History

When the Iron Curtain Fell

How totalitarianism came to Eastern Europe, and why it didn't stay.

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Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1944–1956, by Anne Applebaum, Doubleday, 608 pages, $35.00.

Time's 1956 Man of the Year, chosen at the last minute, was an anonymous Hungarian freedom fighter. Nobody had anticipated the explosive events that saw student protesters battle Russian tanks with Molotov cocktails in the narrow, cobbled streets of Budapest. The CIA, despite its vaunted reputation for espionage, had been caught off guard. Even Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev was taken aback when insurgents began to smash the hallowed symbols of communism, burning books, stripping red stars from buildings, and tearing down memorials from their pedestals, including the large bronze statue of Stalin in the city's main park. The KGB and the CIA were not alone in failing to read the popular mood in Eastern Europe. Hannah Arendt, who had suggested in The Origins of Totalitarianism (1949) that the victims of dictatorships acquired a "totalitarian personality," later conceded that the Hungarian Revolution had been "totally unexpected and took everybody by surprise." Arendt had come mistakenly to believe that totalitarian regimes held their populations permanently enthralled.

In Iron Curtain, the American journalist Anne Applebaum tells how the spell was shattered. She shows how Stalin and his agents set out to destroy every form of freedom in Eastern Europe after World War II yet failed to create a new Homo sovieticus. "Human beings do not acquire 'totalitarian personalities' with ease," she writes. "Even when they seem bewitched by the cult of the Leader or of the party, appearances can be deceiving. And even when it seems as if they are in full agreement with the most absurd propaganda—even if they are marching in parades, chanting slogans, singing that the party is always right—the spell can suddenly, unexpectedly, dramatically be broken."

Told with great narrative verve and backed by meticulous archival research, Applebaum begins her account with the Red Army's triumphant march to Berlin in 1945. Rape and plunder followed in its wake. Some 70,000 Soviet experts supervised the removal of what amounted to between a third and a half of eastern Germany's industrial capacity. Even bits of salvaged piping and wrecked machines were hauled off, together with works of art and antique furniture. (Marshal Zhukov was rumoured to have furnished several Moscow apartments with his personal booty.)

But the Russians were there to stay. Across Eastern Europe, future leaders known as "little Stalins" were trained in Moscow and flown in to oversee the colonization of their respective countries—Walter Ulbricht in East Germany, Boles?aw Bierut in Poland, Mátyás Rákosi in Hungary. The founders of Eastern Europe's "little KGBs" disembarked from the same planes. As the Czech communist leader Klement Gottwald put it, Stalin loyalists assiduously sought how "to best make use of the experience of the Soviet Union."

With the exception of Germany, where the occupation was open for all to see, Soviet influence was carefully camouflaged. So was the pretense of democracy, as sham coalition governments were set up across the bloc. "It's quite clear—it's got to look democratic, but we must have everything in our control," Ulbricht told a young communist.

Stalin ordered Eastern European communists to proceed cautiously, but soon all pretense at cooperation with other political parties was abandoned, as the secret police incarcerated imagined and future enemies of communism. People were arrested for talking about democracy. Others were put under surveillance because they listened to radio or owned books. In Hungary alone, some 140,000 to 200,000 individuals were deported to Siberia after 1945. Local camps also mushroomed across Eastern Europe. One victim remembered that "we all cried like children" on seeing the conditions in one of the camps, even though some of the inmates had survived Dachau during the war.

From 1948 onwards, the communist parties also began to dismantle the institutions of civil society. Schools were nationalized and independent organizations suppressed. Jazz was decried as decadent. Even chess clubs were viewed with suspicion: They might be fronts for spies and saboteurs. Within a few years, the Soviets were eating their proverbial children: In 1949 and 1950, show trials choreographed from Moscow accused hitherto loyal party members and decorated generals of being traitors or spies.

The Roman Catholic Church was the object of a particularly sustained attack. Priests who survived the ordeal became employees entirely dependent on the state. In universities, once thriving faculties of history, law, and sociology were transformed into vehicles for the transmission of state ideology. The theories of "socialist realism" shaped painting, sculpture, music, literature, design, architecture, theater, and film. Step by step, private enterprise was undermined, as everything was forced under the purview of the state's central plan. Most private restaurants became "people's cafeterias" or state-owned "proletarian pubs." Even kindergarteners were subjected to indoctrination. In Poland they were taught to call Stalin by his childhood nickname, Soso. The gruesome founder of the Soviet secret police, Felix Dzerzhinsky, was given the endearing nickname of "Franek."

All the while, Marxist-Leninist regimes across Eastern Europe continued to gain followers. Many were idealists, some were opportunists, others thugs. Although some joined the party enthusiastically, many collaborated reluctantly, driven by fear or necessity. As Applebaum demonstrates in two compelling chapters, the majority of people simply wanted to get on with their lives and had to conform in order to survive. "Millions of people did not necessarily believe all of the slogans they read in the newspaper," she writes, "but neither did they feel compelled to denounce those who were writing them."

In an epilogue, Applebaum argues that the history of Eastern Europe illustrates an unpleasant truth about human nature: When enough people with adequate resources and sufficient power are determined to destroy old and seemingly stable legal, political, educational, and religious institutions, they are able do so with astounding speed and thoroughness. Civilization, in other words, is fragile.

Although Applebaum's focus is Europe, her observations have relevance for other times and places. Even as the students were taking to the streets in Budapest, the People's Republic of China was consolidating its power through the use of systematic violence, calculated terror, and the mass destruction of an entire civilisation. And despite this devastating history, China today, no less than Eastern Europe in the postwar era, continues to attract its share of apologists convinced of the enduring if not beneficial nature of dictatorship.

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  1. In an epilogue, Applebaum argues that the history of Eastern Europe illustrates an unpleasant truth about human nature: When enough people with adequate resources and sufficient power are determined to destroy old and seemingly stable legal, political, educational, and religious institutions, they are able do so with astounding speed and thoroughness. Civilization, in other words, is fragile.

    Can’t happen here.

    Every man’s life is at the call of the nation and so must be every man’s property. We are living today in a highly organized state of socialism. The state is all; the individual is of importance only as he contributes to the welfare of the state. His property is his only as the state does not need it. He must hold his life and possessions at the call of the state.

    Enforced and involuntary service for a private master is and has been clearly and repeatedly defined by our Supreme Court as slavery. A soldier serves the nation directly. There is but one master in the case and that master is America. He serves to profit no one but the country as a whole.

    — Bernard Baruch, Aug. 7th, 1918, Chairman, War Industries Board

    Oh, it already did.

    1. “Civilization, in other words, is fragile.”

      Her example suggests the opposite; civilization is pretty robust. It’s dictatorships that are fragile.
      I continue to recommend “Postwar” where even Judt admits to the failure of socialism and documents the sweet, sweet rise of freedom.

      1. Still, it’s not fun to live during the “interregnum”.

        1. No doubt. Dying for thinking certain things is nobody’s idea of fun. But that’s the reason I contrast it to civilization.
          But when things change….
          One of Judt’s most memorable passages recounts an E. German TV broadcast featuring a ‘travel’ official. The official announces the end of travel restrictions, and gets cornered into stating ‘effective immediately’. According to Judt, before the broadcast was over, people were crowding the streets, headed west with their suitcases.

          1. I was visiting my German relatives in the summer of 1989. I remember the top story on the news every night being the East Germans who were living in a tent city on the grounds of the West German embassy in Prague.

      2. The interesting question to me is, given the rather obvious objective facts of the general wild success of free market capitalism and the failure of socialism, why does the latter hold sway over nominally educated minds to a great extent than ever before?

          1. I think it’s also the fantasy of ‘equality’.
            Life just isn’t fair, and see, if the right people were in charge, it would be fair, right?
            Well, no. It’s still unfair. And ‘way more dangerous.

            1. No matter how many times is socialism is tried and fails, it was only because the “Right People” weren’t in charge.

              Honest to God, I’ve had three pinko useful idiot professors in college use that argument in defending the goals of the Soviet Union and Cuba.

              1. The double irony in that is those would be among the first up against the wall the minute the scales fell from their eyes.

              2. “Communists worship Satan, socialists think Perdition is a good system run by bad men, and liberals want us to move to Hell because it’s warm there in the winter.” — P.J. O’Rourke.

              3. Yes, and I have former russian colleagues, very intelligent database developers, tell me recently that it’s all lies and propaganda that Stalin killed so many people. Nothing you can say has any sway and is countered with “CIA propaganda”. And they really hate Hillary too. They argued that with me thinking I’d be bothered and I informed them that she too is a leftist.

                1. And they really hate Hillary too. They argued that with me thinking I’d be bothered and I informed them that she too is a leftist.

                  I was in Las Vegas for New Years, and among our group was a Swiss national. We were talking, and he told me that the Swiss, and him in particular, hated Obama. Because of the banking disclosure nonsense. He was shocked, SHOCKED! when I told him I hated Obama too.

                  We then spent an hour discussing how corrupt Obama’s attitude was toward the Swiss, private banking, wealth, and liberty. And drank bourbon.

                  I was probably the first American the guy met who didn’t gush on about how awesome, smart, and handsome Dear Leader was.

                  1. every day I wake up and often spend time thinking about whether there are signs, obvious things that should make me want to pack my family up and out of here. I’m reading “We the Living” right now. One thing I see in this book and others like it (a topic that fascinates me) is why people stick around, and at what point did they know they were denying reality and should get out while they can?

                2. KalkiDas| 1.6.13 @ 12:03PM |#
                  “Yes, and I have former russian colleagues, very intelligent database developers, tell me recently that it’s all lies and propaganda that Stalin killed so many people.”

                  There’s no lack of lefty Americans who will make excuses for that murderous bastard.

                  1. Yeah, he linked a video to some rat in one of our colleges stating publicly that Stalin didn’t kill anyone. I’d be so angry if I were paying for my child to go to a college where anyone like this was anywhere near to teaching.

            2. To be fair many of the ilk selling the ‘Ism snake oil’ literally worship the past masters of failed attempts at socialism choosing rather to blame the free world for the failure of their impossible utopias. It’s as if somehow by enslaving the entire earth, rather than merely large swaths of it, will magically make what’s hopelessly flawed function perfectly.

            3. Yeah, Sartre is a good example.

              His whole philosophy of existentialism was based on how man had free will (and this was a good thing), and yet he was drawn to communism because he liked the idea of it. He spend a lot of his life trying to reconcile the two views…

              1. JeremyR| 1.5.13 @ 8:18PM |#
                “Yeah, Sartre is a good example…
                He spend a lot of his life trying to reconcile the two views…”

                According to Judt, he also traveled to Eastern Europe and offered his justifications of socialism to those who suffered under it.
                It’s a wonder he wasn’t tomato’d or egg’d to death.

                1. tomato’d or egg’d to death.

                  Can we make apostrophe abuse an eggable offense?

                  1. “Can we make apostrophe abuse an eggable offense?”

                    No. Just no.

                2. It’s a wonder he wasn’t tomato’d or egg’d to death.

                  Both these products were in short supply under socialism.

                  An old Soviet joke had it like this:
                  – What would happen to Sahara under socialism?
                  – First nothing, then there would be a deficit of sand.

        1. Because they’re smart enough to make it work.

        2. The interesting question to me is, given the rather obvious objective facts of the general wild success of free market capitalism and the failure of socialism, why does the latter hold sway over nominally educated minds to a great extent than ever before?

          This is indeed a fascinating question, one that I think about a lot. It is partly the attraction of “equality” as Sevo notes. It is partly the tendency to see all economic problems as market failures, even ones caused by anti-market actions. (E.g. “capitalism” causes unemployment, but minimum wage laws and taxes and regulations have nothing to do with it.)

          Partly it’s psychological, I think. People want to belong to groups, and with the decline of traditional groups (tribes, churches, extended families) the attraction of “modern” and “rational” socialism increases.

          I’d also say that it has something to do with the relative cultural decline of masculine virtues (independence, honor, etc.) and the rise of feminine virtues (empathy, etc.). Socialism is “caring,” and it’s not considered appropriate to inquire too closely whether that “care” has good results or not.

          1. Socialism is “caring,” and it’s not considered appropriate to inquire too closely whether that “care” has good results or not.

            Tell that to these children how “caring” Socialism is. Tony, if you’re around, I’d love to hear your defense of this.

            1. GM, too easy.
              Shithead will merely claim the government isn’t collecting enough gelt from the slaves.

            2. I would be shocked if Tony showed his face on a thread like this.

              1. Are you kidding? That first paragraph by Baruch is his manifesto.

          2. RE: PapayaSF @ 3:32

            Part of the problem was also cited in the article:

            From 1948 onwards, the communist parties also began to dismantle the institutions of civil society. Schools were nationalized and independent organizations suppressed.

            The incremental dismantling of civil society also leads otherwise Liberty minded people to embrace socialistic institutions. It can easily effect nominally educated people, especially those with a middle class/suburban/soccer mom lifestyle. The mindset is thus: Because the public schools in Fishers, Indiana are good, ALL government schools are good. Because an SBA loan helped my brother to start a successful catering company, ALL business subsidies are good. Because terrorists snuck past airport security, ALL TSA activities are good. Because some people can’t afford medical insurance, government insurance for ALL is good. Etc. etc.

            1. I believe Bastiat had a phrase for this…

          3. Socialism is envy cloaked in “caring”. Yes, it is just that simple.

        3. The interesting question to me is, given the rather obvious objective facts of the general wild success of free market capitalism and the failure of socialism, why does the latter hold sway over nominally educated minds to a great extent than ever before?

          See Robert Nozick.

          1. That essay explains a lot. Take for instance the seeming distance in the political views of entertainers from the economic system that has been so rewarding of them.

            These people constitute what one might call an “intellectual” workforce. They probably went to a university and were educated in the superiority of intellectual occupation and resentment at a reality that doesn’t reward them above all else. But their labor is in high demand.

            So, millionaire entertainers like Oliver Stone (New York University), Michael Moore (University of Michigan-Flint), and Tom Morello (Harvard) are all successful capitalist but they still have the resentment baggage found in their intellectual brethren with skills in less demand (professors, bureaucrats, etc.)

            1. I’m always curious why Morello et al. never advocate that their means of production be appropriated during shows. I think it would be interesting for a few fans to try this out and see how it goes…

            2. I think a lot of entertainers are pseudo socialists out of a sense of guilt over their success, since the difference between fame and fortune or obscurity and poverty is driven by small differences in talent and is largely or even mostly the result of good fortune.

              Which is a different cause than the intellectuals loss of social status, post graduation, described by Noczik.

              1. I’m not sure it’s even that. Many entertainers have a life style that doesn’t allow them a lot of free time, but they think they have to sound smart, so they’ll pick up their smart sounding-ness from whoever offers it to them as a package — and socialists are those most motivated to purvey that package, free.

        4. The nominally educated minds over which socialism holds sway expect to RUN the state, not live under it.

        5. It’s still the dominant force in the academy because its adherents believe they will be the ones in charge when it happens.

        6. They think their education makes them the masters.

        7. Because government meddles so much, it is more lucrative to try to influence government against your competitors than it is to, literally, mind your own business. Because your competitors also know this, the urgency increases. Diverting resources to innovate or become more efficient is just begging the government to pay special attention to you, and your competitors will be eager to make sure the government notices.

        8. why does the latter hold sway over nominally educated minds to a great extent than ever before?

          Because:

          1)Free markets reward random undeserving people and socialism rewards smart people with the right credentials.

          2)Free markets are unpredictable and volatile. Planned economies are predictable and stable.

          3)Freedom is scary, you might fail.

          4)The results of free markets are often icky and benighted while planning leads to enlightened, aesthetically pleasing results.

          5)Because we (the new planners) are smarter than all those previous dumb fucks.

          1. Good.
            Too good; true.
            Especially about the people with the credentials; self-perpetuating.

        9. The Western Intellectual Left is enthralled by the prospect of a society in which they run things. So enamored of this vision are they that they have spent decades denying the observable facts and rabidly denouncing those of their number who stray from the New Dawn. Their rise to social prominence took most of a couple of centuries (Paul Johnson’s THE BIRTH OF THE MODERN documents the beginnings in or about 1815), and even now they have tremendous momentum. They saturate the fiends of Education, Entertainment, and Reporting, and while other voices can, occasionally, make themselves heard it’s uphill work.

          The only bright spot is that, judging from the history of Communism, if they ever do manage to completely take over they will quickly be deposed by thugs and psychotics and shortly thereafter be liquidated.

          1. They saturate the fiends of Education, Entertainment, and Reporting

            Freudian slip?

            1. Lousy typist.

          2. But it makes sense, doesn’t it? Mankind progresses via systematic inquiry & engineering from the findings. Intuitively it would make sense to organize society that way: Put people to spend lots of time studying problems, then implement their findings, just like diagnosing & curing diseases, inventing tools, etc. Spontaneous order just isn’t readily apparent.

        10. People I talk to will say that it’s not “socialism” if the state does not own the means of production, thereby trying to shut down the whole conversation. So the government can make any rules it wants, regulate, tax anything, but it’s not “socialism”, which is technically true.

          1. State control of private property is the defining characteristic of fascism, just a different flavor of collectivism.

            That’s why the lefties spend so much time calling Republicans fascists, and all we can say is “Huh?” Everything they call us is a projection, they have mutilated their own minds.

    2. In an epilogue, Applebaum argues that the history of Eastern Europe illustrates an unpleasant truth about human nature: When enough people with adequate resources and sufficient power are determined to destroy old and seemingly stable legal, political, educational, and religious institutions, they are able do so with astounding speed and thoroughness. Civilization, in other words, is fragile.

      No kidding, this certainly doesn’t describe anyone here in power in America today. No siree Bob!

    3. just as Ann answered I’m surprised that you able to get paid $6083 in 4 weeks on the computer. did you see this web link. http://google.com.qr.net/j4qT

      1. That darn Ann ought to shut up.

  2. It’s always weird to me to hear about countries with viable Communist movement. It’s like hearing a country is run by Hollow Earth-ers.

    1. Let’s be realistic: we have a “viable Communist movement” as well. It’s all the same fucking thing: TOP MEN, leader worship, “fairness”, all the same bullshit. Some call it “Communism”, some call it “socialism”, some call it “progressivism”. It doesn’t matter. It’s the people who desire total control, and their toadies and sycophants. We have these people in spades. Just shitloads of them. So we have a “viable Communist movement” to this day, they just learned a branding lesson from the Soviet Union. If you think they don’t want that, you’re nuts.

      Texans vs Bengals? BORING. I’ll go lift instead.

      1. It’s the people who desire total control, and their toadies and sycophants.

        Show me a labor union and I’ll show you a bunch of people who fit that definition.

      2. I’ll go lift instead

        Derpfee trolling as Epi! I never thought I’d see the day.

    2. “It’s always weird to me to hear about countries with viable Communist movement.”

      How about countries with viable communist movements that dont call themselves communist movements, but instead by some harmless sounding nonsense? Like say…social democrat?

    3. Or people who think Guam will capsize.

  3. “Even when they seem bewitched by the cult of the Leader or of the party, appearances can be deceiving.”

    She obviously doesn’t know too many liberal Obamites. These people are True Believers, like the old guys in China who still carry around the Little Red Book.

    On another note, after having had a downward run for a while, it looks like gas is on the way back up again. Ten cents in just the last two days alone.

    1. Fortunately, in the United States, term limits will overthrow our Dear Leader. I don’t see another like Him on the horizon, so the replacement should be someone people actually scrutinize.

      1. I’m waiting for the calls to repeal the 22nd Amendment. And I’m dead serious. They will be coming.

        1. I read this morning you posted this yesterday, Epi, and I’m genuinely curious why you believe this. You are not anywhere near the tin-foil wearing, conspiracy type, not that I think your belief in this is tin-foil hattery.

          1. Why do I believe it? Because it’s going to happen. I bet you $1 million fake inflated dollars someone in the media will propose it at the very least. At the very least, one of the more Stalinist, rabid TEAM BLUE Obama maniacs will propose it. His rule has been like crack for them. They won’t want it to end.

            1. Ok, the suggestions, I am definitely with you on that. His “historic” presidency does demand this, and I think this actually goes beyond Stalin comparisons, as Stalin had the benefit of almost totally insulating the Russian people from outside contact.

              Nowadays, with Teh Intertoobz, there is no excuse, and I for one find it even more pathological. You should see how the international press treats him. It’s almost like he’s a god. It’s really scary, actually.

              One thing for which I will give Ukrainians credit is they, even the politically involved ones, almost unilaterally hate the government, including the ones to whom they show party sympathy. This goes for the Communist Party and The Party of Regions as well. I have yet to meet one person who remotely likes the government here, even currently jailed former PM Tymoshenko who is still somewhat popular for nationalistic reasons.

          2. Mother Jones agrees with Groovus

            Barry has already taken a dump on the 4th Amendment, tried to take a dump on the 1st Amendment, and wants to take a dump on the 2nd Amendment, but somehow, he will find the 22nd Amendment to be an insurmountable obstacle to his ego and lust for power?

          3. Tin foil hattery it is not. I suspect the call to ditch the constitution in the NYT by a constitutional law prof is just such a call in disguise. Oh, wait there was no disguise, just no direct mention of term limits or obama. It was long on platitudes and short on details. Seidman is just softening us up for the more extreme calls later.

            I am leary of making bets with you Groovus, but….

            Epi is right, those calls are coming.

            1. Read my question again, Suthenboy, and my immediate reply to him. I am not disagreeing with him. I just wanted to know his rationale. I don’t think Epi is, or ever has been, some kind of tin-foil nut job and certainly did not mean to imply so.

              1. No, you meant to imply that I’m the gayest monster since gay came to Gaytown. I can read between the lines. Unfortunately, you’re right.

                1. don’t forget the smell

                  1. I have an infection!

                    1. **Pokes Epi in the ass with a Gom Jabbar**

                      I have to go to bed, Gents. See ya in the morning…

                    2. Again with that…

                      Oh, never mind.

                    3. It’s just a cold sore, right?

              2. I got you Groovus, my reply was poorly phrased.

                I was trying to say is that those calls are already starting, just not explicitly. That is my rational for predicting explicit ones later. No one would be foolish enough to try and figure Epi’s.

        2. Ppffft. No need to repeal the 22nd, just ignore or get rid of the whole constitution.

          Obamabonds or the Ed Meece platinum coin will just warm up for that.

          1. obozobondz lolzozlolz that would be the most epic short of all time

        3. TEAM RED will undoubtedly nominate another worthless piece of crap next election, and so will TEAM BLUE. I’m not holding my breath for the 22nd to do us any good.

          1. Hey, be fair. Isn’t it time that Mike Huckabee had a shot at the presidency. I believe it’s his “turn”.

            And if you don’t vote for him, then you love Obama.

        4. I’m waiting for the calls to repeal the 22nd Amendment. And I’m dead serious. They will be coming

          They can call for it till they turn blue. There’s no fucking way that happens in time for Obama to run for a third term. Seriously, him lead a coup is more likely.

          Actually,I hope some of his retarded cultists start agitating for that. It’ll have the same effect on him that FDR’s court packing scheme had.

          1. Actually,I hope some of his retarded cultists start agitating for that. It’ll have the same effect on him that FDR’s court packing scheme had.

            What a limited tactical defeat with an eventual Supreme death that allowed a pro-Deal appointment, much of his policies being instituted anyway, and his landslide reelection to a third term in 1940?

            That really doesn’t inspire much confidence.

            In a way it shows exactly how dangerous a foe of liberty Obama really is, because just like Roosevelt, his every policy has resulted in failure with many being wildly unpopular, yet the man himself remains an unassailable institution with a mandate! to fuck everyone even harder.

            1. True but FDR was bailed out in a lot of ways by WWII.

      2. I’m nowhere near as positive that is the brunt of the current anti-constitutional push from the left of late, but the Seidman screed was a feeler to check the current mood and climate. The mask is off. The rhetoric complaining about ‘obstructionist’ is straight up soviet. It is being put forward as an excuse to undermine the Constitution, but is declaring Obama dictator for life the real end goal? I would not put it pass them, but I still see that as an aside to the goal of a permanently neutering any opposition to the expansion of the state and ending the second amendment, as well as distorting the first one to serve their ends (‘democratizing’ free speech).

        1. Well, outright calling for the dismantling of the Constitution, makes it easy for me. I prefer this as opposed to them subverting it a little at a time. The former I can fight. The latter is more difficult.

          Swore an oath… I’ll abide.

  4. “She shows how Stalin and his agents set out to destroy every form of freedom in Eastern Europe after World War II yet failed to create a new Homo sovieticus.”

    What exactly do you call those proto-fem bots that were so smokin’ hot that were out to kill Connery’s Bond the second he crossed the Soviet border?

    1. Devushki avtomatov sexual’nuymi.-D

      1. Whatever, I’m sure they were genetically designed and bred in some Stalin-era Soviet lab.

        Khrushchev was an idiot. He thought the secret to Soviet domination was turning the moon into a communist military installation. Stalin knew the secret was tits and guns.

        1. That and Stalin believed in killing and purging a very large percentage of the population of the Soviet Union.

          Belarussians still hate Russians for what Stalin pulled and speak the language begrudgingly only when necessary.

          Krushhjev was actually very smart, as he feared Stalin due to Stalin’s paranoia and highly unpredictable mood swings, and managed to survive to assume power. He also continued to employ honey traps via NKVD. If got hot Russian wimminz at your disposal, flaunt ’em!

          1. In all seriousness, didn’t Stalin order the rape of German women during the Red Army’s invasion of central Europe during the final stages of the war in eastern Europe?

            Leave it to Stalin to create sympathy for the German people after all this Nazis had done.

            1. Well maybe he didn’t “order”, but he is alleged to have said when he heard reports of Soviet atrocities from the Red occupation forces, “We lecture our soldiers too much; let them have their initiative.”

            2. I think the rapes and murders were just a spontaneous reaction to watching the Germans do the same thing to the Soviet people when they invaded first. Sort of what goes around comes around.

              1. I’m not too sure I want to play the game of trying to rationalize atrocities, but keep in mind that the Soviet Union was a co-belligerent of Germany during the invasion of Poland. I’m sure the Polish people have a thing or two to say about BOTH Nazi and Soviet servicemen and the treatment of their women.

                1. I’m sure the Polish people have a thing or two to say about BOTH Nazi and Soviet servicemen and the treatment of their women.

                  They do. It’s taken a while for Poland and Ukraine to normalize relations over WWII and the subsequent fallout. I forgot to add Poland to that list countries through which the Soviet Army marched. Religion also plays a minor role, as Poland’s dominant religion is Catholicism and Ukraine is Ukrainian Orthodox Christian, though technically a patriarchate of The Russian Orthodox church. Ukrainian-Nationals identify with the former, and Russian-Ukrainians, the latter.

            3. Yes. It was designed to break whatever spirit Germany had left. And with a bunch of Soviet men who hadn’t seen women, much less pictures of women, after traipsing across now Belarus and the other Baltics, they were all too happy to comply.

            4. If somebody can refresh my memory on the exact passage it would be appreciated, but I recall Solzhenitsyn saying in the Gulag Archipelago said that Russian/Slavic girls weren’t supposed to be given more than a slap on the ass whereas German girls were open season for rape.

              1. As you requested.

                I looked on Jandeks for a specific quote attributed to Stalin, but for some reason, I can’t access certain pages.

                1. Groovus Maximus| 1.5.13 @ 3:23PM |#
                  …”I looked on Jandeks for a specific quote attributed to Stalin, but for some reason,”…

                  A couple of years ago, while in China, every mention of Tibet on TV magically triggered technical difficulties.

            5. When a Czech communist leader complained about the rape of women in Berlin, Stalin told him “Can’t you understand the soldier who has gone through blood and fire and death, if he has fun with a woman.” I think I got that from Paul Johnson’s “Modern Times.”

              Beevor’s “Fall of Berlin” is a brutally honest account.

        2. Whatever, I’m sure they were genetically designed and bred in some Stalin-era Soviet lab

          Actually, many of the Bond villains, “fem-bots”, thugs, and foot-soldiers were the products of Nazi eugenics programs. That they were behind the Iron Curtain was the result of the Soviets acquiring them during and after WWII.

  5. Except perhaps Czechoslovakia, there wasn’t much freedom and democracy in Eastern Europe during interbellum either. In most countries, it was pretty soft authoritarianism though. Land-locked Hungary was ruled by an admiral for 24 years, after all.

    1. He was also a regent that made sure the King didn’t back.

      1. It was officialy a kingdom too.

  6. In universities, once thriving faculties of history, law, and sociology were transformed into vehicles for the transmission of state ideology.

    GASP. It’s fortunate that such a thing never happened voluntarily elsewhere.

    1. Yurp, I am sooo glad that my professors aren’t pushing failed, murderous ideologies and instead lecture on the freedom and prosperity of a free market system.

  7. To the last word, then the last bullet, the last arrow, the last stone.

  8. Euros discarded as impoverished Greeks resort to bartering
    Communities set up local currencies and exchange networks in attempt to beat the economic crisis

    1. That’s unpossible! The only currency that will work is that which is printed (and printed and printed) by the gubmint. Anything else is just a libertarian fairy tale. How could people organize and recognize as legit a different form of exchange?

      That’s milita talk. I’m calling the ATF and turning in the Greeks.

  9. The Dark Knight Rises is a sloppy movie, but Tom Hardy’s portrayal of Bane has a lunatic, leftist dictator makes me think he could one day do justice to a film depiction of Stalin’s reign of terror.

    http://tinyurl.com/ascz5ax

    Hell, he can even grow the mustache.

    1. I’m convinced that in 5-10 years they’ll reboot Star Trek: The Next Generation and cast Hardy as Picard. Just you wait.

      1. http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Shinzon

        He’s already played Picard’s clone, so it’s an easy bet.

    2. Also, the movie has a not-so-unintentional (if didactic) pro-gun theme running through it.

      1. The government is purposefully enforcing Bane’s own imprisonment of the citizens.
      2. Assuming Gotham is like any other major American city, it’s probably a good chance that most law-abiding citizens have been legally prevented from owning a firearm.
      3. Bane has stolen three incredibly powerful pieces of artillery from Wayne Enterprise and has entombed the police force beneath ground, giving him a decisive weaponry advantage.
      4. Selina Kyle tells Batman, “About that whole no guns thing… I’m not sure I feel as strongly about it as you do,” right after becoming the only citizen to put a stop to Bane.

      I don’t know. Firefly also had a good bit of pro-gun dialogue, as well, but it hardly seems indicative of Joss Whedon’s own personal stance. But it seems certain that Nolan made the good guys in his story very self-defense oriented.

      1. By the way, I’m surprised that Warner Bros. didn’t deleted Anne Hathaway/Selina Kyle’s pro-gun lines from the home video release in the wake of the Aurora shooting.

  10. Communism doesn’t want the poor to be better off, they want everyone to be poor.
    /except the well connected

    1. Pantsfan, the only way to create equality is thru massive political inequality in favor of Top Men. Don’t you get it?

      War is peace
      Freedom is slavery
      Ignorance is strength
      Inequality is equality

  11. as Rose answered I’m dazzled that anybody can make $6440 in 1 month on the internet. did you look at this webpage. http://ace60.com

    1. Why am I only learning of this now?

      1. Yep, fuck this guy. Let’s string him up, PF!

    2. FUCK YOU BROWN!

      I HAVE BEEN WORKING SHIT JOBS FOR-EV-AHHHH, AND NOW YOU TELL ME THIS SHIT!

      I PISS ON YOUR ANCESTORS!

  12. Let us sing to the glory of obammunism
    which brought us all together
    then saved man’s soul from capitalism
    and his body from material need

    The white men don’t breed anymore
    we made them to tax slaves
    then kangaroo divorce court
    our welfare for to pay

    We turned your kids’ minds into mush
    but gave them warm fuzzies
    and open border lunacy
    cheap chalupa equality

    We have knives put at your throat
    you chauvinistic white racist
    but the truth is on the sitcom shows
    where you will never call us on it

    Bernanke grants us deeds of need
    and no one has to work
    no such thing as production
    so fuck you feed me jerk

    Praise to mainstream intellectuals
    whose columnists we read
    desouled like fiat dollerz
    printed by da Fed

    Fin.

    1. Shut up, Mary.

  13. All the while, Marxist-Leninist regimes across Eastern Europe continued to gain followers. Many were idealists, some were opportunists, others thugs.

    That pretty much describes all statists.

  14. Seattle police have opened an internal investigation into an incident in which an officer slugged a man who was being questioned for leaving his car running outside a store.

    1. Idling your vehicle is a crime against Gaia.

  15. Well now that makes a whole lot of sense dude.

    http://www.Net-Privacy.us

    1. How so?

  16. I don’t think they need to get rid of the Constitution either or even repeal an Amendment. They just need to get together in secret committee and decide that there is indeed legal rationale to think this 3rd term isn’t covered by the 22nd Amendment.

    & when questioned directly or through FOIA, they will decline to answer on national security and/or executive privilege grounds.

    Meanwhile his believers can make excuses such as: “Well, the first term wasn’t a real term because all he could do is fix Bush’s stuff.”

    1. “Meanwhile his believers can make excuses such as: “Well, the first term wasn’t a real term because all he could do is fix Bush’s stuff.””

      This might have been true of Truman, but Obozo has simply jumped into the Bush hole and kept right on digging, all the while claiming to be filling the ‘pothole’.

      1. True that – but Obama’s believers have already shown a super-human ability to ignore reality and based upon the recent election results, I doubt that will change anytime soon 🙂

  17. Is this from the same Anne Applebaum who wrote this?

    1. Haven’t read the book; read the article.
      If it *is* the same Anne Applebaum, why there is no reason for her to gripe if she were raped. 20 years later, she could ‘forgive’ the rapist and all’s right!
      Sleazy defense of H’wood shitbag.

  18. Libertarius, the first biographer of the oboznian period, is said to have written this in 2013 AD:

    “The deified obozo obtained several trillion susterces from the treasury, and obamaphones were granted unto all.”

  19. This is indeed a fascinating question, one that I think about a lot. It is partly the attraction of “equality” as Sevo notes. It is partly the tendency to see all economic problems as market failures, even ones caused by anti-market actions. (E.g. “capitalism” causes unemployment, but minimum wage laws and taxes and regulations have nothing to do with it.)

    Partly it’s psychological, I think. People want to belong to groups, and with the decline of traditional groups (tribes, churches, extended families) the attraction of “modern” and “rational” socialism increases.

    I’d also say that it has something to do with the relative cultural decline of masculine virtues (independence, honor, etc.) and the rise of feminine virtues (empathy, etc.). Socialism is “caring,” and it’s not considered appropriate to inquire too closely whether that “care” has good results or not. Read more on this Homepag, i think you will fell great!

  20. the narrow, cobbled streets of Budapest

    Most streets where fighting was going on weren’t narrow (Nagyk?r?t, ?ll?i ?t &c.).

    As far as cobblestones go: sure there were some, but I don’t think those were the norm.

  21. driven by fear or necessity. As Applebaum demonstrates in two compelling chapters, the majority of people simply wanted to get on with their lives and had to conform in order to survive..

  22. o In the case leading to increased risks insured (Changing the structure of the car, use the car, ..). The insurance company may recalculate the premium for the remaining coverage period of the insurance contract. In case the owner does not accept the increased premiums, the insurance company has the right to unilaterally terminate the insurance contract. but prior notice in writing 15 days in advance and vehicle owners must repay 100% of the premium corresponding to the time remaining insurance conditions vehicle owners paid in full and on time premium.

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  23. o In the case leading to increased risks insured (Changing the structure of the car, use the car, ..). The insurance company may recalculate the premium for the remaining coverage period of the insurance contract. In case the owner does not accept the increased premiums, the insurance company has the right to unilaterally terminate the insurance contract. but prior notice in writing 15 days in advance and vehicle owners must repay 100% of the premium corresponding to the time remaining insurance conditions vehicle owners paid in full and on time premium.
    ????? ???????

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