Why the hard Left has a blind spot over Stalin

The Sunday Telegraph - - Letters to the editor -

SIR – Si­mon Hef­fer’s ex­cel­lent re­view (De­cem­ber 1) of The Krem­lin Let­ters by David Reynolds and Vladimir Pechat­nov prop­erly ques­tioned why it should be ac­cept­able for the hard Left to en­dorse “the thought and pol­i­tics” of Joseph Stalin while con­demn­ing Adolf Hitler. Af­ter all, Stalin was Hitler’s part­ner, not only in the 1939 Molo­tov-Ribben­trop Pact but also in mass mur­der on a pre­vi­ously un­think­able scale.

There is an­other as­pect, too. Af­ter the Sec­ond World War, the Left clev­erly dumped the blame for Nazism on the Right, but Nazism does not truly come from there. In re­al­ity, Nazism is an­other abom­i­na­tion of the Left, the clue be­ing in the sec­ond part of its name: Na­tional So­cial­ism.

Leftists pre­fer to fo­cus en­tirely on the “na­tional” side of Nazism, but it is the “so­cial­ism” side that brought with it Nazism’s inhumanity, in­dif­fer­ence to in­di­vid­ual suf­fer­ing and ruth­less de­mand for con­form­ity. Gre­gory Shenkman Lon­don W8 SIR – Si­mon Hef­fer rightly con­demns those who re­gard Stalin as more praise­wor­thy than Hitler. As Alan Bul­lock wrote in Hitler and Stalin: Par­al­lel Lives, they were two sides of the same coin.

While of course con­cen­trat­ing on the wartime al­liance, Mr Hef­fer might also have men­tioned that, sub­se­quently, as well as en­slav­ing eastern Europe, Stalin ef­fec­tively cre­ated Mao’s China – and these two then cre­ated North Korea. John Bir­kett

St An­drews, Fife

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