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Streetwise Professor

June 26, 2009

A Question

Filed under: Military,Politics,Russia — The Professor @ 3:59 pm

Brace yourself, people:  I can sympathize with Russia taking umbrage at Brown’s and Sarkozy’s omitting mention of the contribution of the USSR to the defeat of Nazi Germany during the recent 65th anniversary commemoration of the D-Day landings.  That omission is extremely ahistorical, and slights the sacrifice of millions of Soviet soldiers and civilians.  

I do have one question though.  I am genuinely curious to know what Russian leaders have said at Victory Day celebrations about the contribution of the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the Free Poles (especially), the Free French, and other Allied nations to the vanquishing of Hitler.  Are they as evenhanded and objective in their assignment of credit for contributions to victory as they demand others to be?  If so, bully for them.  If not . . .  Russia’s recent complaints would lose a considerable amount of their force.  

Can anybody out there help me out, and provide translations of/links to remarks of Putin, or Medvedev, at recent Victory Day celebrations (or other WWII-related commemorations)?

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25 Comments »

  1. I was going to offer to translate but found a better way. All their speeches are in English at the Kremlin website. Go to http://www.kremlin.ru/eng/sdocs/events.shtml and look in May of any year and you’ll find Victory Day speeches. I chose some quotes below. They do mention other countries slightly, but not much. I guess they “ignored” the West.:) If you recall, this past Victory Day was when Medvedev announced his new truth committee, so you can assume that he wasn’t in the mood to laud other allies. As for talking with typical Russians about the war, they don’t take the other allies’ efforts very seriously. I’ve even been laughed at when I’ve said “we” or the “allies” won the war, so that’s kind of how it goes. Anyway, here are some quotes from the last three years and there is much more detail on the website.

    Speech at a concert:
    “We will never forget that our country – the Soviet Union – made the input that decided the outcome of the Second World War. It was our people who destroyed Nazism, and it was our nation that saved the entire world, paying an enormous price for this. We will forever cherish and hold onto this truth about the war. Nobody should ever doubt its veracity.”
    – Dmitry Medvedev, May 8, 2009

    At the parade in Red Square on May 9. He actually mentions (slightly) other nations:
    “In exactly one year we will celebrate the 65th anniversary of the Great Victory. The Commonwealth of Independent States and other nations will celebrate this Day of Liberation with us. The victory over Nazism is a great example and a great lesson for all peoples. It is a lesson that is still relevant today, when once again there are those who are interested in embarking on military adventures.”
    – Dmitry Medvedev, May 9, 2009

    Medvedev Speech on Victory Day, 2008:
    “People of all different nationalities fought side by side during those terrible years. Today, millions of people are celebrating Victory Day not only in our country but throughout the CIS and in countries further abroad. This occasion is celebrated by all who honour the feat of the peoples who destroyed fascism. The more the events of that terrible war grow distant, the more valuable our eternal brotherhood and solidarity become, and the greater our shared responsibility for what is happening on our planet.”

    Putin Speech on Victory Day, 2007:
    “Today we pay tribute to the countries that fought together against Hitler. We shall not forget their contribution to the defeat of Nazism.
    Victory Day not only unites the people of Russia but also unites our neighbours in the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States. We are deeply grateful to the generation of people whose difficult fate it was to face this war. They have passed on to us their traditions of fraternity and solidarity and their truly hard-won experience of unity and mutual aid. We will preserve this sacred memory and historical legacy.”

    Comment by Howard Roark — June 26, 2009 @ 5:31 pm

  2. SWP:

    There’s another aspect to be considered. Our leaders have also neglected to mention the fact that Russia made a secret deal with Nazi Germany selling us right down the river, attempting to carve up Eastern Europe between them. Russia fought with us only when betrayed by Germany.

    And another aspect was also ignored: Once Russia beat back the Nazi invasion, it committed its own set of crimes (most sensationally in the Katyn forest) that easily rivaled the Nazi offenses, and it lauched its own pogroms against Jews and other minorities.

    Then, of course, our “ally” Russia spent the next half century trying to destroy us and talking about “burying” us, and so forth.

    So I too agree with the Russians that our leaders should not have forgotten what the Russians did during World War II.

    Comment by La Russophobe — June 26, 2009 @ 7:09 pm

  3. Howard–

    Thanks. Very helpful. I infer from your comment that you are fluent in Russian. That’s quite an accomplishment.

    Re the speeches-you are right, the most minimal recognition of the contributions of others, none of whom are mentioned by name. I will go back to see what Brown and Sarkozy said–perhaps it’s not that different. Medvedev’s most recent statement s far more insulting than what they said–or didn’t say. Moreover, the references to “other nations” are somewhat ambiguous. Read one way, this can be interpreted as to refer to other nations in the CIS–i.e., parts of the USSR–rather than the US, UK, etc. THis means that “victory” is still an all-USSR affair.

    So, like I suspected, Russian complaints are just another exercise in hypocrisy.

    LR–

    Points taken. I’ve argued at length with you-know-who about Soviet culpability for the War, and its conduct afterwards. I’ve been particularly harsh in criticizing the post-War conduct. In this post, I just didn’t want to confuse the issue. I wanted to know, even abstracting from all that–which I know the current Kremlin crowd would never acknowledge–whether their criticism of Brown and Sarkozy was hypocritical, or not. Although the answer is not definitive, what Howard has found strongly suggests that it is. Not that I’m surprised.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — June 26, 2009 @ 8:28 pm

  4. For that matter, the West let the Nazis, Hungarians and Poles have a free hand at dismembering Czechoslovakia. This approach taken by the West went against a Soviet offer to defend Czechoslovakia’s territorial integrity in a Western (particularly French) alliance. The USSR wasn’t present at the Munich appeasement to the Nazi led action against Czechoslovakia. Some in the West hoped that the Nazis and Soviets would then fight each other, with the West left out. This background played a role in the USSR making its own deal with the Nazis.

    In point of fact, Putin attended a major D-Day commemorative gathering in France when he was president. At that event, he noted a faulty parallel manner in the Western attitudes which belittle the Soviet war effort, as being on par with Soviet views downplaying the Western Allied role. He was very clear on this. At this particular gathering, one of the Western leaders (I think it was the French president) made it a point to note and commend the great Soviet war effort that greatly contributed to making the D-Day operation a success.

    The horrors of WW II involved many non-Germans allied with the Nazis. Likewise, the Soviet side was by no means an exclusively Russian entity.

    Comment by Cutie Pie — June 27, 2009 @ 1:24 am

  5. Well, hold the phone, fluent in Russian?… “Nyet”. I just needed the practice but got lazy when I found the Kremlin website. :) I found the site while using Russian, but then noticed that wonderful little button that says “English version” and then bingo, I was saved. I guess low intermediate would be the better descriptor.

    As for CIS vs. us other countries, it’s a bit unclear sometimes in their comments. Also, Medvedev’s line,” It is a lesson that is still relevant today, when once again there are those who are interested in embarking on military adventures,” was touted at the time as a shot at the U.S.

    And speaking of revisionist history, I don’t know if it was Putin’s remarks at the Munich conference that started it or if it had been going on longer than that, but there seems to be a growing movement by Russians to denounce the U.S. bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It will be interesting to see how far that debate goes in the future.

    Comment by Howard Roark — June 27, 2009 @ 1:27 am

  6. Howard:

    LOL. As for myself, I’m struggling mightily to make it to low intermediate. The fricking cases drive me crazy:)

    Re CIS. Yeah-ambiguity is the operative word. I wonder if that is deliberate. Certainly there is no full-throated shout out to US, UK, etc., of the kind they expect the US, UK, etc., to give them whenever the subject is raised.

    Re A-bomb. Way of playing to the leftist galleries in the West. Part of the whole divide and conquer thing, and a cheap way of appearing humanitarian. Fact is, Putin et al couldn’t give a rat’s ass about the moral calculus of the use of the bomb. If they care about it at all, it’s because they’re P-Oed that the use of the bomb forced the Japanese surrender before Stalin could grab more from them in Manchuria and China generally.

    Thanks again for your help!

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — June 27, 2009 @ 2:01 am

  7. CUTIE PIE:

    What you are saying is fully demented. Whatever happened at Munich, it did NOT sell out Russia. NOTHING bad happened to Russia because of Munich.

    You totally ignore the point of this post, which asks when Putin criticized RUSSIA for failing to give due credit to the ALLIES. When did Russia ever hold a ceremony to praise the ALLIES for helping Russia defeat the Nazis?

    What do Russian history books say about the Allied contribution? Our history books FULLY probe Munich — do Russian history books even MENTION Stalin’s secret deal with Hitler?

    Please at least try to be slightly accurate and fair. Otherwise, you make it seem Russia has only idiots to defend her honor.

    Comment by La Russophobe — June 27, 2009 @ 4:29 am

  8. It’s quite demented when the demented confuse reason with their being demented.

    Molotov-Ribbentrop wasn’t an attack on Britain. Yet Britain declared war on Nazi Germany (the so-called “phony war”). On the other hand, Britain didn’t declare war on Germany, when the latter attacked Czechslovakia.

    Although a democracy, Czechoslovakia was on relatively good terms with the USSR, while not having the best of relations with Nazi Germany, Poland and Hungary – three nations which attacked Czechoslovakia.

    The Munich appeasement did have an influence on Molotov-Ribbentrop. This was touched on in my last set of comments. In a recent post of his, Lucas suggests this observation to have validity. One can find ample historiography in support of it.

    I made reference to Putin’s remarks at a D-Day commemoration when he was president. To repeat (due to some not having good reading comprehension skills):

    At that event, he noted a faulty parallel manner in the Western attitudes which belittle the Soviet war effort, as being on par with Soviet views downplaying the Western Allied role. He was very clear on this. At this particular gathering, one of the Western leaders (I think it was the French president) made it a point to note and commend the great Soviet war effort that greatly contributed to making the D-Day operation a success.

    ****

    It stands to reason that Russia and most other former Soviet republics at large will stress the great Soviet contribution in defeating Nazism, on account of that aspect being true, in conjunction with their comfort zone on this reality.

    The SWP noted an understanding at how Russians (and its’ not just Russians) can get offended by those downplaying the Soviet role in defeating the Axis Powers. He then asked a question which I sincerely answered.

    I don’t disagree that post-Soviet Russian historiography is in need of an overhaul on a number of past matters. This is evident in some other former Soviet/Soviet bloc countries as well.

    On the A-bomb droppings over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Western sources have their own arguably hypocritical stands. The word “slaughter” isn’t used in that instance. Yet, it’s used in some others which involved less a loss of human life.

    Comment by Cutie Pie — June 27, 2009 @ 5:02 am

  9. I can answer this for you Professor. There is a whole section in the huge Soviet Memorial museum near Poklonnaya Hill in Moscow devoted to Lend-Lease, the wartime aid the U.S. and to a lesser extent Great Britain provided the USSR in the form of tanks, trucks, planes, and locomotives. It’s probably at least 600-700 sq. ft. of space. I have never seen a similar section in a U.S. WWII museum about Russia’s war.

    “The horrors of WW II involved many non-Germans allied with the Nazis. Likewise, the Soviet side was by no means an exclusively Russian entity.” An excellent point Cutie Pie.

    Comment by Vic — June 27, 2009 @ 6:17 am

  10. I don’t have the inclination to comb through Putvedev’s speeches on the matter, but I would stop to note that:

    1) It was above all the Soviet effort that won WW2, as measured by practically any metric – the losses it incurred, the number of Axis divisions it destroyed (even the greater part of the Luftwaffe losses occurred in the east), etc.

    (IMO, by far the most important Western contribution was Lend-Lease, which is frequently acknowledged. After that I would put bombing of German industry. Only then would I mention North Africa / Italy / D-Day, the first two of which were tangential, and the latter of which came when Germany was already doomed.)

    Now considering this, it is not at all surprising that Russian leaders do not go into long digressions about the fighting role of the Western Allies to Nazi defeat. Because the onus is on the West to acknowledge the Soviet contribution first, since it was the larger in magnitude.

    2) And yes, Russian history books do mention the Non-Aggression Pact. Which as noted was fully understandable in the context of those times.

    Comment by Sublime Oblivion — June 27, 2009 @ 7:12 am

  11. SUBLIME BLOCKHEAD:

    You’re a shameless liar. Stalin’s deal with Hitler is not viewed or understood by Russians in the dark light that Munich is viewed in the West. Most Russians, in fact, have NO IDEA that their country WAS AN ALLY OF ADOLF HITLER for years, much less do they consider how we in the West would naturally view that alliance. The fact that you would suggest an alliance with Nazi Germany was “fully understandable” (while, apparently, we in the West have no rational basis for being upset by it) is truly psychotic and disqualifies you from any consideration as a remotely serious person. Presumably you also think the Katyn massacre was “fully understandable” as was the Gulag Archipelago. Sir, you are a venal psychopath.

    CUTIE PIE:

    Neville Chamberlain is hated and reviled in the West. Josef Stalin is ever more revered as a hero in Russia. Nuff said.

    Comment by La Russophobe — June 28, 2009 @ 4:09 am

  12. A few comments:

    1. @Vic: Re museum, (a) interesting, but a little off point, and (b) I have seen museums in the US and the UK (e.g., Imperial War Museum) that do pay considerable attention to WWII on the Russian front. The museum example is off point because I was interested in an apples-to-apples comparison related to the recent Russian complaints re the D-Day observation slight. That is, a comparison of the treatment of WWII by state leaders. Re museum, I would also note that there are myriad books in English about the war on the Russian Front–I count 14 on my bookshelf, and that’s only a fraction of the material available. All of these works emphasize the decisive impact of the Soviet effort. Just as I am curious about the public statements of Putin & Medvedev re the historical legacy, I am also curious to know the availability of books in Russian about the war on other fronts (understanding of course that far fewer books are published in Russian in any event). Further re museum, and my curiosity: when was the Lend Lease Exhibit created? I’m guessing in the 90s, which would mean that it is of far less relevance in evaluating the attitudes of the current leadership.

    2. @Cutey Pie (was going to write “CP” but that would be me;-) Here’s the key difference between Munich and Molotov-Ribbentrop: the former has widely been excoriated, both in the historical literature and in political debate in the West, whereas the latter was (a) completely denied in the historical literature and political rhetoric of the USSR, and (b) is only grudgingly acknowledged today, and even then is still being continually rationalized, excused, explained away, etc. What’s more, the content of M-R matters. Although you, and others (e.g., S/O), explain it primarily as a means of buying time for the USSR once a unified anti-Nazi front was completely undermined by Munich, it was much, much more than that. What’s more, Soviet cooperation with Nazi Germany on other dimensions (especially economic) was very extensive, and was necessary to permit Hitler to defeat the Western powers in 1940. The objective of deflecting Hitler did not require the degree of material support that the USSR gave him–indeed, it proved counterproductive, as once Hitler swallowed Western Europe he was free to turn east. (Something even Stalin-admirer S/O has acknowledged.) Moreover, M-R was also a means by which Stalin advanced his own imperial ambitions. It was a deal between devils by which both parties believed that they were advancing their goals of conquest.

    I would also note that the difference between Britain, post-May 1940 and Russia post-Munich is quite stark. Britain had a chance to deal with Hitler after the fall of France–and sell the USSR down the river in order to save its own skin. It didn’t. In contrast, even under your interpretation of M-R (which overlooks Stalin’s cupidity as a motivation), the USSR was quite willing to sell Poland, France, and UK down the river to save its skin. Indeed, it was willing to sell Hitler the means necessary to destroy the Western powers. The moral contrast between Churchill/UK on the one hand, and Stalin/USSR on the other is very stark indeed. If Churchill and the British had caved in 1940–as some elements within the British establishment were quite willing to do–Hitler would have been freed from what he had sworn not to do in Mein Kampf; wage a two front war. And if that had happened, the USSR would have been toast.

    3. @S/O. Re winning WW2. A variety of things. First, re winning WW2: although the war against Hitler was paramount, it did have another major theater that absorbed massive American resources, and in which the USSR was only tangentially and opportunistically involved. Second, I don’t think that anyone will dispute that the graveyard of the Wehrmacht was in the USSR, but given the extremely thin margin by which Russia survived utter defeat not just in ’41 but also ’42 and to a lesser degree ’43, the contributions on other fronts were also necessary conditions for victory. Not asking for long digressions . . . just want to know whether there is even acknowledgement, and the degree to which these efforts are acknowledged, when evaluating the proper regard to give recent Russian complaints about lack of acknowledgement by Brown and Sarkozy.

    Re metrics of “effort.” The casualties suffered indeed beggar the imagination. But they bring to mind a quote by Patton: “No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor, dumb bastard die for his country.” This also relates to our earlier debate re the culpability of the Soviet leadership, and particularly Stalin personally, for these casualties. You mentioned that nobody had figured out how to deal with German operational methods. But nobody ever suffered the same magnitude of loss, or the same horrific loss ratios (casualties suffered/casualties inflicted) as did the USSR. This remained true throughout the war. Although loss ratios certainly declined post-’41, they remained high throughout. And it’s not merely the difference between offense and defense. US/UK/Canada had loss ratios less than 1 while on the offensive in 44 and 45. I don’t believe that was ever the case on the Russian Front. This speaks to the operational skill, and the humanity, of the Soviet military leadership.

    BTW, have you read Glantz’s “Stumbling Collossus?”

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — June 28, 2009 @ 4:55 am

  13. SWP

    IMO and as previously stated: not to be overlooked in what you say is the willingness of the USSR to defend Czechoslovak sovereignty with a Western (primarily French) alliance. The West refused this plan and instead essentially nodded support for the Nazi, Polish and Hungarian actions against Czechoslovakia. This position by the West no doubt influenced Molotov-Ribbentrop. Like I said, at the time of the Munich appeasement, some were hoping for a Nazi-Soviet confrontation with the West left out. Stalin was shrewd and sought to turn the tables in his favor.

    On another point of yours, Germany gave support to the Bolshes during the Russian Civil War. Following WW I, Germany and the USSR were outcasts. These factors were present in the lead up to the Nazi-Soviet relationship.

    I’m certainly not “CP” (if I understand what you mean that to be abbreviated for) and am not hestitant to note the brutal aspects of Stalin’s regime. Like it or not, scoundrels have rights as well. American courts have ruled in favor of people with criminal records over those with cleans ones – on the basis that the latter wronged the former.

    When noting Soviet wrongs, it’s shortsighted to overlook the wrongs of others.

    As for the remark on Stalin’s “popularity” in Russia, it’s not in the manner as suggested by some.

    The USSR played the leading role in defeating Nazi Germany. This thread gives examples showing Western and former Soviet acknowledgment of the roles played by the Western and Eastern Allies in defeating Nazi Germany. Post-Soviet/former Soviet historiography is still relatively new in terms of having greater freedom. Therefore, one can find existing fault lines from that grouping. The ideal situation is to offer constructive criticism that’s accurate, as opposed to issuing inaccurately flippant remarks, which can be seen as insulting.

    Comment by Cutie Pie — June 28, 2009 @ 1:43 pm

  14. CP=initials of “Cutie Pie” and “Craig Pirrong”; that was the potential source of confusion I was referring to in my comment. I think you thought I meant CP=”Communist Party.” No such intent on my part. LOL.

    Specifics, please, re “inaccurately flippant remarks.”

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — June 28, 2009 @ 3:27 pm

  15. Okay Professor.

    Come to think of it, back in the day, SWP was shorthand for the Trots leaning Socialist Workers Party. In that era, the name Communist Party of whatver the country in question, followed by Marxist Leninist referred to pro-Albanian Communist (after Albania’s break with the USSR) CPs. The latter included Warsaw Pact nations as well. They were somewhere near the popularity level of the Saudi Arabian Communist Party.

    On your other point, I’m not into what can be termed as idealistically misleading visions. I prefer more of a reasoned cause and effect explanation on why certain instances occur. For example, Molotov-Ribbentrop had IMO more to do with the Munich appeasement than Nazi Germany and the USSR having brutal aspects. Believing this doesn’t mean excusing or downplaying the brutal manner of Hitler, Stalin and their staunch supporters. Afterall, brutal folks have been known to oppose each other and there’ve been examples of seemingly nicer people having pretty decent relationships with some not so nice folks. This observation relates to the alliance structures during WW II. Not everyone allied with the USSR was Communist and the Axis Powers had different levels collaboration within that alliance (some being as sadistic if not more so than the most reprehensible of German Nazi ideologues, with some others who didn’t carry on in that manner).

    It can be counterproductive when the criticisms against a given party are inaccurate. It gives a better PR option to the side receiving such criticism.

    Comment by Cutie Pie — June 28, 2009 @ 6:28 pm

  16. Cutie Pie–

    Your response to my “other point” seems to suggest that those who disagree with you are not taking a “reasoned cause and effect” view of this issue, but are instead propounding “idealistically misleading visions.” There is clearly a difference of opinion about the subjective motivations of Stalin in signing the M-R pact, but I don’t think that you can in fairness accuse those who take a different view from yours of being unreasonable or deliberately misleading or inaccurate.

    You’ve mentioned Poland several times in your discussions of M-R, and lumped it together with Germany and Hungary. I can’t speak to Hungarian motivations, knowing little about that nation’s pre-war policies, but I would argue that Poland’s attitude was perfectly understandable given its history vis a vis Russia, and the USSR. Soviet access to Czechoslovakia would have been through Poland, and given that history, and Stalin’s obvious territorial ambitions, Poland had legitimate fears that it would be suicidal to cooperate with the USSR and to permit Soviet troops on its territory. (Stalin, it is worth remembering, was political commissar for the Red Army during its invasion of Poland in 1920-1921. He screwed up royally there, BTW.) Poland was caught between two devils, and attempting to stand in its shoes circa 1938, it is (a) easy to sympathize for its plight, and (b) possible to understand why it declined to support a Soviet effort in Czechoslovakia. It is easy in hindsight to say that Hitler was a greater threat, but for a Pole in 1938 it was not nearly so obvious. In that sense, the USSR’s well-earned reputation undermined its ability to assemble a coalition to protect the Czechs.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — June 29, 2009 @ 9:51 pm

  17. Re-”This also relates to our earlier debate re the culpability of the Soviet leadership, and particularly Stalin personally, for these casualties. You mentioned that nobody had figured out how to deal with German operational methods. But nobody ever suffered the same magnitude of loss, or the same horrific loss ratios (casualties suffered/casualties inflicted) as did the USSR.”

    Poland’s and France’s losses were equal to or worse than Soviet losses even in 1941. And the overall ratio was 1.3:1 vis-a-vis the Axis on the Eastern Front for the duration of WW2, based on the latest military casualties estimates. So though losses were certainly horrific, the loss ratios were not. Quoting myself:

    Of these, the “irrevocable losses” (the number of soldiers who were killed in military action, went MIA, became POWs and died of non-combat causes) was 11,285,057 for the USSR, 6,231,700 for Germany, 6,923,700 for Germany and its occupied territories, and 8,649,500 for all the Axis forces on the Eastern Front. Thus, the total ratio of Soviet to Nazi military losses was 1.3:1…The problem is that during the Cold War, the historiography in the West was dominated by the memoirs of Tippelskirch, who wrote in the 1950’s citing constant Soviet/German forces ratios of 7:1 and losses ratio of 10:1.

    Re-And it’s not merely the difference between offense and defense. US/UK/Canada had loss ratios less than 1 while on the offensive in 44 and 45. I don’t believe that was ever the case on the Russian Front. This speaks to the operational skill, and the humanity, of the Soviet military leadership.

    1) US/UK/Canada could a) substitute capital for manpower much more easily because of their greater per capita industrial power, b) they had complete air superiority, c) even in 1944-45 they continued to face far less German resistance than the Soviets both numerically and morally (i.e. a lot more Germans surrendered to the Western Allies). Bearing all these in mind, it is not at all surprising that their loss ratios were better than the German even though they were on the offense.

    2) Soviet loss ratios were 0.9:1 in 1944. They were slightly higher than 1 in 1945, but these figures omit the high casualties suffered by the Volkssturm.

    Re-”BTW, have you read Glantz’s “Stumbling Collossus?””

    Some fragments, not in full. My favorite works on it are Absolute War (C. Bellamy) and Why did the Allies win WW2? (R. Overy)

    Comment by Sublime Oblivion — June 29, 2009 @ 11:34 pm

  18. Professor

    IMO:

    I recognize respectful differences of opinion versus those where there’re clear instances of on opposing view being significantly out of touch with reality. Granted, there’s an opinion aspect on such matter. This point relates to how you single out my etiquette over someone else at this thread, who has posted provocatively negative adjectives at some others – in a way that I didn’t initiate. That said, I’ll reply to chippy play in kind. I certainly didn’t introduce that behavior at this thread and I haven’t proceeded to take it at a lower level.

    Based on what I was responding to on Molotov-Ribbentrop, I don’t see where I am being off base.

    My references to Hungary, Nazi Germany and Poland relates to how the three of them took pieces of Czechoslovak territory. This matter concerns the issue of “territorial ambitions.”

    Your generally stated sympathy of Poland in its relationship with Russia suggestively overlooks that Russia had valid historical issues with Poland. It’s incorrect (as some have done) to liken the Polish-Russian relationship to that of Britain-Ireland. The Irish never came close to dominating Britain. You mention the Soviet invasion of Poland without noting what Poland did in 1919. You could then go back to previous periods in Russo-Polish history that exclude the aggressive acts of Poland against Russia. To me, this kind of an overview isn’t a balanced historical accounting.

    The USSR had negative issues which shouldn’t be overlooked. This point shouldn’t overlook what was evident elsewhere. The manner of Nazi Germany in 1938 relative to what it did (a government with a bigoted ideology, that presided over an arms buildup, with potentially expansionist aims) wasn’t so unknown to Western experts on the subject. Following the death of Pilsuidki and before Molotov-Ribbentrop, Poland wasn’t becoming more democratic, as many non-ethnic Poles in Poland were uncomfortable living under Polish rule.

    Comment by Cutie Pie — June 30, 2009 @ 1:40 am

  19. “Whatever happened at Munich, it did NOT sell out Russia. NOTHING bad happened to Russia because of Munich.”

    Phoby lies some more! Because of Munich, Nazi Germany got several hundred very good Czechoslovak tanks, and the Skoda Works, one of the great armaments complexes of Europe.

    That was Very Bad for Russia (and Poland, and france, and even the Brits.

    As it was, in Barbarossa the Germans ran into their first effective military resistance. The first 7 weeks of Barbarossa killed almost three times as many German troops as the 1940 campaign in the West did.

    Nobody west of the Bug has any grounds to feel superior to Soviets based on their military performance in the European theater.

    Comment by rkka — June 30, 2009 @ 12:17 pm

  20. S/O: … was 11,285,057 for the USSR…

    Sure, nobody expects much numeracy from a humanities student, but still, have you never heard the term false precision?

    Comment by peter — July 2, 2009 @ 2:26 am

  21. 1. Please go address your complaints to G. F. Krivosheev, who compiled these figures.

    2. Presumably he and his staff did so by simply tallying of losses in their archival research.

    3. For the record most of what I’m doing is classified as “social science”. Though I certainly wonder about your need to constantly denigrate certain academic branches…is it to feel more intellectually secure in your own field? Straight-up contempt for other viewpoints that don’t conform to your own? Just wondering.

    Comment by Sublime Oblivion — July 2, 2009 @ 11:06 am

  22. 1. Thanks, Captain Obvious, nobody thinks you’ve invented those numbers all by yourself.

    2. Thanks again, Captain Obvious.

    3. Mocking a wannabe “social scientist” is not the same as “denigrating certain academic branches”, is it? You take yourself a bit too seriously, junior.

    Comment by peter — July 4, 2009 @ 12:47 pm

  23. Wannabe “social scientist” > rude troll.

    Have a nice day.

    Comment by Sublime Oblivion — July 4, 2009 @ 3:06 pm

  24. Note: third attempt to post below comments – CP

    Reminds me of this discussion:

    http://grayfalcon.blogspot.com/2009/06/character-assassination.html

    In some instances, the Phd has been trumped up as cover for trolling over more erudite non-Phd commentary.

    None other than Zbigniew Brzezinski noted that the Phd isn’t an automatic/exclusive variable in determining profound insight on the given subject.

    Comment by Cutie Pie — July 5, 2009 @ 9:32 am

  25. rkka,
    Thanks for pointing out some reality to the LaRusso troll. Incidentally, her real life counterparts, if not alter egos, seem to be getting restless what with the “reset” and Saakashvili about to be tossed on his ear.

    Comment by Vic — July 6, 2009 @ 5:53 am

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