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View Poll Results: Worst interwar dictatorship
Fascist Italy 0 0%
Nazi Germany 4 17.39%
The USSR (under Stalin) 17 73.91%
Another country (write below) 2 8.70%
Voters: 23. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 18th November 2018, 07:53 PM   #1
MrFliop
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What was the worst interwar dicatatorship?

Which of the three major European dictatorships in the interwar period was the worst.

By worst I mean how bad would it have been if you were an average citizen living there. For example, if you chose Germany you are imagining being a non-minority German living in the Third Reich.
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Old 19th November 2018, 12:41 AM   #2
Craig B
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Originally Posted by MrFliop View Post
Which of the three major European dictatorships in the interwar period was the worst.

By worst I mean how bad would it have been if you were an average citizen living there. For example, if you chose Germany you are imagining being a non-minority German living in the Third Reich.
That's not a valid test. The different dictatorships treated "non-minority"subjects differently vis a vis other persons. For example Hitler was relatively benign towards average Germans, but genocidally ruthless towards others. Most of Stalin's victims on the other hand, were "average" and even frequently members of the ruling Party. So we should use as criterion of "worst dictator" the treatment that dictator meted out to his chosen victims, who were different groups in the cases of Hitler and Stalin, for example.

Last edited by Craig B; 19th November 2018 at 12:45 AM.
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Old 19th November 2018, 02:21 AM   #3
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There's also the fact that German persecution of minorities, though pretty bad during the interwar period, wasn't at the same level of brutality and industrialised murder that it attained once the war removed the need to even appear civilised. So if we're talking about what someone with perfect knowledge of history would have thought on September 2nd, 1939, and from the point of view of the average citizen, probably the USSR; Nazi Germany got a hell of a lot worse later on.

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Old 19th November 2018, 03:12 AM   #4
Craig B
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Originally Posted by Dave Rogers View Post
There's also the fact that German persecution of minorities, though pretty bad during the interwar period, wasn't at the same level of brutality and industrialised murder that it attained once the war removed the need to even appear civilised. So if we're talking about what someone with perfect knowledge of history would have thought on September 2nd, 1939, and from the point of view of the average citizen, probably the USSR; Nazi Germany got a hell of a lot worse later on.

Dave
That illustrates my point very well. In for example 1937 the ethnic German "average citizen" who stayed out of politics was reasonably safe from Nazi harassment, while his Russian counterpart was in significant danger of imprisonment, exile or execution at the hands of Stalin's enforcers. Hitler had hostility to "others"; and once he started invading foreign countries he had the opportunity to indulge this predeliction.
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Old 19th November 2018, 06:21 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
That's not a valid test. The different dictatorships treated "non-minority"subjects differently vis a vis other persons.
Good point, but if we were talking about which country treated minorities the worst then Nazi Germany would win hands down. I guess a better question would be How awful were these dictatorships in how they treated anybody really.

Though that's not to say that the other dictatorships didn't treat their non-majority citizens cruel too. For example one of the worst atrocities by Stalin, the Terror Famine, actually took place in Ukraine.
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Old 19th November 2018, 07:03 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by MrFliop View Post
Good point, but if we were talking about which country treated minorities the worst then Nazi Germany would win hands down. I guess a better question would be How awful were these dictatorships in how they treated anybody really.

Though that's not to say that the other dictatorships didn't treat their non-majority citizens cruel too. For example one of the worst atrocities by Stalin, the Terror Famine, actually took place in Ukraine.
It was very severe in Ukraine because Ukraine was the most important grain-producing region, but the grain-procurement policy that created the famine was applied throughout the USSR, with very serious effects everywhere, Ukraine being among the most grave. The absolutely worst-affected Republic was Kazakhstan.

Originally Posted by MrFliop View Post
I guess a better question would be How awful were these dictatorships in how they treated anybody really.
Can I amend that slightly and say, the best question would be, how badly did they treat the people whom they treated worst?

Last edited by Craig B; 19th November 2018 at 07:12 AM.
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Old 19th November 2018, 07:48 AM   #7
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Italy doesn't even move the needle here.
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Old 19th November 2018, 08:54 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by timhau View Post
Italy doesn't even move the needle here.
Mussolini was a pussycat compared to Hitler or Stalin. But the Italy needle moves a bit if you include Libya and Ethiopia, then Italian colonies, in the fascist record of maltreatment.
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Old 19th November 2018, 09:45 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by MrFliop View Post
Which of the three major European dictatorships in the interwar period was the worst.

By worst I mean how bad would it have been if you were an average citizen living there. For example, if you chose Germany you are imagining being a non-minority German living in the Third Reich.
I can't even begin to imagine what it must have been like, even just going about your daily life in such a regime. And I kind of feel like it would be very disrespectful to those who did live under such a regime, to try to pretend we understand their situation and can evaluate it in terms of our own lives.
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Old 19th November 2018, 10:17 AM   #10
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Franco's Spain. The place that inspired Picasso's Guernica. We still have no body count; no truth commission set up after he died. Add to that the estimated 300,000 stolen children for adoption by good little strutters.

Spanish fascists are truly nasty people; just today some on the news were kicking helpless women they had pinned on the ground; last year they beat elderly and young voters with nightsticks at polling places. One thing seems truly constant among wingnuts: abject cowardice.
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Old 19th November 2018, 10:23 AM   #11
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All the Stalin's deportations - millions of people. the entire far North USSR industry and infrastructure was built on their (prisoners of Gulag) bones: Tatars, Chechens, Ingushes and many others plus the people from the areas and countries occupied in 1939 and after that. oh, yes, Stalin did not use gas. it was cheaper to froze and starve them to death. I'd say they were not minorities. they all had their 'own' autonomous soviet social republics and republics. You can't say that the average citizen of the USSR was a Russian. It was a union, wasn't it...

and when it comes down to the people who went through it. it will not make their life easier if someone on a web portal *decides* that Hitler/Mussolini/Stalin was worse than their craphead leader.

Last edited by kayle; 19th November 2018 at 10:25 AM.
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Old 19th November 2018, 10:40 AM   #12
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I'm surprised that Japan did not get a spot of its' own on the poll. The treatment of the Chinese in the occupied areas was horrendous.
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Old 19th November 2018, 12:25 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
Mussolini was a pussycat compared to Hitler or Stalin. But the Italy needle moves a bit if you include Libya and Ethiopia, then Italian colonies, in the fascist record of maltreatment.
True, I forgot about their sorry colonial history.
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Old 19th November 2018, 12:36 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Hlafordlaes View Post
Franco's Spain. The place that inspired Picasso's Guernica. We still have no body count; no truth commission set up after he died. Add to that the estimated 300,000 stolen children for adoption by good little strutters.
To a large degree, it's not really Inter-War. The same thought crossed my mind too.
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Old 19th November 2018, 12:45 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by kayle View Post
All the Stalin's deportations - millions of people. the entire far North USSR industry and infrastructure was built on their (prisoners of Gulag) bones: Tatars, Chechens, Ingushes and many others plus the people from the areas and countries occupied in 1939 and after that. oh, yes, Stalin did not use gas. it was cheaper to froze and starve them to death. I'd say they were not minorities. they all had their 'own' autonomous soviet social republics and republics. You can't say that the average citizen of the USSR was a Russian. It was a union, wasn't it...

and when it comes down to the people who went through it. it will not make their life easier if someone on a web portal *decides* that Hitler/Mussolini/Stalin was worse than their craphead leader.
That's an interesting argument. Would it make Jews feel worse if someone *decided* that Stalin was worse than Craphead Hitler?

I have not said that the average citizen of the USSR was a Russian; I have stated that there was a Russian counterpart in the USSR of the average ethnic German citizen during the period of Hitler's rule, and that such Russian was in more danger from his government that the average ethnic German was from the Nazis. But the average German Jew, Gypsy or Slav was not so secure, needless to say.
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Old 19th November 2018, 12:47 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by timhau View Post
To a large degree, it's not really Inter-War. The same thought crossed my mind too.
There is a problem of dates. Most people date the end of WW-1 to 1918, and the start of WW-2 as 1939.

Arguably, the Allied support of the White Russians, and the USSR invasion of Poland were part of WW-1, pushing that to 1922. The beginning of WW-2 can be pushed back as well. Some historians include Czechoslovakia, Austria and the Rhineland as the start of Germany's part, the Spanish Civil War has also been included, as have the Italians in Libya and Ethiopia.

I would argue that the Japanese invasion of China in 1931 should be considered the start. That leaves only nine years for the "inter-war" period, and leaves the NAZIs and Italian Fascists in Africa out entirely.

Last edited by Pope130; 19th November 2018 at 01:01 PM. Reason: To say what I meant.
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Old 19th November 2018, 01:32 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Pope130 View Post
There is a problem of dates. Most people date the end of WW-1 to 1918, and the start of WW-2 as 1939.

Arguably, the Allied support of the White Russians, and the USSR invasion of Poland were part of WW-1, pushing that to 1922. The beginning of WW-2 can be pushed back as well. Some historians include Czechoslovakia, Austria and the Rhineland as the start of Germany's part, the Spanish Civil War has also been included, as have the Italians in Libya and Ethiopia.

I would argue that the Japanese invasion of China in 1931 should be considered the start. That leaves only nine years for the "inter-war" period, and leaves the NAZIs and Fascists out entirely.
Even if I thought this definition was reasonable, based what you "would argue", a criterion I do not accept, the fascists came to power in Italy in 1922, and therefore can't be left out of your ridiculous short chronology, and even if only Libya is included.: for the Senussi war lasted from 1923 to 1932.
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Old 19th November 2018, 03:05 PM   #18
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Is this the "Hitler wasn't so bad" thread?
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Old 19th November 2018, 05:02 PM   #19
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What I want to see are the arguments these Internet tough guys would make to the face of a Holocaust survivor, or an inmate of the Gulag, about the true measure of their oppression.
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Old 19th November 2018, 06:06 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Pope130 View Post
I'm surprised that Japan did not get a spot of its' own on the poll. The treatment of the Chinese in the occupied areas was horrendous.
And Koreans, since 1910.

Why is it so important to have a "worst"? Hitler was despicable. Stalin was despicable. Mussolini was despicable. Tojo was despicable. And they weren't the only ones. There were some really bad guys in those years. And still are.
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Old 19th November 2018, 06:58 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by MrFliop View Post
Which of the three major European dictatorships in the interwar period was the worst.

By worst I mean how bad would it have been if you were an average citizen living there. For example, if you chose Germany you are imagining being a non-minority German living in the Third Reich.
Faulty premise, as already mentioned. The Japanese under their regime certainly had it better, but their victims in Korea, China and Taiwan might have different thoughts.

And when is "interwar". In Asia that date is considerably different.

Plus, of course, "interwar" seems to have connotations of the bad guys preparing to finish the War to End All Wars and much of the Stalinist excesses were nothing to do with that - it was the reign of terror after the revolution and had nothing to do with their traditional enemies. OTOH, Germany and Italy were all about consolidating power, individually, but also for the nations in a drive for expansion/conquest.

Tojo and Franco certainly deserve a spot in the poll. They also deserve special mention for the fact that they're still largely writing the histories due to the Allies' inability to "finish the check" as Don Cherry would've said.

The usual Hitler-Wasn't-So-Bad argument also requires the post war excesses of Mao, of course.
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Old 19th November 2018, 09:09 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Foolmewunz View Post
Faulty premise, as already mentioned..
I'm also having a hard time figuring out exactly what would count as a "non-minority German living in the Third Reich".

Would outspoken anti-Nazi Germans count as "minorities"? I know they killed a lot of leftwingers as soon as they came to power, along with a lot of the disabled. And I don't think freedom of speech was a nazi "value".
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Old 19th November 2018, 10:06 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
That's an interesting argument. Would it make Jews feel worse if someone *decided* that Stalin was worse than Craphead Hitler?

I have not said that the average citizen of the USSR was a Russian; I have stated that there was a Russian counterpart in the USSR of the average ethnic German citizen during the period of Hitler's rule, and that such Russian was in more danger from his government that the average ethnic German was from the Nazis. But the average German Jew, Gypsy or Slav was not so secure, needless to say.
Well the famine of 32-33 didn't hit the average Russian all that hard. The great majority of deaths were in the Ukraine and Kazakhstan. The Great Purge killed about a million people in the USSR or about .7% of the population. Franco is responsible for about a total of one million deaths during the Spanish Civil War, or about 4% of their entire population. So there we have it, Franco was worst for an average ethnic citizen. Whatever meaning you take from that I dunno.

ETA: if I had to pick a country to be an average "ethnic majority" non-persecuted, non political dissenter type person in a European dictatorship in interwar Europe, well does Portugal count? If not, then Italy.

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Old 19th November 2018, 10:11 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by lobosrul5 View Post
Well the famine of 32-33 didn't hit the average Russian all that hard. The great majority of deaths were in the Ukraine and Kazakhstan. The Great Purge killed about a million people in the USSR or about .7% of the population. Franco is responsible for about a total of one million deaths during the Spanish Civil War, or about 4% of their entire population. So there we have it, Franco was worst for an average ethnic citizen. Whatever meaning you take from that I dunno.
And he would've gotten got away with it, too, if not for in spite of you meddling kids and your dumb dog.
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Old 20th November 2018, 12:42 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
What I want to see are the arguments these Internet tough guys would make to the face of a Holocaust survivor, or an inmate of the Gulag, about the true measure of their oppression.
Measure by what standard? We're discussing who was worse, Stalin or Hitler. We are already aware that both these tyrants committed atrocious crimes.
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Old 20th November 2018, 12:48 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by lobosrul5 View Post
Whatever meaning you take from that I dunno.
I dunno either except that if you're going to include casualties of war then there's no argument. Hitler was the worst, given that he was the aggressor who initiated the biggest war in history.
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Old 20th November 2018, 03:48 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
I dunno either except that if you're going to include casualties of war then there's no argument. Hitler was the worst, given that he was the aggressor who initiated the biggest war in history.
This.

Which makes me wonder why the OP is restricting discussion to the interwar period.

Is that a meaningful question? (it could be, but I can't think of any reason to exclude the period of the war, and the OP didn't offer one)
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Old 20th November 2018, 09:33 AM   #28
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But Hitler killed based on race/religion.

Stalin did too, he starved the Ukraine in the 30's.
He killed based on political beliefs.
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Old 20th November 2018, 09:52 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
What I want to see are the arguments these Internet tough guys would make to the face of a Holocaust survivor, or an inmate of the Gulag, about the true measure of their oppression.
Careful now, you're talking like a left-winger.
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Old 20th November 2018, 01:03 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by Drewbot View Post
But Hitler killed based on race/religion.

Stalin did too, he starved the Ukraine in the 30's.
He killed based on political beliefs.
Hitler killed based on political beliefs too. He killed communists, and he killed Jews partly because he had delusional political beliefs about them, for example that the USSR consisted of Slav sub human hordes dominated by a Jewish conspiracy.

Stalin was responsible for the deaths resulting from his agricultural policies, but mostly these were not deaths that he directly procured by murder. They resulted from famine and disease arising from his agricultural tenure policies. If Stalin's collectivisation programme had worked at all well (which it did not) he would presumably have regarded that as a success, even though the deaths would not have occurred. Deaths of millions of peasants was probably not his main motive, unlike in the case of Hitler and the Jews; but it was Stalin's responsibility nevertheless as it was the predictable (and predicted) outcome of policies willingly and intentionally adopted by him. He persevered in this programme even after he became aware of the devastation it was inflicting on his unfortunate subjects.
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Old 20th November 2018, 01:23 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
Stalin was responsible for the deaths resulting from his agricultural policies, but mostly these were not deaths that he directly procured by murder. They resulted from famine and disease arising from his agricultural tenure policies. If Stalin's collectivisation programme had worked at all well (which it did not) he would presumably have regarded that as a success, even though the deaths would not have occurred. Deaths of millions of peasants was probably not his main motive, unlike in the case of Hitler and the Jews; but it was Stalin's responsibility nevertheless as it was the predictable (and predicted) outcome of policies willingly and intentionally adopted by him. He persevered in this programme even after he became aware of the devastation it was inflicting on his unfortunate subjects.
Stalin wanted to wipe out Ukrainian Nationalism.
Remember they declared independence in 1917 and fought for 4 years against Lenin. Ukrainian Nationalism was still evident, and Stalin wanted it gone.

Stalin was so evil, that when the starvation was ongoing, the Communist Party members IN THE UKRAINE asked Stalin for aid. Instead he sent troops to purge the Ukrainian Communist party.

http://www.historyplace.com/worldhis...ide/stalin.htm
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Old 20th November 2018, 02:55 PM   #32
Craig B
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Originally Posted by Drewbot View Post
Stalin wanted to wipe out Ukrainian Nationalism.
Remember they declared independence in 1917 and fought for 4 years against Lenin. Ukrainian Nationalism was still evident, and Stalin wanted it gone.

Stalin was so evil, that when the starvation was ongoing, the Communist Party members IN THE UKRAINE asked Stalin for aid. Instead he sent troops to purge the Ukrainian Communist party.

http://www.historyplace.com/worldhis...ide/stalin.htm
I tend to agree with the following, and it is from a very anti Stalin source.
“Should one see this famine as "a genocide of the Ukrainian people," as a number of Ukrainian historians and researchers do today? It is undeniable that the Ukrainian peasantry were the principal victims in the famine of 1932-33, and that this "assault" was preceded in 1929 by several offensives against the Ukrainian intelligentsia, who were accused of "nationalist deviations," and then “against some of the Ukrainian Communists after 1932. It is equally undeniable that, as Andrei Sakharov noted, Stalin suffered from "Ukrainopho-bia." But proportionally the famine was just as severe in the Cossack territories of the Kuban and the Don and in Kazakhstan. In this last republic, from 1930 onward, the enforced collectivization and settling of the indigenous nomadic peoples had disastrous consequences, with 80 percent of all livestock killed in two years. Dispossessed of their goods and reduced to a state of famine, 2 million Kazakhs emigrated; nearly half a million went to Central Asia, and approximately 1.5 million went to China.”

Excerpt From: “The Black Book of Communism.” iBooks.
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Old 24th November 2018, 02:40 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by MrFliop View Post
Which of the three major European dictatorships in the interwar period was the worst.

By worst I mean how bad would it have been if you were an average citizen living there. For example, if you chose Germany you are imagining being a non-minority German living in the Third Reich.
Hobson's choice IMV. Therefore, I have selected, 'other'.

On a humanist level, the Nazi Germans were the most atrocious. On a political level, Stalinism and its suppression of the masses.
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Old 24th November 2018, 02:43 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
That's an interesting argument. Would it make Jews feel worse if someone *decided* that Stalin was worse than Craphead Hitler?

I have not said that the average citizen of the USSR was a Russian; I have stated that there was a Russian counterpart in the USSR of the average ethnic German citizen during the period of Hitler's rule, and that such Russian was in more danger from his government that the average ethnic German was from the Nazis. But the average German Jew, Gypsy or Slav was not so secure, needless to say.
That's not really true, ethnic Russians overlorded the Baltic states to the extent of 'genocide by repopulation'.
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Old 24th November 2018, 02:57 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
Hitler killed based on political beliefs too. He killed communists, and he killed Jews partly because he had delusional political beliefs about them, for example that the USSR consisted of Slav sub human hordes dominated by a Jewish conspiracy.

Stalin was responsible for the deaths resulting from his agricultural policies, but mostly these were not deaths that he directly procured by murder. They resulted from famine and disease arising from his agricultural tenure policies. If Stalin's collectivisation programme had worked at all well (which it did not) he would presumably have regarded that as a success, even though the deaths would not have occurred. Deaths of millions of peasants was probably not his main motive, unlike in the case of Hitler and the Jews; but it was Stalin's responsibility nevertheless as it was the predictable (and predicted) outcome of policies willingly and intentionally adopted by him. He persevered in this programme even after he became aware of the devastation it was inflicting on his unfortunate subjects.
I dislike this type of apologist argument; i.e., 'Stalin only killed by famine, therefore it was some kind of manslaughter or accidental death rather than murder'.

Truth is Stalin may have started off as a genuine Marxist and Bolshevik, but after he demise of Lenin and Trotsky, from 1924 he began to show his true colours as a power-crazed tyrant which would have had Marx turning in his grave.

He was well aware of the famine, for he passed a law stating that any citizen caught 'stealing' produce growing in their own locality whilst starving and likewise their children would be subject to a death penalty.

Death penalty for picking a bag of grain growing by the road side? Really?

This makes Stalin relatively benign? I don't think so.
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Old 24th November 2018, 03:13 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by Vixen View Post
I dislike this type of apologist argument; i.e., 'Stalin only killed by famine, therefore it was some kind of manslaughter or accidental death rather than murder.
that is not my point at all, and to misrepresent me you have omitted to highlight my main passage
Stalin was responsible for the deaths resulting from his agricultural policies
where have I said he was relatively very benign? Is that the message from my cited source, the Black Book of Communism? You are simply and intentionally falsifying my posts.
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Old 24th November 2018, 03:17 AM   #37
Craig B
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Originally Posted by Vixen View Post
He was well aware of the famine
and I say so very plainly
it was Stalin's responsibility nevertheless as it was the predictable (and predicted) outcome of policies willingly and intentionally adopted by him. He persevered in this programme even after he became aware of the devastation it was inflicting on his unfortunate subjects.
why are you falsifying and misrepresenting me so resolutely? This is bizarre.
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Old 24th November 2018, 03:21 AM   #38
Craig B
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Originally Posted by Vixen View Post
That's not really true, ethnic Russians overlorded the Baltic states to the extent of 'genocide by repopulation'.
How does that illunimate my comment that an average
Russian was in more danger from his government that the average ethnic German was from the Nazis.
and moreover how can that comment of mine be regarded as pro-Stalin apologetics? Explain.
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Old 24th November 2018, 03:33 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
that is not my point at all, and to misrepresent me you have omitted to highlight my main passage
Stalin was responsible for the deaths resulting from his agricultural policies
where have I said he was relatively very benign? Is that the message from my cited source, the Black Book of Communism? You are simply and intentionally falsifying my posts.
Was it not you who wrote:

"Stalin was responsible for the deaths resulting from his agricultural policies, but mostly these were not deaths that he directly procured by murder. They resulted from famine and disease arising from his agricultural tenure policies."?

Or did someone hack into your account and post under your name?
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Old 24th November 2018, 03:36 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
How does that illunimate my comment that an average
Russian was in more danger from his government that the average ethnic German was from the Nazis.
and moreover how can that comment of mine be regarded as pro-Stalin apologetics? Explain.
The 'average Russian' was not 'in more danger' than the 'average ethnic German', unless you are making the fundamental error of seeing all members of the former Soviet Union as 'Russian'.

Like the German, the Russian felt himself privileged. It was only when he became 'dissident' he became persecuted, exactly like the dissident German.
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