3 min read ⌚
Europe Between Hitler and Stalin
Are you a history lover, or just eager to learn the dark forces that almost brought the world to its knees in the 40s?!
About Timothy Snyder
Timothy Snyder is a professor at Yale University. He is a polyglot who speaks five different languages.
World War II deserves the epithet of the most ruthless, and bloodiest conflict in the history of humankind.
The end result – more than 50 million dead or missing, so what actually happened during those days.
Stalin’s purges in the 30s were only the beginning of what is depicted as the Dark Age that brought suffering to the people of Europe and Asia.
Approximately 3 million civilians portrayed as traitors were killed under the orders of the Soviet Regime, which escalated after the signing of the non-aggression pact between two hostile governments – the Nazis – and the Communists.
The Soviet people had little knowledge about the collapse of the 5-year-plans designed to speed up the industrialization of the Soviet Union.
The famine in the Union of Social Republics was caused by the collectivization of the farms and refusing to allow the peasants to keep at least 1/10 of their harvest.
The Kulak resistance faced Stalin’s Secret Police – the NKVD, and a large number of them were sent to concentration camps.
The result was devastating; before 1935 more than 5 million Soviets starved to death, and even more, ended up in the Gulag.
The beginning of the end:
After the unprovoked attack by the Germans, the Soviets lost almost 1/3 of its territory in a matter of weeks.
The Nazis almost reached Moscow, before they were pushed back with the launch of a massive counterattack with no room for retreat.
By 1944, Germany feared an Allied invasion of Normandy, which would open a new Western Front, something that Stalin demanded.
Such scenario would divide the German troops, leaving them exposed to both sides. And that’s precisely what happened.
In efforts to take home a small victory, Hitler issued an order to execute all the remaining Jews in occupied territories.
By the end of May 1945, 5.7 million Jews were missing or reported dead of whom 5.4 million were killed by direct orders of Hitler.
Key Lessons from “Bloodlands”
1. A mistake must become a lesson
2. Trusting an ideology
3. Discuss before launching a military campaign
A mistake must become a lesson
This unpleasant turn of events shows us, one terrifying aspect of human behavior, and how we can prevent such occurrences in the future.
Timothy doesn’t spare anyone and tries to gives you a taste of the bitter reality.
Trusting an ideology
Indeed, one must be open to various opinions and be prepared to accept the uniqueness of these viewpoints.
Discuss before launching a military campaign
We are all aware of the so-called proxy wars, and the battle for interest doesn’t seem to reduce. A military operation must always be the last resort in solving misunderstandings.
However, many countries don’t seem to follow such ethical attitude and continue to pursue their capitalist interest at the cost of many innocent lives.
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“Bloodlands” QuotesIt is easy to sanctify policies or identities by the deaths of victims. It is less appealing, but morally more urgent, to understand the actions of the perpetrators. The moral danger, after all, is never that one might become a victim but… Click To Tweet When meaning is drawn from killing, the risk is that more killing would bring more meaning. Click To Tweet The Nazi and Soviet regimes turned people into numbers, some of which we can only estimate, some of which we can reconstruct with fair precision. It is for us as scholars to seek those numbers and to put them into perspective. It is for… Click To Tweet Some believed that Satan had come to earth in human form as a party activist, his collective farm register a book of hell, promising torment and damnation. Click To Tweet Jewish resistance in Warsaw was not only about the dignity of the Jews but about the dignity of humanity as such, including those of the Poles, the British, the Americans, the Soviets: of everyone who could have done more, and instead did… Click To Tweet
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