That’s question hidden in the background of the celebrations of the end of World War II in Europe this week. Robin Shepherd of the Center for Strategic and International Studies looks at the question, and the motives of those who seek to avoid it.
Bratislava, Slovakia, May. 9 (UPI) — Amid all the chitchat, commentary and controversy over this week’s celebrations marking the end of World War II, there is a question that has never been far from the surface, though it has rarely broken through: Which was really worse — communism or Nazism?
One answer, a sensible one at that, is that both systems were so degraded, disgusting and unpalatable that it is impossible to establish a hierarchy of value in which one could possibly stand higher, or lower, than the other. When you’ve reached the deepest pit in Hell there’s nowhere lower to go.
Unfortunately, though, that conclusion is often lost in a quagmire of ignorance and historical distortion. Not because anyone this side of decency really doubts the horrors of Nazism. But, sadly, because there are still large numbers of people (and judge for yourself which side of decency they stand) who still refuse to face up to the horrors of communism.
Take veteran Guardian columnist Jonathan Steele, writing in that paper just last week. In an irony that would certainly escape him, he makes it clear that one purpose of his polemic is to combat the “denial” in the West about the role of the Soviet Union in defeating Hitler. In attempting to foreclose on the argument that “Nazism and communism were somehow two sides of the same evil coin” he reaches a crescendo with the following, extraordinary statement: “Mass terror and purges,” he says, “were not intrinsic to Soviet rule, as was clear after Stalin’s death.”Shepherd proceeds to document the case that terror and purges of tens of millions of it’s own citizens were in fact the foundation on which Soviet communism was built.
Some, whose romanticized vision of communism comes via the study of textbooks, to this day fail to acknowledge the horrific consequences of tens of millions of those in Russia and Eastern Europe who were killed in the name of Soviet-style communism. Nazism and communism may be dissimilar in many ways, but when measured by the crude yardstick of genocide, both were two sides of the same genocidal coin.