't necessarily directly translate into goodness or badness since arguably at some point (which cannot be defined, Sorites) killing more or less doesn't affect the comparative evilness anymore (a serial killer who murdered 20 innocent adults is less harmful but is not better than a serial killer who murdered 20 innocent adults and 10 children).

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Re: Why Stalin was better then Hitler.

Post by Sid Guttridge » 17 Dec 2019 11:30

He gebhk,

I have been looking at Stalin's murderous campaign against Poles.

According to the 1926 Soviet Census, there were 782,000 Poles in the USSR.

According to the 1939 Census this had dropped to 630,000.

The provisos are (1) that the 1926 Soviet Census takers may have deliberately minimised the number of Poles, who might have actually numbered nearer to the 1 million mark and (2) that tens of thousands of Poles had died during more generalised Soviet repression in the Ukraine in the early 1930s.

In 1937-38 143,810 Poles were arrested for supposedly spying for Poland. 111,091 of these were shot. This specific operation against the Poles was not open ended and was wound up in early 1939. By the end of it most Poles in the armed forces, civil service or professions were probably dead, but the bulk of the Polish population survived.

Thus, at the best, the Polish population of the USSR fell by about a sixth and at the worst by about a third in 13 years.

Being Polish in Stalin's USSR may not have been an automatic death sentence, but it was certainly high risk!

Cheers,

Sid.
Last edited by Sid Guttridge on 17 Dec 2019 11:57, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Why Stalin was better then Hitler.

Post by Sid Guttridge » 17 Dec 2019 11:55

Hi Sergey,

You post, "It refutes your point about non-inheritability of the status." It does, to a good degree.

However, it reinforces my point that Stalin's terror, here specifically on Poles, was less implacable than Hitler's on the Jews. I have put some stats up in my last post to gebhk. There was a clear differentiation between most of the adult men arrested, 75% of whom were shot, and their families, who went to "labour camps, corrective labor colonies, or special-regimen orphanages". No such differentiation was possible for Jews under Hitler from 1942. Every last one of them was marked down for death, to the very last baby,

We are not discussing goodness or badness, but "better" or worse. Stalin's regime was "better" in that there was a better chance of members of its target groups surviving, compared with Jews under Hitler, and this was because Stalin's regime was less implacable than Hitler's because it was so changeable in its target of the day.

For Stalin, mass killings were a way of removing real or imagined threats and terrorising the survivors into conformity. For Hitler's regime, from 1942 it was never intended that there should be any survivors.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Sergey Romanov
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Re: Why Stalin was better then Hitler.

Post by Sergey Romanov » 17 Dec 2019 12:31

No, we've been discussing morality most of the time.

To repeat, Stalin's actions were *overall* less harmful than Hitler's both actually and potentially (as far as we know), but certainly not morally better.

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Re: Why Stalin was better then Hitler.

Post by gebhk » 17 Dec 2019 13:25

Hi Sid
That is why, in the limited terms of the thread question, ".....Stalin was better than Hitler".
Only if you were a Jew or Gypsy. For everyone else, by definition, Hitler was better. 15-love.
In 1937-38 143,810 Poles were arrested for supposedly spying for Poland. 111,091 of these were shot.
True, but this statistic omits the fact that of the arrested another 28,744 were sent to concentration camps where their chances of survival were slim. Another circa 100K were deported under the terms of presumed guilt of family members (order ) and as part of the depolonisation of the Ukrainian SSR and Byelorussian SSR. Their chances of survival were not much better. And most researchers agree that these are minimums which do not cover widespread non-sanctioned murders.

Ultimately, however, trying to establish even reasonably accurate totals or percentages is an impossible task because of the internal errors and inconsistencies. Any census data is difficult to interpret for a whole host of reasons such as definitions, who makes the classification and political pressures, all of which can change from census to census. The victims of the 'Polish' operation were often not Polish but how many can only be guessed at. However, I think we can all agree that a large dent was made in the Polish population of the Soviet Union, much of it on ethnic criteria. If we accept the higher estimate of 1/3, this is a much higher attrition than in Poland proper under the Germans.

gebhk
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Re: Why Stalin was better then Hitler.

Post by gebhk » 17 Dec 2019 13:55

Stalin's terror, here specifically on Poles, was less implacable than Hitler's on the Jews.
While Hitler's terror on German Jews was less implacable than Stalin's terror on Polish priests. Besides the blindingly obvious that Nazism proved more deadly to some groups of people and Stalinism to other groups, I don't see the significance. Unless, of course, you subscribe to the view that some peoples lives are more worthy than those of others. Not an alley I would want to go down.
Stalin's actions were *overall* less harmful than Hitler's both actually and potentially (as far as we know),
Though it is probably fair to say that there is a significant body of opinion that holds the opposite view. In reality we will probably never know and there is a high degree of overlap in the range of guesstimates for each regime.

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Sergey Romanov
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Re: Why Stalin was better then Hitler.

Post by Sergey Romanov » 17 Dec 2019 14:12

> Though it is probably fair to say that there is a significant body of opinion that holds the opposite view

Sure, but as this body of opinion is based on ignorance of the now established facts, it cannot be taken into account.

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