Talk:Joseph Stalin/Archive 2

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This article is very week on industrialization, collectivization, and the establishment of the Administrative Command System (ACS), which is the term used by Western specialists to refer to the system of economic planning founded by the implementation of the first Five-Year Plan. It also completely ignores developments between 1945-1953, which are, of course, quite noteworthy since we see the beginning of the Cold War. It's easy to chronicle the nature of Stalinist terror with excruciating detail and cite estimates on causalities, but this leaves readers with a faint understanding of the actual scope of Stalin's impact on Russian history, which is evident to this day in the structures of Russia's economy, political institutions, and culture. While much improved over the past four months, this article is still on the superficial and sensational side. 172


I quite agree this article was appauling when I first set eyes on it, I've tried to improve it, but I'me not that good at writing history. G-Man


G-Man:

Don't say that. You've been doing a fine job. You've been adding valuable and detailed factual content and quality analysis. My comments were directed toward all contributors, especially myself. I had been adding content but wound up neglecting the article. That’s why I’ve been trying to steer you toward filling in the gaps that have been left by myself and other contributors.

172

Alas, it's been far too long since I read any Soviet history, so my memory for detail has gone. But at least I can trim out some nonsense. Here is the first para to go:

The rapid growth in the number of industrial workers living in cities meant that more food was needed. Stalin believed that this could be achieved by collectivising agriculture.

This cannot possibly be true. You have almost 5 million people killed in WW1, then a long-drawn-out and very bitter civil war with more millions dead or emigrated, fields ruined, machinery destroyed, and then you take some of those peasants and transport them to the cities, where they can only eat as much as they can buy (no slipping an extra handful of grain into your pocket when no-one is looking once you work in the iron foundary instead of on the farm), and you can factor in a major increase in food production because the armies are no longer marching all over the place shooting at each other and disrupting farming. In short, a food shortage caused by the number of industrial workers living in cities is clearly bunkum.

This next lot is harder to deal with.

opposed by peasants who in many cases destroyed their animals rather than hand them over to collective farms. This produced a drastic drop in food production and widespresd famine. Stalin blamed this fall in production on Kulaks or rich peasants, who he believed were counter-revolutionaries deliberately sabotaging food production, although there were very few peasants who could be described as rich, and there was very little evidence that there was any organised sabotage. Stalin was determined to wipe out any opposition to collectivisation. Under this pretext the peasants who opposed collectivisation faced enormous repression from Stalin's regime. Many peasants who opposed collectivisation were branded Kulags and accused of sabotage, although most weren't Kulaks but were poor peasants who were innocent. Many hundreds of thousands of peasants were shot or sent to Gulag prison camps. In some cases entire villages were wiped out.

There is stuff there that clearly has to go back into the entry. As it stands, however, it is balderdash. If "there was very little evidence that there was any organised sabotage" how do we explain all those destroyed animals? We need to do something about the bleeding-heart "poor peasants who were innocent" stuff. The basics of the tale are in the above ... somewhere. 172? Is this your field?


Good job Tannin for identifying these shortcomings. I'm not responsible for posting these two paragraphs, but I should've spotted them earlier. I've just gotten too timid to work on an article pertaining to such a controversial subject these days. After all, as you vividly recall, last December I was accused of being the last unreformed, unreconstructed, and unrepentant Stalinist alive just because I wanted to chronicle the industrialization and urbanization of the Soviet Union in this article.

The first paragraph that you're pointing out is actually correct; it's just unclear to the point of being misleading. Stalin was factoring in the expected boost to the urban population caused by the implementation of the First Five-Year Plan. There weren't really any food shortages, just predictions of food shortages after the drafting of the first Five Year Plan.

The second paragraph is largely fine except for this sentence: "although there were very few peasants who could be described as rich, and there was very little evidence that there was any organised sabotage." Kulaks did sabotage crops and did hoard their crops, despite the unfactual claims of this article, hoping for an end to the forcible seizure of surpluses. This is not an unrealistic expectation in light of the fact that less than a decade eariler in 1921 the party had caved to agrarian pressure and abandoned the unpopular agricultural policies of War Communism. What would've stopped them from caving again? No one knew how resolute Stalin was at this point. And the peasantry was also coming out of a market economy, and, of course, in a market economy withholding supplies is what producers do when the opprotunity cost of selling them off at a certain price (under collectivization it's 0!) is too high.

I also agree that the article should not object to defining the kulaks as rich peasants. Relative to the standards of their society they certainly were an elite middle class of farmers. They're not rich by the standards of contemporary Russia, with its multi-billionaire media oligarchs who accumulated huge sums from illegally pilfering state assets and parlaying them in Swiss, Caribbean, or Cypriot bank accounts, but they were distinguishable from most peasants.

I'd recommend that you make the necessary adjustments. There are still a handful of users who think that I'm a Stalin apologist for the December edits. Also, you could work on the tone. It reads like propaganda.

172


I do apologise, I confess I wrote the aformentioned bits, I was trying to counter the pro-Stalin bias of this article that existed before.

The point I was trying to make was that the term Kulag was a loose term used by Stalin to describe anyone who opposed his collectivisation policies, which included poor peasants as well as rich ones.

Collectivisation was opposed bitterly by most poor peasants, not just by Kulags.

The current revision of this article gives the misleading impression that collectivisation was welcomed by poor peasants which it most certainly wasn't.

The line

Stalin's regime moved to force collectivisation of agriculture. For landless peasants, this meant an opportunity to take an equal share in the labour, and in its rewards..... sounds like stalinist propaganda to me

G-Man 4/5/03


Notice above that the key word is landless. In some respects, the above statement is true and not propagandistic. Many landless peasants did support the onset of collectivization and not every peasant in a collective farm was miserable. After all, conditions varied greatly from farm to farm.

Now some who supported collectivization might have begun to regret the process, since supporters of the regime themselves were often victims of state terror, especially when they failed to meet production targets. Though not a peasant, even Stakhanovich, the hero worker who inspired the Stakhanovite movement was sent off to the GULAGs (for some reason not involving production quotas, of course!).

The majority of Russians today who lived through the Stalin era remember his leadership very fondly. This article also has to explain that phenomenon, which would seem contrary to so much else. Any attempts to do so do not constitute a "pro-Stalin" bias.

172


Yes but your forgeting that the generation who lived under Stalin were bombarded for most of their lives with endless all-pervasive propaganda about how wonderful Stalin was, so its hardly surprising that people remembered him fondly.

Even some of the most intelligent, intellectuals, scientists etc, were taken in by the propaganda.

And secondly I dont believe the line that their was any significant support for Collectivisation amongst the peasantry. As even for the poor peasants it meant the complete break up of a centuries old way of life, and co-ersion into an alien system, where they had no control over their lives.

Collectivisation was a blatant attempt by the Soviet regime to expropriate as much grain as they could to pay for the import of industrial machinery from abroad, and had nothing to do with the welfare of the peasants.

If any evidence is needed of the complete disregard the Soviet regime had for the welfare of the peasants. Between 1931-33 at a time when millions were starving, the Soviet Union exported millions of tonnes of grain on world markets. G-Man


G-Man:

Please don't pick up the Lir/Vera habit of quoting people and attributing something to them that's way out of context. Tannin and I are not concerned with writing a piece either sympathetic or critical of Stalin. We just do not want to turn this historical article into a partisan debate on Stalin's legacy.

My comments, and Tannin's comments earlier, did not express any support of collectivization whatsoever. In response to your comments, I merely pointed out that landless peasants (please, please this time take note that the key word is landless) were often broadly sympathetic of the program, depending on other complicated local concerns, and that this program was officially carried out in their name.

My statement on the talk page that the majority of elderly Russians remember the Stalin era fondly does not suggest anything about the legitimacy of Stalin's legacy. You pointed out the role of propaganda, which was an important aspect of Stalin's regime, and a very complex topic in itself, considering Stalin's master manipulation of Russian political culture. Propaganda, however, was one of many factors.

All in all, you're underestimating the high level of support Stalin enjoyed from many classes within the Soviet Union, which was not always entirely attributable to propaganda. Just as the atrocities that you have documented were brought to fruition, the Soviet Union was perhaps witnessing the most all-encompassing improvement in day-to-day living standards among the ordinary populous within a generation ever before in history, at least in terms of access on the aggregate to basic amenities, health, education, and modern luxuries. The Soviet Union also covered a huge geographical expanse, one sixth of the globe, so keep in mind that conditions varied greatly. Some regions and classes fared better than others; and many were often unaware of the system of prison labor, largely well-hidden in isolated regions of Siberia, that contributed to these remarkable strives in industrialization.

I broadly agree with your assessment of Stalin's actual motivations, but this question is far more complex than you assert. Collectivization is also linked to his consolidation of power, his skill at playing many factions of the party and bureaucracy against each other, his fears that rapid super-industrialization would lead to urban over-population and famine, and even fear of the new middle classes of nepmen and kulaks someday poising a challenge to Communist Party rule. We don't need to endorce one argument or bring up one factor, as you seem to want.

On the talk page, you correctly noted that the Soviet Union exported grain even at the peak of the famines in the Ukraine. You're correct since collectivization and industrialization are inextricably linked. Exports of grain helped the Soviet Union to raise the cash to import technology necessary for the industrialization program. As an aside, it might interest you to look at the fairly high levels of grain output during the NEP years. The Soviet Union perhaps would have been able to export even more grain had it not collectivized agriculture. This leads to another complex question of whether or not Stalin had any idea that collectivization would lead to huge declines in productivity.

172


Sorry I got a bit carried away in my last writing. I didnt mean to imply that you were biased.

But I'm a bit alarmed that Tannin's latest edits may be giving to much weight to the Stalinist version of history.

I agree that there may have been a degree of support for collectivisation at first from landless peasants. But there is ample historical evidence that collectivisation was opposed violently by most of the peasantry.

If evidence is needed of this. During 1929-30 so called "shock brigades" were formed, to cajole the peasantry into collective farms, and they usually used indiscriminate violence to achive this (it hardly suggests that the peasants were enthusiastic about collectivisation, if the government had to beat them into it) by 1930 about 60% of the peasantry had been driven to enroll into collective farms, In response to this co-ersion the peasants began slaughtering livestock. The government was so alarmed by this that they drew back and gave peasants the option of withdrawing from the collectives. and immediately well over half of those who had been enrolled into collective farms withdrew from them.

This was however a brief restbite because by 1931 an even bigger co-ersion drive was launced, and this time anyone who resisted it was branded as a kulag and either shot or exiled to siberia.

IMO Stalin probably believed in his own propaganda, that kulags were capitalist parasites who witheld food supplies for profit, and that opposition to collectivisation was organised by them (no one was going to dare to tell him otherwise) and he was surrounded by a load of yes men, who told him whatever he wanted to hear. He probably didn't have a clue what was really going on.

The whole colectivisation debacle was probably more the result of stupidity, poor communication and mis-understanding than deliberate malice.

G-Man


172 what exactly do you mean by "this version is more detailed" you've removed all of what I've just written, which as far as I'me concearned was perfectly valid. G-Man


That was an accident. I restored it just a minute prior to reading these comments. Sorry. I thought that you only removed content and changed the spelling of "kulaks" to mispellings. 172


Oh okay then, do you think that what I've written is an improvement on what was there before. G-Man


The recent major NPOV violations "Stalin Lives on in the Struggle of the Proletariat of All Countries and Oppressed Peoples!" and "Faithful disciple of Marx and Engels and the great comrade-in-arms of the immortal Lenin" were stolen from these websites: http://www.ganashakti.com/archive/stalin.htm http://www.geocities.com/komakml/staline.html

To the poster; please don't do that again. --mav 19:15 14 Jul 2003 (UTC)

User:Paektu keeps spamming the same a pages-long text referred to above over a few pages, including this talk page. Temporarily protecting to avoid pressing "rollback" 100 times. --Delirium 03:27 15 Jul 2003 (UTC)

He seems to have moved to Talk:Joseph Stalin forum for contributors' analysis; unprotecting this page. --Delirium 03:45 15 Jul 2003 (UTC)



That's a temporary solution. When more open-minded users come online, they'll demand your censure for deleting views with which you disagree from a talk page. Paektu

You can post whatever views you want on the talk page. Spamming a 3-page essay from an external website over a dozen Wikipedia pages is not the same thing. --Delirium 03:51 15 Jul 2003 (UTC)

Well, I'll stop posting it elsewhere when I'm able to post it where it really belongs, on the Stalin talk page. If you weren't so tyrannical, I would just have it on my talk page, as they are my views, and the Stalin talk page, where I want my views heard so that contributors will post some content from alternative perspectives.

I'm not sure why it's necessary to copy/paste such a lengthy work here; it disrupts the discussion since everyone has to scroll down several pages. Especially given that much of it is copied verbatim from here. But in any case, I'm done reverting this page, so if you really wish to copy/paste it in, I'll let someone else deal with it. --Delirium 03:59 15 Jul 2003 (UTC)

Starting with the Intro, What needs to be changed for NPOV

"Iosif Vissarionovich Stalin (Russian: Иосиф Виссарионович Сталин; born Ioseb Besarionis dze Jughashvili, Georgian: იოსებ ბესარიონის ძე ჯუღაშვილი; December 18, 1878 – March 5, 1953) was General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee from 1922 until his death in 1953. Following Lenin's death in 1924, he consolidated power to become the de facto ruler of the Soviet Union."

To begin with he was a head of state, government or simply a leader, not a 'Ruler'. That is an untechnical term and suggests he is some sort of monarch or overlord. There was no position of 'ruler' in the USSR, so why word it as such?

Also as demonstrated by Grover Furr in a well referenced article (and confirmed by Soviet Archives, minutes etc.) Stalin was not above Soviet Law, now did he hold any position of supreme power, this is atypical of a 'de facto' leader.

"Stalin launched a command economy, replacing the New Economic Policy of the 1920s with Five-Year Plans and launching a period of rapid industrialization and economic collectivization. The upheaval in the agricultural sector disrupted food production, resulting in widespread famine, such as the Soviet famine of 1932-1933, known in Ukraine as the Holodomor."

A Command Economy is a type of planned or central economy. This is where command economy redirects to, so I think that should be replaced with Planned Economy. Next comes the famine. I believe it is necessary to acknowledge other credible sources here.

There are many theorys as to what sparked the Ukrainian Famine, some say bad weather, some say war vs Kulak Insurgents, some say sheer genocide. Some say it was intentional some say accidental. The reality is we just don't know what is fact and what is fiction with 100% certainty. Therefore to state that 1 theory of the famine is the absolute truth without acknowledging others gives simply 1 theory, 1 side of the story.

"During the late 1930s, Stalin launched the Great Purge (also known as the "Great Terror"), a campaign to purge the Communist Party of people accused of corruption or treachery; he extended it to the military and other sectors of Soviet society. Victims were either executed or exiled to Gulag labor camps. In the years following, millions of ethnic minorities were also deported."

This whole section falls far short of NPOV, to begin with it is not necessary to say its also known as the Great Terror. It's most widespread and common name is the great purges, even amongst communists.

Also note that not all people who were purged were executed or arrested. Only the ones found guilty of a crime. Stalin explained the dynamics of 'purging' in his own words in 'The Foundations of Leninism' (1924) available online at [www.marxists.org]. To purge implies to simply remove from the communist party due to positions that the party deems Reactionary, that is, to be removed for going against the party Line.

This does not mean you must be removed from Soviet Society completely.

In addition to this the claim that ethnic minorities were forcibly resettled (simply because of ethnicity) is entirely false.

It suggests Stalin was a racist, when he was nothing of the sort. To persecute someone based on ethnicity was illegal in the Soviet Union and punishable by death. Make no mistake plenty of Soviet officials were taken to court over this, and many found guilty and faced exactly just that. Again the theory of Deportation by ethnicity is just that, a theory, that has been time and time again refuted by concrete evidence. It has no place in the intro being exhibited as undisputable fact.

"In 1939, the Soviet Union under Stalin signed a non-aggression pact with Nazi Germany, followed by a Soviet invasion of Poland, Finland, the Baltics, Bessarabia and northern Bukovina. After Germany violated the pact in 1941, the Soviet Union joined the Allies to play a vital role in the Axis defeat, at the cost of the largest death toll for any country in the war. Thereafter, contradicting statements at allied conferences, Stalin installed communist governments in most of Eastern Europe, forming the Eastern bloc, behind what was referred to as an "Iron Curtain" of Soviet rule. This launched the long period of antagonism known as the Cold War."

...of Soviet rule. can be removed. the Warsaw pact states had a great deal of independence. They were not Soviet puppet states, or under 'Soviet rule'. This theory was put to the test during the Prague Spring in which the Romanian government of Nikolai Ceasescu clearly went against the Soviet Union, with little consequence.

"Stalin's careful control of the media helped him to foster a cult of personality. However, after his death his successor, Nikita Kruschev, denounced his legacy, initiating the period known as de-Stalinization."

As mentioned later in the article there is dispute over whether he did in fact foster, or help control the cult of personality

That's about all I have for the intro, more citations are needed as well, feel free to refer back to the last version for credible anti-Stalin ones.

Valeofruin (talk) 23:27, 12 January 2009 (UTC)

  • Comments:
  1. I have no problem deleting "de facto", though I think you wrongly think it connotes something negative. It just means he was in effect the ruler then, even though he did not yet hold every high position. There's no negative connotation the way it is used there. But I don't care either way if it goes.
  2. He actually was implementing a "command economy", so that has to stay. As the "planned economy" Wikipedia article explains, "command economies" differ from other forms of planned econoices because: "This is further contrasted with a command economy, in which the state allocates its resources as needed, without having to adhere to market principles." This is pretty clearly exactly what Stalin was doing. In fact, the Soviet economy under Stalin is actually usually the example of a command economy taught worldwide when explaining the definition of the word "command economy".
  3. There is nothing wrong with noting the other name for the purge "The Great Terror".
  4. As a heads up, citing "marxism.org" (or any other political website) as an unbiased source of information on the topic is probably not going to win you any arguments in the NPOV crowd.
  5. "In addition to this the claim that ethnic minorities were forcibly resettled (simply because of ethnicity) is entirely false." It doesn't say "simply because of ethnicity", and you need to take it up with the numerous sources on the deportations. The deportations of ethnic minorities quite clearly occurred per numerous sources.
  6. "...of Soviet rule. can be removed." -> I don't have a problem with that. Your reasoning is a little humorous (citing only Romanian uprising), to put it mildly, but I don't think the article needs to say "Soviet rule" in the intro to be accurate, so I don't have a problem with that going.
  7. "As mentioned later in the article there is dispute over whether he did in fact foster, or help control the cult of personality" -> It used to say he used his control of the media to create a cult of personality and I actually changed it to "help", because it wasn't all just his media control (charisma, winning war, etc. were obviously huge). But I think it's fine with helped to foster -- fine the way it is now -- because that is clearly accurate. No one disputes he provided help and in fact, is often used worldwide as the example of doing so, by altering photos, having state-controlled newspapers write glowing articles, etc. Mosedschurte (talk) 23:46, 12 January 2009 (UTC)

www.Marxists.org IS a neutral website. It is a massive online library of transcripts of marxist leaders, Stalin included.

If Stalins own words are considered inappropriate for the Stalin article, then we have some problems.

In addition the deportation of ethnic minorities didn't 'Clearly occur' again you must edit as a skeptic, and give credit to those who disagree.

And lastly you must remember one of the major arguements presented by pro-Stalinists is that what little did happen under him, he was not directly involved in. or at least he didn't PERSONALLY do anything, but rather subordinates who were granted the ability to speak for him did it in his name. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Valeofruin (talkcontribs) 01:28, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

What credible unbiased scholar today still denies that deportations of ethnic minorities occurred?
And you can't seriously be arguing "www.Marxists.org IS a neutral website." Besides the obvious name, the site openly declares its political allegiance to Marxism. Mosedschurte (talk) 01:38, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

Names can be decieving. www.Marxists.org doesn't contain commentary or opinions, it is just an archive of transcripts.

Quotes and words by Marxists. No facts not statistics. Mentioning Stalins own words is NOT anti- NPOV. it is highly relevant and contributes vital insight into the article. Valeofruin (talk) 01:56, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

I agree that Stalin's words themselves are clearly of interest in a Stalin encyclopedic article. I -- and and think pretty much everyone else on the planet -- would disagree that Stalin's proclamations are a definitive reliable source on what actually happened in the purge. That's best left for neutral sources. Mosedschurte (talk) 02:25, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

Well I think 1 thing we can recognize is that not EVERYONE purged was a 'victim' and not ALL of those targeted were executed or deported. To say that they ALL suffered the same fate is inaccurate and a statistical impossibility.

In addition Even with a lack of NON BIASED sources on the ethnic minority front, I would argue that the statement is out of place. The goal was to shorten the intro and keep it to basics, so let us do just that. The ethnic minority point seems out of place, as if it was only thrown in there as a tidbit.

If it does stay it needs to be better integrated into the introduction, with a proper citations.

Valeofruin (talk) 02:49, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

The intro is not a place for minority historians publishing on websites, especially with the claim of trying to "shorten the intro". Rather than just delete your unilateral changes citing various webpages, I put actually kept them, and fixed the format errors (and hunted down publication dates and ISBN), but put them in a footnote with some mainstream sources and an explanation.Mosedschurte (talk) 03:09, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

It IS a place for it though, Equal representation. The dominant view is still the dominant view, but some indication of the minority, has to be placed in the intro. see WP:NPOV Valeofruin (talk) 03:20, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

The intro is a summary of the article, not an anaysis including minority historical views. Believe me, you don't want to get into tit-for-tat unilateral intro add-ins, because there are probably (literally not exaggerating) 100+ different historical sources -- real historial sources, not website journals -- that contain endless quantities of cites on Stalin's practices killing millions of people in a wide variety of different manners. By opening up such tit-for-tat arguments, you're taking a stance that would allow them to come in and add such material to the intro with FAR FAR wider historical support.Mosedschurte (talk) 03:25, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

You apparently didn't see the original article. It's a tit for tate arguement that I will open and relentlessly pursue. It is 1 sentence of recognition being requested for a view held by millions of people. According the WP:NPOV while you don't have to give it the same level of recognition as the hundreds of other references, you DO have to acknowledge it in order to ensure the article remains fair and balanced. Valeofruin (talk) 03:31, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

Another reason you want to come close to this is that many historians also claim far more than is in the intro -- that Stalin purposefully committed genocide with the famines, intentionally killing millions of people. I don't mean website publishers (Martens and Furr), I mean serious historical works. As it is now, neutrally stated, and without the various minority historians views, is the way the intro should be. Unilateral changes adding minority opinions -- especially after what happened yesterday -- are a very very bad idea. Because there are A LOT of minority historical opinions you would blow a gasket over if they were included in the intro.Mosedschurte (talk) 03:33, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

Oh I know full well the claim, as does anyone who clicks on the link Holodomor. You can add whatever you like but people flat out reject the fact that Stalins food policy caused the famine.

In fact you can add whatever you wish around the statement (no gaurantees it wont simply be reverted for NPOV). At this point that one sentence is what I am most inerested in defending, as It is an important fact people need to bear in mind if they are to analyse Stalin. -> There's more then 1 side to the story.

Let this stand and the intro is perfect imo

Valeofruin (talk) 03:42, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

Your other Minority views are fine, in fact if you had read the original version of the intro you kept reverting you'll see I gave the exact figures from Conquest and the like.

Valeofruin (talk) 03:52, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

Alright, both minority opinions are in. (1) Ludo/Tottle, and (2) Conquest, Euopean Parliament, et al. There's actually an entire Wikipedia article on the latter. I'm not even sure that it's the minority, but we have to have "balance", I suppose.Mosedschurte (talk) 03:54, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

The problem is that the intro will balloon up in size if every minority opinion is included. There are probably 10 different opinions on how many civilians and POWs Stalin murdered in the Great Purge/Terror alone, 50 different ones on how many he killed in World War II, differing numbers for the doctors plot, 20 different estimates on the total number of ethnic minorities deported, along with separate death figures, and whether those deaths were intentional, etc. Mosedschurte (talk) 03:56, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

I'm sure you read one of the articles you linked to, the Holodomer Genocide question. It is a disputed bit of ground indeed, so it may require a few lines to address.

This is why the current intro is in fact the shortest I've ever seen it, it's no simple issue, and under WP:NPOV all sides of it have to be represented PROPORTIONATELY. That means yes, since 1 camp is bigger then the other if you wish you can add some more. It's up to your discretion. It just cant entirely block the pro Stalin Camp out.

Valeofruin (talk) 04:01, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

That is flatly NOT the way Wikipedia works. There are not "Pro" and "Anti" Stalin camps with some kind of competing rights to get all of their material in every section in every Wikipedia article.
This is precisely the sort of thing you were warned about in your arguments before.
And the intro is a brief summary, not a recounting of the entire article and all of its various interpretations by historians. We don't need to add to the majority opinion the extreme theories from Ludo Martens webisite or some neo-Nazi at Stormfront.org with the opposite extreme theory. This isn't the place for that. Especially in the intro.
Re: "This is why the current intro is in fact the shortest I've ever seen it" -> That's a good thing. As other editors have discussed, it was far too long, with all sorts of back and forth argumentative text before. It would be going in the WRONG direction now, against the wishes of other editors.
Also, as discussed, there should be no unilateral action on the intro without discussion.Mosedschurte (talk) 04:06, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

There ARE pro and anti Stalinist camps in the academic world though, do you deny this? And as there are multiple camps they all qualify for fair representation on wikipedia. That IS the way wikipedia works.

Valeofruin (talk) 04:22, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

No, but your description of the entire world in that manner is, I suppose, telling.

In any event, that view entirely violates the way Wikipedia is supposed to work. It's not a place for pro and Stalin camps to duel with various fringe website publications. Especially in the intro. Mosedschurte (talk) 04:29, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

I don't want a deul I want a fair balanced intro, 2 different things. In a deul the goal is for their to be a winner and a loser, here It is my desire to simply see neutrality achieved, and an intro in place that encourages readers to be skeptical and draw their own conclusions about Stalin. Valeofruin (talk) 04:45, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

Re: "and an intro in place that encourages readers to be skeptical and draw their own conclusions about Stalin."

->That's not the purpose of the intro. It's not there to "encourage readers to be skeptical." In fact, that's such a bizarre take, it demonstrates I think what much of the problem has been regarding the intro.Mosedschurte (talk) 04:49, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

And that's the core of the NPOV dispute in a nutshell. Encourage readers to be skeptical, or tell them which side of the debate the believe. I have yet to see a version of this article that does not focus on one style or the other.

The purpose of the intro is simply to inform readers about Stalin, in fact thats the purpose of the whole article. But when the subject is this controversial we must be carefull how we go about doing this, and maintain a NPOV that does not support 1 theory or another.

This of course is exceptionally difficult in an article such as this, where every statistic, fact and figure is contested.

Valeofruin (talk) 04:57, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

MRP section

The following sentence looks awkward:"The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact is considered by some historians as a direct consequence of the western policy of appeasement[1][2] while this view is disputed by Werner Maser and Dmitri Volkogonov."
The reservation "considered by some historians" can be added to literally every sentence of the article. Therefore, and because the appeacement is considered to be the major reason for German-Soviet rapprochement by majority historians (AFAIK), I propose to rephrase the sentence: "The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact is generally considered as a direct consequence of the western policy of appeasement.[3][4]
If someone decided to introduce an alternative point of view, he can add the (referenced) text afterwards.
--Paul Siebert (talk) 01:08, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

""The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact is generally considered as a direct consequence of the western policy of appeasement."

->That would be false, and thus, problematic. Per historical sources, the Molotov-Ribbentropp Pact was entered into for a variety of reasons (appeasement by Britain and France was merely one), and is not a direct consequence of any single one of them. That entire paragraph is problematic. I didn't add it so don't blame me.Mosedschurte (talk) 01:14, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

I don't think false to be appropriate definition; probably, simplistic would be more correct. One way or the another, although, there were several reasons for signing MRP, most mainstream sources I am aware of agree that the appeasement, along with the absence of a distinct policy towards Soviet Russia was a major reason for Soviet-German pact.--Paul Siebert (talk) 02:07, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
False was probably too strong a word. Inaccurate would have been better. Even the Wikipedia article on the Pact describes some of the reasons. There are far too many reasons to go into. The main reason given by many sources was the collapse of the months of talks (which had also been leaked to the press at the time) between Britain, France and the Soviet Union. Much of the blame for that collapse is that Stalin nixed them when Britain and France refused to guarantee him a Polish and Romanian corridor. The announcement of the MRP was then quite shocking to the media, who had reported on the UK-France-USSR talks for months worldwide. As well, the primary substantive strategic reason was that Stalin felt that the Soviet Union's military was just not ready to fight Hitler (with or without UK or French help), which was in part caused by weakenings through the Purge, etc. Thus, they had to buy time to prepare for any war with Germnay, or possibly forestall it indefinitely.Mosedschurte (talk) 02:22, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
The collapse of the negotiations was only the immediate cause of MRP. As you pointed out, Stalin had a feeling that he wouldn't be able to fight Hitler alone, and, taking into account the sad fate of betrayed Czechoslovakia, he had very serious reasons to suspect that even if the tripartite pact would be signed it didn't warrant any substantial participation of the UK/France in the prospective war with Hitler. We have to concede that in retrospect he appeared to be right. (In that concrete case).
--Paul Siebert (talk) 02:35, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
Along with, of course, Stalin's refusal to come to Czechoslovakia's aide as well, seriously exascerbating that situation. And that Stalin himself was a large reason the UK-France-USSR talks were nixed. In any event, all of this demonstrates how poorly that paragraph is constructed. I'll eventually get back to it later with various sourced material (the sources it cites now don't say what it claims, as well, which is another serious problem).Mosedschurte (talk) 02:41, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
Sorry for reminding you obvious things, but in this concrete case it was France who was to be blamed, not Stalin. According to Franco-Soviet-Czech treaty, the USSR could provide help only if France would do the same. There is a lot of real crimes and blinders Stalin can (and has to) be accused in. In this concrete case he cannot be blamed.
--Paul Siebert (talk) 02:55, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
In reality, NO ONE defended the Sudatenland when Hitler rolled in. And, getting back to the original topic, I know you're not actually somehow arguing that Stalin is not to blame for his own signing of a pact with Adolph Hitler dividing Eastern Europe, and then rolling in Soviet troops to the agreed upon pact borders.Mosedschurte (talk) 03:14, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
You mix Sudetenland and Czechoslovakia. Sudetes were annexed "peacefully" as a result of the Munich agreement, and for a promise of no further territorial demands from the Germany's side. After that, France and the USSR warranted territorial integrity of the remaining Czechoslovakia. It was that obligation what France (and, as a result, the USSR) didn't observe.
Getting back to the original topic, let me remind you that after WWI almost all borders in Central Europe didn't coincide with the ethnic map. Almost all states attempted to annex their neighbours' territories: Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, even Lithuania. As regards to the Soviet-Polish border, it was a result of the Soviet Russia's defeat in the Polish-Soviet war, therefore, the border moved far east from the Curzon line. In other words, although I don't think occupation and subsequent annexation of Eastern Poland was absolutely justified, there was some ground for that.
To my opinion, not the annexation was a crime, but the subsequent events: mass repressions, executions and deportations.
Interestingly, even the effect of deportations wasn't unambiguously negative: I personally knew several Jewish families who survived due to Stalin's deportations. They were deported from Western Belorussia to Ural and, as a result, survived the Holocaust.
The history (as well as the life itself) is more complex then we use to think.--Paul Siebert (talk) 03:47, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
Re: "To my opinion, not the annexation was a crime, but the subsequent events: mass repressions, executions and deportations."
->The invasions of Eastern Europe by both Germany and the Soviet Union were most certainly a crime (the ethnographic justifications were a bit amusing), but all of this is beside the point. And of course, the Sudatenland and other Czech territory invasions were separate matters, with no country acting (treaties or not). And no one ever thought the history wasn't complex. If anything, it looks a bit more straight forward today than it did then, with historical opinions converging more over the last couple of decades.Mosedschurte (talk) 04:39, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
Not more a crime than any other border change: Polish-Soviet war, Franco-Prussian war, World War I etc. From a point of view of Jewsish, Belorussian and Ukrainian population of the Eastern Poland, such a border change would make no difference, provided that the subsequent repressions would never happen. And, as I already pointed out, for Jews it was a chance to survive the Holocaust.
I fully agree that Stalin was a devil. However, taking into account your simplistic view I have to be a devil's advocate. To my opinion, my "devil's advocacy" can complement your editor's zeal, and as a result, to lead to significant melioration of the article.
One more point. I noticed, you tend to use words inaccurately. There were no invasion of Sudetes. This territory had been thansfered to Germany peacefully, and, taking into account British and French approval of that transfer, legally.--Paul Siebert (talk) 05:00, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
Just the crime of invading another country for no reason. Minor details.
Re: "I fully agree that Stalin was a devil." -> Not that our opinions are important, but I don't really have that view. I think he did many things that we would consider to be war crimes, but it was also a rather brutal era and region. Both the brutality, and the fear of brutality by the other side, I think spurned further brutal actions by both German and Soviet actors. Not that that absolves anyone (obviously), but it's probably difficult to understand now in 2009.
Of course, there was no military war over the Sudatenland (after the agreement, and even without it really). Those great old films of Nazi troops rolling in and ethnic Germans throwing flowers at them. It was obviously an invasion in effect. Hitler was going in, either shooting or waving. He was able to get away with the latter.Mosedschurte (talk) 05:08, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Re: Just the crime of invading another country for no reason. Not correct. Stalin provided the reason. According to him, as a result of Hitler's invasion Poland ceased to exist, therefore, the USSR moved west to prevent occupation of disputable territories, populated by Belorussians, Ukrainians and Jews, by Germany. Note, Poland herself got this land as a result of the military invasion of Ukraine and Belorussia (what did the Polish troops do in Kyiv in 1920?), so in actuality these territories were disputable. Frankly, they were had to belong not to Poland and not to Russia, but to Belorussia and Ukraine. Therefore, there was some legal ground to annex it to Belorussian SSR and Ukrainian SSR. In other words, there were some reason, although, of course, I never stated the invasion was absolutely justified.
    However, some minor details appear now that changed everything: repressions. In that sense, I absolutely support central european nationalistic editors who state that the Soviet invasion was a beginning of the tragedy.
  • Re: I think he did many things that we would consider to be war crimes, but it was also a rather brutal era and region. A rare situation when I almost agree. Minor correction. Some of his action must be considered in a context of the overal brutality ov the era. However, some of them have no excuse.
  • Re: It was obviously an invasion in effect. "Invasion" has more or less strict definition. We cannot apply it arbitrarily to everything. This annexation took place as a result of the agreement, signed by Chamberlain and Daladier. Formally, it was not more illegal, than was the prohibition of the formation of the Republic of German Austria in 1918.
    --Paul Siebert (talk) 05:52, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Re: " 'Re: Just the crime of invading another country for no reason.' Not correct. Stalin provided the reason. According to him, as a result of Hitler's invasion Poland ceased to exist"

->I was referring to an actual justification, not something utterly laughable preceding the wholesale division of Eastern Europe by an explicit signed agreement with Adolph Hitler. By the way, lest there be any doubt, I'm not really debating this point, as it's pretty much cemented in history by every historian on the planet, and was the subject of mass disgust when it happened, followed by even more years later when the secret protocols were published. None of this is even disputed history.

  • Re: "It was obviously an invasion in effect. Please, read the books again!"

->This history on this has been long settled in nearly every book. Hitler mobilized troops and prepared for an invasion of the Sudetenland in October. In September, Hitler met with Chamberlain and threatened war. Then Chamberlain, France and Italy, caved and agreed to the Munich Agreement (in a spineless appeasement attempt), ceding the Sudetenland to Hitler. This forced the Czechs on board. Having gained the territory via military threat, Hitler's army then rolled into the Sudetenland, with actually Hitler himself riding in an open car waving to the crowd, to the cheers of ethnic Germans therein -- an invasion by effect in virtually every sense of the word. I don't know what books you're reading, but in virtually every history book ever published, that's what actually happened.Mosedschurte (talk) 06:35, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

= Middle Class

Please correct "bourgeois" from "bourgois". Accuracy matters. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 91.125.211.166 (talk) 18:27, 15 January 2009 (UTC)

Allan Bullock

To my opinion, the following fragment of the "Questionable tactics" section is obsolete.

"The huge number of Russian troops taken prisoner in the first eighteen months of the war convinced Stalin that many of them must have been traitors who had deserted at the first opportunity. Any soldier who had been a prisoner was henceforth suspect … All such, whether generals, officers, or ordinary soldiers, were sent to special concentration camps where the NKVD investigated them … 20% were sentenced to death or twenty-five years in camps; only 15 to 20% were allowed to return to their homes. The remainder were condemned to shorter sentences (five to ten years), to exile in Siberia, and forced labor – or were killed or died on the way home."

Currently, more detailed data are available that were obtained based on the Soviet de-classified archive data. For instance, the articles of Zemskov([5][6]) contain well balanced precise numbers. Even such an anti-Soviet scholar as Conquest conceded the numbers produced by Zemskov were generally trustworthy. (See, for instance, Victims of Stalinism: A Comment. Author(s): Robert Conquest Source: Europe-Asia Studies, Vol. 49, No. 7 (Nov., 1997), pp. 1317-1319). Therefore, I propose to remove Bullock's text, because, most probably, the precise data weren't available to Bullock when he wrote it. In addition, the text contradicts to the well known data on the Gulag population after the war: ~2 million totally (including ordinary criminals). Let me remind you that in the present day's US there is about 2.5 million prisoners.

Therefore, I propose to replace the last three paragraphs of the section with the text from the Gulag article:

During and after World War II freed PoWs went to special "filtration" camps. Of these, by 1944, more than 90 per cent were cleared, and about 8 per cent were arrested or condemned to penal battalions. In 1944, they were sent directly to reserve military formations to be cleared by the NKVD. Further, in 1945, about 100 filtration camps were set for repatriated Ostarbeiter, PoWs, and other displaced persons, which processed more than 4,000,000 people. By 1946, 80 per cent civilians and 20 per cent of PoWs were freed, 5 per cent of civilians, and 43 per cent of PoWs re-drafted, 10 per cent of civilians and 22 per cent of PoWs were sent to labor battalions, and 2 per cent of civilians and 15 per cent of the PoWs (226,127 out of 1,539,475 total) transferred to the NKVD, i.e. the Gulag.[7][8]

By the way, I see nothing questionable in re-drafting of freed POWs. Completely devastated country, which lost a huge part of male's population couldn't afford a luxury to let exPOWs to recover.
--Paul Siebert (talk) 23:41, 14 January 2009 (UTC)

I was going to take out that long Bullock quote anyway eventually. It's kind of out of place in an encyclopedic article. So I agree with that: ditch it (and replace with accurate figures of the underlying substance) unless someone vehemently disagrees.Mosedschurte (talk) 00:03, 15 January 2009 (UTC)
I would add the reason(s) for the filtration camps in this article because it's not explained (possibly suspected of being traitors).Mosedschurte (talk) 00:09, 15 January 2009 (UTC)

WWII section

I have a strong feeling that Roberts is superficial and sometimes simply wrong when he writes about the war. I conclude he is not a good source for this part of the article. Here are several the examples of fully incorrect representation of that time events:

  1. "In 1943, Stalin ceded to his generals' call for the Soviet Union to take a defensive stance because of disappointing losses after Stalingrad, a lack of reserves for offensive measures and a prediction that the German's would likely next attack a bulge in the Soviet front at Kursk such that defensive preparations there would more efficiently use resources." This is simply false. The Soviets did have resources for the summer offensive, and they did plan it. However, sisnce they were aware of the German plans (in contrast to the 1942) they deliberately went into defensive, to wear down German forces and, utilising their strategic reserves, start their own offensive. Of course, they underestimated the strength of German's blow (although almost correctly predicted its direction), so they had to use a part of their reserves prematurely. Nevertheless, the Battle of Kursk proceeded generally according to their plans: "defensive phase" -> "strategic counter-offensive". It is also unclear if the small scale invasion of Sicily had any effect (other than a psychological shock).
  2. In 1944, the Soviets launched not only Bagration, but at least four major offensives: Bagration, Lvov–Sandomierz, Jassy–Kishinev and Vyborg–Petrozavodsk Offensives. As a result of Lvov–Sandomierz and, especially, Jassy–Kishinev offensives, German troops sustained greater losses that the Soviets did.
  3. Going back to the losses, let me remind you that during the war the Soviets sustained 10.5 military losses (including died PoWs) whereas the Axis - 4.8 million, taking into account that the mortality among the Axis PoWs in the Soviet captivity was far smaller (only 579,900 PoWs died in Soviet captivity out of 3576,3 Germans plus 799,982 of other Axis prisoners), the casualties ratio at the battle field itself was not greater than 2:1. Nevertheless, the present text creates a (wrong) impression that the Soviets always sustained immense losses, whereas the Axis' losses were relatively moderate even when they retreated.
  4. "Other important advances occurred in late 1944, such as the invasion of German-held Romania in August and Bulgaria.[148] The Soviet Union declared war on Bulgaria in September of 1944 and invaded the country, installing a communist government." In contrast to Hungary, that was occupied by Germany by the end of the war, Romania had never been occupied. She remained the Hitler's ally until the coup d'etat in 1944. Therefore, German-held is wrong.
    Although the USSR declared a war on Bulgaria, the latter joined the Allies after the coup d'etat few days after that (and even participated in the liberation of Yugoslavia). The Communists were rather popular on Bulgaria, so there were no need to install Communist government forcefully (although some help had been provided). Therefore occupied and installed is also wrong.
    I would propose to use some sources that describes the events more correctly and in more details, for instance, numerous David Glantz's works (a brief summary of his works is available online [www.strom.clemson.edu/publications/sg-war41-45.pdf]), however, I am not sure if this section has to describe the WWII in details.
    My proposal is to shorten it considerably.
    --Paul Siebert (talk) 19:01, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
  1. I have no idea what your issue with that sentence since Roberts quite clearly states that they purposefully waited for the surprise German attack at Kursk, which they correctly estimated would occur, instead of making summer offensives. And the lack of resources isn't necessarily that they didn't have resources necessary, but that they lacked having the amount they would like to have -- for example, the resources available in 1944 compared to German figures -- to make major counteroffensives they wanted, so they (correctly in retrospect) concentrated efforts on the defensive at the Kursk salient. By the way, Roberts takes about as favorable a view of Stalin as any modern respected historian.
  2. This is clearly not a problem with Roberts, who talked about many different offensives, so I have no idea what you're talking about. The Stalin Wikipedia article doesn't list every battle, nor should it, but Bagration was huge and meant the retaking of large sections of Belorussia and the Ukraine, and it was an example where Stalin himself specifically did something large (the article is about Stalin) -- there, a coordination with the other Allies. Also, Jassy–Kishinev is also in the article, but it's wikilinked under the Romanian invasion. Also, Vyborg–Petrozavodsk was north of the Gulf of Finland and not really part of the drive into Germany.
  3. I'm not even sure where that is going because Roberts doesn't dispute any of those numbers as far as I can see. Nowhere in the article does it state that the Soviets always sustained immense losses. Losses are only mentioned when they were large and notable, precisely as one would expect in a Stalin article. I haven't even added in a sentence or two on the Battle of Berlin and related actions yet -- the last major battle -- and Stalin's related actions.
  4. "German-held Romania" was mine, which was also not entirely accurate given what happened directly after the Germans were kicked out. I just changed it. Regarding Bulgaria, here is the relevant exact text of the source: "On 5 September. the USSR declared war, pretending that Bulgaria had to be prevented from assisting Germany and allowing the Wehrmacbt to use its territory. On 9 September, the Red Army crossed the border and created the conditions for a communist coup d-etat on the following night. Both the creation of a communist controlled ·Patriotic Front· and the conclusion of an armistice followed." (Wettig)
In terms of changes, anyone can edit, but I would obviously advise not cutting sourced material without some discussion. And, as you yourself noted in (2), the article doesn't describe all battles, in fact it only describes a few battles, and it takes care to usually focus on Stalin's role and the large scale consequences for the country he was leading regarding major conflicts. World War II -- a literal struggle for life and death of both the Soviet Union and Stalin against the most dangerous enemy in history -- is clearly of great importance in an article on Joseph Stalin, especially compared to the literally pages of the article currently devoted to his pre-leader period. World War II was, without a doubt, the most important seven year period in Stalin's life. Had the Soviets been defeated, the entire Soviet Union would have been virtually destroyed, Stalin himself would have been executed and the world would have been in huge trouble facing Hitlerite monster with no contiguous land enemies. It simply gets no bigger than that.Mosedschurte (talk) 20:43, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

Re:"In terms of changes, anyone can edit". I appreciate your kind permission to edit this article, although I thought such a right is granted to every WP used by default :). However,I prefer not to do direct massive changes in the article text, but discuss proposed changes on the talk page.
I didn't read this concrete Roberts' book, but, assuming by default that you reproduced his major points correctly, attributed all oversimplifications and factual errors to him. If you can represent this source in a more accurate way, I wiii probably have no problem to use it.

Let's look again at the article. The last paragraph of the Soviets stop the Germans section is: "Feeling dizzy with success, estimating that the Russians were "finished," the Germans then began another southern operation in the fall of 1942, the Battle of Stalingrad, which would end up marking the beginning of a turning point in the war for the Soviet Union.[9] Hitler insisted upon splitting German southern forces in a simultaneous siege of Stalingrad and an offensive against Baku on the Black Sea.[10] Stalin directed his generals to spare no effort or shirk any sacrifice to defend Stalingrad.[11] Although the Soviets suffered in excess of 1.1 million casualties at Stalingrad, [12] the victory over German forces, including the encirclement of 290,000 Axis troops, marked a turning point in the war.[13]"

The first para of the Soviet push to victory in the East is: "The Soviets repulsed the important German strategic southern campaign and, although 2.5 million Soviet casualties were suffered in that effort, it permitted to Soviets to take the offensive for most of the rest of the war on the Eastern Front.[14] " In actuality, the two pieces of text describe the same event: Operation Blau. The text in a present form misleads a reader, creating an impression that there were two different German strategic offensives during 1942. Stalingrad was a part of Blau and the battle for the city pursued the same goal: deprive the USSR of oil. That is why the Germans started the two-prong offensive in the South: to the North Caucasus (with its oil fields) with the ultimate goal to seize or, at least, destroy the major Soviet oil fields in Baku (the latter is on the Caspian Sea, not Black, by the way: I recommend you to be more careful, you do a lot of factual errors), and to Stalingrad, a lagre industrial centre (the place where T-34 tanks were being produced) and huge transport hub. Seizure of Stalingrad would close the road from Baku to Central Russia, and severely undermine the Soviet oil supply. Although the dramatic events took place in Caucasus, during the battle of Stalingrad alone the Axis lost about 750,000 KIA/MIA/WIA, plus those captured in the famous cauldron (for some reason, you omited the former).
As regards to the Soviet casualties, you show them twice: 1,1 million in Stalingrad plus 2,5 million during Blau(that, to my understanding, included PoWs taken during the German summer offensive, battle of Caucasus, and Stalingrad itself). Such a way to describe the war is absolutely misleading. Therefore, I propose either to give casualties for both sides, or not to show concrete numbers at all.
My proposal is to combine these two para into the single piece of text.

What is necessary to tell about Blau/Stalingrag?

  1. After the Moscow campaign the Germans came to understanding that the blizkrieg phase of the war had ended. Right after that they put their whole economy on the military rails and prepared for the battle of attrition. How can we speak about dizziness with success in this situation? In connection to that:
  2. German plan to seize oil (by the way, although the Germans had a highly developed synthetic fuel industry, crude oil was needed to produce disel fuel. The latter was needed primarily for German navy, so seizure of Soviet oil fields could have a direct negative impact to the war of Atlantic) and to capture Stalingrad as a part of this plan.
  3. German deception campaign Operation Kremlin that convinced Stalin that during 1942 the main German blow would be directed to Moscow.
  4. The disastrously ended Soviet offencives in the south (a direct result of Stalin's dizziness with successes and his intentions to end the war in close future).
  5. Initial success of Blau, the battle of Stalingrad as the most bloodiest battle in history (for both sides).
  6. Conclusion: after Stalingrad it became clear that Germany cannot win the war.

Kursk.

  1. Before 1943 the Soviets (i) never were able to stop major German offensive until the operational goals of the latters are essentially achieved. (ii) They never won any major battle during summer.
  2. Although the Soviet industry recovered by the summer of 1943 and the Soviets had sufficient strategic reserves, they decided not to start major offensive. Instead of that they correctly predicted the direction of the major German strike and went to defensive there with the ultimate goal to start the offensive when Germans were exhausted. By the way, the Germans knew that the Russians were aware of major details of their plan (to cut the salient near Kursk).
  3. Although the German successes appeared to be higher than Stalin expected, they failed to achieve their major strategic goals, and coudn't stop the subsequent Soviet counter-offencive. I don't think the Sicily invasion deserves mentioning in that context.
  4. Conclusion. After Kursk, it became clear that Germany lost WWII.
    --Paul Siebert (talk) 15:38, 17 January 2009 (UTC)


Re: "In actuality, the two pieces of text describe the same event: Operation Blau."

-> Of course. Well, more accurately, the battle for one city (Stalingrad itself) was part of Operation Blau. By the way, the article actually Wikilinks Operation Blau right now already in the very text you cited (your cite didn't include the wikilink). In fact, the article earlier specifically describes Stalingrad as part of that Southern campaign, which earlier in this same section, is described as being undertaken to capture the oil fields vital to a long-term Germany war effort. What's inaccurate about any of it? Nothing you've described.

Re: What is necessary to tell about Blau/Stalingrag

->This Stalin article isn't going into all of the operational details of Operation Blau. The article already states the Southern Campaign (Blau, which it wikilinks) was to protect oil fields, and the seizure of additional fields could be added. And that the Soviet success at Stalingrad marked a turning point in the war. All of that is already in the Wikipedia article, which is on Stalin, not World War II details.

Re: The disastrously ended Soviet offencives in the south (a direct result of Stalin's dizziness with successes and his intentions to end the war in close future).

->You've got this backward. The victory at Stalingrad (and Blau) ended German (not "Soviet") offensives in the South, and it was the Germans that were earlier incorrectly feeling "dizzy with success" (not "Stalin"). By the way, the "dizzy with success" description of incorrect German attitudes at the time was straight from the source (not my own). The article is more accurate than even your longer Talk page descriptions.

Re: "Although the Soviet industry recovered by the summer of 1943 and the Soviets had sufficient strategic reserves, they decided not to start major offensive. Instead of that they correctly predicted the direction of the major German strike and went to defensive there with the ultimate goal to start the offensive when Germans were exhausted."

->This is all already in the article -- the industrial increases, the manpower increases, the decision to stay defensive at Kursk, along with Stalin's specific interaction with generals -- but with actual specifics and sources.

Re: "Although the German successes appeared to be higher than Stalin expected, they failed to achieve their major strategic goals, and coudn't stop the subsequent Soviet counter-offencive. I don't think the Sicily invasion deserves mentioning in that context."

->That's pretty much laid out in detail in virtually that entire section. There's no way one can move the main the Kursk cancellation reason out (moving of divisions, which by the way, not that this is important for this article but, they couldn't have even gotten to Italy for months anyway -- another stupid Hitler move -- and they never actually left after Hitler cancelled).

Re: Conclusion: after Stalingrad it became clear that Germany cannot win the war
Re: Conclusion. After Kursk, it became clear that Germany lost WWII.

->Oops.Mosedschurte (I think you don't mind me to put your signature here to clarify what has been written by whom--Paul Siebert).

Re: Oops:

While the battle of Stalingrad was the most important "turning point" in the war, the battle of Kursk also represented a vital turn in German fortunes. In addition to being the last major offensive that offered the Germans any prospect of strategic success, the outcome of the battle proved conclusively that Germans would lose the war. After Kursk the only question remained to be answered regarded the duration and final cost of the Red Army's inevitable victory.

— Glantz, [1]Page 65.

It seems to me that your vision of the WWII history is not completely correct. I would recommend to read more on that account (the Glantz's lecture would be a good source to start with) before starting to write.

Re:"You've got this backward. The victory at Stalingrad (and Blau) ended German (not "Soviet") offensives in the South, and it was the Germans that were earlier incorrectly feeling "dizzy with success" (not "Stalin"). By the way, the "dizzy with success" description of incorrect German attitudes at the time was straight from the source (not my own). The article is more accurate than even your longer Talk page descriptions." Not correct. After the failure of Typhoon in late 1941 the Soviets started a series of offensives, part of which were successful. As a result, Stalin overestimated his own strength and underestimated German potential. During spring 1942 he initiated a series of new offensives aimed to push the Germans back and to end the war in close future. Among these offensives were: Second Demiansk offensive, Rzhev-Suchevka offensive, Orel-Bolkhov and Bolkhov offensives, Crimean offensive, Oboyan-Kursk offensive, etc. Almost all of them ended disastrously and led to a catastrophe when Hitler started Blau. Although these battles are not mentioned in most books (because they were dwarfed by more impressive Blau/Uranus), they had a severe negative impact on the events of the second half of 1942. More important, the decision to initiate these offensives was a personal Stalin's mistake, so it is quite appropriate to that article.
Re:This is already in the article. I don't state something significant is missing. My point is that the facts and events are represented in not very clear way plus some obvious mistakes have been done (BTW don't you mind me to fix your outrageous geographical error regarding Baku?).
Re:"the "dizzy with success" description of incorrect German attitudes at the time was straight from the source (not my own)." That is an additional argument against relying on a single source. I can reproduce the following Hitler's words:

"If I do not get the oil of Maikop and Grozny then I must end this war"

— Adolf Hitler, [15]

Noone uses such words when he is "dizzy with successes".
Well, it seems to me that I have to write my own version of this part to discuss it on the talk page. I'll do this in close future.
Regards,
--Paul Siebert (talk) 17:25, 17 January 2009 (UTC)

Re: "It seems to me that your vision of the WWII history is not completely correct. I would recommend to read more on that account (the Glantz's lecture would be a good source to start with) before starting to write."

->This is somewhat bizarre given that, not only have a I read the Glantz lecture, but I've been adding cites to it in the article. And of course the Kursk victory was a major turning point in the war, as was Stalingrad. This is why they are BOTH in the article. You yourself stated that after Stalingrad, it was clear that Germany had lost the war. You then humorously stated nearly the exact same thing after Kursk. NONE of that is inconsistent with the article. In fact, it's entirely consistent with the article as it stands now. You keep repeating a practice of reciting various historical facts which are NOT inconsistent with the article, for what seem to be rather odd reasons.

Re:"You've got this backward. The victory at Stalingrad (and Blau) ended German (not "Soviet") offensives in the South, and it was the Germans that were earlier incorrectly feeling "dizzy with success" (not "Stalin"). By the way, the "dizzy with success" description of incorrect German attitudes at the time was straight from the source (not my own). The article is more accurate than even your longer Talk page descriptions." Not correct."

->Yes correct. In fact, they were almost word for word from the source.

Re: "Although these battles are not mentioned in most books (because they were dwarfed by more impressive Blau/Uranus), they had a severe negative impact on the events of the second half of 1942."

->Those (and a number of other smaller battles) aren't in the article, even though they may have been mistakes by Stalin. What is briefly mentioned before Kursk are the "disappointing losses after Stalingrad", but I don't think it's really necessary to go into smaller actions, unless there is a palpable reason for them.

Re: "Noone uses such words when he is "dizzy with successes".

->You've got to be kidding me. Hitler's obsession that he must acquire and protect oil fields is entirely independent of his and German generals' feeling of ridiculous overconfidence at the time.
->Just as one example to obliterate the silliness of this "he said this, so they couldn't have been dizzy with success" argument, here is a quote from Roberts including one such silly Hitler (and even Halder) view regarding the summer of 1942:


As in summer 1941, the German High Command was soon dizzy with success. On 6 July Halder noted, 'we have overestimated the enemy's strength and the offensive has completely smashed him up, On 20 July Hitler told Halder: 'The Russian is finished: Halder replied: I must admit that it looks that way.' By the end of August the Germans were on the Volga and Stalingrad was under siege. In the south German forces had reached the foothills of the Caucasus, occupied the Maikop oilfield and were threatening another oilfield at Grozny in Chechnya.(Roberts)


Re: "Well, it seems to me that I have to write my own version of this part to discuss it on the talk page."

->Interesting given that you haven't pointed out any factual problems with the article.

Mosedschurte (talk) 18:19, 17 January 2009 (UTC)

Wrong Birthdate

Everywhere else says Stalin was born in 1879 not 1878! Jharmer95 (talk) 00:21, 17 January 2009 (UTC)

Holodomor in the lead

I've just removed a couple sentences about Holodomor from the article's summary. This article about Stalin, not Holodomor, so brief mentioning of the famine is sufficient for the lead. The article is too long.
--Paul Siebert (talk) 01:33, 18 January 2009 (UTC)

Agree completely. I noted this point with another editor, who insisted that the various historical views of the famine should be included in the lead.Mosedschurte (talk) 02:34, 18 January 2009 (UTC)
I also had missed the addition of some other editorializing long paragraph someone added at the end of the Lead yesterday. The original short paragraph was restored.Mosedschurte (talk) 02:48, 18 January 2009 (UTC)

Too much Soviet Union history?

It is understandable that Stalin's history and that of the Soviet Union are intimately tied together, especially after Stalin's ascent to power, but we must be careful not to accidentally make this an article on Russian history! This is especially true for the introduction.

Agree completely regarding the intro. The addition of the historian debate about the famines and the editorial paragraph snuck in the lead at the end yesterday are gone.
I generally agree about the Soviet history, though much of it is summary, and more focus should be on the decisions and directives of Stalin, with brief summaries of the larger or more controversial and discussed historical points of his rule. For example, given the paramount importance in Stalin's life of his leadership during the key 7 year period between 1939-45 (literally the life and death of both Stalin and the Soviet Union, along with world-changing happenings), I was utterly shocked how unsourced and lacking in Stlain's leadership info this article contained. Frankly, it was embarrassing -- the Britney Spears article was far more sourced and well-written. Shudder. Mosedschurte (talk) 02:57, 18 January 2009 (UTC)
And until recently the Spears article had a more dedicated editorial body (double shudder).
I think we should just give enough Soviet history to give context to Stalin's personal situation - what his personal life was like, how it affected his political alliances, etc. For instance, we give only a skeletal outline of how he isolated Trotsky - we don't go into the details of post-Lenin Party politics.Kurzon (talk) 04:27, 18 January 2009 (UTC)
"Cuz I sing better than Stalin, y'all!!"
Generally agree on the Soviet history. I placed sourced material in the WWII (and just before) sections, and tried to go light on battles -- mentioning only the major offensives gaining (or losing) huge swaths of European land-- and focused mostly on Stalin's famous directives and intentions, along with the costs and achievements. Stalin's eight Post-War years should probably be along the same lines, with summary mentions of the country's subjugations along with specific Stalin actions where notable. I have no idea how there is nothing on Stalin's famous "Doctor's Plot" now in a Stalin article, especially with the prominent role around the time of his death, but that'll come.
The "Early Life" sections now before Stalin even came to power are simply massive, like they're directly copied portions of a book, except for the grammar errors. Most also lack sources in large part.Mosedschurte (talk) 05:16, 18 January 2009 (UTC)
Agree. This article should be more focused on Stalin's personality, etc. and the balance spun off. Gonna be tough however, to do a rewrite.Mtsmallwood (talk) 17:55, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

Talk Re Opening Sentence in Pact Section regarding Anglo-Franco-Soviet talks

I noticed this was reversed, with a comment to to the talk page. Changed (I had changed this):

"After failing to reach an agreement for a Soviet alliance with France and Britain,"

Just reversed to:

"After the failure of Soviet and Franco-British talks on a mutual defense pact in Moscow,"

Mosedschurte (talk) 21:18, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

Comments:
  1. . I don't have a problem cutting out the "talks" language I inserted. It's accurate, but probably superfluous given the paragraph below summarizing Stalin's directives and intentions in the talks.
  2. . It wasn't just a mutual defense pact, as it included discussions regarding a proposed "alliance" (the term used by the sources), including the Soviets' desired rights to move through others' territories.Mosedschurte (talk) 21:23, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

First of all, let me explain something. I reverted your edits not because the previous one was better. In general, I support your efforts to improve the article. However, there is something here that rise my concern.

  1. The statement about direct connection between appeasement and MRP have disappeared from the new version. Since it is impossible to tell the full story in this article, it is incorrect to show only immediate cause for the German-Soviet rapprochement.
  2. "Stalin's demand to move Red Army troops through Poland and Romania (which Poland and Romania vehemently opposed)" also doesn't deserve mentioning, if we do not include the well known fact that Poland vehemently opposed to join any alliance with the UK and France if the USSR would also join it. In other words, Britain had to choose between Poland and the USSR, so Poland herself also responsible for the negotiation's failure. (I'll provide the source soon)
  3. "At the same time, Germany -- with whom the Soviets had been conducting secret negotiations through the Spring of 1939" - it is very strange for me that you, who uses Roberts' book so extensively, didn't include the Roberts' own statement:

For more than 50 years the historical interpretation of the Nazi-Soviet pact has been an ideological and political battleground on which two polarised versions of the truth have vied with each other. On the one side, there have been those historians who argued that the operational objective of Soviet foreign policy in 1939 was an alliance with the Western powers against Germany. Only at the last moment, when Moscow had failed, in its own terms, to achieve this goal did Stalin turn to a pact with Hitler. On the other side have been those who argued that a Soviet-Western alliance was, at best, a secondary goal of Moscow's foreign policy. From the spring of 1939 at the very latest the primary trajectory of Soviet foreign policy was towards a pact with the Nazis. In terms of this debate, I have tried to show that the new documentary evidence from the Soviet archives demonstrates the untenability of the latter view. The Soviet turn to Germany did not begin until the end of July 1939 and only began to gather real momentum in the middle of August when the triple alliance negotia- tions with Britain and France finally broke down. The other theme of the article has been Moscow's passivity and indecisiveness in the diplomatic prelude to World War II, not least in the critical days of August and September 1939. The argument has been that the Soviet decision for a pact with Nazi Germany can best be conceptualised in terms of a process of political and diplomatic policy drift. Within this conception the pact appears not so much a dazzlingly bold and cynical stroke but a more mundanely hesitant and ambiguous step towards a strategy of security through cooperation with Nazi Germany. The great turning point in Soviet foreign policy was, arguably, not the pact but the decision in early September 1939 to join in the attack on Poland. With this decision the faltering process of realigning the USSR alongside Germany, which had begun at the end of July, was finally completed.

— Author(s): Geoffrey Roberts The Soviet Decision for a Pact with Nazi Germany Soviet Studies, Vol. 44, No. 1 (1992), pp. 57-78 Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/152247

To my opinion, in the new version of the section these three my comments have to be taken into account.
--Paul Siebert (talk) 22:01, 20 January 2009 (UTC)


  1. . The potential effect appeasement issue regarding the Munich Agreement on the annexation of Czechoslavakia certainly did not disappear. In fact, it is now more specifically stated now more explicitly stated

    "Some historians argue that Stalin's beliefs about Britain and France were also shaped by the refusal of Britain and France to go to war with Germany over the annexation of part of Czechoslavakia, while this view is disputed by Werner Maser and Dmitri Volkogonov."


    By the way, I didn't even add in the views of still other historians that Stalin wouldn't have followed through attacking Germany anyway even had Britain and France gone to war, not Stalin's statements about the benefits of destroying the state of Poland, nor the many historians that claim that Stalin was the ultimate appeaser (and those that argue back at them).
  2. . Re: " 'Stalin's demand to move Red Army troops through Poland and Romania (which Poland and Romania vehemently opposed)' also doesn't deserve mentioning, if we do not include the well known fact that Poland vehemently opposed to join any alliance with the UK and France if the USSR would also join it. "
    ->Okay. The reason for the breakdown is certainly notable and necessary, but I don't have a problem adding the clause (and cite), "while Poland and Romania refused to enter an alliance which included the Soviet Union." I don't think it's necessary (one might argue that the reasons for the Polish and Romanian refusal to enter an agreement might be necessary too), but I don't have a problem with the clause.
  3. " 'At the same time, Germany -- with whom the Soviets had been conducting secret negotiations through the Spring of 1939' - it is very strange for me that you, who uses Roberts' book so extensively, didn't include the Roberts' own statement: "
    -> That Roberts statement in no way states that the Soviets had not been conducting secret talks with Germany during this period. In fact, Roberts explicitly discusses these negotiations. In fact, even though that statement above was from Roberts way back in 1992 (before most his recent work including even more extensive Soviet documentation), it actually still comports with the article's description. The Soviet-German pact was entered into after the breakdown of the British-French-Soviet pact. But Roberts never denies that secret German-Soviet discussions were happening before August of 1939. Rather he explicitly states that they were going on "for months."

    No source I've ever seen denies the existence of these talks. And I wouldn't include "Roberts statement" in an encyclopedic article. I try to stay away from historian quotes (this was also discussed regarding the historian in the Questionable Tactics section, and I thought that historian quote should go).Mosedschurte (talk) 22:28, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

Re 3. It did. In western historiography the meeting between Merekalov and Weizsacker is considered to mark the start of secret negotiations between the USSR and Germany. It his artilce (Infamous Encounter? The Merekalov-Weizsacker Meeting of 17 April 1939 The Historical Journal, Vol. 35, No. 4 (Dec., 1992), pp. 921-926) Roberts demonstrated that these negotiations concerned economical cooperation, in particlular, the fate of the Soviet Skoda contract (the latter was a Czech company, so the German invasion of Czecoslovakia had a direct impact on it). Roberts directly states:

This article uses recently released documents from the Soviet diplomatic archives to examine the Merekalov-Weizsacker meeting of April 1939. It argues that these documents show that western historians have been mistaken in assuming that this meeting was the occasion for Soviet signals of a desire for detente with Nazi Germany. The significance attached to the meeting in this respect is part of the cold war myth that the USSR's negotiations for a triple alliance with Great Britain and France in the spring and summer of 1939 were paralleled by secret Soviet-German discussions which eventually lead to the Nazi-Soviet pact of August i939. The article seeks to demolish those elements of the myth that concern the Merekalov- Weizsjcker encounter and to present an alternative interpretation of the provenance and meaning of the so-called political overture by the Soviet ambassador at the meeting.

Re 2. I don't think so. I presented this fact just to demonstrate that the real situation was much more complex than you try to represent. It would be incorrect to present one or two concrete events that lead to the negotiations' failure. I want to blame neither Poland nor the USSR alone in that. It would be also incorrect to accuse (exclisively) western allies also.
That is why more general explanation (instead of naiming a couple of factors) would be more appropriate.

Re 1. The sentence "Some historians argue that Stalin's beliefs about Britain and France were also shaped by the refusal of Britain and France to go to war with Germany over the annexation of part of Czechoslavakia, while this view is disputed by Werner Maser and Dmitri Volkogonov." doesn't satisfy me either. First of all, these some historians are in actuality the mainstream historians, and Volkogonov, Maser (or Suvorov, who has not been mentioned for some reason) belong to marginal science. Therefore, it is unclear for me why the equal weight is given to these two POWs. To my opinion, the previous statement about appeasement (with Wikilink) sould be restored, as well as the references to Carr and Beloff (reputable mainstream historians). I can add some recent references to it.--Paul Siebert (talk) 23:19, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

  1. . Re: "doesn't satisfy me either. First of all, these some historians are in actuality the mainstream historians"
    ->I certainly wouldn't say that. Moreover, the more generalized "appeasement" and "western powers" was generalized and WP:Weasel when what is really referred to is the French and British caving to Hitler on the Munich Agreement ceding an annexation of part of Czechoslavakia. Moreover, it even went to the extreme of getting into historians view of what was a "direct consequence." Thus, the improved and more specific sentence. I don't want to jump on the prior sentence too harshly, but it was severely lacking in the specificity and lack of weasel words department for an encyclopedic article.

  2. . Re: "I don't think so. I presented this fact just to demonstrate that the real situation was much more complex than you try to represent."
    ->Even Roberts presents Poland-Romania army runthrough demand by Stalin as the ostensible reason for the attempted World War II alliance breakdown, as do obviously most other sources. This doesn't get dumped merely because it's "complex." If you want to add a sourced clause that Romania and Poland refused to enter an alliance with the Soviet Union, I have no real issue with that.

  3. . Re: "Roberts demonstrated that these negotiations concerned economical cooperation"
    ->In Roberts new book (2006), here are his own discussions of negotiations before the mid-August breakdown in the British-French-Soviet talks:

    "For months the Germans had been hinting that they could offer better terms than the British and French. In early August these overtures reached a crescendo when Ribbentrop told the Soviet diplomatic representative in Berlin, Georgii Astakhov, that 'there was no problem from the Baltic to the Black Sea that could not be solved between the two of us.' . . . The Germans were obviously trying to disrupt the triple alliance negotiations"


Re: 3. Let's re-examine the course of the discussion on that subject again:
(i) I pointed you attention at the fact that the statement:"at the same time, Germany -- with whom the Soviets had been conducting secret negotiations through the Spring of 1939"" contradicts to the opinion of Roberts, the author extensively used by you, and provided the quote from his article.
(ii) You argued that this quote doesn't deny the existence of these talk directly (although, to my opinion, the overall tone of the quote siggested it);
(iii) I provided another quote from the same author that directly stated that western scholars' beliefs that that the USSR's negotiations for a triple alliance with Great Britain and France in the spring and summer of 1939 were paralleled by secret Soviet-German discussion were the cold war myth. In other words, Roberts directly denies the existence of these talks.
(iv) You argue that Germans were obviously trying to disrupt the triple alliance negotiations. (sic!)
To my opinion, it is a pure example of the notorious straw man fallacy. Whether the Germans tried to disrupt negotianions or not - is quite irrelevant. The last quote provided by you confirms only one fact: events described there were unilateral attempts of Germany. It does neither refute nor even question the earlier Roberts' statement: there were no negotiations between Germany and the USSR during spring-early summer of 1939.
I think, the article should be modified taking into account all said above.

Re: 2 In other words, two reasons for the triple alliance failure were: Stalin demand to move Red Army troops through Poland and Romania and Poland refusal to enter any alliance with the Soviets? What about dramatic difference of visions of the prospective war by the USSR and the UK/France? (This is usually named as one of major factor that caused the negotiations' failure)

Re: 1 Agree on substitution of Western powers with the UK/France. However, let me remind you that appeasement ≠ Munich agreement. Appeasement is the western belief that Hitler can be pacified + the absence of any distinct policy towards the USSR and towards the looming German expansion to the east. There were several points of view in the Foreign Office on that account, neither of them prevailed, btw, until Chirchill. Some British politicians had nothing against Hitler's expansion to Ukraine, for instance. Not only Munich, but the whole cource of events created a firm impression that the major aim of the UK/France is to divert Hitler east (although, as we know a posteriori, such an impression wasn't absolutely correct). Let me remind you the Taylor's opinion on that account

If British diplomacy seriously aspired to alliance with Soviet Russia in 1939, then the negotiations towards this end were the most incompetent transactions since Lord North lost the American colonies...

According to Derek Watson

From the beginning, the two sides approached the negotiations differently. The Western powers believed that war could still be avoided and, if it came, the USSR, much weakened by the purges, could only function as a supply base in a long war of attrition, not as a main military participant. The USSR, which approached the negotiations with caution because of the traditional hostility of the Western powers and its fear of 'capitalist encirclement', had little faith either that war could be avoided or in the Polish army. It wanted a guaranteed commitment of military support in a war in which the USSR would play an aggressive role in a two-pronged attack on Germany: from France and the USSR

— Derek Watson Molotov's Apprenticeship in Foreign Policy: The Triple Alliance Negotiations in 1939 Europe-Asia Studies, Vol. 52, No. 4 (Jun., 2000), pp. 695-722. Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/153322

Another quote:

The war was initiated because of specific territorial demands made by Germany on Poland, reflecting a string of claims coming out of the Versailles settlement that sought to bring all "Germans" under the sovereignty of the Third Reich. These included the militarization of the Rhineland, the Anschluss, and the absorption of the Sudetenland, all involving sovereign control or transfer of territory.

— John A. Vasquez. The Causes of the Second World War in Europe: A New Scientific Explanation International Political Science Review / Revue internationale de science politique, Vol. 17, No. 2, Crisis, Conflict and War. Crise, conflit et guerre (Apr., 1996), pp. 161-178


Therefore, in the sentence:"Some historians argue that Stalin's beliefs about Britain and France were also shaped by the refusal of Britain and France to go to war with Germany over the annexation of part of Czechoslavakia, while this view is disputed by Werner Maser and Dmitri Volkogonov." I would replace some historians with majority, annexation of Czechoslovakia with appeasement policy and put the unreferenced mentioning of Volkogonov and Maser to the footnote.
--Paul Siebert (talk) 01:31, 21 January 2009 (UTC)


  1. . Re: "I would replace some historians with majority, annexation of Czechoslovakia with appeasement policy and put the unreferenced mentioning of Volkogonov and Maser to the footnote
    ->I would say absolutely not on "the majority" of historians, as no such poll exists, just to begin with. Nor with the WP:Weasel general words of "appeasement policy" as it isn't even a strictly defined term, nor is there even agreement on all that it would entail. In fact, just to show you silly using such a generalized word would mean here, many consider a large part of that UK "appeasement" also (in addition to the Munich Agreement) not actually attacking Germany immediately after Hitler invaded Poland -- which quite clearly not only happened after the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, but it was essentially agreed upon by the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact. The comedy of using the word in this particular context is a fantastic illustration of why such generalized weasel words shouldn't be used. The specific facts are much better and really not in dispute.
    -> If there is another major move Hitler made besides the annexation of part of Czechoslovakia to which the UK/France ceded -- i.e, something actually specific for a Wikipedia article -- then I wouldn't have a problem adding that. But again, as an actual reason for Stalin's specific beliefs re the UK/France for the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, not some larger reason/debate for "the war" generally.
    ->On that note, this is a section of the article focusing on Stalin and the actual actions occurring around the time of the Pact, and most definitely NOT an article of various historians battling over larger reasons they believe World War II broke out (Treaty of Versailles, Anschluss, etc.). Rest assured there are boatloads of them with horrible things to say about Stalin in such big picture analyses of what "caused" World War II that also aren't worth bringing into this section of a Stalin Wikipedia article regarding the specifics of the negotiation of the August 1939 Pact.

  2. . Re:In other words, two reasons for the triple alliance failure were: Stalin demand to move Red Army troops through Poland and Romania and Poland refusal to enter any alliance with the Soviets?
    ->No. As the sources say, the actual sticking point on the breakdown was that the sides couldn't reach agreement regarding the Soviets' demand to put their armies in Poland and Romania if the alliance fought Germany. You've separately stated that Poland and Romania wouldn't enter an alliance with the Soviets as the reason that the Soviets couldn't get such an agreement.

  3. . Re: "You argue that 'Germans were obviously trying to disrupt the triple alliance negotiations' "
    ->No I didn't. I gave yet another quote from Roberts showing concurrent negotiation with the Germans while talking with France and Germany, which is the only temporal discussion in this article regarding the topic -- not some earlier debate in the 1990s about even earlier negotiations. In fact, as just one example Roberts gives NOW (in 2006, not 1992), the "Baltic to Black Sea" quote was on August 3', a full eighteen days before the British and French broke off negotiations with Soviets. That was, again, from Roberts. Lest there be any doubt that the Soviets discussed such matters concurrently, and there shouldn't given the obvious sources, here is the original document detailing Molotov himself discussing these matters with Germans on August 3. I haven't attempted to dispute any old "western historiography" as you put it regarding allegations of earlier secret negotiations as Roberts' old 1992 quote addressed. Those allegations of older negotiations being economic (or not) aren't even in the article. There isn't any question that the Soviets were negotiating with the Germans over items such as the Baltics before, and while, negotiating with the Brits/French in August. The article doesn't get into any issue with purported earlier negotiations.

  4. . Also, rather than go into some description of battling historians' analyses, it is best in an encyclopedic article to merely state what happened first. Here:
    (1) the Stalin talks with the UK-France broke down just before the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was signed.
    (2) The actual sticking point of their breakdown was Stalin's demand for Soviet Army access in Poland/Romania (I don't think Poland/Romania's reasons for disliking the USSR and machinations of their refusal to ally with the Soviet Union really need be gone into).
    (3) Germany, which had been talking to the USSR, made several specific statements/promises in order to get the pact signed.
    It's pretty straight forward without getting into a battle over historians' analyses of what-ifs and guesses as to what was going on in various parties' heads.


My general concern regarding your style of writing is that you describe immediate cause instead of talking about real reasons. If we accept your vision, we have to agree that WWI started because Russia declared mobilisation, and WWII started because the German battleship started to shell Westerplatte. It is simply misleading.
If you prefer to tell about concrete events, then you have to describe all relevant facts, not only the last event in the chain. Otherwise, it will be a profanation of history. However, since in this cocnrete article there is no space to talk about everything related to MRP, the reason of the talks' failure must be described in general words.
Re: 4.

1."the Stalin talks with the UK-France broke down just before the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was signed." Agree.
2." The actual sticking point of their breakdown was Stalin's demand for Soviet Army access in Poland/Romania (I don't think Poland/Romania's reasons for disliking the USSR and machinations of their refusal to ally with the Soviet Union really need be gone into)." Oppose. It was just the immediate cause. You tell nothing about the real reason for Stalin's request, and for western refusal to accept it. Moreover, you removed my description of these reasons. It is unacceptable. The real reasons for the negotiations' failure must be described.
3."Germany, which had been talking to the USSR, made several specific statements/promises in order to get the pact signed." Partially agree. However, the sentence in the article creates an impression that the triple negotiations went in parallel with secret negotiations with Germany from the very beginning. I fixed it.--Paul Siebert (talk) 13:34, 21 January 2009 (UTC)

Re: 3. See Re: 4.3.

Re: 2. The talks failed because the sides didn't trust their counterpart's motifs, intentions, and military capabilities, and because their vision of the future war was quite different. The Stalin's demand was just one of the consequence of that.

Re: 1 "If there is another major move Hitler made besides the annexation of part of Czechoslovakia to which the UK/France ceded -- i.e, something actually specific for a Wikipedia article -- then I wouldn't have a problem adding that." I already named it, however, you removed it without any attempt to think. Note, not only the UK/France ceded Sudetes, France also refused to take any action to prevent occupation of the ramp of Czechoslovakia (although she promised to do so). This was a direct demonstration of the real cost of the treaties signed with western powers.
As regards to the ""appeasement policy" as it isn't even a strictly defined term", just make one click on this wikilink --Paul Siebert (talk) 13:59, 21 January 2009 (UTC)

  1. . Re: "if we accept your vision, we have to agree that WWI started because Russia declared mobilisation, and WWII started because the German battleship started to shell Westerplatte"
    -> The difference is that I would not demand to turn one section of a Stalin article on a 1939 Treaty into a causes of World War I and World War II article. Nor include any editors' "vision" of such broadscale matters in a Wikipedia article.
  2. . Re: "It was just the immediate cause."
    ->Which is what the article says.
    "You tell nothing about the real reason for Stalin's request"
    ->Actually, I did, from the exact same source in the very next paragraph in that source (Stalin didn't think UK/France serious about fighting Germany and they were using talks to intimidate Hitler for later deal) and it was oddly moved down the paragraph. It is now back up with the specific UK-USSR-France breakdown portion.
    ->The ONE REASON listed for the larger concept of abandoning a collective security doctrine is still shoehorned in this 1939 Treaty section of the article, but has been listed as such. By the way, most historians (like Roberts (2006)) don't even go into the Munich Agreement broadly for Stalin's reasons, much less for this 1939 Pact. Also keep in mind that treading into the various historian analyses territory without specifics on broad reasons for broad events invites a whole lot of other historians' reasons for such broad movements in history, and regarding Stalin, they are certainly not favorable.
  3. . Re: " Note, not only the UK/France ceded Sudetes, France also refused to take any action to prevent occupation of the ramp of Czechoslovakia (although she promised to do so)."
    ->Both of these are France and the UK permitting Germany to annex Czechoslvakia, which is already in the article -- in fact, now actually specifically stated, without weasel words. The addition of "appeasement" is humorous given that, not only is a huge part of that generalized weasel word Britain/France's failure to defend Poland (which they had agreed to do), which obviously hadn't happened yet, but this Pact actually MAKES A DEAL with Hitler to split Poland, which would make the use of such a non-specific generalized term even more bizarre here. It's a prime example of why using such broad WP:Weasel terms not only doesn't work, but can lead to rather comic results if used in the wrong place, such as here.Mosedschurte (talk) 17:36, 21 January 2009 (UTC)
  1. ^ Max Beloff The Foreign Policy of Soviet Russia. vol. II, I936-4I. Issued under the auspices of the Royal Institute of International Affairs, Oxford University Press, I949. p. 166, 211.
  2. ^ For example, in his article From Munich to Moscow, Edward Hallett Carr explains the reasons behind signing a non-aggression pact between USSR and Germany as follows: Since 1934 the U.S.S.R. had firmly believed that Hitler would start a war somewhere in Europe: the bugbear of Soviet policy was that it might be a war between Hitler and the U.S.S.R. with the western powers neutral or tacitly favourable to Hitler. In order to conjure this bugbear, one of three alternatives had to be envisaged: (i) a war against Germany in which the western powers would be allied with the U.S.S.R. (this was the first choice and the principal aim of Soviet policy from 1934–38); (2) a war between Germany and the western powers in which the U.S.S.R. would be neutral (this was clearly hinted at in the Pravda article of September 21st, 1938, and Molotov's speech of November 6th, 1938, and became an alternative policy to (i) after March 1939, though the choice was not finally made till August 1939); and (3) a war between Germany and the western powers with Germany allied to the U.S.S.R. (this never became a specific aim of Soviet policy, though the discovery that a price could be obtained from Hitler for Soviet neutrality made the U.S.S.R. a de facto, though non-belligerent, partner of Germany from August 1939 till, at any rate, the summer of 1940)., see E. H. Carr., From Munich to Moscow. I., Soviet Studies, Vol. 1, No. 1, (Jun., 1949), pp. 3–17. Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
  3. ^ Max Beloff The Foreign Policy of Soviet Russia. vol. II, I936-4I. Issued under the auspices of the Royal Institute of International Affairs, Oxford University Press, I949. p. 166, 211.
  4. ^ For example, in his article From Munich to Moscow, Edward Hallett Carr explains the reasons behind signing a non-aggression pact between USSR and Germany as follows: Since 1934 the U.S.S.R. had firmly believed that Hitler would start a war somewhere in Europe: the bugbear of Soviet policy was that it might be a war between Hitler and the U.S.S.R. with the western powers neutral or tacitly favourable to Hitler. In order to conjure this bugbear, one of three alternatives had to be envisaged: (i) a war against Germany in which the western powers would be allied with the U.S.S.R. (this was the first choice and the principal aim of Soviet policy from 1934–38); (2) a war between Germany and the western powers in which the U.S.S.R. would be neutral (this was clearly hinted at in the Pravda article of September 21st, 1938, and Molotov's speech of November 6th, 1938, and became an alternative policy to (i) after March 1939, though the choice was not finally made till August 1939); and (3) a war between Germany and the western powers with Germany allied to the U.S.S.R. (this never became a specific aim of Soviet policy, though the discovery that a price could be obtained from Hitler for Soviet neutrality made the U.S.S.R. a de facto, though non-belligerent, partner of Germany from August 1939 till, at any rate, the summer of 1940)., see E. H. Carr., From Munich to Moscow. I., Soviet Studies, Vol. 1, No. 1, (Jun., 1949), pp. 3–17. Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
  5. ^ (“Военно-исторический журнал” (“Military-Historical Magazine”), 1997, №5. page 32)
  6. ^ Земское В.Н. К вопросу о репатриации советских граждан. 1944-1951 годы // История СССР. 1990. № 4 (Zemskov V.N. On repatriation of Soviet citizens. Istoriya SSSR., 1990, No.4
  7. ^ (“Военно-исторический журнал” (“Military-Historical Magazine”), 1997, №5. page 32)
  8. ^ Земское В.Н. К вопросу о репатриации советских граждан. 1944-1951 годы // История СССР. 1990. № 4 (Zemskov V.N. On repatriation of Soviet citizens. Istoriya SSSR., 1990, No.4
  9. ^ Cite error: The named reference stalinswars126 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  10. ^ Roberts, Geoffrey. Stalin's Wars: From World War to Cold War, 1939–1953. New Heaven, CT; London: Yale University Press, 2006 (hardcover, ISBN 0300112041), page 128
  11. ^ Roberts, Geoffrey. Stalin's Wars: From World War to Cold War, 1939–1953. New Heaven, CT; London: Yale University Press, 2006 (hardcover, ISBN 0300112041), page 134
  12. ^ Сталинградская битва
  13. ^ Roberts, Geoffrey. Stalin's Wars: From World War to Cold War, 1939–1953. New Heaven, CT; London: Yale University Press, 2006 (hardcover, ISBN 0300112041), page 154
  14. ^ Roberts, Geoffrey. Stalin's Wars: From World War to Cold War, 1939–1953. New Heaven, CT; London: Yale University Press, 2006 (hardcover, ISBN 0300112041), page 155
  15. ^ Joel Hayward. (2000)Too Little, Too Late: An Analysis of Hitler's Failure in August 1942 to Damage Soviet Oil Production. The Journal of Military History, Vol. 64, No. 3, pp. 769-794 [2]