Throughout much of the Twenties and Thirties the religious communities of the Western world looked at the nascent Soviet Union with some fascination: not only was it the first atheist government to be established, but it was the first government to be openly hostile to all religions alike.
An article about Chinese persecution of the Christian Church can be read here...
Click here to read about the Nazi assault on the German Protestant churches in 1935.
Here is a brief glance at various observations made by a correspondent for The London Observer who compared the two dominate tribes found in 1933 Moscow and Berlin. The journalist was far more distracted by the similarities in their street hustle and their speechifying rather than their shared visions in governance and culture - for example, both the Nazis and Soviets were attracted to restrictions involving public and private assembly, speech and gun ownership while sharing an equal enthusiasm for May Day parades and the color red. Additionally, both totalitarian governments held religion as suspect and enjoyed persecuting their respective dupes - for the Nazis that was the Jews and for the Communists it was the bourgeoisie.
Read a magazine piece that compares the authoritarian addresses of both Hitler and Stalin - maybe you will see how they differed - we couldn't.
Read an article explaining how the Soviets used early radio...
"Sharp encounters between Lenin, Trotsky, Zinoviev, Dzerzhinsky and other Bolshevik leaders took place when Trotsky tried to take Warsaw in 1920 and the majority of the committee antagonized his policy, we learn from a letter written by a Bolshevik adherents in Russia, who is 'presumably' high up in the Soviet hierarchy and a partisan of Trotsky."
Although the true horrors of Stalin's Russia would not be known until his death in 1953 (and then again with the opening of the Soviet Archives in 1990), bits and pieces were coming to the light as thousands of refugees and defectors swarmed the government offices of the Western Powers in search of asylum following the end of the Second World War. These small report from 1949 and 1947 let it be known how long the Soviet labor camps (Gulags) had been operational (since 1918), who was in them, how many different types of camps existed (there were three different varieties). As to the question concerning how many inmates were interred, there was no decisive count, somewhere between 14,000,000 to 20,000,000.
"Since they came into being, the Soviet [forced labor] camps have swallowed more people, have exacted more victims, than all other camps - Hitler's and others- together, and this lethal engine continues to operate full-blast..."
Three years into the Soviet experiment, the ruling Bolsheviks were finding it difficult to win the 'hearts and minds' of the proletarian masses they so deeply loved (but refused to feed).
Additional magazine and newspaper articles about the Cold War may be read on this page.
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