Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

> The Red Army was indeed a savior. It is thanks to those masses of poor soldiers, of which eight millions died, that the horror of WWII last only five years or so. All Europe and all world indeed should be grateful to them.

That is under a big assumption that Stalin's USSR was actually better than Hitler's Germany. Since there were lots of people who fled Soviet-occupied parts of Poland into German-occupied ones (hoping that life under Hitler will be less of a horror), this is not really clear whether the cure was not worse than the disease.

It would very much depends on who you were. If you had German ancestry you would be better off under the Germans, if you were Jewish you were far worse off. A lot of people in the former USSR occupied areas like the Baltics or Ukraine actually greeted the Germans as liberators, but they quickly changed their mind when they realized the Germans considered Slavs subhumans.

Hitler had this list of peoples to exterminate:

  * Jews
  * Romanies ("gypsies")
  * Slavs (Poles, Russians, Ukrainians, Czechs, modern Macedonians, Serbs, Slovaks, Bulgarians, Slovenians...)
Jews took the biggest blow, but Hitler didn't plan to stop there. And not all of it was even ethnic. For example, he hated homosexuals and disabled people. He was going to clean the race. Communists were a target, too.

The reason he didn't exterminate everyone at the same time is that he needed slaves and collaborators in the transitional period. People down the list could be used to exterminate those higher up (indirectly, but sometimes directly).


As well as almost any Polish professionals: Teachers, professors, lawyers, government officials, religious figures. The goal of the Germans was to dismantle almost all of Polish society and replace it with German society.

The Soviets also had the goal of exterminating the Polish professional class, hence their massacres at Katyn & elsewhere of, among others, Polish Boy Scouts.

Few people realise that the Soviet Union took roughly one-third of Poland when it & Germany invaded Poland at the beginning of the Second World War — and it kept that territory after the war. Polish society in those conquered territories was replaced with Russian society.

This is the point of view taught in Polish schools, so it's unthinkable for a Pole to think otherwise. However, Lithuanians, Belorussians and Ukrainians would beg to disagree.

For me the most fascinating is the case of Lithuania. Polish children are taught about the Commonwealth, common history, fighting together... So when they hear about anti-Polish sentiment there, it makes no sense to them. People are surprised and can't understand it. That's the fault of presenting a one-sided version of history and completely ignoring the POV of your neighbors.

I'm no expert on history, but this is where Nazi ideology seems contradict itself for me:

  * They claimed that all development in Russia was led by people of German (Aryan) origin,
  * Yet they focused their efforts on exterminating the social elite first, to make the society of Untermensh (slave race) fall faster.
Could someone chime in?

I don't see the contradiction. They didn't exterminate people of German descent in the conquered territories, rather they were supposed to become the new elite.

Focusing on exterminating of social elite (doctors, lawyers, famous artists, officers, writers, journalists...) is admitting there was an elite. How can a slave race have people creating culture and order?

You cant challenge Nazi racial ideology as if it was a logically consistent system. It was pretty opportunistic. For example Slavs are technically Aryan (given the theory behind the concept of an Aryan race), but nevertheless the Nazis considered them subhumans because it justified the lebensraum politics. On the other hand, the Japanese was elevated to "honorable Aryans" when they became allies.

It was unambiguously better if you lived in Great Britain or other places which were at war with Germany but not occupied post-war by the Soviets.

The Soviets were quite open about aiming for world conquest, starting with Europe. They tried it first in 1920, but Poland miraculously defeated them. WWII was another attempt (had Hitler not attacked first, Stalin would probably just attack Germany within a short period of time) - first Poland and Germany, then France, Spain, Italy, UK etc. It only stopped at Poland and Eastern Germany that time because of strong backing of the US for the Western Europe.

The Soviets were not bent on world conquest, but on securing a ring of buffer states around them as security for their country. Witness Stalin's betrayal of the communists in Greece as horse trading for influence elsewhere. Stalin's socialism in one country policy set against exporting revolution was in fact a huge point of contention with other factions of the Bolsheviks.

While the Soviets did harbour imperial ambitions against neighbouring states (Poland, Finland), this:

> had Hitler not attacked first, Stalin would probably just attack Germany within a short period of time

is blatantly false, and insultingly so given the millions of Soviet citizens who paid a bloody price for Stalin's total lack of readiness at the German border or mobilization against the Nazis.

Actually, it is pretty well documented that Germans forestalled Soviet offensive by just few weeks, maybe months. Red Army’s initial misfortunes after Germany’s attack in 1941 were caused by the fact that all the troops they had in proximity to USSR-German border were preparing to attack, not to defend themselves.

> it is pretty well documented that Germans forestalled Soviet offensive by just few weeks

No it's not. The only “Historian” to say so was the so-called Suvorov, a transfuge of the NKVD. And his theories have been thoroughly dismantled by the whole academia.

While Stalin might have wished to invade Germany in 1941 or 42, he was in no position to do so, having recently liquidated most of the Red Army's leadership.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact