Archive for the ‘stalin’ Category

The book I read to research this post was Alexander Solzhenitsyn: A Century In His Life by DM Thomas which is an excellent book that I bought from a car boot sale. This book is around 530 pages so is a pretty decent length. Solzhenitsyn was a dissident author who is on a par with authors like Tolstoy and Pasternak. He was expelled from Russia in 1974 but did later go back there to live. He was born a month after the Russian Revolution and has seen first hand many of the problems with implementing communism. One problem was God to them officially didn’t exist which basically meant they could do as they liked. Particularly under Stalin people were regularly tortured and killed often with methods like being boiled alive or having there heads twisted off. In the revolution the white and red Russians were as bad as each other and often whether someone took one side or the other was simply a matter of survival. Alexander was sent to a Gulag under Stalin and later released under the presidency of Kruschev. He served in the army in World War 2 when Germany launched a surprise invasion and the Russian soldiers couldn’t get confirmation to fire back. In fact they were so taken by surprise they were trains still taking and laden with supplies for the German soldiers. Whilst in Gulag Solzhenitsyn got a job studying the phonetics in the Russian language and it might sound boring to us but he really got into it with relish and did such a good job they released him. He did have novels like The First Circle ¬†& August, 1914 published in the west in secret. The fact that he had fans in the west probably saved him later from being killed. He wasn’t particularly outspoken against communism probably like a lot of Russian authors it was just the themes he wrote about in his books upset them. It’s worth noting when Terry Waite was kidnapped in the Lebanon the kidnappers gave him The First Circle to read and it became his all time favorite book. With the situation he was in he identified with the themes in the book. I thoroughly enjoyed this book which is extremely well written and would definitely recommend it.


The book I read to research this post was Allies at Dieppe by Will Fowler which is an excellent book which I bought from kindle. This book tells of the landings by allied troops at Dieppe & the surrounding in an attempted D-day that went badly wrong. I’ll write a little bit about the reasons behind it. In Russia the russians had most of the german armed forces tied and Stalin was desperate to get the forces in the west to open up a new front to take pressure off them because the russians were suffering huge casualties. Stalin also threatened that if the british and americans didn’t co operate he would try and make a truce with the nazi’s. The british and americans were focusing on supplying the russians with what they needed and were suffering huge losses in the arctic convoys that took supplies upto Murmansk in Russia. Churchill suggested some landings in Norway which was relatively heavily guarded by nazi forces & Dieppe was seen as the lesser of 2 evils. Also around this time the americans gave the russians a $1,000 million loan on favourable terms that they could repay over 20 years. I think this book which in particular looks at the mistakes made is of particular interest to historians and soldiers. There is a funny story that nazi propaganda claimed the british were starving and one man offered the commando’s eggs and they thanked him but said they don’t need them at the moment.

At the end of world war 2 it became necessary to prosecute certain people for war crimes. Stalin was in favour of shooting the 50,000 worst offenders which churchill was deeply opposed to although he was in favour of shooting the worst offenders. He also thought if hitler survived the war he should get the electric chair. Many of the offenders were shot but as more and more war criminals were arrested it became necessary according to roosevelt to have a mass trial which was to become nuremberg. At one point it looked like it would only be the prisoners in US custody but the UK and USSR didn’t want to be left out. When the trials took place the defendants were housed in belsen an ex concentration camp. Many of them tried to commit suicide and this got so bad that a guard was assigned to each cell and there orders were to check on each inmate at least once a minute. Many of those found guilty were hanged but quite a lot were given life sentences. One interesting thing about the trial is that the US brought in conspiracy laws which were in US law especially for dealing with organised crime but hadn’t really been taken up by other countries at that time. An example of a conspiracy law is say someone is going to do a burglary and borrows a ladder if that person knows he is going to use it to commit burglary that person can be prosecuted. The book I read to research this post was Nuremberg evil on trial by James Owen¬†which is an excellent book and I got it from the library.



Posted: September 26, 2011 in history, lenin, russian history, stalin, trotsky

The book I read to research this post was Lenin – Life and Legacy by Dmitri Volkogonov and it’s a good book which I bought from a car boot sale.

Lenin was born in a town called Simbirsk in 1870. In the book it says that Lenin was nearly as paranoid as Stalin especially in the last two years before he died. When he died it was rumoured it was syphyllis that killed him but it does say there’s evidence that it was a series of mild strokes and his neurosurgeon hinted that he would have been a bit irrational during the period he had the strokes. His illness was probably brought on by over work. He died at the age of 48.

Without Lenin’s prescence there would have probably been no revolution because Lenin had a gift for getting people riled up. I think after the revolution the general public were no better off and on top of that millions of them were sent to gulags in siberia so many were worse off.