Tag: Stalin

Russia’s New Cold War

Ronald Reagan, with invaluable help from Margaret Thatcher and Pope John Paul II, brought the Evil Empire to its knees by the end of the 1980s. He was ridiculed by many when he said that communism and the Soviet version of it would soon be on the ash heap of history. But he was correct. The Berlin Wall fell in 1989. The USSR ceased to be officially on January 1, 1992. For a while, it looked as if it might… Read more »

A Century of Totalitarianism & Terror

This year commemorates the 100th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution. I use the word “commemorate,” not “celebrate.” There is nothing to celebrate in the establishment of the first Marxist communist state; that state, and all the progeny to which it has given birth, embodied the greatest scourge of the 20th century—and its pernicious beliefs and system continue to plague us today. Russia was ripe for revolution while enmeshed in WWI. I won’t go into all the historical background; suffice to… Read more »

Will We Learn From History?

As a historian, I have this faith that people might actually learn something from history. What a quaint notion. The first requisite, of course, is that people know some history. Those kinds of people are becoming a rare commodity. Please excuse the seeming air of resignation in this post. It’s just that some lessons from history are so easy to find that it boggles the mind that mankind continues to repeat all the old errors. Take socialism/communism, for instance. It’s… Read more »

Willful Ignorance: Never a Safe Space

Nice to know that neither Obama nor Biden will make an appearance at Castro’s memorial. I don’t think that’s because they wouldn’t like to do so, but the backlash just might be greater than they wish to handle. Most people, outside of the press, aren’t exactly in mourning that the dictator is dead. Some have very good reasons not to feel particularly sad about it. The Castro legacy is not hard to discover: As I said in a previous post,… Read more »

Three Revolutions

Three revolutions: American, French, Russian.  A world of difference when you compare them. The American Revolution, in my view, was not a revolution in the popular understanding of that term, whereas the other two were. In fact, my students know that I famously (infamously?) rename the American Revolution as The American War for Continued Self-Government. Not very catchy, I know, but more accurate. I point to the fact that this perceived revolution was for the maintenance of the rights and… Read more »

The Russian-Ukrainian Crisis

I’ve refrained until now from commenting on the situation in Ukraine. I know this is a tough situation with few easy answers. The history of tension between Ukraine and Russia goes back a long ways. One of the worst episodes in twentieth-century history occurred in Ukraine in the winter of 1932-1933 when Josef Stalin was the undisputed leader of the Soviet Union. During that winter, Stalin, in an attempt to strangle Ukrainian resistance to his destruction of independent farmers, removed… Read more »