SUMMARY Bloodlands Europe Between Hitler and Stalin 107

SUMMARY Bloodlands Europe Between Hitler and Stalin

SUMMARY Bloodlands Europe Between Hitler and Stalin 107 Á ➵ Bloodlands Europe Between Hitler and Stalin Read ➼ Author Timothy Snyder – Americans call the Second World War “The Good War” But before it even began America’s wartime ally Josef Stalin had killed millions of his own citizenThat Snyder sets himself three goals here to break down the number into the various actions of murder that comprise it from liuidation of the kulaks to the final solution to restore humanity to the victims via surviving testimony to their fates and to deny Hitler and Stalin any historical justification for their policies which at the time had legions of supporters and have some even today Such scope may render Snyder’s project too imposing to casual readers but it would engage those exposed to the period’s chronology and major interpretive issues such as the extent to which the Nazi and Soviet systems may be compared Solid and judicious scholarship for large WWII collectio. The history told in Timothy Snyder's Bloodlands Europe Between Hitler and Stalin is not a revelation Readers familiar with the works of Robert Conuest Daniel Goldhagen Anne Applebaum or Halik Kochanski have read it all before Snyder presents it with a new perspective concentrating on the plight of the minority peoples caught between the two ideological empires of the mid twentieth century – Ukrainians Belorussians Balts Roma Russians Germans Poles Jews – all pawns of Hitler and Stalin Both tyrants were committed to ethnic and cultural homogeneity in the lands they ruled but as Snyder so aptly pointed out it was Stalin who won Hitler's war so his vision triumphedThe old adage about man's inhumanity to man was never reinforced better than in Bloodlands Europe Between Hitler and Stalin While well written often captivating and thoroughly footnoted extensive references in English Polish German and Russian it is undeniably a depressing book Stalinism with its forced collectivization of agriculture the “liuidation of the kulaks as a class” and recurring politically driven suppressions when married in time and geography with Nazism's bloodlust and pseudo scientific racism resulted in a clash of unrivaled barbarity The beleaguered peoples of Eastern Europe bore the brunt A volatile mix of nationalism racism and political ideology led to the devastation of wide swaths of the European borderlands where mixed religions ethnicities and cultures had survived and even thrived during the ages of the Habsburgs Hohenzollerns and Romanovs The advent of Hitler and Stalin ended that situation perhaps forever The numbers are mind boggling Many millions were slaughtered and no group escaped untouched In Warsaw on 5 and 6 August 1944 alone SS Special Commando Dirlewanger shot 40000 Polish civilians While much of western historiography has been focused on the Holocaust the Jews comprised 540 million of the 14 million victims of totalitarianism in the bloodlands Snyder rounds out the ugly tale of murder Timothy Snyder deserves great credit for presenting a new look at this sanguinary chapter of European history So much of today's news on the region has been shaped by the events described and explained in Bloodlands Europe Between Hitler and Stalin Snyder's book earned a rating of Four Stars in my library Another plus The text is accompanied by excellent maps A brief study of the maps reflecting the changing borders in the region from 1918 through the post war era is in itself enlightening

SUMMARY ☆ eBook, PDF or Kindle ePUB ↠ Timothy Snyder

Americans call the Second World War Between Hitler Kindle #208 “The Good War” But before it even began America’s wartime ally Josef Stalin had killed millions of his own citizens and kept killing them during and after the war Before Hitler was finally defeated he had murdered six million Jews and nearly as many other Europeans At war’s end both the German and the Soviet killing sites fell behind the iron curtain leaving the history of mass killing in darknessBloodlands is a new kind of European history presenting the mass murders committed by Bloodlands Europe Epubthe Nazi and Stalinist regimes as two aspects of a single history in the time and place where they occurred. I was raised amongst survivors of the great horror that was the War in Eastern Europe My mother endured forced labour under the Soviets in 1940 and slave labour under the Nazis after 1941 She saw some of her family being deported by the Soviets to almost certain death in Kazakhstan and discovered the rest in a mass grave shot by the Nazis Her best friend survived Auschwitz My Godfather was a partizan in the forests around Lwow fighting both Nazis and Soviets My Godmother lived through the Stalinist regime survived the battles for Kharkov and slave labour in Germany I was taught chess by a White Russian whose memories of that time were horrific Even I visited Auschwitz in 1963 when I returned to England I was shocked to realise non of the English people I knew knew anything about the place Until recently who apart from the Poles knew the truth about KatynSo when I started reading Timothy Snyder’s “Bloodlands” my first impression was “There is nothing new here” I’d heard it all in one place or another But what Snyder does do is take all those evils and puts them together in his Pandora’s Box only one thing is missing Hope Because there was no hope only fear and death The depressing bleakness hollows out the soul One has to pause to take stock to look away to absorb the evil and hear the dead cry out for justice and an understanding that what happened there on the “Eastern Front” in the “Bloodlands” actually exceeded anything the West could understand “The American and British soldiers who liberated the dying inmates from camps in Germany believed that they had discovered the horrors of Nazism The images their photographers and cameramen captured of the corpses and the living skeletons at Bergen Belsen and Buchenwald seemed to convey the worst crimes of Hitlerthis was far from the truth The worst was in the ruins of Warsaw or the fields of Treblinka or the marshes of Belarus or the pits of Babi Yar” Timothy Snyder is the conscience of us allSnyder fills his Pandora’s Box and then he reveals its contents to us He deals with the real terrors of Stalinism; the tragedy of the Great Famine of the Ukraine the nightmare of the Great Terror and the cold blooded elimination of the educated classes and all forms of potential resistance in Poland He goes on to deal with Nazism; once the elimination of educated Poles the attempts to depopulate Belarus and the Final Solution He looks at Post War Cold War anti Semitism in a very knowledgeable manner that makes the era clearly understandable He does a wonderful job of sorting the truth out from the “false history” we have in the West by reminding us for example that “by the time the gas chamber and crematoria complexes came on line in spring 1943 than three uarters of the Jews who would be killed in the Holocaust were already dead” The name of Belzec is less well known than that of Auschwitz because it was a death camp those who survived it were highly lucky and could be counted on the fingers of one hand “The vast majority of Jews killed in the Holocaust never saw a concentration camp”Snyder debunks the modern attempts to “balance” out history the Nazis and the Soviets were not inhuman beasts they were ordinary men and women like you and me These men and women had ideals which they tried to live up to They saw themselves as victims of other groups and their actions were a form of self defense They forced others to collude in their plans by giving them a choice between that or death He reminds us of the real atrocities carried out in the war for example “About as many Poles were killed in the bombing of Warsaw in 1939 as Germans were killed in the bombing of Dresden in 1945 For Poles that bombing was just the beginning of one of the bloodiest occupations of the war “ and that “German journalists and some historians have exaggerated the number of Germans killed during wartime and postwar evacuation flight or deportation”Snyder’s “Bloodlands” are for me the lands of the old Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth partitioned between 1772 and 1794 The horrors that took place here are just a continuation of the policies of the Germans and Russians to control those lands Perhaps I fall into that category of historians who try to understand the horrors in nationalistic terms he debunks the Russian myth of the “Great Patriotic war” and points out that most of the “Russian” dead were “Soviet” and came from Belarus the Ukraine and Eastern Poland themselves victims of Stalinism in 1939 and earlierI said there was nothing new here that isn’t completely true Snyder’s research is so broad as he brings the strands together that there will always be a fact that will surprise you no matter how much you think you know the history I never knew that the invading Germans in 1939 tended not to treat captured Polish soldiers as prisoners of war but simply shot many of them as they surrendered Snyder filled his history with facts and figures throughout One simple fact stands in for so many in the book “On any given day in the second half of 1941 the Germans shot Jews than had been killed by pogroms in the entire history of the Russian Empire”There’s nothing new in this book The story and the facts have always been available In this post Cold war era the truth about what went on in the East has been slowly revealed to the West all the “false” history is been revealed as another version of the West’s anti Communist propaganda a Big brother version of history in which Polish troops for example were not allowed to partake in VE celebrations because the country was Communist albeit sold out by the allies at Yalta Snyder brings the true history of this era to the attention of the West Everyone should read it but then I would say that wouldn’t I I was raised amongst survivors of the great horror that was the War in Eastern Europe

Timothy Snyder ↠ 7 SUMMARY

Bloodlands Europe Between Hitler and StalinBetween Germany and Russia when Hitler and Stalin both held power Assiduously researched deeply humane and utterly definitive Bloodlands will be reuired reading for anyone seeking to understand the central tragedy of modern historyFrom BooklistIf there is an explanation for the political killing perpetrated in eastern Europe in the s and s historian Snyder roots it in agriculture Stalin wanted to collectivize farmers Hitler wanted to eliminate them so Europe Between Hitler Kindle #215 Germans could colonize the land The dictators wielded frightening power to advance such fantasies toward reality and the despots toted up about million corpses between them so stupefying a figure. History As Intention and ResponseHistory can be told in several ways as a textbook like seuence of events and dates; as a moral tale; as a story of the strong or of the weak; from the point of view of the victors or the vanuished; as an account of divine providence or satanic interference Snyder has a particularly engaging method of narrating history as intention and response to circumstances According to his title one could conceive his subject as the history of a specific geographical region namely Eastern Poland Ukraine and Belarus But this is merely the location of the action The real history in Bloodlands is stated in the subtitle namely the personal intentions of Hitler and Stalin and how these intentions were formed and interacted Events in Bloodlands are relevant only as they relate to these intentions Dates are relevant primarily to distinguish action and response The story is not one of conflict and victory or loss but of joint persecution by Hitler and Stalin of a victim population of Poles Slavs Jews and other ethnic groups It is this genre of purposeful historiography in which the centre of attention is the intended victims that makes the book highly readable and intellectually compellingAccording to Snyder the fundamental aims of both National Socialism and Soviet Communism were the same to control their own food supply The Germans by expanding eastward to acuire the most productive agricultural acreage in Europe The Russians by expanding westward into Poland and collectivising Soviet agriculture primarily to finance industrialisation through exports It is these intentions their mutual responses to the other and the interpretations by their subordinates that determine the trajectory of events from the end of WWI through the conclusion of WWII The central 'show' according to this view was never in Western Europe or Southeast Asia but in precisely that area for which both powers contended for agricultural land Snyder's Bloodlands It is here as well and only here that the full horror of both fascist and communist regimes can be appreciated The details of the military campaign as well as the 'formal' atrocities of Nazi concentration camps and the Soviet Gulag are important but in a sense obscure the wider and ultimate intentions to murder or displace the entire existing population of the region The millions who died and the millions who suffered were not 'collateral damage' incidental to war they were the point of the war on both sidesStalin's clear purpose in his agricultural policy of the early 1930's for example was not just to crush Ukrainian nationalism and to eliminate any residual Polish influence in the Western Soviet Union but also to replace its indigenous population by Russians German strategy was commensurate that is to liuidate or otherwise enslave the Slavic population of the same region and encourage the emigration of German farmers Stalin used starvation as his weapon of choice; Hitler his Einsatzgruppen Both were strategic necessities not incidental aberrations Both used substantial resources that appear wasted only if their strategic intent is ignored Moreover both leaders seriously risked their own positions to pursue these aims an indication of their centrality Ukrainian collectivisation was an obvious economic failure It was nevertheless pursued by Stalin until de population was largely achieved The Einsatzgruppen which carried out the bulk of the Nazi liuidations in occupied countries were opposed by the regular army as a militarily useless collection of thugs and psychopaths Yet they were given free rein in military areas by Hitler and received logistical priority even in retreat These sorts of actions can only be perceived as errors in judgement if their real intent is ignored Neither man was as concerned so much about the outcome of any particular battle as about his ability to carry out his ultimate purpose And this purpose remained constant Every significant political and military act even the most bizarre can be traced to the need to eliminate opposition to the reuirements of the overall purpose no matter how politically inept or militarily inefficientFailure to appreciate these aims was also the root of misunderstanding by contemporaries who should have known better Among journalists only the Welsh Gareth Jones could see beyond the fascist and communist propaganda to the ultimate aims Walter Duranty the Pulitzer Prize winning bureau chief of the New York Times simply refused to believe the overwhelming evidence of mass starvation Even intellectuals like Arthur Koestler temporised about the most horrible events including widespread cannibalism by insisting on the ultimate beneficence of socialism American foreign policy simply ignored the reality of German and Russian intentions for two decadesContinuing failure to appreciate the impact of these tragedies is the 'take away' from Snyder's analysis For example Stalin starved to death approximately 3 million Ukrainians in 1932 33 and killed approximately another 3 million whom he had already deported to Siberia and Kazakhstan These people were murdered not because they refused to conform to his policies but because they were who they were Can there be any doubt about the conviction of present day Ukrainians to resist further assimilation by RussiaThe unreliability of the press in reporting the factual detail of events was matched by the ineptitude of the intelligence and ambassadorial services in analysing their own sources of information In part at least this seems due to an inability to accept the degree of depravity that human beings can reach By any standards Stalin and Hitler were mad But were then also the millions of previously normal citizens who necessarily carried out and even supplemented their malicious commands also mad One small unit of NKVD officers shot than 20000 people during the Great Terror in the Soviet Union If these men were not mad how could they not have become so and their families their acuaintances their country with themAn interview with a communist activist who was charged with enforcing Stalin's orders to take the seed grain from collective farms thus condemning the peasants to death could be the most important theme of the entire book As before he says I believed because I wanted to believe This certainly would have been the response of every Soviet commissar Nazi SS officer Treblinka or Gulag camp guard and general army officer This realisation is even depressing than the seemingly endless atrocities recounted by Snyder Commitment loyalty passion to and for ideals no matter what they are or leaders who represent these ideals no matter who they are are not virtues but vices It was these vices the real evils of commitment loyalty and passion that allowed Stalin and Hitler and their henchmen to carry out their work These men were inspired by the conuest of the American West and the liuidation of its native population These men created myths of foreign plots to undermine national sovereignty and used them to justify the closing of borders the isolation of minority groups and the necessity for murderous action against unarmed people These men were consistent in their pronouncements about what they intended to do and why And still each was able to manipulate the uniue politics of his own system to maintain popular support through an appeal to purported 'virtue' It is this virtue not nationalism or ideology per se which was the driving force of the evil committedAm I alone therefore in feeling apprehension watching American political rallies or evangelical religious meetings or even corporate 'team building' exercises Am I alone in suspecting that men like Trump and Putin are capable of the most horrific crimes regardless of the institutional constraints imposed on them Am I alone in considering that the cause for strength whoever puts it forth is a fundamental evil which has no inherent limits Why are commitment loyalty and passion valued most by the people who do most harm in the world Is it I who am mad An addendum on Purpose and HistoryIn the 1980's I attended a lecture by an economist whose name now escapes me it could have been Paul Johnson His topic was the history of agricultural policy in the United States He pointed out that the two main components of this policy from the 1930's onwards had been 1 Rather substantial subsidies to farmers for not growing certain crops and 2 Also rather large subsidies to industry and academia for research directed toward the increase in yields for the same crops that farmers were already paid not to grow Every year when these subsidies were brought before Congress someone would point of the apparent contradiction A debate would ensue And a vote would endorse both sets of subsidy usually with and increase The presumption of irrationality in the political process was put forward as the only possible explanationUntil it was pointed out I believe to the Reagan administration that this outcome only appeared irrational because no one was looking for the fundamental rational the real purpose According to the lecturer this purpose wasn't obvious because it was never made explicit but it nevertheless was there and it was politically compelling The purpose of the apparently contradictory subsidies was uite straightforward to maximise the value of US farm land In this light both subsidies made senseThe importance of this insight was not merely intellectual Having articulated the implicit purpose of historical agricultural policy it was then possible to ask the uestion Is the increased value of farm land a national priority The answer was 'no' Conseuently for the first time in several generations both subsidies were reducedThe implications for historical method are to me profound The presumption of purpose is crucial in historical analysis Without it one is confronted with apparently random often irrational events With it one is forced to confront intentions that are only implicit and perhaps only shared by a very few with leadership positions It is a presumption that is a self fulfilling prophecy But so is its negation The example of US agricultural policy is one proof of its superiority as a general method