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Stalin wanted nothing but peace in this world

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Prateek Sanjay Posted: Wed, Feb 2 2011 2:35 AM

http://mises.org/daily/4470

Here's a very interesting article about the unicorns and rainbows man Stalin really was.

Just joking. But I found Rothbard's arguments convincing. To summarize:

- Marxism-Leninism never offered any grounds for wanting to conquer the world, especially when Marxism-Leninism rather supports peace at any costs (WWI) and hopes for natural internal collapse of capitalism.

- Soviets were more interested in control of an inward-looking autarky, than risk expensive, wasteful foreign conquest or war, especially when they gave up trying to recover Finland after losing two wars. Most dictatorships are inward-looking autarkies.

- Soviets only ever occupied countries that were controlled by their aggressors or were former Tsarist regions but no more.

- Soviets even held back foreign Communist parties just to keep friendship with the West.

- Soviets could be ignored and snubbed without any chance of retaliation by other Communists. Communists hate other Communists more than non-Communists much of the time.

So Stalin did not want to rule the world, and was content keeping to himself. Now, let's party.

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Merlin replied on Wed, Feb 2 2011 2:47 AM

- Marxism-Leninism never offered any grounds for wanting to conquer the world, especially when Marxism-Leninism rather supports peace at any costs (WWI) and hopes for natural internal collapse of capitalism.

Try telling that to the Poles who, to their eternal glory,  had to fight the soviets back a few years after they had achieved power.

Otherwise I’d agree with Rothbard. I’d even go further and agree with Mises when he held that, hadn’t it been for outright US permission, the Soviets would have been incapable of even holding Eastern Europe. What chances did the French and Italian communists stand with a ‘western’ Eastern Europe?

The pic is awesome.

The Regression theorem is a memetic equivalent of the Theory of Evolution. To say that the former precludes the free emergence of fiat currencies makes no more sense that to hold that the latter precludes the natural emergence of multicellular organisms.
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Kakugo replied on Wed, Feb 2 2011 3:27 AM

Agree with that, the picture is nothing short of spectacular.

But Merlin, one of the beig problems is that the Italian Communists did have a clear shot at power. In 1948, after the king was ousted, the country was really on the brink of a civil war. The Communist party was huge, well organized and had weapon caches hidden all over the place: they are still popping up to this day. Both the British and the Americans feared it may well be the next Greece, where a Communist uprising was put down only with the greatest difficulty and by massive use of foreign troops. In the same year the Communist leader, Palmiro Togliatti (a staunch Stalinist) was gravely wounded by a gunman while exiting the Parliament. Riots broke out all over the place, the military police fired on the crowd and there were about twenty dead. The US, Britain and France mobilized troops. When Togliatti woke up in the hospital, his life saved by a genial surgeon, he appeared to be genuinely concerned about the situation if not downright alarmed. He immediately ordered his party to stand down and refrain from any violence. This move was (and rightly still is) much commended. He knew Stalin (whose health was rapidly deteriorating) was extremely unlikely to risk a world war to openly support the Italian Communist and, as much as the Communists had (and still have) a complete hold over parts of the country, the rest of the country saw them with suspicion if not downright hatred. In the closing days of WWII (while he was still in Russia) Communists had made themselves unpopular by instituting "popular tribunals" which perpetrated crimes every bit as bad as the those of the Nazis and Fascists. My own great-grandfather (a decorated WWI veteran who owned an inn at the time) was kidnapped by one these "popular tribunals" and narrowly avoided being killed. Togliatti rightly reasoned that further outbreaks of Communist violence were more likely to be enrage ordinary, non-Communists than having them welcome the Proletary Revolution. They were more likely to welcome the Allies again as "liberators" than to shoot on them. In short a failed Communist uprising was likely to do more harm than good to the cause of the Revolution.

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Merlin replied on Wed, Feb 2 2011 3:50 AM

So the stories about the strength of the Italian communists are founded. Yet it is my understanding that the strength of the communists in Italy, France and Japan was countered by the CIA inventing their new allies

 

Could the commies have won against the mob?

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Those weapon caches are said to have also been put in by American "stay-behind" forces and anti-communist collaborators from Greece, no?

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Kakugo replied on Wed, Feb 2 2011 5:58 AM

After the Fascist government collapsed in September 1943, chaos ensued. Resistance movements popped up all over the place: there were Communist movements, Royalist movements... all kinds really. They acquired enormous quantities of weapons through a variety of means: the Allies supplied large caches either through airdrops or by hiring smugglers, many former soldiers retained their weapons (for no other reason than protecting their families) and in the chaotic weeks immediately after Mussolini had been deposed and incarcerated military arsenals were runsacked. In the weeks preciding the Armistice (25 April 1945) the Germans were in full retreat and were ordered to blow up everything they could not take this them. This order was only partially implemented as the Allies were closing in fast and popular uprisings popped up all over the place. Of course what was left behind and not immediately secured by the Allies found its way into the hands of new owners. Immediately after the war both the Allies and new Italian government ordered former resistance fighters to turn in their weapons. many did, but many others just held unto them. In Post war years the military police (the Italian one is very similar to the French gendarmerie) was ordered to find and seize what weapons were left. Problem is the military police was largely made up of conscripts from urban areas and it was easy for people who had grown up in the mountains or the countryside to either hide their weapons in safe places or to move them around. When the atmosphere of fear died down in the early '50s most of these weapon caches were either forgotten or silently turned in on a "no questions asked" basis: batches of old mannlicher rifles were still being destroyed in the military arsenals in the late '80s. One of my friends in high school told me of a weapon cache his father and grandfather had hidden and never retrieved just after the war and it's not uncommon to find ammos and hand grenades in unlikely places to this day. These weapons are downright dangerous because of poor storage conditions and should be disposed of properly.

Prateek, what you are refering to is "Operation Gladius" and that's a thing of the late '60s-early '70s, a part of the Terrorist Season. Another story for another time.

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Lets assume that Stalin actually had the means to take over the entire world any nobody could stop him, would any sane person expect Stalin simply to remain within the Soviet borders ?

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I've read that the Soviets were getting ready to invade Germany but the Nazis beat them to it. Along with this was the argument that the whole point of Stalin's massive industrialization campaign was to build up a military force powerful enough to conquer all of Eurasia (at least). However, I don't remember where I read this - I can try to find the link if anyone would like me to.

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Autolykos, that is the theory of Icebreaker: Who Started The Second World War. Written by a Russian. One reviewer of the book concluded, "We owe our gratitude to Hitler", for supposedly stopping some plan of Stalin's for war.

Of course, even if Stalin did plan war, it is likely that the Politburo would have none of it, if they felt war would threaten their control over their vast autarky.

An interesting thing about Mao and China is that Mao was supposed to be a military genius (his insanity aside). The man did not believe in offensives, but rather in digging back inside. It's tactics like these, which he learnt from European advisors, that won him against Chinese Nationalists. China has never been interested in winning wars, but cutting losses quickly and getting any potential enemy to compromise early. That's what happened when India invaded China; the Chinese had kept setting up outposts for every new Indian outpost, and when Indians took that as aggression, the Indian army tried to invade, after which Chinese quickly neutralized them, sued for peace, and gave back every territory they occupied during wartime. A neat and harmless affair.

Communists seem to be very practical on matters on war and peace. Obviously, they have no morals or problems with killing, but they choose peace on grounds of efficiency and pragmatism.

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BioTube replied on Wed, Feb 2 2011 10:57 PM

If the Politburo wanted to stop Stalin, they would've had to overthrow him; the man was more or less a dictator whose death was the first opportunity to limit the power of the premier(or was it first secretary?), which the Politburo promptly seized.

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garegin replied on Thu, Feb 3 2011 12:31 AM

id go one step further and argue that nazis didnt want to conquer the world. they attacked russia because they feared that soviets would attack them first. if i was germany, i would have not attacked them, but thats another matter. most areas that germany occupied were battlezones, where they fought the allies- western europe, balkans, africa, scandinavia, italy.

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Merlin:
Try telling that to the Poles who, to their eternal glory,  had to fight the soviets back a few years after they had achieved power.

Otherwise I’d agree with Rothbard. I’d even go further and agree with Mises when he held that, hadn’t it been for outright US permission, the Soviets would have been incapable of even holding Eastern Europe. What chances did the French and Italian communists stand with a ‘western’ Eastern Europe?

The pic is awesome.

The fact that Poland, a country in disarray after it had risen out of the ashes just a few years prior to the Soviet invasion, was able to not only defend itself but gain territory from the Soviets, is proof that the Soviets were in no position to conquer the world.

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The OP reads like an RIA Novosti press release.

Lenin advocated inciting revolutions (civil wars) and supporting them from outside.  Stalin and his successors continued that policy.  It's mere word games to distinguish that from "world conquest".  See Yuri Bezmenov for details on how that system was orchestrated.

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Soviet capabilities are still irrelevant with respect to actual intentions of conquest.

The United States may be capable of occupying Mexico, but alas, it wisely chooses not do so. Similarly, the Soviets chose not to expand into Finland, not to expand into Italy, not to expand into Turkey, not to expand into Pakistan, and so on. And when regional Communist leaders in various countries still needed credibility, they would denounce their own violent factions and split. As happened in India, between the two main Communist Parties and the Maoists.

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I never thought I would lose respect for Rothbard, but even the greatest of men can be wrong, or in this case, bat-shit crazy.  My apologies in advance for putting down a sacred cow. I have always believed that Lincoln, Eisenhower, and others who have lately become the whipping boys of neo-Objectivists, were good men who often made serious errors.  This demonstrated that, sadly, the same can be said about Rothbard.

Why even post this as a serious argument?  Honsetly, I don't know if some are actually this ignorant, or if they just like starting fights on forums all day.  Every single point of the above argument is absolutely false.  All collectivists, Communists and Fascists alike, have the same aims-- namely the transfer of power, money, and resources from the individual to central authority.  They also always end with the same result-- namely poverty, tyranny, and misery.

Reading Rothbard, I've noticed the odd reference to "American imperialism" and other annoying socialist rhetoric usually confined to the far left (the American far left), and have learned to just accept that he simply has a different view on certain subjects.  This apparent defense of Communism, however, makes me unsure whether I should laugh or cry.

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Stalin:

Hence the task is to take into account the contradictions in the camp of the imperialists, to postpone war by "buying off" the capitalists and to take all measures to maintain peaceful relations.

We must not forget Lenin's statement that as regards our work of construction very much depends upon whether we succeed in postponing war with the capitalist world, which is inevitable, but which can be postponed either until the moment when the proletarian revolution in Europe matures, or until the moment when the colonial revolutions have fully matured, or, lastly, until the moment when the capitalists come to blows over the division of the colonies.

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Stalin

Hence the task is to take into account the contradictions in the camp of the imperialists, to postpone war by "buying off" the capitalists and to take all measures to maintain peaceful relations.

Well I guess that settles it then.  Stalin wouldn't lie, would he?

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Yes, Caley's post settles it.

Stalin's plan of letting the industrial world destroy itself without his help was

1) plausible

2) actually practiced, when his adherence to communist ideology allowed him to believe the peace plan with Nazis would ensure that the capitalists would kill each other, even though Nazis broke the agreement and took him unawares.

These people wanted peace even when it could ruin them.

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The Soviets did not invade those countries because it would either lead to conflict with NATO, or it would bankrupt their state.  The Soviet intention was leading world communism, respect for other nations was limited to how difficult it would be to coerce those states.

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boniek replied on Thu, Feb 3 2011 4:28 AM

Society does not have a purpose or reason so I don't know how you can claim otherwise and even if it had it how come you are sure your specific interpretation is correct? Also unless you are Stalin himself on what grounds you are claiming that you are correct in what Stalin was thinking and/or what he wanted to do? Your train of thought is very similar to that of collectivistic politician;)

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As economically and socially evil as international socialism is it tends to be quite good on warfare; though for misguided reasons. Also relatively weak governments, such as the Soviet Union, are pacifistic for pragmatic reasons. Every major advance of the Reds was aided and abetted by the West.

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Marko replied on Sat, Feb 26 2011 2:54 AM

There are some obvious errors in the piece:

And they were able to do so without a fight. The old, pre–World War I Russia had now been restored with the exception of Finland. But Finland was prepared to fight. Here, the Russians demanded, not the reincorporation of Finland as a whole, but only of parts of the Karelian Isthmus that were ethnically Russian. When the Finns refused this demand, the "Winter War" (1939–1940) between Russia and Finland ensued, which ended with the Finns victorious and conceding nothing.

#1 Karelian Isthmus was actually ethnically Finnish. Viipuri was second largest city in Finland, but after the war its population was evacuated to Finland.
#2 Actually the USSR won the war and the Finns were forced to cede territory.


So unprepared was Stalin for the assault, so trusting was he in the rationality of the German-Russian accord for peace in Eastern Europe, that he had allowed the Russian army to fall into disrepair. So unwarlike was Stalin, in fact, that Germany was almost able to conquer Russia in the face of enormous odds. Since Germany otherwise would have been able to retain control of Europe indefinitely, it was Hitler who was led by the siren call of anti-Communist ideology to throw away a rational and prudent course and launch what was to be the beginning of his ultimate defeat.

Far from being trusting Stalin was on high alert and in the midd and late 1930s repeatedly ordered the size of the Red Army be increased. The size of the military was tripled, the number of planes, tanks etc built was staggering. After the Winter War fiasco and the simultanous successes of the Germans he in panic mode ordered an enormously ambitious restructuring of the Red Army - the exact opposite of trusty, sleepy Stalin. The problem was that he had utterly convinced himself that attack could not take place in 1941, but only in 1942. So when the Germans attacked the Red Army was a huge force on paper, but not very combat capable since it was in the middle of megalomaniac communist style reforms. This was the reason for the early sucess of the Germans, not Stalin's naivete. (Glantz: Stumbling Colossus for more on the state of the Red Army.)

 

I applaud the article in general. Stalin was perfectly happy to expand his power territorially, however he was the the ultimate anti-gambler and only ever moved when he thought the outcome was absolutely certain. If he was not, he prefered to sit on the gains he had already made. He had huge capacity for appeasment and bent backward to appease Hitler and avoid anything that might be seen as provocation in the 1940-41 period. The post-war appeasment of the US was merely a rerun.

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The military that the Soviet Union had at the end of WWII was an awe inpiring force, let no one underestimate that.  It was partially built with the help of the US.  The T-32 was a rejected, superior, American design, and western logistics kept the Soviets going.  So close to the brink of destruction did Russia come that their generals became experts in the use of combined arms out of necessity long before the American military did.  The Soviet army that reached Germany outnumbered the western alliance by about 2 to 1. 

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In its time and place, the WW2-end Soviet Military was a monster (though not one with a chance in Hell against the US). But it pretty much became a dinosaur due to its lack of capital.

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