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One hundred years ago (Jan 19, 1918) the Bolsheviks forcibly dissolved the Russian Constituent Assembly, kickstarting the Russian Civil War.

map-russia-constituent-assembly-election-1917

Source: @welections
Russian Constituent Assembly election, 1917: Brown = Social Revolutionaries; Red = Bolsheviks; Green = Regional SR’s; Yellow = Local parties.

More germane reason: The Bolsheviks had only gotten 24.5% of the vote, getting beaten out by the Social Revolutionaries with 40.4%.

This doesn’t change even if we account for the Left SR’s deserting to the Bolsheviks, since they only won 4o mandates to the Right SR’s 375 and the Bolsheviks’ 175.

Contrary to both Communist and Western Russophobe propaganda, Russians never voted in the Bolsheviks, let alone gave them license to usurp absolute power and launch a civil war.

The median point of public sentiment prior to the war was approximately between as-is (Right and nationalists) and constitutional monarchy (Octobrists). That median point shifted radically left by 1917, yet even so it remained firmly in non-Bolshevik territory, corresponding to the positions of the Social Revolutionaries, and of their main (“Right SRs”) faction – aka basically the equivalents of European social democrats – in particular. While a left turn was inevitable, especially on land redistribution, there was no plans for mass confiscations or ending a war that, despite its political turmoil, Russia was still winning (Austria-Hungary had been preparing to sue for peace immediately before the October Revolution). In essence, the Bolsheviks roundly failed the sole quantitative test of their legitimacy, namely, free elections. That is despite the demoralization of two revolutions, the Provisional Government’s persecution of right-wing parties, and incessant Bolshevik subversion of the army and the home front.

The Bolsheviks were never prepared to accept the democratic will of the people. Lenin made it very clear that giving the institution any power was effectively a betrayal of the proletariat and the Revolution. Sovnarkom fatefully undermined its authority before it even went into session (banning the bourgeois Kadets; decreeing that it needed to achieve quorum to meet, making it critically dependent on the Bolsheviks; decreeing that all power belonged to the Soviets anyway, and that anyone thinking otherwise would be treated as a counter-revolutionary).

On the first – and last – day of the Constituent Assembly’s convention at the Tauride Palace on January 18, the Bolshevik Sverdlov Yakov Sverdlov demanded they recognize the Soviets as the ultimate power in the land. The other parties refused. The Bolsheviks walked out, and the Left SRs followed them. The plan was to surround the Tauride Palace with Latvian Riflemen the following morning and bar the delegates entrance. But in the end, that plan proved superfluous; the red sailors who were tasked with keeping watch over the proceedings after the Bolsheviks departed kicked out the delegates early in the night. Most of those delegates soon left the capital for gathering centers of resistance in the provinces, or fled abroad. The Bolsheviks declared the Constituent Assembly to be a nest of counter-revolutionary forces on January 19.

map-russia-constituent-assembly-election-1917-bolsheviks

Source: @welections
Russian Constituent Assembly election, 1917: Bolshevik share of the vote.

Who did vote for the Bolsheviks? The Latvians and Estonians of the Governorate of Livonia gave them 72% of the vote, the highest of any region in the Russian Empire.

They then proceeded to form the hard core of the Bolshevik’s armed muscle in the critical early months of the Civil War. Ethnic Latvians formed an outright majority (!) of the Cheka’s commissars in 1918, and the Red Latvian Riflemen played a central role in crushing the initial anti-Bolshevik uprisings in central Russia. Consequently, bereft of Russia’s industrial and logistical heartlands from the very start, the dice were loaded against the Whites.

Of course none of this stops Latvians from demanding Russia pay them muh reparations just for making them live with their democratic choices of 1917, come 1940.

 
• Category: History • Tags: Bolshevik Revolution, Communism, Elections, Latvia 
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  1. iffen says:

    The Bolsheviks were never prepared to accept the democratic will of the people.

    It took this galactic pea-brain a long time to come to grips with and “understand” this.

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  2. Dmitry says:

    Hitler neither won the presidential election in Germany also – even the most rhetorically talented extremist in world history could not win a majority of the vote, although the parliamentary National Socialist Workers Party did get into the 40%s in subsequent parliamentary elections.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_presidential_election,_1932

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    • Replies: @German_reader
    The NSDAP was the strongest party though which the Bolsheviks weren't, so AK is quite right in drawing a contrast.
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  3. Contrary to both Communist and Western Russophobe propaganda, Russians never voted in the Bolsheviks

    Umm, are there really “Western Russophobes” who claim this today? I can’t think of any, a view of the Bolshevik takeover as a violent coup seems to be much more common nowadays among Westerners (apart from the left-wing fringe), even among those who generally distrust or dislike Russia.

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    • Replies: @Mikhail
    I didn't quite get that myself.
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  4. @Dmitry
    Hitler neither won the presidential election in Germany also - even the most rhetorically talented extremist in world history could not win a majority of the vote, although the parliamentary National Socialist Workers Party did get into the 40%s in subsequent parliamentary elections.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_presidential_election,_1932

    The NSDAP was the strongest party though which the Bolsheviks weren’t, so AK is quite right in drawing a contrast.

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    • Agree: AP
    • Replies: @Dmitry
    Hitler got 3o% of the vote (in the first round of the election - 11.3 million votes). Subsequently, National Socialist German Workers' Party managed to get into the 40s% in parliamentary elections. Neither Hitler nor National Socialists ever got a majority of the electorate -and that translates to even smaller proportion of the German population ever voting for them (with voter turnout in 80s%).
    , @Beckow
    The problem with the 'never got a majority in elections' argument is that almost no political party ever gets an outright majority. Electoral systems handle it differently, but around 40% is often enough to 'win' big - look at most Western elections in the last few decades, even for a very popular party 40-45% is usually the ceiling (elections with two rounds work differently, but the real vote is the first round).

    Radical parties (of both left and right) also peak at 40%. During a crisis situation that is usually enough to claim power. I also wonder how bad do you have to be to lose to Nazis or Bolsheviks in an election? That question is seldom asked because it uncovers elites' massive failures. We seem to be repeating the cycle.
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  5. Gret says:

    I’ve read that some think that the first act of the civil war in Russia was kicked off by the polish general Józef Dowbór-Muśnicki (who served in the russian army) who refused to disband his Corps and this led to clashes with bolsheviks

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  6. Of course none of this stops Latvians from demanding Russia pay them muh reparations just for making them live with their democratic choices of 1917, come 1940.

    This is an extremely weak meme. A key reason these ethnic groups voted for the radical left was that the radical left was seen as the main advocate of national self-determination. You may not like independent Latvia but it waters down your case if you try to simultaneously blame Latvia for voting for its chance at independence and insist that Latvia got what it wanted when its independence was canceled.

    There is no point complaining that Latvians didn’t enlist to fight for the Whites in large numbers when the Whites failed to produce a consistent, plausible plan to offer to national minorities. The traditional recipe to bind together multiple ethnic groups was monarchy but the monarchy had failed so that wasn’t a solution. The Reds had a simple offer that they had consistently pushed since at least 1905 while the Whites were still stuck in debates when the Civil War was on.

    In Finland the Whites won and wanted to join the war in Russia but they had to admit that they had no idea what our status would be after White victory. The Civil War victors were laughed out of power when they were reduced to just claiming that Russia would be grateful and give us a good deal after the war if we attacked Petrograd, with no guarantees.

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    • Replies: @Pseudonymic Handle
    Indeed. Why would have the latvians voted for the russian nationalists who were trying to destroy them?
    Also, what percentage of voters were latvian? 0.5%?
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  7. AP says:

    A key reason these ethnic groups voted for the radical left was that the radical left was seen as the main advocate of national self-determination. You may not like independent Latvia but it waters down your case if you try to simultaneously blame Latvia for voting for its chance at independence and insist that Latvia got what it wanted when its independence was canceled.

    You make a good point. Latvians had legitimate reasons to vote for a party that explicitly supported their independence (however – I am not familiar with Latvian politics – was there no local nationalist party in Latvia, as there was in Ukraine, the Ukrainian SRs?).

    The problem is that these Latvians were imposing Bolshevism on Russia itself, and bringing it to non-Russian places such as Ukraine.

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  8. The Bolsheviks had 2/3 of the vote in the western front army and the Baltic fleet.

    Some votes count more than others.

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    • Replies: @Jaakko Raipala
    Indeed, this result must be the numerous Russian soldiers stationed there thanks to the war voting - not actual Latvians and Estonians. The number of votes counted in Livonia far, far less than you'd expect for the population so either it wasn't a countrywide election or it was almost entirely boycotted or ignored by locals.

    I'm looking at the first Estonian election results after the February Revolution and in these Bolsheviks got 5 seats out of 62 so Bolshevik support in Estonia at the time of the revolution was only 8 %, nowhere near the staggering figures proposed here. The largest party was Farmer Alliance with 13 seats (I assume they'd count as center-right). The left seems to have been split in many parties but the Social Democrats with 9 seats beat the Bolsheviks easily.

    Even in these elections the turnout was only 30 %, though, so distortion there is highly likely. It's unclear to me who actually was eligible to vote but I assume Russian soldiers who weren't actually registered as local residents were not voting.

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  9. Art Deco says:

    Who did vote for the Bolsheviks? The Latvians and Estonians of the Governorate of Livonia gave them 72% of the vote, the highest of any region in the Russian Empire. They then proceeded to form the hard core of the Bolshevik’s armed muscle in the critical early months of the Civil War. Ethnic Latvians formed an outright majority (!) of the Cheka’s commissars in 1918, and the Red Latvian Riflemen played a central role in crushing the initial anti-Bolshevik uprisings in central Russia. Consequently, bereft of Russi a’s industrial and logistical heartlands from the very start, the dice were loaded against the Whites. Of course none of this stops Latvians from demanding Russia pay them muh reparations just for making them live with their democratic choices of 1917, come 1940.

    I guess we’re getting a preview of the columns you’ll write when Russian troops roll into the Baltic states.

    For the record, the Communist Party was banned during the interwar period in Latvia, Estonia, and Finland. Electoral support for the spectrum of leftist parties in these countries during that era tended to sum to around 35%-40% of the vote.

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    • Replies: @YetAnotherAnon
    "For the record, the Communist Party was banned during the interwar period in Latvia, Estonia, and Finland. "

    Given what AK has just written, I'm not at all surprised.

    "I guess we’re getting a preview of the columns you’ll write when Russian troops roll into the Baltic states."

    This is somewhat unfair. AK is pointing out things of which most of us are unaware, or is it just me? I studied the Russian Revolution, but none of my teachers ever told me the "who, whom" - it was all "the workers this" and "the Mensheviks that". Looking back, they seem to have swallowed the line that class position and political position was all that counted.

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  10. Mr. XYZ says:

    Why did the Kuban vote for the Bolsheviks?

    Also, is there more information about the local parties who won these elections in Central Asia?

    Finally, I would like to point out that the survival of the Bolshevik regime in Russia is really one of the unfortunate and tragic results of the Entente victory in World War I (a victory which was otherwise a good thing, in my honest opinion). Indeed, had Germany won World War I, it would have probably quickly overthrown the Bolsheviks afterwards–thus paving the way for a better 20th century for Russia.

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  11. @jimmyriddle
    The Bolsheviks had 2/3 of the vote in the western front army and the Baltic fleet.

    Some votes count more than others.

    Indeed, this result must be the numerous Russian soldiers stationed there thanks to the war voting – not actual Latvians and Estonians. The number of votes counted in Livonia far, far less than you’d expect for the population so either it wasn’t a countrywide election or it was almost entirely boycotted or ignored by locals.

    I’m looking at the first Estonian election results after the February Revolution and in these Bolsheviks got 5 seats out of 62 so Bolshevik support in Estonia at the time of the revolution was only 8 %, nowhere near the staggering figures proposed here. The largest party was Farmer Alliance with 13 seats (I assume they’d count as center-right). The left seems to have been split in many parties but the Social Democrats with 9 seats beat the Bolsheviks easily.

    Even in these elections the turnout was only 30 %, though, so distortion there is highly likely. It’s unclear to me who actually was eligible to vote but I assume Russian soldiers who weren’t actually registered as local residents were not voting.

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    • Replies: @German_reader
    Stanley Payne seems to attribute those voting results to ethnic Latvians, citing the conflicts between a literate peasantry and aristocratic landowners (mostly non-Latvians I'd suppose), the high proportion of industrial workers, and the disruption caused by the war (half of Latvia occupied by the Germans, a third of the population uprooted from their homes) as reasons:

    https://books.google.de/books?id=zP4ikZ_o3V8C&pg=PA39&lpg=PA39&dq=stanley+payne+elections+latvia+1918&source=bl&ots=y2IpB2d_Nc&sig=tO06wK8mlDssLoqhzHp1JKlzPYs&hl=de&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj_yKb2v-fYAhXIKewKHR6gDk0Q6AEIKjAA#v=onepage&q=stanley%20payne%20elections%20latvia%201918&f=false

    He also writes though that the 72% result is somewhat ambiguous, because the votes went at least nominally to a Social Democratic party not yet formally divided into Bolsheviks and Mensheviks in Latvia (though Bolsheviks were dominant).
    , @jimmyriddle
    No, the army ballots were counted separately from those of civilians for the Constituent Assembly elections.
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  12. @Jaakko Raipala
    Indeed, this result must be the numerous Russian soldiers stationed there thanks to the war voting - not actual Latvians and Estonians. The number of votes counted in Livonia far, far less than you'd expect for the population so either it wasn't a countrywide election or it was almost entirely boycotted or ignored by locals.

    I'm looking at the first Estonian election results after the February Revolution and in these Bolsheviks got 5 seats out of 62 so Bolshevik support in Estonia at the time of the revolution was only 8 %, nowhere near the staggering figures proposed here. The largest party was Farmer Alliance with 13 seats (I assume they'd count as center-right). The left seems to have been split in many parties but the Social Democrats with 9 seats beat the Bolsheviks easily.

    Even in these elections the turnout was only 30 %, though, so distortion there is highly likely. It's unclear to me who actually was eligible to vote but I assume Russian soldiers who weren't actually registered as local residents were not voting.

    Stanley Payne seems to attribute those voting results to ethnic Latvians, citing the conflicts between a literate peasantry and aristocratic landowners (mostly non-Latvians I’d suppose), the high proportion of industrial workers, and the disruption caused by the war (half of Latvia occupied by the Germans, a third of the population uprooted from their homes) as reasons:

    https://books.google.de/books?id=zP4ikZ_o3V8C&pg=PA39&lpg=PA39&dq=stanley+payne+elections+latvia+1918&source=bl&ots=y2IpB2d_Nc&sig=tO06wK8mlDssLoqhzHp1JKlzPYs&hl=de&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj_yKb2v-fYAhXIKewKHR6gDk0Q6AEIKjAA#v=onepage&q=stanley%20payne%20elections%20latvia%201918&f=false

    He also writes though that the 72% result is somewhat ambiguous, because the votes went at least nominally to a Social Democratic party not yet formally divided into Bolsheviks and Mensheviks in Latvia (though Bolsheviks were dominant).

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  13. Dmitry says:
    @German_reader
    The NSDAP was the strongest party though which the Bolsheviks weren't, so AK is quite right in drawing a contrast.

    Hitler got 3o% of the vote (in the first round of the election – 11.3 million votes). Subsequently, National Socialist German Workers’ Party managed to get into the 40s% in parliamentary elections. Neither Hitler nor National Socialists ever got a majority of the electorate -and that translates to even smaller proportion of the German population ever voting for them (with voter turnout in 80s%).

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    • Replies: @AP
    In a multiparty parliamentary system 40% of the vote is a very solid victory. Nazis were indeed elected by the German people. Specifically, by German Protestants:

    http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_-_v0_suc_UA/SQbuSJW90jI/AAAAAAAAAPc/iT6E4jgW8UE/s400/Nazivote1933.jpg
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  14. @Jaakko Raipala
    Indeed, this result must be the numerous Russian soldiers stationed there thanks to the war voting - not actual Latvians and Estonians. The number of votes counted in Livonia far, far less than you'd expect for the population so either it wasn't a countrywide election or it was almost entirely boycotted or ignored by locals.

    I'm looking at the first Estonian election results after the February Revolution and in these Bolsheviks got 5 seats out of 62 so Bolshevik support in Estonia at the time of the revolution was only 8 %, nowhere near the staggering figures proposed here. The largest party was Farmer Alliance with 13 seats (I assume they'd count as center-right). The left seems to have been split in many parties but the Social Democrats with 9 seats beat the Bolsheviks easily.

    Even in these elections the turnout was only 30 %, though, so distortion there is highly likely. It's unclear to me who actually was eligible to vote but I assume Russian soldiers who weren't actually registered as local residents were not voting.

    No, the army ballots were counted separately from those of civilians for the Constituent Assembly elections.

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  15. AP says:
    @Dmitry
    Hitler got 3o% of the vote (in the first round of the election - 11.3 million votes). Subsequently, National Socialist German Workers' Party managed to get into the 40s% in parliamentary elections. Neither Hitler nor National Socialists ever got a majority of the electorate -and that translates to even smaller proportion of the German population ever voting for them (with voter turnout in 80s%).

    In a multiparty parliamentary system 40% of the vote is a very solid victory. Nazis were indeed elected by the German people. Specifically, by German Protestants:

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    • Replies: @iffen
    Nazis were indeed elected by the German people. Specifically, by German Protestants:

    How well did they understand what they were electing? Did they know that this was their last vote for a few years?
    , @Dmitry
    Sure, you are right that it is a good result - but with voter turnout (let's set it a little over 80%) - it is still only around 1/3 of the German electorate casting ballot for them. And as seen above - Hitler personally got substantially less running for president in 1932 (only 11.3 million votes in the first round).
    , @Benjaminl
    HBDChick just linked to this article on Twitter:

    https://global.handelsblatt.com/opinion/politically-east-and-west-germany-will-never-match-862927

    It sounds like the frontier conditions of East Elbia made for hard men.
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  16. iffen says:

    The road to hell is paved with many representative elections.

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  17. iffen says:
    @AP
    In a multiparty parliamentary system 40% of the vote is a very solid victory. Nazis were indeed elected by the German people. Specifically, by German Protestants:

    http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_-_v0_suc_UA/SQbuSJW90jI/AAAAAAAAAPc/iT6E4jgW8UE/s400/Nazivote1933.jpg

    Nazis were indeed elected by the German people. Specifically, by German Protestants:

    How well did they understand what they were electing? Did they know that this was their last vote for a few years?

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    • Replies: @AP
    I'm sure that they did not expect the Nazis whom they voted for to commit genocide or start a world war that would end in Germany's destruction. But, the Nazis were open about territorial adjustments in the East and about persecuting and occasionally lynching Jews, though not exterminating all of them.
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  18. Dmitry says:
    @AP
    In a multiparty parliamentary system 40% of the vote is a very solid victory. Nazis were indeed elected by the German people. Specifically, by German Protestants:

    http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_-_v0_suc_UA/SQbuSJW90jI/AAAAAAAAAPc/iT6E4jgW8UE/s400/Nazivote1933.jpg

    Sure, you are right that it is a good result – but with voter turnout (let’s set it a little over 80%) – it is still only around 1/3 of the German electorate casting ballot for them. And as seen above – Hitler personally got substantially less running for president in 1932 (only 11.3 million votes in the first round).

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    • Replies: @AP

    Sure, you are right that it is a good result – but with voter turnout (let’s set it a little over 80%) – it is still only around 1/3 of the German electorate casting ballot for them.
     
    Sure, but that's how multiparty parliamentary politics work. In the last election Merkel got 33% of the vote with 76% turnout. In the previous election she got 41.5% of the vote but with only 72% turnout.

    So Hitler was more successful than Merkel has been.

    Hitler personally got substantially less running for president in 1932 (only 11.3 million votes in the first round).

     

    Hitler got more popular in 1933 than he was in 1932. Nazis got 44% of the vote in March 1933 compared to 37% in July 1932 (around the time of the presidential election).
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  19. (edit: this was meant to be a reply to comment 7 by AP)

    I can’t speak for Latvia as I don’t understand a word of the language but I know enough about Finland and Estonia and I bet it was similar to them at that point.

    For a small nation to separate from an empire you need some sort of outside support – either you need sympathizers in the empire or you need an enemy of the empire. In Finland there was a German-sponsored separatist movement but of course they couldn’t have their own party since they were openly treasonous. This was less feasible in Estonia (and presumably Latvia) since they were much more likely to view Germany as a threat.

    The leftists had their belief that they’d be able to create some internationalist order that would be capable of guaranteeing the independence of small nations. When you expressed your independence ideas in such leftist terms, the authorities tended to view the ideas as more foolish than treasonous so you had less chance of getting hanged. Of course since the practical world doesn’t conform to idealism what you actually had to do was to form connections with Russian leftists and you could only form connections if the other side was interested.

    Only the Bolsheviks showed up in the Baltic provinces. If this was a bit over 100 years ago, Lenin would be a frequent neighbor of mine, spending his time here meeting local leftists, having them translate Finnish and Estonian newspapers, crafting plots with tailored promises and threats to not only Finns and Estonians but to various social classes of Finns and Estonians, forming connections while hopping between Petrograd and Western Europe. None of the other Russian factions did this while Lenin, Stalin and the gang had been working on it since at least 1905.

    Things were probably very different in Ukraine since the language barrier is much less of an issue. But with the small ethnic groups of the Baltic region with highly distinct languages the connections don’t exist unless you make a specific effort to cultivate them.

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    • Replies: @AP
    Thanks, as always, for the informative post.
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  20. @Jaakko Raipala

    Of course none of this stops Latvians from demanding Russia pay them muh reparations just for making them live with their democratic choices of 1917, come 1940.
     
    This is an extremely weak meme. A key reason these ethnic groups voted for the radical left was that the radical left was seen as the main advocate of national self-determination. You may not like independent Latvia but it waters down your case if you try to simultaneously blame Latvia for voting for its chance at independence and insist that Latvia got what it wanted when its independence was canceled.

    There is no point complaining that Latvians didn't enlist to fight for the Whites in large numbers when the Whites failed to produce a consistent, plausible plan to offer to national minorities. The traditional recipe to bind together multiple ethnic groups was monarchy but the monarchy had failed so that wasn't a solution. The Reds had a simple offer that they had consistently pushed since at least 1905 while the Whites were still stuck in debates when the Civil War was on.

    In Finland the Whites won and wanted to join the war in Russia but they had to admit that they had no idea what our status would be after White victory. The Civil War victors were laughed out of power when they were reduced to just claiming that Russia would be grateful and give us a good deal after the war if we attacked Petrograd, with no guarantees.

    Indeed. Why would have the latvians voted for the russian nationalists who were trying to destroy them?
    Also, what percentage of voters were latvian? 0.5%?

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  21. Anon • Disclaimer says:

    During WW1, the Latvian Riflemen had to fight on Tsar’s side to defend the Russian Empire from the Germans, and the Tsar’s generals didn’t do a good job organizing those battles, causing massive losses for the Riflemen in Latvia (1916-1917). This made them dislike the Tsar.

    Btw, Rasputin was killed already in 1916, so the Russians themselves were already rebelling against the Tsar at that point.

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    • Replies: @Jaakko Raipala
    Rasputin was killed by aristocrats who thought that his influence was an embarrassment. The commies didn't do it - having that man in the court was better propaganda against the monarchy than any lie.

    Russians have been rebelling against Tsars as long as they've had Tsars and the last one was so unpopular that just about the entire country rebelled. Perhaps you don't realize this but Nikolai II wasn't dethroned by Bolsheviks, he was forced out by a team of aristocrats and bourgeoisie. The communist revolution was another revolution where they destroyed the Russian Republic that had been declared by the first revolutionaries.

    This was long coming and violence with roughly the same factions was the norm for the decades before 1917. We were already wearing red and white armbands during the revolution of 1905 and people were getting killed in those clashes.
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  22. @Anon
    During WW1, the Latvian Riflemen had to fight on Tsar's side to defend the Russian Empire from the Germans, and the Tsar's generals didn't do a good job organizing those battles, causing massive losses for the Riflemen in Latvia (1916-1917). This made them dislike the Tsar.

    Btw, Rasputin was killed already in 1916, so the Russians themselves were already rebelling against the Tsar at that point.

    Rasputin was killed by aristocrats who thought that his influence was an embarrassment. The commies didn’t do it – having that man in the court was better propaganda against the monarchy than any lie.

    Russians have been rebelling against Tsars as long as they’ve had Tsars and the last one was so unpopular that just about the entire country rebelled. Perhaps you don’t realize this but Nikolai II wasn’t dethroned by Bolsheviks, he was forced out by a team of aristocrats and bourgeoisie. The communist revolution was another revolution where they destroyed the Russian Republic that had been declared by the first revolutionaries.

    This was long coming and violence with roughly the same factions was the norm for the decades before 1917. We were already wearing red and white armbands during the revolution of 1905 and people were getting killed in those clashes.

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  23. AP says:
    @Dmitry
    Sure, you are right that it is a good result - but with voter turnout (let's set it a little over 80%) - it is still only around 1/3 of the German electorate casting ballot for them. And as seen above - Hitler personally got substantially less running for president in 1932 (only 11.3 million votes in the first round).

    Sure, you are right that it is a good result – but with voter turnout (let’s set it a little over 80%) – it is still only around 1/3 of the German electorate casting ballot for them.

    Sure, but that’s how multiparty parliamentary politics work. In the last election Merkel got 33% of the vote with 76% turnout. In the previous election she got 41.5% of the vote but with only 72% turnout.

    So Hitler was more successful than Merkel has been.

    Hitler personally got substantially less running for president in 1932 (only 11.3 million votes in the first round).

    Hitler got more popular in 1933 than he was in 1932. Nazis got 44% of the vote in March 1933 compared to 37% in July 1932 (around the time of the presidential election).

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    • Replies: @helena
    Nevertheless, subsequent governments have paid reparations from the public purse, and a whole country has borne shame, despite 1/2-2/3? of the original population never having voted for the policies that led to war.
    , @reiner Tor

    Nazis got 44% of the vote in March 1933
     
    That was not a free election by any stretch of the word. The fact that despite all the violence and threats (Germany was already practically a dictatorship at this point) almost half of the electorate voted against the Nazis (anyone not voting for them or for the DNVP at this point) shows that the Nazis were probably actually getting less popular. Don’t forget that the moment voters lose trust in the good faith of the government organizing the election, secrecy of the ballots becomes meaningless. If they put armed thugs in front of the voting booth, then sure some of them will be watching how you vote. If some people are openly voting for the Nazis in front of the committee, then going to the booth already takes some courage. The election in early 1933 was only partly free.

    The issue with comparing the Nazis and the Bolsheviks is that the former concealed their plans better. If you told Nazi or Bolshevik voters what their respective parties would do, the vast majority of them would have changed their votes immediately. However, for the Nazis, it took way longer before they could get to implement mass murder. Bolsheviks were talking about how ten percent of the population was not needed, while Nazi leaders still in 1941 said that murdering all members of a people was deeply un-Germanic and a “Jewish-Bolshevik” method. The Bolsheviks were already murdering tens and hundreds of thousands within months of that vote, the Nazis merely murdered thousands and kinda returned to normalcy quickly. Most people understood (and the Nazis didn’t do anything for a long time after grabbing power to disabuse them of the notion) that it would at worst be a somewhat brutal nationalistic dictatorship with some excesses here and there, but few people thought it would start a world war (or any war) or genocide. The Bolsheviks’ immediate program was already quite a bit crazier.

    Also, if we are willing to acquit Latvians voting for the Bolsheviks (“hey, they promised them good things!”), then I fail to see how Germans could not be acquitted on the same ground. Most people here understand that having a nationalist government is usually better for a country than having an ineffectual social democratic one. We also understand that liberal democracy usually degenerates into something much worse and in retrospect we know that it led to race replacement and hate speech laws. (Though would it have done so in the absence of the Nazi experiment? Hard to know.) Yes, in retrospect we also know that Hitler’s brand of nationalism was too much of a good thing. (Way too much.) But it’s hard not to notice that Bolshevism is insanity pure and simple. It could not even be started without mass murder on the scale of hundreds of thousands.
    , @Dmitry
    As mentioned above, in the free presidential election of 1932 Hitler was 'destroyed' by Hindenburg (17 point behind). Afterwards we see in parliamentary elections 37% (in July 1932 - a very good result) and 33% (in November 1932). They broke above 40% only in 1933 during the power seizure process, in a semi non-free election that was partly controlled by the party.
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  24. AP says:
    @iffen
    Nazis were indeed elected by the German people. Specifically, by German Protestants:

    How well did they understand what they were electing? Did they know that this was their last vote for a few years?

    I’m sure that they did not expect the Nazis whom they voted for to commit genocide or start a world war that would end in Germany’s destruction. But, the Nazis were open about territorial adjustments in the East and about persecuting and occasionally lynching Jews, though not exterminating all of them.

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  25. AP says:
    @Jaakko Raipala
    (edit: this was meant to be a reply to comment 7 by AP)

    I can't speak for Latvia as I don't understand a word of the language but I know enough about Finland and Estonia and I bet it was similar to them at that point.

    For a small nation to separate from an empire you need some sort of outside support - either you need sympathizers in the empire or you need an enemy of the empire. In Finland there was a German-sponsored separatist movement but of course they couldn't have their own party since they were openly treasonous. This was less feasible in Estonia (and presumably Latvia) since they were much more likely to view Germany as a threat.

    The leftists had their belief that they'd be able to create some internationalist order that would be capable of guaranteeing the independence of small nations. When you expressed your independence ideas in such leftist terms, the authorities tended to view the ideas as more foolish than treasonous so you had less chance of getting hanged. Of course since the practical world doesn't conform to idealism what you actually had to do was to form connections with Russian leftists and you could only form connections if the other side was interested.

    Only the Bolsheviks showed up in the Baltic provinces. If this was a bit over 100 years ago, Lenin would be a frequent neighbor of mine, spending his time here meeting local leftists, having them translate Finnish and Estonian newspapers, crafting plots with tailored promises and threats to not only Finns and Estonians but to various social classes of Finns and Estonians, forming connections while hopping between Petrograd and Western Europe. None of the other Russian factions did this while Lenin, Stalin and the gang had been working on it since at least 1905.

    Things were probably very different in Ukraine since the language barrier is much less of an issue. But with the small ethnic groups of the Baltic region with highly distinct languages the connections don't exist unless you make a specific effort to cultivate them.

    Thanks, as always, for the informative post.

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  26. helena says:
    @AP

    Sure, you are right that it is a good result – but with voter turnout (let’s set it a little over 80%) – it is still only around 1/3 of the German electorate casting ballot for them.
     
    Sure, but that's how multiparty parliamentary politics work. In the last election Merkel got 33% of the vote with 76% turnout. In the previous election she got 41.5% of the vote but with only 72% turnout.

    So Hitler was more successful than Merkel has been.

    Hitler personally got substantially less running for president in 1932 (only 11.3 million votes in the first round).

     

    Hitler got more popular in 1933 than he was in 1932. Nazis got 44% of the vote in March 1933 compared to 37% in July 1932 (around the time of the presidential election).

    Nevertheless, subsequent governments have paid reparations from the public purse, and a whole country has borne shame, despite 1/2-2/3? of the original population never having voted for the policies that led to war.

    Read More
    • Replies: @anon
    1. By what proportion did the British elect Churchill in 1940?
    Answer: there was no election in 1940; the last election in Britain was in 1935; there was supposed to be an election in 1940 but it was cancelled due to war.

    2. How many opportunities did the British people have to vote for their government during the war?
    Answer: Zero. Britain next voted in 1945, after the war. Churchill was rejected by the voters.

    3. The British engaged in firebombing of civilians, a war crime. Were they ever called to account or did they pay reparations for these war crimes?
    Answer: No.

    4. Are these facts -- that the British were never called to account nor made reparations for war crimes -- attributable to the fact that the British people did not elect the leaders who carried out these war crimes?
    Answer: Interesting suggestion, but more likely it's that the British are immune to shame and the equitable forces of civilization and justice. It's like rotten teeth -- part of the British make-up to evade accountability.
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  27. Contrary to both Communist and Western Russophobe propaganda, Russians never voted in the Bolsheviks

    Is this a modern development? I certainly never was told this when I was in school in the 1960s in the US. There was the October Revolution, then the Civil War and the Red Terror, nothing (or at least very little) was ever said about post-Revolution elections.

    In contrast, we were definitely told that the Nazis came to power “legally” in Germany.

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  28. @AP

    Sure, you are right that it is a good result – but with voter turnout (let’s set it a little over 80%) – it is still only around 1/3 of the German electorate casting ballot for them.
     
    Sure, but that's how multiparty parliamentary politics work. In the last election Merkel got 33% of the vote with 76% turnout. In the previous election she got 41.5% of the vote but with only 72% turnout.

    So Hitler was more successful than Merkel has been.

    Hitler personally got substantially less running for president in 1932 (only 11.3 million votes in the first round).

     

    Hitler got more popular in 1933 than he was in 1932. Nazis got 44% of the vote in March 1933 compared to 37% in July 1932 (around the time of the presidential election).

    Nazis got 44% of the vote in March 1933

    That was not a free election by any stretch of the word. The fact that despite all the violence and threats (Germany was already practically a dictatorship at this point) almost half of the electorate voted against the Nazis (anyone not voting for them or for the DNVP at this point) shows that the Nazis were probably actually getting less popular. Don’t forget that the moment voters lose trust in the good faith of the government organizing the election, secrecy of the ballots becomes meaningless. If they put armed thugs in front of the voting booth, then sure some of them will be watching how you vote. If some people are openly voting for the Nazis in front of the committee, then going to the booth already takes some courage. The election in early 1933 was only partly free.

    The issue with comparing the Nazis and the Bolsheviks is that the former concealed their plans better. If you told Nazi or Bolshevik voters what their respective parties would do, the vast majority of them would have changed their votes immediately. However, for the Nazis, it took way longer before they could get to implement mass murder. Bolsheviks were talking about how ten percent of the population was not needed, while Nazi leaders still in 1941 said that murdering all members of a people was deeply un-Germanic and a “Jewish-Bolshevik” method. The Bolsheviks were already murdering tens and hundreds of thousands within months of that vote, the Nazis merely murdered thousands and kinda returned to normalcy quickly. Most people understood (and the Nazis didn’t do anything for a long time after grabbing power to disabuse them of the notion) that it would at worst be a somewhat brutal nationalistic dictatorship with some excesses here and there, but few people thought it would start a world war (or any war) or genocide. The Bolsheviks’ immediate program was already quite a bit crazier.

    Also, if we are willing to acquit Latvians voting for the Bolsheviks (“hey, they promised them good things!”), then I fail to see how Germans could not be acquitted on the same ground. Most people here understand that having a nationalist government is usually better for a country than having an ineffectual social democratic one. We also understand that liberal democracy usually degenerates into something much worse and in retrospect we know that it led to race replacement and hate speech laws. (Though would it have done so in the absence of the Nazi experiment? Hard to know.) Yes, in retrospect we also know that Hitler’s brand of nationalism was too much of a good thing. (Way too much.) But it’s hard not to notice that Bolshevism is insanity pure and simple. It could not even be started without mass murder on the scale of hundreds of thousands.

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    • Replies: @iffen
    (Though would it have done so in the absence of the Nazi experiment? Hard to know.)

    I don't understand why you think this could possibly have a critical role in the failure of liberalism. It is failing on its own internal contradictions, failures and successes.

    Also, (and this is not directed solely at you) I can't see what is trying to be established here. Are we trying to prove that the Russian people were "more" guilty for bringing the Bolsheviks to power than the German people were for bringing the Nazis to power? Are we trying to show that the Bolsheviks were better political operatives because they were able to exercise authoritarian power more quickly and for a longer time operating from a smaller supporter base at the inception?
    , @Art Deco
    We also understand that liberal democracy usually degenerates into something much worse

    It doesn't, but keep on spinning if that amuses you.
    , @AP

    The issue with comparing the Nazis and the Bolsheviks is that the former concealed their plans better. If you told Nazi or Bolshevik voters what their respective parties would do, the vast majority of them would have changed their votes immediately. However, for the Nazis, it took way longer before they could get to implement mass murder.
     
    Nazis were behaving like thugs throughout the 1920s and early 1930s. Sure, people would not have assumed that the Nazis would commit genocide, but they were a party that lynched people, looted stores, and openly wanted to change the eastern borders. The German people may not have voted for the Holocaust and the World War, but they voted for the invasion of Poland, Sudatenland, Krystallnacht, etc.

    The Russians did not vote for any Bolshevik atrocities. Unlike Nazis in Germany who easily won two fair elections and one partially fair election, Bolsheviks in Russia didn't win any elections.


    Also, if we are willing to acquit Latvians voting for the Bolsheviks (“hey, they promised them good things!”), then I fail to see how Germans could not be acquitted on the same ground.
     
    The good things Latvians (AFAIK - regional independence) wanted were better than the "good" things Nazis wanted (war against eastern neighbors, persecution of Jews).
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  29. neutral says:

    Lenin was a jew, the Bolsheviks were dominated by jews, so it is hardly surprising that they wanted to rid themselves of voting rights as soon as possible.

    In Germany the NSDAP was way more popular than the Bolsheviks could ever achieve, even after elections were removed the party was hugely popular with the people. Hitler also correctly observed how easily corruptable the party system was, so banning this system under the circumstances was the correct one.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    The NSDAP’s popularity is difficult to assess. Obviously people were happy when they delivered victories, especially bloodless victories. The names Adolf and Horst were quite popular until the war (when they suddenly became unpopular, except for a short period after the fall of France.) But there are some other indicators. The Volkswagen program was seriously undersubscribed, probably because people didn’t believe the system would still be around by the time it had to deliver the cheap cars, or at least it wouldn’t be in a position to deliver on its promises. Not many people (hardly anyone) were cheering when war broke out. Even the euphoria after the victory in France quickly ran out of steam after it became clear that the war would continue. Not many people were keen on mass murder either, they seriously feared retributions in the event of a defeat. Which they considered a real possibility - as people correctly noted, “we were winning in the previous war, too, for a while.” Such talk was picked up by Gestapo agents already during the height of victories.
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  30. melanf says:

    In the book of historian Boris Mironov “the Social history of Russia”, given the statistics on the number of revolutionaries on per capita according to different nationalities of the Russian Empire. Latvians are absolute Champions, they far exceeded even the Jews. For that Carlin is absolutely right in his assessment of Latvians.

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  31. @neutral
    Lenin was a jew, the Bolsheviks were dominated by jews, so it is hardly surprising that they wanted to rid themselves of voting rights as soon as possible.

    In Germany the NSDAP was way more popular than the Bolsheviks could ever achieve, even after elections were removed the party was hugely popular with the people. Hitler also correctly observed how easily corruptable the party system was, so banning this system under the circumstances was the correct one.

    The NSDAP’s popularity is difficult to assess. Obviously people were happy when they delivered victories, especially bloodless victories. The names Adolf and Horst were quite popular until the war (when they suddenly became unpopular, except for a short period after the fall of France.) But there are some other indicators. The Volkswagen program was seriously undersubscribed, probably because people didn’t believe the system would still be around by the time it had to deliver the cheap cars, or at least it wouldn’t be in a position to deliver on its promises. Not many people (hardly anyone) were cheering when war broke out. Even the euphoria after the victory in France quickly ran out of steam after it became clear that the war would continue. Not many people were keen on mass murder either, they seriously feared retributions in the event of a defeat. Which they considered a real possibility – as people correctly noted, “we were winning in the previous war, too, for a while.” Such talk was picked up by Gestapo agents already during the height of victories.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    I think the best guess about the popularity of the Nazis and the Bolsheviks is that they were roughly as popular at their peak during the dictatorship as the maximum number of votes they managed to get before their respective dictatorships. Except in the case of the Bolsheviks it might have been a bit higher due to the enormous societal changes during their time in power, also because their system became quite a bit tamer than how it started out, also the only system people knew their whole lives.

    So, probably 30-40% were more or less committed Nazis at the height of Nazi successes, and a quarter of Russians were committed communists at the height of Stalin’s popularity before the war, but it probably grew to a third or a bit more during the war and after the victory. It might have been still higher during the peak of the Khrushchev years (maybe after Gagarin?) and during the peak of Brezhnev’s popularity, but these might already be overestimates.

    There were probably a lot of people who liked Stalin because they thought he stopped being a communist during the war and hoped for a freer society,but I wouldn’t call such people committed communists.

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  32. @reiner Tor
    The NSDAP’s popularity is difficult to assess. Obviously people were happy when they delivered victories, especially bloodless victories. The names Adolf and Horst were quite popular until the war (when they suddenly became unpopular, except for a short period after the fall of France.) But there are some other indicators. The Volkswagen program was seriously undersubscribed, probably because people didn’t believe the system would still be around by the time it had to deliver the cheap cars, or at least it wouldn’t be in a position to deliver on its promises. Not many people (hardly anyone) were cheering when war broke out. Even the euphoria after the victory in France quickly ran out of steam after it became clear that the war would continue. Not many people were keen on mass murder either, they seriously feared retributions in the event of a defeat. Which they considered a real possibility - as people correctly noted, “we were winning in the previous war, too, for a while.” Such talk was picked up by Gestapo agents already during the height of victories.

    I think the best guess about the popularity of the Nazis and the Bolsheviks is that they were roughly as popular at their peak during the dictatorship as the maximum number of votes they managed to get before their respective dictatorships. Except in the case of the Bolsheviks it might have been a bit higher due to the enormous societal changes during their time in power, also because their system became quite a bit tamer than how it started out, also the only system people knew their whole lives.

    So, probably 30-40% were more or less committed Nazis at the height of Nazi successes, and a quarter of Russians were committed communists at the height of Stalin’s popularity before the war, but it probably grew to a third or a bit more during the war and after the victory. It might have been still higher during the peak of the Khrushchev years (maybe after Gagarin?) and during the peak of Brezhnev’s popularity, but these might already be overestimates.

    There were probably a lot of people who liked Stalin because they thought he stopped being a communist during the war and hoped for a freer society,but I wouldn’t call such people committed communists.

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  33. iffen says:
    @reiner Tor

    Nazis got 44% of the vote in March 1933
     
    That was not a free election by any stretch of the word. The fact that despite all the violence and threats (Germany was already practically a dictatorship at this point) almost half of the electorate voted against the Nazis (anyone not voting for them or for the DNVP at this point) shows that the Nazis were probably actually getting less popular. Don’t forget that the moment voters lose trust in the good faith of the government organizing the election, secrecy of the ballots becomes meaningless. If they put armed thugs in front of the voting booth, then sure some of them will be watching how you vote. If some people are openly voting for the Nazis in front of the committee, then going to the booth already takes some courage. The election in early 1933 was only partly free.

    The issue with comparing the Nazis and the Bolsheviks is that the former concealed their plans better. If you told Nazi or Bolshevik voters what their respective parties would do, the vast majority of them would have changed their votes immediately. However, for the Nazis, it took way longer before they could get to implement mass murder. Bolsheviks were talking about how ten percent of the population was not needed, while Nazi leaders still in 1941 said that murdering all members of a people was deeply un-Germanic and a “Jewish-Bolshevik” method. The Bolsheviks were already murdering tens and hundreds of thousands within months of that vote, the Nazis merely murdered thousands and kinda returned to normalcy quickly. Most people understood (and the Nazis didn’t do anything for a long time after grabbing power to disabuse them of the notion) that it would at worst be a somewhat brutal nationalistic dictatorship with some excesses here and there, but few people thought it would start a world war (or any war) or genocide. The Bolsheviks’ immediate program was already quite a bit crazier.

    Also, if we are willing to acquit Latvians voting for the Bolsheviks (“hey, they promised them good things!”), then I fail to see how Germans could not be acquitted on the same ground. Most people here understand that having a nationalist government is usually better for a country than having an ineffectual social democratic one. We also understand that liberal democracy usually degenerates into something much worse and in retrospect we know that it led to race replacement and hate speech laws. (Though would it have done so in the absence of the Nazi experiment? Hard to know.) Yes, in retrospect we also know that Hitler’s brand of nationalism was too much of a good thing. (Way too much.) But it’s hard not to notice that Bolshevism is insanity pure and simple. It could not even be started without mass murder on the scale of hundreds of thousands.

    (Though would it have done so in the absence of the Nazi experiment? Hard to know.)

    I don’t understand why you think this could possibly have a critical role in the failure of liberalism. It is failing on its own internal contradictions, failures and successes.

    Also, (and this is not directed solely at you) I can’t see what is trying to be established here. Are we trying to prove that the Russian people were “more” guilty for bringing the Bolsheviks to power than the German people were for bringing the Nazis to power? Are we trying to show that the Bolsheviks were better political operatives because they were able to exercise authoritarian power more quickly and for a longer time operating from a smaller supporter base at the inception?

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    Are we trying to prove that the Russian people were “more” guilty for bringing the Bolsheviks to power than the German people were for bringing the Nazis to power?
     
    Actually, I think the opposite case was made, and I was kind of arguing against it. I certainly don’t think it’s worthwhile judging people based on such things, especially after a century or nearly a century.

    My opinion is that very few (if any) people would have voted for them in either case, had they known what they would do. The Germans are I think more harshly judged because they had it relatively good under the Nazis and would have had it much better, had the Nazis won. And for this reason the Germans liked the Nazis much more than the Russians the Bolsheviks.

    , @reiner Tor

    I don’t understand why you think this could possibly have a critical role in the failure of liberalism. It is failing on its own internal contradictions, failures and successes.
     
    Well, it definitely created a strong reaction (no one wanted it to be repeated for obvious reasons) and made it easier to push through the leftist agenda by creating a boogeyman. The Nazis were so over the top that they would effectively have served as their own caricatures, weren’t they so deadly.
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  34. 5371 says:

    [ending a war that, despite its political turmoil, Russia was still winning (Austria-Hungary had been preparing to sue for peace immediately before the October Revolution]

    No, this is nonsense. Peace feelers were continuous from the summer of 1917, especially from the Dual Monarchy, but the obstacles facing their success were even more formidable. There was absolutely no imminent Austro-Hungarian withdrawal from the war that was scuppered by the Bolshevik coup.

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    • Replies: @melanf


    Ending a war that, despite its political turmoil, Russia was still winning
     
    No, this is nonsense.
     
    "In April and May 1917, in spite of the won ( by Germany) victory at the river Aisne and in champagne, only the Russian revolution saved us from collapse"

    Erich Ludendorff
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  35. melanf says:
    @5371
    [ending a war that, despite its political turmoil, Russia was still winning (Austria-Hungary had been preparing to sue for peace immediately before the October Revolution]

    No, this is nonsense. Peace feelers were continuous from the summer of 1917, especially from the Dual Monarchy, but the obstacles facing their success were even more formidable. There was absolutely no imminent Austro-Hungarian withdrawal from the war that was scuppered by the Bolshevik coup.

    Ending a war that, despite its political turmoil, Russia was still winning

    No, this is nonsense.

    In April and May 1917, in spite of the won ( by Germany) victory at the river Aisne and in champagne, only the Russian revolution saved us from collapse

    Erich Ludendorff

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    • Replies: @5371
    Easily shown to be false. Germany would have won the war in the Atlantic in spring 1917, if not for the belated British introduction of compulsory merchant convoy. The French army was at a near standstill coping with the effects of mutiny. Russia had no large scale offensives planned until the summer. Even Austro-Hungary's collapse, not to mention Germany's, was no more than a dream.
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  36. @iffen
    (Though would it have done so in the absence of the Nazi experiment? Hard to know.)

    I don't understand why you think this could possibly have a critical role in the failure of liberalism. It is failing on its own internal contradictions, failures and successes.

    Also, (and this is not directed solely at you) I can't see what is trying to be established here. Are we trying to prove that the Russian people were "more" guilty for bringing the Bolsheviks to power than the German people were for bringing the Nazis to power? Are we trying to show that the Bolsheviks were better political operatives because they were able to exercise authoritarian power more quickly and for a longer time operating from a smaller supporter base at the inception?

    Are we trying to prove that the Russian people were “more” guilty for bringing the Bolsheviks to power than the German people were for bringing the Nazis to power?

    Actually, I think the opposite case was made, and I was kind of arguing against it. I certainly don’t think it’s worthwhile judging people based on such things, especially after a century or nearly a century.

    My opinion is that very few (if any) people would have voted for them in either case, had they known what they would do. The Germans are I think more harshly judged because they had it relatively good under the Nazis and would have had it much better, had the Nazis won. And for this reason the Germans liked the Nazis much more than the Russians the Bolsheviks.

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    • Replies: @iffen
    The Germans are I think more harshly judged because they had it relatively good under the Nazis and would have had it much better, had the Nazis won.

    I am not sure what metrics you are using to establish “relatively good.” Certainly the individuals that didn’t get with the program didn’t have it all that good.

    I think that it has to do with the ideology. Commies presented the façade that a person was disqualified based on the individual’s behavior rather than race or ethnicity and that appealed to the blank slate (and still does) beliefs.
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  37. Art Deco says:
    @reiner Tor

    Nazis got 44% of the vote in March 1933
     
    That was not a free election by any stretch of the word. The fact that despite all the violence and threats (Germany was already practically a dictatorship at this point) almost half of the electorate voted against the Nazis (anyone not voting for them or for the DNVP at this point) shows that the Nazis were probably actually getting less popular. Don’t forget that the moment voters lose trust in the good faith of the government organizing the election, secrecy of the ballots becomes meaningless. If they put armed thugs in front of the voting booth, then sure some of them will be watching how you vote. If some people are openly voting for the Nazis in front of the committee, then going to the booth already takes some courage. The election in early 1933 was only partly free.

    The issue with comparing the Nazis and the Bolsheviks is that the former concealed their plans better. If you told Nazi or Bolshevik voters what their respective parties would do, the vast majority of them would have changed their votes immediately. However, for the Nazis, it took way longer before they could get to implement mass murder. Bolsheviks were talking about how ten percent of the population was not needed, while Nazi leaders still in 1941 said that murdering all members of a people was deeply un-Germanic and a “Jewish-Bolshevik” method. The Bolsheviks were already murdering tens and hundreds of thousands within months of that vote, the Nazis merely murdered thousands and kinda returned to normalcy quickly. Most people understood (and the Nazis didn’t do anything for a long time after grabbing power to disabuse them of the notion) that it would at worst be a somewhat brutal nationalistic dictatorship with some excesses here and there, but few people thought it would start a world war (or any war) or genocide. The Bolsheviks’ immediate program was already quite a bit crazier.

    Also, if we are willing to acquit Latvians voting for the Bolsheviks (“hey, they promised them good things!”), then I fail to see how Germans could not be acquitted on the same ground. Most people here understand that having a nationalist government is usually better for a country than having an ineffectual social democratic one. We also understand that liberal democracy usually degenerates into something much worse and in retrospect we know that it led to race replacement and hate speech laws. (Though would it have done so in the absence of the Nazi experiment? Hard to know.) Yes, in retrospect we also know that Hitler’s brand of nationalism was too much of a good thing. (Way too much.) But it’s hard not to notice that Bolshevism is insanity pure and simple. It could not even be started without mass murder on the scale of hundreds of thousands.

    We also understand that liberal democracy usually degenerates into something much worse

    It doesn’t, but keep on spinning if that amuses you.

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    • Replies: @iffen
    Art Deco says:

    January 21, 2018 at 2:43 pm GMT
    @reiner Tor


    We also understand that liberal democracy usually degenerates into something much worse


    It doesn’t, but keep on spinning if that amuses you.
     
    We also understand that liberal democracy is degenerating into something much worse.

    Fixed it.
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  38. iffen says:
    @Art Deco
    We also understand that liberal democracy usually degenerates into something much worse

    It doesn't, but keep on spinning if that amuses you.

    Art Deco says:

    January 21, 2018 at 2:43 pm GMT


    We also understand that liberal democracy usually degenerates into something much worse

    It doesn’t, but keep on spinning if that amuses you.

    We also understand that liberal democracy is degenerating into something much worse.

    Fixed it.

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    • Agree: Hibernian
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  39. iffen says:
    @reiner Tor

    Are we trying to prove that the Russian people were “more” guilty for bringing the Bolsheviks to power than the German people were for bringing the Nazis to power?
     
    Actually, I think the opposite case was made, and I was kind of arguing against it. I certainly don’t think it’s worthwhile judging people based on such things, especially after a century or nearly a century.

    My opinion is that very few (if any) people would have voted for them in either case, had they known what they would do. The Germans are I think more harshly judged because they had it relatively good under the Nazis and would have had it much better, had the Nazis won. And for this reason the Germans liked the Nazis much more than the Russians the Bolsheviks.

    The Germans are I think more harshly judged because they had it relatively good under the Nazis and would have had it much better, had the Nazis won.

    I am not sure what metrics you are using to establish “relatively good.” Certainly the individuals that didn’t get with the program didn’t have it all that good.

    I think that it has to do with the ideology. Commies presented the façade that a person was disqualified based on the individual’s behavior rather than race or ethnicity and that appealed to the blank slate (and still does) beliefs.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    I am not sure what metrics you are using to establish “relatively good.”
     
    They weren’t murdered without reason (they had to do something against the Nazis for that), and for the nonpolitical majority this meant that they were left alone until their sons were drafted and killed in a senseless war and their homes were destroyed by enemy bombers. The regime gave them more food than any other people under its rule. Russians had less food and worse living standards than anyone in the satellite states and even within the country Georgians and later also Balts had better living standards. (Though their national cultures were seriously damaged and their elite destroyed - but the same thing happened to any other nationality, Russians inclusive.)

    Commies presented the façade that a person was disqualified based on the individual’s behavior rather than race or ethnicity and that appealed to the blank slate (and still does) beliefs.
     
    Yes, that’s a good point.
    , @German_reader

    Certainly the individuals that didn’t get with the program didn’t have it all that good.
     
    If you didn't step out of line or belonged to a group specifically targeted for persecution (Jews, male homosexuals, communist activists or some religious minorities like Jehova's witnesses), chances were you wouldn't be subject to persecution in Nazi Germany as an average German. Internal repression was vastly greater and much more random in the Soviet Union; it also affected even hundreds of thousands of members of the Communist party during the purges...there is nothing analogous in the Nazi party (the killings of the SA leadership were small-scale by comparison).
    Of course the Nazi regime was still quite repressive even at home (there really were cases during the war of Germans being sentenced to prison or even executed for telling jokes about Hitler, defeatism etc.), and it also started a war which had substantially negative consequences for many Germans.
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  40. @iffen
    (Though would it have done so in the absence of the Nazi experiment? Hard to know.)

    I don't understand why you think this could possibly have a critical role in the failure of liberalism. It is failing on its own internal contradictions, failures and successes.

    Also, (and this is not directed solely at you) I can't see what is trying to be established here. Are we trying to prove that the Russian people were "more" guilty for bringing the Bolsheviks to power than the German people were for bringing the Nazis to power? Are we trying to show that the Bolsheviks were better political operatives because they were able to exercise authoritarian power more quickly and for a longer time operating from a smaller supporter base at the inception?

    I don’t understand why you think this could possibly have a critical role in the failure of liberalism. It is failing on its own internal contradictions, failures and successes.

    Well, it definitely created a strong reaction (no one wanted it to be repeated for obvious reasons) and made it easier to push through the leftist agenda by creating a boogeyman. The Nazis were so over the top that they would effectively have served as their own caricatures, weren’t they so deadly.

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    • Replies: @iffen
    and made it easier to push through the leftist agenda

    The leftist agenda is part and parcel of the progression of liberalism.

    I’m currently reading a great book on this subject: Patrick J. Deneen’s “Why Liberalism Failed”

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/17/books/review-why-liberalism-failed-patrick-deneen.html

    Fascism and communism have irrevocably discredited themselves as practical ideologies. Liberalism is the last man standing and is expanding at warp speed into the ether without opposition.

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  41. @iffen
    The Germans are I think more harshly judged because they had it relatively good under the Nazis and would have had it much better, had the Nazis won.

    I am not sure what metrics you are using to establish “relatively good.” Certainly the individuals that didn’t get with the program didn’t have it all that good.

    I think that it has to do with the ideology. Commies presented the façade that a person was disqualified based on the individual’s behavior rather than race or ethnicity and that appealed to the blank slate (and still does) beliefs.

    I am not sure what metrics you are using to establish “relatively good.”

    They weren’t murdered without reason (they had to do something against the Nazis for that), and for the nonpolitical majority this meant that they were left alone until their sons were drafted and killed in a senseless war and their homes were destroyed by enemy bombers. The regime gave them more food than any other people under its rule. Russians had less food and worse living standards than anyone in the satellite states and even within the country Georgians and later also Balts had better living standards. (Though their national cultures were seriously damaged and their elite destroyed – but the same thing happened to any other nationality, Russians inclusive.)

    Commies presented the façade that a person was disqualified based on the individual’s behavior rather than race or ethnicity and that appealed to the blank slate (and still does) beliefs.

    Yes, that’s a good point.

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    • Replies: @iffen
    What about Aktion T4?

    I guess you are disregarding those who had German citizenship and are just looking at ethnic Germans.
    , @utu

    Commies presented the façade that a person was disqualified based on the individual’s behavior rather than race or ethnicity and that appealed to the blank slate (and still does) beliefs.
     
    It was just a facade. They went after ethnic groups like for example here:

    Polish Operation of the NKVD
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polish_Operation_of_the_NKVD
    The Polish Operation of the Soviet NKVD security service in 1937–1938 was a mass operation of the NKVD carried out against purported Polish agents in the Soviet Union during the period of the Great Purge. It was ordered by the Politburo against the so-called "Polish spies" and customarily interpreted by the NKVD officials as relating to "absolutely all Poles". It resulted in the sentencing of 139,835 people, and summary executions of 111,091 ethnic Poles,[3][4] as well as those accused of working for Poland.[5] The operation was implemented according to NKVD Order № 00485 signed by Nikolai Yezhov.[6] The majority of the victims were ethnically Polish but not all, according to Timothy Snyder.[7] The remainder were 'suspected' of being Polish, without further inquiry.[6] In order to speed up the process the NKVD personnel reviewed local telephone books and arrested persons with Polish-sounding names.
     
    111,091 ethnic Poles who happened to be Polish agents. Poland must have had the largest foreign spy agency in the world.
    , @Anon
    No, reiner Tor - the Balts had better living standards before the Russians arrived in 1940 (and the Georgians had much worse living standards than the Balts or Moscow Russians - everyone ex-SSR knows this, maybe you don't). They also had independent republics. And practically zero overlord Russian population. Also, don't forget that the Balts were essentially illegaly enlisted in the war in Afghanistan, and in general the military service in the Soviet army was forced on them. They shouldn't have had to do that by international law. Did Hungarian youths have to do service in the Russian military and fight in Afghanistan?

    There was something called the Novocherkassky massacre, where Russians actually tried to rebel against Sovietism. That was suppressed brutally by other Russians (maybe one Caucasion too). But other than that -- for 50 years they didn't mind, and even during the putsch in 1991 wanted to bring back Communism. Many, many Russians / Ukrainians / Armenians still believe that the Soviet Union was good.

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  42. iffen says:
    @reiner Tor

    I am not sure what metrics you are using to establish “relatively good.”
     
    They weren’t murdered without reason (they had to do something against the Nazis for that), and for the nonpolitical majority this meant that they were left alone until their sons were drafted and killed in a senseless war and their homes were destroyed by enemy bombers. The regime gave them more food than any other people under its rule. Russians had less food and worse living standards than anyone in the satellite states and even within the country Georgians and later also Balts had better living standards. (Though their national cultures were seriously damaged and their elite destroyed - but the same thing happened to any other nationality, Russians inclusive.)

    Commies presented the façade that a person was disqualified based on the individual’s behavior rather than race or ethnicity and that appealed to the blank slate (and still does) beliefs.
     
    Yes, that’s a good point.

    What about Aktion T4?

    I guess you are disregarding those who had German citizenship and are just looking at ethnic Germans.

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  43. iffen says:
    @reiner Tor

    I don’t understand why you think this could possibly have a critical role in the failure of liberalism. It is failing on its own internal contradictions, failures and successes.
     
    Well, it definitely created a strong reaction (no one wanted it to be repeated for obvious reasons) and made it easier to push through the leftist agenda by creating a boogeyman. The Nazis were so over the top that they would effectively have served as their own caricatures, weren’t they so deadly.

    and made it easier to push through the leftist agenda

    The leftist agenda is part and parcel of the progression of liberalism.

    I’m currently reading a great book on this subject: Patrick J. Deneen’s “Why Liberalism Failed”

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/17/books/review-why-liberalism-failed-patrick-deneen.html

    Fascism and communism have irrevocably discredited themselves as practical ideologies. Liberalism is the last man standing and is expanding at warp speed into the ether without opposition.

    Read More
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  44. Beckow says:
    @German_reader
    The NSDAP was the strongest party though which the Bolsheviks weren't, so AK is quite right in drawing a contrast.

    The problem with the ‘never got a majority in elections‘ argument is that almost no political party ever gets an outright majority. Electoral systems handle it differently, but around 40% is often enough to ‘win’ big – look at most Western elections in the last few decades, even for a very popular party 40-45% is usually the ceiling (elections with two rounds work differently, but the real vote is the first round).

    Radical parties (of both left and right) also peak at 40%. During a crisis situation that is usually enough to claim power. I also wonder how bad do you have to be to lose to Nazis or Bolsheviks in an election? That question is seldom asked because it uncovers elites’ massive failures. We seem to be repeating the cycle.

    Read More
    • Agree: Anatoly Karlin
    • Replies: @German_reader

    I also wonder how bad do you have to be to lose to Nazis or Bolsheviks in an election? That question is seldom asked because it uncovers elites’ massive failures.
     
    Very true, and that's one of the reasons why the atrocity porn common to views of the first half of the 20th century is somewhat pointless imo...sure, the Bolsheviks and Nazis were wicked and killed a lot of people, but the reason they got into power was the comprehensive failure of the old order. But instead of serious analyses of where things went wrong, it's all too often just shallow moralizing or trying to score ideological points (like blaming "collectivism"...as if some kind of that wasn't inherent in modern mass society).
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  45. Sean says:

    http://nationalpost.com/news/canada/na0712-trotsky

    Miliukov sent the British an official request for revolutionary Leon Trotsky to be released from Amherst Internment Camp in Nova Scotia, after the British had boarded a steamer in Halifax harbour to arrest Trotsky and other “dangerous socialists” who were en route to Russia from New York. Upon receiving Milykov’s request the British freed Trotsky, who then continued his journey to Russia and became a key planner and leader of the Bolshevik Revolution that overthrew the provisional government.[33]

    Germany’s Milyukov was the judge who refused to order Hitler deported back to Austria after serving his sentence.

    Trotsky was more dangerous than Milyukov realised, or maybe could realise. In 1934, Milyukov was a witness against the idea that Jews were behind the Bolshevik revolution at the Berne Trial.

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    • Replies: @for-the-record
    Germany’s Milyukov was the judge who refused to order Hitler deported back to Austria after serving his sentence.

    Doesn't seem very likely since Pavel Nikolayevich Miliukov (or Milyukov) was a Russian politician and historian.
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  46. utu says:
    @reiner Tor

    I am not sure what metrics you are using to establish “relatively good.”
     
    They weren’t murdered without reason (they had to do something against the Nazis for that), and for the nonpolitical majority this meant that they were left alone until their sons were drafted and killed in a senseless war and their homes were destroyed by enemy bombers. The regime gave them more food than any other people under its rule. Russians had less food and worse living standards than anyone in the satellite states and even within the country Georgians and later also Balts had better living standards. (Though their national cultures were seriously damaged and their elite destroyed - but the same thing happened to any other nationality, Russians inclusive.)

    Commies presented the façade that a person was disqualified based on the individual’s behavior rather than race or ethnicity and that appealed to the blank slate (and still does) beliefs.
     
    Yes, that’s a good point.

    Commies presented the façade that a person was disqualified based on the individual’s behavior rather than race or ethnicity and that appealed to the blank slate (and still does) beliefs.

    It was just a facade. They went after ethnic groups like for example here:

    Polish Operation of the NKVD

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

    The Polish Operation of the Soviet NKVD security service in 1937–1938 was a mass operation of the NKVD carried out against purported Polish agents in the Soviet Union during the period of the Great Purge. It was ordered by the Politburo against the so-called “Polish spies” and customarily interpreted by the NKVD officials as relating to “absolutely all Poles”. It resulted in the sentencing of 139,835 people, and summary executions of 111,091 ethnic Poles,[3][4] as well as those accused of working for Poland.[5] The operation was implemented according to NKVD Order № 00485 signed by Nikolai Yezhov.[6] The majority of the victims were ethnically Polish but not all, according to Timothy Snyder.[7] The remainder were ‘suspected’ of being Polish, without further inquiry.[6] In order to speed up the process the NKVD personnel reviewed local telephone books and arrested persons with Polish-sounding names.

    111,091 ethnic Poles who happened to be Polish agents. Poland must have had the largest foreign spy agency in the world.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    However, as Snyder (who seems to be the source of the passage) wrote, it was a bit more than a facade, in that the NKVD officers were at first quite confused and they had to be assured that it wasn’t really a case of ethnic mass murder. (Which of course it was.) As time went on, they didn’t care much later, especially since almost the whole upper echelon was purged in the following years. But it definitely was a sincere (if false) belief of the commies that they only went after bad people.

    I’m not sure it makes them better people, though. Nazis talked a great deal about how unfortunate it was that they had to murder so many women and children (when they themselves had children and wives at home), but that they had to make that sacrifice out of historical necessity. They also had their “scientific” ideology explaining why they had to engage in mass murder, all for the greater good.
    , @iffen
    How many women, children and babies did they shoot?
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  47. @iffen
    The Germans are I think more harshly judged because they had it relatively good under the Nazis and would have had it much better, had the Nazis won.

    I am not sure what metrics you are using to establish “relatively good.” Certainly the individuals that didn’t get with the program didn’t have it all that good.

    I think that it has to do with the ideology. Commies presented the façade that a person was disqualified based on the individual’s behavior rather than race or ethnicity and that appealed to the blank slate (and still does) beliefs.

    Certainly the individuals that didn’t get with the program didn’t have it all that good.

    If you didn’t step out of line or belonged to a group specifically targeted for persecution (Jews, male homosexuals, communist activists or some religious minorities like Jehova’s witnesses), chances were you wouldn’t be subject to persecution in Nazi Germany as an average German. Internal repression was vastly greater and much more random in the Soviet Union; it also affected even hundreds of thousands of members of the Communist party during the purges…there is nothing analogous in the Nazi party (the killings of the SA leadership were small-scale by comparison).
    Of course the Nazi regime was still quite repressive even at home (there really were cases during the war of Germans being sentenced to prison or even executed for telling jokes about Hitler, defeatism etc.), and it also started a war which had substantially negative consequences for many Germans.

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    • Replies: @Sean
    Even late in the war, talking "defeatism" got you the death penalty, high officials were executed for saying privately that the war was lost.

    Jehovah's Witnesses were not targeted by the Nazis, all they had to do is conform to some silly rigmarole and they could walk out of the concentration camp.

    BTW, Solzhenitsyn wrote about Jehovah's Witness women in the Gulag thatwent nearly naked in sub zero conditions because they refused to wear clothes with numbers on them.

    , @utu

    If you didn’t step out of line or belonged to a group specifically targeted for persecution
     
    No question about it that life in Germany by any standard was pretty normal while in the SU at times majority of people lived in a state of terror. Incarceration rate was higher in SU than the 21 century incarceration rate in the US while in Germany in 1939 it was four times lower than in the US now. However for Jews it was the opposite. There was nothing worse for Jews than living in Germany while in the SU no other ethnic group had it that good as Jews. Actually Jews were the Nazis of the SU. Those among them who had psychopathological proclivity to enjoy being sadistic perpetrators could develop their careers along the lines of these talents and unlike the real Nazis in Germany they could get away with their crimes and enjoy retirement and see their children and grandchildren going to Israel or America to make careers and good lives there w/o anybody asking a question what their grandpa or grandma did for living.
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  48. @Beckow
    The problem with the 'never got a majority in elections' argument is that almost no political party ever gets an outright majority. Electoral systems handle it differently, but around 40% is often enough to 'win' big - look at most Western elections in the last few decades, even for a very popular party 40-45% is usually the ceiling (elections with two rounds work differently, but the real vote is the first round).

    Radical parties (of both left and right) also peak at 40%. During a crisis situation that is usually enough to claim power. I also wonder how bad do you have to be to lose to Nazis or Bolsheviks in an election? That question is seldom asked because it uncovers elites' massive failures. We seem to be repeating the cycle.

    I also wonder how bad do you have to be to lose to Nazis or Bolsheviks in an election? That question is seldom asked because it uncovers elites’ massive failures.

    Very true, and that’s one of the reasons why the atrocity porn common to views of the first half of the 20th century is somewhat pointless imo…sure, the Bolsheviks and Nazis were wicked and killed a lot of people, but the reason they got into power was the comprehensive failure of the old order. But instead of serious analyses of where things went wrong, it’s all too often just shallow moralizing or trying to score ideological points (like blaming “collectivism”…as if some kind of that wasn’t inherent in modern mass society).

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    • Replies: @Art Deco
    but the reason they got into power was the comprehensive failure of the old order.

    Rubbish. The reason they got into power was a perfect storm, crisis points of which operators like Trotsky and Hitler can take advantage with a little bit o' luck. If you're fortunate, your conventional officialdom weathers the crisis. If you're less fortunate, you've got an authoritarian state run by patriots with circumscribed ambition (Pinochet, Franco, Salazar, Dollfus and Schuschnigg, Adm. Horthy). "Comprehensive failure" would be a social breakdown of the sort seen in Lebanon in 1985, and one ineluctible due to abiding features of that old order. There wasn't anything like that in Europe in 1914. The sick man was Ottoman Turkey (which suffered a demographic disaster during the war that doesn't have a counterpart in Europe bar perhaps Serbia).
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  49. AP says:
    @reiner Tor

    Nazis got 44% of the vote in March 1933
     
    That was not a free election by any stretch of the word. The fact that despite all the violence and threats (Germany was already practically a dictatorship at this point) almost half of the electorate voted against the Nazis (anyone not voting for them or for the DNVP at this point) shows that the Nazis were probably actually getting less popular. Don’t forget that the moment voters lose trust in the good faith of the government organizing the election, secrecy of the ballots becomes meaningless. If they put armed thugs in front of the voting booth, then sure some of them will be watching how you vote. If some people are openly voting for the Nazis in front of the committee, then going to the booth already takes some courage. The election in early 1933 was only partly free.

    The issue with comparing the Nazis and the Bolsheviks is that the former concealed their plans better. If you told Nazi or Bolshevik voters what their respective parties would do, the vast majority of them would have changed their votes immediately. However, for the Nazis, it took way longer before they could get to implement mass murder. Bolsheviks were talking about how ten percent of the population was not needed, while Nazi leaders still in 1941 said that murdering all members of a people was deeply un-Germanic and a “Jewish-Bolshevik” method. The Bolsheviks were already murdering tens and hundreds of thousands within months of that vote, the Nazis merely murdered thousands and kinda returned to normalcy quickly. Most people understood (and the Nazis didn’t do anything for a long time after grabbing power to disabuse them of the notion) that it would at worst be a somewhat brutal nationalistic dictatorship with some excesses here and there, but few people thought it would start a world war (or any war) or genocide. The Bolsheviks’ immediate program was already quite a bit crazier.

    Also, if we are willing to acquit Latvians voting for the Bolsheviks (“hey, they promised them good things!”), then I fail to see how Germans could not be acquitted on the same ground. Most people here understand that having a nationalist government is usually better for a country than having an ineffectual social democratic one. We also understand that liberal democracy usually degenerates into something much worse and in retrospect we know that it led to race replacement and hate speech laws. (Though would it have done so in the absence of the Nazi experiment? Hard to know.) Yes, in retrospect we also know that Hitler’s brand of nationalism was too much of a good thing. (Way too much.) But it’s hard not to notice that Bolshevism is insanity pure and simple. It could not even be started without mass murder on the scale of hundreds of thousands.

    The issue with comparing the Nazis and the Bolsheviks is that the former concealed their plans better. If you told Nazi or Bolshevik voters what their respective parties would do, the vast majority of them would have changed their votes immediately. However, for the Nazis, it took way longer before they could get to implement mass murder.

    Nazis were behaving like thugs throughout the 1920s and early 1930s. Sure, people would not have assumed that the Nazis would commit genocide, but they were a party that lynched people, looted stores, and openly wanted to change the eastern borders. The German people may not have voted for the Holocaust and the World War, but they voted for the invasion of Poland, Sudatenland, Krystallnacht, etc.

    The Russians did not vote for any Bolshevik atrocities. Unlike Nazis in Germany who easily won two fair elections and one partially fair election, Bolsheviks in Russia didn’t win any elections.

    Also, if we are willing to acquit Latvians voting for the Bolsheviks (“hey, they promised them good things!”), then I fail to see how Germans could not be acquitted on the same ground.

    The good things Latvians (AFAIK – regional independence) wanted were better than the “good” things Nazis wanted (war against eastern neighbors, persecution of Jews).

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    • Replies: @Jaakko Raipala
    Not to mention an end to the war. Another huge difference between what Bolsheviks were offering in 1917 and 1940 - in 1917 they were the "immediate peace" party. The war was deeply unpopular in the Western provinces and it's strange to claim that Latvians got what they wanted in the 1940s when one of the key things they wanted was to not be in the middle of a German-Russian war.

    A simple truth is that if you want people to enthusiastically embrace a war, you need to either promise them rewards or the war needs to be a defense of the homeland. Russia had spent the decades preceding the war imposing a russification scheme on the locals so there was no way anyone was going to feel that fighting for Russia would have been defending the homeland. It was less of a question of complete independence and more of a question of ethnic and cultural autonomy. Of course independence is one way to get there.

    The Provisional Government canceled the russification programs which did temporarily cut separatism but didn't exactly create loyalty. Milyukov and Kerensky both had the idea that minorities should contribute more to the war after receiving these concessions but they weren't exactly greeted with long lines of volunteers. The Bolsheviks meanwhile were still offering self-determination with no expectation of contributing men to the World War.
    , @reiner Tor

    they were a party that lynched people, looted stores, and openly wanted to change the eastern borders.
     
    As opposed to the Bolsheviks, who never even could bring themselves to kill a mosquito, let alone a human being, until 1917. Okay, except for those thousands killed in 1905, but that was over a decade earlier, who could remember that? The Bolsheviks also participated in a number of political murders, and occasionally financed their party through robberies and similar activities, but that doesn’t count, because... why, exactly? The Bolsheviks already used or tried to use political violence in July and October (November) and were holding executive power illegally. Voting for them meant rubber stamping their illegal power grab.

    Unlike Nazis in Germany who easily won two fair elections and one partially fair election, Bolsheviks in Russia didn’t win any elections.
     
    It’s not like there were all that many elections.

    The good things Latvians (AFAIK – regional independence) wanted were better than the “good” things Nazis wanted (war against eastern neighbors, persecution of Jews).
     
    All countries at the time were willing to use force to extend their borders. Like the Czechs in 1918-19 against Hungary (including ethnically Hungarian areas), in 1920 against Poland, and of course the Sudeten Germans only stayed within Czechoslovakia because the government used military force, which included shooting unarmed protesters. Poland used force roughly the same time to expand both eastwards and westwards, against Germany and Soviet Russia (though they finally cut a deal with the latter to cut out both White Russians and Ukrainian nationalists), this included military occupation of an ethnically German city, Danzig. This makes Germans, who perhaps also wanted to use force to reverse these border changes (reached by the use of force themselves, and not always ethnically just), worse than other peoples in the region... how, exactly? By the way I don’t find it convincing that Latvians have the right to separatism but Sudeten Germans don’t. Either both or neither, methinks.

    The only thing where it could be argued that the Germans were worse than others (though of course on such a well known alt-right site like Karlin’s page it’s a bit strange to debate that) is the persecution of Jews. It’s well known that Hitler played it down in the early 1930s to get electoral credibility (the voters weren’t all that enthusiastic about Jew-baiting), and that the SS leadership and the Gestapo were complaining by spring 1934 that even committed National Socialists thought the Jewish Question had been solved by the April 1933 laws which led to the sacking of Jews from the civil service and the military. The Kristallnacht quite a bit shocked most Germans, including most fellow travelers and at least many party members, maybe even the majority of them. (They had the most incentives to hide their misgivings, so it’s difficult to know.)

    So I don’t think it’s tenable to say that they voted for the Kristallnacht pogrom.

    Again: I’m quite understanding of Latvians voting for Bolsheviks. Possibly I’d have done the same in the same situation. But I think there’s a lot of retrospect knowledge in how you assess the Germans’ choices. You also seem to occasionally judge them based on 21st century sensibilities, like wanting to change by force borders which had been changed just a bit more than a decade earlier... by force.
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  50. @utu

    Commies presented the façade that a person was disqualified based on the individual’s behavior rather than race or ethnicity and that appealed to the blank slate (and still does) beliefs.
     
    It was just a facade. They went after ethnic groups like for example here:

    Polish Operation of the NKVD
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polish_Operation_of_the_NKVD
    The Polish Operation of the Soviet NKVD security service in 1937–1938 was a mass operation of the NKVD carried out against purported Polish agents in the Soviet Union during the period of the Great Purge. It was ordered by the Politburo against the so-called "Polish spies" and customarily interpreted by the NKVD officials as relating to "absolutely all Poles". It resulted in the sentencing of 139,835 people, and summary executions of 111,091 ethnic Poles,[3][4] as well as those accused of working for Poland.[5] The operation was implemented according to NKVD Order № 00485 signed by Nikolai Yezhov.[6] The majority of the victims were ethnically Polish but not all, according to Timothy Snyder.[7] The remainder were 'suspected' of being Polish, without further inquiry.[6] In order to speed up the process the NKVD personnel reviewed local telephone books and arrested persons with Polish-sounding names.
     
    111,091 ethnic Poles who happened to be Polish agents. Poland must have had the largest foreign spy agency in the world.

    However, as Snyder (who seems to be the source of the passage) wrote, it was a bit more than a facade, in that the NKVD officers were at first quite confused and they had to be assured that it wasn’t really a case of ethnic mass murder. (Which of course it was.) As time went on, they didn’t care much later, especially since almost the whole upper echelon was purged in the following years. But it definitely was a sincere (if false) belief of the commies that they only went after bad people.

    I’m not sure it makes them better people, though. Nazis talked a great deal about how unfortunate it was that they had to murder so many women and children (when they themselves had children and wives at home), but that they had to make that sacrifice out of historical necessity. They also had their “scientific” ideology explaining why they had to engage in mass murder, all for the greater good.

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    • Replies: @Sean
    The RAF could have not believed they were going after the guilty individuals and they did not need any scientific reason.
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  51. Sean says:
    @German_reader

    Certainly the individuals that didn’t get with the program didn’t have it all that good.
     
    If you didn't step out of line or belonged to a group specifically targeted for persecution (Jews, male homosexuals, communist activists or some religious minorities like Jehova's witnesses), chances were you wouldn't be subject to persecution in Nazi Germany as an average German. Internal repression was vastly greater and much more random in the Soviet Union; it also affected even hundreds of thousands of members of the Communist party during the purges...there is nothing analogous in the Nazi party (the killings of the SA leadership were small-scale by comparison).
    Of course the Nazi regime was still quite repressive even at home (there really were cases during the war of Germans being sentenced to prison or even executed for telling jokes about Hitler, defeatism etc.), and it also started a war which had substantially negative consequences for many Germans.

    Even late in the war, talking “defeatism” got you the death penalty, high officials were executed for saying privately that the war was lost.

    Jehovah’s Witnesses were not targeted by the Nazis, all they had to do is conform to some silly rigmarole and they could walk out of the concentration camp.

    BTW, Solzhenitsyn wrote about Jehovah’s Witness women in the Gulag thatwent nearly naked in sub zero conditions because they refused to wear clothes with numbers on them.

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    • Replies: @German_reader

    Even late in the war
     
    Especially late in the war, the system got more repressive with the worsening of the military situation for Germany.

    Jehovah’s Witnesses were not targeted by the Nazis, all they had to do is conform to some silly rigmarole and they could walk out of the concentration camp.
     
    Sure, but if you really believe in that stuff, that's quite an extreme sacrifice, imperiling your soul.
    , @Art Deco
    Jehovah’s Witnesses were not targeted by the Nazis, all they had to do is conform to some silly rigmarole and they could walk out of the concentration camp.

    Oh, yes they were. It's a pacifist outfit and they refused military service.
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  52. iffen says:

    Another item that clouds and devalues this picture is that we are comparing Nazis, who had power for a little over ten years, to commies who held power for decades. The Bolsheviks of the 20′s were not the same in the 30′s, much less the Stalinists in the 40′s.

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    • Agree: polskijoe
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  53. Sean says:
    @reiner Tor
    However, as Snyder (who seems to be the source of the passage) wrote, it was a bit more than a facade, in that the NKVD officers were at first quite confused and they had to be assured that it wasn’t really a case of ethnic mass murder. (Which of course it was.) As time went on, they didn’t care much later, especially since almost the whole upper echelon was purged in the following years. But it definitely was a sincere (if false) belief of the commies that they only went after bad people.

    I’m not sure it makes them better people, though. Nazis talked a great deal about how unfortunate it was that they had to murder so many women and children (when they themselves had children and wives at home), but that they had to make that sacrifice out of historical necessity. They also had their “scientific” ideology explaining why they had to engage in mass murder, all for the greater good.

    The RAF could have not believed they were going after the guilty individuals and they did not need any scientific reason.

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  54. iffen says:
    @utu

    Commies presented the façade that a person was disqualified based on the individual’s behavior rather than race or ethnicity and that appealed to the blank slate (and still does) beliefs.
     
    It was just a facade. They went after ethnic groups like for example here:

    Polish Operation of the NKVD
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polish_Operation_of_the_NKVD
    The Polish Operation of the Soviet NKVD security service in 1937–1938 was a mass operation of the NKVD carried out against purported Polish agents in the Soviet Union during the period of the Great Purge. It was ordered by the Politburo against the so-called "Polish spies" and customarily interpreted by the NKVD officials as relating to "absolutely all Poles". It resulted in the sentencing of 139,835 people, and summary executions of 111,091 ethnic Poles,[3][4] as well as those accused of working for Poland.[5] The operation was implemented according to NKVD Order № 00485 signed by Nikolai Yezhov.[6] The majority of the victims were ethnically Polish but not all, according to Timothy Snyder.[7] The remainder were 'suspected' of being Polish, without further inquiry.[6] In order to speed up the process the NKVD personnel reviewed local telephone books and arrested persons with Polish-sounding names.
     
    111,091 ethnic Poles who happened to be Polish agents. Poland must have had the largest foreign spy agency in the world.

    How many women, children and babies did they shoot?

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    • Replies: @utu

    How many women, children and babies did they shoot?
     
    Many women were shot. SU did not discriminate against women.

    Children of "enemies of the people", 1937–1945
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orphans_in_the_Soviet_Union
    If judged to be “socially dangerous,” the NKVD sent orphans to either a colony for young delinquents or a Gulag labor camp.[39] The tendency was to place all difficult orphans in colonies, which sought to re-educate children using a labor regime.[40] Children over fifteen were liable for at least five years in camp for being a “family member of a traitor to the motherland”.
     
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  55. @Sean
    Even late in the war, talking "defeatism" got you the death penalty, high officials were executed for saying privately that the war was lost.

    Jehovah's Witnesses were not targeted by the Nazis, all they had to do is conform to some silly rigmarole and they could walk out of the concentration camp.

    BTW, Solzhenitsyn wrote about Jehovah's Witness women in the Gulag thatwent nearly naked in sub zero conditions because they refused to wear clothes with numbers on them.

    Even late in the war

    Especially late in the war, the system got more repressive with the worsening of the military situation for Germany.

    Jehovah’s Witnesses were not targeted by the Nazis, all they had to do is conform to some silly rigmarole and they could walk out of the concentration camp.

    Sure, but if you really believe in that stuff, that’s quite an extreme sacrifice, imperiling your soul.

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    • Agree: Sean
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  56. Anon • Disclaimer says:
    @reiner Tor

    I am not sure what metrics you are using to establish “relatively good.”
     
    They weren’t murdered without reason (they had to do something against the Nazis for that), and for the nonpolitical majority this meant that they were left alone until their sons were drafted and killed in a senseless war and their homes were destroyed by enemy bombers. The regime gave them more food than any other people under its rule. Russians had less food and worse living standards than anyone in the satellite states and even within the country Georgians and later also Balts had better living standards. (Though their national cultures were seriously damaged and their elite destroyed - but the same thing happened to any other nationality, Russians inclusive.)

    Commies presented the façade that a person was disqualified based on the individual’s behavior rather than race or ethnicity and that appealed to the blank slate (and still does) beliefs.
     
    Yes, that’s a good point.

    No, reiner Tor – the Balts had better living standards before the Russians arrived in 1940 (and the Georgians had much worse living standards than the Balts or Moscow Russians – everyone ex-SSR knows this, maybe you don’t). They also had independent republics. And practically zero overlord Russian population. Also, don’t forget that the Balts were essentially illegaly enlisted in the war in Afghanistan, and in general the military service in the Soviet army was forced on them. They shouldn’t have had to do that by international law. Did Hungarian youths have to do service in the Russian military and fight in Afghanistan?

    There was something called the Novocherkassky massacre, where Russians actually tried to rebel against Sovietism. That was suppressed brutally by other Russians (maybe one Caucasion too). But other than that — for 50 years they didn’t mind, and even during the putsch in 1991 wanted to bring back Communism. Many, many Russians / Ukrainians / Armenians still believe that the Soviet Union was good.

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    • Replies: @Jaakko Raipala
    There were many Russian uprisings against the Bolsheviks. My great-grandfather had a bunch of Russian sailors as farmhands and laborers, refugees from this one...

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

    One of them found a Finnish wife and remained, the rest believed the pardon and went back. I doubt that was a smart thing to do.

    Expecting a violent uprising against the late Soviet Union is silly. All the original Bolsheviks were dead and there was no mass murder by the regime in the 1980s. The Soviet collapse that actually happened was much preferable to another massively violent revolution and Civil War.
    , @reiner Tor

    the Balts had better living standards before the Russians arrived in 1940
     
    The Balts had the highest living standards, according to an acquaintance who was a Soviet citizen. It’s quite believable, given how the Baltic republics were the most developed. Yes, Moscow had still higher living standards, the highest in the USSR. But it was just a small part of Russia.

    Georgians had much worse living standards
     
    I thought there were Georgian jokes about how rich they were. Maybe I’m mistaken. I know that under Stalin they were privileged.
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  57. utu says:
    @iffen
    How many women, children and babies did they shoot?

    How many women, children and babies did they shoot?

    Many women were shot. SU did not discriminate against women.

    Children of “enemies of the people”, 1937–1945

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

    If judged to be “socially dangerous,” the NKVD sent orphans to either a colony for young delinquents or a Gulag labor camp.[39] The tendency was to place all difficult orphans in colonies, which sought to re-educate children using a labor regime.[40] Children over fifteen were liable for at least five years in camp for being a “family member of a traitor to the motherland”.

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  58. @Sean
    http://nationalpost.com/news/canada/na0712-trotsky

    Miliukov sent the British an official request for revolutionary Leon Trotsky to be released from Amherst Internment Camp in Nova Scotia, after the British had boarded a steamer in Halifax harbour to arrest Trotsky and other "dangerous socialists" who were en route to Russia from New York. Upon receiving Milykov's request the British freed Trotsky, who then continued his journey to Russia and became a key planner and leader of the Bolshevik Revolution that overthrew the provisional government.[33]
     
    Germany's Milyukov was the judge who refused to order Hitler deported back to Austria after serving his sentence.


    Trotsky was more dangerous than Milyukov realised, or maybe could realise. In 1934, Milyukov was a witness against the idea that Jews were behind the Bolshevik revolution at the Berne Trial.

    Germany’s Milyukov was the judge who refused to order Hitler deported back to Austria after serving his sentence.

    Doesn’t seem very likely since Pavel Nikolayevich Miliukov (or Milyukov) was a Russian politician and historian.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    I also misunderstood at first. He meant that the judge was just as stupid with regard to Germany as Milyukov was regarding Russia. The German judge did as much harm to Germany as the Russian Milyukov to Russia. That’s what he meant.
    , @Sean
    Milyukov ended up having to flee the country, and "During a performance in the Berliner Philharmonie on 28 March 1922, his friend Vladimir Dmitrievich Nabokov, the father of the novelist Vladimir Nabokov, was killed while shielding Milyukov from his attackers"

    Judge Neithardt refused to deport or rather repatriate the Austrian, and Neithardt was later well rewarded by Hitler. It just goes to show that to let Dreamers stay is always on the right side of history.

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  59. @for-the-record
    Germany’s Milyukov was the judge who refused to order Hitler deported back to Austria after serving his sentence.

    Doesn't seem very likely since Pavel Nikolayevich Miliukov (or Milyukov) was a Russian politician and historian.

    I also misunderstood at first. He meant that the judge was just as stupid with regard to Germany as Milyukov was regarding Russia. The German judge did as much harm to Germany as the Russian Milyukov to Russia. That’s what he meant.

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    • Replies: @Sean
    Yes, Hitler was a Dreamer.
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  60. Dmitry says:
    @AP

    Sure, you are right that it is a good result – but with voter turnout (let’s set it a little over 80%) – it is still only around 1/3 of the German electorate casting ballot for them.
     
    Sure, but that's how multiparty parliamentary politics work. In the last election Merkel got 33% of the vote with 76% turnout. In the previous election she got 41.5% of the vote but with only 72% turnout.

    So Hitler was more successful than Merkel has been.

    Hitler personally got substantially less running for president in 1932 (only 11.3 million votes in the first round).

     

    Hitler got more popular in 1933 than he was in 1932. Nazis got 44% of the vote in March 1933 compared to 37% in July 1932 (around the time of the presidential election).

    As mentioned above, in the free presidential election of 1932 Hitler was ‘destroyed’ by Hindenburg (17 point behind). Afterwards we see in parliamentary elections 37% (in July 1932 – a very good result) and 33% (in November 1932). They broke above 40% only in 1933 during the power seizure process, in a semi non-free election that was partly controlled by the party.

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  61. @AP

    The issue with comparing the Nazis and the Bolsheviks is that the former concealed their plans better. If you told Nazi or Bolshevik voters what their respective parties would do, the vast majority of them would have changed their votes immediately. However, for the Nazis, it took way longer before they could get to implement mass murder.
     
    Nazis were behaving like thugs throughout the 1920s and early 1930s. Sure, people would not have assumed that the Nazis would commit genocide, but they were a party that lynched people, looted stores, and openly wanted to change the eastern borders. The German people may not have voted for the Holocaust and the World War, but they voted for the invasion of Poland, Sudatenland, Krystallnacht, etc.

    The Russians did not vote for any Bolshevik atrocities. Unlike Nazis in Germany who easily won two fair elections and one partially fair election, Bolsheviks in Russia didn't win any elections.


    Also, if we are willing to acquit Latvians voting for the Bolsheviks (“hey, they promised them good things!”), then I fail to see how Germans could not be acquitted on the same ground.
     
    The good things Latvians (AFAIK - regional independence) wanted were better than the "good" things Nazis wanted (war against eastern neighbors, persecution of Jews).

    Not to mention an end to the war. Another huge difference between what Bolsheviks were offering in 1917 and 1940 – in 1917 they were the “immediate peace” party. The war was deeply unpopular in the Western provinces and it’s strange to claim that Latvians got what they wanted in the 1940s when one of the key things they wanted was to not be in the middle of a German-Russian war.

    A simple truth is that if you want people to enthusiastically embrace a war, you need to either promise them rewards or the war needs to be a defense of the homeland. Russia had spent the decades preceding the war imposing a russification scheme on the locals so there was no way anyone was going to feel that fighting for Russia would have been defending the homeland. It was less of a question of complete independence and more of a question of ethnic and cultural autonomy. Of course independence is one way to get there.

    The Provisional Government canceled the russification programs which did temporarily cut separatism but didn’t exactly create loyalty. Milyukov and Kerensky both had the idea that minorities should contribute more to the war after receiving these concessions but they weren’t exactly greeted with long lines of volunteers. The Bolsheviks meanwhile were still offering self-determination with no expectation of contributing men to the World War.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    I agree that the Latvians shouldn’t be judged harshly. Even if they were responsible, they paid dearly for that. I certainly don’t envy them, they had it worse than Hungarians, and we had it bad.
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  62. Art Deco says:
    @German_reader

    I also wonder how bad do you have to be to lose to Nazis or Bolsheviks in an election? That question is seldom asked because it uncovers elites’ massive failures.
     
    Very true, and that's one of the reasons why the atrocity porn common to views of the first half of the 20th century is somewhat pointless imo...sure, the Bolsheviks and Nazis were wicked and killed a lot of people, but the reason they got into power was the comprehensive failure of the old order. But instead of serious analyses of where things went wrong, it's all too often just shallow moralizing or trying to score ideological points (like blaming "collectivism"...as if some kind of that wasn't inherent in modern mass society).

    but the reason they got into power was the comprehensive failure of the old order.

    Rubbish. The reason they got into power was a perfect storm, crisis points of which operators like Trotsky and Hitler can take advantage with a little bit o’ luck. If you’re fortunate, your conventional officialdom weathers the crisis. If you’re less fortunate, you’ve got an authoritarian state run by patriots with circumscribed ambition (Pinochet, Franco, Salazar, Dollfus and Schuschnigg, Adm. Horthy). “Comprehensive failure” would be a social breakdown of the sort seen in Lebanon in 1985, and one ineluctible due to abiding features of that old order. There wasn’t anything like that in Europe in 1914. The sick man was Ottoman Turkey (which suffered a demographic disaster during the war that doesn’t have a counterpart in Europe bar perhaps Serbia).

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    • Agree: AP
    • Replies: @German_reader

    There wasn’t anything like that in Europe in 1914.
     
    If stumbling into a catastrophic war like that of 1914-1918 isn't a comprehensive failure of elites, I don't know what is.
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  63. Art Deco says:
    @Sean
    Even late in the war, talking "defeatism" got you the death penalty, high officials were executed for saying privately that the war was lost.

    Jehovah's Witnesses were not targeted by the Nazis, all they had to do is conform to some silly rigmarole and they could walk out of the concentration camp.

    BTW, Solzhenitsyn wrote about Jehovah's Witness women in the Gulag thatwent nearly naked in sub zero conditions because they refused to wear clothes with numbers on them.

    Jehovah’s Witnesses were not targeted by the Nazis, all they had to do is conform to some silly rigmarole and they could walk out of the concentration camp.

    Oh, yes they were. It’s a pacifist outfit and they refused military service.

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    • Replies: @Sean

    https://www.ushmm.org/learn/students/learning-materials-and-resources/jehovahs-witnesses-victims-of-the-nazi-era/declaration-renouncing-beliefs

    Jehovah's Witnesses, incarcerated in prisons and concentration camps, were given the opportunity to be freed if they signed this statement renouncing their beliefs
     
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  64. Tulip says:

    Funny how with popular sovereignty, the votes of the people armed with guns always count more than the votes of the huddled masses.

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  65. @Anon
    No, reiner Tor - the Balts had better living standards before the Russians arrived in 1940 (and the Georgians had much worse living standards than the Balts or Moscow Russians - everyone ex-SSR knows this, maybe you don't). They also had independent republics. And practically zero overlord Russian population. Also, don't forget that the Balts were essentially illegaly enlisted in the war in Afghanistan, and in general the military service in the Soviet army was forced on them. They shouldn't have had to do that by international law. Did Hungarian youths have to do service in the Russian military and fight in Afghanistan?

    There was something called the Novocherkassky massacre, where Russians actually tried to rebel against Sovietism. That was suppressed brutally by other Russians (maybe one Caucasion too). But other than that -- for 50 years they didn't mind, and even during the putsch in 1991 wanted to bring back Communism. Many, many Russians / Ukrainians / Armenians still believe that the Soviet Union was good.

    There were many Russian uprisings against the Bolsheviks. My great-grandfather had a bunch of Russian sailors as farmhands and laborers, refugees from this one…

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

    One of them found a Finnish wife and remained, the rest believed the pardon and went back. I doubt that was a smart thing to do.

    Expecting a violent uprising against the late Soviet Union is silly. All the original Bolsheviks were dead and there was no mass murder by the regime in the 1980s. The Soviet collapse that actually happened was much preferable to another massively violent revolution and Civil War.

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    • Replies: @Anon
    My point was that despite these occasional uprisings (such as the Novocherkassy and a few Gulag uprisings - and those btw were done by many different peoples, not just Russians), and despite how badly many Russians themselves were treated by the Soviet power, in general, and over the decades the Soviet system was beneficial for majority of Russians. They were in charge, they had better jobs, better housing, their language was imposed on everyone, they had the Eastern European buffer at the expense of other peoples (just check the Cold War nuclear maps and you'll see that most targets are not in Russia proper but in Poland and the Baltics), and they were able to enlist non-Russians into their wars of imperial ambition as well as other imperial endeavors that brought them international status.
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  66. iffen says:

    Wasn’t Latvia a subject of the Russian Empire for a couple hundred years? Wouldn’t this have earned them the right to participate in the intramural warfare in the Empire?

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    • Replies: @Anon
    You mean to be used as the cannon fodder to defend the Russian empire against the German invasion in WWI? Yea, of course.
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  67. Anon • Disclaimer says:
    @Jaakko Raipala
    There were many Russian uprisings against the Bolsheviks. My great-grandfather had a bunch of Russian sailors as farmhands and laborers, refugees from this one...

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

    One of them found a Finnish wife and remained, the rest believed the pardon and went back. I doubt that was a smart thing to do.

    Expecting a violent uprising against the late Soviet Union is silly. All the original Bolsheviks were dead and there was no mass murder by the regime in the 1980s. The Soviet collapse that actually happened was much preferable to another massively violent revolution and Civil War.

    My point was that despite these occasional uprisings (such as the Novocherkassy and a few Gulag uprisings – and those btw were done by many different peoples, not just Russians), and despite how badly many Russians themselves were treated by the Soviet power, in general, and over the decades the Soviet system was beneficial for majority of Russians. They were in charge, they had better jobs, better housing, their language was imposed on everyone, they had the Eastern European buffer at the expense of other peoples (just check the Cold War nuclear maps and you’ll see that most targets are not in Russia proper but in Poland and the Baltics), and they were able to enlist non-Russians into their wars of imperial ambition as well as other imperial endeavors that brought them international status.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    over the decades the Soviet system was beneficial for majority of Russians
     
    After 1953 it’s at least possible. Still in 1991 hundreds of thousands of them spontaneously took to the streets to defeat the “coup”, while no one supported the USSR enthusiastically enough to organize counter-protests.
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  68. @AP

    The issue with comparing the Nazis and the Bolsheviks is that the former concealed their plans better. If you told Nazi or Bolshevik voters what their respective parties would do, the vast majority of them would have changed their votes immediately. However, for the Nazis, it took way longer before they could get to implement mass murder.
     
    Nazis were behaving like thugs throughout the 1920s and early 1930s. Sure, people would not have assumed that the Nazis would commit genocide, but they were a party that lynched people, looted stores, and openly wanted to change the eastern borders. The German people may not have voted for the Holocaust and the World War, but they voted for the invasion of Poland, Sudatenland, Krystallnacht, etc.

    The Russians did not vote for any Bolshevik atrocities. Unlike Nazis in Germany who easily won two fair elections and one partially fair election, Bolsheviks in Russia didn't win any elections.


    Also, if we are willing to acquit Latvians voting for the Bolsheviks (“hey, they promised them good things!”), then I fail to see how Germans could not be acquitted on the same ground.
     
    The good things Latvians (AFAIK - regional independence) wanted were better than the "good" things Nazis wanted (war against eastern neighbors, persecution of Jews).

    they were a party that lynched people, looted stores, and openly wanted to change the eastern borders.

    As opposed to the Bolsheviks, who never even could bring themselves to kill a mosquito, let alone a human being, until 1917. Okay, except for those thousands killed in 1905, but that was over a decade earlier, who could remember that? The Bolsheviks also participated in a number of political murders, and occasionally financed their party through robberies and similar activities, but that doesn’t count, because… why, exactly? The Bolsheviks already used or tried to use political violence in July and October (November) and were holding executive power illegally. Voting for them meant rubber stamping their illegal power grab.

    Unlike Nazis in Germany who easily won two fair elections and one partially fair election, Bolsheviks in Russia didn’t win any elections.

    It’s not like there were all that many elections.

    The good things Latvians (AFAIK – regional independence) wanted were better than the “good” things Nazis wanted (war against eastern neighbors, persecution of Jews).

    All countries at the time were willing to use force to extend their borders. Like the Czechs in 1918-19 against Hungary (including ethnically Hungarian areas), in 1920 against Poland, and of course the Sudeten Germans only stayed within Czechoslovakia because the government used military force, which included shooting unarmed protesters. Poland used force roughly the same time to expand both eastwards and westwards, against Germany and Soviet Russia (though they finally cut a deal with the latter to cut out both White Russians and Ukrainian nationalists), this included military occupation of an ethnically German city, Danzig. This makes Germans, who perhaps also wanted to use force to reverse these border changes (reached by the use of force themselves, and not always ethnically just), worse than other peoples in the region… how, exactly? By the way I don’t find it convincing that Latvians have the right to separatism but Sudeten Germans don’t. Either both or neither, methinks.

    The only thing where it could be argued that the Germans were worse than others (though of course on such a well known alt-right site like Karlin’s page it’s a bit strange to debate that) is the persecution of Jews. It’s well known that Hitler played it down in the early 1930s to get electoral credibility (the voters weren’t all that enthusiastic about Jew-baiting), and that the SS leadership and the Gestapo were complaining by spring 1934 that even committed National Socialists thought the Jewish Question had been solved by the April 1933 laws which led to the sacking of Jews from the civil service and the military. The Kristallnacht quite a bit shocked most Germans, including most fellow travelers and at least many party members, maybe even the majority of them. (They had the most incentives to hide their misgivings, so it’s difficult to know.)

    So I don’t think it’s tenable to say that they voted for the Kristallnacht pogrom.

    Again: I’m quite understanding of Latvians voting for Bolsheviks. Possibly I’d have done the same in the same situation. But I think there’s a lot of retrospect knowledge in how you assess the Germans’ choices. You also seem to occasionally judge them based on 21st century sensibilities, like wanting to change by force borders which had been changed just a bit more than a decade earlier… by force.

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    • Replies: @AP

    "they were a party that lynched people, looted stores, and openly wanted to change the eastern borders."

    As opposed to the Bolsheviks, who never even could bring themselves to kill a mosquito, let alone a human being, until 1917.
     
    For Latvians, Bolsheviks meant independence, and and end to a war not of their choosing, that was consuming tens of thousands of lives.

    For Germans, Nazis meant Jew-persecution, and invasion of eastern neighbors (one could be an anti-Communist in Germany and vote for other parties, looks like in Latvia in 1917 there weren't other options).

    For Russians it was a different story. And indeed, Russians didn't vote for Bolsheviks. But Germans voted for Nazis.

    Unlike Nazis in Germany who easily won two fair elections and one partially fair election, Bolsheviks in Russia didn’t win any elections.

    It’s not like there were all that many elections.

     

    Nazis winning two totally free elections easily means they were genuinely popular. Bolsheviks lost by a landslide - 25% to 40%.

    "The good things Latvians (AFAIK – regional independence) wanted were better than the “good” things Nazis wanted (war against eastern neighbors, persecution of Jews)."

    All countries at the time were willing to use force to extend their borders. Like the Czechs in 1918-19 against Hungary (including ethnically Hungarian areas), in 1920 against Poland
     
    1918-1920 were chaotic times due to empires falling apart and no definitive borders existing. By the 1930s there was supposed to be stability and no more wars. Nazis were focused on returning to violence and chaos.

    Poland used force roughly the same time to expand both eastwards and westwards, against Germany and Soviet Russia (though they finally cut a deal with the latter to cut out both White Russians and Ukrainian nationalists), this included military occupation of an ethnically German city, Danzig.
     
    See above. Empires fell apart, borders were rearranged. Czechs were wrong to grab some ethnic Polish territory, Poles wrong to grab some ethnic Ukrainian territory during such times.

    As for Germans - they had divided Poland and occupied large parts of it.

    By the way I don’t find it convincing that Latvians have the right to separatism but Sudeten Germans don’t. Either both or neither, methinks.
     
    There were differences.

    Latvia - only country for Latvians. Germans, on the other hand, already had their own country. As well as Austria.

    Latvians - indigenous to Latvia. Germans - invited by Bohemian kings to settle in Sudetenland (albeit in the 13th century), "guests" who then took the lands their ancestors had been allowed to settle in.

    It’s well known that Hitler played it down in the early 1930s to get electoral credibility (the voters weren’t all that enthusiastic about Jew-baiting),
     
    Der Sturmer, published since the 1920s, was openly and violently antisemitic. Otto Frank recalled "I can remember that as early as 1932, groups of Storm Troopers came marching by singing: "When Jewish blood splatters from the knife ."

    Nobody would have expected industrial-scale genocide, but I don't think the Germans had illusions about Nazis wanting to harm Jews.
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  69. @Jaakko Raipala
    Not to mention an end to the war. Another huge difference between what Bolsheviks were offering in 1917 and 1940 - in 1917 they were the "immediate peace" party. The war was deeply unpopular in the Western provinces and it's strange to claim that Latvians got what they wanted in the 1940s when one of the key things they wanted was to not be in the middle of a German-Russian war.

    A simple truth is that if you want people to enthusiastically embrace a war, you need to either promise them rewards or the war needs to be a defense of the homeland. Russia had spent the decades preceding the war imposing a russification scheme on the locals so there was no way anyone was going to feel that fighting for Russia would have been defending the homeland. It was less of a question of complete independence and more of a question of ethnic and cultural autonomy. Of course independence is one way to get there.

    The Provisional Government canceled the russification programs which did temporarily cut separatism but didn't exactly create loyalty. Milyukov and Kerensky both had the idea that minorities should contribute more to the war after receiving these concessions but they weren't exactly greeted with long lines of volunteers. The Bolsheviks meanwhile were still offering self-determination with no expectation of contributing men to the World War.

    I agree that the Latvians shouldn’t be judged harshly. Even if they were responsible, they paid dearly for that. I certainly don’t envy them, they had it worse than Hungarians, and we had it bad.

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  70. Anon • Disclaimer says:
    @iffen
    Wasn't Latvia a subject of the Russian Empire for a couple hundred years? Wouldn't this have earned them the right to participate in the intramural warfare in the Empire?

    You mean to be used as the cannon fodder to defend the Russian empire against the German invasion in WWI? Yea, of course.

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  71. @Anon
    My point was that despite these occasional uprisings (such as the Novocherkassy and a few Gulag uprisings - and those btw were done by many different peoples, not just Russians), and despite how badly many Russians themselves were treated by the Soviet power, in general, and over the decades the Soviet system was beneficial for majority of Russians. They were in charge, they had better jobs, better housing, their language was imposed on everyone, they had the Eastern European buffer at the expense of other peoples (just check the Cold War nuclear maps and you'll see that most targets are not in Russia proper but in Poland and the Baltics), and they were able to enlist non-Russians into their wars of imperial ambition as well as other imperial endeavors that brought them international status.

    over the decades the Soviet system was beneficial for majority of Russians

    After 1953 it’s at least possible. Still in 1991 hundreds of thousands of them spontaneously took to the streets to defeat the “coup”, while no one supported the USSR enthusiastically enough to organize counter-protests.

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    • Replies: @Anon
    True, they're a good people in general.
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  72. Sean says:
    @Art Deco
    Jehovah’s Witnesses were not targeted by the Nazis, all they had to do is conform to some silly rigmarole and they could walk out of the concentration camp.

    Oh, yes they were. It's a pacifist outfit and they refused military service.

    https://www.ushmm.org/learn/students/learning-materials-and-resources/jehovahs-witnesses-victims-of-the-nazi-era/declaration-renouncing-beliefs

    Jehovah’s Witnesses, incarcerated in prisons and concentration camps, were given the opportunity to be freed if they signed this statement renouncing their beliefs

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    • Replies: @Art Deco
    Jehovah’s Witnesses, incarcerated in prisons and concentration camps, were given the opportunity to be freed if they signed this statement renouncing their beliefs

    You fancy that's something other than being targeted?
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  73. @Art Deco
    but the reason they got into power was the comprehensive failure of the old order.

    Rubbish. The reason they got into power was a perfect storm, crisis points of which operators like Trotsky and Hitler can take advantage with a little bit o' luck. If you're fortunate, your conventional officialdom weathers the crisis. If you're less fortunate, you've got an authoritarian state run by patriots with circumscribed ambition (Pinochet, Franco, Salazar, Dollfus and Schuschnigg, Adm. Horthy). "Comprehensive failure" would be a social breakdown of the sort seen in Lebanon in 1985, and one ineluctible due to abiding features of that old order. There wasn't anything like that in Europe in 1914. The sick man was Ottoman Turkey (which suffered a demographic disaster during the war that doesn't have a counterpart in Europe bar perhaps Serbia).

    There wasn’t anything like that in Europe in 1914.

    If stumbling into a catastrophic war like that of 1914-1918 isn’t a comprehensive failure of elites, I don’t know what is.

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    • Replies: @Art Deco
    If stumbling into a catastrophic war like that of 1914-1918 isn’t a comprehensive failure of elites, I don’t know what is.

    Then you don't know what is. All decisions are made prospectively with imperfect information. The Allies stumbled into the same war.
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  74. @Anon
    No, reiner Tor - the Balts had better living standards before the Russians arrived in 1940 (and the Georgians had much worse living standards than the Balts or Moscow Russians - everyone ex-SSR knows this, maybe you don't). They also had independent republics. And practically zero overlord Russian population. Also, don't forget that the Balts were essentially illegaly enlisted in the war in Afghanistan, and in general the military service in the Soviet army was forced on them. They shouldn't have had to do that by international law. Did Hungarian youths have to do service in the Russian military and fight in Afghanistan?

    There was something called the Novocherkassky massacre, where Russians actually tried to rebel against Sovietism. That was suppressed brutally by other Russians (maybe one Caucasion too). But other than that -- for 50 years they didn't mind, and even during the putsch in 1991 wanted to bring back Communism. Many, many Russians / Ukrainians / Armenians still believe that the Soviet Union was good.

    the Balts had better living standards before the Russians arrived in 1940

    The Balts had the highest living standards, according to an acquaintance who was a Soviet citizen. It’s quite believable, given how the Baltic republics were the most developed. Yes, Moscow had still higher living standards, the highest in the USSR. But it was just a small part of Russia.

    Georgians had much worse living standards

    I thought there were Georgian jokes about how rich they were. Maybe I’m mistaken. I know that under Stalin they were privileged.

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    • Replies: @Anon
    I've only been to Georgia once and that was way after USSR and absolutely loved it (but I know folks who went there during the Soviet times, like my mother, it was done either for travel to the mountains or for some free-labor exchange program that the young people had to participate in at the time). I love Georgia dearly, but their HDI and living standards are unfortunately not that high (by Euro standards). On the good note - measuring the living standard just by material wealth is not the best and I'm not a big fan of streamlining everyone by the same standard (e.g. "poorest country in Europe" and other such meaningless statements).

    The Caucasus peoples enjoy other markers of living standards that are valuable - longevity and health due to mountain air and semi-paleo lifestyle, good environment (the Borjomi water), they also enjoy social cohesion that Northern Europeans lack. But, yea, the living standards in the Baltic states were already higher before the Soviet occupation (although WW1 was hell). And you're right that Moscow during the Soviet times should never be taken as some standard, I'd say it was a bit of an outlier given all the resources they had (which is understandable).
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  75. Anon • Disclaimer says:
    @reiner Tor

    over the decades the Soviet system was beneficial for majority of Russians
     
    After 1953 it’s at least possible. Still in 1991 hundreds of thousands of them spontaneously took to the streets to defeat the “coup”, while no one supported the USSR enthusiastically enough to organize counter-protests.

    True, they’re a good people in general.

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  76. Sean says:
    @reiner Tor
    I also misunderstood at first. He meant that the judge was just as stupid with regard to Germany as Milyukov was regarding Russia. The German judge did as much harm to Germany as the Russian Milyukov to Russia. That’s what he meant.

    Yes, Hitler was a Dreamer.

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  77. Anon • Disclaimer says:
    @reiner Tor

    the Balts had better living standards before the Russians arrived in 1940
     
    The Balts had the highest living standards, according to an acquaintance who was a Soviet citizen. It’s quite believable, given how the Baltic republics were the most developed. Yes, Moscow had still higher living standards, the highest in the USSR. But it was just a small part of Russia.

    Georgians had much worse living standards
     
    I thought there were Georgian jokes about how rich they were. Maybe I’m mistaken. I know that under Stalin they were privileged.

    I’ve only been to Georgia once and that was way after USSR and absolutely loved it (but I know folks who went there during the Soviet times, like my mother, it was done either for travel to the mountains or for some free-labor exchange program that the young people had to participate in at the time). I love Georgia dearly, but their HDI and living standards are unfortunately not that high (by Euro standards). On the good note – measuring the living standard just by material wealth is not the best and I’m not a big fan of streamlining everyone by the same standard (e.g. “poorest country in Europe” and other such meaningless statements).

    The Caucasus peoples enjoy other markers of living standards that are valuable – longevity and health due to mountain air and semi-paleo lifestyle, good environment (the Borjomi water), they also enjoy social cohesion that Northern Europeans lack. But, yea, the living standards in the Baltic states were already higher before the Soviet occupation (although WW1 was hell). And you’re right that Moscow during the Soviet times should never be taken as some standard, I’d say it was a bit of an outlier given all the resources they had (which is understandable).

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    But, yea, the living standards in the Baltic states were already higher before the Soviet occupation (although WW1 was hell).
     
    I think the Baltic countries would be roughly at Scandinavian levels without Soviet occupation. I didn’t mean to imply that the Soviets caused the higher living standards. I just contrasted it with Nazi Germany, where the conquered were never allowed to have higher living standards than the Germans, even if before the conquest they had higher living standards, like the Dutch.
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  78. Sean says:
    @for-the-record
    Germany’s Milyukov was the judge who refused to order Hitler deported back to Austria after serving his sentence.

    Doesn't seem very likely since Pavel Nikolayevich Miliukov (or Milyukov) was a Russian politician and historian.

    Milyukov ended up having to flee the country, and “During a performance in the Berliner Philharmonie on 28 March 1922, his friend Vladimir Dmitrievich Nabokov, the father of the novelist Vladimir Nabokov, was killed while shielding Milyukov from his attackers”

    Judge Neithardt refused to deport or rather repatriate the Austrian, and Neithardt was later well rewarded by Hitler. It just goes to show that to let Dreamers stay is always on the right side of history.

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  79. Art Deco says:
    @German_reader

    There wasn’t anything like that in Europe in 1914.
     
    If stumbling into a catastrophic war like that of 1914-1918 isn't a comprehensive failure of elites, I don't know what is.

    If stumbling into a catastrophic war like that of 1914-1918 isn’t a comprehensive failure of elites, I don’t know what is.

    Then you don’t know what is. All decisions are made prospectively with imperfect information. The Allies stumbled into the same war.

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    • Replies: @German_reader

    The Allies stumbled into the same war.
     
    I didn't say they were any smarter than Germany's and Austria-Hungary's elites. The Russian elites especially imo were just as guilty for the outbreak of the war, since Russia's general mobilization was a crucial step that made a general European war (instead of a localized Balkans war) much more likely.
    Anyway, my main point was merely that radical movements like Bolsheviks and Nazis (which were fringe movements before WW1 or didn't even yet exist in a coherent form in the case of the latter) would never have attracted mass support if the established elites hadn't failed so badly. I don't see how's that even controversial.
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  80. Art Deco says:
    @Sean

    https://www.ushmm.org/learn/students/learning-materials-and-resources/jehovahs-witnesses-victims-of-the-nazi-era/declaration-renouncing-beliefs

    Jehovah's Witnesses, incarcerated in prisons and concentration camps, were given the opportunity to be freed if they signed this statement renouncing their beliefs
     

    Jehovah’s Witnesses, incarcerated in prisons and concentration camps, were given the opportunity to be freed if they signed this statement renouncing their beliefs

    You fancy that’s something other than being targeted?

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  81. @Art Deco
    If stumbling into a catastrophic war like that of 1914-1918 isn’t a comprehensive failure of elites, I don’t know what is.

    Then you don't know what is. All decisions are made prospectively with imperfect information. The Allies stumbled into the same war.

    The Allies stumbled into the same war.

    I didn’t say they were any smarter than Germany’s and Austria-Hungary’s elites. The Russian elites especially imo were just as guilty for the outbreak of the war, since Russia’s general mobilization was a crucial step that made a general European war (instead of a localized Balkans war) much more likely.
    Anyway, my main point was merely that radical movements like Bolsheviks and Nazis (which were fringe movements before WW1 or didn’t even yet exist in a coherent form in the case of the latter) would never have attracted mass support if the established elites hadn’t failed so badly. I don’t see how’s that even controversial.

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    • Replies: @Art Deco
    Anyway, my main point was merely that radical movements like Bolsheviks and Nazis (which were fringe movements before WW1 or didn’t even yet exist in a coherent form in the case of the latter) would never have attracted mass support if the established elites hadn’t failed so badly. I don’t see how’s that even controversial.


    1. The Nazi Party was inconsequential until 1929. There is reason to believe it may have been a fad movement which would have largely evaporated had certain contingencies gone the other way. (The Communist vote during the Weimar era was much more stable and durable).

    2. Countries have episodic crises which trigger a sort of collective stress response. Some countries are more resilient than others and manifest more reliable elite judgment. I'm submitting to you that what separates one from the other can be a knife-edge, not a gulf. See Finland, which had three distinct crises during the period running from 1917 to 1948, each of which could have been a disaster.

    3. Not every country has much of a stress response. The economic contraction in North American during the period running from 1929 to 1932/33 was about 2x as severe as that which obtained in France and Germany, whose contractions were > 2x as severe as that which obtained in Italy and Britain. Elite decision making was wretched in the United States at the time, but there were no disruptions in the political order at all. It's not as if the country were incapable of generating flagitious fad movements. The 2d incarnation of the Ku Klux Klan went from a five digit membership to a seven digit membership between 1919 and 1922. By 1935, it was back down to a five-digit membership.
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  82. @Anon
    I've only been to Georgia once and that was way after USSR and absolutely loved it (but I know folks who went there during the Soviet times, like my mother, it was done either for travel to the mountains or for some free-labor exchange program that the young people had to participate in at the time). I love Georgia dearly, but their HDI and living standards are unfortunately not that high (by Euro standards). On the good note - measuring the living standard just by material wealth is not the best and I'm not a big fan of streamlining everyone by the same standard (e.g. "poorest country in Europe" and other such meaningless statements).

    The Caucasus peoples enjoy other markers of living standards that are valuable - longevity and health due to mountain air and semi-paleo lifestyle, good environment (the Borjomi water), they also enjoy social cohesion that Northern Europeans lack. But, yea, the living standards in the Baltic states were already higher before the Soviet occupation (although WW1 was hell). And you're right that Moscow during the Soviet times should never be taken as some standard, I'd say it was a bit of an outlier given all the resources they had (which is understandable).

    But, yea, the living standards in the Baltic states were already higher before the Soviet occupation (although WW1 was hell).

    I think the Baltic countries would be roughly at Scandinavian levels without Soviet occupation. I didn’t mean to imply that the Soviets caused the higher living standards. I just contrasted it with Nazi Germany, where the conquered were never allowed to have higher living standards than the Germans, even if before the conquest they had higher living standards, like the Dutch.

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  83. Art Deco says:
    @German_reader

    The Allies stumbled into the same war.
     
    I didn't say they were any smarter than Germany's and Austria-Hungary's elites. The Russian elites especially imo were just as guilty for the outbreak of the war, since Russia's general mobilization was a crucial step that made a general European war (instead of a localized Balkans war) much more likely.
    Anyway, my main point was merely that radical movements like Bolsheviks and Nazis (which were fringe movements before WW1 or didn't even yet exist in a coherent form in the case of the latter) would never have attracted mass support if the established elites hadn't failed so badly. I don't see how's that even controversial.

    Anyway, my main point was merely that radical movements like Bolsheviks and Nazis (which were fringe movements before WW1 or didn’t even yet exist in a coherent form in the case of the latter) would never have attracted mass support if the established elites hadn’t failed so badly. I don’t see how’s that even controversial.

    1. The Nazi Party was inconsequential until 1929. There is reason to believe it may have been a fad movement which would have largely evaporated had certain contingencies gone the other way. (The Communist vote during the Weimar era was much more stable and durable).

    2. Countries have episodic crises which trigger a sort of collective stress response. Some countries are more resilient than others and manifest more reliable elite judgment. I’m submitting to you that what separates one from the other can be a knife-edge, not a gulf. See Finland, which had three distinct crises during the period running from 1917 to 1948, each of which could have been a disaster.

    3. Not every country has much of a stress response. The economic contraction in North American during the period running from 1929 to 1932/33 was about 2x as severe as that which obtained in France and Germany, whose contractions were > 2x as severe as that which obtained in Italy and Britain. Elite decision making was wretched in the United States at the time, but there were no disruptions in the political order at all. It’s not as if the country were incapable of generating flagitious fad movements. The 2d incarnation of the Ku Klux Klan went from a five digit membership to a seven digit membership between 1919 and 1922. By 1935, it was back down to a five-digit membership.

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    • Replies: @German_reader

    The economic contraction in North American during the period running from 1929 to 1932/33 was about 2x as severe as that which obtained in France and Germany
     
    The US experience of WW1 was much less severe than for the European combatants, so the general brutalization with its deplorable consequences for political culture (regarding hatred as a positive virtue, thinking only in categories of friends and enemies) was less intense; the US also didn't suffer defeat, foreign occupation and national humiliation (in fact it became more powerful as a result of the war). And of course democratic traditions and institutions were much stronger and more central to American identity than anywhere in continental Europe, so the situations were quite different.
    Anyway, it's true that the rise of the Nazis was far from inevitable and probably could have been avoided even in late 1932. My impression still is though that the Brüning government made things worse in how it dealt with the economic crisis during 1930-1932 (and it paved the way for authoritarian ways of governance, by bypassing parliament).
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  84. utu says:
    @German_reader

    Certainly the individuals that didn’t get with the program didn’t have it all that good.
     
    If you didn't step out of line or belonged to a group specifically targeted for persecution (Jews, male homosexuals, communist activists or some religious minorities like Jehova's witnesses), chances were you wouldn't be subject to persecution in Nazi Germany as an average German. Internal repression was vastly greater and much more random in the Soviet Union; it also affected even hundreds of thousands of members of the Communist party during the purges...there is nothing analogous in the Nazi party (the killings of the SA leadership were small-scale by comparison).
    Of course the Nazi regime was still quite repressive even at home (there really were cases during the war of Germans being sentenced to prison or even executed for telling jokes about Hitler, defeatism etc.), and it also started a war which had substantially negative consequences for many Germans.

    If you didn’t step out of line or belonged to a group specifically targeted for persecution

    No question about it that life in Germany by any standard was pretty normal while in the SU at times majority of people lived in a state of terror. Incarceration rate was higher in SU than the 21 century incarceration rate in the US while in Germany in 1939 it was four times lower than in the US now. However for Jews it was the opposite. There was nothing worse for Jews than living in Germany while in the SU no other ethnic group had it that good as Jews. Actually Jews were the Nazis of the SU. Those among them who had psychopathological proclivity to enjoy being sadistic perpetrators could develop their careers along the lines of these talents and unlike the real Nazis in Germany they could get away with their crimes and enjoy retirement and see their children and grandchildren going to Israel or America to make careers and good lives there w/o anybody asking a question what their grandpa or grandma did for living.

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    • Replies: @lavoisier

    Actually Jews were the Nazis of the SU. Those among them who had psychopathological proclivity to enjoy being sadistic perpetrators could develop their careers along the lines of these talents and unlike the real Nazis in Germany they could get away with their crimes and enjoy retirement and see their children and grandchildren going to Israel or America to make careers and good lives there w/o anybody asking a question what their grandpa or grandma did for living.
     
    Incrediby shameful that truth.

    You can be a psychopathic mass murderer and get away with it if you happen to be Jewish.
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  85. @Art Deco
    Anyway, my main point was merely that radical movements like Bolsheviks and Nazis (which were fringe movements before WW1 or didn’t even yet exist in a coherent form in the case of the latter) would never have attracted mass support if the established elites hadn’t failed so badly. I don’t see how’s that even controversial.


    1. The Nazi Party was inconsequential until 1929. There is reason to believe it may have been a fad movement which would have largely evaporated had certain contingencies gone the other way. (The Communist vote during the Weimar era was much more stable and durable).

    2. Countries have episodic crises which trigger a sort of collective stress response. Some countries are more resilient than others and manifest more reliable elite judgment. I'm submitting to you that what separates one from the other can be a knife-edge, not a gulf. See Finland, which had three distinct crises during the period running from 1917 to 1948, each of which could have been a disaster.

    3. Not every country has much of a stress response. The economic contraction in North American during the period running from 1929 to 1932/33 was about 2x as severe as that which obtained in France and Germany, whose contractions were > 2x as severe as that which obtained in Italy and Britain. Elite decision making was wretched in the United States at the time, but there were no disruptions in the political order at all. It's not as if the country were incapable of generating flagitious fad movements. The 2d incarnation of the Ku Klux Klan went from a five digit membership to a seven digit membership between 1919 and 1922. By 1935, it was back down to a five-digit membership.

    The economic contraction in North American during the period running from 1929 to 1932/33 was about 2x as severe as that which obtained in France and Germany

    The US experience of WW1 was much less severe than for the European combatants, so the general brutalization with its deplorable consequences for political culture (regarding hatred as a positive virtue, thinking only in categories of friends and enemies) was less intense; the US also didn’t suffer defeat, foreign occupation and national humiliation (in fact it became more powerful as a result of the war). And of course democratic traditions and institutions were much stronger and more central to American identity than anywhere in continental Europe, so the situations were quite different.
    Anyway, it’s true that the rise of the Nazis was far from inevitable and probably could have been avoided even in late 1932. My impression still is though that the Brüning government made things worse in how it dealt with the economic crisis during 1930-1932 (and it paved the way for authoritarian ways of governance, by bypassing parliament).

    Read More
    • Replies: @Art Deco
    (in fact it became more powerful as a result of the war).

    Nope. The country had completely demobilized by 1921, though you could argue its relative position was better because Britain, France, Germany, and Russia had been so injured by the war and the Hapsburg monarchy and decomposed.


    What's interesting about Germany's political evolution between 1913 and 1934 is that the German public's response to three of four hammer blows did not incorporate popular ballots for volkisch movements. The big political changes included the end of the monarchy, the dysfunctional system of proportional representation and responsible government, and the advent of a substantial communist vote.

    Another curio is that in spite of the physical damage to their territory, Belgium and France had by 1922 returned to pre-war per capita product. This took until 1927 in Germany and Austria. Britain's economic peak had been in 1915, at a level not surpassed until 1929.


    (and it paved the way for authoritarian ways of governance, by bypassing parliament).

    What was the alternative? The Nazis and Communists had a majority. A military regime with a capable technocrat in the chancellor's office might have been tonic for Germany. Schleicher in the Presidency, Schacht as Chancellor, the Reichstag deputies sent home to cash their paychecks and play with their paperclips.
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  86. AP says:
    @reiner Tor

    they were a party that lynched people, looted stores, and openly wanted to change the eastern borders.
     
    As opposed to the Bolsheviks, who never even could bring themselves to kill a mosquito, let alone a human being, until 1917. Okay, except for those thousands killed in 1905, but that was over a decade earlier, who could remember that? The Bolsheviks also participated in a number of political murders, and occasionally financed their party through robberies and similar activities, but that doesn’t count, because... why, exactly? The Bolsheviks already used or tried to use political violence in July and October (November) and were holding executive power illegally. Voting for them meant rubber stamping their illegal power grab.

    Unlike Nazis in Germany who easily won two fair elections and one partially fair election, Bolsheviks in Russia didn’t win any elections.
     
    It’s not like there were all that many elections.

    The good things Latvians (AFAIK – regional independence) wanted were better than the “good” things Nazis wanted (war against eastern neighbors, persecution of Jews).
     
    All countries at the time were willing to use force to extend their borders. Like the Czechs in 1918-19 against Hungary (including ethnically Hungarian areas), in 1920 against Poland, and of course the Sudeten Germans only stayed within Czechoslovakia because the government used military force, which included shooting unarmed protesters. Poland used force roughly the same time to expand both eastwards and westwards, against Germany and Soviet Russia (though they finally cut a deal with the latter to cut out both White Russians and Ukrainian nationalists), this included military occupation of an ethnically German city, Danzig. This makes Germans, who perhaps also wanted to use force to reverse these border changes (reached by the use of force themselves, and not always ethnically just), worse than other peoples in the region... how, exactly? By the way I don’t find it convincing that Latvians have the right to separatism but Sudeten Germans don’t. Either both or neither, methinks.

    The only thing where it could be argued that the Germans were worse than others (though of course on such a well known alt-right site like Karlin’s page it’s a bit strange to debate that) is the persecution of Jews. It’s well known that Hitler played it down in the early 1930s to get electoral credibility (the voters weren’t all that enthusiastic about Jew-baiting), and that the SS leadership and the Gestapo were complaining by spring 1934 that even committed National Socialists thought the Jewish Question had been solved by the April 1933 laws which led to the sacking of Jews from the civil service and the military. The Kristallnacht quite a bit shocked most Germans, including most fellow travelers and at least many party members, maybe even the majority of them. (They had the most incentives to hide their misgivings, so it’s difficult to know.)

    So I don’t think it’s tenable to say that they voted for the Kristallnacht pogrom.

    Again: I’m quite understanding of Latvians voting for Bolsheviks. Possibly I’d have done the same in the same situation. But I think there’s a lot of retrospect knowledge in how you assess the Germans’ choices. You also seem to occasionally judge them based on 21st century sensibilities, like wanting to change by force borders which had been changed just a bit more than a decade earlier... by force.

    “they were a party that lynched people, looted stores, and openly wanted to change the eastern borders.”

    As opposed to the Bolsheviks, who never even could bring themselves to kill a mosquito, let alone a human being, until 1917.

    For Latvians, Bolsheviks meant independence, and and end to a war not of their choosing, that was consuming tens of thousands of lives.

    For Germans, Nazis meant Jew-persecution, and invasion of eastern neighbors (one could be an anti-Communist in Germany and vote for other parties, looks like in Latvia in 1917 there weren’t other options).

    For Russians it was a different story. And indeed, Russians didn’t vote for Bolsheviks. But Germans voted for Nazis.

    Unlike Nazis in Germany who easily won two fair elections and one partially fair election, Bolsheviks in Russia didn’t win any elections.

    It’s not like there were all that many elections.

    Nazis winning two totally free elections easily means they were genuinely popular. Bolsheviks lost by a landslide – 25% to 40%.

    “The good things Latvians (AFAIK – regional independence) wanted were better than the “good” things Nazis wanted (war against eastern neighbors, persecution of Jews).”

    All countries at the time were willing to use force to extend their borders. Like the Czechs in 1918-19 against Hungary (including ethnically Hungarian areas), in 1920 against Poland

    1918-1920 were chaotic times due to empires falling apart and no definitive borders existing. By the 1930s there was supposed to be stability and no more wars. Nazis were focused on returning to violence and chaos.

    Poland used force roughly the same time to expand both eastwards and westwards, against Germany and Soviet Russia (though they finally cut a deal with the latter to cut out both White Russians and Ukrainian nationalists), this included military occupation of an ethnically German city, Danzig.

    See above. Empires fell apart, borders were rearranged. Czechs were wrong to grab some ethnic Polish territory, Poles wrong to grab some ethnic Ukrainian territory during such times.

    As for Germans – they had divided Poland and occupied large parts of it.

    By the way I don’t find it convincing that Latvians have the right to separatism but Sudeten Germans don’t. Either both or neither, methinks.

    There were differences.

    Latvia – only country for Latvians. Germans, on the other hand, already had their own country. As well as Austria.

    Latvians – indigenous to Latvia. Germans – invited by Bohemian kings to settle in Sudetenland (albeit in the 13th century), “guests” who then took the lands their ancestors had been allowed to settle in.

    It’s well known that Hitler played it down in the early 1930s to get electoral credibility (the voters weren’t all that enthusiastic about Jew-baiting),

    Der Sturmer, published since the 1920s, was openly and violently antisemitic. Otto Frank recalled “I can remember that as early as 1932, groups of Storm Troopers came marching by singing: “When Jewish blood splatters from the knife .”

    Nobody would have expected industrial-scale genocide, but I don’t think the Germans had illusions about Nazis wanting to harm Jews.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    1918-1920 were chaotic times due to empires falling apart and no definitive borders existing. By the 1930s there was supposed to be stability and no more wars.
     
    Maybe it’s because I’m from a country which lost two world wars, but your logic is a bit of “let’s not bicker and argue about who killed who...”

    So Germans were supposed to just accept the results of the previous war forever and ever. “I took your land, but now let’s be peaceful and let me keep my loot. See, I only want peace!”

    Sorry, history doesn’t work that way. By the way even the winners understood that, which is why they were prepared to make concessions. Unfortunately Hitler was not interested in a peaceful solution, but this was not something most people anticipated. He proved less reasonable than either the German people or statesmen like Chamberlain or even Stalin had anticipated.


    looks like in Latvia in 1917 there weren’t other options
     
    You conveniently ignore their role in fighting for the Bolsheviks in large numbers. Again, the point is not to thrash the Latvians, only to put German behavior in context.

    Latvia – only country for Latvians. Germans, on the other hand, already had their own country. As well as Austria.
     
    There were more Sudeten Germans than Latvians and Estonians put together. Why is it okay for Czechs to lord over Germans almost half their number?

    Latvians – indigenous to Latvia. Germans – invited by Bohemian kings to settle in Sudetenland (albeit in the 13th century), “guests” who then took the lands their ancestors had been allowed to settle in.
     
    This is a ridiculous argument. Even setting aside the matter that you are going back six centuries to prove some legitimacy (before that those lands had been largely uninhabited), the Bohemian king in 1918 was Charles III, also known as the Emperor Karl of Austria. After his abdication, why would some of his subjects (the Sudeten Germans) owe some loyalty to some other subjects (the Czechs)? Why not the other way around?

    Der Sturmer, published since the 1920s, was openly and violently antisemitic. Otto Frank recalled “I can remember that as early as 1932, groups of Storm Troopers came marching by singing: “When Jewish blood splatters from the knife .”
     
    No one expected Streicher or the riff-raff in the SA to hold much political power. They were correct to think that these elements will be sidelined, useful tools for the smarter types like Hitler, Goebbels and others. What was unexpected was that Hitler himself held largely the exact same views as those hicks in the SA.

    Nobody would have expected industrial-scale genocide, but I don’t think the Germans had illusions about Nazis wanting to harm Jews.
     
    As I wrote, Nazi voters mostly expected at worst (in terms of violence) and at best (in terms of Nazi success Making Germany Great Again) what happened up until 1938. They didn’t anticipate anti-Jewish measures to go beyond the level of the 1933 events, and even committed anti-Semites thought that the Jewish Question had been solved by spring 1934. You are appealing to early 21st century sensibilities, forgetting about then normal racial laws elsewhere (including in established democracies like the USA or the British colonial empire), or that this is not a firmly anti-racist site. Some discrimination against some groups of citizens is not the greatest evil ever.
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  87. Art Deco says:
    @German_reader

    The economic contraction in North American during the period running from 1929 to 1932/33 was about 2x as severe as that which obtained in France and Germany
     
    The US experience of WW1 was much less severe than for the European combatants, so the general brutalization with its deplorable consequences for political culture (regarding hatred as a positive virtue, thinking only in categories of friends and enemies) was less intense; the US also didn't suffer defeat, foreign occupation and national humiliation (in fact it became more powerful as a result of the war). And of course democratic traditions and institutions were much stronger and more central to American identity than anywhere in continental Europe, so the situations were quite different.
    Anyway, it's true that the rise of the Nazis was far from inevitable and probably could have been avoided even in late 1932. My impression still is though that the Brüning government made things worse in how it dealt with the economic crisis during 1930-1932 (and it paved the way for authoritarian ways of governance, by bypassing parliament).

    (in fact it became more powerful as a result of the war).

    Nope. The country had completely demobilized by 1921, though you could argue its relative position was better because Britain, France, Germany, and Russia had been so injured by the war and the Hapsburg monarchy and decomposed.

    What’s interesting about Germany’s political evolution between 1913 and 1934 is that the German public’s response to three of four hammer blows did not incorporate popular ballots for volkisch movements. The big political changes included the end of the monarchy, the dysfunctional system of proportional representation and responsible government, and the advent of a substantial communist vote.

    Another curio is that in spite of the physical damage to their territory, Belgium and France had by 1922 returned to pre-war per capita product. This took until 1927 in Germany and Austria. Britain’s economic peak had been in 1915, at a level not surpassed until 1929.

    (and it paved the way for authoritarian ways of governance, by bypassing parliament).

    What was the alternative? The Nazis and Communists had a majority. A military regime with a capable technocrat in the chancellor’s office might have been tonic for Germany. Schleicher in the Presidency, Schacht as Chancellor, the Reichstag deputies sent home to cash their paychecks and play with their paperclips.

    Read More
    • Replies: @German_reader

    Nope. The country had completely demobilized by 1921
     
    Yes, but WW1 accelerated the process of the US replacing Britain as the world's financial centre, also increased American prestige.

    A military regime with a capable technocrat in the chancellor’s office might have been tonic for Germany.
     
    Yes, that's probably correct, would have been much better than what actually happened.
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  88. Mikhail says: • Website
    @German_reader

    Contrary to both Communist and Western Russophobe propaganda, Russians never voted in the Bolsheviks
     
    Umm, are there really "Western Russophobes" who claim this today? I can't think of any, a view of the Bolshevik takeover as a violent coup seems to be much more common nowadays among Westerners (apart from the left-wing fringe), even among those who generally distrust or dislike Russia.

    I didn’t quite get that myself.

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  89. 5371 says:
    @melanf


    Ending a war that, despite its political turmoil, Russia was still winning
     
    No, this is nonsense.
     
    "In April and May 1917, in spite of the won ( by Germany) victory at the river Aisne and in champagne, only the Russian revolution saved us from collapse"

    Erich Ludendorff

    Easily shown to be false. Germany would have won the war in the Atlantic in spring 1917, if not for the belated British introduction of compulsory merchant convoy. The French army was at a near standstill coping with the effects of mutiny. Russia had no large scale offensives planned until the summer. Even Austro-Hungary’s collapse, not to mention Germany’s, was no more than a dream.

    Read More
    • Replies: @LondonBob
    Compulsory convoy did happen though. The French were on the defensive but Britain was strong enough to lajnch a series of wasteful offensives in 1917 with British industrial production surging as Germany slowly collapsed under the blockade.
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  90. Benjaminl says:
    @AP
    In a multiparty parliamentary system 40% of the vote is a very solid victory. Nazis were indeed elected by the German people. Specifically, by German Protestants:

    http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_-_v0_suc_UA/SQbuSJW90jI/AAAAAAAAAPc/iT6E4jgW8UE/s400/Nazivote1933.jpg

    HBDChick just linked to this article on Twitter:

    https://global.handelsblatt.com/opinion/politically-east-and-west-germany-will-never-match-862927

    It sounds like the frontier conditions of East Elbia made for hard men.

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    • Replies: @German_reader
    The article is total nonsense, East Germany wasn't a homogenous region historically, even today Saxony and Thuringia are quite different from Brandenburg and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Before 1933 Saxony was actually known as rotes Sachsen (red Saxony) because there was lots of industry there with many workers voting for left-wing parties...not a rural backwater at all.
    The real mystery is what has happened to West Germans, they seem to have lost any instinct for self-preservation.
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  91. @Benjaminl
    HBDChick just linked to this article on Twitter:

    https://global.handelsblatt.com/opinion/politically-east-and-west-germany-will-never-match-862927

    It sounds like the frontier conditions of East Elbia made for hard men.

    The article is total nonsense, East Germany wasn’t a homogenous region historically, even today Saxony and Thuringia are quite different from Brandenburg and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Before 1933 Saxony was actually known as rotes Sachsen (red Saxony) because there was lots of industry there with many workers voting for left-wing parties…not a rural backwater at all.
    The real mystery is what has happened to West Germans, they seem to have lost any instinct for self-preservation.

    Read More
    • Replies: @iffen
    Thanks for this GR. Can we infer that West Germany was homogenous, or just more so than the East?

    Also missing from this thread is the impact of the strength in Germany (parts of?) of the socialism/communism movement in the early part of the 20th C.

    Most of the early commies actually believed that Germany was going to lead the way.

    , @Sean

    http://www.erster-weltkrieg.clio-online.de/site/lang__de-DE/ItemID__208/mid__12122/40208738/default.aspx

    Thus, Scheler’s philosophical “trick” is this: It is not because they are Germans that they are a chosen people, but it is because they, more than all others, embrace the metaphysical dimension of the war. War produces special dispositions that enable a nation to become true to absolute realities. It is, hence, up to the respective nations to open themselves up to these higher spheres. The Germans, as a profoundly philosophy-friendly nation, do this quasi-automatically as they are a metaphysical nation already. This is why “this great mission” of establishing true greatness and “universal love” is Germany’s alone.[62] Plainly put: Germany’s war is great, not because it is Germany’s but because the Germans better than any other nation have the capacity to comprehend and realize the war’s essence, an essence which lies above any particular nation or culture.
     

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  92. iffen says:
    @German_reader
    The article is total nonsense, East Germany wasn't a homogenous region historically, even today Saxony and Thuringia are quite different from Brandenburg and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Before 1933 Saxony was actually known as rotes Sachsen (red Saxony) because there was lots of industry there with many workers voting for left-wing parties...not a rural backwater at all.
    The real mystery is what has happened to West Germans, they seem to have lost any instinct for self-preservation.

    Thanks for this GR. Can we infer that West Germany was homogenous, or just more so than the East?

    Also missing from this thread is the impact of the strength in Germany (parts of?) of the socialism/communism movement in the early part of the 20th C.

    Most of the early commies actually believed that Germany was going to lead the way.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mikhail
    Jest-fully said, it's a brilliant piece if it makes JRL.
    , @German_reader

    Can we infer that West Germany was homogenous, or just more so than the East?
     
    No, West Germany wasn't homogenous either, and in many ways isn't really so today; there's not just a West-East division imo, but also a marked North-South contrast, plus many regional identities (even if many of them seem to be dying now). You have to remember that the German nation state is a fairly recent construct, so this isn't surprising. I don't really think there are any deep roots to the strange state of German politics today, imo it's mostly a result of the warped political culture the federal republic has adopted, especially over the last 30-40 years.

    Also missing from this thread is the impact of the strength in Germany (parts of?) of the socialism/communism movement in the early part of the 20th C.
     
    German socialism was quite strong in the early 20th century, a genuine mass movement, iirc the strongest party in the 1912 elections, a model and an inspiration for socialists elsewhere (e.g. the title of the party newspaper of the Italian socialists Avanti, as well as The forward in the US, are both literal translations of the Vorwärts, the newspaper of the German socialists). WW1 then led to the commie movement splitting off from the mainstream socialists, with the communists attempting some failed uprisings in the early 1920s and being a substantial political force during the late Weimar era...with generally deplorable consequences.
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  93. Sean says:
    @German_reader
    The article is total nonsense, East Germany wasn't a homogenous region historically, even today Saxony and Thuringia are quite different from Brandenburg and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Before 1933 Saxony was actually known as rotes Sachsen (red Saxony) because there was lots of industry there with many workers voting for left-wing parties...not a rural backwater at all.
    The real mystery is what has happened to West Germans, they seem to have lost any instinct for self-preservation.

    http://www.erster-weltkrieg.clio-online.de/site/lang__de-DE/ItemID__208/mid__12122/40208738/default.aspx

    Thus, Scheler’s philosophical “trick” is this: It is not because they are Germans that they are a chosen people, but it is because they, more than all others, embrace the metaphysical dimension of the war. War produces special dispositions that enable a nation to become true to absolute realities. It is, hence, up to the respective nations to open themselves up to these higher spheres. The Germans, as a profoundly philosophy-friendly nation, do this quasi-automatically as they are a metaphysical nation already. This is why “this great mission” of establishing true greatness and “universal love” is Germany’s alone.[62] Plainly put: Germany’s war is great, not because it is Germany’s but because the Germans better than any other nation have the capacity to comprehend and realize the war’s essence, an essence which lies above any particular nation or culture.

    Read More
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  94. Mikhail says: • Website
    @iffen
    Thanks for this GR. Can we infer that West Germany was homogenous, or just more so than the East?

    Also missing from this thread is the impact of the strength in Germany (parts of?) of the socialism/communism movement in the early part of the 20th C.

    Most of the early commies actually believed that Germany was going to lead the way.

    Jest-fully said, it’s a brilliant piece if it makes JRL.

    Read More
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  95. @iffen
    Thanks for this GR. Can we infer that West Germany was homogenous, or just more so than the East?

    Also missing from this thread is the impact of the strength in Germany (parts of?) of the socialism/communism movement in the early part of the 20th C.

    Most of the early commies actually believed that Germany was going to lead the way.

    Can we infer that West Germany was homogenous, or just more so than the East?

    No, West Germany wasn’t homogenous either, and in many ways isn’t really so today; there’s not just a West-East division imo, but also a marked North-South contrast, plus many regional identities (even if many of them seem to be dying now). You have to remember that the German nation state is a fairly recent construct, so this isn’t surprising. I don’t really think there are any deep roots to the strange state of German politics today, imo it’s mostly a result of the warped political culture the federal republic has adopted, especially over the last 30-40 years.

    Also missing from this thread is the impact of the strength in Germany (parts of?) of the socialism/communism movement in the early part of the 20th C.

    German socialism was quite strong in the early 20th century, a genuine mass movement, iirc the strongest party in the 1912 elections, a model and an inspiration for socialists elsewhere (e.g. the title of the party newspaper of the Italian socialists Avanti, as well as The forward in the US, are both literal translations of the Vorwärts, the newspaper of the German socialists). WW1 then led to the commie movement splitting off from the mainstream socialists, with the communists attempting some failed uprisings in the early 1920s and being a substantial political force during the late Weimar era…with generally deplorable consequences.

    Read More
    • Replies: @iffen
    You have to remember that the German nation state is a fairly recent construct, so this isn’t surprising.

    Yes, I am aware of this. My reading in the area is inadequate, but I have some books in the queue that touch upon the subject.

    In the back of my mind I have wondered if this contributed to the unpleasantness that engulfed Germany in the 30's.
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  96. @Art Deco
    (in fact it became more powerful as a result of the war).

    Nope. The country had completely demobilized by 1921, though you could argue its relative position was better because Britain, France, Germany, and Russia had been so injured by the war and the Hapsburg monarchy and decomposed.


    What's interesting about Germany's political evolution between 1913 and 1934 is that the German public's response to three of four hammer blows did not incorporate popular ballots for volkisch movements. The big political changes included the end of the monarchy, the dysfunctional system of proportional representation and responsible government, and the advent of a substantial communist vote.

    Another curio is that in spite of the physical damage to their territory, Belgium and France had by 1922 returned to pre-war per capita product. This took until 1927 in Germany and Austria. Britain's economic peak had been in 1915, at a level not surpassed until 1929.


    (and it paved the way for authoritarian ways of governance, by bypassing parliament).

    What was the alternative? The Nazis and Communists had a majority. A military regime with a capable technocrat in the chancellor's office might have been tonic for Germany. Schleicher in the Presidency, Schacht as Chancellor, the Reichstag deputies sent home to cash their paychecks and play with their paperclips.

    Nope. The country had completely demobilized by 1921

    Yes, but WW1 accelerated the process of the US replacing Britain as the world’s financial centre, also increased American prestige.

    A military regime with a capable technocrat in the chancellor’s office might have been tonic for Germany.

    Yes, that’s probably correct, would have been much better than what actually happened.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Art Deco
    Yes, but WW1 accelerated the process of the US replacing Britain as the world’s financial centre, also increased American prestige.

    Don't think it has really. There isn't a 'the' financial centre any more than there's a 'the' industrial center.


    It was on the eve of the 1st World War that the U.S. pulled even with Britain in general affluence, though we didn't have a secure advantage until the destruction of physical capital in Britain during the war. We had a much larger productive base domestically. Britain had both income and costs from its portfolio of dependencies. So, displacement of Britain and France was something bound to happen unless we remained in studied isolation (which proved not possible).
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  97. Art Deco says:
    @German_reader

    Nope. The country had completely demobilized by 1921
     
    Yes, but WW1 accelerated the process of the US replacing Britain as the world's financial centre, also increased American prestige.

    A military regime with a capable technocrat in the chancellor’s office might have been tonic for Germany.
     
    Yes, that's probably correct, would have been much better than what actually happened.

    Yes, but WW1 accelerated the process of the US replacing Britain as the world’s financial centre, also increased American prestige.

    Don’t think it has really. There isn’t a ‘the’ financial centre any more than there’s a ‘the’ industrial center.

    It was on the eve of the 1st World War that the U.S. pulled even with Britain in general affluence, though we didn’t have a secure advantage until the destruction of physical capital in Britain during the war. We had a much larger productive base domestically. Britain had both income and costs from its portfolio of dependencies. So, displacement of Britain and France was something bound to happen unless we remained in studied isolation (which proved not possible).

    Read More
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  98. iffen says:
    @German_reader

    Can we infer that West Germany was homogenous, or just more so than the East?
     
    No, West Germany wasn't homogenous either, and in many ways isn't really so today; there's not just a West-East division imo, but also a marked North-South contrast, plus many regional identities (even if many of them seem to be dying now). You have to remember that the German nation state is a fairly recent construct, so this isn't surprising. I don't really think there are any deep roots to the strange state of German politics today, imo it's mostly a result of the warped political culture the federal republic has adopted, especially over the last 30-40 years.

    Also missing from this thread is the impact of the strength in Germany (parts of?) of the socialism/communism movement in the early part of the 20th C.
     
    German socialism was quite strong in the early 20th century, a genuine mass movement, iirc the strongest party in the 1912 elections, a model and an inspiration for socialists elsewhere (e.g. the title of the party newspaper of the Italian socialists Avanti, as well as The forward in the US, are both literal translations of the Vorwärts, the newspaper of the German socialists). WW1 then led to the commie movement splitting off from the mainstream socialists, with the communists attempting some failed uprisings in the early 1920s and being a substantial political force during the late Weimar era...with generally deplorable consequences.

    You have to remember that the German nation state is a fairly recent construct, so this isn’t surprising.

    Yes, I am aware of this. My reading in the area is inadequate, but I have some books in the queue that touch upon the subject.

    In the back of my mind I have wondered if this contributed to the unpleasantness that engulfed Germany in the 30′s.

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  99. utu says:

    Who did vote for the Bolsheviks? The Latvians and Estonians of the Governorate of Livonia gave them 72% of the vote, the highest of any region in the Russian Empire.

    Whose idea was to let them vote? Why would one expect their vote would not be hostile to Russia and sabotaging the well being of Russia? Why did Livonians end up as part of Russian empire in the first place?

    Similar question can be asked about Jews in Russia? How come Russia ended up with Jews? Perhaps if it did not swallow Poland the Jews would never became an active actors in Russia and the history of Russia would not have to end with the orgy of mass and ritual murder under the Bolshevik rule.

    All actions have consequences. Sometimes chickens come home to roost.

    And one more thing, if you want to have an empire you must have a stomach for it and be prepared you will be hated and reviled. You can’t have your cake and eat it.

    Read More
    • Agree: AP
    • Replies: @iffen
    How come Russia ended up with Jews?

    Hey igmo, read up on something called the Pale of Settlement.
    , @polskijoe
    There were various camps in Polish independant nationalist camps.

    One of them wanted to pressure Jews to leave via lite "anti-semitism",
    and create an ethnic Poland, Polonizing Lithuanians and any West Ukrainians making sure
    to keep Lwow and Wilno. they were more Russian, and wanted to to seek independance from Russia
    peacefully. infact the Czar was partly willing it.
    Maybe would have avoided many problems today.

    Another camp was more pro German, but later changed when Hitler got more power.
    They wanted a multiethnic and large alliance with Ukraine, Lithuania, and hoping the West helps.

    (I may have some details wrong).
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  100. iffen says:
    @utu

    Who did vote for the Bolsheviks? The Latvians and Estonians of the Governorate of Livonia gave them 72% of the vote, the highest of any region in the Russian Empire.
     
    Whose idea was to let them vote? Why would one expect their vote would not be hostile to Russia and sabotaging the well being of Russia? Why did Livonians end up as part of Russian empire in the first place?

    Similar question can be asked about Jews in Russia? How come Russia ended up with Jews? Perhaps if it did not swallow Poland the Jews would never became an active actors in Russia and the history of Russia would not have to end with the orgy of mass and ritual murder under the Bolshevik rule.

    All actions have consequences. Sometimes chickens come home to roost.

    And one more thing, if you want to have an empire you must have a stomach for it and be prepared you will be hated and reviled. You can't have your cake and eat it.

    How come Russia ended up with Jews?

    Hey igmo, read up on something called the Pale of Settlement.

    Read More
    • Replies: @utu
    The Pale of Settlement was an ad hoc measure to quarantine Jews away from Russia proper once Russia realized that the Eastern Poland that the rapacious Russia could not resits swallowing in 18 century contained the poison pill in form of the largest Jewish diaspora in the World. And then they made things much worse in 1914 when it was decided to evacuate Jews East away from the front to prevent them from collaborating with Germans and Austrians. Certainly Russians were onto something however you do not bring disloyal elements closer to your metropolis and power centers.
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  101. utu says:
    @iffen
    How come Russia ended up with Jews?

    Hey igmo, read up on something called the Pale of Settlement.

    The Pale of Settlement was an ad hoc measure to quarantine Jews away from Russia proper once Russia realized that the Eastern Poland that the rapacious Russia could not resits swallowing in 18 century contained the poison pill in form of the largest Jewish diaspora in the World. And then they made things much worse in 1914 when it was decided to evacuate Jews East away from the front to prevent them from collaborating with Germans and Austrians. Certainly Russians were onto something however you do not bring disloyal elements closer to your metropolis and power centers.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Seraphim
    Yes, they should have rounded them up and send them beyond the German and Austrian lines to greet their 'liberators'.
    A perverse thought crept through my mind. What if the 'evacuation' of the Jews by Stalin (which nowadays is denounced as a 'deportation') was also meant to prevent a collaboration with the Germans? Somewhere (I have to look for the exact quotation) I read that many Jews did not flee from the advance of Hitler's armies because 'they remembered how nicely they have been treated by the Germans in 1918'!
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  102. Seraphim says:

    @Ethnic Latvians formed an outright majority (!) of the Cheka’s commissars in 1918

    The exclamation mark is appropriate. The reality is that contemporary documents published in New York in 1920 show that out of 64 members of the NKVD there were:
    2 Russians
    1 Polish (Dzerzhinsky)
    3 Armenians
    2 Germans
    11 Latvians
    45 Jews.

    In the Petrograd Cheka there were:
    1 Latvian
    2 Armenians
    1 German
    8 Jews

    In the Moscow Cheka:
    1 Polish (the same Dzerzhinsky)
    1 German
    1 Armenian
    2 Russians
    7 Latvians
    25 Jews.

    Who were the ‘outright majority’?

    It is true that the Latvian Riflemen distinguished themselves by atrocities committed against the ‘counter-revolutionaries’.
    Yagoda and Yezhov belong to the following period. Let’s not talk about the GULAG men: Naftaly Frenkel, Matvei Berman, Yakov Rappoport, Lazar Kogan…

    Read More
    • Replies: @AP
    Well, in Ukraine the Cheka was run by a Latvian, Martin Latsis:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Latsis
    , @Anatoly Karlin
    Here are some detailed statistics for Cheka ethic demographics from 1917 to the mid-1920s: http://oko-planet.su/history/historysng/136869-razvenchanie-mifa-krichevskiy-lyu-evrei-v-apparate-vchk-ogpu-v-20-e-gody.html

    Latvians dominate in 1917-18, but Russians come to constitute the majority, with Jews drawing level with the Latvians by the end of the civil war.

    According to other data: The Jews in turn drew level with the Russians by 1930, a position they would hold until 1937-8 after which their share plummeted.
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  103. Seraphim says:
    @utu
    The Pale of Settlement was an ad hoc measure to quarantine Jews away from Russia proper once Russia realized that the Eastern Poland that the rapacious Russia could not resits swallowing in 18 century contained the poison pill in form of the largest Jewish diaspora in the World. And then they made things much worse in 1914 when it was decided to evacuate Jews East away from the front to prevent them from collaborating with Germans and Austrians. Certainly Russians were onto something however you do not bring disloyal elements closer to your metropolis and power centers.

    Yes, they should have rounded them up and send them beyond the German and Austrian lines to greet their ‘liberators’.
    A perverse thought crept through my mind. What if the ‘evacuation’ of the Jews by Stalin (which nowadays is denounced as a ‘deportation’) was also meant to prevent a collaboration with the Germans? Somewhere (I have to look for the exact quotation) I read that many Jews did not flee from the advance of Hitler’s armies because ‘they remembered how nicely they have been treated by the Germans in 1918′!

    Read More
    • Replies: @utu
    I do not know how extensive was the evacuation of Jews in June/July 1941 from Soviet occupied Poland. Was there an official evacuation? Did they have time? I do not think they would evacuate the Orthodox and Chasidim Jews who were a majority of Jews in those regions. Some Jews there were communist and modern opportunists who clearly collaborated with NKVD in establishing the Soviet order after Sept. 17 1939 and were helping rounding up Poles of whom 100's of thousands were sent to labor camps and exile in Siberia and Kazakhstan. I can imagine these Jews hitched up a ride with NKVD. NKVD was in a hurry though they still had enough time to massacre all prisoners in their jails but not enough time to burry them. The mass graves from earlier NKVD crimes were later exhumed by Wehrmacht. Germans were taking pictures during exhumations and some of those pictures ended up at Wehrmachtsausstellung exhibition as the evidence of Wehrmacht crimes (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wehrmachtsausstellung) which lead to cancellation of the exhibition after Polish and Hungarian historians pointed out that the pictures did not show Germans committing the crimes but quite the opposite. The scandal obviously was whitewashed.

    As far as your comrade Stalin is concerned I do not think that in June 1941 he was in shape to give any orders as he was incommunicado and probably suffering a breakdown or a serious case of lost confidence thinking that the Politburo would have him deposed and executed. There is even a rumor that he saw a priest at that time.

    Anyway, the chaos and collapse in summer 1941 can't be compared to orderly troop movements and functioning state administration in summer 1914. So I have doubts in evacuation of Jews in early summer 1941.
    , @utu

    many Jews did not flee from the advance of Hitler’s armies
     
    I do not know about Jews but I am sure some of them and virtually everybody else after experiencing the Soviet rule and the taste of the Workers Paradise for 21 months (17 Sept 1939-22 Jun 1941) was looking forward to Germans as liberators. This was the window of opportunity for the Germans and Germans later blew it. I believe that the chief reason for the creation of partisans directed from Moscow was to turn Germans against the local population and eventually turn the local population against Germans. In this the partisan campaign was very successful while the hailed now their military accomplishments were negligible that did not shorten the war by a single day. But suffering and cost to the civilian population was tremendous.
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  104. utu says:
    @Seraphim
    Yes, they should have rounded them up and send them beyond the German and Austrian lines to greet their 'liberators'.
    A perverse thought crept through my mind. What if the 'evacuation' of the Jews by Stalin (which nowadays is denounced as a 'deportation') was also meant to prevent a collaboration with the Germans? Somewhere (I have to look for the exact quotation) I read that many Jews did not flee from the advance of Hitler's armies because 'they remembered how nicely they have been treated by the Germans in 1918'!

    I do not know how extensive was the evacuation of Jews in June/July 1941 from Soviet occupied Poland. Was there an official evacuation? Did they have time? I do not think they would evacuate the Orthodox and Chasidim Jews who were a majority of Jews in those regions. Some Jews there were communist and modern opportunists who clearly collaborated with NKVD in establishing the Soviet order after Sept. 17 1939 and were helping rounding up Poles of whom 100′s of thousands were sent to labor camps and exile in Siberia and Kazakhstan. I can imagine these Jews hitched up a ride with NKVD. NKVD was in a hurry though they still had enough time to massacre all prisoners in their jails but not enough time to burry them. The mass graves from earlier NKVD crimes were later exhumed by Wehrmacht. Germans were taking pictures during exhumations and some of those pictures ended up at Wehrmachtsausstellung exhibition as the evidence of Wehrmacht crimes (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wehrmachtsausstellung) which lead to cancellation of the exhibition after Polish and Hungarian historians pointed out that the pictures did not show Germans committing the crimes but quite the opposite. The scandal obviously was whitewashed.

    As far as your comrade Stalin is concerned I do not think that in June 1941 he was in shape to give any orders as he was incommunicado and probably suffering a breakdown or a serious case of lost confidence thinking that the Politburo would have him deposed and executed. There is even a rumor that he saw a priest at that time.

    Anyway, the chaos and collapse in summer 1941 can’t be compared to orderly troop movements and functioning state administration in summer 1914. So I have doubts in evacuation of Jews in early summer 1941.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    As far as your comrade Stalin is concerned I do not think that in June 1941 he was in shape to give any orders as he was incommunicado and probably suffering a breakdown or a serious case of lost confidence thinking that the Politburo would have him deposed and executed. There is even a rumor that he saw a priest at that time.
     
    This is mostly confabulation spread initially by Khrushchev. Later uncovered documents (after 1990) show his signature on all significant orders during that critical period. The most significant dates June 22, and was issued in the evening. It is ordering the evacuation of all industrial or agricultural equipment or stocks, as well as all people whose expertise is in any way useful to the war effort. It also ordered restarting the evacuated enterprises far in the east, and started a scorched earth policy, to destroy anything which could not be evacuated. He ordered the murder of all NKVD prisoners about to fall into German hands on the same day.

    Stalin had a very long workday on the 22, and it didn’t get shorter for several days. Not everything he did was useful to the war effort. He went to the military headquarters and started yelling at all the people there accusing them of cowardice, incompetence, sabotage, and some witnesses said it was too much even for the otherwise hard Zhukov to bear, and tears appeared in his eyes. After that, Stalin realized he went too far, and told his entourage to leave and let the comrades do their work, and that their presence was not helpful. He told them “we fucked it up, what Lenin built, we fucked up.”

    The only basis in reality of Stalin’s disappearance is the fact that he didn’t want to announce the war on the 22, since he well understood that it showed a failure of his policies. Besides, I think on June 30 or July 1, he really did retire to his dacha, and told his bodyguards not to disturb him for a day. Since probably he slept just a few hours per day while working 14+ hours for over a week, he probably spent that time sleeping. But there’s something about him having a near nervous breakdown: he left for his dacha soon after news of the destruction of the Minsk pocket reached Moscow (I think that was the time of his incident at the military HQ), and he came to realize the situation was way more catastrophic than he had imagined. But it was also a realization he could not turn the war in a few days, and so needed to switch to a more sustainable schedule.
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  105. utu says:
    @Seraphim
    Yes, they should have rounded them up and send them beyond the German and Austrian lines to greet their 'liberators'.
    A perverse thought crept through my mind. What if the 'evacuation' of the Jews by Stalin (which nowadays is denounced as a 'deportation') was also meant to prevent a collaboration with the Germans? Somewhere (I have to look for the exact quotation) I read that many Jews did not flee from the advance of Hitler's armies because 'they remembered how nicely they have been treated by the Germans in 1918'!

    many Jews did not flee from the advance of Hitler’s armies

    I do not know about Jews but I am sure some of them and virtually everybody else after experiencing the Soviet rule and the taste of the Workers Paradise for 21 months (17 Sept 1939-22 Jun 1941) was looking forward to Germans as liberators. This was the window of opportunity for the Germans and Germans later blew it. I believe that the chief reason for the creation of partisans directed from Moscow was to turn Germans against the local population and eventually turn the local population against Germans. In this the partisan campaign was very successful while the hailed now their military accomplishments were negligible that did not shorten the war by a single day. But suffering and cost to the civilian population was tremendous.

    Read More
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  106. LondonBob says:
    @5371
    Easily shown to be false. Germany would have won the war in the Atlantic in spring 1917, if not for the belated British introduction of compulsory merchant convoy. The French army was at a near standstill coping with the effects of mutiny. Russia had no large scale offensives planned until the summer. Even Austro-Hungary's collapse, not to mention Germany's, was no more than a dream.

    Compulsory convoy did happen though. The French were on the defensive but Britain was strong enough to lajnch a series of wasteful offensives in 1917 with British industrial production surging as Germany slowly collapsed under the blockade.

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    • Replies: @5371
    In spite of the blockade Germany nearly forced the withdrawal of the BEF in early June 1918, and even after the flu and the allies seizing the initiative in August, they could have entered 1919 still firmly on enemy territory everywhere if Ludendorff's nerve had held out.
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  107. AP says:
    @Seraphim
    @Ethnic Latvians formed an outright majority (!) of the Cheka’s commissars in 1918

    The exclamation mark is appropriate. The reality is that contemporary documents published in New York in 1920 show that out of 64 members of the NKVD there were:
    2 Russians
    1 Polish (Dzerzhinsky)
    3 Armenians
    2 Germans
    11 Latvians
    45 Jews.

    In the Petrograd Cheka there were:
    1 Latvian
    2 Armenians
    1 German
    8 Jews

    In the Moscow Cheka:
    1 Polish (the same Dzerzhinsky)
    1 German
    1 Armenian
    2 Russians
    7 Latvians
    25 Jews.

    Who were the 'outright majority'?

    It is true that the Latvian Riflemen distinguished themselves by atrocities committed against the 'counter-revolutionaries'.
    Yagoda and Yezhov belong to the following period. Let's not talk about the GULAG men: Naftaly Frenkel, Matvei Berman, Yakov Rappoport, Lazar Kogan...

    Well, in Ukraine the Cheka was run by a Latvian, Martin Latsis:

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

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  108. 5371 says:
    @LondonBob
    Compulsory convoy did happen though. The French were on the defensive but Britain was strong enough to lajnch a series of wasteful offensives in 1917 with British industrial production surging as Germany slowly collapsed under the blockade.

    In spite of the blockade Germany nearly forced the withdrawal of the BEF in early June 1918, and even after the flu and the allies seizing the initiative in August, they could have entered 1919 still firmly on enemy territory everywhere if Ludendorff’s nerve had held out.

    Read More
    • Replies: @LondonBob
    Desperate last throw of the dice, the British counteroffensive overwhelmed the Germans and they capitulated as the economy also fell apart at home.
    , @Seraphim
    Nearly! If!
    But it did not happen. Germans had 'nearly' not enough troops on the Western Front to exploit the initial success because they had to be kept in Ukraine to ensure the supply of food.
    What stopped the war was not the lack of nerve of Ludendorff, but the revolution in Germany (to which a big contribution was brought by the returned POW from Russia, thoroughly 'bolshevized'.
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  109. LondonBob says:
    @5371
    In spite of the blockade Germany nearly forced the withdrawal of the BEF in early June 1918, and even after the flu and the allies seizing the initiative in August, they could have entered 1919 still firmly on enemy territory everywhere if Ludendorff's nerve had held out.

    Desperate last throw of the dice, the British counteroffensive overwhelmed the Germans and they capitulated as the economy also fell apart at home.

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  110. Seraphim says:
    @5371
    In spite of the blockade Germany nearly forced the withdrawal of the BEF in early June 1918, and even after the flu and the allies seizing the initiative in August, they could have entered 1919 still firmly on enemy territory everywhere if Ludendorff's nerve had held out.

    Nearly! If!
    But it did not happen. Germans had ‘nearly’ not enough troops on the Western Front to exploit the initial success because they had to be kept in Ukraine to ensure the supply of food.
    What stopped the war was not the lack of nerve of Ludendorff, but the revolution in Germany (to which a big contribution was brought by the returned POW from Russia, thoroughly ‘bolshevized’.

    Read More
    • Replies: @5371
    No, lack of numbers wasn't the problem in exploiting an initial success - it never had been for any side, throughout the war. The revolution only started after Ludendorff had made a public demand for immediate peace at any price.
    Because the outcome of WW2 couldn't have been different once all the major participants were involved, there's a tendency to assume the same of WW1. Wrongly so.
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  111. @Seraphim
    @Ethnic Latvians formed an outright majority (!) of the Cheka’s commissars in 1918

    The exclamation mark is appropriate. The reality is that contemporary documents published in New York in 1920 show that out of 64 members of the NKVD there were:
    2 Russians
    1 Polish (Dzerzhinsky)
    3 Armenians
    2 Germans
    11 Latvians
    45 Jews.

    In the Petrograd Cheka there were:
    1 Latvian
    2 Armenians
    1 German
    8 Jews

    In the Moscow Cheka:
    1 Polish (the same Dzerzhinsky)
    1 German
    1 Armenian
    2 Russians
    7 Latvians
    25 Jews.

    Who were the 'outright majority'?

    It is true that the Latvian Riflemen distinguished themselves by atrocities committed against the 'counter-revolutionaries'.
    Yagoda and Yezhov belong to the following period. Let's not talk about the GULAG men: Naftaly Frenkel, Matvei Berman, Yakov Rappoport, Lazar Kogan...

    Here are some detailed statistics for Cheka ethic demographics from 1917 to the mid-1920s: http://oko-planet.su/history/historysng/136869-razvenchanie-mifa-krichevskiy-lyu-evrei-v-apparate-vchk-ogpu-v-20-e-gody.html

    Latvians dominate in 1917-18, but Russians come to constitute the majority, with Jews drawing level with the Latvians by the end of the civil war.

    According to other data: The Jews in turn drew level with the Russians by 1930, a position they would hold until 1937-8 after which their share plummeted.

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  112. @utu
    I do not know how extensive was the evacuation of Jews in June/July 1941 from Soviet occupied Poland. Was there an official evacuation? Did they have time? I do not think they would evacuate the Orthodox and Chasidim Jews who were a majority of Jews in those regions. Some Jews there were communist and modern opportunists who clearly collaborated with NKVD in establishing the Soviet order after Sept. 17 1939 and were helping rounding up Poles of whom 100's of thousands were sent to labor camps and exile in Siberia and Kazakhstan. I can imagine these Jews hitched up a ride with NKVD. NKVD was in a hurry though they still had enough time to massacre all prisoners in their jails but not enough time to burry them. The mass graves from earlier NKVD crimes were later exhumed by Wehrmacht. Germans were taking pictures during exhumations and some of those pictures ended up at Wehrmachtsausstellung exhibition as the evidence of Wehrmacht crimes (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wehrmachtsausstellung) which lead to cancellation of the exhibition after Polish and Hungarian historians pointed out that the pictures did not show Germans committing the crimes but quite the opposite. The scandal obviously was whitewashed.

    As far as your comrade Stalin is concerned I do not think that in June 1941 he was in shape to give any orders as he was incommunicado and probably suffering a breakdown or a serious case of lost confidence thinking that the Politburo would have him deposed and executed. There is even a rumor that he saw a priest at that time.

    Anyway, the chaos and collapse in summer 1941 can't be compared to orderly troop movements and functioning state administration in summer 1914. So I have doubts in evacuation of Jews in early summer 1941.

    As far as your comrade Stalin is concerned I do not think that in June 1941 he was in shape to give any orders as he was incommunicado and probably suffering a breakdown or a serious case of lost confidence thinking that the Politburo would have him deposed and executed. There is even a rumor that he saw a priest at that time.

    This is mostly confabulation spread initially by Khrushchev. Later uncovered documents (after 1990) show his signature on all significant orders during that critical period. The most significant dates June 22, and was issued in the evening. It is ordering the evacuation of all industrial or agricultural equipment or stocks, as well as all people whose expertise is in any way useful to the war effort. It also ordered restarting the evacuated enterprises far in the east, and started a scorched earth policy, to destroy anything which could not be evacuated. He ordered the murder of all NKVD prisoners about to fall into German hands on the same day.

    Stalin had a very long workday on the 22, and it didn’t get shorter for several days. Not everything he did was useful to the war effort. He went to the military headquarters and started yelling at all the people there accusing them of cowardice, incompetence, sabotage, and some witnesses said it was too much even for the otherwise hard Zhukov to bear, and tears appeared in his eyes. After that, Stalin realized he went too far, and told his entourage to leave and let the comrades do their work, and that their presence was not helpful. He told them “we fucked it up, what Lenin built, we fucked up.”

    The only basis in reality of Stalin’s disappearance is the fact that he didn’t want to announce the war on the 22, since he well understood that it showed a failure of his policies. Besides, I think on June 30 or July 1, he really did retire to his dacha, and told his bodyguards not to disturb him for a day. Since probably he slept just a few hours per day while working 14+ hours for over a week, he probably spent that time sleeping. But there’s something about him having a near nervous breakdown: he left for his dacha soon after news of the destruction of the Minsk pocket reached Moscow (I think that was the time of his incident at the military HQ), and he came to realize the situation was way more catastrophic than he had imagined. But it was also a realization he could not turn the war in a few days, and so needed to switch to a more sustainable schedule.

    Read More
    • Replies: @utu
    Thanks for the comment. It seems we have much better account of daily whereabouts of Hitler than Stalin.
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  113. @AP

    "they were a party that lynched people, looted stores, and openly wanted to change the eastern borders."

    As opposed to the Bolsheviks, who never even could bring themselves to kill a mosquito, let alone a human being, until 1917.
     
    For Latvians, Bolsheviks meant independence, and and end to a war not of their choosing, that was consuming tens of thousands of lives.

    For Germans, Nazis meant Jew-persecution, and invasion of eastern neighbors (one could be an anti-Communist in Germany and vote for other parties, looks like in Latvia in 1917 there weren't other options).

    For Russians it was a different story. And indeed, Russians didn't vote for Bolsheviks. But Germans voted for Nazis.

    Unlike Nazis in Germany who easily won two fair elections and one partially fair election, Bolsheviks in Russia didn’t win any elections.

    It’s not like there were all that many elections.

     

    Nazis winning two totally free elections easily means they were genuinely popular. Bolsheviks lost by a landslide - 25% to 40%.

    "The good things Latvians (AFAIK – regional independence) wanted were better than the “good” things Nazis wanted (war against eastern neighbors, persecution of Jews)."

    All countries at the time were willing to use force to extend their borders. Like the Czechs in 1918-19 against Hungary (including ethnically Hungarian areas), in 1920 against Poland
     
    1918-1920 were chaotic times due to empires falling apart and no definitive borders existing. By the 1930s there was supposed to be stability and no more wars. Nazis were focused on returning to violence and chaos.

    Poland used force roughly the same time to expand both eastwards and westwards, against Germany and Soviet Russia (though they finally cut a deal with the latter to cut out both White Russians and Ukrainian nationalists), this included military occupation of an ethnically German city, Danzig.
     
    See above. Empires fell apart, borders were rearranged. Czechs were wrong to grab some ethnic Polish territory, Poles wrong to grab some ethnic Ukrainian territory during such times.

    As for Germans - they had divided Poland and occupied large parts of it.

    By the way I don’t find it convincing that Latvians have the right to separatism but Sudeten Germans don’t. Either both or neither, methinks.
     
    There were differences.

    Latvia - only country for Latvians. Germans, on the other hand, already had their own country. As well as Austria.

    Latvians - indigenous to Latvia. Germans - invited by Bohemian kings to settle in Sudetenland (albeit in the 13th century), "guests" who then took the lands their ancestors had been allowed to settle in.

    It’s well known that Hitler played it down in the early 1930s to get electoral credibility (the voters weren’t all that enthusiastic about Jew-baiting),
     
    Der Sturmer, published since the 1920s, was openly and violently antisemitic. Otto Frank recalled "I can remember that as early as 1932, groups of Storm Troopers came marching by singing: "When Jewish blood splatters from the knife ."

    Nobody would have expected industrial-scale genocide, but I don't think the Germans had illusions about Nazis wanting to harm Jews.

    1918-1920 were chaotic times due to empires falling apart and no definitive borders existing. By the 1930s there was supposed to be stability and no more wars.

    Maybe it’s because I’m from a country which lost two world wars, but your logic is a bit of “let’s not bicker and argue about who killed who…”

    So Germans were supposed to just accept the results of the previous war forever and ever. “I took your land, but now let’s be peaceful and let me keep my loot. See, I only want peace!”

    Sorry, history doesn’t work that way. By the way even the winners understood that, which is why they were prepared to make concessions. Unfortunately Hitler was not interested in a peaceful solution, but this was not something most people anticipated. He proved less reasonable than either the German people or statesmen like Chamberlain or even Stalin had anticipated.

    looks like in Latvia in 1917 there weren’t other options

    You conveniently ignore their role in fighting for the Bolsheviks in large numbers. Again, the point is not to thrash the Latvians, only to put German behavior in context.

    Latvia – only country for Latvians. Germans, on the other hand, already had their own country. As well as Austria.

    There were more Sudeten Germans than Latvians and Estonians put together. Why is it okay for Czechs to lord over Germans almost half their number?

    Latvians – indigenous to Latvia. Germans – invited by Bohemian kings to settle in Sudetenland (albeit in the 13th century), “guests” who then took the lands their ancestors had been allowed to settle in.

    This is a ridiculous argument. Even setting aside the matter that you are going back six centuries to prove some legitimacy (before that those lands had been largely uninhabited), the Bohemian king in 1918 was Charles III, also known as the Emperor Karl of Austria. After his abdication, why would some of his subjects (the Sudeten Germans) owe some loyalty to some other subjects (the Czechs)? Why not the other way around?

    Der Sturmer, published since the 1920s, was openly and violently antisemitic. Otto Frank recalled “I can remember that as early as 1932, groups of Storm Troopers came marching by singing: “When Jewish blood splatters from the knife .”

    No one expected Streicher or the riff-raff in the SA to hold much political power. They were correct to think that these elements will be sidelined, useful tools for the smarter types like Hitler, Goebbels and others. What was unexpected was that Hitler himself held largely the exact same views as those hicks in the SA.

    Nobody would have expected industrial-scale genocide, but I don’t think the Germans had illusions about Nazis wanting to harm Jews.

    As I wrote, Nazi voters mostly expected at worst (in terms of violence) and at best (in terms of Nazi success Making Germany Great Again) what happened up until 1938. They didn’t anticipate anti-Jewish measures to go beyond the level of the 1933 events, and even committed anti-Semites thought that the Jewish Question had been solved by spring 1934. You are appealing to early 21st century sensibilities, forgetting about then normal racial laws elsewhere (including in established democracies like the USA or the British colonial empire), or that this is not a firmly anti-racist site. Some discrimination against some groups of citizens is not the greatest evil ever.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    What was unexpected was that Hitler himself held largely the exact same views as those hicks in the SA.
     
    Actually, Hitler’s views were worse than those of the SA hicks. The latter wanted to kill some Jews and loot their possessions, but didn’t think much of a Europe-wide organized project of mass extermination. Nor, for the matter, of a utopian project of conquering Europe and then, after an orgy of mass murder of previously unseen proportions, creating a racially pure thousand year empire. The hicks would have been content with some pogroms at home.
    , @iffen
    No one expected Streicher or the riff-raff in the SA to hold much political power. They were correct to think that these elements will be sidelined, useful tools for the smarter types

    Didn't the normal right think that they were the smarter ones and would be able to use Hitler and weaken the power of the already dysfunctional parliament? Wasn't Germany in the umpteenth year of Presidential rule, and this in a country late to unification and parliamentary rule?

    , @AP

    Maybe it’s because I’m from a country which lost two world wars, but your logic is a bit of “let’s not bicker and argue about who killed who…”

    So Germans were supposed to just accept the results of the previous war forever and ever. “I took your land, but now let’s be peaceful and let me keep my loot. See, I only want peace!
     
    Most decent people believed that the World War was horrific and that such things ought to never be repeated. 1918-1920 was the tail end of the world war. Events in the late 1930s were something new.

    "looks like in Latvia in 1917 there weren’t other options"

    You conveniently ignore their role in fighting for the Bolsheviks in large numbers. Again, the point is not to thrash the Latvians, only to put German behavior in context.
     
    Again, for whatever reason, in 1917 the only choice for Latvians who wanted independence and an end to a war that cost them 10,000s of lives were the Bolsheviks. Freedom for them meant supporting a regime that was evil for Russians, Ukrainians, and everyone else.

    Germans, OTOH, had choices other than Nazis. But they chose Nazis.

    "Latvia – only country for Latvians. Germans, on the other hand, already had their own country. As well as Austria."

    There were more Sudeten Germans than Latvians and Estonians put together. Why is it okay for Czechs to lord over Germans almost half their number?
     
    Sudeten Germans were granted some minority rights. Those who wished to live in a purely German state had two options to move to. Latvians did not - Latvia was their only country. This makes the situations of Latvians wanting their own country on their own native lands different from Germans merely wanting to expand German territory onto areas where they live.

    "Latvians – indigenous to Latvia. Germans – invited by Bohemian kings to settle in Sudetenland (albeit in the 13th century), “guests” who then took the lands their ancestors had been allowed to settle in."

    This is a ridiculous argument. Even setting aside the matter that you are going back six centuries to prove some legitimacy (before that those lands had been largely uninhabited), the Bohemian king in 1918 was Charles III, also known as the Emperor Karl of Austria
     
    1. So do you think that Germany had legitimate claim on lands in Hungary, Transylvania, or Russia where German settlers were allowed to settle centuries ago? Would Amish lands in the USA be legitimate German targets too?

    2. It was Charles I, and of course he was also the legitimate king of Hungary. But since he was removed, we have the historical territories left. Sudetenland was historical Bohemia, ruled from Prague, and the Germans there were descendants of settlers invited and allowed to settle by Bohemian kings. They were not natives. They were like German Saxons who came to the Balkans or Germans in the Volga.

    No one expected Streicher or the riff-raff in the SA to hold much political power. They were correct to think that these elements will be sidelined, useful tools for the smarter types like Hitler, Goebbels and others.
     
    SA and Streicher were very high-profile Nazis. Germans could have voted for the center-right Catholic Party or the non-Nazi German Nationalist Party. But Germans voted specifically for the party with the high-profile SA thugs. Violence was thus acceptable for German voters (though death camps were neither expected nor desired). And Mein Kampf was a popular book - antisemitism of Hitler was clear.
    , @Art Deco
    So Germans were supposed to just accept the results of the previous war forever and ever. “I took your land, but now let’s be peaceful and let me keep my loot. See, I only want peace!”

    By the end of 1938, the Germans had for 19 years succeeded in stiffing the Allies on the reparations, had secured the effective abrogation of provisions in the Treaty of Versailles mandating German disarmament, and had acquired every piece of Germanophone territory in Europe it would have been practical to acquire and hold bar the border municipalities in South Tyrol (held by their Italian ally), Danzig (a de facto dependency of Germany from 1935 onward) and Memelland (which was seized by Germany in March 1939 without incident). These had in sum a resident population of about 800,000 or so. The productive capacity of the former German dependencies in Africa and the Pacific wasn't much and these territories had proved impossible to hold on to when push came to shove (several had fallen to local powers - South Africa, Australia, Japan, China - and another fell to Britain and France before the end of 1914). Why go to war in 1939? It wasn't to get back what was Germany's, but to acquire agricultural land, colonize it with Germans, and slaughter the Slavs who actually lived there.
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  114. @reiner Tor

    1918-1920 were chaotic times due to empires falling apart and no definitive borders existing. By the 1930s there was supposed to be stability and no more wars.
     
    Maybe it’s because I’m from a country which lost two world wars, but your logic is a bit of “let’s not bicker and argue about who killed who...”

    So Germans were supposed to just accept the results of the previous war forever and ever. “I took your land, but now let’s be peaceful and let me keep my loot. See, I only want peace!”

    Sorry, history doesn’t work that way. By the way even the winners understood that, which is why they were prepared to make concessions. Unfortunately Hitler was not interested in a peaceful solution, but this was not something most people anticipated. He proved less reasonable than either the German people or statesmen like Chamberlain or even Stalin had anticipated.


    looks like in Latvia in 1917 there weren’t other options
     
    You conveniently ignore their role in fighting for the Bolsheviks in large numbers. Again, the point is not to thrash the Latvians, only to put German behavior in context.

    Latvia – only country for Latvians. Germans, on the other hand, already had their own country. As well as Austria.
     
    There were more Sudeten Germans than Latvians and Estonians put together. Why is it okay for Czechs to lord over Germans almost half their number?

    Latvians – indigenous to Latvia. Germans – invited by Bohemian kings to settle in Sudetenland (albeit in the 13th century), “guests” who then took the lands their ancestors had been allowed to settle in.
     
    This is a ridiculous argument. Even setting aside the matter that you are going back six centuries to prove some legitimacy (before that those lands had been largely uninhabited), the Bohemian king in 1918 was Charles III, also known as the Emperor Karl of Austria. After his abdication, why would some of his subjects (the Sudeten Germans) owe some loyalty to some other subjects (the Czechs)? Why not the other way around?

    Der Sturmer, published since the 1920s, was openly and violently antisemitic. Otto Frank recalled “I can remember that as early as 1932, groups of Storm Troopers came marching by singing: “When Jewish blood splatters from the knife .”
     
    No one expected Streicher or the riff-raff in the SA to hold much political power. They were correct to think that these elements will be sidelined, useful tools for the smarter types like Hitler, Goebbels and others. What was unexpected was that Hitler himself held largely the exact same views as those hicks in the SA.

    Nobody would have expected industrial-scale genocide, but I don’t think the Germans had illusions about Nazis wanting to harm Jews.
     
    As I wrote, Nazi voters mostly expected at worst (in terms of violence) and at best (in terms of Nazi success Making Germany Great Again) what happened up until 1938. They didn’t anticipate anti-Jewish measures to go beyond the level of the 1933 events, and even committed anti-Semites thought that the Jewish Question had been solved by spring 1934. You are appealing to early 21st century sensibilities, forgetting about then normal racial laws elsewhere (including in established democracies like the USA or the British colonial empire), or that this is not a firmly anti-racist site. Some discrimination against some groups of citizens is not the greatest evil ever.

    What was unexpected was that Hitler himself held largely the exact same views as those hicks in the SA.

    Actually, Hitler’s views were worse than those of the SA hicks. The latter wanted to kill some Jews and loot their possessions, but didn’t think much of a Europe-wide organized project of mass extermination. Nor, for the matter, of a utopian project of conquering Europe and then, after an orgy of mass murder of previously unseen proportions, creating a racially pure thousand year empire. The hicks would have been content with some pogroms at home.

    Read More
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  115. iffen says:
    @reiner Tor

    1918-1920 were chaotic times due to empires falling apart and no definitive borders existing. By the 1930s there was supposed to be stability and no more wars.
     
    Maybe it’s because I’m from a country which lost two world wars, but your logic is a bit of “let’s not bicker and argue about who killed who...”

    So Germans were supposed to just accept the results of the previous war forever and ever. “I took your land, but now let’s be peaceful and let me keep my loot. See, I only want peace!”

    Sorry, history doesn’t work that way. By the way even the winners understood that, which is why they were prepared to make concessions. Unfortunately Hitler was not interested in a peaceful solution, but this was not something most people anticipated. He proved less reasonable than either the German people or statesmen like Chamberlain or even Stalin had anticipated.


    looks like in Latvia in 1917 there weren’t other options
     
    You conveniently ignore their role in fighting for the Bolsheviks in large numbers. Again, the point is not to thrash the Latvians, only to put German behavior in context.

    Latvia – only country for Latvians. Germans, on the other hand, already had their own country. As well as Austria.
     
    There were more Sudeten Germans than Latvians and Estonians put together. Why is it okay for Czechs to lord over Germans almost half their number?

    Latvians – indigenous to Latvia. Germans – invited by Bohemian kings to settle in Sudetenland (albeit in the 13th century), “guests” who then took the lands their ancestors had been allowed to settle in.
     
    This is a ridiculous argument. Even setting aside the matter that you are going back six centuries to prove some legitimacy (before that those lands had been largely uninhabited), the Bohemian king in 1918 was Charles III, also known as the Emperor Karl of Austria. After his abdication, why would some of his subjects (the Sudeten Germans) owe some loyalty to some other subjects (the Czechs)? Why not the other way around?

    Der Sturmer, published since the 1920s, was openly and violently antisemitic. Otto Frank recalled “I can remember that as early as 1932, groups of Storm Troopers came marching by singing: “When Jewish blood splatters from the knife .”
     
    No one expected Streicher or the riff-raff in the SA to hold much political power. They were correct to think that these elements will be sidelined, useful tools for the smarter types like Hitler, Goebbels and others. What was unexpected was that Hitler himself held largely the exact same views as those hicks in the SA.

    Nobody would have expected industrial-scale genocide, but I don’t think the Germans had illusions about Nazis wanting to harm Jews.
     
    As I wrote, Nazi voters mostly expected at worst (in terms of violence) and at best (in terms of Nazi success Making Germany Great Again) what happened up until 1938. They didn’t anticipate anti-Jewish measures to go beyond the level of the 1933 events, and even committed anti-Semites thought that the Jewish Question had been solved by spring 1934. You are appealing to early 21st century sensibilities, forgetting about then normal racial laws elsewhere (including in established democracies like the USA or the British colonial empire), or that this is not a firmly anti-racist site. Some discrimination against some groups of citizens is not the greatest evil ever.

    No one expected Streicher or the riff-raff in the SA to hold much political power. They were correct to think that these elements will be sidelined, useful tools for the smarter types

    Didn’t the normal right think that they were the smarter ones and would be able to use Hitler and weaken the power of the already dysfunctional parliament? Wasn’t Germany in the umpteenth year of Presidential rule, and this in a country late to unification and parliamentary rule?

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    That's true, but I was talking from the point of view of the average German Nazi voter or Hitler supporter.
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  116. @iffen
    No one expected Streicher or the riff-raff in the SA to hold much political power. They were correct to think that these elements will be sidelined, useful tools for the smarter types

    Didn't the normal right think that they were the smarter ones and would be able to use Hitler and weaken the power of the already dysfunctional parliament? Wasn't Germany in the umpteenth year of Presidential rule, and this in a country late to unification and parliamentary rule?

    That’s true, but I was talking from the point of view of the average German Nazi voter or Hitler supporter.

    Read More
    • Replies: @AP
    I don't know how representative it is of all Nazi voters, but I know a family of normal Nazi voters from East Prussia who moved to America in the late 1940s, which kept their attitudes intact (unlike those who remained). They had a treasured copy of Mein Kampf and some Nazi stuff in their house. They were fine with the persecution and lynching of Jews and invasion Poland, but obviously thought that invading the USSR was a horrible mistake.
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  117. AP says:
    @reiner Tor
    That's true, but I was talking from the point of view of the average German Nazi voter or Hitler supporter.

    I don’t know how representative it is of all Nazi voters, but I know a family of normal Nazi voters from East Prussia who moved to America in the late 1940s, which kept their attitudes intact (unlike those who remained). They had a treasured copy of Mein Kampf and some Nazi stuff in their house. They were fine with the persecution and lynching of Jews and invasion Poland, but obviously thought that invading the USSR was a horrible mistake.

    Read More
    • Replies: @iffen
    I don’t know how representative it is of all Nazi voters

    You seem to be extremely dedicated in your insistence that every German who voted for the NS was a rubber boots type Nazi.

    Much like some today insist that every Trump voter is a neo-Nazi.
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  118. AP says:
    @reiner Tor

    1918-1920 were chaotic times due to empires falling apart and no definitive borders existing. By the 1930s there was supposed to be stability and no more wars.
     
    Maybe it’s because I’m from a country which lost two world wars, but your logic is a bit of “let’s not bicker and argue about who killed who...”

    So Germans were supposed to just accept the results of the previous war forever and ever. “I took your land, but now let’s be peaceful and let me keep my loot. See, I only want peace!”

    Sorry, history doesn’t work that way. By the way even the winners understood that, which is why they were prepared to make concessions. Unfortunately Hitler was not interested in a peaceful solution, but this was not something most people anticipated. He proved less reasonable than either the German people or statesmen like Chamberlain or even Stalin had anticipated.


    looks like in Latvia in 1917 there weren’t other options
     
    You conveniently ignore their role in fighting for the Bolsheviks in large numbers. Again, the point is not to thrash the Latvians, only to put German behavior in context.

    Latvia – only country for Latvians. Germans, on the other hand, already had their own country. As well as Austria.
     
    There were more Sudeten Germans than Latvians and Estonians put together. Why is it okay for Czechs to lord over Germans almost half their number?

    Latvians – indigenous to Latvia. Germans – invited by Bohemian kings to settle in Sudetenland (albeit in the 13th century), “guests” who then took the lands their ancestors had been allowed to settle in.
     
    This is a ridiculous argument. Even setting aside the matter that you are going back six centuries to prove some legitimacy (before that those lands had been largely uninhabited), the Bohemian king in 1918 was Charles III, also known as the Emperor Karl of Austria. After his abdication, why would some of his subjects (the Sudeten Germans) owe some loyalty to some other subjects (the Czechs)? Why not the other way around?

    Der Sturmer, published since the 1920s, was openly and violently antisemitic. Otto Frank recalled “I can remember that as early as 1932, groups of Storm Troopers came marching by singing: “When Jewish blood splatters from the knife .”
     
    No one expected Streicher or the riff-raff in the SA to hold much political power. They were correct to think that these elements will be sidelined, useful tools for the smarter types like Hitler, Goebbels and others. What was unexpected was that Hitler himself held largely the exact same views as those hicks in the SA.

    Nobody would have expected industrial-scale genocide, but I don’t think the Germans had illusions about Nazis wanting to harm Jews.
     
    As I wrote, Nazi voters mostly expected at worst (in terms of violence) and at best (in terms of Nazi success Making Germany Great Again) what happened up until 1938. They didn’t anticipate anti-Jewish measures to go beyond the level of the 1933 events, and even committed anti-Semites thought that the Jewish Question had been solved by spring 1934. You are appealing to early 21st century sensibilities, forgetting about then normal racial laws elsewhere (including in established democracies like the USA or the British colonial empire), or that this is not a firmly anti-racist site. Some discrimination against some groups of citizens is not the greatest evil ever.

    Maybe it’s because I’m from a country which lost two world wars, but your logic is a bit of “let’s not bicker and argue about who killed who…”

    So Germans were supposed to just accept the results of the previous war forever and ever. “I took your land, but now let’s be peaceful and let me keep my loot. See, I only want peace!

    Most decent people believed that the World War was horrific and that such things ought to never be repeated. 1918-1920 was the tail end of the world war. Events in the late 1930s were something new.

    “looks like in Latvia in 1917 there weren’t other options”

    You conveniently ignore their role in fighting for the Bolsheviks in large numbers. Again, the point is not to thrash the Latvians, only to put German behavior in context.

    Again, for whatever reason, in 1917 the only choice for Latvians who wanted independence and an end to a war that cost them 10,000s of lives were the Bolsheviks. Freedom for them meant supporting a regime that was evil for Russians, Ukrainians, and everyone else.

    Germans, OTOH, had choices other than Nazis. But they chose Nazis.

    “Latvia – only country for Latvians. Germans, on the other hand, already had their own country. As well as Austria.”

    There were more Sudeten Germans than Latvians and Estonians put together. Why is it okay for Czechs to lord over Germans almost half their number?

    Sudeten Germans were granted some minority rights. Those who wished to live in a purely German state had two options to move to. Latvians did not – Latvia was their only country. This makes the situations of Latvians wanting their own country on their own native lands different from Germans merely wanting to expand German territory onto areas where they live.

    “Latvians – indigenous to Latvia. Germans – invited by Bohemian kings to settle in Sudetenland (albeit in the 13th century), “guests” who then took the lands their ancestors had been allowed to settle in.”

    This is a ridiculous argument. Even setting aside the matter that you are going back six centuries to prove some legitimacy (before that those lands had been largely uninhabited), the Bohemian king in 1918 was Charles III, also known as the Emperor Karl of Austria

    1. So do you think that Germany had legitimate claim on lands in Hungary, Transylvania, or Russia where German settlers were allowed to settle centuries ago? Would Amish lands in the USA be legitimate German targets too?

    2. It was Charles I, and of course he was also the legitimate king of Hungary. But since he was removed, we have the historical territories left. Sudetenland was historical Bohemia, ruled from Prague, and the Germans there were descendants of settlers invited and allowed to settle by Bohemian kings. They were not natives. They were like German Saxons who came to the Balkans or Germans in the Volga.

    No one expected Streicher or the riff-raff in the SA to hold much political power. They were correct to think that these elements will be sidelined, useful tools for the smarter types like Hitler, Goebbels and others.

    SA and Streicher were very high-profile Nazis. Germans could have voted for the center-right Catholic Party or the non-Nazi German Nationalist Party. But Germans voted specifically for the party with the high-profile SA thugs. Violence was thus acceptable for German voters (though death camps were neither expected nor desired). And Mein Kampf was a popular book – antisemitism of Hitler was clear.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Art Deco
    Germans could have voted for the center-right Catholic Party or the non-Nazi German Nationalist Party. But Germans voted specifically for the party with the high-profile SA thugs.

    Someone might offer as a defense that the German People's Party and the Catholic Centre Party and it's Bavarian affiliate were implicated in the mismanagement of public affairs between 1918 and 1933. Re the National People's Party, they held no seats in the cabinet for about 80% of that period and they were not participants in the ministries which held office during the Republic's initial months (which included political violence, wretched uncertainty, and the imposition of the Versailles Treaty), during the hyperinflation of 1922-23, or during the economic implosion of 1929-32. They were simply not implicated in the mess in any overt way. The support for the party at the polls actually declined during the period running from 1929 to 1933.

    , @reiner Tor
    Sorry, this was meant as a reply.

    Just one more point. I read it several places that right behind the frontline the peasants always supported the Bolsheviks, because they were afraid that whites would take the land they took from the landlords or the Church. I think Orlando Figes mentioned that the election results were not to be taken seriously, because the peasants didn’t understand the difference between the Bolsheviks and the SRs. They wanted land reform immediately by simply taking the land from the landlords etc., which was the Bolshevik (and “left SR”) position. The (right) SRs wanted to make a new law, which didn’t suit the peasants because it took so long. Same thing with the peace: the SRs wanted negotiations etc. At the end of the day, the peasants wanted the immediate program of the Bolsheviks. This was the reason why the nominally more popular SRs never became an important player in the civil war: their constituency deserted them for the Bolsheviks.

    So it's not necessarily meaningful to just look at how much votes one party or another received.

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  119. iffen says:
    @AP
    I don't know how representative it is of all Nazi voters, but I know a family of normal Nazi voters from East Prussia who moved to America in the late 1940s, which kept their attitudes intact (unlike those who remained). They had a treasured copy of Mein Kampf and some Nazi stuff in their house. They were fine with the persecution and lynching of Jews and invasion Poland, but obviously thought that invading the USSR was a horrible mistake.

    I don’t know how representative it is of all Nazi voters

    You seem to be extremely dedicated in your insistence that every German who voted for the NS was a rubber boots type Nazi.

    Much like some today insist that every Trump voter is a neo-Nazi.

    Read More
    • Replies: @AP

    You seem to be extremely dedicated in your insistence that every German who voted for the NS was a rubber boots type Nazi.
     
    Probably most. Germany had numerous political parties, thus somebody voting for the Nazis was probably supportive of many Nazi policies.

    Much like some today insist that every Trump voter is a neo-Nazi.
     
    1. Trump, himself, is no neo-Nazi.

    2. America has only two political parties so there are all sorts of reasons to vote for Trump, rather than for Hillary. Nazi voters were probably much more similar to each other and more supportive of the Nazi program than were Trump voters similar to each other, or supporters of Trump's program.

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  120. 5371 says:
    @Seraphim
    Nearly! If!
    But it did not happen. Germans had 'nearly' not enough troops on the Western Front to exploit the initial success because they had to be kept in Ukraine to ensure the supply of food.
    What stopped the war was not the lack of nerve of Ludendorff, but the revolution in Germany (to which a big contribution was brought by the returned POW from Russia, thoroughly 'bolshevized'.

    No, lack of numbers wasn’t the problem in exploiting an initial success – it never had been for any side, throughout the war. The revolution only started after Ludendorff had made a public demand for immediate peace at any price.
    Because the outcome of WW2 couldn’t have been different once all the major participants were involved, there’s a tendency to assume the same of WW1. Wrongly so.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Seraphim
    The German offensives were defeated because the troops were exhausted and the reserves and supplies of food (which had to come from Ukraine) were no longer sufficient. A million troops remained immobilized in the East. According to Douglas Haig and General Mangin, only a few cavalry divisions were necessary to widen the gap between the French and the British, but they were kept back to 'stabilize' the volatile situation in Ukraine.
    In August 1918 Germans were squarely looking defeat in the face. In the East the troops became so 'rotten with bolshevism' that the High Command did not dare to move them to the West, where after the failure to stop the Allied offensive, the defeatist propaganda started to make significant inroads. It was the defeat in the field that destroyed the morale of the western armies and made them receptive to revolutionary propaganda. On the 30th of September the Soviet Govt denounced the treaty with Turkey. Ludendorff realized the utter failure of his 'Napoleonic complex' and convinced the new Chancellor, Prince Max von Baden, to sue for peace on the 4th of October. It was no a 'lack of nerve', it was the clear realization that it was over.
    The warnings of Bismark came back with a vengeance. Hitler, by letting himself be fooled by the Ludendorff propaganda of the 'stab in the back' repeated the same mistake against which Bismark warned.
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  121. Art Deco says:
    @reiner Tor

    1918-1920 were chaotic times due to empires falling apart and no definitive borders existing. By the 1930s there was supposed to be stability and no more wars.
     
    Maybe it’s because I’m from a country which lost two world wars, but your logic is a bit of “let’s not bicker and argue about who killed who...”

    So Germans were supposed to just accept the results of the previous war forever and ever. “I took your land, but now let’s be peaceful and let me keep my loot. See, I only want peace!”

    Sorry, history doesn’t work that way. By the way even the winners understood that, which is why they were prepared to make concessions. Unfortunately Hitler was not interested in a peaceful solution, but this was not something most people anticipated. He proved less reasonable than either the German people or statesmen like Chamberlain or even Stalin had anticipated.


    looks like in Latvia in 1917 there weren’t other options
     
    You conveniently ignore their role in fighting for the Bolsheviks in large numbers. Again, the point is not to thrash the Latvians, only to put German behavior in context.

    Latvia – only country for Latvians. Germans, on the other hand, already had their own country. As well as Austria.
     
    There were more Sudeten Germans than Latvians and Estonians put together. Why is it okay for Czechs to lord over Germans almost half their number?

    Latvians – indigenous to Latvia. Germans – invited by Bohemian kings to settle in Sudetenland (albeit in the 13th century), “guests” who then took the lands their ancestors had been allowed to settle in.
     
    This is a ridiculous argument. Even setting aside the matter that you are going back six centuries to prove some legitimacy (before that those lands had been largely uninhabited), the Bohemian king in 1918 was Charles III, also known as the Emperor Karl of Austria. After his abdication, why would some of his subjects (the Sudeten Germans) owe some loyalty to some other subjects (the Czechs)? Why not the other way around?

    Der Sturmer, published since the 1920s, was openly and violently antisemitic. Otto Frank recalled “I can remember that as early as 1932, groups of Storm Troopers came marching by singing: “When Jewish blood splatters from the knife .”
     
    No one expected Streicher or the riff-raff in the SA to hold much political power. They were correct to think that these elements will be sidelined, useful tools for the smarter types like Hitler, Goebbels and others. What was unexpected was that Hitler himself held largely the exact same views as those hicks in the SA.

    Nobody would have expected industrial-scale genocide, but I don’t think the Germans had illusions about Nazis wanting to harm Jews.
     
    As I wrote, Nazi voters mostly expected at worst (in terms of violence) and at best (in terms of Nazi success Making Germany Great Again) what happened up until 1938. They didn’t anticipate anti-Jewish measures to go beyond the level of the 1933 events, and even committed anti-Semites thought that the Jewish Question had been solved by spring 1934. You are appealing to early 21st century sensibilities, forgetting about then normal racial laws elsewhere (including in established democracies like the USA or the British colonial empire), or that this is not a firmly anti-racist site. Some discrimination against some groups of citizens is not the greatest evil ever.

    So Germans were supposed to just accept the results of the previous war forever and ever. “I took your land, but now let’s be peaceful and let me keep my loot. See, I only want peace!”

    By the end of 1938, the Germans had for 19 years succeeded in stiffing the Allies on the reparations, had secured the effective abrogation of provisions in the Treaty of Versailles mandating German disarmament, and had acquired every piece of Germanophone territory in Europe it would have been practical to acquire and hold bar the border municipalities in South Tyrol (held by their Italian ally), Danzig (a de facto dependency of Germany from 1935 onward) and Memelland (which was seized by Germany in March 1939 without incident). These had in sum a resident population of about 800,000 or so. The productive capacity of the former German dependencies in Africa and the Pacific wasn’t much and these territories had proved impossible to hold on to when push came to shove (several had fallen to local powers – South Africa, Australia, Japan, China – and another fell to Britain and France before the end of 1914). Why go to war in 1939? It wasn’t to get back what was Germany’s, but to acquire agricultural land, colonize it with Germans, and slaughter the Slavs who actually lived there.

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  122. AP says:
    @iffen
    I don’t know how representative it is of all Nazi voters

    You seem to be extremely dedicated in your insistence that every German who voted for the NS was a rubber boots type Nazi.

    Much like some today insist that every Trump voter is a neo-Nazi.

    You seem to be extremely dedicated in your insistence that every German who voted for the NS was a rubber boots type Nazi.

    Probably most. Germany had numerous political parties, thus somebody voting for the Nazis was probably supportive of many Nazi policies.

    Much like some today insist that every Trump voter is a neo-Nazi.

    1. Trump, himself, is no neo-Nazi.

    2. America has only two political parties so there are all sorts of reasons to vote for Trump, rather than for Hillary. Nazi voters were probably much more similar to each other and more supportive of the Nazi program than were Trump voters similar to each other, or supporters of Trump’s program.

    Read More
    • Replies: @iffen

    every German who voted for the NS was a rubber boots type Nazi.
     
    Probably most. Germany had numerous political parties, thus somebody voting for the Nazis was probably supportive of many Nazi policies.

    Supporters of Nazi policies in 1934, not 1941, as it has been discussed here, few people could have fully understood what the Nazis were going to do.

    Anti-Semitism and Jew-hating was the norm and not just in Germany. With the appearance of the right politician, Nazism could have taken over other European countries. Look how quickly Nazi groups sprang into existence in the conquered countries. There was nothing “wrong” with Germans that allowed this to happen. The anti-Semitic groups and publications throughout Europe were too numerous to count. The Nazis may not have even been the most virulent anti-Semites. No doubt many, if not most ,thought a good pogrom was needed now and then to keep the Jews in line, but that is not the same as complete genocide.

    1. Trump, himself, is no neo-Nazi.

    I wasn’t talking about Trump. I was comparing the MSM portrayal of Trump voters to your portrayal of German voters.

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  123. Art Deco says:
    @AP

    Maybe it’s because I’m from a country which lost two world wars, but your logic is a bit of “let’s not bicker and argue about who killed who…”

    So Germans were supposed to just accept the results of the previous war forever and ever. “I took your land, but now let’s be peaceful and let me keep my loot. See, I only want peace!
     
    Most decent people believed that the World War was horrific and that such things ought to never be repeated. 1918-1920 was the tail end of the world war. Events in the late 1930s were something new.

    "looks like in Latvia in 1917 there weren’t other options"

    You conveniently ignore their role in fighting for the Bolsheviks in large numbers. Again, the point is not to thrash the Latvians, only to put German behavior in context.
     
    Again, for whatever reason, in 1917 the only choice for Latvians who wanted independence and an end to a war that cost them 10,000s of lives were the Bolsheviks. Freedom for them meant supporting a regime that was evil for Russians, Ukrainians, and everyone else.

    Germans, OTOH, had choices other than Nazis. But they chose Nazis.

    "Latvia – only country for Latvians. Germans, on the other hand, already had their own country. As well as Austria."

    There were more Sudeten Germans than Latvians and Estonians put together. Why is it okay for Czechs to lord over Germans almost half their number?
     
    Sudeten Germans were granted some minority rights. Those who wished to live in a purely German state had two options to move to. Latvians did not - Latvia was their only country. This makes the situations of Latvians wanting their own country on their own native lands different from Germans merely wanting to expand German territory onto areas where they live.

    "Latvians – indigenous to Latvia. Germans – invited by Bohemian kings to settle in Sudetenland (albeit in the 13th century), “guests” who then took the lands their ancestors had been allowed to settle in."

    This is a ridiculous argument. Even setting aside the matter that you are going back six centuries to prove some legitimacy (before that those lands had been largely uninhabited), the Bohemian king in 1918 was Charles III, also known as the Emperor Karl of Austria
     
    1. So do you think that Germany had legitimate claim on lands in Hungary, Transylvania, or Russia where German settlers were allowed to settle centuries ago? Would Amish lands in the USA be legitimate German targets too?

    2. It was Charles I, and of course he was also the legitimate king of Hungary. But since he was removed, we have the historical territories left. Sudetenland was historical Bohemia, ruled from Prague, and the Germans there were descendants of settlers invited and allowed to settle by Bohemian kings. They were not natives. They were like German Saxons who came to the Balkans or Germans in the Volga.

    No one expected Streicher or the riff-raff in the SA to hold much political power. They were correct to think that these elements will be sidelined, useful tools for the smarter types like Hitler, Goebbels and others.
     
    SA and Streicher were very high-profile Nazis. Germans could have voted for the center-right Catholic Party or the non-Nazi German Nationalist Party. But Germans voted specifically for the party with the high-profile SA thugs. Violence was thus acceptable for German voters (though death camps were neither expected nor desired). And Mein Kampf was a popular book - antisemitism of Hitler was clear.

    Germans could have voted for the center-right Catholic Party or the non-Nazi German Nationalist Party. But Germans voted specifically for the party with the high-profile SA thugs.

    Someone might offer as a defense that the German People’s Party and the Catholic Centre Party and it’s Bavarian affiliate were implicated in the mismanagement of public affairs between 1918 and 1933. Re the National People’s Party, they held no seats in the cabinet for about 80% of that period and they were not participants in the ministries which held office during the Republic’s initial months (which included political violence, wretched uncertainty, and the imposition of the Versailles Treaty), during the hyperinflation of 1922-23, or during the economic implosion of 1929-32. They were simply not implicated in the mess in any overt way. The support for the party at the polls actually declined during the period running from 1929 to 1933.

    Read More
    • Replies: @AP
    Good point. But still - they were willing to go with the party of the SA thugs because the other parties had done poorly while in government.
    , @Johann Ricke

    Why go to war in 1939? It wasn’t to get back what was Germany’s, but to acquire agricultural land, colonize it with Germans, and slaughter the Slavs who actually lived there.
     
    Conquering land wasn't some kind of original sin. What differentiated Nazi Germany from everyone else is most other empires generally try to incorporate the conquered peoples into their empire, both for economic and military reasons. More productive hands = an empire able to finance future expansion. More soldiers = a secure empire with the manpower for further conquests. It's not clear how much the German war effort suffered economically and militarily from Hitler's nutty eugenic extermination schemes, but it must have been substantial.
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  124. utu says:
    @reiner Tor

    As far as your comrade Stalin is concerned I do not think that in June 1941 he was in shape to give any orders as he was incommunicado and probably suffering a breakdown or a serious case of lost confidence thinking that the Politburo would have him deposed and executed. There is even a rumor that he saw a priest at that time.
     
    This is mostly confabulation spread initially by Khrushchev. Later uncovered documents (after 1990) show his signature on all significant orders during that critical period. The most significant dates June 22, and was issued in the evening. It is ordering the evacuation of all industrial or agricultural equipment or stocks, as well as all people whose expertise is in any way useful to the war effort. It also ordered restarting the evacuated enterprises far in the east, and started a scorched earth policy, to destroy anything which could not be evacuated. He ordered the murder of all NKVD prisoners about to fall into German hands on the same day.

    Stalin had a very long workday on the 22, and it didn’t get shorter for several days. Not everything he did was useful to the war effort. He went to the military headquarters and started yelling at all the people there accusing them of cowardice, incompetence, sabotage, and some witnesses said it was too much even for the otherwise hard Zhukov to bear, and tears appeared in his eyes. After that, Stalin realized he went too far, and told his entourage to leave and let the comrades do their work, and that their presence was not helpful. He told them “we fucked it up, what Lenin built, we fucked up.”

    The only basis in reality of Stalin’s disappearance is the fact that he didn’t want to announce the war on the 22, since he well understood that it showed a failure of his policies. Besides, I think on June 30 or July 1, he really did retire to his dacha, and told his bodyguards not to disturb him for a day. Since probably he slept just a few hours per day while working 14+ hours for over a week, he probably spent that time sleeping. But there’s something about him having a near nervous breakdown: he left for his dacha soon after news of the destruction of the Minsk pocket reached Moscow (I think that was the time of his incident at the military HQ), and he came to realize the situation was way more catastrophic than he had imagined. But it was also a realization he could not turn the war in a few days, and so needed to switch to a more sustainable schedule.

    Thanks for the comment. It seems we have much better account of daily whereabouts of Hitler than Stalin.

    Read More
    • Replies: @German_reader
    Some private enthusiast actually published a so-called itinerary (like what one does for medieval kings and the like) of Hitler a few years ago...covering Hitler's whole life in four massive volumes:
    https://www.amazon.de/Hitler-Itinerar-Aufenthaltsorte-Reisen-1889/dp/395723090X
    So yes, as far as that's possible, we probably do know where Hitler was on a specific day.
    , @reiner Tor
    They found Stalin's office visitors' diary. They know how much time he spent in his office during those days (a lot), who he met (the #1 visitor by far was Beria, spent several hours in his office every day, often with multiple visits, sometimes with others present, sometimes alone, sometimes only with aides from both of them), how much, etc.

    If that wasn't enough proof that he spent that fateful week working his ass off (he slept in his Kremlin apartment, but even so, he couldn't have had more than a few hours of sleep daily, since visitors stayed past midnight in his office, and early in the morning new visitors came in already), we have his signature on a number of documents from these days. Chris Bellamy in his book Absolute War mentions his most important order, which was issued already on June 22, about the evacuation and scorched earth policies. I think Richard Overy also mentions the myth of the Stalin drinking/having a nervous breakdown/disappearing/etc., but it's now standard history that it never happened.

    I also believed in the myth, but it's been dispelled since 1990 by historians who otherwise don't like Stalin much, for example Constantine Pleshakov in Stalin's Folly.

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  125. iffen says:
    @AP

    You seem to be extremely dedicated in your insistence that every German who voted for the NS was a rubber boots type Nazi.
     
    Probably most. Germany had numerous political parties, thus somebody voting for the Nazis was probably supportive of many Nazi policies.

    Much like some today insist that every Trump voter is a neo-Nazi.
     
    1. Trump, himself, is no neo-Nazi.

    2. America has only two political parties so there are all sorts of reasons to vote for Trump, rather than for Hillary. Nazi voters were probably much more similar to each other and more supportive of the Nazi program than were Trump voters similar to each other, or supporters of Trump's program.

    every German who voted for the NS was a rubber boots type Nazi.

    Probably most. Germany had numerous political parties, thus somebody voting for the Nazis was probably supportive of many Nazi policies.

    Supporters of Nazi policies in 1934, not 1941, as it has been discussed here, few people could have fully understood what the Nazis were going to do.

    Anti-Semitism and Jew-hating was the norm and not just in Germany. With the appearance of the right politician, Nazism could have taken over other European countries. Look how quickly Nazi groups sprang into existence in the conquered countries. There was nothing “wrong” with Germans that allowed this to happen. The anti-Semitic groups and publications throughout Europe were too numerous to count. The Nazis may not have even been the most virulent anti-Semites. No doubt many, if not most ,thought a good pogrom was needed now and then to keep the Jews in line, but that is not the same as complete genocide.

    1. Trump, himself, is no neo-Nazi.

    I wasn’t talking about Trump. I was comparing the MSM portrayal of Trump voters to your portrayal of German voters.

    Read More
    • Replies: @AP

    Probably most. Germany had numerous political parties, thus somebody voting for the Nazis was probably supportive of many Nazi policies.

    Supporters of Nazi policies in 1934, not 1941, as it has been discussed here, few people could have fully understood what the Nazis were going to do.
     
    So supporters of SA thugs, invading eastern neighbors (but not the USSR), occasional pogroms (but not genocide). I had already stated this.

    Anti-Semitism and Jew-hating was the norm and not just in Germany.
     
    Sure.

    My point was simply that the German people elected the Nazis, the Russian people did not elect the Bolsheviks.

    To the counterpoint that the Germans did not choose Nazi policies of the 1940s when they elected the Nazis in the early 1930s, I replied with a qualified yes - they chose a party of violent thugs and anti-Jewish pogromists willing to grab territory from immediate, eastern neighbors but not practitioners of industrial-scale genocide and total war against much of the world.

    Look how quickly Nazi groups sprang into existence in the conquered countries
     
    Commie groups also sprang up quickly when the Soviet tanks were on the ground. So?

    While fascism was pretty popular in 1930s Europe, Nazism was a uniquely German thing (perhaps Croatians were similar but I don't know details and wonder how many of those are Serb/Yugoslav exaggerations).

    There was nothing “wrong” with Germans that allowed this to happen.
     
    Something isn't "right" simply because it is commonplace. Many people around the world were starved to death by various commie regimes, it was still wrong.

    I wasn’t talking about Trump. I was comparing the MSM portrayal of Trump voters to your portrayal of German voters.
     
    Trump is no Hitler and his voters aren't Germans of the 1930's. Whether something I wrote reminds you of MSM treatment of Trump, or Ugandan media descriptions of Megabe, or whatever else is utterly irrelevant.
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  126. @utu
    Thanks for the comment. It seems we have much better account of daily whereabouts of Hitler than Stalin.

    Some private enthusiast actually published a so-called itinerary (like what one does for medieval kings and the like) of Hitler a few years ago…covering Hitler’s whole life in four massive volumes:

    https://www.amazon.de/Hitler-Itinerar-Aufenthaltsorte-Reisen-1889/dp/395723090X

    So yes, as far as that’s possible, we probably do know where Hitler was on a specific day.

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  127. @utu
    Thanks for the comment. It seems we have much better account of daily whereabouts of Hitler than Stalin.

    They found Stalin’s office visitors’ diary. They know how much time he spent in his office during those days (a lot), who he met (the #1 visitor by far was Beria, spent several hours in his office every day, often with multiple visits, sometimes with others present, sometimes alone, sometimes only with aides from both of them), how much, etc.

    If that wasn’t enough proof that he spent that fateful week working his ass off (he slept in his Kremlin apartment, but even so, he couldn’t have had more than a few hours of sleep daily, since visitors stayed past midnight in his office, and early in the morning new visitors came in already), we have his signature on a number of documents from these days. Chris Bellamy in his book Absolute War mentions his most important order, which was issued already on June 22, about the evacuation and scorched earth policies. I think Richard Overy also mentions the myth of the Stalin drinking/having a nervous breakdown/disappearing/etc., but it’s now standard history that it never happened.

    I also believed in the myth, but it’s been dispelled since 1990 by historians who otherwise don’t like Stalin much, for example Constantine Pleshakov in Stalin’s Folly.

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    • Replies: @German_reader
    Thanks, that's fascinating. I didn't know this view of Stalin disappearing for several days and having to be brought back by his party colleagues was a myth, since it can be found in quite recent literature; very interesting that there's nothing to it.
    Is that book by Pleshakov you mentioned any good apart from that? Or are there other books about the subject you'd recommend?
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  128. @reiner Tor
    They found Stalin's office visitors' diary. They know how much time he spent in his office during those days (a lot), who he met (the #1 visitor by far was Beria, spent several hours in his office every day, often with multiple visits, sometimes with others present, sometimes alone, sometimes only with aides from both of them), how much, etc.

    If that wasn't enough proof that he spent that fateful week working his ass off (he slept in his Kremlin apartment, but even so, he couldn't have had more than a few hours of sleep daily, since visitors stayed past midnight in his office, and early in the morning new visitors came in already), we have his signature on a number of documents from these days. Chris Bellamy in his book Absolute War mentions his most important order, which was issued already on June 22, about the evacuation and scorched earth policies. I think Richard Overy also mentions the myth of the Stalin drinking/having a nervous breakdown/disappearing/etc., but it's now standard history that it never happened.

    I also believed in the myth, but it's been dispelled since 1990 by historians who otherwise don't like Stalin much, for example Constantine Pleshakov in Stalin's Folly.

    Thanks, that’s fascinating. I didn’t know this view of Stalin disappearing for several days and having to be brought back by his party colleagues was a myth, since it can be found in quite recent literature; very interesting that there’s nothing to it.
    Is that book by Pleshakov you mentioned any good apart from that? Or are there other books about the subject you’d recommend?

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    I didn't like it. It's fiercely anti-Stalinist, too emotional and polemical for my taste, and with often questionable conclusions.

    Here's this.
    , @reiner Tor
    Actually, Stalin did disappear June 28-30, but it wasn't a real disappearance, since the Politburo members knew he was at his dacha. He was probably mostly sleeping, maybe having slept with his housekeeping lady (rumored to be his lover) after having worked a lot during the first week. The rest of the Politburo visited him on June 30, and they organized the State Defense Committee. After that he worked a lot even according to legend.
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  129. @German_reader
    Thanks, that's fascinating. I didn't know this view of Stalin disappearing for several days and having to be brought back by his party colleagues was a myth, since it can be found in quite recent literature; very interesting that there's nothing to it.
    Is that book by Pleshakov you mentioned any good apart from that? Or are there other books about the subject you'd recommend?

    I didn’t like it. It’s fiercely anti-Stalinist, too emotional and polemical for my taste, and with often questionable conclusions.

    Here’s this.

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    • Replies: @utu
    Thanks for the link. I found this to my liking:

    In fact, the main task assigned by the Soviet leadership to the partisans was not so much to fight the occupants but to carry out the political tasks assigned to them, ie to reinstate and uphold the authority of the Soviet government in the occupied territories. In the first years, most people killed by the partisans were Soviet civilians accused of being opposed to the Soviet system. Only in 1943 did the partisan movement begin to become a military force to count on.
     
    which is more or less what I suspected (see #105):

    I believe that the chief reason for the creation of partisans directed from Moscow was to turn Germans against the local population and eventually turn the local population against Germans. In this the partisan campaign was very successful while the hailed now their military accomplishments were negligible that did not shorten the war by a single day. But suffering and cost to the civilian population was tremendous.

     

    As always for Soviets solution to any problem was killing their own citizens.
    , @German_reader
    Ok, then I'm probably not going to read Pleshakov's book. Thanks for the link!
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  130. utu says:
    @reiner Tor
    I didn't like it. It's fiercely anti-Stalinist, too emotional and polemical for my taste, and with often questionable conclusions.

    Here's this.

    Thanks for the link. I found this to my liking:

    In fact, the main task assigned by the Soviet leadership to the partisans was not so much to fight the occupants but to carry out the political tasks assigned to them, ie to reinstate and uphold the authority of the Soviet government in the occupied territories. In the first years, most people killed by the partisans were Soviet civilians accused of being opposed to the Soviet system. Only in 1943 did the partisan movement begin to become a military force to count on.

    which is more or less what I suspected (see #105):

    I believe that the chief reason for the creation of partisans directed from Moscow was to turn Germans against the local population and eventually turn the local population against Germans. In this the partisan campaign was very successful while the hailed now their military accomplishments were negligible that did not shorten the war by a single day. But suffering and cost to the civilian population was tremendous.

    As always for Soviets solution to any problem was killing their own citizens.

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    • Agree: reiner Tor
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  131. @German_reader
    Thanks, that's fascinating. I didn't know this view of Stalin disappearing for several days and having to be brought back by his party colleagues was a myth, since it can be found in quite recent literature; very interesting that there's nothing to it.
    Is that book by Pleshakov you mentioned any good apart from that? Or are there other books about the subject you'd recommend?

    Actually, Stalin did disappear June 28-30, but it wasn’t a real disappearance, since the Politburo members knew he was at his dacha. He was probably mostly sleeping, maybe having slept with his housekeeping lady (rumored to be his lover) after having worked a lot during the first week. The rest of the Politburo visited him on June 30, and they organized the State Defense Committee. After that he worked a lot even according to legend.

    Read More
    • Replies: @German_reader

    The rest of the Politburo visited him on June 30, and they organized the State Defense Committee
     
    I recall having read about this as if Stalin had a total breakdown, sank into despair and had actually expected the Politburo members to come for arresting him...and was surprised when they asked him to return (don't know where I read this, maybe Overy's "Russia's war"?). But that seems to be a myth as you pointed out, interesting how something like this can spread in the literature.
    And yes, Stalin always worked (and read) a lot. That was quite the contrast with Hitler who often slept until noon. Stalin was certainly much more competent as a dictator.
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  132. @reiner Tor
    I didn't like it. It's fiercely anti-Stalinist, too emotional and polemical for my taste, and with often questionable conclusions.

    Here's this.

    Ok, then I’m probably not going to read Pleshakov’s book. Thanks for the link!

    Read More
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  133. @reiner Tor
    Actually, Stalin did disappear June 28-30, but it wasn't a real disappearance, since the Politburo members knew he was at his dacha. He was probably mostly sleeping, maybe having slept with his housekeeping lady (rumored to be his lover) after having worked a lot during the first week. The rest of the Politburo visited him on June 30, and they organized the State Defense Committee. After that he worked a lot even according to legend.

    The rest of the Politburo visited him on June 30, and they organized the State Defense Committee

    I recall having read about this as if Stalin had a total breakdown, sank into despair and had actually expected the Politburo members to come for arresting him…and was surprised when they asked him to return (don’t know where I read this, maybe Overy’s “Russia’s war”?). But that seems to be a myth as you pointed out, interesting how something like this can spread in the literature.
    And yes, Stalin always worked (and read) a lot. That was quite the contrast with Hitler who often slept until noon. Stalin was certainly much more competent as a dictator.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anon
    I don't know if Hitler slept until noon, but I heard somewhere that he'd get up at night, go to the kitchen and munch on sweet pastries. :) A sugar rush at 2am in the morning.

    Stalin drank Georgian wine.

    Churchill slept in, got up and had a whiskey soda first thing in the morning.

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  134. Anon • Disclaimer says:
    @German_reader

    The rest of the Politburo visited him on June 30, and they organized the State Defense Committee
     
    I recall having read about this as if Stalin had a total breakdown, sank into despair and had actually expected the Politburo members to come for arresting him...and was surprised when they asked him to return (don't know where I read this, maybe Overy's "Russia's war"?). But that seems to be a myth as you pointed out, interesting how something like this can spread in the literature.
    And yes, Stalin always worked (and read) a lot. That was quite the contrast with Hitler who often slept until noon. Stalin was certainly much more competent as a dictator.

    I don’t know if Hitler slept until noon, but I heard somewhere that he’d get up at night, go to the kitchen and munch on sweet pastries. :) A sugar rush at 2am in the morning.

    Stalin drank Georgian wine.

    Churchill slept in, got up and had a whiskey soda first thing in the morning.

    Read More
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  135. AP says:
    @Art Deco
    Germans could have voted for the center-right Catholic Party or the non-Nazi German Nationalist Party. But Germans voted specifically for the party with the high-profile SA thugs.

    Someone might offer as a defense that the German People's Party and the Catholic Centre Party and it's Bavarian affiliate were implicated in the mismanagement of public affairs between 1918 and 1933. Re the National People's Party, they held no seats in the cabinet for about 80% of that period and they were not participants in the ministries which held office during the Republic's initial months (which included political violence, wretched uncertainty, and the imposition of the Versailles Treaty), during the hyperinflation of 1922-23, or during the economic implosion of 1929-32. They were simply not implicated in the mess in any overt way. The support for the party at the polls actually declined during the period running from 1929 to 1933.

    Good point. But still – they were willing to go with the party of the SA thugs because the other parties had done poorly while in government.

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  136. AP says:
    @iffen

    every German who voted for the NS was a rubber boots type Nazi.
     
    Probably most. Germany had numerous political parties, thus somebody voting for the Nazis was probably supportive of many Nazi policies.

    Supporters of Nazi policies in 1934, not 1941, as it has been discussed here, few people could have fully understood what the Nazis were going to do.

    Anti-Semitism and Jew-hating was the norm and not just in Germany. With the appearance of the right politician, Nazism could have taken over other European countries. Look how quickly Nazi groups sprang into existence in the conquered countries. There was nothing “wrong” with Germans that allowed this to happen. The anti-Semitic groups and publications throughout Europe were too numerous to count. The Nazis may not have even been the most virulent anti-Semites. No doubt many, if not most ,thought a good pogrom was needed now and then to keep the Jews in line, but that is not the same as complete genocide.

    1. Trump, himself, is no neo-Nazi.

    I wasn’t talking about Trump. I was comparing the MSM portrayal of Trump voters to your portrayal of German voters.

    Probably most. Germany had numerous political parties, thus somebody voting for the Nazis was probably supportive of many Nazi policies.

    Supporters of Nazi policies in 1934, not 1941, as it has been discussed here, few people could have fully understood what the Nazis were going to do.

    So supporters of SA thugs, invading eastern neighbors (but not the USSR), occasional pogroms (but not genocide). I had already stated this.

    Anti-Semitism and Jew-hating was the norm and not just in Germany.

    Sure.

    My point was simply that the German people elected the Nazis, the Russian people did not elect the Bolsheviks.

    To the counterpoint that the Germans did not choose Nazi policies of the 1940s when they elected the Nazis in the early 1930s, I replied with a qualified yes – they chose a party of violent thugs and anti-Jewish pogromists willing to grab territory from immediate, eastern neighbors but not practitioners of industrial-scale genocide and total war against much of the world.

    Look how quickly Nazi groups sprang into existence in the conquered countries

    Commie groups also sprang up quickly when the Soviet tanks were on the ground. So?

    While fascism was pretty popular in 1930s Europe, Nazism was a uniquely German thing (perhaps Croatians were similar but I don’t know details and wonder how many of those are Serb/Yugoslav exaggerations).

    There was nothing “wrong” with Germans that allowed this to happen.

    Something isn’t “right” simply because it is commonplace. Many people around the world were starved to death by various commie regimes, it was still wrong.

    I wasn’t talking about Trump. I was comparing the MSM portrayal of Trump voters to your portrayal of German voters.

    Trump is no Hitler and his voters aren’t Germans of the 1930′s. Whether something I wrote reminds you of MSM treatment of Trump, or Ugandan media descriptions of Megabe, or whatever else is utterly irrelevant.

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    My point was simply that the German people elected the Nazis, the Russian people did not elect the Bolsheviks.

    Irrelevant.


    whatever else is utterly irrelevant.

    The Munich Soviet failed; the Petrograd Soviet did not fail.

    Relevant.
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  137. I’m unsure about Overy. I think he already treated it as an unfounded myth. But I read Russia’s War a long time ago.

    Regarding Hitler as a dictator. I think the German (and before that the Prussian) army had the notion that many different types of people were good at being officers. Maybe Moltke the Elder said that talented but lazy people are the best for the top jobs, while hardworking but stupid people were to be avoided and not given any responsibility at all, since they are dangerous. It might be something similar with dictators: being lazy is not a problem as long as you have good ideas and are good at delegating tasks to competent people.

    Hitler’s style wasn’t all that bad until the outbreak of war. He usually chose competent subordinates and never really had to work much. Others could do the work. I think he actually got worse after the outbreak of war when he forced himself to work regularly. This led to micromanagement and overall disaster, though Hitler’s goals were essentially unattainable. The fact that he showed total inflexibility in his long term goals was probably exacerbated by devoting his time to the disposition and movement of divisions.

    He should have been thinking about grand strategy: what goals are attainable, and what military or diplomatic strategies would lead to their fulfillment. Instead, he seems to have thought that he had used up all the tricks up his sleeve and had no other choice but staring at maps of the military situation. I think he should have stayed lazy, and then maybe he could have come up with some ideas and maybe changed his goals instead of constantly micromanaging the movement of divisions.

    The other disadvantage of his laziness was the coordination of war economy. He was loath to appoint a war economy czar, but also didn’t like the idea of forming a coordinating economic committee of his subordinates, because that would have put them in a position to outmaneuver him. Unless, of course, he would have led the committee himself, but he wasn’t interested in bureaucratic work. But the main problem of the German war economy during the critical first years of the war was the fact that the military insisted on receiving an endless number of variants for each type of weapon. Hitler (and some responsible generals) understood that this was wrong, but it took some time to overcome bureaucratic inertia and the resistance of the military to switch to mass production. I think it would have been faster if Hitler didn’t spend so much time staring at maps.

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  138. I wrote a long answer. I think we both made our points well (maybe you’ll answer this comment one last time), so after your reply let’s just leave it there.

    [MORE]

    Most decent people believed that the World War was horrific and that such things ought to never be repeated.

    But the Poles were eager to start new wars after the First World War. The Czechs and the Romanians were also quite okay with grabbing territory (including ethnically Hungarian territory) from Hungary by military force after the war. (There was some Hungarian military resistance, so however you look at it, it was war, initiated by these countries, after the world war had ended.) Were they not decent people?

    The vast majority of Nazis or especially Nazi voters never wanted to repeat the horrors. Wanting to change the borders is not the same as wanting a war. You conveniently forget that Germany, after all, did manage to change a lot of borders without starting a war. It’s actually possible that even Danzig could have been returned peacefully if Hitler hadn’t broken his own word when he occupied Bohemia. If Hitler stuck to German nationalist goals, which the vast majority of his voters believed he would do, he needn’t have started a war at all. Even people like Goebbels or Göring were scared when Hitler really did start a war.

    in 1917 the only choice for Latvians who wanted independence and an end to a war that cost them 10,000s of lives were the Bolsheviks

    The Latvian regiments kept supporting the Bolsheviks in 1918, when they already had other choices, for example going home to their own country protected by German weapons. Finns didn’t support the Bolsheviks in Russia. Anyway, I don’t want to thrash Latvians. But if they are not responsible for their choices, why are Germans?

    Those who wished to live in a purely German state had two options to move to.

    It would be interesting to see how you would react if Hungary grabbed Transcarpathia and told the inhabitants that they could move to rump Ukraine if they wanted to live in a country where Ukrainian was still an official language. It’s always easy to lecture others to just accept their losses and move from an area which was inhabited by their ancestors for over half a millennium.

    So do you think that Germany had legitimate claim on lands in Hungary, Transylvania, or Russia where German settlers were allowed to settle centuries ago?

    Dude. The only land in Hungary where Germans lived in a compact area bordering Austria was… given to Austria. You know, as punishment against Hungary for having started the war. Apparently we were more guilty than the Austrians. The only other place where Germans lived in a compact area for comparably long time was in Transylvania and was given to Romania. No Hungarian government ever wanted to reclaim that land, the southernmost part of Transylvania being the only part of Transylvania which was never part of any official irredentist plan, secret or public. We sincerely wished those Saxons all the happiness in Romania, lol.

    My father is a descendant of later German settlers. They didn’t live in compact enclaves, so they assimilated readily, and also it was impossible to annex them, they were a scattered diaspora. To give a personal example, my grandparents already couldn’t speak German, though they were both half Austrian, half of their grandparents (they were related) were adults when moving to Hungary.

    In any event, Serb and Romanian settlements also spread to the north during and shortly after the Ottoman wars. They were rewarded those areas plus a lot of ethnically Hungarian areas. What’s good for the goose should be good for the gander.

    Would Amish lands in the USA be legitimate German targets too?

    Swiss.

    It was Charles I, and of course he was also the legitimate king of Hungary. But since he was removed, we have the historical territories left.

    How convenient. In the Sudeten, they were left with the “historical territories.” In Hungary, Slovakia was ethnically Slovak, who were related to Czechs, and so they were entitled to that, too, “historical areas” be damned. In present Transcarpathia, Ukrainians were also Slavs, and so they also got that. South to ethnically Slovak areas lay ethnically Hungarian lands (now half of it is already Slovak, due to a century of assimilation and some ethnic cleansing after WW2 – some of my relatives were also deported from the land of their ancestors), but there was an important railway going there, so it’s natural they got that, too. There were also some brown coal mines further to the south (ethnically Hungarian), the democratic Czech leadership also needed that (but in the end the greater powers graciously allowed Hungary to keep some coal both here and also in the south where the Serbs wanted to get it). They also proposed to award a corridor along the Austrian border to them or to Yugoslavia or both, so that they would have access to the sea through their ally. Need I mention that it was ethnically Hungarian, too? Again, I cannot but praise the good graces of the greater powers who allowed Hungary to keep this area.

    It’s such luck that these Czechs were decent people, not so ugly nationalists like the Germans, and only wanted to get areas which were ethnically Czech, or related, or where historical lands were involved, or where there was some railway line, or coal mine, or the need for a land corridor. Okay, now that they grabbed it all (and graciously overlooked not being able to grab the coal mines, nor the land corridor), all decent people must immediately agree that all this must be put behind us. Let’s not bicker and argue about who killed who!

    Also, check Wikipedia. He was Charles I as Emperor of Austria, Charles IV as King of Hungary, and Charles III as King of Bohemia.

    They were not natives.

    Neither were the Czechs. They grabbed the land from the Neanderthal natives.

    It might also be the place to mention that it’s quite unlikely that the whole area had been inhabited by Slavs before. The area adjacent to Bavaria might be a place where Germanics settled before Slavs. The rest of the area had largely been uninhabited before. The infrastructure was also built by the ethnic German population.

    SA and Streicher were very high-profile Nazis. Germans could have voted for the center-right Catholic Party or the non-Nazi German Nationalist Party.

    The DNVP was tainted by its occasional association with the Weimar parties. The Center Party was a Weimar party. The Germans, in retrospect quite rationally, didn’t want the Weimar system to continue. Hitler wasn’t a good choice. They made a bad decision.

    Violence was thus acceptable for German voters

    Czechs put down mass protests by ethnic Germans violently, resulting in dozens of deaths. Germans were aspiring to that level of decency.

    Just to recapitulate. I don’t want to thrash the Czechs or Latvians. But Nazi supporters certainly weren’t worse than others, like Latvians or Jews supporting the Bolsheviks because they had it bad in the Russian Empire. Initially, they merely wanted a similar nationalism for themselves which Czechs or Poles already had. Okay, and some Jewish discrimination laws.

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    • Agree: German_reader
    • Replies: @German_reader

    The Center Party was a Weimar party.
     
    Not only that, it was a narrowly Catholic party, with significant anti-Prussian sentiment in regions like the Rhineland a prominent reason for supporting the Centre party. It may be difficult for many people (at least in Western Europe) to imagine nowadays, but confessional divisions still did matter a lot back then.
    , @AP

    I wrote a long answer. I think we both made our points well (maybe you’ll answer this comment one last time), so after your reply let’s just leave it there.
     
    Okay. I do appreciate a civil argument, thank you.

    Most decent people believed that the World War was horrific and that such things ought to never be repeated.

    But the Poles were eager to start new wars after the First World War. The Czechs and the Romanians were also quite okay with grabbing territory (including ethnically Hungarian territory) from Hungary by military force after the war. (There was some Hungarian military resistance, so however you look at it, it was war, initiated by these countries, after the world war had ended.) Were they not decent people?
     
    Events in 1918-1920 should not be judged the same as events in the 1930s because the world was stable and at peace in the 1930s.

    Wanting to change the borders is not the same as wanting a war. You conveniently forget that Germany, after all, did manage to change a lot of borders without starting a war.
     
    Nazis were threatening war and didn't get it only because, for awhile, their victims surrendered without a fight.

    My father is a descendant of later German settlers.
     
    Ironically, one of my ancestors was a Sudeten German officer who was stationed in Galicia in the 19th century and whose kids married locals.

    The Latvian regiments kept supporting the Bolsheviks in 1918, when they already had other choices, for example going home to their own country protected by German weapons.
     
    AFAIK the Latvian people didn't care for Bolshevism after 1918. The Latvians fighting for the Bolsheviks after that weren't seen as heroes by people in Latvia, and Bolshevism wasn't popular in Latvia between the wars. Many of the Latvians fighting for the Soviets never came home but stayed in Russia (where they were later purged). For the Latvian people, the Bolshevik party was seen as a vehicle for independence and for leaving the war in 1917, and that was it.

    OTOH, Nazism was popular in Germany throughout the 1930s (not only in the early 1930s when they won free elections) and into the war years. The Nazi state was orders of magnitude less repressive to the German people than was Bolshevism under Stalin to the Russian people. Nazis didn't need repression to stay in power.

    In any event, Serb and Romanian settlements also spread to the north during and shortly after the Ottoman wars. They were rewarded those areas plus a lot of ethnically Hungarian areas.
     
    Such settlements should have remained part of Hungary, as Sudetenland was and remained part of Bohemia.

    What’s good for the goose should be good for the gander
     
    I prefer - two wrongs don't make a right.

    "Would Amish lands in the USA be legitimate German targets too?"

    Swiss.
     
    Amish were from western Germany. A friend from Hesse was amused when I brought him to some Amish villages - they speak an 18th century version of the dialect in his region:

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

    It would be interesting to see how you would react if Hungary grabbed Transcarpathia and told the inhabitants that they could move to rump Ukraine if they wanted to live in a country where Ukrainian was still an official language.
     
    Bohemia did not grab Sudetenland, however. It always owned it. The Germans were invited to settle it by a Bohemian king. Sudetenland was ruled from Prague (or from Vienna through Prague) throughout historical times.

    To make the analogy correct - if there were an enclave of Ukrainian settlers in Hungary proper, who had lived there for hundreds of years, they should not have the right to be annexed by Ukraine and should instead move to Ukraine if they do not want to live in a Hungarian state.

    As for Transcarpathia, Slavs lived there before the Hungarians arrived from Asia in the late 9th century, and after the Hungarian invasion Transcarpathia was at various times ruled by Hungarians as part of a buffer zone or by Rus princes (it was part of the Galician kingdom for awhile). It wasn't as clearly Hungarian territory as Sudetenland was Bohemian territory.

    Also, check Wikipedia. He was Charles I as Emperor of Austria, Charles IV as King of Hungary, and Charles III as King of Bohemia.
     
    You are right, I stand corrected.
    , @Art Deco
    The DNVP was tainted by its occasional association with the Weimar parties. The Center Party was a Weimar party. The Germans, in retrospect quite rationally, didn’t want the Weimar system to continue. Hitler wasn’t a good choice. They made a bad decision.

    No, the Centre Party was founded during the Empire in reaction to Bismarck's kulturkampf. It was the only political party of note not reconstituted in some way in the immediate postwar period. As for the National People's Party, their participation in various ministries was spotty and they were not present in any ministry during any of the disasters which befell Germany during the period running from 1918 to 1932. After 1928, it's stance was less conservative and more volkisch. They continued to decline and made chumps of themselves by co-operating more and more with the Nazis. They were, throughout, antagonistic to Weimar's signature features.

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  139. Seraphim says:
    @5371
    No, lack of numbers wasn't the problem in exploiting an initial success - it never had been for any side, throughout the war. The revolution only started after Ludendorff had made a public demand for immediate peace at any price.
    Because the outcome of WW2 couldn't have been different once all the major participants were involved, there's a tendency to assume the same of WW1. Wrongly so.

    The German offensives were defeated because the troops were exhausted and the reserves and supplies of food (which had to come from Ukraine) were no longer sufficient. A million troops remained immobilized in the East. According to Douglas Haig and General Mangin, only a few cavalry divisions were necessary to widen the gap between the French and the British, but they were kept back to ‘stabilize’ the volatile situation in Ukraine.
    In August 1918 Germans were squarely looking defeat in the face. In the East the troops became so ‘rotten with bolshevism’ that the High Command did not dare to move them to the West, where after the failure to stop the Allied offensive, the defeatist propaganda started to make significant inroads. It was the defeat in the field that destroyed the morale of the western armies and made them receptive to revolutionary propaganda. On the 30th of September the Soviet Govt denounced the treaty with Turkey. Ludendorff realized the utter failure of his ‘Napoleonic complex’ and convinced the new Chancellor, Prince Max von Baden, to sue for peace on the 4th of October. It was no a ‘lack of nerve’, it was the clear realization that it was over.
    The warnings of Bismark came back with a vengeance. Hitler, by letting himself be fooled by the Ludendorff propaganda of the ‘stab in the back’ repeated the same mistake against which Bismark warned.

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  140. @reiner Tor
    I wrote a long answer. I think we both made our points well (maybe you’ll answer this comment one last time), so after your reply let’s just leave it there.


    Most decent people believed that the World War was horrific and that such things ought to never be repeated.
     
    But the Poles were eager to start new wars after the First World War. The Czechs and the Romanians were also quite okay with grabbing territory (including ethnically Hungarian territory) from Hungary by military force after the war. (There was some Hungarian military resistance, so however you look at it, it was war, initiated by these countries, after the world war had ended.) Were they not decent people?

    The vast majority of Nazis or especially Nazi voters never wanted to repeat the horrors. Wanting to change the borders is not the same as wanting a war. You conveniently forget that Germany, after all, did manage to change a lot of borders without starting a war. It’s actually possible that even Danzig could have been returned peacefully if Hitler hadn’t broken his own word when he occupied Bohemia. If Hitler stuck to German nationalist goals, which the vast majority of his voters believed he would do, he needn’t have started a war at all. Even people like Goebbels or Göring were scared when Hitler really did start a war.

    in 1917 the only choice for Latvians who wanted independence and an end to a war that cost them 10,000s of lives were the Bolsheviks
     
    The Latvian regiments kept supporting the Bolsheviks in 1918, when they already had other choices, for example going home to their own country protected by German weapons. Finns didn’t support the Bolsheviks in Russia. Anyway, I don’t want to thrash Latvians. But if they are not responsible for their choices, why are Germans?

    Those who wished to live in a purely German state had two options to move to.
     
    It would be interesting to see how you would react if Hungary grabbed Transcarpathia and told the inhabitants that they could move to rump Ukraine if they wanted to live in a country where Ukrainian was still an official language. It’s always easy to lecture others to just accept their losses and move from an area which was inhabited by their ancestors for over half a millennium.

    So do you think that Germany had legitimate claim on lands in Hungary, Transylvania, or Russia where German settlers were allowed to settle centuries ago?
     
    Dude. The only land in Hungary where Germans lived in a compact area bordering Austria was... given to Austria. You know, as punishment against Hungary for having started the war. Apparently we were more guilty than the Austrians. The only other place where Germans lived in a compact area for comparably long time was in Transylvania and was given to Romania. No Hungarian government ever wanted to reclaim that land, the southernmost part of Transylvania being the only part of Transylvania which was never part of any official irredentist plan, secret or public. We sincerely wished those Saxons all the happiness in Romania, lol.

    My father is a descendant of later German settlers. They didn’t live in compact enclaves, so they assimilated readily, and also it was impossible to annex them, they were a scattered diaspora. To give a personal example, my grandparents already couldn’t speak German, though they were both half Austrian, half of their grandparents (they were related) were adults when moving to Hungary.

    In any event, Serb and Romanian settlements also spread to the north during and shortly after the Ottoman wars. They were rewarded those areas plus a lot of ethnically Hungarian areas. What’s good for the goose should be good for the gander.

    Would Amish lands in the USA be legitimate German targets too?
     
    Swiss.

    It was Charles I, and of course he was also the legitimate king of Hungary. But since he was removed, we have the historical territories left.
     
    How convenient. In the Sudeten, they were left with the “historical territories.” In Hungary, Slovakia was ethnically Slovak, who were related to Czechs, and so they were entitled to that, too, “historical areas” be damned. In present Transcarpathia, Ukrainians were also Slavs, and so they also got that. South to ethnically Slovak areas lay ethnically Hungarian lands (now half of it is already Slovak, due to a century of assimilation and some ethnic cleansing after WW2 - some of my relatives were also deported from the land of their ancestors), but there was an important railway going there, so it’s natural they got that, too. There were also some brown coal mines further to the south (ethnically Hungarian), the democratic Czech leadership also needed that (but in the end the greater powers graciously allowed Hungary to keep some coal both here and also in the south where the Serbs wanted to get it). They also proposed to award a corridor along the Austrian border to them or to Yugoslavia or both, so that they would have access to the sea through their ally. Need I mention that it was ethnically Hungarian, too? Again, I cannot but praise the good graces of the greater powers who allowed Hungary to keep this area.

    It’s such luck that these Czechs were decent people, not so ugly nationalists like the Germans, and only wanted to get areas which were ethnically Czech, or related, or where historical lands were involved, or where there was some railway line, or coal mine, or the need for a land corridor. Okay, now that they grabbed it all (and graciously overlooked not being able to grab the coal mines, nor the land corridor), all decent people must immediately agree that all this must be put behind us. Let’s not bicker and argue about who killed who!

    Also, check Wikipedia. He was Charles I as Emperor of Austria, Charles IV as King of Hungary, and Charles III as King of Bohemia.

    They were not natives.
     
    Neither were the Czechs. They grabbed the land from the Neanderthal natives.

    It might also be the place to mention that it’s quite unlikely that the whole area had been inhabited by Slavs before. The area adjacent to Bavaria might be a place where Germanics settled before Slavs. The rest of the area had largely been uninhabited before. The infrastructure was also built by the ethnic German population.

    SA and Streicher were very high-profile Nazis. Germans could have voted for the center-right Catholic Party or the non-Nazi German Nationalist Party.
     
    The DNVP was tainted by its occasional association with the Weimar parties. The Center Party was a Weimar party. The Germans, in retrospect quite rationally, didn’t want the Weimar system to continue. Hitler wasn’t a good choice. They made a bad decision.

    Violence was thus acceptable for German voters
     
    Czechs put down mass protests by ethnic Germans violently, resulting in dozens of deaths. Germans were aspiring to that level of decency.

    Just to recapitulate. I don’t want to thrash the Czechs or Latvians. But Nazi supporters certainly weren’t worse than others, like Latvians or Jews supporting the Bolsheviks because they had it bad in the Russian Empire. Initially, they merely wanted a similar nationalism for themselves which Czechs or Poles already had. Okay, and some Jewish discrimination laws.

    The Center Party was a Weimar party.

    Not only that, it was a narrowly Catholic party, with significant anti-Prussian sentiment in regions like the Rhineland a prominent reason for supporting the Centre party. It may be difficult for many people (at least in Western Europe) to imagine nowadays, but confessional divisions still did matter a lot back then.

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    • Agree: reiner Tor
    • Replies: @Art Deco
    but confessional divisions still did matter a lot back then.

    Well, you had confessions.

    Mass-going Catholics account for about 3% of the population in France. The social basis for Christian democracy or social Christianity has disappeared there. Mass attendance is more frequent but still weak in Germany; the Catholic episcopacy there and in the Low Countries has a reputation for being somewhere in the gray area between 'miserable', 'unmentionably awful', and 'downright stinky'. Of course, Francis dotes on them.

    Other places where the Church was institutionally healthier had other impediments to the development of Christian democracy. In Ireland and Malta, the electorate was, stem to stern, sympathetic to Catholic social teaching until about 30 years ago, so a Christian democratic party would have been redundant. In Spain, the primate took the position in 1975-77 that no Christian democratic party should be incorporated in Spain and none of consequence has ever emerged. Portugal has one of the larger Catholic minorities in Europe, but this has never had much of an electoral-political aspect, for whatever reason. The Catholic party in Portugal is good for about 9% of the vote as we speak (and less than that during the pre-Salazar era). The Christian Democratic Party in Italy imploded in a stew of corruption, &c.

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  141. @AP

    Maybe it’s because I’m from a country which lost two world wars, but your logic is a bit of “let’s not bicker and argue about who killed who…”

    So Germans were supposed to just accept the results of the previous war forever and ever. “I took your land, but now let’s be peaceful and let me keep my loot. See, I only want peace!
     
    Most decent people believed that the World War was horrific and that such things ought to never be repeated. 1918-1920 was the tail end of the world war. Events in the late 1930s were something new.

    "looks like in Latvia in 1917 there weren’t other options"

    You conveniently ignore their role in fighting for the Bolsheviks in large numbers. Again, the point is not to thrash the Latvians, only to put German behavior in context.
     
    Again, for whatever reason, in 1917 the only choice for Latvians who wanted independence and an end to a war that cost them 10,000s of lives were the Bolsheviks. Freedom for them meant supporting a regime that was evil for Russians, Ukrainians, and everyone else.

    Germans, OTOH, had choices other than Nazis. But they chose Nazis.

    "Latvia – only country for Latvians. Germans, on the other hand, already had their own country. As well as Austria."

    There were more Sudeten Germans than Latvians and Estonians put together. Why is it okay for Czechs to lord over Germans almost half their number?
     
    Sudeten Germans were granted some minority rights. Those who wished to live in a purely German state had two options to move to. Latvians did not - Latvia was their only country. This makes the situations of Latvians wanting their own country on their own native lands different from Germans merely wanting to expand German territory onto areas where they live.

    "Latvians – indigenous to Latvia. Germans – invited by Bohemian kings to settle in Sudetenland (albeit in the 13th century), “guests” who then took the lands their ancestors had been allowed to settle in."

    This is a ridiculous argument. Even setting aside the matter that you are going back six centuries to prove some legitimacy (before that those lands had been largely uninhabited), the Bohemian king in 1918 was Charles III, also known as the Emperor Karl of Austria
     
    1. So do you think that Germany had legitimate claim on lands in Hungary, Transylvania, or Russia where German settlers were allowed to settle centuries ago? Would Amish lands in the USA be legitimate German targets too?

    2. It was Charles I, and of course he was also the legitimate king of Hungary. But since he was removed, we have the historical territories left. Sudetenland was historical Bohemia, ruled from Prague, and the Germans there were descendants of settlers invited and allowed to settle by Bohemian kings. They were not natives. They were like German Saxons who came to the Balkans or Germans in the Volga.

    No one expected Streicher or the riff-raff in the SA to hold much political power. They were correct to think that these elements will be sidelined, useful tools for the smarter types like Hitler, Goebbels and others.
     
    SA and Streicher were very high-profile Nazis. Germans could have voted for the center-right Catholic Party or the non-Nazi German Nationalist Party. But Germans voted specifically for the party with the high-profile SA thugs. Violence was thus acceptable for German voters (though death camps were neither expected nor desired). And Mein Kampf was a popular book - antisemitism of Hitler was clear.

    Sorry, this was meant as a reply.

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    Just one more point. I read it several places that right behind the frontline the peasants always supported the Bolsheviks, because they were afraid that whites would take the land they took from the landlords or the Church. I think Orlando Figes mentioned that the election results were not to be taken seriously, because the peasants didn’t understand the difference between the Bolsheviks and the SRs. They wanted land reform immediately by simply taking the land from the landlords etc., which was the Bolshevik (and “left SR”) position. The (right) SRs wanted to make a new law, which didn’t suit the peasants because it took so long. Same thing with the peace: the SRs wanted negotiations etc. At the end of the day, the peasants wanted the immediate program of the Bolsheviks. This was the reason why the nominally more popular SRs never became an important player in the civil war: their constituency deserted them for the Bolsheviks.

    So it’s not necessarily meaningful to just look at how much votes one party or another received.

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  142. iffen says:
    @AP

    Probably most. Germany had numerous political parties, thus somebody voting for the Nazis was probably supportive of many Nazi policies.

    Supporters of Nazi policies in 1934, not 1941, as it has been discussed here, few people could have fully understood what the Nazis were going to do.
     
    So supporters of SA thugs, invading eastern neighbors (but not the USSR), occasional pogroms (but not genocide). I had already stated this.

    Anti-Semitism and Jew-hating was the norm and not just in Germany.
     
    Sure.

    My point was simply that the German people elected the Nazis, the Russian people did not elect the Bolsheviks.

    To the counterpoint that the Germans did not choose Nazi policies of the 1940s when they elected the Nazis in the early 1930s, I replied with a qualified yes - they chose a party of violent thugs and anti-Jewish pogromists willing to grab territory from immediate, eastern neighbors but not practitioners of industrial-scale genocide and total war against much of the world.

    Look how quickly Nazi groups sprang into existence in the conquered countries
     
    Commie groups also sprang up quickly when the Soviet tanks were on the ground. So?

    While fascism was pretty popular in 1930s Europe, Nazism was a uniquely German thing (perhaps Croatians were similar but I don't know details and wonder how many of those are Serb/Yugoslav exaggerations).

    There was nothing “wrong” with Germans that allowed this to happen.
     
    Something isn't "right" simply because it is commonplace. Many people around the world were starved to death by various commie regimes, it was still wrong.

    I wasn’t talking about Trump. I was comparing the MSM portrayal of Trump voters to your portrayal of German voters.
     
    Trump is no Hitler and his voters aren't Germans of the 1930's. Whether something I wrote reminds you of MSM treatment of Trump, or Ugandan media descriptions of Megabe, or whatever else is utterly irrelevant.

    My point was simply that the German people elected the Nazis, the Russian people did not elect the Bolsheviks.

    Irrelevant.

    whatever else is utterly irrelevant.

    The Munich Soviet failed; the Petrograd Soviet did not fail.

    Relevant.

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    • Replies: @AP

    "My point was simply that the German people elected the Nazis, the Russian people did not elect the Bolsheviks."

    Irrelevant.
     
    Not if you think that whether or not something is popular and or if it represents the will of the people matters.

    The Munich Soviet failed; the Petrograd Soviet did not fail.

    Relevant.
     
    Not with respect to whether or not the Russian people chose Bolshevism. Unless you think that every successful takeover by definition is popular? Did the passengers on the 9-11 plans choose their fate because they "allowed" their plane to be taken over?
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  143. AP says:
    @reiner Tor
    I wrote a long answer. I think we both made our points well (maybe you’ll answer this comment one last time), so after your reply let’s just leave it there.


    Most decent people believed that the World War was horrific and that such things ought to never be repeated.
     
    But the Poles were eager to start new wars after the First World War. The Czechs and the Romanians were also quite okay with grabbing territory (including ethnically Hungarian territory) from Hungary by military force after the war. (There was some Hungarian military resistance, so however you look at it, it was war, initiated by these countries, after the world war had ended.) Were they not decent people?

    The vast majority of Nazis or especially Nazi voters never wanted to repeat the horrors. Wanting to change the borders is not the same as wanting a war. You conveniently forget that Germany, after all, did manage to change a lot of borders without starting a war. It’s actually possible that even Danzig could have been returned peacefully if Hitler hadn’t broken his own word when he occupied Bohemia. If Hitler stuck to German nationalist goals, which the vast majority of his voters believed he would do, he needn’t have started a war at all. Even people like Goebbels or Göring were scared when Hitler really did start a war.

    in 1917 the only choice for Latvians who wanted independence and an end to a war that cost them 10,000s of lives were the Bolsheviks
     
    The Latvian regiments kept supporting the Bolsheviks in 1918, when they already had other choices, for example going home to their own country protected by German weapons. Finns didn’t support the Bolsheviks in Russia. Anyway, I don’t want to thrash Latvians. But if they are not responsible for their choices, why are Germans?

    Those who wished to live in a purely German state had two options to move to.
     
    It would be interesting to see how you would react if Hungary grabbed Transcarpathia and told the inhabitants that they could move to rump Ukraine if they wanted to live in a country where Ukrainian was still an official language. It’s always easy to lecture others to just accept their losses and move from an area which was inhabited by their ancestors for over half a millennium.

    So do you think that Germany had legitimate claim on lands in Hungary, Transylvania, or Russia where German settlers were allowed to settle centuries ago?
     
    Dude. The only land in Hungary where Germans lived in a compact area bordering Austria was... given to Austria. You know, as punishment against Hungary for having started the war. Apparently we were more guilty than the Austrians. The only other place where Germans lived in a compact area for comparably long time was in Transylvania and was given to Romania. No Hungarian government ever wanted to reclaim that land, the southernmost part of Transylvania being the only part of Transylvania which was never part of any official irredentist plan, secret or public. We sincerely wished those Saxons all the happiness in Romania, lol.

    My father is a descendant of later German settlers. They didn’t live in compact enclaves, so they assimilated readily, and also it was impossible to annex them, they were a scattered diaspora. To give a personal example, my grandparents already couldn’t speak German, though they were both half Austrian, half of their grandparents (they were related) were adults when moving to Hungary.

    In any event, Serb and Romanian settlements also spread to the north during and shortly after the Ottoman wars. They were rewarded those areas plus a lot of ethnically Hungarian areas. What’s good for the goose should be good for the gander.

    Would Amish lands in the USA be legitimate German targets too?
     
    Swiss.

    It was Charles I, and of course he was also the legitimate king of Hungary. But since he was removed, we have the historical territories left.
     
    How convenient. In the Sudeten, they were left with the “historical territories.” In Hungary, Slovakia was ethnically Slovak, who were related to Czechs, and so they were entitled to that, too, “historical areas” be damned. In present Transcarpathia, Ukrainians were also Slavs, and so they also got that. South to ethnically Slovak areas lay ethnically Hungarian lands (now half of it is already Slovak, due to a century of assimilation and some ethnic cleansing after WW2 - some of my relatives were also deported from the land of their ancestors), but there was an important railway going there, so it’s natural they got that, too. There were also some brown coal mines further to the south (ethnically Hungarian), the democratic Czech leadership also needed that (but in the end the greater powers graciously allowed Hungary to keep some coal both here and also in the south where the Serbs wanted to get it). They also proposed to award a corridor along the Austrian border to them or to Yugoslavia or both, so that they would have access to the sea through their ally. Need I mention that it was ethnically Hungarian, too? Again, I cannot but praise the good graces of the greater powers who allowed Hungary to keep this area.

    It’s such luck that these Czechs were decent people, not so ugly nationalists like the Germans, and only wanted to get areas which were ethnically Czech, or related, or where historical lands were involved, or where there was some railway line, or coal mine, or the need for a land corridor. Okay, now that they grabbed it all (and graciously overlooked not being able to grab the coal mines, nor the land corridor), all decent people must immediately agree that all this must be put behind us. Let’s not bicker and argue about who killed who!

    Also, check Wikipedia. He was Charles I as Emperor of Austria, Charles IV as King of Hungary, and Charles III as King of Bohemia.

    They were not natives.
     
    Neither were the Czechs. They grabbed the land from the Neanderthal natives.

    It might also be the place to mention that it’s quite unlikely that the whole area had been inhabited by Slavs before. The area adjacent to Bavaria might be a place where Germanics settled before Slavs. The rest of the area had largely been uninhabited before. The infrastructure was also built by the ethnic German population.

    SA and Streicher were very high-profile Nazis. Germans could have voted for the center-right Catholic Party or the non-Nazi German Nationalist Party.
     
    The DNVP was tainted by its occasional association with the Weimar parties. The Center Party was a Weimar party. The Germans, in retrospect quite rationally, didn’t want the Weimar system to continue. Hitler wasn’t a good choice. They made a bad decision.

    Violence was thus acceptable for German voters
     
    Czechs put down mass protests by ethnic Germans violently, resulting in dozens of deaths. Germans were aspiring to that level of decency.

    Just to recapitulate. I don’t want to thrash the Czechs or Latvians. But Nazi supporters certainly weren’t worse than others, like Latvians or Jews supporting the Bolsheviks because they had it bad in the Russian Empire. Initially, they merely wanted a similar nationalism for themselves which Czechs or Poles already had. Okay, and some Jewish discrimination laws.

    I wrote a long answer. I think we both made our points well (maybe you’ll answer this comment one last time), so after your reply let’s just leave it there.

    Okay. I do appreciate a civil argument, thank you.

    Most decent people believed that the World War was horrific and that such things ought to never be repeated.

    But the Poles were eager to start new wars after the First World War. The Czechs and the Romanians were also quite okay with grabbing territory (including ethnically Hungarian territory) from Hungary by military force after the war. (There was some Hungarian military resistance, so however you look at it, it was war, initiated by these countries, after the world war had ended.) Were they not decent people?

    Events in 1918-1920 should not be judged the same as events in the 1930s because the world was stable and at peace in the 1930s.

    Wanting to change the borders is not the same as wanting a war. You conveniently forget that Germany, after all, did manage to change a lot of borders without starting a war.

    Nazis were threatening war and didn’t get it only because, for awhile, their victims surrendered without a fight.

    My father is a descendant of later German settlers.

    Ironically, one of my ancestors was a Sudeten German officer who was stationed in Galicia in the 19th century and whose kids married locals.

    The Latvian regiments kept supporting the Bolsheviks in 1918, when they already had other choices, for example going home to their own country protected by German weapons.

    AFAIK the Latvian people didn’t care for Bolshevism after 1918. The Latvians fighting for the Bolsheviks after that weren’t seen as heroes by people in Latvia, and Bolshevism wasn’t popular in Latvia between the wars. Many of the Latvians fighting for the Soviets never came home but stayed in Russia (where they were later purged). For the Latvian people, the Bolshevik party was seen as a vehicle for independence and for leaving the war in 1917, and that was it.

    OTOH, Nazism was popular in Germany throughout the 1930s (not only in the early 1930s when they won free elections) and into the war years. The Nazi state was orders of magnitude less repressive to the German people than was Bolshevism under Stalin to the Russian people. Nazis didn’t need repression to stay in power.

    In any event, Serb and Romanian settlements also spread to the north during and shortly after the Ottoman wars. They were rewarded those areas plus a lot of ethnically Hungarian areas.

    Such settlements should have remained part of Hungary, as Sudetenland was and remained part of Bohemia.

    What’s good for the goose should be good for the gander

    I prefer – two wrongs don’t make a right.

    “Would Amish lands in the USA be legitimate German targets too?”

    Swiss.

    Amish were from western Germany. A friend from Hesse was amused when I brought him to some Amish villages – they speak an 18th century version of the dialect in his region:

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

    It would be interesting to see how you would react if Hungary grabbed Transcarpathia and told the inhabitants that they could move to rump Ukraine if they wanted to live in a country where Ukrainian was still an official language.

    Bohemia did not grab Sudetenland, however. It always owned it. The Germans were invited to settle it by a Bohemian king. Sudetenland was ruled from Prague (or from Vienna through Prague) throughout historical times.

    To make the analogy correct – if there were an enclave of Ukrainian settlers in Hungary proper, who had lived there for hundreds of years, they should not have the right to be annexed by Ukraine and should instead move to Ukraine if they do not want to live in a Hungarian state.

    As for Transcarpathia, Slavs lived there before the Hungarians arrived from Asia in the late 9th century, and after the Hungarian invasion Transcarpathia was at various times ruled by Hungarians as part of a buffer zone or by Rus princes (it was part of the Galician kingdom for awhile). It wasn’t as clearly Hungarian territory as Sudetenland was Bohemian territory.

    Also, check Wikipedia. He was Charles I as Emperor of Austria, Charles IV as King of Hungary, and Charles III as King of Bohemia.

    You are right, I stand corrected.

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  144. AP says:
    @iffen
    My point was simply that the German people elected the Nazis, the Russian people did not elect the Bolsheviks.

    Irrelevant.


    whatever else is utterly irrelevant.

    The Munich Soviet failed; the Petrograd Soviet did not fail.

    Relevant.

    “My point was simply that the German people elected the Nazis, the Russian people did not elect the Bolsheviks.”

    Irrelevant.

    Not if you think that whether or not something is popular and or if it represents the will of the people matters.

    The Munich Soviet failed; the Petrograd Soviet did not fail.

    Relevant.

    Not with respect to whether or not the Russian people chose Bolshevism. Unless you think that every successful takeover by definition is popular? Did the passengers on the 9-11 plans choose their fate because they “allowed” their plane to be taken over?

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    • Replies: @iffen
    Did the passengers on the 9-11 plans choose their fate because they “allowed” their plane to be taken over?

    Testing to see if I actually know what constitutes irrelevancy?

    Not to mention a non-sensical thought.

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  145. Art Deco says:
    @reiner Tor
    I wrote a long answer. I think we both made our points well (maybe you’ll answer this comment one last time), so after your reply let’s just leave it there.


    Most decent people believed that the World War was horrific and that such things ought to never be repeated.
     
    But the Poles were eager to start new wars after the First World War. The Czechs and the Romanians were also quite okay with grabbing territory (including ethnically Hungarian territory) from Hungary by military force after the war. (There was some Hungarian military resistance, so however you look at it, it was war, initiated by these countries, after the world war had ended.) Were they not decent people?

    The vast majority of Nazis or especially Nazi voters never wanted to repeat the horrors. Wanting to change the borders is not the same as wanting a war. You conveniently forget that Germany, after all, did manage to change a lot of borders without starting a war. It’s actually possible that even Danzig could have been returned peacefully if Hitler hadn’t broken his own word when he occupied Bohemia. If Hitler stuck to German nationalist goals, which the vast majority of his voters believed he would do, he needn’t have started a war at all. Even people like Goebbels or Göring were scared when Hitler really did start a war.

    in 1917 the only choice for Latvians who wanted independence and an end to a war that cost them 10,000s of lives were the Bolsheviks
     
    The Latvian regiments kept supporting the Bolsheviks in 1918, when they already had other choices, for example going home to their own country protected by German weapons. Finns didn’t support the Bolsheviks in Russia. Anyway, I don’t want to thrash Latvians. But if they are not responsible for their choices, why are Germans?

    Those who wished to live in a purely German state had two options to move to.
     
    It would be interesting to see how you would react if Hungary grabbed Transcarpathia and told the inhabitants that they could move to rump Ukraine if they wanted to live in a country where Ukrainian was still an official language. It’s always easy to lecture others to just accept their losses and move from an area which was inhabited by their ancestors for over half a millennium.

    So do you think that Germany had legitimate claim on lands in Hungary, Transylvania, or Russia where German settlers were allowed to settle centuries ago?
     
    Dude. The only land in Hungary where Germans lived in a compact area bordering Austria was... given to Austria. You know, as punishment against Hungary for having started the war. Apparently we were more guilty than the Austrians. The only other place where Germans lived in a compact area for comparably long time was in Transylvania and was given to Romania. No Hungarian government ever wanted to reclaim that land, the southernmost part of Transylvania being the only part of Transylvania which was never part of any official irredentist plan, secret or public. We sincerely wished those Saxons all the happiness in Romania, lol.

    My father is a descendant of later German settlers. They didn’t live in compact enclaves, so they assimilated readily, and also it was impossible to annex them, they were a scattered diaspora. To give a personal example, my grandparents already couldn’t speak German, though they were both half Austrian, half of their grandparents (they were related) were adults when moving to Hungary.

    In any event, Serb and Romanian settlements also spread to the north during and shortly after the Ottoman wars. They were rewarded those areas plus a lot of ethnically Hungarian areas. What’s good for the goose should be good for the gander.

    Would Amish lands in the USA be legitimate German targets too?
     
    Swiss.

    It was Charles I, and of course he was also the legitimate king of Hungary. But since he was removed, we have the historical territories left.
     
    How convenient. In the Sudeten, they were left with the “historical territories.” In Hungary, Slovakia was ethnically Slovak, who were related to Czechs, and so they were entitled to that, too, “historical areas” be damned. In present Transcarpathia, Ukrainians were also Slavs, and so they also got that. South to ethnically Slovak areas lay ethnically Hungarian lands (now half of it is already Slovak, due to a century of assimilation and some ethnic cleansing after WW2 - some of my relatives were also deported from the land of their ancestors), but there was an important railway going there, so it’s natural they got that, too. There were also some brown coal mines further to the south (ethnically Hungarian), the democratic Czech leadership also needed that (but in the end the greater powers graciously allowed Hungary to keep some coal both here and also in the south where the Serbs wanted to get it). They also proposed to award a corridor along the Austrian border to them or to Yugoslavia or both, so that they would have access to the sea through their ally. Need I mention that it was ethnically Hungarian, too? Again, I cannot but praise the good graces of the greater powers who allowed Hungary to keep this area.

    It’s such luck that these Czechs were decent people, not so ugly nationalists like the Germans, and only wanted to get areas which were ethnically Czech, or related, or where historical lands were involved, or where there was some railway line, or coal mine, or the need for a land corridor. Okay, now that they grabbed it all (and graciously overlooked not being able to grab the coal mines, nor the land corridor), all decent people must immediately agree that all this must be put behind us. Let’s not bicker and argue about who killed who!

    Also, check Wikipedia. He was Charles I as Emperor of Austria, Charles IV as King of Hungary, and Charles III as King of Bohemia.

    They were not natives.
     
    Neither were the Czechs. They grabbed the land from the Neanderthal natives.

    It might also be the place to mention that it’s quite unlikely that the whole area had been inhabited by Slavs before. The area adjacent to Bavaria might be a place where Germanics settled before Slavs. The rest of the area had largely been uninhabited before. The infrastructure was also built by the ethnic German population.

    SA and Streicher were very high-profile Nazis. Germans could have voted for the center-right Catholic Party or the non-Nazi German Nationalist Party.
     
    The DNVP was tainted by its occasional association with the Weimar parties. The Center Party was a Weimar party. The Germans, in retrospect quite rationally, didn’t want the Weimar system to continue. Hitler wasn’t a good choice. They made a bad decision.

    Violence was thus acceptable for German voters
     
    Czechs put down mass protests by ethnic Germans violently, resulting in dozens of deaths. Germans were aspiring to that level of decency.

    Just to recapitulate. I don’t want to thrash the Czechs or Latvians. But Nazi supporters certainly weren’t worse than others, like Latvians or Jews supporting the Bolsheviks because they had it bad in the Russian Empire. Initially, they merely wanted a similar nationalism for themselves which Czechs or Poles already had. Okay, and some Jewish discrimination laws.

    The DNVP was tainted by its occasional association with the Weimar parties. The Center Party was a Weimar party. The Germans, in retrospect quite rationally, didn’t want the Weimar system to continue. Hitler wasn’t a good choice. They made a bad decision.

    No, the Centre Party was founded during the Empire in reaction to Bismarck’s kulturkampf. It was the only political party of note not reconstituted in some way in the immediate postwar period. As for the National People’s Party, their participation in various ministries was spotty and they were not present in any ministry during any of the disasters which befell Germany during the period running from 1918 to 1932. After 1928, it’s stance was less conservative and more volkisch. They continued to decline and made chumps of themselves by co-operating more and more with the Nazis. They were, throughout, antagonistic to Weimar’s signature features.

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    The Zentrum was part of the Weimar Coalition. In short, a Weimar party.

    The National People's Party lacked a charismatic leadership, and couldn't differentiate itself from the Nazis much, except that it was more upper class in character, so lower class people were less inclined to vote for it. It occasionally cooperated with the Weimar parties and also with the Nazis, which gave the impression they lacked any principles whatsoever.
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  146. @Art Deco
    The DNVP was tainted by its occasional association with the Weimar parties. The Center Party was a Weimar party. The Germans, in retrospect quite rationally, didn’t want the Weimar system to continue. Hitler wasn’t a good choice. They made a bad decision.

    No, the Centre Party was founded during the Empire in reaction to Bismarck's kulturkampf. It was the only political party of note not reconstituted in some way in the immediate postwar period. As for the National People's Party, their participation in various ministries was spotty and they were not present in any ministry during any of the disasters which befell Germany during the period running from 1918 to 1932. After 1928, it's stance was less conservative and more volkisch. They continued to decline and made chumps of themselves by co-operating more and more with the Nazis. They were, throughout, antagonistic to Weimar's signature features.

    The Zentrum was part of the Weimar Coalition. In short, a Weimar party.

    The National People’s Party lacked a charismatic leadership, and couldn’t differentiate itself from the Nazis much, except that it was more upper class in character, so lower class people were less inclined to vote for it. It occasionally cooperated with the Weimar parties and also with the Nazis, which gave the impression they lacked any principles whatsoever.

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    gave the impression they lacked any principles whatsoever.

    It was a multi-party political order and parliamentary seats were distributed via PR. Parties had to co-operate if any legislation was to be enacted, and that included budgets.
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  147. Art Deco says:
    @German_reader

    The Center Party was a Weimar party.
     
    Not only that, it was a narrowly Catholic party, with significant anti-Prussian sentiment in regions like the Rhineland a prominent reason for supporting the Centre party. It may be difficult for many people (at least in Western Europe) to imagine nowadays, but confessional divisions still did matter a lot back then.

    but confessional divisions still did matter a lot back then.

    Well, you had confessions.

    Mass-going Catholics account for about 3% of the population in France. The social basis for Christian democracy or social Christianity has disappeared there. Mass attendance is more frequent but still weak in Germany; the Catholic episcopacy there and in the Low Countries has a reputation for being somewhere in the gray area between ‘miserable’, ‘unmentionably awful’, and ‘downright stinky’. Of course, Francis dotes on them.

    Other places where the Church was institutionally healthier had other impediments to the development of Christian democracy. In Ireland and Malta, the electorate was, stem to stern, sympathetic to Catholic social teaching until about 30 years ago, so a Christian democratic party would have been redundant. In Spain, the primate took the position in 1975-77 that no Christian democratic party should be incorporated in Spain and none of consequence has ever emerged. Portugal has one of the larger Catholic minorities in Europe, but this has never had much of an electoral-political aspect, for whatever reason. The Catholic party in Portugal is good for about 9% of the vote as we speak (and less than that during the pre-Salazar era). The Christian Democratic Party in Italy imploded in a stew of corruption, &c.

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  148. Art Deco says:
    @reiner Tor
    The Zentrum was part of the Weimar Coalition. In short, a Weimar party.

    The National People's Party lacked a charismatic leadership, and couldn't differentiate itself from the Nazis much, except that it was more upper class in character, so lower class people were less inclined to vote for it. It occasionally cooperated with the Weimar parties and also with the Nazis, which gave the impression they lacked any principles whatsoever.

    gave the impression they lacked any principles whatsoever.

    It was a multi-party political order and parliamentary seats were distributed via PR. Parties had to co-operate if any legislation was to be enacted, and that included budgets.

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  149. iffen says:
    @AP

    "My point was simply that the German people elected the Nazis, the Russian people did not elect the Bolsheviks."

    Irrelevant.
     
    Not if you think that whether or not something is popular and or if it represents the will of the people matters.

    The Munich Soviet failed; the Petrograd Soviet did not fail.

    Relevant.
     
    Not with respect to whether or not the Russian people chose Bolshevism. Unless you think that every successful takeover by definition is popular? Did the passengers on the 9-11 plans choose their fate because they "allowed" their plane to be taken over?

    Did the passengers on the 9-11 plans choose their fate because they “allowed” their plane to be taken over?

    Testing to see if I actually know what constitutes irrelevancy?

    Not to mention a non-sensical thought.

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  150. @Art Deco
    Germans could have voted for the center-right Catholic Party or the non-Nazi German Nationalist Party. But Germans voted specifically for the party with the high-profile SA thugs.

    Someone might offer as a defense that the German People's Party and the Catholic Centre Party and it's Bavarian affiliate were implicated in the mismanagement of public affairs between 1918 and 1933. Re the National People's Party, they held no seats in the cabinet for about 80% of that period and they were not participants in the ministries which held office during the Republic's initial months (which included political violence, wretched uncertainty, and the imposition of the Versailles Treaty), during the hyperinflation of 1922-23, or during the economic implosion of 1929-32. They were simply not implicated in the mess in any overt way. The support for the party at the polls actually declined during the period running from 1929 to 1933.

    Why go to war in 1939? It wasn’t to get back what was Germany’s, but to acquire agricultural land, colonize it with Germans, and slaughter the Slavs who actually lived there.

    Conquering land wasn’t some kind of original sin. What differentiated Nazi Germany from everyone else is most other empires generally try to incorporate the conquered peoples into their empire, both for economic and military reasons. More productive hands = an empire able to finance future expansion. More soldiers = a secure empire with the manpower for further conquests. It’s not clear how much the German war effort suffered economically and militarily from Hitler’s nutty eugenic extermination schemes, but it must have been substantial.

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    • Replies: @iffen
    Yeah, like Timur.
    , @Seraphim
    Hitler made the same mistake to dismiss the warnings of Bismark* to Imperial Germany (whose misguided policies he adopted) and payed the same price:

    "Not only among the members of the German-National Party but also in purely nationalist circles violent opposition is raised against this Eastern policy. And in connection with that opposition, as
    in all such cases, the authority of great names is appealed to. The spirit of Bismarck is evoked in defence of a policy which is as stupid as it is impossible, and is in the highest degree detrimental to the interests of the German people. They say that Bismarck laid great importance on the value of good relations with Russia. To a certain extent, that is true. But they quite forget to add that
    he laid equal status on the importance of good relations with Italy, for example. Indeed, the same Herr von Bismarck once concluded an alliance with Italy so that he might more easily settle accounts with Austria. Why is not this policy now advocated? They will reply that the Italy of to-day is not the Italy of that time. Good. But then, honourable sirs, permit me to remind you that the Russia of to-day is no longer the Russia of that time. Bismarck never laid down a policy which would be permanently
    binding under all circumstances and should be adhered to on principle. He was too much the master of the moment to burden himself with that kind of obligation.
    Therefore, the question ought not to be what Bismarck then did, but rather what he would do to-day. And that question is very easy to answer. His political sagacity would never allow him to ally himself with a State that is doomed to disappear".

    Bismarck was a real statesman and his warnings were based on a direct knowledge of Russia. Hitler was an ideologue moved by his hubristic (albeit pedestrian) views of German superiority and underestimated the resistance of the Russians:

    "But when we speak of new territory in Europe to-day we must principally think of Russia and the border States subject to her.
    Destiny itself seems to wish to point out the way for us here. In delivering Russia over to Bolshevism, Fate robbed the Russian people of that intellectual class which had once created the Russian State and were the guarantee of its existence. For the Russian State was not organized by the constructive political talent of the Slav element in Russia, but was much more a marvellous exemplification of the capacity for State-building possessed by the Germanic element in a race of inferior worth. Thus were many powerful Empires created all over the earth. More often than once inferior races with Germanic organizers and rulers as their leaders became formidable States and continued to exist as long as the racial nucleus remained which had originally created each respective State. For centuries Russia owed the source of its livelihood as a State to the Germanic nucleus of its governing class. But this nucleus is now almost wholly broken up and abolished. The Jew has taken its place. Just as it is impossible for the Russian to shake off the Jewish yoke by exerting his own powers, so, too, it is impossible for the Jew to keep this formidable State in existence for any long period of time. He himself is by no means an organizing element, but rather a ferment of decomposition. This colossal Empire in the East is ripe for dissolution. And the end of the Jewish domination in Russia will also be
    the end of Russia as a State. We are chosen by Destiny to be the witnesses of a catastrophe which will afford the strongest confirmation of the nationalist theory of race".


    * "The result of a war (against Russia) would never result in the destruction of the main power of Russia, which rests upon millions of Russians of the Greek confession. Even if separated by treaty, these would just as soon reunite, like the parts of a splattered drop of mercury.
    This indestructible empire of the Russian nation, made strong through its climate, its vast spaces and its resiliency…would after its defeat remain our sworn opponent thirsting for revenge, exactly like France now is in the West…the “smashing” of a nationality by 3 great powers has not happened in connection with the Poles in 100 years.
    The vitality of the Russian will be no less; in my opinion we would do well to treat them as a basic danger against which we maintain protective dikes, but which we cannot eliminate from the world.
    By attacking Russia we would only further consolidate it; by waiting we could possibly witness their internal decay and decomposition before we experience their attack, and that even sooner, the less we hinder them by threats from plunging deeper into the Orient".
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  151. iffen says:
    @Johann Ricke

    Why go to war in 1939? It wasn’t to get back what was Germany’s, but to acquire agricultural land, colonize it with Germans, and slaughter the Slavs who actually lived there.
     
    Conquering land wasn't some kind of original sin. What differentiated Nazi Germany from everyone else is most other empires generally try to incorporate the conquered peoples into their empire, both for economic and military reasons. More productive hands = an empire able to finance future expansion. More soldiers = a secure empire with the manpower for further conquests. It's not clear how much the German war effort suffered economically and militarily from Hitler's nutty eugenic extermination schemes, but it must have been substantial.

    Yeah, like Timur.

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  152. Seraphim says:
    @Johann Ricke

    Why go to war in 1939? It wasn’t to get back what was Germany’s, but to acquire agricultural land, colonize it with Germans, and slaughter the Slavs who actually lived there.
     
    Conquering land wasn't some kind of original sin. What differentiated Nazi Germany from everyone else is most other empires generally try to incorporate the conquered peoples into their empire, both for economic and military reasons. More productive hands = an empire able to finance future expansion. More soldiers = a secure empire with the manpower for further conquests. It's not clear how much the German war effort suffered economically and militarily from Hitler's nutty eugenic extermination schemes, but it must have been substantial.

    Hitler made the same mistake to dismiss the warnings of Bismark* to Imperial Germany (whose misguided policies he adopted) and payed the same price:

    “Not only among the members of the German-National Party but also in purely nationalist circles violent opposition is raised against this Eastern policy. And in connection with that opposition, as
    in all such cases, the authority of great names is appealed to. The spirit of Bismarck is evoked in defence of a policy which is as stupid as it is impossible, and is in the highest degree detrimental to the interests of the German people. They say that Bismarck laid great importance on the value of good relations with Russia. To a certain extent, that is true. But they quite forget to add that
    he laid equal status on the importance of good relations with Italy, for example. Indeed, the same Herr von Bismarck once concluded an alliance with Italy so that he might more easily settle accounts with Austria. Why is not this policy now advocated? They will reply that the Italy of to-day is not the Italy of that time. Good. But then, honourable sirs, permit me to remind you that the Russia of to-day is no longer the Russia of that time. Bismarck never laid down a policy which would be permanently
    binding under all circumstances and should be adhered to on principle. He was too much the master of the moment to burden himself with that kind of obligation.
    Therefore, the question ought not to be what Bismarck then did, but rather what he would do to-day. And that question is very easy to answer. His political sagacity would never allow him to ally himself with a State that is doomed to disappear”.

    Bismarck was a real statesman and his warnings were based on a direct knowledge of Russia. Hitler was an ideologue moved by his hubristic (albeit pedestrian) views of German superiority and underestimated the resistance of the Russians:

    “But when we speak of new territory in Europe to-day we must principally think of Russia and the border States subject to her.
    Destiny itself seems to wish to point out the way for us here. In delivering Russia over to Bolshevism, Fate robbed the Russian people of that intellectual class which had once created the Russian State and were the guarantee of its existence. For the Russian State was not organized by the constructive political talent of the Slav element in Russia, but was much more a marvellous exemplification of the capacity for State-building possessed by the Germanic element in a race of inferior worth. Thus were many powerful Empires created all over the earth. More often than once inferior races with Germanic organizers and rulers as their leaders became formidable States and continued to exist as long as the racial nucleus remained which had originally created each respective State. For centuries Russia owed the source of its livelihood as a State to the Germanic nucleus of its governing class. But this nucleus is now almost wholly broken up and abolished. The Jew has taken its place. Just as it is impossible for the Russian to shake off the Jewish yoke by exerting his own powers, so, too, it is impossible for the Jew to keep this formidable State in existence for any long period of time. He himself is by no means an organizing element, but rather a ferment of decomposition. This colossal Empire in the East is ripe for dissolution. And the end of the Jewish domination in Russia will also be
    the end of Russia as a State. We are chosen by Destiny to be the witnesses of a catastrophe which will afford the strongest confirmation of the nationalist theory of race”.

    * “The result of a war (against Russia) would never result in the destruction of the main power of Russia, which rests upon millions of Russians of the Greek confession. Even if separated by treaty, these would just as soon reunite, like the parts of a splattered drop of mercury.
    This indestructible empire of the Russian nation, made strong through its climate, its vast spaces and its resiliency…would after its defeat remain our sworn opponent thirsting for revenge, exactly like France now is in the West…the “smashing” of a nationality by 3 great powers has not happened in connection with the Poles in 100 years.
    The vitality of the Russian will be no less; in my opinion we would do well to treat them as a basic danger against which we maintain protective dikes, but which we cannot eliminate from the world.
    By attacking Russia we would only further consolidate it; by waiting we could possibly witness their internal decay and decomposition before we experience their attack, and that even sooner, the less we hinder them by threats from plunging deeper into the Orient”.

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  153. polskijoe says:

    Would like to throw in some information (hopefully akarlin and others can respond).

    We know the ethnicity of many Bolsheviks. Even ones who are claimed to be “Russia” Lenin
    was heavily mixed and had some Jewish ancestry.

    A Freemasonic website, lists tons of names in those times
    and they show how many of these people were Freemasons.
    Remember back then Freemasonry had many anticlerical factions. Even Kerensky before them was a Freemason and Rosicrucian.
    There are pictures of higher level officials doing the freemasonic hand symbol.

    Jacob Schiff (Rothschild agent in US) payed them. After all socialism is a top down movement.

    Lenin did NOT like Russians. WHY do 30 percent of Russians still support this guy?!
    Lenin clearly said: Jews, Letts and Hungarians to be more clever and appropriate for making socialist revolution than “those lazy Russians”

    The vast majority of victims from the Bolsheviks were Russians.
    Between 1917-1935, 95,000 priests were killed.

    It was a Western funded revolution largely consisting of freemasons and Jews.

    This is not a Nazi thing. Poles knew about, Russians, high ranking officials like Churchill,
    other communists knew about it, and more!

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  154. polskijoe says:
    @utu

    Who did vote for the Bolsheviks? The Latvians and Estonians of the Governorate of Livonia gave them 72% of the vote, the highest of any region in the Russian Empire.
     
    Whose idea was to let them vote? Why would one expect their vote would not be hostile to Russia and sabotaging the well being of Russia? Why did Livonians end up as part of Russian empire in the first place?

    Similar question can be asked about Jews in Russia? How come Russia ended up with Jews? Perhaps if it did not swallow Poland the Jews would never became an active actors in Russia and the history of Russia would not have to end with the orgy of mass and ritual murder under the Bolshevik rule.

    All actions have consequences. Sometimes chickens come home to roost.

    And one more thing, if you want to have an empire you must have a stomach for it and be prepared you will be hated and reviled. You can't have your cake and eat it.

    There were various camps in Polish independant nationalist camps.

    One of them wanted to pressure Jews to leave via lite “anti-semitism”,
    and create an ethnic Poland, Polonizing Lithuanians and any West Ukrainians making sure
    to keep Lwow and Wilno. they were more Russian, and wanted to to seek independance from Russia
    peacefully. infact the Czar was partly willing it.
    Maybe would have avoided many problems today.

    Another camp was more pro German, but later changed when Hitler got more power.
    They wanted a multiethnic and large alliance with Ukraine, Lithuania, and hoping the West helps.

    (I may have some details wrong).

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    • Replies: @polskijoe
    couple corrections:

    *I meant the first group was more more proRussian*

    *And the polonizing of ukrainians would be fairly small, since back then there were more Poles in the region compared today*
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  155. polskijoe says:
    @polskijoe
    There were various camps in Polish independant nationalist camps.

    One of them wanted to pressure Jews to leave via lite "anti-semitism",
    and create an ethnic Poland, Polonizing Lithuanians and any West Ukrainians making sure
    to keep Lwow and Wilno. they were more Russian, and wanted to to seek independance from Russia
    peacefully. infact the Czar was partly willing it.
    Maybe would have avoided many problems today.

    Another camp was more pro German, but later changed when Hitler got more power.
    They wanted a multiethnic and large alliance with Ukraine, Lithuania, and hoping the West helps.

    (I may have some details wrong).

    couple corrections:

    *I meant the first group was more more proRussian*

    *And the polonizing of ukrainians would be fairly small, since back then there were more Poles in the region compared today*

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  156. lavoisier says: • Website
    @utu

    If you didn’t step out of line or belonged to a group specifically targeted for persecution
     
    No question about it that life in Germany by any standard was pretty normal while in the SU at times majority of people lived in a state of terror. Incarceration rate was higher in SU than the 21 century incarceration rate in the US while in Germany in 1939 it was four times lower than in the US now. However for Jews it was the opposite. There was nothing worse for Jews than living in Germany while in the SU no other ethnic group had it that good as Jews. Actually Jews were the Nazis of the SU. Those among them who had psychopathological proclivity to enjoy being sadistic perpetrators could develop their careers along the lines of these talents and unlike the real Nazis in Germany they could get away with their crimes and enjoy retirement and see their children and grandchildren going to Israel or America to make careers and good lives there w/o anybody asking a question what their grandpa or grandma did for living.

    Actually Jews were the Nazis of the SU. Those among them who had psychopathological proclivity to enjoy being sadistic perpetrators could develop their careers along the lines of these talents and unlike the real Nazis in Germany they could get away with their crimes and enjoy retirement and see their children and grandchildren going to Israel or America to make careers and good lives there w/o anybody asking a question what their grandpa or grandma did for living.

    Incrediby shameful that truth.

    You can be a psychopathic mass murderer and get away with it if you happen to be Jewish.

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  157. @Art Deco
    Who did vote for the Bolsheviks? The Latvians and Estonians of the Governorate of Livonia gave them 72% of the vote, the highest of any region in the Russian Empire. They then proceeded to form the hard core of the Bolshevik’s armed muscle in the critical early months of the Civil War. Ethnic Latvians formed an outright majority (!) of the Cheka’s commissars in 1918, and the Red Latvian Riflemen played a central role in crushing the initial anti-Bolshevik uprisings in central Russia. Consequently, bereft of Russi a’s industrial and logistical heartlands from the very start, the dice were loaded against the Whites. Of course none of this stops Latvians from demanding Russia pay them muh reparations just for making them live with their democratic choices of 1917, come 1940.

    I guess we're getting a preview of the columns you'll write when Russian troops roll into the Baltic states.

    For the record, the Communist Party was banned during the interwar period in Latvia, Estonia, and Finland. Electoral support for the spectrum of leftist parties in these countries during that era tended to sum to around 35%-40% of the vote.

    “For the record, the Communist Party was banned during the interwar period in Latvia, Estonia, and Finland. “

    Given what AK has just written, I’m not at all surprised.

    “I guess we’re getting a preview of the columns you’ll write when Russian troops roll into the Baltic states.”

    This is somewhat unfair. AK is pointing out things of which most of us are unaware, or is it just me? I studied the Russian Revolution, but none of my teachers ever told me the “who, whom” – it was all “the workers this” and “the Mensheviks that”. Looking back, they seem to have swallowed the line that class position and political position was all that counted.

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    • Replies: @Jaakko Raipala
    ...but often class division was the same as ethnicity. Apart from the old division of Baltic German landowners and merchants and Baltic serfs, industrialization produced factories where all the workers were Baltic and all the bosses and owners were Germanic.

    In that context class and ethnic politics were often exactly the same. If all the capitalists are German and all the workers are Latvian, demanding collectivization of the means of production is effectively the same as demanding transfer of German wealth to Latvians. Demanding a transfer of power to worker's councils in Latvia was nearly the same as demanding transfer of power from ethnic Germans to ethnic Latvians.

    The Baltic provinces went from the middle ages to the late 19th century without producing a real rebellion by the subjugated native ethnic groups. It only appeared with industrialization when a native movement could latch onto the international labor movement.

    In Finland there was less match between class and ethnicity as most landowners were ethnic Finns and the Civil War side-picking had a nearly 100 % match with class, not ethnic group. Landowners went with Whites, factory workers with Reds. Red Finland would have been a Finnish ethnostate since the working class was ethnic Finnish but ethnic Finnish landowners still fought against it together with the Germanic bourgeoisie and aristocracy.
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  158. @YetAnotherAnon
    "For the record, the Communist Party was banned during the interwar period in Latvia, Estonia, and Finland. "

    Given what AK has just written, I'm not at all surprised.

    "I guess we’re getting a preview of the columns you’ll write when Russian troops roll into the Baltic states."

    This is somewhat unfair. AK is pointing out things of which most of us are unaware, or is it just me? I studied the Russian Revolution, but none of my teachers ever told me the "who, whom" - it was all "the workers this" and "the Mensheviks that". Looking back, they seem to have swallowed the line that class position and political position was all that counted.

    …but often class division was the same as ethnicity. Apart from the old division of Baltic German landowners and merchants and Baltic serfs, industrialization produced factories where all the workers were Baltic and all the bosses and owners were Germanic.

    In that context class and ethnic politics were often exactly the same. If all the capitalists are German and all the workers are Latvian, demanding collectivization of the means of production is effectively the same as demanding transfer of German wealth to Latvians. Demanding a transfer of power to worker’s councils in Latvia was nearly the same as demanding transfer of power from ethnic Germans to ethnic Latvians.

    The Baltic provinces went from the middle ages to the late 19th century without producing a real rebellion by the subjugated native ethnic groups. It only appeared with industrialization when a native movement could latch onto the international labor movement.

    In Finland there was less match between class and ethnicity as most landowners were ethnic Finns and the Civil War side-picking had a nearly 100 % match with class, not ethnic group. Landowners went with Whites, factory workers with Reds. Red Finland would have been a Finnish ethnostate since the working class was ethnic Finnish but ethnic Finnish landowners still fought against it together with the Germanic bourgeoisie and aristocracy.

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    • Replies: @iffen
    Excellent comments such as this one make it worthwhile to read the comment section.
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  159. iffen says:
    @Jaakko Raipala
    ...but often class division was the same as ethnicity. Apart from the old division of Baltic German landowners and merchants and Baltic serfs, industrialization produced factories where all the workers were Baltic and all the bosses and owners were Germanic.

    In that context class and ethnic politics were often exactly the same. If all the capitalists are German and all the workers are Latvian, demanding collectivization of the means of production is effectively the same as demanding transfer of German wealth to Latvians. Demanding a transfer of power to worker's councils in Latvia was nearly the same as demanding transfer of power from ethnic Germans to ethnic Latvians.

    The Baltic provinces went from the middle ages to the late 19th century without producing a real rebellion by the subjugated native ethnic groups. It only appeared with industrialization when a native movement could latch onto the international labor movement.

    In Finland there was less match between class and ethnicity as most landowners were ethnic Finns and the Civil War side-picking had a nearly 100 % match with class, not ethnic group. Landowners went with Whites, factory workers with Reds. Red Finland would have been a Finnish ethnostate since the working class was ethnic Finnish but ethnic Finnish landowners still fought against it together with the Germanic bourgeoisie and aristocracy.

    Excellent comments such as this one make it worthwhile to read the comment section.

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  160. anon • Disclaimer says:
    @helena
    Nevertheless, subsequent governments have paid reparations from the public purse, and a whole country has borne shame, despite 1/2-2/3? of the original population never having voted for the policies that led to war.

    1. By what proportion did the British elect Churchill in 1940?
    Answer: there was no election in 1940; the last election in Britain was in 1935; there was supposed to be an election in 1940 but it was cancelled due to war.

    2. How many opportunities did the British people have to vote for their government during the war?
    Answer: Zero. Britain next voted in 1945, after the war. Churchill was rejected by the voters.

    3. The British engaged in firebombing of civilians, a war crime. Were they ever called to account or did they pay reparations for these war crimes?
    Answer: No.

    4. Are these facts — that the British were never called to account nor made reparations for war crimes — attributable to the fact that the British people did not elect the leaders who carried out these war crimes?
    Answer: Interesting suggestion, but more likely it’s that the British are immune to shame and the equitable forces of civilization and justice. It’s like rotten teeth — part of the British make-up to evade accountability.

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