Socialism: The Ultimate Evil
PBS has begun to air a documentary series under the title "Russia's War: Blood Upon the Snow." Surprisingly, judging by an early segment, a belated exposure of Soviet bestiality under Stalin is on the minds of the makers. Belated, because the facts have been available since 1956 at the latest. Surprising, because American television generally conveys the sense - more and more each year - that Communists were martyrs, that the Soviet Union really meant well, and that anyone disagreeing with that view was either senile (President Reagan) or a pathological bigot (Senator Joseph McCarthy).
I must be forgiven for a measure of suspicion. It is not easy to believe that, of all networks, PBS would suddenly have a complete change of heart about Communism. I will therefore speculate about the real purpose of the series, with every intention of happily eating my words in the event of being wrong.
Not one, but two warning signals go off. The first is about World War II which, it appears, is a major focus of the series. There has been an unmistakable tendency in our media (culminating around the 50th anniversary of VE-Day) to chronicle the victory as largely the accomplishment of the Red Army, underplaying - if not ignoring altogether - the role of Britain and the United States. One wonders if our journalists ever visited the American graves, stretching as far as the eye can see, on the Western shores of Europe. One wonders if our journalists have heard of the Battle of Britain that broke the back of Luftwaffe, the German air force. That made all the difference for the Red Army, since the Soviets had no air force of their own.
The second alarm bell has been ringing since about 1994, when the Russians first put out word that they, too, were "victims of Communism." Could the PBS series, made with the wholesale participation and cooperation of the Russian Government, aim to hammer home just such a notion? Incessant references by the narrator to Stalin as "the Georgian" would point in that direction. Hitler, we are reminded, was Austrian. Yet, in 1945 and since, no one has sought to absolve Germany and Germans of their culpability. Not even the Germans themselves.
What harm, I hear you ask, can possibly come from the exposure of horrendous crimes, properly documented at last? The first concern has to do with the confusion already surrounding the word "communism." Technically speaking, Communism is simply the final phase, the ultimate goal of Socialism. In other words, it is a variant of Socialism. So is what we call Nazism. "Nazi" is short for National Socialist, merely another variant of Socialism. Stalin ordered Nazis to be referred to as "Fascists" only to avoid the obvious analogy with Soviet Socialism. Germans never were "fascists" - the Third Reich was ruled by the National Socialist German Workers' Party.
Socialism, by whatever name and in all its forms, is the ultimate evil. Sooner or later, it destroys everything in its path: law, morality, family, prosperity, productivity, education, incentive - finally life itself. Portraying Stalin as the cause of evil puts the cart before the horse. Socialism creates the conditions for a Stalin; socialism creates the conditions for a Hitler.
Socialism was much the same before and after Stalin, before and after Hitler. In my native Hungary, a mere six months of Leninist rule during 1919 (years before Stalin) destroyed the national fabric to the point where its legacy tears apart the country even today. Socialism remained the same under Beria, Malenkov, Khrushchev, or Brezhnev. As for the murder of tens of millions, the torture and the gratuitous cruelty, they may have been ordered or sanctioned by leaders, but they were committed by people against other people. Russians committed them, just like Germans or Japanese. And Russia went on to enslave civilized nations with consequences we cannot as yet assess.
Yes, Stalin and Hitler, the prize disciples of Lenin, were twins. So were Communism and Nazism. In Budapest, when the Gestapo left, the NKVD (then GPU) did not even bother to change the building in which the tortures and murders took place. They kept the building, and the personnel.
Therefore, let us be clear about Stalin's role. He may have been top of the heap, but no "lone ranger." And let us, also, assess accurately the role of Russia's Red Army in the defeat of the Third Reich. Why did they fight? What were they after?
When Hitler came to power, Russia remained firmly at Germany's side. Such a tradition goes back many centuries, especially with reference to Poland - a favorite plaything of Prussian kings and Russian Tsars. Only after Germany's vicious attack on Russian civilians, as well as on the military, did Russian blood boil to the point of an all-out campaign. Subsequently, pursuing the enemy beyond their border provided feed for Russia's centuries-old appetite for expansion.
Thus, the Red Army was motivated by the triple passions of defending the beloved homeland, revenging unspeakable atrocities on its soil, and conquering fresh rich territories for Mother Russia.
By contrast, America's armed forces in Europe defended the cause of liberty for all. They responded to the suffering of others with righteous indignation.
Above all, they gave their lives without any expectation of gain.