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Tags Josef Stalin , Russia history , Soviet Union history

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Old 11th August 2017, 10:52 AM   #1
jimbob
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Was Stalin really that bad

To avoid derailing discussion about North Korea....

I'm with Craig B on this one

Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
It is beyond all doubt that millions of people died of hunger and disease in Ukraine alone (and other huge numbers elsewhere in the USSR) in the famine that followed the collectivisation of Agriculture by Stalin in and after 1929. The questions at issue are

How many millions?

Was there any specific use of famine to destroy Ukrainians as an ethnic group, or did the victims die because they were peasants in a grain exporting region, and so suffered the results of collectivisation in their most extreme form?

Only in the first case would the crime (because it was a crime) have been genocide as such. I think it probably wasn't. It was a dispossession of a peasant class, comparable with the Enclosures in England, the Highland Clearences in Scotland, and the Famine-Emigration in Ireland; however it was not the same sort of crime as the Holocaust.

But it was not a Nazi propagandist invention, alas. It was real.
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Old 11th August 2017, 10:55 AM   #2
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Yes. Yes he was.
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Old 11th August 2017, 10:55 AM   #3
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Indeed
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Old 11th August 2017, 10:58 AM   #4
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No, he was even worse.
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Old 11th August 2017, 11:26 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Argumemnon View Post
Yes. Yes he was.
No. No. No he wasn't. Do I win (for now)?

I am interested in how this thread proceeds, in that I certainly have been told of many instances in which Stalin is presented as an extraordinarily evil man. I would like to see this discussed. But it would be nice if posters provide evidence, or at least a narrative for their conclusions.
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Old 11th August 2017, 11:33 AM   #6
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He was awesome, as evidenced by his rockin' mustache. I bet that 'stache could strain krill better than a humpback whale. Also, in his youth he was a very good looking young rogue. I don't understand why images of young Che are all the rage, but images of young Stalin are not.

More serously, in response to Giordano's request, a few discussion points:

The Holodomor
The Gulags
The Purges

In another thread, a forum member has been engaging in Holodomor denialism, which might be the genesis of this thread.


ETA: I don't think he was any worse than Mao, or Pol Pot, or Hitler. During Mao's reign, China probably killed of at least as much of its population as the USSR did under Stalin. There were some very bad leaders during the 20th Century.

Last edited by crescent; 11th August 2017 at 11:46 AM.
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Old 11th August 2017, 11:39 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Giordano View Post
No. No. No he wasn't. Do I win (for now)?
Not if your goal was being accurate. Unless you think getting millions killed needlessly isn't evil.
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Old 11th August 2017, 11:43 AM   #8
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What a pathetic display of intellectual dishonesty. I have never argued that people didn't die in the Ukrainian SSR because of famine and disease.[*] And I have never argued that the famine was Nazi propaganda. Yet you of course see no problem in pulling that post, which was in response to me, out of context (ie obvious straw-manning) into a new thread.

* and you even got your timeline wrong, the famine under consideration was 1932-33. But then I'd not expect you to be able to point to Ukraine on a map to be honest, so whatever.
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Old 11th August 2017, 11:46 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by crescent View Post
He was awesome, as evidenced by his rockin' mustache. I bet that 'stache could strain krill better than a humpback whale. Also, in his youth he was a very good looking young rogue. I don't understand why images of young Che are all the rage, but images of young Stalin are not.

More serously, in response to Giordano's request, a few discussion points:

The Holodomor
The Gulags
The Purges

In another thread, a forum member has been engaging in Holodomor denialism, which might be the genesis of this thread.
It is indeed the genesis of this thread - and where Craig B's quote came from
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Old 11th August 2017, 12:03 PM   #10
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'Yes', Stalin was that bad.

If Stalin was not the worst, then he was a close second to Hitler.
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Old 11th August 2017, 12:10 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Crossbow View Post
'Yes', Stalin was that bad.

If Stalin was not the worst, then he was a close second to Hitler.
If we are taking Pot shots at worst historical figure, then don't forget Pol!
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Old 11th August 2017, 12:13 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by caveman1917 View Post
What a pathetic display of intellectual dishonesty. I have never argued that people didn't die in the Ukrainian SSR because of famine and disease.[*] And I have never argued that the famine was Nazi propaganda. Yet you of course see no problem in pulling that post, which was in response to me, out of context (ie obvious straw-manning) into a new thread.

* and you even got your timeline wrong, the famine under consideration was 1932-33. But then I'd not expect you to be able to point to Ukraine on a map to be honest, so whatever.
What I stated was
the famine that followed the collectivisation of Agriculture by Stalin in and after 1929.
which is consistent with the date. I was dating the cause, which was collectivisation. The famine followed once the effect of reduced sowing by the dispossessed farmers had had time to pass through the food distribution system. By the way, I am used to your insults and provocation, and as I have stated before, in previous similar discussions where you have resorted to these malpractices, I'm immune to them.

But you will achieve your desired effect; your post and my response will be AAH'd.
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Old 11th August 2017, 12:15 PM   #13
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Or Genghis Khan. Guiness listed his domination of northern China at 80 million deaths, basically the worst disaster for humanity, natural or otherwise. I'm not sure what the currently-accepted number is, but it is many tens of millions from what I can see.
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Old 11th August 2017, 12:16 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by caveman1917 View Post
What a pathetic display of intellectual dishonesty. I have never argued that people didn't die in the Ukrainian SSR because of famine and disease.[*] And I have never argued that the famine was Nazi propaganda. Yet you of course see no problem in pulling that post, which was in response to me, out of context (ie obvious straw-manning) into a new thread.

* and you even got your timeline wrong, the famine under consideration was 1932-33. But then I'd not expect you to be able to point to Ukraine on a map to be honest, so whatever.
Wow. So Stalin's butchery was A-OK in your view. Good luck with that.
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Old 11th August 2017, 12:16 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Giz View Post
If we are taking Pot shots at worst historical figure, then don't forget Pol!
In terms of percentages, Pol Pot was clearly the worst.

In terms of the total number murdered, then Stalin was much more of a killer than Pot.
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Old 11th August 2017, 12:32 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
What I stated was
the famine that followed the collectivisation of Agriculture by Stalin in and after 1929.
which is consistent with the date.
So is the one of 1946. You haven't established that this was the cause, by any standard. Have you ever heard of a thing called post hoc ergo propter hoc?

More importantly, your bolded statement is clearly something which was not in contention, yet you present it as if it was. Furthermore, the following
Quote:
But it was not a Nazi propagandist invention, alas. It was real.
clearly implies that the further contention is whether your previous claim (ie people died in the Ukrainian SSR because of starvation and disease) is Nazi propaganda or not.

Quote:
By the way, I am used to your insults and provocation, and as I have stated before, in previous similar discussions where you have resorted to these malpractices, I'm immune to them.
Oh please...

Quote:
But you will achieve your desired effect; your post and my response will be AAH'd.
Why would it be AAH'd? Because you were caught straw-manning?
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Old 11th August 2017, 12:52 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by caveman1917 View Post
What a pathetic display of intellectual dishonesty. I have never argued that people didn't die in the Ukrainian SSR because of famine and disease.[*] And I have never argued that the famine was Nazi propaganda. Yet you of course see no problem in pulling that post, which was in response to me, out of context (ie obvious straw-manning) into a new thread.

* and you even got your timeline wrong, the famine under consideration was 1932-33. But then I'd not expect you to be able to point to Ukraine on a map to be honest, so whatever.
No, you *seem to have been arguing* that it wasn't Stalin's responsibility. Personally, I think Craig B is possibly giving Stalin the benefit of the doubt, but I'm willing to accept incompetently being responsible for killing millions, and deliberately killing hundreds of thousands in the Gulags.

Stalinist and Maoist agricultural reforms have killed tens of millions of people, and the DPRK is repeating this. There seems to be a bit of a theme.



Originally Posted by caveman1917 View Post


ETA: and there's no such thing as the Holodomor. Just because such claims were published in Völkischer Beobachter, at a time when it was well-respected among liberal intelligentsia in the West, doesn't mean it's true.
Originally Posted by caveman1917 View Post
The famine was real, but the "Holodomor" (hunger-genocide, ie Stalin engineered it as some Evil Plan against the Ukrainian Nation) is nothing more than a Nazi propagandist invention.
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Old 11th August 2017, 02:37 PM   #18
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"Was the Holodomor intentional genocide, or merely an unintentional side effect of Stalin's policies" could have led to an interesting historical discussion.

"Was Stalin really that bad" was not a good way to lead to that conversation, IMO.
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Old 11th August 2017, 02:41 PM   #19
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I'm afraid that was deliberate. I thought it had been uncontroversial since the 1950s when the Soviet regime denounced him.
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Old 11th August 2017, 02:42 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by caveman1917 View Post
Germany and Romania suffered between 40% and 80% of harvest losses due to plant disease, for example.[*] I have no idea about the mortality, and I don't particularly care.



Yes, without backing it up.

* see page 14 here for an overview of references for harvest yields in the rest of Eastern Europe.
You are missing a key thing: crop losses alone are rarely ever enough to cause famine. Governments cause famine.

Three Causes of Famine in Africa

Drought doesn't cause famine. People do.

We've had the ability to ship large amounts of food from one part of the world to another at least since Roman times. Crop failures can cause food shortages, but in the modern era, it has almost exclusively been warfare, government mismanagement, deliberate action, or various combinations of those that pushed things from food shortage into outright famine.

The potato blight caused food shortages in Ireland, but the actions of the British government pushed it into famine; the British government is also widely blamed for the 1943 Bengal famine. The Cambodian famine in the 1970's was caused by the warfare in the country.

If you look at most any famine of the last 200 years, you'll see that crop failures are only one out of many contributing factors; often not the largest factor.
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Old 11th August 2017, 02:46 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by jimbob View Post
Stalinist and Maoist agricultural reforms have killed tens of millions of people
Before "Stalinist agricultural reforms": on average, in the region: food shortage every 3 years, and full-blown famine every 10 years.

After "Stalinist agricultural reforms": nothing, other than the 1946 one which had nothing to do with any agricultural reforms.

Yay for Stalin's industrialization of agriculture!

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I AGREE


And since you seem so terribly confused about political categories (including your own): no I'm not a Stalinist, but that doesn't mean I can't recognize obvious Nazi propaganda when I see it.

If Stalin wanted to "destroy the Ukrainian Nation" he'd have deported them to Siberia or something. But no, making the harvest fail so that there isn't enough grain to feed everyone so that then Ukrainian nationalists could die as some Grand Evil PlanTM. Nazi conspiracy theories are always the best
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Old 11th August 2017, 02:49 PM   #22
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I think it's fairly safe to assume that Stalin was not an utter idiot, and that therefore, if the systematic destruction of the peasantry through famine happened to coincide with genocide he probably knew it. Whether or not it was a side effect, one can hardly call it unintentional. If you're in control of the situation, then you are in control of its consequences, and if one of the major consequences is genocide, it follows that you find genocide at least acceptable.
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Old 11th August 2017, 02:51 PM   #23
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Let's put it this way; Uncle Joe is Adolf's main competitor in the "Greatest Mass Murderer in History" competition.with Mao a close third place.
Sadly, some ..by no means all...on the Left are in denial that a Left Wing, Socialist Regime can be just as murderous as a Right Wing Regime.
Another good example of this is Noam Chomsky's notorious attempts to whitewash the Pol Pot regime.
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Old 11th August 2017, 02:55 PM   #24
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And aside from the Holdomor, let's not forget the Purges, the Mass Deportation of Minorities in the Caucasus and the Crimea,the Gulag and the Millions of Soviet Soldiers who died as a result of Stalin's military incompetence in the first two years of World War 2. Even without the Ukraine Famine,Stalin would still be a major contestant in the Worst Human Being In History competition.
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Old 11th August 2017, 02:57 PM   #25
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Stalin intended to secure state control over the harvests obtained by the peasantry. His strategy was collectivisation. His purpose was to export grain and use the revenue to invest in industrial expansion. If he could have achieved that without causing the deaths of millions of people he would have done so. But he could not. He was willing to destroy millions of lives, and he pursued his policies knowing that millions of lives were being lost. The famine was the result of Stalin's policies, but the policies were not designed for the purpose of killing millions of people.

Stalin's responsibility is that he continued to pursue them even when their effects became evident.

Moreover, he did send into exile a huge number of "kulaks" in conditions which must inevitably have resulted in mass mortality. He is as directly responsible for that as are the landowners for the Highland Clearances, or the US government for the deaths suffered by native peoples in the USA during their expulsion from the lands east of the Mississippi.
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Old 11th August 2017, 02:57 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Giz View Post
If we are taking Pot shots at worst historical figure, then don't forget Pol!
Mao is right up there also....
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Old 11th August 2017, 03:00 PM   #27
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BTW,Anne Applebaum Author of "The Gulag" probably the single best overall history of the Gulag, is bringing out a book "Red Famine" on Stalin's campaign against the Ukraine.
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Old 11th August 2017, 03:05 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by bruto View Post
If you're in control of the situation, then you are in control of its consequences
If you have a theory, feel free to support it. Before you go that particular route, though, consider whether the reserves committee formally asking dictatorial powers over the Soviet Union sounds like "in control of the situation" to you.
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Old 11th August 2017, 03:17 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
Stalin intended to secure state control over the harvests obtained by the peasantry. His strategy was collectivisation. His purpose was to export grain and use the revenue to invest in industrial expansion. If he could have achieved that without causing the deaths of millions of people he would have done so. But he could not. He was willing to destroy millions of lives, and he pursued his policies knowing that millions of lives were being lost. The famine was the result of Stalin's policies, but the policies were not designed for the purpose of killing millions of people.
Also, if you have a theory feel free to support it. And also, before you go that particular route, consider whether Stalin, when the information on the famine reached the Politburo, stopping the export of grain and sending food-aid transports from the reserves to the famine-struck regions sounds like "willing to destroy millions of lives in pursuit of grain export policies."
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Old 11th August 2017, 03:19 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by Cleon View Post
"Was the Holodomor intentional genocide, or merely an unintentional side effect of Stalin's policies" could have led to an interesting historical discussion.
It's also a false dilemma. How about "the side effect of, you know, not having enough food to feed everyone"?

"The question at the trial is: is the suspect guilty in way A or guilty in way B?"
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Old 11th August 2017, 03:24 PM   #31
BStrong
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Stalin was definitely in Hitlers league when it comes to his genocidal intentions.
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Old 11th August 2017, 04:12 PM   #32
Craig B
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Originally Posted by caveman1917 View Post
It's also a false dilemma. How about "the side effect of, you know, not having enough food to feed everyone"?

"The question at the trial is: is the suspect guilty in way A or guilty in way B?"
Why was there not enough food? If it was because of agricultural pests, as your sources suggest, and if these affected Germany and Romania too, as you have stated, why was there no mass famine in these countries?
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Old 11th August 2017, 04:18 PM   #33
John Jones
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
Why was there not enough food? If it was because of agricultural pests, as your sources suggest, and if these affected Germany and Romania too, as you have stated, why was there no mass famine in these countries?

Stalin was definitely in Hitlers league when it comes to his genocidal intentions.

I can't imagine anyone making apologetics for Stalin. Why would anyone do that?
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Last edited by John Jones; 11th August 2017 at 04:20 PM.
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Old 11th August 2017, 04:24 PM   #34
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Trumpf (that flaming orange tird eating slime muffin) may well wind up outdoing him though!
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Old 11th August 2017, 04:26 PM   #35
Craig B
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Originally Posted by John Jones View Post
Stalin was definitely in Hitlers league when it comes to his genocidal intentions.

I can't imagine anyone making apologetics for Stalin. Why would anyone do that?
Stalin's victims were mainly his "own people". Hitler's were mainly "outsiders". Hitler was a practitioner of genocide, more than Stalin was. Stalin was more a "social engineer". Both men were psychopaths.
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Old 11th August 2017, 04:27 PM   #36
caveman1917
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
Why was there not enough food? If it was because of agricultural pests, as your sources suggest, and if these affected Germany and Romania too, as you have stated, why was there no mass famine in these countries?
Feel free to present a theory and back it up. I'm not particularly interested in the mortality figures there, I needed widespread harvest-reducing disease and I supported it.
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Old 11th August 2017, 04:30 PM   #37
caveman1917
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
Stalin's victims were mainly his "own people". Hitler's were mainly "outsiders". Hitler was a practitioner of genocide, more than Stalin was. Stalin was more a "social engineer". Both men were psychopaths.
And Churchill and plenty of others as well. It was en vogue at the time. None of which of course in any way implies Stalin caused a famine, let alone master-minded one in some CT against the Ukrainian Nation.
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"Let us therefore trust the eternal Spirit which destroys and annihilates only because it is the unfathomable and eternal source of all life. The passion for destruction is a creative passion, too!" - Mikhail Bakunin
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Old 11th August 2017, 04:30 PM   #38
Craig B
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Originally Posted by caveman1917 View Post
Feel free to present a theory and back it up. I'm not particularly interested in the mortality figures there, I needed widespread harvest-reducing disease and I supported it.
Why are you interested in mortality in Ukraine, but not in Romania or Germany. What did you "need widespread harvest reducing disease" for, if not as an explanation for the Ukraine famine?
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Old 11th August 2017, 04:31 PM   #39
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Originally Posted by dudalb View Post
Mao is right up there also....
I think that if we'd have access to real numbers, Mao's numbers would be ahead of Hitler or Stalin.

As long as we're talking about murdering tyrants:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Idi_Amin

Amin "only" notched a half-million or so victims, but it wasn't for a lack of enthusiasm.
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Old 11th August 2017, 04:35 PM   #40
caveman1917
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
Why are you interested in mortality in Ukraine
I'm not. Which you could see by me not going into your question about how many millions died.

Quote:
What did you "need widespread harvest reducing disease" for, if not as an explanation for the Ukraine famine?
Nothing, It was all I needed to refute that Nazi myth about Stalin having master-minded the famine, hence it was all I used.

Again, though, feel free to present any theory you like and back it up.
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"Let us therefore trust the eternal Spirit which destroys and annihilates only because it is the unfathomable and eternal source of all life. The passion for destruction is a creative passion, too!" - Mikhail Bakunin
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