If Stalin had been sane, we'd all be speaking russian...
Wow. I'm watching a show about Soviet aircraft development during WWII - they were WAY ahead of the US, but Stalin kept throwing the aero engineers in the Gulag.
Tupolev flew nonstop from Moscow to DC in the 30's - a world record. Stalin later accused him of making this trip to sell state secrets and voila - off to the gulag he went.
January 30th, 2006 12:24pm
If Stalin had been sane, he wouldn't have gotten the results he got.
The sane leaders of the world (FDR included) singularly failed to do anything about Hitler.
I'm not sure where you're coming from - the Allies and the Soviets hit Berlin about the same time from opposite sides.
January 30th, 2006 12:37pm
Hit Germany possibly - hit Berlin no.
a cynic writes
January 30th, 2006 12:39pm
Yes, except the Soviets had been fighting the Germans for four years by that point.
Is this about "The French surrendered, while the Soviets fought back"? Otherwise I honestly don't know what you're trying to say...
January 30th, 2006 12:51pm
Well, mostly it's about the events leading up to WWII - the Munich pact, etc.
Admittedly Stalin didn't expect Germany to attact until the very end, despite credible intelligence sources screaming that it was on - but when it happened, he had the mix of fear and adoration to get his decimated country to snap into action. Whereas France with its sane leader collapsed, Britain with its sane leader struggled despite magnificent natural defenses, and the US with its sane leader decided they'd sit this one out.
If you look at the relative shape of the two main forces, Soviet and non-Soviet you'll see that the Soviets advanced on a wide front whereas the US,British, et al had fingers of advances trying to get to Berlin no later than the Russians.
> The sane leaders of the world (FDR included) singularly failed to do anything about Hitler.
And what did Stalin do? Nothing, except pucker his lips before kissing Hitler's ass. After Barbarossa, yes, then he did 'something', but then he didn't have a choice then, did he? He was being reactive. Big fucking deal; any shmoe knows to fight back after being sucker punched.
Only Churchill guessed that Hitler was the worse of all the evils (I say "guessed'" because it was far from unanimous in, say, 1935, which way the wind was blowing). He and the French guy (Clemenceau?) didn't have to declare war on Sep 1, 1939, they were not being invaded.
Anyway, it wasn't Stalin per se. The totaloritian (sp?) system had poor feedback loops. If Stalin had been sane, then some other loony would have ascended the throne in the 20's and gone bezerk with power on everyone's ass. See China, Cambodia, almost any African country, for reference.
bring out da punk
January 30th, 2006 2:42pm
>> The totaloritian (sp?) system had poor feedback loops. <<
It did have good feedback loops -- just they were the wrong ones.
Report bad news like not making tractor parts quota to your party boss? Uh-Oh, you and your family get sent to Siberia. Therefore, never report bad news.
China has the same problem. Bad news doesn't get reported until it's so bad that even a blind panda can see it.
January 30th, 2006 2:55pm
Enron had the same problem :-)
And whistleblowing's not encouraged either in the military or in corporate life. Ask anyone in there.
But Stalin and Beria were riding a tiger and state terror was effective in maintaining their position (are we talking insane as in stupid or insane as in psychopathic here).
The aim of the game is to retain control and die in bed. If that means throwing people into the Gulag and rehabilitating them to face a sudden external threat then fine - if it means inventing an external threat to war against in order to distract and unify your subjects then fine ...
Stalin died in bed.
January 30th, 2006 8:16pm
Don't forget lend-lease. Without American trucks being given to the Russians, the battle on the Eastern front would have never reached Germany, IMHO.
As best I remember, it was like 200,000 trucks. The Germans were using more mule and horses than vehicles to pull things. I mean, that's end of discussion right there. Stalin was probably the most evil man in the history of the world, as far as impact.
I believe Stalin is attributable to more deaths than Hitler, when the final, accurate, tally is told. Even the 6 million Jews killed, for one thing more were killed in Poland than Germany, and how many from Russian pograms which occured before Hitler invaded?
January 31st, 2006 4:02am