Should Russia Have Surrendered to the Nazis?
“When the war against Hitler began, every Russian soldier at the front was given a daily ‘commissar’s ration’ of a hundred grams [of vodka] as stipulated by the ministry of defense. Vodka manufacturers claim that the drink was as important as Katyusha rocket launchers in the victory over Nazim, because it bolstered the Russian army’s spirits. But Vladmir Nuzhny, a professor of narcology and one of Russia’s best-known theoreticians of alcoholism, thinks otherwise. Those hundred grams were a disaster for the entire postwar generation, he told me. Alcohol dependence soared, and the result was a downward spiral of dissolution that continued into the 1960s.”
If you combine this fact with the untold havoc wrecked upon Russia by the murderous rule of the dictator Josef Stalin, who may himself have killed as many Russians as Hitler’s soldiers did (as shown in the table below, from Death by Democracy by R. J. Rummel, the USSR was the most* egregious state murderer of its own people in world history), and if you then reflect upon the fact that France surrendered to and was ruled by Hitler, only to emerge relatively unscathed upon Germany’s collapse, now possessing a standard of living many orders of magnitude greater than Russia’s, it becomes possible to argue that Russia would have been better of surrendering to Hitler rather than fighting him.
Only two arguments can be advanced against this position: First, that if Russia had not fought then Germany would not have collapsed, and by prevailing in World War II Germany would have inflicted worse suffering on Russia than Stalin and the Bolsheviks; and second, that Russia gained some sort of intangible psychological advantage by standing up for principle, whereas in some sense the French sold their souls to the Devil.
The second argument is easily dispensed with. No serious person can argue that Russia’s modern history contains many examples of Russians standing up for principle, and their election of a proud KGB spy to lead them only a few years after the collapse of the USSR — owing in party to the KGB’s decimation of Russian culture, carrying out mass murder at Stalin’s orders — drives the final nail into that coffin. Russians are not overly concerned with morality, certainly not to the extent of creating any national malaise resulting from surrender to Hitler. After all, Napoleon invaded and conquered Moscow, but Russia did not show any ill effects.
So the question simply boils down to whether Hitler would have won World War II if Russia had surrendered as France did, and if so whether he would have ruled Russia more cruelly and destructively than Stalin.
As for the first part of this question, it’s necessary to ask whether Russia even wanted Hitler’s enemies to prevail against him. After all, Stalin made a pact with Hitler before the war broke out that would have allowed Hitler carte blanche authority to ravage the Western allies in exchange for dividing some of the spoils with Russia. The Communists hardly had any great desire to see the capitalist economies of France, England and America throw down the German onslaught and rise to dominate the globe, as they in fact did. Many in Russia, no doubt, were rooting for Hitler so long as he might be counted upon not to turn on Russia.
As for the second part, Would Hitler have built a “Gulag Archipelago” that was even more deadly than the one Stalin created? Hitler wouldn’t necessarily have considered the people Stalin saw as villains to be evil; he might even have been in sympathy with them. To be sure, Hitler would have wiped out Russia’s Jewish population — but Russians have made long strides towards that end themselves, and now most of Russia’s Jews reside elsewhere. Hitler wouldn’t have lived forever — would he have been replaced by someone just as malignant as Leonid Brezhnev?
These are all academic points to be debated by historians. The only point here is to note that it’s an open question whether Russia would have been better off losing World War II and experiencing the regime change that would have resulted, and this fact offers great insight into the truly horrific nature of the Soviet regime itself — a regime which is now being revitalized in today’s Russia by a proud KGB spy who, it appears, has designated himself ruler for life. In so doing, he is (as we reported yesterday) embarking upon a vigorous campaign to rewrite Russia’s history books and tell the nation’s children that the Soviets really weren’t so bad after all.
Those, like Mr. Erofeyev and Mr. Nuzhny, who know better need to speak up, loudly and quickly, before Russia finds itself so deep in mire of its own making that there is no escape.
Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs Center, tells a story: “Back in 1946, an American diplomat asked an Iranian editor why his newspaper angrily criticized the United States but never the Soviet Union. The Iranian said that it was obvious. ‘The Russians,’ he said, ‘they kill people.'”
To be sure, and not only people but history books as well. Kill everything that disagrees with you and you will be proven right, they thought in Soviet times. And yet, the USSR was not proven right, but wrong in the most absolute manner a country can be proved wrong — it ceased to exist. Now, raised on those dishonest history books, a clan of KGB spies who believed and believes every word they wrote, is looking for a second chance to get it all right.
*NOTE: Some argue that China murdered a larger number than the USSR; even if that is so, and even if China murdered twice as many people as the USSR, the impact would not be as great because the Chinese population is much larger and can absorb the shock more readily. Those who would try to shift attention in this manner, moreover, are engaging in a Soviet propaganda trick and seeking to rationalize Russian failure, helping it to continue. They are the real enemies of Russia.