Memory is Our Home: Loss and Remembering: Three Generations in Poland and Russia 1917-1960s

Memory is Our Home
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In the s however, all faiths were targeted: minority Christian denominations, Islam, Judaism, and Buddhism. In the long run atheism failed to win many souls. Religion strengthened underground and was revived to help fight the Second World War. It flourished after the fall of Communism. As Paul Froese explains:. As this process unfolded, Stalin consolidated near-absolute power by destroying the potential opposition. In —38, about three quarters of a million Soviets were executed, and more than a million others were sentenced to lengthy terms in very harsh labour camps.

Stalin's Great Terror ravaged the ranks of factory directors and engineers, and removed most of the senior officers in the Army. Trotsky was expelled from the party in , exiled to Kazakhstan in , expelled from the USSR in , and assassinated in Stalin used the purges to politically and physically destroy his other formal rivals and former allies accusing Grigory Zinoviev and Lev Kamenev of being behind Kirov's assassination and planning to overthrow Stalin.

Ultimately, the people arrested were tortured and forced to confess to being spies and saboteurs, and quickly convicted and executed. Several show trials were held in Moscow, to serve as examples for the trials that local courts were expected to carry out elsewhere in the country. There were four key trials from to , The Trial of the Sixteen was the first December ; then the Trial of the Seventeen January ; then the trial of Red Army generals, including Marshal Tukhachevsky June ; and finally the Trial of the Twenty One including Bukharin in March During these, the defendants typically confessed to sabotage, spying, counter-revolution, and conspiring with Germany and Japan to invade and partition the Soviet Union.

In turn the prosecutors were tried and executed. The "Great Purge" swept the Soviet Union in It was widely known as the "Yezhovschina", the "Reign of Yezhov".

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Editorial Reviews. Review. Antony Polonsky. Professor, Albert Abramson ofHolocaust Studies Memory Is Our Home: Loss and Remembering: Three Generations in Poland and Russia, s Memory Is Our Home: Loss and Remembering: Three Generations in Poland and Russia, s Kindle Edition. by. Memory is Our Home. Loss and Remembering: Three Generations in Poland and Russia –s. Article in Europe Asia Studies 69(7) · August.

The rate of arrests was staggering. In the armed forces alone, 34, officers were purged including many at the higher ranks. The total of people imprisoned or executed during the Yezhovschina numbered about two million. Yezhov was gradually relieved of power. Yezhov was relieved of all powers in , then tried and executed in Arrests and executions continued into , although nothing on the scale of the Yezhovschina ever happened again. During this period, the practice of mass arrest, torture, and imprisonment or execution without trial, of anyone suspected by the secret police of opposing Stalin's regime became commonplace.

By the NKVD's own count, , people were shot during —38 alone, and hundreds of thousands of political prisoners were transported to Gulag work camps. In , the country adopted its first formal constitution , which only on paper granted freedom of speech, religion, and assembly. In March , the 18th congress of the Communist Party was held in Moscow. Most of the delegates present at the 17th congress in were gone, and Stalin was heavily praised by Litvinov and the western democracies criticized for failing to adopt the principles of "collective security" against Nazi Germany.

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But here is another level of this past-present side-by-side story. Frederick is a demon living life to the fullest Stein, Rutgers University. In the midst of the nonstop air raids, Warsaw's citizens were barely surviving. We can order this Usually dispatched within 3 weeks. The train stood in what seemed like the middle of nowhere for two days and two nights. On Nov.

Two major lines of interpretation have emerged among historians. One argues that the purges reflected Stalin's ambitions, his paranoia, and his inner drive to increase his power and eliminate potential rivals. Revisionist historians explain the purges by theorizing that rival factions exploited Stalin's paranoia and used terror to enhance their own position. Peter Whitewood examines the first purge, directed at the Army, and comes up with a third interpretation that: Stalin and other top leaders, using Marxist notions that they were always surrounded by enemies, always worried about the vulnerability and loyalty of the Red Army.

It was not a ploy — Stalin truly believed it. Experience in carrying out the purge facilitated purging other key elements in the wider Soviet polity. The young nation was a pariah because of its goal of supporting the overthrow of other nations. It sponsored workers' revolts to overthrow established governments, but they all failed. It refused to pay tsarist-era debts. Lenin reversed radical experiments and restored a sort of capitalism with NEC.

Starting in Lenin sought trade, loans and recognition. One by one the powers reopened trade lines and recognized the Soviet government.

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The United States was the last in It had achieved legitimacy but was expelled in December for aggression against Finland. In , Stalin pushed a leftist policy based on his belief in an imminent great crisis for capitalism. Communist parties were ordered not to form coalitions and instead to denounce socialists as fascists. Activists were sent into labour unions to take control away from socialists--a move the British unions never forgave. By , the Stalinists started suggesting the value of alliance with other parties, and by the Popular Front idea had emerged.

For Stalinists, the Popular Front was simply an expedient, but to rightists, it represented the desirable form of transition to socialism. While the Soviet Union was interested in conquering territories in Eastern Europe, France was determined to protect the fledgling nations there. However, Adolf Hitler 's foreign policy centered on a massive seizure of Eastern European and Russian lands for Germany's own ends, and when Hitler pulled out of the World Disarmament Conference in Geneva in , the threat hit home.

Stalin-ordered the Comintern to form a popular front with leftist and centrist parties against the forces of Fascism. The pact was undermined, however, by strong ideological hostility to the Soviet Union and the Comintern's new front in France, Poland's refusal to permit the Red Army on its soil, France's defensive military strategy, and a continuing Soviet interest in patching up relations with Germany. The Soviet Union supplied military aid to the Republicans in Spain, including munitions and soldiers, and helped far left activists come to Spain as volunteers. Madrid let the USSR have the government treasury.

Soviet units systematically liquidated anarchist supporters of the Spanish government. Moscow's support of the government gave the Republicans a Communist taint in the eyes of anti-Bolsheviks in Britain and France, weakening the calls for Anglo-French intervention in the war. This reflected the Soviet desire of territorial gains. Rather they facilitated Hitler's rapid advance to the gates of Moscow.

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Propaganda was also considered an important foreign relations tool. International exhibitions, the distribution of media such as films, e. The Soviets quelled opposition by executing and arresting thousands. They relocated suspect ethnic groups to Siberia in four waves, Estimates varying from the figure over 1. After Poland was divided up with Germany, Stalin made territorial demands to Finland for points that would defend Leningrad. Helsinki, backed by world public opinion refused, so Stalin invaded. Despite outnumbering Finnish troops by over 2. The Finns resisted fiercely, and received some support and considerable sympathy from the Allies.

A new threat in March led Finland to ask an armistice. It relinquished the Karelian Isthmus and some smaller territories. On June 26, the Soviet government issued an ultimatum to the Romanian minister in Moscow, demanding Romania immediately cede Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina.

Under duress, with no prospect of aid from France or Britain, Carol complied. Stalin had made no preparations. Soviet intelligence was fooled by German disinformation and the invasion caught the Soviet military unprepared. In the larger sense, Stalin expected invasion but not so soon. As such, mobilization did not occur and the Soviet Army was tactically unprepared as of the invasion.

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The initial weeks of the war were a disaster, with tens of thousands of men being killed, wounded, or captured. Whole divisions disintegrated against the German onslaught. German troops reached the outskirts of Moscow in December , but failed to capture it, due to staunch Soviet defence and counterattacks. Due to the unwillingness of the Japanese to open a second front in Manchuria , the Soviets were able to call dozens of Red Army divisions back from eastern Russia. These units were instrumental in turning the tide, because most of their officer corps had escaped Stalin's purges. The Soviet forces soon launched massive counterattacks along the entire German line.

By , the Germans had been pushed out of the Soviet Union onto the banks of the Vistula river, just east of Prussia. On May 2, the last German troops surrendered to the overjoyed Soviet troops in Berlin. From the end of to , large sections of eastern Germany came under the Soviet Union's occupation and on 2 May , the capital city Berlin was taken, while over fifteen million Germans were removed from eastern Germany and pushed into central Germany later called the German Democratic Republic and western Germany later called the Federal Republic of Germany.

Russians, Ukrainians, Poles, Czech, etc. An atmosphere of patriotic emergency took over the Soviet Union during the war, and persecution of the Orthodox Church was halted. The Church was now permitted to operate with a fair degree of freedom, so long as it did not get involved in politics. In , a new Soviet national anthem was written, replacing the Internationale , which had been used as the national anthem since These changes were made because it was thought that the people would respond better to a fight for their country than for a political ideology.

Approximately Civilians were rounded up and burned or shot in many cities conquered by the Nazis. Stalin's original declaration in March that there were 7 million war dead was revised in by Nikita Khrushchev with a round number of 20 million. In the late s, demographers in the State Statistics Committee Goskomstat took another look using demographic methods and came up with an estimate of 26—27 million. A variety of other estimates have been made.

However, the breakdown of war losses by nationality is less well known. One study, relying on indirect evidence from the population census, found that while in terms of the aggregate human losses the major Slavic groups suffered most, the largest losses relative to population size were incurred by minority nationalities mainly from European Russia, among groups from which men were mustered to the front in "nationality battalions" and appear to have suffered disproportionately. After the war, the Soviet Union occupied and dominated Eastern Europe , in line with their particular Marxist ideology.

Stalin was determined to punish those peoples he saw as collaborating with Germany during the war and to deal with the problem of nationalism , which would tend to pull the Soviet Union apart. Previously, following the annexation of eastern Poland , thousands of Polish Army officers, including reservists, had been executed in the spring of , in what came to be known as the Katyn massacre.

In addition, in , and several whole nationalities had been deported to Siberia, Kazakhstan, and Central Asia, including, among others, the Volga Germans , Chechens , Ingush , Balkars , Crimean Tatars , and Meskhetian Turks. Though these groups were later politically "rehabilitated", some were never given back their former autonomous regions. At the same time, in a famous Victory Day toast in May , Stalin extolled the role of the Russian people in the defeat of the fascists: "I would like to raise a toast to the health of our Soviet people and, before all, the Russian people.

I drink, before all, to the health of the Russian people, because in this war they earned general recognition as the leading force of the Soviet Union among all the nationalities of our country And this trust of the Russian people in the Soviet Government was the decisive strength, which secured the historic victory over the enemy of humanity — over fascism World War II resulted in enormous destruction of infrastructure and populations throughout Eurasia, from the Atlantic to the Pacific oceans, with almost no country left unscathed.

The Soviet Union was especially devastated due to the mass destruction of the industrial base that it had built up in the s.

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The USSR also experienced a major famine in —48 due to war devastation that cost an estimated 1 to 1. The Second Five Year Plan raised steel production to 18 million tons and coal to million tons. Before it was interrupted, the Third Five Year Plan produced no less than 19 million tons of steel and million tons of coal. The Soviet Union's industrial output provided an armaments industry which supported their army, helping it resist the Nazi military offensive.

According to Robert L. Hutchings, "One can hardly doubt that if there had been a slower buildup of industry, the attack would have been successful and world history would have evolved quite differently. Workers were encouraged to fulfill and overachieve quotas through propaganda , such as the Stakhanovite movement. Some historians, however, interpret the lack of preparedness of the Soviet Union to defend itself as a flaw in Stalin's economic planning.

David Shearer, for example, argues that there was "a command-administrative economy" but it was not "a planned one". He argues that the Soviet Union was still suffering from the Great Purge, and was completely unprepared for the German invasion. Economist Holland Hunter, in addition, argues in his Overambitious First Soviet Five-Year Plan , that an array "of alternative paths were available, evolving out of the situation existing at the end of the s In the aftermath of World War II, the Soviet Union extended its political and military influence over Eastern Europe , in a move that was seen by some as a continuation of the older policies of the Russian Empire.

Finally, by the late s, pro-Soviet Communist Parties won the elections in five countries of Central and Eastern Europe specifically Poland , Czechoslovakia , Hungary , Romania and Bulgaria and subsequently became People's Democracies. These elections are generally regarded as rigged , and the Western powers recognized them as show elections.

For the duration of the Cold War, the countries of Eastern Europe became Soviet satellite states — they were "independent" nations, which were one-party Communist States whose General Secretary had to be approved by the Kremlin , and so their governments usually kept their policy in line with the wishes of the Soviet Union, although nationalistic forces and pressures within the satellite states played a part in causing some deviation from strict Soviet rule.

The three power kept in regular contact, with Stalin trying to maintain a veil of secrecy over internal affairs. Stalin repeatedly requested that the United States and Britain open a second front on the European continent; but the Allied invasion did not occur until June , more than two years later. In the meantime, the Russians suffered high casualties, and the Soviets faced the brunt of German strength. The Allies pointed out that their intensive air bombardment was a major factor that Stalin ignored.

The mild political liberalization that took place in the Soviet Union during the war quickly came to an end in The Orthodox Church was generally left unmolested after the war and was even allowed to print small amounts of religious literature, but persecution of minority religions was resumed. With the onset of the Cold War, anti-Western propaganda was stepped up, with the capitalist world depicted as a decadent place where crime, unemployment, and poverty were rampant.

Art and science were subjected to rigorous censorship. Where previously The All- Russian Union of Writers AUW had attempted to publish apolitical writing, The Russian Association of Proletarian Writers RAPP insisted on the importance of politics in literary work, and published content which primarily embodied the hegemony of the working-class values in fiction. It resulted in the defeat of the AUW, and they were replaced by the All-Russian Union of Soviet Writers, which strictly adopted the literary style of socialist realism.

Soviet biology studies were heavily influenced by the now-discredited biologist Trofim Lysenko , who rejected the concept of Mendelian inheritance in favor of a form of Lamarckism. In physics, the theory of relativity was dismissed as "bourgeois idealism". Much of this censorship was the work of Andrei Zhdanov , known as Stalin's "ideological hatchet man", [ citation needed ] until his death from a heart attack in Stalin's cult of personality reached its height in the postwar period, with his picture displayed in every school, factory, and government office, yet he rarely appeared in public.

Postwar reconstruction proceeded rapidly, but as the emphasis was all on heavy industry and energy, living standards remained low, especially outside of the major cities. In October , the first postwar party congress convened in Moscow. Stalin did not feel up to delivering the main report and for most of the proceedings sat in silence while Nikita Khrushchev and Georgy Malenkov delivered the main speeches.

He did suggest however that the party be renamed from "The All-Union Party of Bolsheviks" to "The Communist Party of the Soviet Union" on the grounds that "There was once a time when it was necessary to distinguish ourselves from the Mensheviks, but there are no Mensheviks anymore. We are the entire party now. Predictably, no one at the congress would dare agree with it and the delegates instead pleaded for him to stay.

Terror by the secret police continued in the postwar period. Although nothing comparable to ever happened again, there were many smaller purges, including a mass purge of the Georgian party apparatus in — Stalin's health also deteriorated precipitously after WWII. He suffered a stroke in the fall of and was ill for months.

This was followed by another stroke in Stalin became less active in the day to day running of the state and instead of party meetings, preferred to invite the Politburo members to all-night dinners where he would watch movies and force them to get drunk and embarrass themselves or say something incriminating. In , the Soviet Union protested against the fact that the Chinese seat at the United Nations Security Council was held by the Nationalist government of China , and boycotted the meetings.

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Lenin 2. Stalin 3. Malenkov 4. Khrushchev 5. Brezhnev 6.