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Thursday, January 03, 2008

EDITORIAL: Should Russia Have Surrendered to the Nazis?


Should Russia Have Surrendered to the Nazis?

Writing in the New Yorker in 2002 Victor Erofeyev (in an article entitled "The Russian God") stated:
"When the war against Hitler began, every Russian soldier at the front was given a daily 'commissar's ration' of a hundred grams [of vodka] as stipulated by the ministry of defense. Vodka manufacturers claim that the drink was as important as Katyusha rocket launchers in the victory over Nazim, because it bolstered the Russian army's spirits. But Vladmir Nuzhny, a professor of narcology and one of Russia's best-known theoreticians of alcoholism, thinks otherwise. Those hundred grams were a disaster for the entire postwar generation, he told me. Alcohol dependence soared, and the result was a downward spiral of dissolution that continued into the 1960s."
If you combine this fact with the untold havoc wrecked upon Russia by the murderous rule of the dictator Josef Stalin, who may himself have killed as many Russians as Hitler's soldiers did (as shown in the table below, from Death by Democracy by R. J. Rummel, the USSR was the most* egregious state murderer of its own people in world history), and if you then reflect upon the fact that France surrendered to and was ruled by Hitler, only to emerge relatively unscathed upon Germany's collapse, now possessing a standard of living many orders of magnitude greater than Russia's, it becomes possible to argue that Russia would have been better of surrendering to Hitler rather than fighting him.

Only two arguments can be advanced against this position: First, that if Russia had not fought then Germany would not have collapsed, and by prevailing in World War II Germany would have inflicted worse suffering on Russia than Stalin and the Bolsheviks; and second, that Russia gained some sort of intangible psychological advantage by standing up for principle, whereas in some sense the French sold their souls to the Devil.

The second argument is easily dispensed with. No serious person can argue that Russia's modern history contains many examples of Russians standing up for principle, and their election of a proud KGB spy to lead them only a few years after the collapse of the USSR -- owing in party to the KGB's decimation of Russian culture, carrying out mass murder at Stalin's orders -- drives the final nail into that coffin. Russians are not overly concerned with morality, certainly not to the extent of creating any national malaise resulting from surrender to Hitler. After all, Napoleon invaded and conquered Moscow, but Russia did not show any ill effects.

So the question simply boils down to whether Hitler would have won World War II if Russia had surrendered as France did, and if so whether he would have ruled Russia more cruelly and destructively than Stalin.

As for the first part of this question, it's necessary to ask whether Russia even wanted Hitler's enemies to prevail against him. After all, Stalin made a pact with Hitler before the war broke out that would have allowed Hitler carte blanche authority to ravage the Western allies in exchange for dividing some of the spoils with Russia. The Communists hardly had any great desire to see the capitalist economies of France, England and America throw down the German onslaught and rise to dominate the globe, as they in fact did. Many in Russia, no doubt, were rooting for Hitler so long as he might be counted upon not to turn on Russia.

As for the second part, Would Hitler have built a "Gulag Archipelago" that was even more deadly than the one Stalin created? Hitler wouldn't necessarily have considered the people Stalin saw as villains to be evil; he might even have been in sympathy with them. To be sure, Hitler would have wiped out Russia's Jewish population -- but Russians have made long strides towards that end themselves, and now most of Russia's Jews reside elsewhere. Hitler wouldn't have lived forever -- would he have been replaced by someone just as malignant as Leonid Brezhnev?

These are all academic points to be debated by historians. The only point here is to note that it's an open question whether Russia would have been better off losing World War II and experiencing the regime change that would have resulted, and this fact offers great insight into the truly horrific nature of the Soviet regime itself -- a regime which is now being revitalized in today's Russia by a proud KGB spy who, it appears, has designated himself ruler for life. In so doing, he is (as we reported yesterday) embarking upon a vigorous campaign to rewrite Russia's history books and tell the nation's children that the Soviets really weren't so bad after all.

Those, like Mr. Erofeyev and Mr. Nuzhny, who know better need to speak up, loudly and quickly, before Russia finds itself so deep in mire of its own making that there is no escape.

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs Center, tells a story: "Back in 1946, an American diplomat asked an Iranian editor why his newspaper angrily criticized the United States but never the Soviet Union. The Iranian said that it was obvious. 'The Russians,' he said, 'they kill people.'"

To be sure, and not only people but history books as well. Kill everything that disagrees with you and you will be proven right, they thought in Soviet times. And yet, the USSR was not proven right, but wrong in the most absolute manner a country can be proved wrong -- it ceased to exist. Now, raised on those dishonest history books, a clan of KGB spies who believed and believes every word they wrote, is looking for a second chance to get it all right.


*NOTE: Some argue that China murdered a larger number than the USSR; even if that is so, and even if China murdered twice as many people as the USSR, the impact would not be as great because the Chinese population is much larger and can absorb the shock more readily. Those who would try to shift attention in this manner, moreover, are engaging in a Soviet propaganda trick and seeking to rationalize Russian failure, helping it to continue. They are the real enemies of Russia.


Anonymous said...

You still do not cite any statistical data proving that "the USSR was the most egregious state murderer of its own people in world history". As to a possible defeat and Nazi occupation of the USSR, your analogy with mild occupation of France (even having defeated France, Germans felt a kind of inferiority complex to the French) is clearly false. The Generalplan Ost drawn up by the Germans before the war leaves no illusions about their intentions: they viewed the Soviet territory only as lebensraum for "the highest race" (themselves) and a source of cheap food, raw materials and free labor force (slaves) for "Europe" (including, strangely enough, England) - at the expense of the native population which was doomed to starvation. Those who would survive that "organized famine" were to be deprived of their national identity and Germanized; the only "education" permitted to them was learning to sign their names, to count to 500 and to read road signs so that they would not be run over by their masters' motor cars! It is a dire fact that out of 3.9 million Soviet POWs captured in 1941, only 1.1 million lived to see the beginning of 1942 - so fighting for their country was really a matter of life and death for Russians. Another confirmation of their rightness is the de facto capitulation of the USSR in the Cold War: in the 1991, Russians hoped that as soon as they throw down Communism, they would receive massive American aid and that the "civilized West" will help them build a competitive economy the way it did to the Germans and the Japanese after the WWII. However, in reality they only saw the actual realization of the old Nazi Generalplan Ost - but the Nazis were better than present-day Americans in one respect: at any rate, the Nazis were not such hypocrites. They openly proclaimed themselves as the "highest race" whose natural right and even whose duty was to exterminate and subjugate the "lower races", while the Americans and the present-day "Western world" in general think the same if one judges by their deeds and not their words, but cover their true purpose with all that jaw about "promotion of democracy and human rights". :(

Anonymous said...

I realize your intention is to highlight the fact that Stalin was a worse mass murderer than Hitler, but I gotta say it makes you seem a little off-the-reservation. Kind of like Pat Buchanan's suggestion some years ago that the U.S. should never have entered WW-II. Your implicit suggestion that the brave Russians who lost their lives fighting for their country's sovereignty died in vain will cause enormous hurt to their descendants. Very much like Mr Buchanan's words did to many Americans.

Anonymous said...

so what you're essentially arguing for is the genocide of the russian people (one of the nazi's main goals)? have you completely lost your mind?

La Russophobe said...

You can't even give yourselves NAMES and you say WE are off the reservation?

At least you could READ the post first.

The French SURRENDERED to Hitler. There was no genocide against them. Now, they are a happy free people not ruled by the secret police.

Even THOUGH they resisted Hitler, Russians STILL got genocide, and WORSE than what Hitler did in Germany, FAR worse.

If you can't have an honest discussion and can't cite any facts or bring any value to the table, you should hold your tongues. Your impulsive vacuous gibberish accomplishes nothing at all.

Anonymous said...

Do you consider those French whose cars are being burned by Arab rioters in Parisian suburbs as "happy and free" as well? According to the Nazi ideology, the French (as well as the British, the Italians, the Spaniards, etc.) were Aryans while the Russians and the Slavs in general were considered Untermenschen whose only fate was to be enslaved and to serve the Aryans. Therefore, even General Denikin who had fought against the Bolsheviks during the Russian civil war commented the collaboration of some of his former fellow White generals with Hitler with a sarcastical question: "Haven't they read Mein Kampf?

La Russophobe said...

Compared to the people of Russia? Yes, they're deliriously happy and free.

Do you have some evidence in terms of actual source material, that Hitler planned to exterminate the Russians?

Do you have some evidence, in terms of actual source material, that he would have exterminated more of them than Stalin did?

Aren't you forgetting that Stalin MADE A TREATY with Hitler and Russia only fought Germany because it was attacked? Had it not been, Germany and Russia would have carved up Europe between them and Russia would have been complicit in the Nazi concentration camps.

schiehallion said...

The discussion and the article are a bit "unusual". Speculative history has its limits of being insightful. I only have two remarks:
1. Mao topped everything. even Stalin and Hitler. mao is directly responsible for the death of more than 50 mil Chinese people (MAO - Biography by Jung Chen and Jon Hallyday.
2. I think a big historical difference between Stalinism and German Nazism always has been that in Nazism the victim groups were mainly defined and identified "Outside" the "own" people (=Germans); with some exceptions. In Stalinism (and Maoism) the havoc turned against mainly victims "inside" the own people. The perceived threat was seen as coming mainly from within rather then outside.

The Gestapo's role was quite different than the NKWD's.

La Russophobe said...

The extent of Mao's barbarity is a matter of debate. Many sources indicate that the USSR was more murderous than he was -- and it is a meaningless point in any case to claim that the USSR was "only" No. 2. It's the kind of thing a Stalin apologist would say to justify even more horror in Russia. We despise that kind of thing, it's most "unusual."

La Russophobe said...

Note to those with dim minds: The point of this post is to provoke discussion, not to attempt historical speculation. It's headline, which you apparently didn't read, is a question. The multiplicity of comments shows that it has done its job. Some of you ought to open your eyes a bit wider, if you are able.

Anonymous said...

I personally listed two commens that don't appear here, I guess la russophobe feels the need to censor since she's incapable of defending her idiotic post on its own "merits"

Anonymous said...

how about this "discussion" la russophobe;

"world the world be better off if kim zigfeld was poisoned?"

no, of course i'm not actually arguing that she should be poisoned, just positing a hypothetical situation. given her rapidly deteriorating mental state and her irrational hatred of all things russian, it's a very fair question.

Anonymous said...

In a civilized society, the burden of proving is imposed upon the accusing party. It is you who has accused Stalin of "murdering more Russians than Hitler" - so it is up to you to dig up the exact numbers of Russians murdered by either, without trying to step back when, to your utter surprise, you discover that you have touched a sore spot. :(. The problem is that Hitler was never allowed to fully realize his plans contained in the Generalplan Ost you so conveniently overlook; however, 2,800,000 Soviet prisoners of war starved to death in the brief space of just six months between 06.22.1941 and 01.01.1942 (the evidence is from German sources - is what one might call, in a manner of speaking, a hopeful beginning. Compared to that, according to the memorandum prepared for Khrushchev on December 8, 1953, it took nearly ten years for Stalin's Special Conference attached to the NKVD/MGB of the USSR (the institution authorized to deal with the cases of "public enemies" out of court which existed between November 1, 1934 and September 1, 1953) to condemn 442,531 people, whereof only 10,101 were sentenced to death.

As to the 1939 Nonagression Pact between Germany and the USSR, you conveniently forget that it was preceded by the Munich pact under which Great Britain and France betrayed Czechoslovakia to Hitler and effectively opened the way to the WWII. After that, only a complete fool or a degraded alcoholic (but maybe not Gorby or Yeltsin) would try to seek alliance with those countries whose leaders (respectively, Neville Chamberlain and Edouard Daladier) made no bones about their heartfelt sympathy towards Hitler and their hopes to divert his aggression from their countries by setting him at the USSR. By concluding the Nonaggression Pact, Stalin and Molotov avoided that danger and made Hitler attack Great Britain and France first; besides, by annexing the Baltic countries, the Western Ukraine, Western Byelorussia and Moldavia, they moved the start line of Hitler'
s future attack against the USSR farther from the country's vital centers. Therefore, that pact is a brilliant diplomatic success by all standards which conditioned the future victory of the USSR in the WWII.

The last but not the least: I repeat again that the present generation of Russians did have a taste of what would it be like to be defeated by Hitler when the Soviet Union capitulated in the Cold War. Rest assured, neither we nor our children or grandchildren will ever repeat this grave error!

La Russophobe said...

Responding to the "anonymous" idiots above who cannot even take the trouble to give themselves a unique name:

(1) It's pretty ironic that you refer to "civilized" discourse, which is made impossible when you don't even take the trouble to give yourself a name.

(2) Read our blog, please. We've sourced the data on the USSR (not only Stalin, Brezhnev also murdered many) being the worst murderer many times. Moreover, you ignore our point that being #2 is nothing to be proud of; your point is an idiotic red herring. On top of that, even if China killed twice as many citizens as Russia, it still wouldn't be as large a share of the population because Russia is a much smaller country. Your analysis is totally one sided and, since you dare to criticize us on that basis, disgracefully hypocritical.

(3) We have comment publication guidelines. They are linked in our sidebar. If you violate them then you may not be published. Also, your comment may not have posted to us due to technical fault; best to save a copy of any comment you feel is important so it can be re-posted. The idea that we censor is outrageous and utterly false. This post alone is FULL of critical statements about us. That you would tell such a ridiculous lie indicates your statements are not worth publishing, as does your lack of effort to even give yourself a unique name.

(4) We have no problem with your attempt to provoke discussion by saying we should be killed, but we feel your attempt to support your thesis is devoid of substance, especially compared to our thoughtful post. Moreover, since we didn't advocate killing anyone, we feel you have betrayed yourself as a crude barbarian.

La Russophobe said...

This chart:

from this source:

shows that the USSR murdered over 60 million while China murdered only 35 million. Even if the figures were reversed, Russia would still be a far greater impact because the population is smaller.

Anonymous said...

LR, you keep citing statistics about dictators killing their own people, but seem to forget the fairly basic point that Russians were not Hitler's "own people" but members of a race which he considerd to be inferior and fit for destruction

Anonymous said...

A reputable source, indeed! :)))

If you simply add those "60 million murdered by the USSR" to 27 million killed during the war, one should wonder: just how could some population be left in that country after such massive hecatombs?

By the way, the chart you cite conveniently overlooks the 500 years of atrocities performed those who bore the White Man's Burden in America, Asia and Australia. The blood of Aztec and Inca innocents cries out to heaven!

Anonymous said...

2schiehallion: There is one more difference between Communism and Nazism: their declared final aims. According to the Communist doctrine, after the exploiting classes are done away with (not necessarily physically exterminated) all people irrespective of their social or ethnic origin will be equal, work according to their abilities and consume according to their needs. Meanwhile, Nazism proclaims that "the highest race" is destined to live in luxury at the expense of the "lower races". :(

Anonymous said...

Got to say Russophobe normally I enjoy your blog, but you are off beam with this one.

As has been pointed out the Nazis viewed the French as Aryan, Slavs in contrast were classed as Untermenschen, considered barely only just one rung up the Nazi 'racial' ladder than Jews.

If you want to find out about the following -

'Do you have some evidence, in terms of actual source material, that he would have exterminated more of them than Stalin did?'

Moot point, but in Generalplan Ost ethnic cleansing and mass murder of Slavs was very much on the aggenda, after the 'Jewish Question' had been resolved ie complete mass murder of the same.

For the fate of Slavs ie Poles, Russians etc etc -

'In ten years' time, the plan called for the extermination, expulsion, enslavement of most or all Poles and East Slavs living behind the front lines in Europe. (With some small amounts being Germanised) Instead, 250 million Germans would live in an extended Lebensraum ("living space") of the 1000-Year Reich (Tausendjähriges Reich). Fifty years after the war, under the Große Planung, Generalplan Ost foresaw the eventual expulsion and extermination of more than 50 million Slavs beyond the Ural Mountains.

In 1941 it was decided to destroy the Polish nation completely and the German leadership decided that in 10 to 20 years Polish state under German occupation was to be fully cleared of any ethnic Poles and settled by German colonists. [2]

Of the Poles, by 1952 only about 3-4 million people were supposed to be left residing in the former Poland, and then only to serve as slaves for German settlers. They were to be forbidden to marry, the existing ban on any medical help to Poles in Germany would be extended, and eventually Poles (believed by the Nazis to be Untermenschen, that is "sub-people") would cease to exist. The majority of Poles should perish in the Pinsk Marshes areas according to Hitler's statements during his "Tischgespräche".'

They were already warming up in Poland with regards to Slavs, see the 'Zamosc expulsions' for just one example, but these were shelved temporarily only due to other military priorities when the tide of war turned against them.

Having Polish antecedants, who suffered both at the hands of the Nazis and the Soviets, Russophobe I have deep contempt for both. However I have to say, much that it pains me to say it, that the Soviets after 1942 (not before, as they were busily exterminating Poles and Poland with a fervour that matched the Nazis - ) were eventually the lesser of two evils.

Not that that is much consolation for me or most Poles either. It took 45 years after WW2 (after it had been sold down the river by it's Western allies at Tehran, Yalta and Potsdam) for Poland to be truly liberated from the sole remaining mass murdering, totalitarion regimes that had carved it up in 1939.

La Russophobe said...


Got to say, we normally enjoy your readership but you are off the beam on this one ;)

And the proof of how good this post is is the length of your comment and the number of other comments it has provoked.

Got to say, we haven't lost our touch.

La Russophobe said...

LR, you keep citing statistics about dictators killing their own people, but seem to forget the fairly basic point that Russians were not Hitler's "own people" but members of a race which he considerd to be inferior and fit for destruction

You're a bit confused. The point of citing those statistics is to show that Russians were not necessarily better off avoiding being conquered by Germany. Stalin thought everyone who disagreed with him was "inferior" and tried to kill them all -- they were not just any Russians, but the cleverest ones, the brightest lights, Russia's future.

The point is simply that an argument can be made. That's how pathetic Russia's modern history really is. The truth will never be known. But anyone who reflects on it fairly must be horrified by the barbaric nature of Russia's government in the last century.

Anonymous said...

2Veritas: While denouncing the Nazis and the Soviets on the Poles' behalf, you conveniently forget the Polish invasions of Russia in 1610 and 1919, as well as the Polish participation in Nazi Germany's slicing of Czechoslovakia in 1938.

Besides, if the Poles are just innocent victims of "mass murdering regimes", what are their occupying foces doing in Iraq now?

Artfldgr said...

Russia could have participated in the rebuilding. it was not who gave up to whom that was the deciding factor, it was the marshal plan and participation in it where moneys got double duty (they didnt just give cash, the set up was very clever, and worked very well).

russia chose to not participate and use the funds to get technology and so forth. the rest of europe did (since we are referring to europe).

it had nothing to do with who surrendered to whom!

so russia did not need to surrender anything except some pride and accept help, in order to be like france, germany, etc.

saying france gave up and the french didnt get exterminated is also wrong... though the programs didnt have much time compared to the other countries. once germany was in france, either d day would come (of some sort), or england would have fallen, end of story.

moscow rejected it (for various reaons), so poland rejected it, etc...

Moscow's decision to reject Soviet and East European participation in the Marshall Plan is seen by many historians as a key moment in the origins and development of the Cold War. For it was in the aftermath of this decision in summer 1947 that the Cold War on the Soviet side began in earnest.

According to Wilfried Loth's account,[1] for example, Moscow initially welcomed the Marshall Plan and the possibility of Soviet participation in a US-funded European reconstruction programme. Participation in the Marshall Plan meshed with Moscow's then foreign policy aims of (a) continued cooperation with the Western powers, (b) the prevention of the emergence of a West European bloc led by the United States, and (c) the political and economic stabilisation of Europe as a whole. Moscow was opposed, however, to the idea of a coordinated multilateral aid programme, which was seen to threaten the Soviet political and economic position in Eastern Europe. It was over this issue that the Anglo-Soviet-French Marshall Plan negotiations broke down in early July 1947. The USSR then withdrew from the Marshall Plan project, insisted that its East European allies do likewise, and subsequently embarked on a new foreign policy strategy: a strategy of isolation, and of the consolidation of Soviet and communist power in Eastern Europe as a counter to the emerging West European bloc signalled by the Marshall Plan. Moscow's rejection of the Marshall Plan was followed by the founding of the Cominform and Zhdanov's proclamation of the two-camps doctrine in September 1947, by the ending of West European communist support for reconstruction and postwar national unity, and, most notably, by the Stalinist Gleichschaltung of Eastern Europe.

so technically, the only way the question in the article here is valid is if the assumption was that if they gave up to germany, there wouldnt be kgb and such left. which is a possibility...

but the giving up or not had nothing to do with the reconstruction outcomes. that had come from moscow wanting to be like the US and give, when it needed to be a receiver.

as always, wanting to puff up its chest, and so it rejected it, and the other states was then they split from the world economies, and the precipitation of the cold war was set when kennans long letter basically advises containment (which means that the west did NOT win, it just let go... while only russia could win since they were the only ones playing on those terms - if not, then they would have been invaded when they fell. duh)

all the countries that participated in the marshall plan ended up being rebuilt and prosperous in short order.

in fact it was amazing... what would today be over a trillion dollars was applied by merit, and rather than huge beuracracies, you ended up with high productivities... and everyone did well.

like the old addage about capatalists and socialists points out.

a socialist looks at a wealthy man and says "no one should live that way"

a capatalist looks at a wealthy man and says "everyone should live that way". then tries to figure out how to provide to the common man what that wealthy man has, but do it cheap. (in this way, most things migrate from wealthy first adapters, to the public... remember cars, cell phones, private planes, etc... without those wealthy ginea pigs, you wouldnt have desktop computers to type on now! they are a necessary part in the productivity engine. and only the tippy tippy top stay where they are for any length)

anyway.... no one had to give up... the help was offered...

there is a new book out on the marshall plan, while i havent read it i have read excerpts... cant find the title now... but i am sure that those interested in the history can find things... though i would stay away from stalinized (revisionist) histories.

Anonymous said...

I am sick to death of the "Blame America" crowd; foreign and domestic. Anonymous get out of your pity-party! Russian propoganda denigrates democracy and capitalism as the root cause of all the problems that occurred to Russia after the fall of the wall. Sorry dude, that blame game doesn't stick. The real problem lay in the fact that you tried to have the fruits of capitalism and democracy while still tilling the soil of greed, corruption and bribery. Strange that so many of the former Soviet satellite countries are doing well. I guess pride really does goeth before the fall.