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'[OT]: Aww for crying out loud...'
2001\09\16@231958 by Russell McMahon

picon face
I truncated the unnecessarily provocative subject line :-)

Let's try to be (more) polite and maybe even civilised to each other.

{Quote hidden}

Yes. It depends very much where/what you read and what you consider to be
"good" history books. I'm not per se critizing any particular writer(s) but
rather noting that "history" tends to be made both by those who write it and
those who choose which versions they wish to read and give credence to.
Military winners tend to have more books that agree with their perspectives.

Between the "World Wars" England tended towards being pinkish and
pacifistish - again, I'm not per se criticing this stance, only noting it.
The major universities student bodies passed motions disassociateing
themselves from any involvement in future war efforts. (Many individuals
subsequently changed their mionds, but that's another story). If you read
"history" as viewed through the eyes of some of these people then Hitler
would indeed be seen as a friend to the British people.
If you read, as I have,  Winston Churchill's 12 volume set "The Second World
War" you will find that Hitler was NEVER a friend to the British people. If
you don't consider Winston's writings to be sources of "good" information on
the subject (and, of course, some don't) then you will be able to ignore
what they say. Note that Winston himself said that these books were NOT
history - they were his own perspectives. He noted that history would be
written by people who came after him.

The Russian people also saw Hitler as their friend - so much so, that when
Hitler and Co invaded Poland in 1939 they formed an alliegance with him
against Britain when Britain declared their opposition to his actions. Not
against the US as the US was not involved until several years later.
(Interestingly - Britain declared war on Germany - not vice versa - Germany
indeed hoped that the UK would see sense and be it's friend. Britain NEVER
considered playing ball.) Hitler allied himself with Russia for several
years. Hitler was never allied with Britain. In 1941 when Hitler had
achieved his aims in mainland Europe and Russia was no longer of use to him
he attacked it mercilessly (the only way to fight real war) and came very
close to conquering it. (Russia's greatest soldier, General Winter, was
again equal to the occasion as he had been with Napoleon and others before
him - buit that's another story).

If you read "Great Patriotic War of the Soviet Union 1941 - 1945 - Institute
of Marxism-Leninism, CC CPSU, Progress Publishers, Moscow" (which I own but
have not read fully as it is far too dense and jingoistic but very very
interesting to skim)("Workers of all countries unite." / "People safeguard
peace! People, be vigilant!")  then you will find, not only a very very very
detailed "history" of all that was involved with many coloured maps  and
diagrams but will also read that Hitler was also never Russia's friend. If
you feel that this official publication is not "good" history (and many may
well agree :-) ) then you can also ignore it.

An aside - want a different perspective on the first months of WW1 read 'The
Guns of August"  - US lady historian. Very cutting. Interestiung
perspectives. Will lead you to respect the Belgian people forever.



regards


           Russell McMahon



{Quote hidden}

to
> > >shoot off your mouths before you look in to this, but have a read
through
> > >some "GOOD" history books on the subject of Hitler's attitude towards
the
> > >UK.
>
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2001\09\16@234422 by Nick Taylor

flavicon
face
Great post!  It's that chance to read post like Mr. McMahon's that make
it much easier to tolerate the OT flame wars.
 -Nick T.

Russell McMahon wrote:
{Quote hidden}

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2001\09\17@073213 by Russell McMahon

picon face
**** OPEN APOLOGY ****

Dmitry wrote me a very polite and heart rending offlist comment on my post
re Hitler and the Russian people.
I'll not post what he said as it was sent to me but I would have been very
pleased to see it on list.
I hope that he is allowed to post it under the new rules as its fairly brief
and makes sad comment on the difference between "the leaders:" and "the
people".


Dmitry,

               I'm genuinely very sorry, not for what I was trying to say,
which I hoped Dmitry would agree with but for the impression that Dmitry
obviously got from my message.

I'd like to clear up any misunderstandings:

My comments were well intended and related to what constitutes "good"
history. Some of the other implications that can be drawn from what I said
were not what I intended.

-    When I said that the Russian people saw Hitler as their friend I was
speaking loosely. While I imagine that some (possibly many?) were mislead at
first, I accept that Stalin in his very misguided zeal had the overwhelming
responsibility for this. I accept that the Russian people suffered greatly
under Stalin and that he did them very very great harm.

-     My compliments re "General Winter" were meant as a great compliment to
the Russian people - certainly not as detracting in ANY way from their
achievements in protecting their country against Hitler. I am aware that
over 20 million people died in assisting "The General" in repelling the
invader. And from another age, I am aware of Borodino and Kutuzov - even if
only mainly because of Tolstoy's great novel (not the best place to learn
history from I'll admit.) I am well aware that winter by itself did not do
the deed and that it was the bravery and persistence of the people in
extreme circumstances which won through. I will be VERY pleased not to
experiencing anything remotely approaching the siege of Leningrad in my
lifetime.

- I have great respect for all the 'Ivans" not only of those days but of
modern Russia who have been thrown into the democracy and capitalism of the
Robber baron era which the US knew long ago and who have to survive
conditions often worse than those under communism as the frail flower of
democracy is encouraged to grow.

- My comments on the communist "official line" sound similar to your own
understandings. As I said - the book that I have is full of "jingoist"
comment. It was written somewhat after the event and, while I imagine that
the events it deals with in great detail are very largely factual it also
contains much self congratulation of the state machine to the point of being
unreadable by me as a whole but interesting when taken in pieces.

I have a genuine regard for the Russian people (used in the broadest sense
as this includes far more than Russians. ).
It is my desire to have a genuine love and regard for people of all races
and nations. Despite my desires, with some I find it harder than others. I
have no stereotype that I am aware of that reflect on the general Russian
people. I am unimpressed with many of the thieves and exploiters who have
risen to exploit the Russian people as they make the transition to democracy
and capitalism. I do not have good regard for what I have heard of the KGB
and much of the party apparatus of the past (although I do regard with
favour SOME of the INTENTIONS of those who steered communism).

In many cases our feelings about other people are conditioned by
misunderstanding and fear. I am aware that this is true for me as well as
others.


Again - I'm sorry that I upset you with what I said.
It's over time I left this subject on-list. I'll happily field comments or
abuse offlist by any who wish to talk to me.


very best regards



           Russell McMahon

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