Levine_08-1991
Reviews

Studies in Tyranny

"Tyranny, like Hell, is not easily conquered."
—Thomas Paine

Nearly half a century after their destruction, Nazi Germany and Adolf Hitler remain the objects of greater attention and hatred than do Stalin and his Soviet Union, although the extent of their crimes were similar and Stalin's regime was in some ways the more complex and challenging phenomenon. It is possible to view Nazism as a merely Central European phenomenon, so petty, provincial, and intellectually limited as to excite limited admiration; with its open repudiation of most of the civilized values, it did not pose any genuine or lasting moral dilemma to the rest of the world. Stalinism, by contrast, was widely deemed a "progressive" movement, had wide appeal, and gained many adherents and sympathizers throughout the world, including some of the most eminent intellectuals of the age. The "Thousand Year Reich" lasted just 12 years, and ended with Hitler killing himself in the ruins of Berlin as the city was taken by the Red Army. Stalin died in bed, still widely respected, still in control of an intact empire that included half of Europe and that has only recently come apart, nearly forty years later. That the Soviet Union, unlike the Nazi regime, never started a world war (although it came close at least twice) undoubtedly accounts for some of the historical disproportion. The leftist...

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