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The World Wars and Interwar Period 



The first half of the 20th century saw the world entangled in two global wars, conducted with an unprecedented brutality. The First World War developed from a purely European affair into a conflict involving the colonies and the United States. It altered Europe's political landscape and shifted the power balance worldwide. In World War II, the nations of Europe, Asia, the Americas, and Africa were drawn into the conflict through the aggressive policies of an ambitious Nazi Germany. The war was conducted with the most up-to-date weapons technology and cost the lives of more than 55 million people. The Holocaust, the systematic annihilation of the European Jews, represented an unparalleled moral catastrophe for modern civilization.


Pablo Picasso "Weeping Woman", 1937




The Soviet Union



see also:
Socialist Realism


The Russian czar was deposed in 1917, even before the end of World War I. The radical left-wing Bolsheviks emerged victorious out of the dispute between the democratic transitional government and the revolutionary Soviet Council of Soldiers' and Workers' Deputies. They came to power in the October Revolution in 1917 under the leadership of Lenin, ended the war, suppressed counterrevolutionary uprisings in a civil war, and constituted the first Communist-ruled state in the world: the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). After Lenin's death in 1924, the Soviet Union became an increasingly centralized personal dictatorship under Stalin in the 1930s. Stalin oversaw a massive industrialization program and forcibly collectivized agriculture, while millions fell victim to the regime's repression.


Stalin's Rise from 1924 to 1929

After Lenin's death, Stalin took over the leadership of the party and by 1929 was undisputed leader of the country. In foreign affairs, the Soviet Union was primarily concerned with consolidation.


After Lenin fell ill in 1922, internal power struggles over succession within the party determined the domestic development of the country. Stalin used his power as general secretary of the Communist party to place his followers, particularly Kamenev and Zinoviev, in important government and party posts and give his office a key position in the party structure.

Although Lenin in his "political will" had recommended the replacement of Stalin— whose ambitious nature he suspected—as general secretary, Stalin was able to overcome his rivals after Lenin's 2 death on January 21,1924.

2 Lenin lying in state, 1924

However, civil war and international intervention to crush the revolution created permanent fears. By 1929 Stalin had been able to eliminate his competitors in the party and government leadership through shifting coalitions.

In 1927, he forced his most powerful rival, Leon Trotsky, out of the party and in 1929 had him expelled from the country; Trotsky was murdered by the Soviet secret service in his 3 Mexican exile in 1940.

Whereas Trotsky had maintained that the Soviet Union could be secured if 1 Communist revolution were continued in the highly industrialized nations of Europe, Stalin primarily concentrated on the ruthless establishment of a socialist social order in his own country from 1928 on.

3 Trotsky's arrival in Mexico, 1937

1 "Workers of the World Unite!",
Soviet poster, 1932

With the increased industrialization and 4 forced collectivization of the economy, Stalin's dictatorship became a bloody system of suppression in the 1930s.

4 Collective farm, 1931

Soviet propaganda poster: "Comrade, come and join the kolkhoz!"; "We will keep out Kulaks from the collectives", 1930

The Communist state had been recognized by most of the European nations by 1924. The priority of the Soviet Union's foreign relations under Stalin was to secure its own system of rule. The USSR joined the League of Nations in 1934 and signed diverse nonag-gression pacts and treaties of mutual assistance. After Nazi Germany's rearmament in the 1930s, the Western powers' concessions in the Munich Agreement reinforced Stalin's reservations with respect to the capitalist nations, especially after their betrayal of democracy in the Spanish Civil War.

Stalin therefore decided for the ideologically paradoxical 5, 7 alliance with Germany.

This allowed the Soviet Union to participate in the 6 division of Poland and was intended to avert major military conflict. Hitler broke the treaty on June 22,1941, when German forces began to invade.

5 Foreign Minister Molotov and Hitler
in Berlin, 1940

6 German-Soviet meeting at the demarcation
line in occupied Poland, 1939

7 French cartoon satirizing the
Nazi-Soviet Pact, 1939

Josef Stalin



Collectivization in the Soviet Union

Cannibals caught with cuts of human flesh in the Volga, 1921.
This was during the height of collectivization in the Ukraine

agricultural policy

policy adopted by the Soviet government, pursued most intensively between 1929 and 1933, to transform traditional agriculture in the Soviet Union and to reduce the economic power of the kulaks (prosperous peasants). Under collectivization the peasantry were forced to give up their individual farms and join large collective farms (kolkhozy). The process was ultimately undertaken in conjunction with the campaign to industrialize the Soviet Union rapidly. But before the drive began, long and bitter debates over the nature and pace of collectivization went on among the Soviet leaders (especially between Stalin and Trotsky, 1925–27, and between Stalin and Nikolay Bukharin, 1927–29).

Some Soviet leaders considered collective farms a socialist form of land tenure and therefore desirable; but they advocated a gradual transition to them in order to avoid disrupting the agricultural productivity necessary to stimulate industrial growth. Other leaders favoured rapid industrialization and, consequently, wanted immediate, forced collectivization; they argued not only that the large kolkhozy could use heavy machinery more efficiently and produce larger crops than could numerous small, individual farms but that they could be controlled more effectively by the state. As a result, they could be forced to sell a large proportion of their output to the state at low government prices, thereby enabling the state to acquire the capital necessary for the development of heavy industry.

A decision was made by the 15th Congress of the Communist Party (December 1927) to undertake collectivization at a gradual pace, allowing the peasantry to join kolkhozy voluntarily. But in November 1928 the Central Committee (and in April 1929 the 16th Party Conference) approved plans that increased the goals and called for 20 percent of the nation’s farmland to be collectivized by 1933. Between October 1929 and January 1930 the proportion of peasant households forced into kolkhozy rose from about 4 percent to 21 percent, although the government’s main efforts in the countryside were concentrated on extracting grain from the kulaks.

Intensive collectivization began during the winter of 1929–30. Stalin called upon the party to “liquidate the kulaks as a class” (Dec. 27, 1929), and the Central Committee resolved that an “enormous majority” of the peasant households should be collectivized by 1933. Harsh measures—including land confiscations, arrests, and deportations to prison camps—were inflicted upon all peasants who resisted collectivization. By March 1930 more than one-half of the peasantry (a larger proportion in the agriculturally rich southwestern region of the Soviet Union) had been forced to join collective farms.

But the peasants objected violently to abandoning their private farms. In many cases, before joining the kolkhozy they slaughtered their livestock and destroyed their equipment. The losses, as well as the animosity toward the Soviet regime, became so great that Stalin decided to slow down the collectivization process. On March 2, 1930, he published an article, “Dizzy from Success,” in which he shifted the blame to local officials, whom he characterized as overzealous in their duties. Immediately, many peasants left the kolkhozy. In March 1930 approximately 58 percent of the peasant households had been enrolled in kolkhozy; by June only about 24 percent remained. In the southwestern “black earth” region the figure dropped from 82 percent in March to 18 percent in May.

In the fall of 1930 the drive was renewed at a slower pace, but with equal determination. The application of various administrative pressures—including punitive measures—resulted in the recollectivization of one-half of the peasants by 1931. By 1936 the government had collectivized almost all the peasantry. But in the process millions of those who had offered resistance had been deported to prison camps and removed from productive activity in agriculture. Furthermore, the absence of heavy agricultural machinery and of the horses and cattle that the peasants had killed seriously handicapped the new collective farms.

Output fell, but the government, nevertheless, extracted the large amounts of agricultural products it needed to acquire the capital for industrial investment; this caused a major famine in the countryside (1932–33) and the deaths of millions of peasants. Despite these great costs, the forced collectivization achieved the final establishment of Soviet power in the countryside. Through collectivization agriculture was integrated with the rest of the state-controlled economy, and the state was supplied with the capital it required to transform the Soviet Union into a major industrial power.

Encyclopaedia Britannica



The Great Famine-Genocide in Soviet Ukraine (Holodomor)

The famine of 1932–33

The result of Stalin’s policies was the Great Famine (Holodomor) of 1932–33—a man-made demographic catastrophe unprecedented in peacetime. Of the estimated six to eight million people who died in the Soviet Union, about four to five million were Ukrainians. The famine was a direct assault on the Ukrainian peasantry, which had stubbornly continued to resist collectivization; indirectly, it was an attack on the Ukrainian village, which traditionally had been a key element of Ukrainian national culture. Its deliberate nature is underscored by the fact that no physical basis for famine existed in Ukraine. The Ukrainian grain harvest of 1932 had resulted in below-average yields (in part because of the chaos wreaked by the collectivization campaign), but it was more than sufficient to sustain the population. Nevertheless, Soviet authorities set requisition quotas for Ukraine at an impossibly high level. Brigades of special agents were dispatched to Ukraine to assist in procurement, and homes were routinely searched and foodstuffs confiscated. At the same time, a law was passed in August 1932 making the theft of socialist property a capital crime, leading to scenes in which peasants faced the firing squad for stealing as little as a sack of wheat from state storehouses. The rural population was left with insufficient food to feed itself. The ensuing starvation grew to a massive scale by the spring of 1933, but Moscow refused to provide relief. In fact, the Soviet Union exported more than a million tons of grain to the West during this period.

The famine subsided only after the 1933 harvest had been completed. The traditional Ukrainian village had been essentially destroyed, and settlers from Russia were brought in to repopulate the devastated countryside. Soviet authorities flatly denied the existence of the famine both at the time it was raging and after it was over. It was only in the late 1980s that officials made a guarded acknowledgement that something had been amiss in Ukraine at this time.

Encyclopaedia Britannica




The Holodomor

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Stalin and Holodomor

(Ukrainian: Ãîëîäîìîð; translation: death by starvation) refers to the famine of 1932-1933 in the Ukrainian SSR during which millions of people were starved to death due to Soviet policies. There were no natural causes for starvation and in fact, Ukraine - unlike other Soviet Republics - enjoyed a bumper wheat crop in 1932. The Holodomor is considered one of the greatest calamities to affect the Ukrainian nation in modern history. Millions of inhabitants of Ukraine died of starvation in an unprecedented peacetime catastrophe. Estimates on the total number of casualties within Soviet Ukraine range mostly from 2.6 million to 10 million.

The root cause of the Holodomor is a subject of scholarly debate.  Some scholars have argued that the Soviet policies that caused the famine may have been designed as an attack on the rise of Ukrainian nationalism, and therefore fall under the legal definition of genocide.  Therefore the Holodomor is also known as the "terror-famine in Ukraine" and "famine-genocide in Ukraine". Others, however, conclude that the Holodomor was a consequence of the economic problems associated with radical economic changes implemented during the period of Soviet industrialization.

As of March 2008, Ukraine and nineteen other governments have recognized the actions of the Soviet government as an act of genocide. The joint statement at the United Nations in 2003 has defined the famine as the result of cruel actions and policies of the totalitarian regime that caused the deaths of millions of Ukrainians, Russians, Kazakhs and other nationalities in the USSR . On 23 October 2008 the European Parliament adopted a resolution that recognized the Holodomor as a crime against humanity.

1. Etymology
The term first appeared in print on July 18, 1988 in an article by Ukrainian writer Oleksiy Musiyenko  . The origins of the word Holodomor come from the Ukrainian words holod, ‘hunger’, and mor, ‘plague’,  possibly from the expression moryty holodom, ‘to inflict death by hunger’. The Ukrainian verb "moryty" (ìîðèòè) means "to poison somebody, drive to exhaustion or to torment somebody". The perfect form of the verb "moryty" is "zamoryty" — "kill or drive to death by hunger, exhausting work". The neologism “Holodomor” is given in the modern, two-volume dictionary of the Ukrainian language as "artificial hunger, organised in vast scale by the criminal regime against the country's population."  Sometimes the expression is translated into English as "murder by hunger or starvation."

2. Scope and duration
The famine affected the Ukrainian SSR as well as the Moldavian ASSR (a part of the Ukrainian S.S.R. at the time) between 1932 and 1933. However, not every part suffered from the Holodomor for the whole period; the greatest number of victims was recorded in the spring of 1933.

The first reports of mass malnutrition and deaths from starvation emerged from 2 urban area of Uman - by the time Vinnytsya and Kiev oblasts dated by beginning of January 1933. By mid-January 1933 there were reports about mass “difficulties” with food in urban areas that had been undersupplied through the rationing system and deaths from starvation among people who were withdrawn from rationing supply according to Central Committee of the Communist Party of Ukraine Decree December 1932. By the beginning of February 1933, according to received reports from local authorities and Ukrainian GPU, the most affected area was listed as Dnipropetrovsk Oblast which also suffered from epidemics of typhus and malaria. Odessa and Kiev oblasts were second and third respectively. By mid-March, most reports originated from Kiev Oblast.

By mid-April 1933, the Kharkiv Oblast reached the top of the most affected list, while Kiev, Dnipropetrovsk, Odessa, Vinnytsya, Donetsk oblasts and Moldavian SSR followed it. Last reports about mass deaths from starvation dated mid-May through the beginning of June 1933 originated from raions in Kiev and Kharkiv oblasts. The “less affected” list noted the Chernihiv Oblast and northern parts of Kiev and Vinnytsya oblasts. According to the Central Committee of the CP(b) of Ukraine Decree as of February 8 1933, no hunger cases should have remained untreated, and all local authorities were directly obliged to submit reports about numbers suffering from hunger, the reasons for hunger, number of deaths from hunger, food aid provided from local sources and centrally provided food aid required. Parallel reporting and food assistance were managed by the GPU of the Ukrainian SSR. Many regional reports and most of the central summary reports are available from present-day central and regional Ukrainian archives. There is documentary evidence of widespread cannibalism during the Holodomor. The Soviet regime of the time even printed posters declaring: "To eat your own children is a barbarian act."

3. Causes
The reasons for the famine are a subject of scholarly and political debate. Some scholars view the famine as a consequence of the economic problems associated with radical economic changes implemented during the period of Soviet industrialization. However it has been suggested by other historians that the famine was an attack on Ukrainian nationalism engineered by Soviet leadership of the time and thus may fall under the legal definition of genocide.


4. Death toll
By the end of 1933, millions of people had starved to death or had otherwise died unnaturally in Ukraine, as well as in other Soviet republics. The total estimate of the famine victims Soviet-wide is given as 6-7 million or 6-8 million. The Soviet Union long denied that the famine had ever taken place, and the NKVD (and later KGB) archives on the Holodomor period opened very slowly. The exact number of the victims remains unknown and is probably impossible to estimate even within a margin of error of a hundred thousand. Numbers as high as seven to ten million are sometimes given in the media  and a number as high as ten or even twenty million is sometimes cited in political speeches.

One reason for estimate variance is that some assess the number of people who died within the 1933 borders of Ukraine; while others are based on deaths within current borders of Ukraine. Other estimates are based on deaths of Ukrainians in the Soviet Union. Some estimates use a very simple methodology based percentage of deaths that was reported in one area and applying the percentage to the entire country. Others use more sophisticated techniques that involves analyzing the demographic statistics based on various archival data. Some question the accuracy of Soviet censuses since they may have been doctored to support Soviet propaganda. Other estimates come from recorded discussion between world leaders like Churchill and Stalin. For example the estimate of ten million deaths, which is attributed to Soviet official sources, could be based on a misinterpretation[citation needed] of the memoirs of Winston Churchill who gave an account of his conversation with Stalin that took place on August 16, 1942. In that conversation, Stalin gave Churchill his estimates of the number of "kulaks" who were repressed for resisting collectivization as 10 million, in all of the Soviet Union, rather than only in Ukraine. When using this number, Stalin implied that it included not only those who lost their lives, but also forcibly deported.

A number of difficulties exist when attempting to estimate casualty rates. Some estimates include the death toll from political repression including those who died in the Gulag, while others refer only to those who starved to death. In addition, many of the estimates are based on different time periods. Thus, a definitive number of deaths continues to be a source of great debate.

The results based on scientific methods obtained prior to the opening of former Soviet archives also varied widely but the range was narrower: for example, 2.5 million (Volodymyr Kubiyovych), 4.8 million (Vasyl Hryshko) and 5 million (Robert Conquest).

One modern calculation that uses demographic data including that available from recently opened Soviet archives narrows the losses to about 3.2 million or, allowing for the lack of precise data, 3 million to 3.5 million.

The Soviet archives show that excess deaths in Ukraine in 1932-1933 numbered 1.54 million. In 1932-1933, there were a combined 1.2 million cases of typhus and 500,000 cases of typhoid fever. All major types of disease, apart from cancer, tend to increase during famine as a result of undernourishment lowering resistance and generating unsanitary conditions; thus these deaths resulted primarily from lowered resistance rather than starvation per se. In the years 1932-34, the largest rate of increase was recorded for typhus, which is spread by lice. In conditions of harvest failure and increased poverty, the number of lice is likely to increase, and the herding of refugees at railway stations, on trains and elsewhere facilitates their spread. In 1933, the number of recorded cases was twenty times the 1929 level. The number of cases per head of population recorded in Ukraine in 1933 was already considerably higher than in the USSR as a whole. But by June 1933, incidence in Ukraine had increased to nearly ten times the January level and was higher than in the rest of the USSR taken as a whole.

However, the number of the recorded excess deaths extracted from the birth/death statistics from the Soviet archives is self-contradictory and cannot be fully relied upon because the data fails to add up to the differences between the results of the 1927 Census and the 1937 Census.

Stanislav Kulchytsky summarized the natural population change. The declassified Soviet statistics show a decrease of 538,000 people in the population of Soviet Ukraine between 1926 census (28,925,976) and 1937 census (28,388,000).


According to the correction for officially non-accounted child mortality in 1933 by 150,000 calculated by Sergei Maksudov, the number of births for 1933 should be increased from 471,000 to 621,000. Assuming the natural mortality rates in 1933 to be equal to the average annual mortality rate in 1927-1930 (524,000 per year) a natural population growth for 1933 would have been 97,000, which is five times less than this number in the past years (1927-1930). From the corrected birth rate and the estimated natural death rate for 1933 as well as from the official data for other years the natural population growth from 1927 to 1936 gives 4.043 million while the census data showed a decrease of 538,000. The sum of the two numbers gives an estimated total demographic loss of 4.581 million people. A major hurdle in estimating the human losses due to famine is the need to take into account the numbers involved in migration (including forced resettlement). According to the Soviet statistics, the migration balance for the population in Ukraine for 1927 - 1936 period was a loss of 1.343 million people. Even at the time when the data was taken, the Soviet statistical institutions acknowledged that its precision was worse than the data for the natural population change. Still, with the correction for this number, the total number of death in Ukraine due to unnatural causes for the given ten years was 3.238 million, and taking into account the lack of precision, especially of the migration estimate, the human toll is estimated between 3 million and 3.5 million.


Declassified Soviet statistics
Natural change

In addition to the direct losses from unnatural deaths, the indirect losses due to the decrease of the birth rate should be taken into account in consideration in estimating of the demographic consequences of the Famine for Ukraine. For instance, the natural population growth in 1927 was 662,000, while in 1933 it was 97,000, [this does not fit with the table, it had to be a decline of 1.379 thousand, i.e., approx. 1.4 million] in 1934 it was 88,000. The combination of direct and indirect losses from Holodomor gives 4.469 million, of which 3.238 million (or more realistically 3 to 3.5 million) is the number of the direct deaths according to this estimate.

A 2002 study by Vallin et al utilizing some similar primary sources to Kulchytsky, and performing an analysis with more sophisticated demographic tools with forward projection of expected growth from the 1926 census and backward projection from the 1939 census estimate the amount of direct deaths for 1933 as 2.582 million. This number of deaths does not reflect the total demographic loss for Ukraine from these events as the fall of the birth rate during crisis and the out-migration contribute to the latter as well. The total population shortfall from the expected value between 1926 and 1939 estimated by Vallin amounted to 4.566 million. Of this number, 1.057 million is attributed to birth deficit, 930,000 to forced out-migration, and 2.582 million to excess mortality and voluntary out-migration. With the latter assumed to be negligible this estimate gives the number of deaths as the result of the 1933 famine about 2.2 million. According to this study the life expectancy for those born in 1933 sharply fell to 10.8 years for females and to 7.3 years for males and remained abnormally low for 1934 but, as commonly expected for the post-crisis peaked in 1935-36.

According to estimates  about 81.3% of the famine victims in Ukrainian SRR were ethnic Ukrainians, 4.5% Russians, 1.4% Jews and 1.1% were Poles. Many Belarusians, Hungarians, Volga Germans and other nationalities became victims as well. The Ukrainian rural population was the hardest hit by the Holodomor. Since the peasantry constituted a demographic backbone of the Ukrainian nation, ] the tragedy deeply affected the Ukrainians for many years.

According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, the overall number of Ukrainians who died from 1932-1933 famine is estimated as about four to five million out of six to eight million people who died in the Soviet Union as a whole.


5. Was the Holodomor a genocide?

Robert Conquest claimed that the famine of 1932-33 was a deliberate act of mass murder, if not genocide committed as part of Joseph Stalin's collectivization program in the Soviet Union. In 2006, the Security Service of Ukraine declassified more than 5 thousand pages of Holodomor archives. [47] These documents suggest that the Soviet regime singled out Ukraine by not giving it the same humanitarian aid given to regions outside it. [48] Some scholars say that Conquest's book on the famine is replete with errors and inconsistencies and that it deserves to be considered an example of Cold War lack of objectivity. [49]

R.W. Davies and Stephen G. Wheatcroft have interacted with Conquest and note that he no longer considers the famine "deliberate". [50] Conquest—and, by extension, Davies and Wheatcroft—believe that, had industrialization been abandoned, the famine would have been "prevented" (Conquest), or at least significantly alleviated.

...we regard the policy of rapid industrialization as an underlying cause of the agricultural troubles of the early 1930s, and we do not believe that the Chinese or NEP versions of industrialization were viable in Soviet national and international circumstances.

They see the leadership under Stalin as making significant errors in planning for the industrialization of agriculture.

Davies and Wheatcroft also cite an unpublished letter by Robert Conquest:

Our view of Stalin and the famine is close to that of Robert Conquest, who would earlier have been considered the champion of the argument that Stalin had intentionally caused the famine and had acted in a genocidal manner. In 2003, Dr Conquest wrote to us explaining that he does not hold the view that "Stalin purposely incited the 1933 famine. No. What I argue is that with resulting famine imminent, he could have prevented it, but put ‘Soviet interest’ other than feeding the starving first—thus consciously abetting it".

This retraction by Conquest is also noted by Kulchytsky.

Some historians maintain that the famine was an unintentional consequence of collectivization, and that the associated resistance to it by the Ukrainian peasantry exacerbated an already-poor harvest.  Some researchers state that while the term Ukrainian Genocide is often used in application to the event, technically, the use of the term "genocide" is inapplicable.

The statistical distribution of famine's victims among the ethnicities closely reflects the ethnic distribution of the rural population of Ukraine  Moldavian, Polish, German and Bulgarian population that mostly resided in the rural communities of Ukraine suffered in the same proportion as the rural Ukrainian population. While ethnic Russians in Ukraine lived mostly in urban areas and the cities were affected little by the famine, the rural Russian population was affected the same way as the rural population of any other ethnicity.

University of West Virginia professor Dr Mark Tauger claims that any analysis that asserts that the harvests of 1931 and 1932 were not extraordinarily low and that the famine was a political measure intentionally imposed through excessive procurements is based on an insufficient source base and an uncritical approach to the official sources.

Author James Mace was one of the first to claim that the famine constituted genocide. But scholars believe that Mace's work debased the field of Russian studies.

Professor Michael Ellman of the University of Amsterdam concludes that, according to a relaxed definition of the term, the famine of 1932-33 may constitute genocide. He bases this on the actions (two of commission and one of omission: exporting grain - 1.8 million tonnes - during the mass starvation, preventing migration from famine afflicted areas and making no effort to secure grain assistance from abroad) and the attitude (that many of those starving to death were "counterrevolutionaries," "idlers" or "thieves" who fully deserved their fate) of the Stalinist regime in 1932-33. He asks:

“Throughout his career as a Soviet leader, from Tsaritsyn (1918) to the ‘Doctors' plot’ (1953), he used violence (arrests, shootings, deportations) to achieve his political goals. Is it really plausible to suppose that with these perceptions, convictions, words, actions, plans, and record, Stalin would have abstained from an efficient, cost-saving method (i.e. starvation) of repressing ‘counterrevolutionaries’ (or ‘anti-Soviet elements’) and liquidating ‘idlers’?”

6. Denial of the Holodomor
Denial of the Holodomor is the assertion that the 1932-1933 Holodomor in Soviet Ukraine did not occur. This denial and suppression was made in official Soviet propaganda and was supported by some Western journalists and intellectuals.

Denial of the famine by Soviet authorities, including President Mikhail Kalinin and Foreign Minister Maxim Litvinov, was immediate and continued into the 1980s. The Soviet party line was echoed at the time of the famine by some prominent Western journalists, including Walter Duranty and Louis Fischer. The denial of the famine was a highly successful and well orchestrated disinformation campaign by the Soviet government. Stalin "had achieved the impossible: he had silenced all the talk of hunger... Millions were dying, but the nation hymned the praises of collectivization", said historian and writer Edvard Radzinsky. That was the first major instance of Soviet authorities adopting Hitler's Big Lie propaganda technique to sway world opinion, to be followed by similar campaigns over the Moscow Trials and denial of the Gulag labor camp system, according to Robert Conquest




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