November 25, 2007

"And who’s this little fellow in his itty-bitty robe?/That’s tiny baby Adolf, the Hitlers’ little boy!"

Wrote the poet Wislawa Szymborska.

And who's this dashing young man?



(The book.)

IN THE COMMENTS: Bob says he's "pretty enough for Che-style t-shirt immortality." Lindsey is ready to cast the Keanu Reeves in the movie version.

26 comments:

Harsh Pencil said...

Joe Steel

Pogo said...

I believe it's Stalin, one of the biggest mass murderers in history.

Tim said...

Yes. Undoubtedly many will not see the comparison appropriate, or fair, although the fair minded and educated know Stalin killed more than Hitler.

Bob said...

Wow, Stalin is pretty enough for Che-style t-shirt immortality.

Lindsey said...

Keanu Reeves should play Stalin.

rhhardin said...

He's a real lady-killer.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Sangfroid enough to sleep through executions.

In the Althouse tradition of looking up unknown words, I discovered that had nothing to do with music or the father of modern psychology.

Ron said...

Adam Goldberg as Stalin!

rcocean said...

Can't wait to read it. His Book "The Court of the Red Tsar" was Fab.

Kurt said...

I've got to agree with Bob. In fact, I'd say that in this picture, he's a lot better-looking than Che.

Freder Frederson said...

Undoubtedly many will not see the comparison appropriate, or fair, although the fair minded and educated know Stalin killed more than Hitler.

Of course it is unfair to compare monsters of the 20th century merely by their body counts (I would say Pol Pot or Idi Amin were worse people than either Stalin or Hitler even though their absolute body counts--especially Idi Amin's--were much lower), but Hitler probably was responsible for the death of more Russians (probably somewhere in the neighborhood of 25 million) than Stalin was. To claim Stalin killed more people overall is just silly.

rcocean said...

"Of course it is unfair to compare monsters of the 20th century merely by their body counts"

Especially when you consider that Hitler was a better dancer than Stalin, told funnier jokes, and loved dogs. Did Stlain even have a dog? I don't think so.

vnjagvet said...

Some might say that Stalin was nearly as responsible for the Russian deaths as Hitler was. Stalin's style of warfare (one that was very Russian, incidentally) was not designed to minimize friendly casualties. And it did not.

To compare battle casualties with systematic civilian extermination, however, seems illogical.

Zach said...

One thing that came across in _The Court of the Red Tsar_ is how much of his success was attributable to his personal dash and charisma. Stalin was a people person! It's just that the people he was appealing to were also ruthless communists willing to kill to get ahead. Hence the metaphor for the Bolshevik party as a really dysfunctional court, more than a political party.

Freder Frederson said...

To compare battle casualties with systematic civilian extermination, however, seems illogical.

Well again, by that measure Hitler wins. Stalin certainly engineered policies that resulted in the deaths of millions, but on the whole he never set up policies or camps with the sole purpose of extermination (even the engineered famines were meant to punish and bring to heal recalcitrant regions, not completely exterminate the victims). The gulags, as brutal as they were, were in fact an integral part of the Russian economy and allowing the death rate to get too high interfered with productivity.

Freder Frederson said...

To compare battle casualties with systematic civilian extermination, however, seems illogical.

Well again, by that measure Hitler wins. Stalin certainly engineered policies that resulted in the deaths of millions, but on the whole he never set up policies or camps with the sole purpose of extermination (even the engineered famines were meant to punish and bring to heal recalcitrant regions, not completely exterminate the victims). The gulags, as brutal as they were, were in fact an integral part of the Russian economy and allowing the death rate to get too high interfered with productivity.

Tim said...

"Of course it is unfair to compare monsters of the 20th century merely by their body counts"

I'm sure their dead victims appreciate your exquisitely honed sense of fairness.

vnjagvet said...

A lot of angels dance on Freder's pins, it appears to me.

Let's just say that neither Stalin nor Hitler cared much about preserving the lives of humans they believed were expendable.

I wonder if Freder can agree with that statement.

chuckR said...

Robert Conquest has some things to say about Stalin and what was genocide in all but name.
Answer to an unasked question - Who were the Kulaks?
For exactly no bonus points - Who was the scum-sucking NYT "reporter" who turned a blind eye to it all?

Freder Frederson said...

You know I am tired by a lot on libertarian leaning blogs recently trying to say that compared to Stalin, Hitler wasn't that bad (and by correlation fascism preferable to communism). And I also hate being put in the situation where it appears I am defending Stalin. But if you really want to make Hitler look better than Stalin, then I will have to stand with Churchill and Roosevelt.

First of all, even if you add up the numbers are in dispute and Stalin did manage to kill more people, he did it over a much longer time frame. Hitler packed the vast majority of his killing into four short years, or even less (if you consider that the policy of deliberate, as opposed to ad hoc, mass extermination, was settled on until January of '42).

And at its root, that is the difference. Hitler believed that man had already been perfected and that everyone who was not a part of the Aryan Race deserved either slavery or death. He ruthlessly set about to achieve that goal.

michael farris said...

Not entirely off-topic, but I find

"And who’s this little fellow in his itty-bitty robe?/That’s tiny baby Adolf, the Hitlers’ little boy!"

to be a pretty clumsy and unfortunate translation of the original, my go at it might be:

"Just who's that toddler snug in his baby clothes?
It must be little Adolf, the Hitler's baby boy."

Also not great, but at least it matches the syllable count of the original and (I think) avoids some of the infelicities of 'itty-bitty robe' and 'tiny baby'...

Cedarford said...

Some of his other pictures show a more wasted, sallow, rat-faced appearance - like his arrest pictures. Later pics of course show his hard drinking..

One thing about Stalin that differentiates him somewhat from the other 20th Century democide butchers is that he was not instrumental in setting up official state terror to perpetuate the Revolution. That was all done before his time by Lenin and the Jewish Bolsheviks like Trotsky (Lev Bronstein), Abramoff, Kaganovich, Yagoda. The CHeka, use of political dissenters as expendable slave labor in the White Sea Canal, the creation of the Gulag system were all ideas of Bosheviks.

Jewish intelligensia led the effort to alter the judicial system from individual justice to one where innocence and guilt were irrelevant to the greater good of revolutionary transformation and greater Party power. And they were the ones that advanced the theory and practice of exterminating economic, religious, and ethnic class enemies. Both through active and passive liquidation - starting with the Orthodox priesthood, the Cossacks hated for their serving the Czar, then the liquidation by starvation or shooting of Kulaks.

By Stalins accession, millions were already dead, and many more millions died after he took reins simply because he did nothing about the liquidation processes and tools already in place and destroying citizenry autonomously- he turned his focus more on industrialization...and his killing targeted what he thought were his direct enemies while underlings like Molotov and the Kaganovichs did the bigger death lists and mass imprisonment/deprtation lists on class enemies and ethnic enemies of the state.

In Western Europe, the rise of, and blame for Facism is in part attributable to Trotsky and his followers who believed in transnational warfare and internal subversion of media, unions, minorities to be communist agents - to force the communist revolution on others and pick up their where they began in the Russian Empire. In a sense, Lenin and the Jewish Bolsheviks, just as much as Stalin, just as much as war reparations and German nationaism - begat the Nazis..

(Commissars ordering killing priests and other class enemies and even "revanchist elements" within their own alliance in the Spanish Civil War).

Stalin found his predecessor's systems of terror and butchery much to his liking, though. While not an initial architect of the systems set up to ensure mass death and Red terror, he was it's willing steward after he took power. But he was the Son of Evil, not the true authors of the direction the Soviets took - who used keen minds to put all the systems and techniques in place for their eager heir, Stalin.

The Black Book of Communism, like Shirer's Rise and Fall of the 3rd Reich - is an excellent sourcebook for who did what evil. Stalin was one of many bad guys the Soviets had...

It is also of great interest in which Soviets mentored & trained the Chicoms and NORKs to embrace mass death when their Parties seized power. Particularly when the Chicoms had a bigger democide than either the Soviets or Nazis did.

Freder Frederson said...

Oh my God! Cedarford has done it. He has actually blamed the rise of the Nazis on the Jews! Man they are sly.

vnjagvet said...

Evil is as evil does, Freder.

Hitler was evil. Stalin was evil too. Each manifested evil in slightly different ways, I doubt that Freder would wish to imply that because Stalin might be (slightly)less evil than Hitler, he is therefore "good".

Right, Freder?

rcocean said...

I wouldn't "blame" the Nazi's on anyone, even the Communists, and certainly don't the Jews (talk about blaming the victim).

But. Without communism and its threat to Germany both from without and from within, Hitler never would have come to power. And the whole structure of the Nazi state was more or less a copy of the Communist one. The very idea of a party controlling the state and society in all its aspects, with a fearless leader, is a communist one.

The whole point of Nazism was to take communism and replace the international aspects with Nationalist ones while retaining the "socialism" part.

Goebbels stated the best Nazi's were former Reds since all they had to do was drop the international aspects of communism.

Freder Frederson said...

Evil is as evil does, Freder.

This non-sequitor, along with "life is a box of chocolates" from that completely stupid and insipid movie (what the hell was the point of that movie anyway?) should be banished from the lexicon.

Normally, I would not respond, but some of you seem to be under the misapprehension that I am defending, or an apologist for, Stalin. I don't know where you get this idea. I have never wrote (or at least I hope I haven't) anything that could be interpreted (except perhaps in Cedarford's fevered, twisted mind) as defending Stalin's regime, policies, or the man himself.

I am merely saying that the Nazis were worse and I am sick of some libertarians (especially some Russian ex-pats over at the Volokh Conspiracy) who sometimes come very close to saying that the Nazis were a lot better than the Soviets. Or of those, as has been repeated several times on this very thread, that the communists bear some responsibility for the rise of the Nazis (what ever happened to blaming the lily-livered French and British governments). This is historical revisionism of the worst kind.