Tuesday, June 06, 2006
Eisenhower Administration Helped Eichmann Hide From Justice
There is a reason that Hitler's mass murders were ranked as exceptional in a world in which mass murder has hardly been rare:
1. The murders included so many foreigners (though of course many German Jews/gypsies/gays/communists/unionists also died).
2. Most were not political opponents except in the vaguest sense of the word. So many children, so many elderly people, so many women unlikely to resist. They were killed because they would know that it was wrong to kill them, and eventually they or their children or their grandchildren would become angry.
3. The murders were done with sociopathic cold-bloodedness, often using victims to study the medical effects of freezing to death or dying by disease or abuse.
Stalin's murders very likely were more numerous than Hitler's (though this issue has been so heavily propagandized, who knows), many included foreigners, many were of the helpless people, and many were also sociopathically cold-blooded. However, they were for the most part directed against genuine internal political enemies.
Before the communists took power, Russia was known as "the prison house of nations" because it had conquered many rivals, and it had always suppressed nationalist and separatist aspirations of conquered populations fairly brutally. Russia conquered the Ukraine relatively recently :
Between 1917 and 1918, several separate Ukrainian republics manifested independence, the Tsentral'na Rada, the Hetmanate, the Directorate, the Ukrainian People's Republic and the West Ukrainian National Republic. However, with the defeat in the Polish-Ukrainian War and then the failure of the Piłsudski's and Petliura's Kiev Operation, by the end of the Polish-Soviet War after the Peace of Riga in March 1921, the western part of Ukraine had been incorporated into Poland, and the larger, central and eastern part became part of the Soviet Union as the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.
meaning that the Ukraine was regarded as a source of nationalist resistance to the USSR. Peasants resisted communist policy of collectivization, and Stalin retaliated. Depending on who you believe, it was deliberate genocide or starvation brought on by Stalin's inefficiency and general anarchy. My guess is two parts of the former, one part of the latter, but that's pure guess.
Contrast that to the genocide of the Jews. People who put up no resistance at all to Hitler were killed... and not for money, not for power, not as an example to others, but as lambs sacrificed to an insane racialist theory. Indeed, Hitler only began killing on true mass scale as it became clear that the Third Reich would be defeated. His victims were killed as part of his personal suicide.
It is the moral context-- the utter wantonness of the German death camps-- that explains why the world regards Hitler's crimes as unique and worse than Stalin's... even though Stalin may well have killed more innocent people.
From a moral standpoint, killing even one helpless person wantonly is precisely as evil as killing a million, though as a practical matter the world has to focus its resources to stopping the latter. And, of course, every additional victim is one more for whose death one must atone before one can find genuine forgiveness.
God help us and forgive us for our own sins.
More blogs about politics.