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ful¬llment of quotas” is among the more remarkable features of “planned”
repressive operations, such as dekulakization and the campaigns to eradicate
“socially harmful elements.” With regard to the latter, recently declassi¬ed
correspondence between the Politburo and local authorities reveals, in chilling
bureaucratic detail, the dynamics and mechanics of this mass crime. Central-
ized planning combined with bureaucratic re¬‚exes spurred local of¬cials, many
of whom had only recently been promoted, to anticipate and surpass directives
from Moscow in an effort to please their superiors. “Planned” to be ¬nished
within four months, the 1937 campaign to eradicate “socially harmful ele-
ments” lasted ¬fteen months. The number of people “in the ¬rst category” (to
be shot) was surpassed by 325 percent and in “the second category” (to be sent
to camps), by 140 percent.161
Super¬cially, this tendency resembles a much-noted characteristic of the
Nazi regime: that is, the penchant of of¬cials and functionaries, often left
without detailed instructions, both to anticipate and to shape German policies
on the ground. However, the phrase typically associated with such a mentality,
“working toward the Fuhrer” (based on Ian Kershaw™s famous citation of
¨
German State Secretary Werner Willikens),162 does not adequately convey the
complexity of the system. It provides a sense of the self-con¬dence of German
functionaries, but it does not re¬‚ect the internal dynamics of the system, the
interagency rivalry in a world with multiple power centers, and the constant
negotiation and coordination required to get anything done.
In both cases “ Nazi Germany and Stalinist Soviet Union “ mass violence
went far beyond the implementation of detailed, long-term plans. In Nazi Ger-
many, utopian plans generally exceeded the actual extent of violence; whereas,
in the Soviet Union, plans for violence “ violence directed primarily at Soviet
citizens “ were, as a rule, overful¬lled. The ostensible aim of social violence
also differed in both cases, as did the chronology of violent events. In German
society, mass violence “ directed primarily against external “enemies” and, as


Nicolas Werth, “Deplac´ s sp´ ciaux et colons de travail dans la societ´ stalinienne,” XX` me
e e e e
160

Si` cle. Revue d™Histoire, 54 (1997): 34“50.
e
Rolf Binner & Marc Junge, “Wie der Terror gross wurde™: Massenmord und Lagerhaft nach
161

Befehl 00447,” Cahiers du Monde russe 42, no. 2“4 (2001): 557“614; N. Werth, “Repenser
la Grande Terreur.”
Quoted several times in Ian Kershaw, Hitler, 2 vols. (London: W. W. Norton, 1998 and 2000).
162
State Violence “ Violent Societies 179

such, a form of “imperialist” violence “ not only reached its peak during the
war, but fundamentally changed in nature and scope. Soviet mass violence “
which can partly be characterized as “developmental” violence “ culminated
during the tremendous social upheavals of the 1930s, long before the outbreak
of war with Germany.
5

The Quest for Order and the Pursuit of Terror
National Socialist Germany and the Stalinist
Soviet Union as Multiethnic Empires

Jorg Baberowski and Anselm Doering-Manteuffel
¨
Translation by Barry Haneberg




National Socialism and Stalinism both sought systematically to structure and
classify a seemingly chaotic modern world. Classi¬cation here, however, should
not be understood solely as the act of categorizing in order to grasp reality, for
it is also an act of inclusion and exclusion. It is a violent act that forces others
to submit to its ascriptions. And yet, while classi¬cation seeks to produce order
from chaos, it ironically produces the very anarchy and ambiguity that it seeks
to overcome.
The quest for order is a human necessity “ everywhere and at all times. What
characterizes the modern variant, however, is its demand for unambiguity and
exclusivity “ and, by extension, the ability to differentiate between legitimate
and illegitimate order. What is excluded from ordered society loses any claim to
equality; the excluded must either remove itself (for example, via assimilation,
emigration, and so forth) or be forcibly removed. In this manner, the modern
search for order not only produces ambivalence, it produces the very categories
of humanity that it must then eliminate. This is how Zygmunt Bauman judged
the character of modern dictatorship.1 One could further argue that terror and
genocide were the ¬‚ip sides of these efforts to construct a better world, a world
cleansed of the excluded.2
Empire emerged as the site in which utopian purity fantasies were imple-
mented and, as necessary, rede¬ned. The Soviet Union was already a multina-
tional empire when the Bolsheviks began to reorder it according to their own
ideas “ an empire that de¬ed central control and, thus, had to be destroyed
through internal conquest. National Socialist Germany, by contrast, was a

Zygmunt Bauman, Moderne und Ambivalenz: Das Ende der Eindeutigkeit (Frankfurt am Main:
1

Fischer, 1995), 29“30.
Ibid., 61; Omer Bartov, “Utopie und Gewalt: Neugeburt und Vernichtung des Menschen,” in
2

Wege in die Gewalt: Die modernen politischen Religionen, eds. Bronislaw Baczko and Hans
Maier (Frankfurt am Main: Fischer, 2000), 92“120. See also David L. Hoffmann, Stalinist
Values: The Cultural Norms of Soviet Modernity 1917“1941 (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University
Press, 2003).

180
The Quest for Order and the Pursuit of Terror 181

nation-state that became a multinational empire through military expansion
and, in the process, acquired a level of ethnic and cultural diversity that its
political leaders found intolerable. In the end, both regimes exacerbated the
very chaos that they sought to eliminate. As a result, the world outside their
familiar, enclosed orders “ a world that they were often complicit in creating “
came to be viewed as one of potentially threatening counterorders.3
How is it, though, that National Socialists and Bolsheviks both came to
understand difference as a threat, and why did they pursue extermination cam-
paigns to eradicate such difference? Most importantly, they actually believed
it possible to eliminate forever what they perceived to be a disorienting and
disturbing diversity of cultures and communities. This belief itself derived from
an eschatological ideology of redemption, an ideology that represented future
life as a permanent order of social, national, and racial homogeneity. In order
to realize such an order, “enemies” embodied within social, national, or racial
collectives had to be destroyed. This ideology, of course, did not simply appear;
it developed within a speci¬c cultural context and it radicalized whenever con-
ditions appeared to slip out of control. In a sense, utopias are the product of
“self-hallucination” (Karl Schlogel), and through it, National Socialists and
¨
Bolsheviks alike were able to survive emergency situations that they themselves
had created. They needed chaos and an enemy representing such chaos in order
to protect themselves and to justify the necessity of permanent cleansing.4
Friend-enemy categorization was not the only way that theoreticians and
practitioners of ordering strategies envisioned overcoming ambiguity in social

Eric Weitz, A Century of Genocide: Utopias of Race and Nation (Princeton, NJ: Princeton Uni-
3

versity Press, 2003), 8“15, 53“101; Peter Holquist, “To Count, to Extract, and to Exterminate:
Population Statistics and Population Politics in Late Imperial and Soviet Russia” in A State of
Nations: Empire and Nation-Making in the Age of Lenin and Stalin, eds. Ronald Suny and Terry
Martin (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), 111“44; Jorg Baberowski, Der
¨
¨
Feind ist uberall: Stalinismus im Kaukasus (Munich: Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, 2003); Philippe
Burrin, “Totalitare Gewalt als historische Moglichkeit,” in Utopie und Gewalt, eds. Baczko and
¨ ¨
¨
Maier, 83“201; Christopher Browning, Die Entfesselung der “Endlosung” Nationalsozialistis-
che Judenpolitik 1939“1942, trans. Klaus-Dieter Schmidt (Berlin: Propylaen, 2003), 604“17.
¨
¨
Karl Schlogel, “Utopie als Notstandsdenken “ einige Uberlegungen zur Diskussion uber
¨ ¨
4

Utopie und Sowjetkommunismus,” in Utopie und politische Herrschaft im Europa der Zwis-
chenkriegszeit, ed. Wolfgang Hardtwig (Munich: Oldenbourg, 2003), 77“96; Michail K. Ryklin,
¨
Raume des Jubels: Totalitarismus und Differenz (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 2003), 19; Eric
Weitz, “Racial Politics without the Concept of Race: Reevaluating Soviet Ethnic and National
¨
Purges,” Slavic Review 61 (2002), 1“29; Gerd Koenen, Utopie der Sauberung: Was war der Kom-
munismus? (Berlin: Fest-Verlag, 1998); Jorg Baberowski, Der rote Terror: Die Geschichte des
¨
Stalinismus, 2nd ed. (Munich: Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, 2004); Ian Kershaw, “Adolf Hitler und
die Realisierung der nationalsozialistischen Rassenutopie,” in Utopie und politische Herrschaft,
¨
133“44; Gotz Aly, “˜Judenumsiedlung™: Uberlegungen zur politischen Vorgeschichte des Holo-
caust,” Nationalsozialistische Vernichtungspolitik 1939“1945: Neue Forschungen und Kon-
troversen, 4th ed., ed. Ulrich Herbert (Frankfurt am Main: Fischer, 2001), 67“97; Christoph
Dieckmann, “Der Krieg und die Ermordung der litauischen Juden,” in Nationalsozialistische
Vernichtungspolitik, 329; Ludolf Herbst, Das nationalsozialistische Deutschland 1933“1945:
Die Entfesselung der Gewalt: Rassismus und Krieg (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 1996),
374“88.
¨
Jorg Baberowski and Anselm Doering-Manteuffel
182

relations. National Socialists, like the Bolsheviks, experienced the First World
War and the subsequent civil war as con¬‚icts produced within multiethnic,
extremely violent contexts. While the one envisioned “barbarians” and “sub-
humans,” the other discovered “traitors” and “enemies” “ all of whom were
embodied in races or ethnicities. Not only did these experiences precede their
respective ordering programs, they served to constitute them. Wherever mil-
itary forces, colonial of¬cials, ethnologists, and anthropologists worked to
realize clearly de¬ned orders, multiethnicity was viewed as an evil that had to
be eradicated. And it was as a result of the experiences of German and Russian
of¬cers during the First World War and of Freikorps soldiers and Bolshevik
functionaries during the subsequent civil wars that ethnic con¬‚icts were always
also the most brutal of con¬‚icts. That puri¬cation fantasies ultimately became
reality can only be explained in reference to this “foreknowledge” with which
the perpetrators marched into battle.5

national socialist germany
Among the necessary preconditions for National Socialist expansion were cer-
tain cultural traditions and ideological beliefs that long predated the war in
the East. These traditions and ideologies were integral to the emergence of the
ethnic-racial concept of “Lebensraum.” The origins of this concept lay in the
experience of the First World War, when German soldiers were confronted
with unfamiliar people living in relatively “primitive” conditions in a foreign,
seemingly endless land. The war in the East forced a confrontation with this
other cultural reality “ a reality that the army and occupation administration
perceived as “uncultured.”6
From the very beginning, German occupation authorities in Poland and
in the Baltic territories pursued policies aimed not only at establishing eco-
nomic and political control, but at remodeling the structure of local soci-
eties in accordance with German concepts of “culture” and “order.” This
amounted to a forcible transformation of social realities along German admin-
istrative lines. Over the course of the war, practical experiences in these matters
mixed with older, more traditional Prussian prejudices, producing an image of
“the East” that would dominate the ethnic-racial discourse of the interwar
period.


Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius, War Land on the Eastern Front: Culture, National Identity, and
5

German Occupation in World War I (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000); Paul J.
Weindling, Epidemics and Genocide in Eastern Europe: 1890“1945 (Oxford: Oxford University
Press, 2000); Eric Lohr, “The Russian Army and the Jews: Mass Deportations, Hostages, and
Violence during World War I,” Russian Review 60 (2001): 404“19; Peter Holquist, Making
War, Forging Revolution: Russia™s Continuum of Crisis, 1914“1921 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard
University Press, 2002); Joshua A. Sanborn, Drafting the Russian Nation: Military Conscription,
Total War, and Mass Politics 1905“1925 (DeKalb: Northern Illinois University Press, 2003),
74“94.
Liulevicius, 151“75.
6
The Quest for Order and the Pursuit of Terror 183

Economic exploitation disrupted the socioeconomic equilibrium in occu-
pied areas, exacerbating the impression of mass poverty and encouraging the
spread of disease. Of course, this only rei¬ed the perception of an “unclean”
people in the East and increased demands to “cleanse” the region. The mili-
tary administration reacted with a spate of bureaucratic regulatory measures
aimed at both improving and monitoring hygienic conditions. These measures
included the registration, counting, and photographing of local populations.
With regulation, however, control and subjugation came to be bureaucratically
practiced. As a consequence, cleanliness and social discipline assumed a causal
relationship, a relationship constructed by the German bureaucracy and its
understanding of “order.”7
The lack of ethnic homogeneity among “subject” populations in German-
occupied Poland and in the “Ober Ost” military administration in the Baltic8
further in¬‚uenced German views, as occupational bureaucracies found such
complexity dif¬cult to order.9 Attempts to “Germanize” population groups
ultimately led to the reactive formation of ethnic blocs. In the process of differ-
entiating themselves from and against enemy Germans, however, these blocs
simultaneously and consciously differentiated and divided themselves from and
against one another.10
As a result of their experiences with ethnic diversity, disorder, ¬lth, and poor
hygiene, German conceptions of the East radically changed over the course of
the war. While terms such as “land” and “people,” each with its own concrete
characteristics, dominated at the onset of occupation, by 1915/16 a shift to
the abstract and collective concepts of “space” (Raum) and “race” (Volk) had
occurred.11 These modi¬ed concepts enabled Germans to transcend seman-
tically the political-geographical and ethnic complexity of the region.12 Ter-
ritories and populations were considered in relation to one another; and, as
a result, the concepts of foreign lands and foreign peoples were much easier
to comprehend. The antithetical perspectives of “Germany” and “Germans”
here, and of “space” and “race” there soon developed. In this manner, Cen-
tral Europe was reconceptualized. Academic scholars followed with attempts
to de¬ne political-geographic “space” clearly, to map its diversity, to locate

Ibid., 54“88.
7

“Ober Ost” was the abbreviation for “Oberbefehlshaber der gesamten deutschen Streitkrafte im
¨
8

Osten” (Supreme Command of all German Combat Forces in the East), a territory encompassing
Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and parts of White Russia. See Abba Strazhas, Deutsche Ostpolitik
im Ersten Weltkrieg: Der Fall Ober Ost, 1915“1917 (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 1993).
¨
See Oberbefehlshaber Ost, ed., Volker-Verteilung in West-Rußland (Hamburg: L. Friederichsen,
9

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