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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

George Collins

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George Collins last won the day on December 6

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  1. Who was worse Hitler or Stalin?

    rather Margolin
  2. Who was worse Hitler or Stalin?

    That's true. I've read an autobiographical book 'Journey to the Land of ZK" (ZK being a Russian acronym for a prisoner) by Margolis, who was a Polish Jew escaping to East Poland from the Nazis in the Fall of 1939 only to be subsequently imprisoned to GULAG by NKVD. He was lucky to survive all this, of course.
  3. Who was worse Hitler or Stalin?

    Actually, Snyder says, "For the Soviets during the Stalin period, the analogous figures are approximately six million and nine million." And, of course, this number does not include, "The largest human catastrophe of Stalinism was the famine of 1930–1933, in which more than five million people died." Which is a problem, since he is kind of admitting that this was a deliberate policy. Secondly, this is a conservative number – just like the number of people executed during the Big Terror. In fact, we know that this number is grossly deflated, because it does not include those sentenced to “10 years of incarceration without the right of correspondence,” which was a mere disguise for execution. How do we know that? None of them survived, and all of their cases are closed shortly after their sentencing with a standard – fake in all likelihood – cause of death remark. So, Snyder’s suggestion that “Judging from the Soviet records we now have, the number of people who died in the Gulag between 1933 and 1945, while both Stalin and Hitler were in power, was on the order of a million, perhaps a bit more. The total figure for the entire Stalinist period is likely between two million and three million” looks pretty naive to me.
  4. Who was worse Hitler or Stalin?

    serfs - sorry for the typo...
  5. Who was worse Hitler or Stalin?

    Gunnar, there is no question that Golodomor, i.e., starvation among farmer population of Ukraine and Central Russia in 1930s, was a deliberate policy aimed at obliterating independent farmers and subjugating the rest into the Kolkhoz collectives, where their status was no better than that of the surfs in the pre-emancipated Russian Empire. There was nothing accidental in that millions perished as a result of that policy.
  6. What was the worst mistake made by Germany in WWII?

    Actually, POWs were in the millions. But the most notable numbers are those of the lost RKKA assets. By the end of September, RKKA lost over 15 thousand tanks (almost 5 times the amount of ALL Wehrmacht tanks in the theater), over 66 thousand of artillery pieces and mortars, over 10 thousand planes and almost 4 million pieces of small arms. Mind boggling. And yet, German Munitions Minister Fritz Todt told Hitler that the war was lost before the end of the year. Yes, Hitler did surprisingly well, but he would lose the war nevertheless. So, it looks to me that at the end of 1940 he found himself in a strategic pickle, he gambled and the gamble would not pay off.
  7. Who was worse Hitler or Stalin?

    That's a loaded question. Stalin was certainly more capable - the sheer numbers tell the story. I'd say that Hitler was in many ways irrational. His political rise was almost exclusively due to personal charisma - something that Stalin had very little of. Yet, Stalin mounted a 30-year rein without serious internal challenges almost to the end. And, of course, he has piled up more bodies over the course of his lengthy career.
  8. Why Nazis Lost the War

    He should have thanked Thälmann for refusing to join Social Democrats in a voting block that would beat the Nazis in the elections held on November 6, 1932.
  9. Greatest World War II General

    You're right: this is way over my head. I have no idea what you mean by this. Actually, Avtorkhanov disclosed enough evidence to suspect that Stalin was gradually removed from power and eventually murdered by Beria, Malenkov, Khruschev and Bulganin - the four men who purpotedly saw him last "before and after" Stalin's collapse. Khruschev then brought Zhukov out of his exile and with his help executed Beria and isolated Malenkov. Later on, he again exiled Zhukov who was apparently aiming at removing Khruschev from power. And on it went - just another day at the office out there. This one I don't disagree with. I'm just saying that Zhukov was not the best RKKA commander in the first place, so logically he could not possibly be the best WWII commander. I would pick Vasilevsky as the contender for the RKKA seat. Vasilevky must take credit at least for the Stalingrad victory in late 1942 and lightning fast take over of Manchuria in 1945.
  10. Since "Stonewall" Jackson has been mentioned here just recently, his 1862 Valley Campaign comes to mind. It was a stunning success, and yet - besides being outnumbered - his troops were underfed and poorly clothed, to the point that they went into action barefoot. One of the Irishmen under his command was quoted to say that the rule of the campaign was, "One male a week, and three foights a day."
  11. Greatest World War II General

    That's an entirely different topic altogether. All I'm saying is that Zhukov was hardly the best RKKA - let alone the WWII in general - commander.
  12. Greatest World War II General

    I'm not sure about the exact point you are making. Zhukov was not shot as a result of the RKKA collapse in the summer of 1941 - just demoted and moved around different fronts on Stalin's whim. Instead, General Pavlov, whose front was overrun by the Wehrmacht Army Group Center, and a few other scapegoats were arrested and executed. However, it was Zhukov - the Chief of General Staff at the time - who deserved a bullet to his head more than anybody else by the standard you have just described.
  13. A bit of clarification here is warranted. Hours prior to his passing, Jackson himself was quoted to say that Hooker's plan had been good in concept, but sending Stoneman away to begin with - not the lack of Stoneman's vigor - had been a crucial mistake. Jackson explained that without Stoneman's cavalry at Hooker's disposal, the latter would not be able to track Jackson's movements.
  14. Greatest World War II General

    Respectfully, I would suggest that Zhukov was arguably the worst commander of RKKA. The most successful operation in his career was the obliteration of the 6th Japanese Army at Khalkhin Gol in August - September 1939. But he did not really plan it, his Chief of Staff Bogdanov did. Zhukov was a ruthless enforcer, executing subordinates in droves. He miserably failed as the RKKA Chief of Staff in the first half of 1941, i.e., someone directly responsible for the complete collapse of RKKA in June - July 1941. Often times he is incorrectly attributed the Stalingrad success, but this operation was planned and executed by Vasilevsky, while Zhukov wasted enormous amount of human and material resources on a failed operation at Rzhev. He played no meaningful role during the Battle of Kursk. As for Berlin, he certainly was the best man for the job to senselessly force tanks and infantry into the house-to-house blood bath, even though the city was completely encircled.
  15. oops, it's July 1940, of course...