June 12, 2017

Excerpts from Domenico Losurdo’s ​"Stalin: History and Criticism of a Black Legend", Translator: Matthew Klinestiver

Excerpts from Domenico Losurdo’s Stalin: History and

Criticism of a Black Legend

Translator: Matthew Klinestiver


The following excerpts are translated from the 2011 French edition of Italian philosopher and historian Domenico Losurdo’s Stalin: storia e critica di una leggenda near (Carroci Press, 2008).1Losurdo’s book is one of the only contemporary, non­Russian, “revisionist” accounts of Stalin’s leadership. The only recent book of a similar stripe is professor Grover Furr’s Khruschev Lied:The Evidence That Every “Revelation” of Stalin’s (and Beria’s) Crimes in Nikita Khrushchev’s Infamous “Secret Speech” to the 20th Party Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union on February 25, 1956, is Provably False(Erythros Press, 2011).2

Aside from French, Stalin: storia e critica di una leggenda near has been translated into Spanish (Stalin: historia y crítica una leyanda negra, El Viejo Topo, 2010) and German (Stalin: Geschichte und Kritik einer schwarzen Legende,Papyrossa, 2012) editions. Unsurprisingly, no English translation is forthcoming.

Included among Losurdo’s more recent works are: Liberalism: A Counter­History (Verso, 2014), Hegel and the Freedom of Moderns (Duke University Press, 2004), and Heidegger and the Ideology of War: Community, Death, and the West

(Humanity Books, 2001).

The translator has added all footnotes, and, moreover, assumes all responsibility for any errors or inconsistencies in the text.

Pages 31 to 35

1.2 The Great Patriotic War and the “inventions” of Khrushchev

Translator’s introduction to Sections 1.2 and 1.3:

Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev’s 1956 “Secret Speech” sent shock waves through the entire world, and dealt a severe blow to the international communist movement. In the speech, was called “On the Cult of Personality and its Consequences,” Khrushchev condemned the achievements of his predecessor, Joseph Stalin, accusing him, among other things, of self­deification and military incompetence. In this section of his book, Losurdo focuses on the latter of these allegations. And, using archival material, he attempts to reveal that Khrushchev’s assertions were entirely without merit. In Section 1.2, he shows that Stalin had made serious preparations for war, something that Khrushchev emphatically denied. Then, in section 1.3, he shows that Stalin was a perceptive and strategic wartime commander ­ further discrediting Khrushchev’s attack.


After the battle of Stalingrad and the defeat suffered by the Third Reich (a power which had, up to then, seemed invincible), Stalin gained enormous prestige across the world. And, accordingly, Khrushchev specifically touched on this matter in his “Secret Speech.” He described, in catastrophic terms, the military unpreparedness of the Soviet Union, claiming that its army was, in some cases, lacking the most elementary weapons.

However a study that seems to have been produced by the German military, or which, in any case, makes much use of their military archives, directly opposes this view. It speaks of “the superiority of the Red Army in assault tanks, planes, and artillery pieces.” Moreover, it notes that “the industrial capacity of the Soviet Union has attained

dimensions which have provided the Soviet armies with a practically unimaginable level of armament.” This is a sentiment that only intensifies with the approach of Operation Barbarossa.3

One piece of data is particularly telling: in 1940, the Soviet Union produced 358 tanks of the most advanced type, of significantly higher quality than was available to other armies, but in just the first half of the next year, it produced 150,336 [1]. Furthermore, documents from the Russian archives hold that, at least during the two years preceding the aggression of the Third Reich, Stalin was literally obsessed with the problem of “quantitative expansion” and “qualitative improvement of the entire military.”

Some information speaks for itself. While in the first Soviet five year plan, the amount spent on defense was 5.4% of total state expenditures, by 1941 it had reached 43.4%; “in September 1939, at the order of Stalin, the Politburo made the decision to build nine new airplane factories before 1941”; and, at the moment of Hitler's invasion, “Soviet industry had produced 2,700 modern aircraft and 4,300 tanks” [2]. Judging from this information, one could say anything but that the USSR had been unprepared for their tragic entry into the war.

Moreover, a decade ago, an American historian inflicted a severe blow to the myth that the Soviet leader had collapsed and fled immediately after the Nazi invasion:

3 “Operation Barbarossa” was the German’s code name for their June 22nd,1941 surprise attack on the Soviet Union.

“although shaken, on the day of the attack, Stalin convened a meeting with party bosses, and government and military officials, a practice he continued in the course of the next few days” [3]. We also now have a registry of visitors to Stalin's office in the Kremlin, first discovered in the early 90s. It shows that in the immediate aftermath of the attack, the Soviet leader engaged himself intensely in planning the resistance. These were days and nights characterized by an “exhausting,” but orderly, amount of activity. In every case, “the whole episode [recounted by Khrushchev] is totally invented,” and the “story is false” [4].

In reality, from the very beginning of Operation Barbarossa, not only did Stalin make extremely difficult decisions, arranging for the movement of people and industrial sites that were close to the front, but “he retained minute control of everything, from the size and shape of the bayonets to the Pravda headlines and who wrote the articles” [5]. There was no trace of panic or hysteria. Read, for example, the diary of [Georgi] Dimitrov, a witness, which says: “At 7 am, I was urgently summoned to the Kremlin. Germany had attacked the USSR. The war had started [...] Stalin and the others had quiet strength, and incredible confidence.”

The immediate clarity of his ideas is even more striking. It is necessary not only to move forward with the “general mobilization of our forces,” but also to define a policy framework. Indeed, he declares that “only the communists can defeat the fascists,” putting to an end the seemingly unstoppable rise of the Third Reich. But, at the same time, it won't do to lose sight of the real nature of the conflict: “The [communist] parties are launching a movement for the defense of the USSR. Don't ask about the socialist revolution. The Soviet people are conducting a patriotic war against fascist Germany. The question is one of the defeat of fascism  that can only mean the enslavement of a whole host of peoples” [6]. This is the political strategy that would govern the Great Patriotic War. 4

Several months prior, Stalin had already emphasized that the Third Reich's expansionism, “was a sign of the subjugation and the submission of other peoples” who responded with just wars of national aggression and national liberation (see below, 5.3). For another thing, the Communist International had taken care to respond to those who scholastically opposed socialist patriotism and internationalism, even before Hitler's aggression, as is reported in a note in Dimitrov's diary, dated May 12, 1941:

We must develop the idea of a marriage between healthy and well­understood nationalism and proletarian internationalism. Proletarian internationalism is based on commingling of the nationalisms of many countries [...] there can be no contradiction between healthy nationalism and proletarian internationalism. Rootless cosmopolitans, refusing the national sentiment and the idea of the homeland, have nothing to do with proletarian internationalism [7].

Far from being a improvised and desperate reaction to the situation created by the onset of Operation Barbarossa, the strategy of the Great Patriotic War expressed a theoretical orientation of a more general character ­ one that had matured over a long

4 The Soviet name for World War II.

period: internationalism, and the international movement for the emancipation of peoples, concretely advanced the wave of national liberation, which was made necessary because of Hitler's attempt to resume and radicalize the colonial tradition, with the goal of subjecting and enslaving the allegedly servile races of Eastern Europe.

The same sentiments are taken up in the speeches and statements made by Stalin over the course of the war. They constituted “significant milestones in the clarification of Soviet military strategy and political objectives, and they played an important role in reinforcing popular morale [8]; they also took on an international significance, as an annoyed Goebbels observed about a Soviet radio announcement issued on July 3rd, 1941, which “created a huge amount of admiration in England and the USA” [9].

Pages 35 to 40

1.3 A series of disinformation campaigns and Operation Barbarossa

Khrushchev’s report has lost all credibility even at the level of military operations. According to him, Stalin, ignoring all “warnings” about the immanence of invasion, confronted the impending danger irresponsibly. But, does this accusation have any basis in truth?

Everyone knows that even information from a friendly country may prove to be incorrect. For example, on June 17th, 1942, Franklin Delano Roosevelt warned Stalin about an impending Japanese attack – an attack that, of course, never materialized [10]. Especially on the eve of Hitler's aggression, the USSR was forced to come to grips with diversionary tactics and massive amounts of disinformation.

The Third Reich wanted to create the false belief that its mass of troops in the East was only intended to conceal its maneuvers across the English Channel, and this was made even more credible after its conquest of Crete. “The entire State and military apparatus is mobilized,” Goebbels was pleased to note in his diary (May 31st 1941), to set in place the “first wave of the cover­up [of Operation Barbarossa].” At that point “fourteen divisions were transported to the West [11]; moreover, all the troops stationed at the Western front were put on maximum alert [12].

Two weeks later, the Berlin edition of the Völkischer Beobachter published an account that described the occupation of Crete as a model for the squaring of accounts

with England. The paper was then immediately withdrawn from publication to give the impression that it had clumsily revealed a secret of the utmost importance.

Three days afterwards (the 14th of June), Goebbels notes in his journal: “English radio reports state that our deployment against Russia is only a bluff, behind which we are hoping to hide our preparations for the invasion [of England]” [13]. The German disinformation campaign also had another goal: Germany's military deployment in the East put pressure on the USSR, possibly serving as an ultimatum that would force Stalin to accept a redefinition of the clauses of the Nazi­Soviet pact, and to export larger quantities of grain and coal to the Third Reich, which was engaged in a seemingly endless war. Germany wanted to give the impression that the crisis could be resolved through further negotiations and with additional concessions from Moscow [14].

This was the conclusion reached by British intelligence and military leaders, who again, on the 22nd of May, warned the war Cabinet: “Hitler has not yet decided whether to pursue his objectives [with regard to the USSR] with persuasion or force of arms” [15]. On the 14th of June, a satisfied Goebbels noted in his journal that: “In general, they still believe it's a bluff or a blackmail attempt” [16].

The disinformation campaign undertaken against the Soviets, which had begun two years prior, should not be underestimated either. In November 1939, the French press published a fake speech (said to have been delivered to the Politburo in August of that year) in which Stalin was supposed to have revealed a plan to weaken Europe, by first stoking a fratricidal war, then moving to Sovietize the continent. There is no doubt about it: the report was false, and it was designed to break the Nazi­Soviet non­aggression pact, and to direct eastward the expansionist fury of the Third Reich [17].

According to a prevalent historiographical misconception, the British government, warned Stalin repeatedly and selflessly about the impending Nazi attack, but he, in dictatorial fashion, trusted his German counterpart. In reality, if on the one hand Great Britain gave Moscow information about Operation Barbarossa, on the other, they spread false information about an immanent Soviet attack against Germany or its occupied territories [18]. The point, which is completely self­-evident, was to either speed up or render a Nazi­-Soviet conflict inevitable.

Then, of course, there is the mysterious flight of Rudolf Hess to England, which was clearly designed with the hope of reuniting the West in the war against Bolshevism, thus giving concrete expression to the program found in Mein Kampf,which calls for the alliance and solidarity of the Germanic peoples in their ‘civilizing’ mission. Soviet agents abroad informed the Kremlin that the Nazi number two had commenced his mission with the full support of the Fuhrer [19]. Moreover, high­ranking Nazi figures continued until the very end to support the contention that Hess had acted on Hitler's behalf.

In any case, the need was felt to immediately deploy minister of foreign affairs Joachim von Ribbentrop to Rome, in order to assure Mussolini that Germany was not plotting a separate peace with Great Britain [20]. Evidently, the concern generated by this turn of events was even stronger in Moscow, where it was noted that Britain did not exploit the “capture of the Vice Fuhrer” to take advantage of “the greatest propaganda

advantage, what Hitler and Goebbels awaited with fear”; on the contrary, the interrogation of Hess ­ as reported to Stalin by the Soviet ambassador in London, Ivan Majski ­ was entrusted to a British leader who favored a policy of appeasement with the Nazis.

Even as they left the door open to Anglo­Soviet rapprochement, her Majesty's secret services spread rumors of an immanent peace between London and Berlin; all this was in order to put pressure on the Soviet Union (which might have tried to prevent an alliance between Great Britain and the Third Reich with a pre­emptive attack on the Wehrmacht) and thereby strengthen Britain’s diminished capabilities [21]. The caution and distrust of the Kremlin are understandable; the danger of a repeat of the Munich Betrayal5appeared, on a much larger and deadlier scale. It may well be hypothesized that the second disinformation campaign undertaken by the Third Reich had been extremely effective.

In any case, if we stick to the transcript found in the Soviet Communist Party archives, in which, while implying that the USSR would only enter the conflict briefly, Stalin, in a speech to the graduates of the military academy on May 5th, 1941, highlighted how Germany had historically won wars win it had fought on only one front; but had lost when it was obliged to fight in the East and West at the same time [22]. Stalin may have underestimated Hitler's impatience to attack the USSR. Moreover, Stalin

5An agreement signed by the Germany, the United Kingdom, France, and Italy, which allowed the Germans to annex parts of Czechoslovakia. No Czechoslovakian representatives were present.

knew that total mobilization would give a casus belli to the Third Reich on a silver platter, as had happened at the outbreak of World War I.

One point is, however, certain: while acting cautiously in a rather confusing situation, the Soviet leader called for a “speeding­up of war preparations.” In fact, “between May and June, 800,000 reservists were called up, and in mid­May, 28 divisions were deployed to the Western districts of the Soviet Union.” Stalin proceeded at an accelerated rhythm, fortifying the frontiers and concealing the most sensitive military objectives. “On the night of the 21st of June, this large force was put on alert and asked to prepare for a surprise attack by the Germans” [23].

In order to discredit Stalin, Khrushchev insisted upon the spectacular initial victories of the invading army, but he sloppily overlooked the forecasts that had been made in the West at the time. After the partition of Czechoslovakia and the Wehrmacht's entrance into Prague, Lord Halifax continued to reject the idea of a rapprochement between England and the Soviet Union, arguing that it didn’t make sense for Britain to ally itself with a country whose armed forces were “insignificant.” Either on the eve of Operation Barbarossa, or at the moment it was undertaken, the British secret service calculated that the Soviet Union would be “liquidated in 8 or 10 weeks”; in turn, U.S. Secretary of State Henry L. Stimson's advisors predicted on June 23rd,that the Soviets would be finished within 3 months [24]. Moreover, the Wehrmacht's deep penetration into Soviet territory, observes a contemporary military historian ­ is easily explained by geography:

The length of the front (1800 miles) and the rarity of natural obstacles offered the aggressor immense advantages for infiltration and maneuvering. Despite the enormous size of the Red Army, it was still dwarfed by the landscape, and German mechanized units could easily identify opportunities for indirect maneuvers that would flank their opponents.

Moreover, that cities were far apart, and placed at the convergence of roads and rail lines, allowed the aggressor to quickly shift objectives, placing its Soviet enemy in a series of successive dilemmas.

Pages 229 to 235

4.8 The Gulag, Concentration Camps, and the “Absent Third”

Translator’s introduction to Section 4.8:

In this section of his book, Losurdo tries to make clear that the most obvious point of comparison with regards to Nazi concentration camp system is not the Soviet Gulag, but rather the prison and extermination centers of the Western colonial powers (in fact, he points out that these were first called “concentration camps”). That the relationship between Nazi and colonial European concentration camps is practically never explored is no accident. Instead, it is the result of a willful practice of forgetting and a continuous process of historical revisionism that seeks to downplay European and American culpability for the atrocities characteristic of their racialist and imperialist projects. This history of colonialist internment genocide is thus, Losurdo argues, an “absent third” point of comparison. By his account, it is American and European colonialism, not Soviet communism, which is ideologically implicated in the Third Reich’s mass genocide.


Following the invasions of Poland and the USSR, the system of Nazi concentration camps resumed, and intensified, some of the darkest chapters in the history of colonialist slavery.

When, during the slave trade, the availability of slaves was virtually unlimited, owners had no economic interested in sparing their slaves’ lives. These slaves were condemned to death from overwork, and promptly replaced with others, with the goal of maximizing the economic benefit of their owners. Thus, an 18th century economist who caught Marx's attention observes that the flourishing agriculture of the West Indies

“engulfed millions of African men” because “the lives of blacks are sacrificed with no scruples” [26].

The war Hitler unleashed in Eastern Europe represented a new and more brutal form of the slave trade. Captured en masse, the Untermenschen6​ slaves (who had survived the Germanization of the territory) died of overwork to make possible the master race’s “civilization,” and to fuel the Nazi war machine. Their conditions were similar to those of enslaved blacks, with whom they are explicitly compared by Hitler.

Prison systems reproduce the relations of the societies that control them. In the USSR, in the interior and exterior of the Gulag, we see basically the work of a dictatorship of development that tries to mobilize and “re­educate” all the force of society, attempting to overcome an age­old backwardness, something that is made all the more urgent by the approach of a war that, by the explicit statement of Mein Kampf, has as its goal slavery and annihilation. One can then see that ‘terror’ in the Soviet Union meant the emancipation of oppressed nationalities, robust social mobility and access to education, culture, and even the placement in positions of responsibility and management portions of society that had been totally marginalized up to that point.

The obsession with productivity and pedagogy, and the social mobility that accompanied it, is felt, in all cases, even in the interior of the Gulag. Nazi concentration camps reflected, in complete distinction, the base racial hierarchy that characterized the racialist Nazi state and the racialist empire it was attempting to construct. 

6 ​
For the Nazis, the German slur  Untermenschen meant ‘under,’ ‘below,’ or ‘sub­’ “humans.”

the concrete behavior of detained individuals played an uninteresting, or rather marginal, role; therefore a pedagogical preoccupation was rather meaningless.

In conclusion, the prisoner in the Gulag is a potential “comrade,” obligated to participate in particularly difficult conditions towards the productive effort of the whole country, and after 1937, he is, without contest, a potential “citizen.” Of course, there is a tenuous line of demarcation between the enemy of the people and member of the fifth column that the total war on the horizon already acts to neutralize. In contrast, the concentration camp prisoner is in the first place an Untermensch, marked forever by his place or racial degeneracy.

Thus, if you really want to drawn an analogy with concentration camps, it's necessary to compare the Nazi concentration camps with the colonial tradition (especially given that this is just the lineage in which Hitler places them). This tradition targets, particularly, people of colonial origin. And this is precisely what is repressed in typical [scholarly] comparisons. And, it is in this sense that we can speak of an “absent Third,” something that contemporary scholars usually overlook.

Two distinguished historians have, respectively, labeled the “military work camps” of colonial India circa 1877, and the concentration camps in which Libyans had been imprisoned by liberal Italy, as “extermination camps” [27]. Thus if we want to understand the genesis of this model, the fact remains that Nazi concentration camps

disclosed a racial logic and hierarchy that governed the Italian and Western colonial empires, and which is incorporated in the concentration camps that they built.

It is equally likely that we will think of the Nazis when we read about the ways in which the “Canadian holocaust” or “the final solution to our Indian question” was perpetrated. The “Commission for Truth About the Canadian Genocide” speaks of “death camps” with “men, women and children” that were “exterminated in a deliberate fashion” in a “system that had the objective of destroying the largest possible share of indigenous people through disease, deportation, or murder.” To arrive at this result, champions of white supremacy didn't hesitate to strike “innocent children” who died “because of beatings or tortures or after having been deliberately exposed to tuberculosis and other sicknesses”; still others were subjected to forced sterilization. A “small minority of collaborators” managed to survive, but only after renouncing their language and identity and putting themselves at the services of the executioners [28]. Even if we can presume that a sense of righteous indignation contributed to the exaggeration of these events, the fact remains that we come across the same practices that were put into effect by the Third Reich and enactments that stem from an ideology very similar to the one that presided over the construction of Hitler's racial state.

Let us move now to the southern United States.

In the decades that followed the Civil War, black prisoners (who made up the vast majority of the incarcerated population), were leased to private enterprises, and kept in “large cages on wheels that followed the encampments of real estate and railway

developers.” Official reports show thatthe prisoners were excessively and sometimes cruelly punished; “they were under­dressed and ill­nourished, the sick among them were neglected, no medical care was provided for, and the sick weren’t separated from the healthy.” An investigation conducted by a Mississippi grand jury found of the sick that:

their entire bodies show the signs maltreatment of the most brutal and inhuman kind. A large number of their shoulders are covered in lesions, blisters, and scars, some have raw skin because they have been whipped... They lay dying and some of them lay on bare tables, so weak and emaciated that their bones are almost glimpsed through the skin, and many complained of the lack of food [...].We saw live parasites slither across their faces, and their poor sleeping areas and meager scraps of clothing are often ragged and filthy.

In miners’ camps in Arkansas and Alabama, convicts were forced to work all winter without shoes, standing in water for hours. In these two states, a system of “piecework” was in effect, where a team of three men was obligated to remove an extraordinary amount of coal within a day on pain of whipping. Convicts in the work camps of Florida, with “chains on their feet” and “chains around their waists” were, nonetheless, forced to work at a quick pace [29]. We thus have a system that uses “chains, dogs, whips and guns” and that “creates a living hell for its prisoners”.

The mortality rate is highly significant. Between 1877 and 1880, in the course of the construction of a railway line between Greenwood and Augusta “almost 45% [of the convicts employed] died,” and these were “young and in the prime of their lives” [30].

Another statistic from the same period can be cited: “During the first two years in which Alabama began to lease out its prisoners, almost 20% of them died. The following year, deaths climbed to 35%; in the fourth year 45% of them died.”

Regarding mortality rates, a systematic study comparing the concentration camps in the USSR and in Nazi Germany would be very interesting. As far as the Gulag is concerned, it was calculated that in the first years of the thirties, before the intensification of the dangers of war, that the annual death rate “more or less corresponded to 4.8% of the population of the camps.” Of course, this statistic does not include the gold mining camps around the Kolyma river; we must also take into account “the underestimates characteristic of camp health officials.”

Yet, even if official figures have been substantially altered, it would be difficult for Soviet mortality levels to reach the same levels as those of the African American inmates mentioned above. Moreover, the reasons for “under­estimates” are significant. The fact is that “high rates of mortality and escape could lead to severe penalties”; “health officials in camps feared being accused of negligence and flippancy in the care of the sick”; and, “the threat of inspection constantly hung over camp leaders” [32]. Judging from the mortality rate of the rented out semi­slaves mentioned above, there was no comparable threat for the American entrepreneurs who enriched themselves constructing railway lines using inmate labor.

One point should be made very clear. In the American south, black inmates experienced horrible conditions of life and died en massein a period of peace: a “state of

emergency” played no role and theneed to develop productive forces is also marginal or non­existent. The concentration camps in the southern United States reproduced the racial hierarchy and the racial state that characterized American society in its aggregate: the black inmate is not a potential “comrade,” nor a potential “citizen”; he is an

Untermensch.His treatment by whites is considered the normal relationship in which other races are supposed to exist alongside, or rather subordinated to, ‘authentic civilization.’ Here again, we find the ideology of the Third Reich.

Moreover, there are eminent U.S. historians who compare the penitentiary system that we have just seen to “the prison camps of Nazi Germany” [33]. And it's no coincidence that the medical experiments carried out by Nazis upon Untermenschen​ were also conducted in the USA, using blacks as human guinea pigs [34]. Moreover, before engaging in this type of experimentation on its own territory, Germany, during the imperialist years of Wilhelm II, conducted medical experiments in Africa, at the expense of Africans: two doctors would distinguish themselves in these pursuits, and later become the teachers of Joseph Mengele [35], who in Nazi Germany, carried out the perversion of medicine and science already established within the (European and American) colonial tradition.

Not only can the Third Reich not be understood outside the history of the West's subjugation of its colonies, but it is also necessary to add that this tradition continues to show signs of vitality well beyond the defeat of Hitler. In 1997, President Clinton felt compelled to apologize to the African­American community: “During the 60s, more than 400 men of color were used as human guinea pigs by the government. In spite of having syphilis, they were not treated because authorities wanted to study the effects of the disease on a ‘sample of the population.’” [36].

Pages 389 to 391

6.7. The inevitability and complexity of moral judgment

Even if it is inevitable, moral judgment appears superficial and hypocritical if it is formulated outside of a historical context ­ hence its complexity and its problematic character. It requires that we kind in mind both objective circumstances and subjective responsibilities, and, regarding the latter, that we distinguish between those that belong to the leadership class as a whole, and those that belong to particular individuals.

The leadership of Soviet Russia comes to power at a period when ­ as a Christian witness, who sympathized with the October 1917 revolution put it ­ “Pity was killed by the omnipresence of death” [37]. Moreover this group is forced to confront an extended state of emergency, in a situation characterized ­ to quote an author of the Black Book of Communism­by an “incredible brutality”, widespread and “incommensurate with that experienced by Western societies”.

This means that if the protagonists of the 20th century were obliged to confront the devastating conflicts and moral dilemmas that characterized the ‘second’ Thirty Years' War, Stalin also had to pit himself against the conflicts and particular moral dilemmas of Russian history and of the second period of disorders. One could say that the shadow of “supreme emergency” dominated the thirty years in which he exercised power. One should not, however, lose sight of the fact that objective conditions were not the only thing to impede or make impossible the passage from the state of exception to a condition of normality.

Messianism was also a contributing factor. Although, it had been powerfully stimulated by World War I, it was intrinsic to a worldview which expected the disappearance of the market, of money, of the state, and of juridical law. Disillusionment or, perhaps, indignation, subsequently exacerbated the conflict ­ a conflict which was not possible to control through purely “formal” juridical norms, which themselves disappear. The result is recourse to violence that it is not possible to justify with reference to the state of exception or “supreme emergency.” In this sense, moral judgment coincides with political judgment. This point is also valid when it comes to the liberal West.

It was observed about the man who executed the strategic bombardments against Germany [Sir Arthur Harris]:

As a young pilot, Harris had bombed rebel Indian civilians. Even his ‘shock psychology’ was originally derived from observing cultural shock. Primitive tribes who lived in villages of thatched huts threw themselves fascinated at the feet of the colonial empire and its industrial arsenal. [38]

Moreover, it was especially Churchill who promoted these wars: we see him suggest attacking “recalcitrant natives” in Iraq with bombing based on “gas and especially mustard projectiles,” and then compare Germans with “evil Huns.”

We can also see the importance of racial ideology in the war of the United States against Japan (supra, 6.4), the atomic bombing of which is no matter of coincidence. Here again emerges a supplementary violence that it is impossible to justify through a “supreme emergency,” but which is a return to the colonial ideology shared by the liberal West and Germany. If the Third Reich equates the decimation of Native Americans and Blacks to the enslavement of “indigenous” eastern Europeans, England and the United States likewise end up treating Germans and Japanese as colonial peoples who must be made obedient.

Citations :

[1]  Hoffmann (1995), p. 59 et 21

[2]  Wolkogonov (1989), p. 500­504

[3]  Knight (1997), p. 132

[4]  Medvedev, Medvedev (2003), p. 231­232

[5]  Montefiore (2007), p. 416

[6]  Dimitrov (2005), p. 478­479

[7]  Idem, p. 472

[8]  Roberts (2006), p. 7

[9]  Goebbels (1992), p. 1620 (note de journal du 5 juillet 1941)

[10]  Dans Butler (2005), p. 71­72

[11]  Goebbels (1992), p. 1590

[12]  Wolkow (2003), p. 111

[13]  Goebbels (1992), p. 1594­1595 et 1597

[14]  Besymenski (2003), p. 422­425

[15]  Costello (1991), p. 438­439

[16]  Goebbels (1992), p. 1599

[17]  Roberts (2006), p. 35

[18]  Wolkow (2003), p. 110

[19]  Costello (1991), p. 436­437

[20]  Kershaw (2000), p. 376 et 372

[21]  Idem, p. 380­381 ; Ferro (2008), p. 115 (pour ce qui concerne Majski)

[22]  Besymenski (2003), p. 380­386 (et en particulier p. 384)

[23]  Roberts (2006), p. 66­69

[24]  Ferro (2008), p. 64 ; Beneš (1954), p. 151 ; Gardner (1993), p. 92­93

[25]  Liddell Hart (2007), p. 414­415

[26]  Marx, Engels (1955­89), vol. 23, p. 281­282

[27]  Davis (2001), p. 50­51 ; Del Boca (2006), p. 121

[28]  Annett (2001), p. 5­6, 12 et 16­17.

[29]  Woodward (1963), p. 206­207

[30]  Friedman (1993), p. 95

[31]  Blackmon (2008), p. 57

[32]  Chlevnjuk (2006), p. 349 et 346­347

[33]  Ainsi Fletcher M. Green, dans Woodward (1963), p. 207

[34]  Washington (2007)

[35]  Kotek, Rigoulot (2000), p. 92

[36]  E. R. (2007) ; cf. Washington (2007), p. 184

[37]  Ainsi Pierre Pascal, rapporté par Furet (1995), p. 131

[38]  Friedrich (2004), p. 287

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