or more formally, joseph stalin jughashvili.
“man of the year” for 1942, said a january 1943 edition of Time magazine in the U.S,
“The year 1942 was a year of blood and strength. The man whose name means steel in Russian, whose few words of English include the American expression ‘tough guy’ was the man of 1942… Stalin’s methods were tough, but they paid off.”
“The reality was that the Soviet Union was a vital ally and the West needed to keep the Red Army fighting the Germans.
The trouble is that the legacy of these “expedient lies” has still not entirely left us. Which is why I hope people will come to realise just how appalling Stalin was, and students might think twice before hanging pictures of Stalin on their walls. “
– reporter Lawrence Rees
This is something I have wondered about for years. I have a German mother, born 1927 and who therefore went through the Nazi education/propaganda machine and was in the BMD (girls’ equivalent of the Hitler Youth). I can’t talk about my “Nazi mum” in public, even though her involvement was way beyond her childhood & teenage control. Compare with my grandfather – active communist all his adult life. Stalin was his hero even when the pogroms were well known and the world saw the brutality of the suppression of the Hungarian uprising & policing of the Berlin Wall. However, it is OK to talk about my Commie grandfather, as Stalin and the whole brutal Soviet regime are considered “possibly wrong but definitely romantic” in polite society.
…One thing is true about all these men, Guevara, Hitler, Stalin, Mao etc – they are all (for better or worse, mainly worse) iconic and were giants in their time in history.
Chris Burnell, Putney, London
I’ve always found it strange how Communist dictators and terrorists are viewed in a different light to their fascist counterparts. …How is a mass-murderer of one political ilk any different than another? Stalin and Mao should be morally repugnant to any right-thinking person.
Owen Gibbs, Chesterfield
… murderous butcher.
Andrew V, Canada
We seem to have a blind spot where Stalin, History’s greatest mass murderer is concerned. Our education system perpetuates this. History now is taught on the basis of The Tudors followed by the Nazis. Under the National Curriculum quite some time is rightly spent learning about the Holocaust. However no comparison is made with the Soviet camps, where extermination took place. More were murdered by the Soviet regime than under the shorter lived Nazi regime. … As a parting comment should we not consider why didn’t many of the academics who had either supported the Soviet Union or “made allowances”, not admit they got it wrong when Communism finally collapsed?
Stalin had a very keen mind and a sense of humour absent in Hitler and Mussolini. His interview with H. G. Well is worth reading.
Steve Abrams, London