Stalin & World War II

Alex Trotter uburoi at
Wed Aug 3 13:07:12 MDT 1994

Stalin apparently commanded enormous, if sometimes grudging, respect in
France as the Great Man who saved the day in WWII. Hey, they even named a
Paris Metro station "Stalingrad." I haven't read the Bataille piece about
him, but I imagine it's similar to Merleau-Ponty's _Humanism and Terror_,
which drew the conclusion that only a leader as ruthless as Stalin could
have defeated Hitler's legions. Overlooked, of course, was the evidence
that Stalin had an instrumental role in fascism's success to begin with
(i.e., his strangulation of revolutionary movements in Germany, Spain,
and China and the devastating weaknesses he brought about in the USSR
through starvation in the Ukraine as well as the purges in which he
ordered most of the best generals in the Red Army offed). Hitler was
supposed to have copied many of the structures of the party-state
dictatorship from the Russian model. Indeed, can't it be said that
Stalinism *is* a particular form of fascism? As to the notion that
the five-year plans of crash development of heavy industry laid the
groundwork for successful defense against German invasion, I just don't
know. We saw the Vietnamese prevail against a military machine more
powerful than Hitler's. And don't forget the role played by that greatest
of Russian generals--the winter.

--Alex Trotter


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