Monday, June 07, 2010

Germany Divided After WWII: America Did It

A discussion about the Berlin Wall broke out in the comments section of my blog posting on John Weeks. That inspired me to post an excellent review of Carolyn Eisenberg’s “Drawing the Line” from the Nation Magazine in 1996, when it was still readable. Nothing can substitute for reading Eisenberg’s book, but Kai Bird’s review comes close. Louis Proyect

Nation Magazine
December 16, 1996

Stalin Didn’t Do It

The American Decision to Divide Germany, 1944-1949.
By Carolyn Eisenberg
Cambridge. 522 pp. $59.95.

Nothing is inevitable in the course of human events. Yet every historian finds it difficult to persuade readers that what happened all those many years ago was not preordained, that indeed, choices were made which at the time were not necessarily obvious or at all inevitable. This challenge becomes particularly formidable when the historian’s topic is invested with powerful myths cultivated by the state.

Carolyn Eisenberg shatters the central myth at the heart of the origins of the cold war: that the postwar division of Germany was Stalin’s fault. She demonstrates unequivocally that the partition of Germany was “fundamentally an American decision,” strongly opposed by the Soviets. The implications are enormous. Germany’s division led to the rapid division of Europe, condemning not only East Germans but millions throughout Eastern Europe to a forty-year siege. If the responsibility for this cruel separation of a continent into two armed military camps lies with Washington and not Moscow, then the entire canon of the orthodox history of the cold war is called into question.

Eisenberg, a professor of history at Hofstra, took more than a dozen years to produce this exhaustively researched text. Drawing the Line opens with a moving description of the idealistic hopes evoked by the meeting of U.S. and Soviet troops at the Elbe River on April 25, 1945. In the face of a common peril, a Grand Alliance had triumphed over German fascism.

A half-century later, we forget that many Americans had been confident that U.S.-Soviet cooperation could continue in the postwar period despite ideological differences. Even an establishment figure like Assistant Secretary of War John McCloy noted in his diary on April 30, 1945, “It is little wonder that as [the US. and the U.S.S.R.] emerge in their own and in the eyes of everyone else as the two greatest powers that they should walk stiff-legged around the ring a bit.” But McCloy and Secretary of War Henry Stimson believed that with time and hard work a “practical relationship” was possible and desirable. As for Germany, the New Dealers who then prevailed in foreign policy deliberations-Henry Morgenthau Jr., Harry Hopkins, Harry Dexter White, Henry Wallace, Harold Ickes-fully intended to cooperate with the Soviets in administering a “hard peace” in a unified German state. Roosevelt had agreed to a firm program of denazification, deindustrialization and demilitarization. The Soviets would share in the supervision of a jointly occupied German state and be assured a share of reparations.

Then came Harry Truman, who was pretty much an empty vessel when it came to foreign policy. His instincts were erratic, McCloy wrote in his diary after observing him at Potsdam, “He always gives me the impression of too quick judgment.” Roosevelt’s Soviet policies were soon shoved aside. In the judgment of Truman’s influential advisers-Dean Acheson, Averell Harriman, John Foster Dulles, George Marshall and James Forrestal- partition was preferable to the uncertainties of cooperating with a difficult wartime ally in a joint occupation of the defeated enemy.

Acheson and his colleagues did not fear the Soviets-they understood that the Soviet system was economically and militarily weak. And that was precisely why Washington could act unilaterally with little risk of provoking a war. “This judgment,” says Eisenberg, “allowed them to make careless calculations, to disregard the Soviet interests with a sense of impunity, and to sacrifice potentially favorable bargains with the expectation of a complete collapse down the road.” And act they did. In violation of Potsdam and Yalta, the Truman Administration fused the British and U.S. occupation zones economically in December 1946, incorporated western Germany into the Marshall Plan in July 1947, implemented a currency reform in June 1948 and convened a parliamentary body in September 1948 for the purpose of creating a formal West German state. Washington also abruptly ended denazification (leaving approximately 640,000 “highly incriminated persons” un- prosecuted), halted deindustrialization and canceled steps already taken to break up the German economic cartels.

Truman’s men feared not an invasion from the east but that the Soviets in their weakened position would offer a deal that could not be easily rejected in a public forum. As Ambassador Walter Bedell Smith wrote in December 1947 to his old friend Dwight Eisenhower, “The difficulty under which we labor is that in spite of our announced position, we really do not want nor intend to accept German unification in any terms that the Russians might agree to; even though they seemed to meet most of our requirements.”

Soviet demands were remarkably consistent. They wanted what they understood the Allies to have promised at Potsdam and Yalta: the $10 billion in reparations; four-power control of the Ruhr Valley; vigorous denazification and permanent demilitarization. In return they’d permit a freely elected German government, modeled along Weimar constitutional lines-a program, Eisenberg observes, that “did not differ appreciably from that previously advanced by liberals in the Roosevelt administration.”

The Soviets began to clamp down on Eastern Europe only in response to the U.S. decision to partition Germany. When they did so, Truman’s men were not at all surprised. When, for instance, Stalin imposed a ground blockade around Berlin after a unilateral American announcement of currency reform in western Germany, veteran diplomat Robert Murphy cabled Washington, “The Berlin blockade, with all its consequences, has had widespread repercussions, most of them favorable.”

Not everyone agreed. The military governor of occupied Germany, Gen. Lucius Clay, opposed partition. So did the author of the containment theory, George Kennan. In 1948-49, Kennan vigorously contested both the division and militarization of Europe. In an attempt to preserve access to Eastern Europe he crafted what became known inside the bureaucracy as “Plan A” or “A Program for Germany” to create a unified German state. Both U.S. and Soviet troops would have been required to withdraw to the borders of Germany. U.N.-supervised elections would have created a new all-German government. This reunified Germany would still have participated in the Marshall Plan, which implied, of course, that the German economy would be revived. Plan A was extraordinarily one-sided. The only thing the Soviets would get would be guaranteed access to German exports-and the right to continued participation in the supervision of the German state through a diminished Allied Control Commission. Presumably, Germany would remain demilitarized.

Kennan very much doubted the Soviets would accept a plan requiring them virtually to surrender exclusive powers in eastern Germany for a limited role in supervising a unified German state. But he thought it imperative that the proposal be put on the table; if the Soviets accepted, the impending division of Europe could be avoided.

Astonishingly, the Soviets were not even given a chance to reject Plan A. Instead, the Truman Administration went ahead with unilateral partition. An appalled Kennan wrote Secretary of State Acheson, condemning the “steady and progressive discarding of all possibilities which might really have led to something like the unification of Germany under allied blessing.” He warned that “some day we may pay bitterly for our present unconcern with the possibility of getting the Russians out of the Eastern zone.”

Thus began the cold war, a forty-year conflict for which we all paid, but none more so than the millions in Eastern Europe who were forced to live in police states.

Drawing the Line was largely researched prior to the opening of some relevant archives in Moscow and Berlin. But none of the documents released in the East to date contradict Eisenberg’s view that the Americans unilaterally opted for partition. Nor is she alone in her assessment of the origins and nature of the cold war. Significantly, her thesis has been endorsed by Melvyn Leffler, whose A Preponderance of Power: National Security, the Truman Administration, and the Cold War (1992) established him as the preeminent chronicler of the period. Leffler flatly states that Eisenberg has “proven her case,” that her findings “will compel a rethinking of basic assumptions about the origins of the Cold War”—this from a historian who has written with great caution about politically charged questions of assigning responsibility.

Even more startling, however, is an essay Leffler wrote in this past summer’s Foreign Affairs, the house organ of the foreign policy establishment, titled “Inside Enemy Archives: The Cold War Reopened.” Leffler’s survey of the “enemy archives” depicts a paranoid adversary always on the defensive. The Soviets, says Leffler, “did not have pre-conceived plans to make Eastern Europe communist, to support the Chinese communists, or to wage war in Korea.” Stalin had no ‘‘master plan” for Germany, and wished to avoid military conflict with the United States. Indeed, he hoped a policy of Realpolitik would somehow lead to a grudging cooperation between the former wartime allies. Leffler quotes David Holloway-a Stanford professor and author of Stalin and the Bomb (1994)–who studied records of Stalin’s military thinking in the postwar period and concluded, “There is’ no evidence to show that Stalin intended to invade Western Europe, except in the event of a major war.” Certainly, Stalin ran a cruel police state, but Leffler argues that “U.S.words and deeds greatly heightened ambient anxieties and subsequently contributed to the arms race and the expansion of the Cold War into the Third World.” The new archival findings suggest that U.S. policy prolonged the cold war, making it “difficult for potential reformers inside the Kremlin to gain the high ground.” To compound matters, Leffler suggests there were many missed opportunities in the fifties, sixties and seventies when Stalin’s successors might have curtailed the conflict-but the “perceived threat emanating from the United States held them back.” Not surprisingly, Leffler’s article has disconcerted such conservative historians as Richard Pipes and John Lewis Gaddis.

Eisenberg’s book ends in 1949, when the cold war is about to open in earnest. But Leffler’s essay underscores the tragic costs of a conflict that began with the U.S. decision to divide Germany. The most painful consequences, as Eisenberg points out, were “mainly borne by others.” And yet, the tally sheet indirectly includes all those Americans who died in Korea and Vietnam. “In the wreckage of the Cold War,” she concludes, “America has yet to acknowledge responsibility for the structures it has built.”

Kai Bird, a Nation contributing editor, is the author of The Chairman: John J. McCloy-The Making of the American Establishment (Simon & Schuster) and co-editor, with Lawrence Lifschulk, of Hiroshima’s Shadow: Writings on the Denial of History & the Smithsonian Controversy, forthcoming from Pamphleteer’s Press.

Louis Proyect



sonia said...

She demonstrates unequivocally that the partition of Germany was “fundamentally an American decision,” strongly opposed by the Soviets.

No kidding. Of course, Stalin opposed the partition. He wanted a united Communist Germany.

Since when do you post articles that defend Trotsky's murderer ?

sonia said...

More seriously, the case of Austria (where the Americans and the Soviets easily found a way of creating a neutral, free and undivided country) directly contradicts the thesis above.

Only Germans are to blame for Germany's division. If all Germans had refused to collaborate with both Stalin AND Truman (like all Austrians - who hated the Russians as much as they hated the Yanks - refused to collaborate with foreign occupiers), the Soviets and the Americans would have gladly agreed to a neutral, demilitarized and unified Germany...

But all Germans collaborated, either with one or with the other... They deserved to be partioned.

Frank Partisan said...

Austria didn't become independent until 1955.

This post to me isn't about defending or opposing Stalin. I'm interested in the consequences. I believe Stalin would have had looser control over East Europe, if Germany was neutral. During WWII, Stalin was friendly with East European capitalists. He used them to hold workers down.

I doubt if a more mixed East Europe would have lasted, if an independent capitalist class developed. The first thing they would have done, was get rid of Stalin. He was too paranoid for that to happen.

Anonymous said...

If Truman had cooperated with Stalin in the occupation of Germany, the Republicans would have accused him of giving in to communism. So he felt he had to push for the partition of Germany. This was an example of domestic politics driving foreign policy.

sonia said...

During WWII, Stalin was friendly with East European capitalists.

WTF ???

Whatever you're smoking, it's good...

SecondComingOfBast said...


It's probably the same stuff he was smoking when he decided it was the Soviet Union who defeated the Japanese in World War II, as though the US effort was almost insignificant.

He might have a point here though. Stalin wasn't above or below making alliances where he could when his survival was in doubt otherwise. An East European capitalist would have taken some talking to when it comes to a war between a communist and a Nazi leader, but it might behoove him to make the attempt.

sonia said...


An East European capitalist would have taken some talking to when it comes to a war between a communist and a Nazi leader, but it might behoove him to make the attempt.

Actually, it wasn't even a contest. Every major capitalist in Eastern Europe knew that he would be immediately deported to Siberia if he ever found himself under Stalin's rule. So most of them fled to the West. Those stupid enough to stay behind were either shot or deported. I don't think there is a single case of a well-known, major Polish capitalist who survived under Stalin.

SecondComingOfBast said...


Well, the point was, did any of them side with Stalin during the war, not what happened after the war. That's just it, I don't know whether any did or not. I could believe it, but it would be a matter of reaction to Hitler's brutality, not any kind of sympathy or common ground with Stalin.

Frank Partisan said...

Spanish Prisoner: I thought Republicans opposed The Marshall Plan.

Sonia: The objective situation is far different in 1945, and demands therefore a different practical orientation. The Kremlin ruling caste far from providing a bureaucratic impulse to civil war in Rumania, Bulgaria, Poland and the other countries under Red Army occupation is brutally stifling every independent effort of the masses to overturn the rule of their capitalist exploiters and is using the Red Army troops to bolster the tottering rule of the capitalists. The Stalinist bureaucracy has moved rightward in such headlong fashion that the Red Army, which is its instrument, is now the main prop of capitalism in eastern Europe. From a document of IV International: Trends in the Soviet Union and the Struggle Against Stalinism

During WWII Stalin was friendly with Pilsudski for one.

Capitalists in Eastern Europe were used by Stalin, to prevent revolution from below. He did have tactical flexibility.

Stalin wasn't Lenin or Trotsky. Socialism in one country was what mattered. Stalin would have allowed capitalism. A capitalist class would be a threat. Even China today doesn't have an independent capitalist class.

Mao in 1949 used the Red Army against workers who occupied factories. Nationalization came years later. Capitalists in China, were put in charge of their businesses.

Chamberlain's so called appeasement, scared the heck out of Stalin.

Pagan: Stalin nurtured capitalists during WWII. He was hoping for loans from the US.

Stalin would have marched into Tokyo, if it wasn't for the bomb.

Frank Partisan said...

Sonia: I reread your first comment. Stalin didn't want a communist Germany. He also stopped communism in Greece, France and Italy after WWII. He wanted loans from America.

He didn't want the Chinese Revolution. It caught him by surprise.

SecondComingOfBast said...


I understand what you're saying about Stalin supporting capitalists in Eastern Europe, but how could he stop communism in France and Italy, or for that matter even Greece? I think you're conferring a near god-like status on Stalin he doesn't deserve. If the communists were that powerful in those countries, the only thing Stalin could have done against them would just be withhold financial or political support, or fail to engage in subversion on their behalf. He sure couldn't have sent troops into those countries.

Patton wanted to attack the Soviets, but no one took him seriously. If Stalin had done anything provocative in those early post-war stages, it would have opened the door for that.

As for Stalin's fantasies about invading Tokyo, that would have been a sure-fire way to start another war. If you're right, that just adds another reason to the list as to why it was a good idea to use the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

I can't even imagine what a hell hole Japan would have been like under Stalin's rule and under the Soviets on down the line.

troutsky said...

I'm not clear what these counter-factual arguments really accomplish. So many could have would haves.

sonia said...


During WWII Stalin was friendly with Pilsudski for one.

Considering that Pilsudski died in 1935, that was quite an accomplishment...

is using the Red Army troops to bolster the tottering rule of the capitalists.

Since every major enterprise was nationalized in Eastern Europe, your IV International document is pure fairy tale.

Capitalists were subjected to a genocide under Stalin.

Frank Partisan said...

I'll reply tonight.

Pagan: The Greek Communist Party and others, after WWII were positioned to take power. Stalin ordered them not to take power.

In Germany non fraternization laws, were to prevent revolution.

Stalin stopped communist Europe. The last thing he wanted, just like any despot, is seeing workers take power.

Stalin didn't like that Tito took power, without him. Tito even executed agents of Stalin, as a show of force.

This is from wikipedia about Greece: In the meanwhile, the Soviet Union remained, in the surprise of Greek Communists, passive about developments in Greece. True to their "percentages agreement" with Britain, the Soviet delegation in Greece did not encourage or discourage EAM's ambitions, as Greece belonged to the British sphere of influence, its chief gaining the nickname "sphinx" among the local communist officers for giving not a clue about the Soviet intentions. Pravda did not mention the clashes at all. It appears that Stalin didn't intend to avert the Dekemvriana, as he would profit no matter the outcome. If EAM rose to power, he would gain a country of major strategic value. If not, he could use British actions in Greece to justify similar actions in countries of his own sphere of influence.

As for Stalin's fantasies about invading Tokyo, that would have been a sure-fire way to start another war. If you're right, that just adds another reason to the list as to why it was a good idea to use the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Against Stalin, kill Japan's civilian population.

Sonia: I'm not sure where I got that Pilsudski idea.

Troutsky: The important part is that the US divided Germany. The official Cold War narrative was that Russia did it.

SecondComingOfBast said...


"Against Stalin, kill Japan's civilian population."

No, just for the official reason, to hasten the end to the war. At the same time, hell, knowing Stalin's history, he would have killed as many of the Japanese anyway, and in the meantime would have made everyone else's life a living hell, so yeah, why not?

I don't know that its really beneficial for you to keep talking about the "would have, could have" of Japan, especially in the context of a divided Germany. All one has to do is compare the freedom and prosperity of West Germany to the darkness and repression of East Germany, and everywhere else the Soviets controlled, and one starts to wonder why you aren't embarrassed at the notion of how they might have run Japan-probably into the ground.

The only thing I can figure out is its kind of a roundabout way you have of pointing out you are definitely no Stalinist.

But getting back to the subject of the post, I don't think there's any way Germany could have been run other than how it was divided, so long as the West was determined to allow the Soviets a degree of influence.

Sonia brought up Austria, but I don't think that would have worked with Germany. It had to be occupied for a while, and obviously the whole country couldn't have been occupied by both the US and the Soviet Union. What else could they do but divide it? The Russians understandable are not noted for their capacity for trust of other European powers, nor for anyone else.

And yes, it would also have been a politically untenable situation in the US, for good reason. I can't see where any good could have come from it. All I see is potential for greater mischief and skulduggery.

It might form the basis for a damn good "what if" novel, though.

sonia said...


kind of a roundabout way you have of pointing out you are definitely no Stalinist

You're correct, Pagan, Ren is trying to attack Stalin from the left, which is totally ridiculous.

It's like attacking Hitler from the right, by saying that Hitler didn't really want a Nazi Europe and that he "nurtured Jews during WWII" and "was hoping for loans from the US."

Even if true, it would only reveal the attacker as a more fanatical Nazi than Hitler.

The same way, Ren is trying to tell us that he is a more fanatical Communist than Stalin.

I don't object to that. I only object to misrepresentation of historical facts. It's one thing to say that Stalin let some capitalists live (and work for him) for a while (otherwise the Soviet economy would collapse, as it always collapses when workers actually take over the factories), before his bureaucracy was ready to nationalize everything.

But it's another to say that Stalin "nurtured the capitalists" and used the Red Army "to bolster the tottering rule of the capitalists."

It's like saying that a crocodile "nurtures his pray" just because it waits a bit before swallowing it.

Frank Partisan said...

Pagan: You don't get it. Stalin didn't want Germany to have anything resembling a state in transition to socialism.

Everywhere Stalin put down revolutionary movements, starting with Spain. The revolution in Barcelona, scared the heck out of him.

Stalin's power is based on turning back socialism. How many times do I have to say that. Socialism in one country, means keeping in power a privileged bureaucracy.

Sonia: Do you know what socialism in one country is about? Has something changed? Heck he didn't like Tito.

He was good to East European capitalists during WWII. They were a force that could hold off independent actions of workers. He didn't want Russian workers to get ideas.

Ideally Stalin would have wanted capitalist neighbors. His privileges are based on a nationalized economy. I think a capitalist class that is strong is more of threat than capitalism.

You know Trotskyists were called "The Left Opposition." The right opposition was Bukharin.

Stalin was a Bonapartist. He set up a bureaucracy that was above society. The point of Bonapartism is that when you are attacked from the left you go right, and visa versa.

sonia said...


Stalin's power is based on turning back socialism. How many times do I have to say that.

A non-sequitur repeated many times is still a non sequitur.

Ren, what you are writing makes no sense. It's total gibberish. "Ideally Stalin would have wanted capitalist neighbors." If he did, he had a VERY peculiar way of trying to accomplish that.

It's like saying "Ideally Hitler would have wanted Jewish neighbors".

Frank Partisan said...

Sonia: Are you saying he wanted socialist uprising around the world?

roman said...

WOW, very interesting. All historical reportage of this period led one to believe it was the Soviets who refused to withdraw and wanted to dominate politically their hard-won acreage.
I'm not convinced but this post will at least cast doubt on the Western historical record. Further examination is warranted.

SecondComingOfBast said...


You must always remember, Stalinism is not true socialism, according to Ren, it is state capitalism, like North Korea is actually not socialism, but a military dictatorship. Like Mao and Pol Pot, were not true socialists, and neither is Mugabe, and even Chavez at best is not socialist enough, and Castro was not comradely to a sufficient level, etc.

Remember that now, Sonia. Don't forget, there has never been a true socialist nation.

Well, that is to say, there has never been one that lasted very long before it slid into Stalinism, military dictatorship, Bonapartism, state capitalism, etc., etc. That's probably because there just can't be "socialism in one country, it has to be all over. If we could have socialism all over the world, or at least a large and significant portion of it, and it was true socialism, all of these examples of "deformed socialism" would never happen.

Don't forget now.

sonia said...


Are you saying he wanted socialist uprising around the world?

Stalin definitely didn't want YOUR kind of "socialist uprising" (workers in charge of their factories). Stalin wanted HIS kind of socialism - capitalists dead (or in gulags) and their factories under state control.

And why Stalin didn't want YOUR kind of socialism ? Because under YOUR kind of socialism, NOBODY wants to work.

Anonymous said...

Ren, the Republicans did criticize Truman, but I think if he had cooperated with Stalin, they would have tried to impeach him.

Frank Partisan said...

Roman: I posted this, because I never heard that idea before.

Pagan: Did you ever read one word of Marx's, talking about socialism in a poor country? He never considered a country like Russia would be socialist.

I don't think you'll also find me ever saying Stalinism is state capitalism. That is what neoconservatives believe. That movement was formed around that belief.

Sonia: He didn't want my kind of socialism, because he wouldn't have privileges. Bonapartists are by definition above society, vacillating between classes.

Marx never considered Bonapartism could occur with socialism. Trotsky defined Stalin as Bonapartist, and representative of thermidor.

I think it is amazing, that China is capitalist as can be, without a capitalist class that is independent.

Frank Partisan said...

Spanish Prisoner: I don't know. You're probably right.

sonia said...


He didn't want my kind of socialism, because he wouldn't have privileges.

Stalin didn't care about any "privileges". He died with 200 rubles on his bank account. His family got nothing.

Stalin's bureaucrats, who controlled day-to-day operations of huge factories, couldn't give those factories in heritage to their children. And they could lose their jobs (and salaries) any day.

That's very different from a capitalist who actually owns his factory and can give it in heritage to his children.

Stalin's bureaucratic system was SOCIALISM. The only socialism that ever existed and that can ever exist.

And the Soviet propaganda talked about Communism as a wonderful, utopian, egalitarian system that someday will emerge from this dirty bureaucratic Socialism.

It never did.

SecondComingOfBast said...


Wasn't the USSR under Lenin pretty close to the kind of socialism Ren advocates? It didn't last long at all, and of course it led to the necessity to adapt the New Economic Policy. Stalinism came later, under, well, Stalin. The NEP kind of bolstered things up for a while though, unless I'm mistaken.

Do the math. Under socialism, things go to hell in a hand-basket. The implementation of somewhat of a capitalist system improves things in the same backward, undeveloped country, temporarily making life at least somewhat bearable.

Stalin comes along and, determined to avoid the mistakes of the past, institutes his own brand of socialism, which is still hell, but does enjoy some qualified success in comparison to Lenin's model, though never anywhere as good as seen under the NEP. But it did last for a while.

Maybe Ren is inching towards Stalinism, oh so gradually. Seeing as how the kind of socialism he has been promoting is never going to happen, or would not last if it did, maybe Ren is in the process of deciding he would rather be a participant to history than a mere observer of same.

Belizegial said...

A very thought provoking discussion here.

Happy Sunday Morning~

sonia said...


Your analysis is mostly correct, except for two minor points:

backward, undeveloped country

I think we had this discussion before. In 1914, Russia had the second largest air force in the world (after France). US was #5 or 6. It was Russian immigrants like Sikorsky and Seversky, who fled the revolution, who built US air force in the 1920's.

Wasn't the USSR under Lenin pretty close to the kind of socialism Ren advocates?

Yes, in theory. No, in practice. In theory, factories were run by worker's councils, elected by the factory's workers. But in practice, any factory's council members that did what the workers actually wanted (shorter working hours, higher pay, more holidays) found themselves accused of sabotage and executed.

SecondComingOfBast said...


The only reason I said what I did about Russia being backward and undeveloped was, that is the reason Ren always gave for why socialism did not work in Russia, and became "deformed".

My point is, Lenin's socialism didn't work at all, and he adopted the NEP, which was limited capitalism-under which things improved. Capitalism worked. Socialism didn't work until capitalist reforms were implemented. Sound familiar? Like, say, China?

The obvious implication is, this is proof that capitalism, flawed though it might be (what isn't to some degree) is still superior to socialism. If socialism was so great, it would work as good or better than capitalism, regardless of where it was tried, and it would not need capitalist reforms to make it work, whether in any advanced country or a backward one.

Frank Partisan said...

I'll reply tonight.

Frank Partisan said...

Sonia: Stalin's reign was based on a nationalized economy, just like Hitler's was based on capitalism.

The problem wasn't the economy, but the political system. Stalinism is based on what was a new phenomena called "proletarian Bonapartism." Marx understood Bonapartism applied to capitalism, not socialism. The idea of proletarian Bonapartism was developed by Trotsky and later Ted Grant.

There were reasons for banning "State and Revolution" by Lenin.

Again you can't deny civil war, Isolation and invasion.

The defeat of the German Revolution was the telling blow.

Pagan: Trotsky invented the NEP idea. The problem was they took too long before implementing it.

Contrary to rightist thinking, no system is 100% socialist or capitalist.

Under Marxism there are wage differentials etc. When rightists describe socialism, they usually are describing Bakunin anarchism.

sonia said...


Stalin's reign was based on a nationalized economy, just like Hitler's was based on capitalism.

The problem wasn't the economy, but the political system.

Political system is directly related to economy.

Hitler's opponents had money, private money. They owned factories and farms. They could meet in private castles. They could buy the bombs with private money.

Stalin's opponents were working in state-run factories 9 to 5. They had barely enough money to buy food for themselves. They didn't even have a private palace to meet.

As result, Hitler faced half a dozen serious assassination attempts. Stalin didn't face a single one.

No capitalism, no democracy. When everybody works for the state, nobody dares to speak out against the state. Stalin didn't kill rich peasants (kulaks) because he cared about social justice. He killed them because they were rich and could use their money to topple him.

Ducky's here said...

If Stalin was such a friend of revolution then Barcelona becomes a real contradiction.

Stalin was interested in Stalin and preventing any evolution in Russia.

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