First off, I really like the pace of this book. Snyder tells the story of the Bloodlands without a lot of superfluous detail, which was my problem with Suny’s They Can Live in the Desert but Nowhere Else. In Snyder’s book, I realized how anti-Marxist Stalin really was in terms of his idea of communism in which the state is a means of persecution of the people, particularly prosperous peasant farmer, or the kulaks. Moreover, I also realized that Stalin was fucking crazy and so wrapped up in staying in power that he was willing to starve and massacre at most seven million people.
I have nothing to say for Hitler. The guy was just crazy. Shrewd, but crazy.
One “What the fuck” moment I had was when I read about the rape of Polish kulak women and Jewish women by Russian and German soldiers. In the German case, German soldiers in Poland in 1939 would rape Jewish women, and if they were caught, they were reminded of German laws against “race-mixing” (Snyder 123). When I was researching for my earlier post about my visit to the Holocaust museum and the evasion of rape during the exhibit, I stumbled upon an argument against rape during the Holocaust that indicated this very law, an argument which I think is completely and utterly stupid. White people in America and Europe thought black slaves and the indigenous peoples of African countries, Australia, and Latin America to be completely inferior to them, but yet they still proceeded to rape women as a tool of war, ridicule, and/or plain sadism, despite the fact, at least in the case of the U.S., that “race-mixing” was not allowed. To argue that a law prohibiting race mixing prevents rape is completely ludicrous and ignores the fact that rape has been used to subject peoples in almost every race-based conflict in history.
To read more about the Bloodlands in the words of Timothy Snyder: