halialkers: An image of Joe Stalin in sunglasses with the phrase "Broseph Stalin" on it (Kaartshaahin Heshatani)
Two invasions and one great offensive were launched. In 1812, the bicentennial of which is this day, Napoleon Bonaparte, the hitherto undefeated conqueror of the great bulk of Europe launched his invasion of the Russia of Alexander I. He had spent the previous months studying all the failures of Charles XII in the Great Northern War, and making his most in-depth and complete logistical and otherwise preparations for a campaiign. Indeed, Napoleon never repeated the mistakes of Charles XII. He made completely different ones that culminated in the complete annihilation of his Grande Armee, culminating in the great debacle of the Berezina. Technically Napoleon was never defeated on the battlefield, but as the North Vietnamese said to the American, that was true but it was irrelevant. Curiously Napoleon's invasion began to degenerate after a stiff fight at Smolensk, the first truly big and gruesome battle of the invasion.

In 1941, 3 million Nazis, prepared after a decision made in October of 1940, were to launch what was intended to be the crowning triumph of Nazi arms, the invasion of the Soviet Union of Josef Stalin. Against them were arrayed 2 million Soviet forces with horrendously obsolete equipment, operating on a bad plan, executing the bad plan worse than even it had to be. In the course of this preparation, the Nazis had studied deeply the lessons of 1812, and indeed they did not repeat the mistakes of Napoleon. They made entirely different ones that were just as fatal. This in fact cast a deep dark cloud over the course of Operation Typhoon and the Soviet counteroffensive there. And furthermore, ironically, and bitterly the Soviets caused the Nazi offensive to begin to derail in a prolonged and bloody battle at Smolensk, the first place the Red Army put up a furious, planned defense that lasted for eight weeks (and utterly failed, but in lasting eight weeks this meant it took the Nazis longer to capture Smolensk than it had taken them to knock down the French).

And then in 1944, the Red Army launched Operation Bagration against the hollowed-out form of Army Group Center, still retaining the so-called Belarusian Balcony, where the Red Army had massed a huge, modern mechanized force against a Wehrmacht degrading into a WWI Army and SS fanatics who were a political militia but had all the remaining goodies. The huge offensive began deep in Belarus, around Minsk, at the time that the democracies were breaking out at Falaise. In a short timespan Army Group Center no longer existed, the Red Army was on the Vistula, the Polish Home Army destroyed any pretense of an independent postwar Poland with the Nazis and Soviets both in different ways making this end possible, and the Nazis lost WWII to a point where only the fanatics could disagree with it.

June 22nd is as such generally not the day nor the era to invade Russia. Russia, in fact, has a record of killing empires on this day.
halialkers: (Tamar)

^This book and the one below:


Are two of the books that I most treasure in my own library of historical books. There is a reason for this. Both, viewing what we know in hindsight was the rather extraordinarily rapid disintegration of the Soviet Union viewed it as possible for the USSR to let the Eastern Bloc go and even to make something of a revival. Heller in actual fact was arguing that Glasnost and Perestroika were seeking a revival of Stalinism. That in actual fact the power of the totalitarian state was such that it could, in fact produce a boot stamping on a human face forever.

This is what reality said about that:

^This is the image of the last Soviet flag lowered over the Kremlin in December of 1991, three years after the first book was written and only a year after writing the last book. The grim irony behind this is that the Orientalistic and Fatalistic view of the permanent face of Soviet power was hideously, ludicrously wrong. Why does this matter? In a context of the USA bringing democracy by the roar of the cannon and the crash of the bomb, why do you think? 

halialkers: Macaw parrot, red head and upper body, with yellow in midwings, blue at the bottom of the wings and top of tail, red tai (Kameshi)
Making this the third in a series of books by Edvard Radinsky that I've read. The first was his biography of Tsar Alexander II, the second that of the last Tsar, this one of the Soviet dictator whose malignant influence made the Soviet state only to follow the most evil path. Radinsky's Stalin has a lot of the ogre in the man, and his book reflects that the man himself lived during the Stalinist era. The Tyrant who created a massive army and party-state and proceeded to tear up both to ensure personal loyalty, and the cruel man who was an abusive father and able to cry genuinely over his own friends and family whom he sent to Gulag to die, who partitioned Europe with Hitler and proceeded to win major victories over the less intelligent and self-controlled totalitarian murderous despite shines in full horror.

Radinsky's Alexander II is a clever and sensitive man, who fails to master the dangers of reforming Tsarism because his reforms were always designed to be superficial, to streamline the system rather than to really change it. Alexander II resorts to violence but is too tender-hearted to be a brute about it. His death comes from his own successes in reforming Russia and abolishing serfdom, limiting the dangers of autocracy and thus enabling terrorism to rise and kill him.

Nicholas II has his grandfather's sensuality but is a weakling who can't either be a brute *or* be sensitive. Strongly devoted to his wife but increasingly out of touch or even concern for what happened in Russia, and betrayed by his superstitions and by the sinister, malevolent Rasputin who was for a time perhaps real-life's only supervillain, commanding a doomed empire that trundled off to its doom with a mad Tsar "commanding" an army by playing checkers and not caring what happened and a Tsarina Rasputin had eating out of the palm of his hand and promoting his cronies to high places. Then Nicky dies at Yekaterinburg, the first of many victims of Terror under the Springtime in Russia the terrorists of Alexander II's time had finally brought forth.

Then finally Stalin himself, the coarsened and brutalized son of a cobbler. A seminary student who became a bank-robber, a man who did all the unglamorous, treacherous, and bloody work of revolution and with Lenin's approval and support as Koba gains dictatorial power before Lenin's even dead. Then as Stalin removing any possibility of challenge, creating a massive state the likes of which the most powerful and evil Tsars would have failed to achieve, slaughters his political and military leadership, faces history's greatest invasion and the army whose officer corps he himself had shot 99% of goes on to overrun half of Europe. Radzinsky is a very good writer and his book on Stalin is quite a good book. You really get a feel for the man who was willing to partition Europe with Hitler and then proceeded to school his former partner on why one is only treacherous when one already holds all the cards to the degree that Hitler committed suicide as Stalin's army raised the hammer and sickle over the Reichstag.

I'd recommend it but anyone who would be triggered and/or has a weak stomach should avoid it, Stalin's as bad on both of those counts as Hitler can be. *shudders* We were fortunate he was on our side.
halialkers: (Default)
In the summer of 1944, the Soviet Stavka had agreed with the democracies' armies to launch simultaneous offensives. As the democracies captured Rome and launched Overlord, the Soviets knocked Finland out of the war in the first of a sequence of staggered offensives. On 22 June 1944, 2 million Soviets under the command of Georgi Zhukov, wielding a modern mechanized army vastly superior to its Nazi counterpart in mobility, firepower, and overall leadership began Operation Bagration. The Soviets used the 1st Baltic, and the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Byelorussian Fronts, and these fronts from a starting line at Minsk in June of 1944 by 19 August had reached the Vistula. In the process the largest intact remaining core of German military power and all the rest of Soviet territory were cleared in a relatively short span of time, and the Soviets were to halt outside Warsaw and let Bar-Komorowski's deluded efforts to hold onto the 1921 frontiers destroy itself, to enable the Lublin Government by default to form the core of Warsaw Pact Poland.

The Soviet victory in Bagration was the grandest example of combined-arms warfare in the entirety of the war, and the moment at which the war for the Germans was irretrievably lost. After Bagration the Germans were unable to achieve even a stalemate.
halialkers: (Josef Stalin)
So much death today its anniversary remembered is never oversoon.

Today, June 22nd, 1941 3 million Axis armies consisting of Germans, Romanians, Hungarians, Bulgarians, Italians, and Finns all invaded the Soviet Union to fight an equal number of Soviet troops, 3 million, caught right in the middle of a military overhaul. World War II, already begun in Asia and restarted with a vengeance in Africa now erupted into the largest war ever. The confrontation of Fascism with Soviet Communism led ultimately to both how and why World War II lasted as long as it did and took the form it did. Hitler attacks in the mid-1930s and the Soviets destroy him with what was both the most technologically and tactically advanced army with the best resources of the day. He attacked in 1942 the new improved Soviet Army would have blunted his offensive and then thrown him back far earlier, with a fraction of the death toll and devastation that greeted the OTL USSR.

Instead June 22nd 1941 was the right combination of hitting a stronger enemy at its weakest and due to so many cries of wolf beforehand also strategic surprise at that very moment.

Three years later, another World War II June 22nd, a newer, retooled Soviet Army was at war against the Germans. The Germans remained to the dying days of the war the horde obsessed with elan and cran and eschewing the mass-production processes that both US free enterprise and also Soviet central planning both became superior to the Nazi model in their own ways. The Germans now lacked mobility, significant depth in reserve after the expensive victories and catastrophic defeats of 1941-1943 and were facing a highly motorized Soviet military that was for the first time able to combine all aspects of war into a revival of pre-war Deep Penetration Doctrine.

And then the Soviet juggernaut slammed into Army Group Center, saved from this fate in an irony of ironies in December 1941 only by previous Soviet offensives being over-ambitious and under-commanded and German military power was destroyed. The war from then on out was the combination of the Allies, the USSR, UK, and USA to crush the Germans in a giant nutcracker move.

Remember, remember the 22nd of June, so much death today its anniversary is never oversoon.

halialkers: (Default)
If the Nazis and the Soviets had been dictatorships with non-white victims, nobody would have really given a crap here in the Anglosphere. It's only because their victims were white that anything negative is said about them at all. It's why you never hear of Imperial Japan and what it did, or Mao's evils, or Pol Pot and the most evil dictatorship in all of history, or Idi Amin Dada or Bokassa or any such non-whites who did horrifically evil and barbaric acts.

But because the Nazis and Soviets treated white men as white men were accustomed to treating non-whites, Anglosphere media cryeth "Oh, how totally dreadful and horrible!" "Pol Pot who?"


halialkers: (Default)
Big image under cut... )

One thing that is forgotten about the severity of the Nazi-Soviet War is the USSR's use of female soldiers in both aerial and ground combat, which was seldom if ever done in the West. Soviet women, such as this sniper here, did many acts of heroism against a great evil. The Soviet Union itself was never a pleasant society from start to end, but the heroism of its people and its soldiers during the Axis-Soviet War should be more remembered than it is.

halialkers: (Default)
Three questions that need answering.

First: Is economic inequality a civil rights issue? Not so long ago, a scandal broke where minors were being incarcerated to boost the profits of privately-owned for-profit prisons. The children imprisoned were disproportinately poor and this was true regardless of race. The civil rights leaders were nowhere to be found in that situation, despite the fact that economic inequality is pernicious and not limited to racial boundaries. This, also, despite the fact that economic inequality drives the Fundamentalist movements worldwide, as reactions against it. Why is the Jena Six incident considered civil rights but children who are poor who are imprisoned for greedy evil bastards to make profits off of that somehow not?

Second: Why is it that genocide is an evil thing to do but cultural genocides and ethnocides are acceptable government policies in the developed world? The idea that there are nation-states is a pretty fiction, but no more and no less. Spain has the Basques, the Catalans, and the Castilians and the Galicians. France has the Basques and Catalans and Gascons and Bretons and Italians and Alsatians. The US has my old saw, the Indian peoples, whom we attempted to destroy their cultures thereof. Now....given that eliminating entire peoples because we don't like their cultures is wrong (as in the Shoah and the Killing Fields), why is eliminating the cultures themselves somehow not wrong?

Third (and finally): Why have there been pages and pages on the crimes of one Adolf Hitler of Branau Am Inn and virtually nothing on the crimes of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, at least in English-language media? I can name seven Holocaust scholarship books off the top of my head. I can only name one that dealt with the Soviet slave labor camp system, virtually none that touch on Soviet behavior in Eastern Europe and on Soviet ethnic cleansing, and damned fewer yet that will touch the nature of Soviet scientific evils, including a plan to shape a "New Soviet Man." Since Hitler's Master Race was almost cartoonishly evil, how again, is the Soviet Union's history of atrocities and evils done in the name of "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need," somehow not? Why the volumes on the Holocaust and the slaughters in Russia, but not even a box's worth of equal social history on the Gulag and Soviet ethnic cleansing?
halialkers: (Default)
This fellow.... )

Who led a group of about 25 people at max against thousands of Nazis. Never let it be said that the Hitler regime had much in the way of brains.

Yakov Pavlov wins this month's badass of the month award.

halialkers: (Default)
I've been wanting to write a novel about the Eastern Front, and another Nazi-related alternate history novel. The first novel is set about the time of Operation Bagration and concerns the mammoth Soviet offensive of that time and ends with the discovery of the concentration camps. The kicker is that one of the Soviet commissars that discovers it (a fictional commissar) participates in the Katyn massacre in the prologue. That novel is intended as delving into the evil men do and as a comparison of the two most loathsome regimes in European history. It would also cover both the Wehrmacht and the Red Army's participation in WWII atrocities.

The other novel concerns Hitler v. Bin Laden. Yes, you read that right. Islam is by nature an egalitarian religion, while the Fuhrerprinzip of the Nazis is basically a contradiction to that in a pure form that it wasn't to Christianity. While Christianity wouldn't be capable of effective resistance against Nazism, Islam rather lacks the current Christian willingness to take a stand for what's right. The plot concerns the National Socialists against an Islamist terror movement and is both an allegory of the War on Terror and an exploration of what evil is, and how to define darkness and whether or not ideologies can truly be called evil in the end.

Any comments on the potential shitstorms or otherwise that both novels could create?
halialkers: (Default)

De Vriter's Block ask if ve like de Deutsch re-unification und vant de Cold Var back?

De answer ist Nein!

I mean, my God, one drunk Russian and WWIII would have happened. Or one drunk American, and WWIII would have happened.

Yeah, I prefer terrorists that are likely never to do anything serious to the Soviet fucking Union any day.

The Cold War was hardly simple, either. The superpowers got their fingers in every cookie jar known to man and a few that weren't.

At least it wasn't a Nazi-US Cold War.


halialkers: (Default)

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