Stalin: A Monster Before Hitler

By on October 14, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

As shown in the picture above there are many similarities between Joseph Stalin and Adolf Hitler but for some strange reason we look at Hitler as the symbol of a monster, while Stalin is just looked at as being a bad man. Though there is no denying that Hitler was a monster and executed horrendous acts, I believe Joseph Stalin was worse. The reason why I believe this is that Stalin massacred his own citizens and though no one truly knows the exact number it is believed Stalin massacred as little as 20 million people during his reign.

One of the deadliest events in Russian history was the Great Purge, which was a systematic campaign of political executions and repression orchestrated by Joseph Stalin from 1936 to 1939.  This massacre incorporated everyone within the Soviet Union from leaders of the Communist party and the Red army to the peasants; no one was safe from the reach of Stalin. This political purge was an effort by Stalin to eliminate any potential threats to his regime past or present.  However, many people don’t know that Stalin, due to the murder of Sergey Kirov in 1934, launched a massacre which saw to the execution of nearly one million citizens.

This Great Purge also saw these elaborately staged events in the form of three trails of high ranking Communist members.  Those brought to trail where accused of conspiring against the Soviet Union and planning the assassination of Joseph Stalin. The first trail consisted of Grigory Zinoviev, Lev Kamenev and 16 other members of a made up party. They would confess to all charges and were sentenced to death. The second trail consisted of lesser known figures such as Karl Radek and Grigory Sokolnikov as well as 17 other men and was accused of plotting with Trotsky who was supposedly conspiring with Nazi Germany.  The all were found guilty and executed.  The third and most famous trail due to the people involved saw Nikolai Bukharin, Alexei Rykov and 21 other defendants accused of trying to assassinate Stalin and turn over the USSR to its enemies. They were all found guilty and executed.

After reading into the Great Purge and seeing the atrocities that Stalin committed I feel that Stalin is one of the most horrendous men to ever live. Though one could argue that Hitler was worse there is no denying that both men were truly monsters.

Sources:

Evan Mawdsley, The Stalin Years: The Soviet Union, 1929-1953 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1998), pp. 131-133.

Case of the Anti-Soviet Bloc of Rights and Trotskyites: heard before the Military Collegium of the Supreme Court of the U.S.S.R., Moscow. March 2-13, 1938 (Moscow: People’s Commissariat of Justice, 1938), pp. 5-6

Picture:

http://instantworlddomination.com/the-soviet-story/

 13 Responses to “Stalin: A Monster Before Hitler”

  1. Schnaitman says:

    This is a good post that brings into perspective some of the darker moments of history. While the numbers to me seem questionable, it is certainly comparable to the Nazi executions. While there is no morale justification for what was done under either Hitler or Stalin, it is odd that the Great Purge often flies under the radar when examining these horrendous events in history. Why is it that we often speak of the Nazi’s actions yet the purge is overlooked, is there some subconscious justification that we make when the end goal of the executions is for modernization while we scorn elimination based solely on race?

  2. bfulcer says:

    I really like the use of the picture you chose to compliment your post. I’ve also wondered why Stalin often seems to get left out of the conversation when it comes to murderous dictators. There’s no doubting that Hitler was truly an evil human being, but as you pointed out, Stalin committed some equally horrific crimes against humanity. I honestly think the reason why a lot of people overlook Stalin’s oppressive reign is the fact that the Soviet Union was a member of the Allied forces during World War II and people automatically equate that to being the “good guys” rather than looking critically at what was actually happening in the Soviet Union during that period.

  3. seeingred says:

    I completely agree that both Stalin and Hitler have gone down in history as rulers with seemingly no moral compass. However, the idea that Hitler is a more “evil” character in the history of global events does seem to persist. I think this may be true because. although many know that Stalin had committed horrific atrocities, especially during the Great Purge, the Soviet Union seems to have had such a bloody and complicated series of events for an extremely long and extended amount of time, whereas, Germany’s as a villain in world history has a much shorter time frame.

  4. Austin Wood says:

    As the others mentioned, I think this is definitely a topic that gets overlooked, and it’s baffling to me that after all of those executions it’s not mentioned more. I think Schnaitman made a good point in questioning the reason why it gets overlooked, and I believe that it has some validity. Most countries would overlook events like this if it’s supposedly for the betterment of our country and not a genocide of a certain group of people. I also think Fulcer made a great point about how we were allies with the Russians so we just overlooked it to not side with the “bad guy”.

  5. brandonlapointe says:

    Great post, but dang. It’s always sad to see so many people die for having different beliefs or idealisms. How long was it though before we had insight onto the data of these massacres? Did we really know about them during World War II?

  6. mwill17 says:

    Stalin was certainly the worse of the two. Hitler actually cared about the German people to a degree while Stalin showed little sympathy for the common Russian citizen as can be seen from his purges and collectivization. The Russians also suffered the most casualties out of all of the nations involved during World War II. Great post!

  7. Hannah Martin says:

    I think your point of Stalin being equally as bad as Hitler has a lot of merit to it. I think Stalin’s Purges are often overlooked because they didn’t occur during such a tumultuous time, like the Holocaust and WWII and Stalin’s reign of terror lasted for such a long time, people probably expected things like the Purges to happen sooner or later. Both men used propaganda, as you’ve illustrated, to promote themselves and their causes, further immortalizing these atrocities in history.

  8. court18 says:

    I think that Hitler is considered to be a more malevolent human being and leader by the general public because he orchestrated the systematic killing of millions of people based off of their ethnicity. While Stalin did kill unforgivable amounts of people, he did so regardless of race. He killed many prominent Russians not because of their ethnicity, but to further his political agenda. Although Hitler also used the Holocaust to further his political agenda and ensure his power, I think it is viewed different because of the racial and religious element in it.

  9. A. Nelson says:

    Courtney makes a really important point here. Assigning a number value to “evil” is ultimately a vain exercise in speculation that depends on your perspective. But I think there are very good reasons why Hitler, and more importantly Nazism (because in the end you can’t reduce causality in history to any one individual, no matter how powerful), does get the nod as being “worse” than Stalin. Stalin oversaw the (often senselessly) brutal modernization of the Soviet Union in order to overcome economic backwardness that would have left the country extremely vulnerable in the aftermath of World War I. Hitler oversaw the ruthless restructuring of his country’s economy in order to mobilize the populace behind the cause of avenging Germany’s losses in World War I. He neutralized all political dissent, propagated a highly toxic, racist ideology of German supremacy, and then started a World War that was far more devastating than the first one. Many of the millions of deaths attributed to Stalin in this post occurred at the hands of Germans during World War II. And while the purges were bad and the GULAG was worse, I think you have to go a long way before you trump the industrialized mass slaughter and gassing of Jews, gypsies, gay people, etc. in the Holocaust. There’s more, but I’ll stop for now.

  10. Annemarie Lucernoni says:

    I just went back and read this while researching for the second midterm, and wanted to let you know that I really liked this post. I love the picture you chose which does a great job of implying the similarities between these two tyrants, and I thought the questions you posed were insightful (and clearly so did a lot of other people). Anyway, a belated good job to you!

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