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January 28, 2009

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Randy

Interesting piece. I especially liked your first paragraph!

I guess it is easy enough to see the propoganda in the soviet history, but to be honest, misleading WW2 histories (for political ends) are still being produced. For instance, Stephen Ambrose's The Good Fight: How World War II Was Won (2001) which is geared towards teen readers, begins with Pearl Harbour and ends with Hiroshima, has *no* mention of the soviet role (as far as I can recall), and just one page on Britain's role.

John PTak

I agree Randy--telling a story that is "correct" is a hard thing to do, even if you wanted to. I'm not familiar with the Ambrose book, but it sounds a little typical--people seem to almost realize that the U.S. didn't start physically fighting in WWII until 650-odd days had passed from the war's outset. I don't know what to say, exactly, about Ambrose and the Soviet extinction--maybe he just got tired and forgot. Sounds pretty 1955 to me.

Jim

You say "they" as if there is a monolithic "they". Might it not be more accurate to speak of the soviet government? Or Khrushchev?

And how many Americans could say how many Soviets died in WW II? (20 million, I think).
This isn't to defend Stalin or Russian Communism.

John Ptak

Well, I think it is implied who "they" were, as being the Soviet government. I've written earlier about the Soviet contribution to the WWII effort, especially about the enormous human cost (and the 20 mil estimate is probably correct). The Soviets were deeply f'ed up, from the murderous purges to the induced famous and the Insane State of Stalin and on and on. (Stalin killed more of his own people than Hitler ever did.) I don't know how many Americans know about the Soviet contribution to the war; I do know that something like 35% of Americans thought that the Civil War was fought "sometime in the 1920's". My guess is that the Soviet data wouldn't fare as well.

Jeff

Wait, Jim. Say that again ... I may have missed something. The only "they" I could find is in the first paragraph, not referring to Soviet anything. I didn't recall a careless use of "they" and still don't see it. Either way, you're still right ... "they" can be a conveniently mushy attribution.

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