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tiva GUPP KA, no. 056” (24 June 1941) and no. 077 (14 July 1941), reprinted in Glavnye
politicheskie organy vooruzhennykh sil SSSR, 26, 40.
For example: “Dokumenty o krovavozhadnosti fashistskikh merzavtsev,” Krasnaia zvezda, 29
226

October 1941, 3.
“Direktiva GlavPU RKKA, no. 107” (12 July 1942), reprinted in Glavnye politicheskie organy
227

vooruzhennykh sil SSSR, 151. On hate propaganda and its organization see also Poliakov,
“Istoki narodnogo podviga,” 15“18.
Edele, “Paper Soldiers,” 89“108.
228

Streit, Keine Kameraden, 86“7.
229

Malia, The Soviet Tragedy, 288. See also Brandenberger, National Bolshevism.
230

T. H. Rigby, Communist Party Membership in the USSR 1917“1967 (Princeton, NJ: Prince-
231

ton University Press, 1968), 253“6; M. M. Minasian, ed., Great Patriotic War of the Soviet
Union 1941“1945: A General Outline, trans. David Skvirsky and Vic Schneierson (Moscow:
Progress, 1974), 464“5; Erickson, Stalin™s War with German, vol. 2. The Road to Berlin, 401;
G. G. Morekhina, Partiinoe stroitel™stvo v period Velikoi Otechestvennoi voiny Sovetskogo
Mark Edele and Michael Geyer
392

Given the substitution of ¬ghting capacity for “political maturity” in admis-
sions during the war, the ideological commitment of many of these “young
communists” was in doubt.232 Even for self-professed ideological warriors in
elite units Stalinism meant many things, most of them not connected to the
Supreme Commander himself:

The crucial point is that our multi-national motherland was dear to all of us, as
were honor and dignity, ours and that of our parents, our girls, our friends, who
did not wish to be slaves of the Germans. We knew how many sacri¬ces indus-
trialization had cost our parents, and it hurt us when all of this was destroyed.233

But clear ideological commitment was secondary. After the initial confusion
of 1941, fear and hate, anger and revenge, entangled as they were with a con-
fused but potent mix of leader cult, socialism, nationalism, religion, and love
for those near and dear, drew larger and larger sectors of Soviet society into
the killing process. The cadres of totalitarian violence who had been ready for
this war all along were no longer alone. During “deep war” (Ilya Ehrenburg),
when “ after the battle of Stalingrad “ peace “had been put out of mind . . . and
was . . . unimaginable,” these emotions became widely shared.234 Once Soviet
forces entered enemy territory they became overwhelming. Attempts by the
military leadership to channel the aggression away from civilians and onto
the battle¬eld (largely in order to maintain discipline and operational order)
were bound to fail. “To tell the truth,” as one staff of¬cer wrote, “many of
our soldiers understand only with dif¬culty such a line, . . . especially those
whose families had suffered from the Nazis during occupation.” The deter-
mined resistance of the Wehrmacht only made things worse. Meetings with
titles like “How I will take revenge on the German invaders” or “An eye for
an eye, a tooth for a tooth” did their part to psyche up the troops further. In
the resulting rampage, the resistance of a few could not stop the cruelty of the
many.235 And while Stalin played down and justi¬ed Soviet cruelty, it was clear
enough to more far-sighted Soviet observers that these passions of war could
only undermine the politics of victory.236

Soiuza 1941“1945 (Moscow: Izd-vo polit. lit-ry, 1986), 372“3; Katrin Boeckh, Stalinismus
in der Ukraine: Die Rekonstruktion des sowjetischen Systems nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg
(Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 2007), 130, 179.
“Direktiva GLavPU RKKK, no. 010,” (7 September 1943), reprinted in Glavnye politicheskie
232

organy Vooruzhennykh sil SSSR, 233“6, here: 234.
Chukhrai, Moia voina, 281“2.
233

Ilya Ehrenburg, The War: 1941“1945 (Cleveland: World Publishing, 1964), 107, as quoted in
234

Sanborn, “Brothers under Fire,” 5.
Seniavskaia, Frontovoe pokolenie, 197 (quotations) and 196“215; Zubov, “Pobeda, kotoruiu
235

my poteriali,” 388; Naimark, The Russians in Germany, 69“140; Manfred Zeidler, Kriegsende
¨
im Osten: Die rote Armee und die Besetzung Deutschlands ostlich von Oder und Neisse
1944/45 (Munich: Oldenbourg, 1996), 135“54; Antony Beevor, The Fall of Berlin 1945;
Merridale, Ivan™s War, 299“335; Mawdsley, Thunder, 215“17. On the futility of individual
resistance see Kopelev, No Jail for Thought, 15“58.
Naimark, The Russians in Germany: A History of the Soviet Zone of Occupation, 1945“1949.
236
States of Exception 393

states of exception
One has to understand the soldier. The Red Army is not ideal. The important
thing is that it ¬ghts Germans “ and it is ¬ghting them well, while the rest doesn™t
matter.237

The rest did matter, notwithstanding Stalin, because what Stalin leaves out
tells us what kind of war the Wehrmacht and the Red Army were ¬ghting.
Hatred and revenge, a sense of invincibility and superiority, the dehumanization
of the enemy “ these emotions are common in war. But it is the exception that
these passions of war take over “ not a battle, but an entire war; not units of
an army or even an army, but entire nations “ and become the very reason for
war. Explaining this exception became the main issue, and the main argument
was that in both armies and in both regimes the exception was not some excess,
but a state or a condition.
Throughout the essay, we were struggling with this very basic observation.
We were grappling with the best way of describing and making sense of the
phenomenon, because it seemed to us a more productive way to approach the
conduct of war than the thick description of the “ideology” or, alternatively,
the practice of war that prevails in historiography. In this context, we made a
special effort to explore the different social roles and places of the passions of
war. No doubt, more detail in describing these emotions and their respective
vocabularies would have been useful. But it seemed to us more important to
demonstrate that the passions of war made up very different military societies.
Again a rather simple observation seems apt. The striking thing about the
Red Army was the extraordinary energy of mobilizing ever new soldiers into
ever new armies (and the propagandistic effort invested in generating this
mobilization) “ and the fervent, overbearing, death-defying appeals and the
sheer relentlessness and recklessness and, not to forget, the terror that went into
this effort. There was no lack of propaganda, no lack of indoctrination, no lack
of terror on the German side. All this is well documented. But if the Ostarmee
was driven by passions, it was the passion of “sticking together through thick
and thin” as the proverb goes in victory and defeat. Also, their passion remained
highly disciplined, “cold” if you wish, notwithstanding recurrent panics and
acts of mindless hot-headed and sadistic cruelty. This discipline was one of
the main reasons that German soldiers and the security apparatus were so
extraordinarily lethal, and that they had a much greater chance of survival
than their Soviet counterparts, and that, even in retreat and even in defeat
(until they faced, or rather could not bear facing, their women at home), they
thought they had an edge, were superior. What stands out is the sense of a
“community of fate” that formed in victory in the face of a strange land and a
society the soldiers had learned, and propaganda had taught them, to suspect,
if not hate, and coalesced in retreat and defeat. The compact nature of the

Milovan Djilas, Conversations with Stalin, trans. Michael B. Petrovich (New York: Harcourt,
237

Brace & World, 1962), 110“11.
Mark Edele and Michael Geyer
394

German military community and its self-centered emotional makeup stands
in stunning contrast to the quicksand nature of Soviet mobilization and the
ideological overdrive of its propagandists.
Both regimes had violent prehistories; both saw extralegal brutality as the
normal state of affairs in a world of class war or the survival of the racially
¬ttest, respectively; both were shaped by and shaped themselves in the pro-
jection of deadly enmities; both dictatorships, too, could not count on the
cooperation of all of their subjects, who were neither completely Nazi¬ed nor
thoroughly Bolshevized. War was the “space of experience” that radicalized
soldiers. The unfettering of violence, however, was the prerequisite of this pro-
cess and it was intimately tied to the understanding of war as a civil or, if you
wish, societal war.238 We see in this war what happens when legal and moral
constraints are removed and, indeed, when unrestraint becomes the order of
the day. Unrestraint liberates brutality, and in turn the rumor of cruelty, even
if it is random rather than systematic, spreads like wild¬re, setting in motion
a spiral of violence that, once unleashed, is only stopped in utter defeat. Unre-
straint, we discover, is a learning process “ both in the sense that it is responsive
to purported or real (but always mediated and rumored) actions of the enemy
and that ways and means of unrestrained conduct themselves are worked up,
picked up, and taught. Cruelty can be learned and, sadly, it can be improved
on. And, yet again, the ways of mediation and the learning processes differ in
the two regimes.
This way of approaching “barbarization” seems to us so productive because
the process of mediation, the moments of innovation, and the ways of consol-
idating unrestraint into conduct differed between the Wehrmacht and the Red
Army, possibly even from one army or front to another, and certainly between
the military and security forces. It is common to all that unrestraint breaks
the mold of experience and tradition “ even in “traditionally” violent societies
or political movements. What we see in the Nazi-Soviet war is a liberation of
violence and, thus, a savage dynamic of cruelty “ that even soldiers, observ-
ing themselves, noted with a great deal of astonishment.239 But then we must
account for the differences as well. The question is how to get at it. Is it good
or bad intentions, deterioration of conditions, habitualization of hatred? The
question of difference turns us back to the issue of the radicalization of war
one last time.
The one element that channels this dynamic is the horizon of expectations “
and here we disagree with all those who think that dictatorships or, as it were,
totalitarianisms are all the same because they all are extremely violent. We

Reinhart Koselleck, “˜Erfahrungsraum™ und ˜Erwartungshorizont™ “ Zwei historische Begriffe,”
238

in Vergangene Zukunft: Zur Semantik geschichtlicher Zeiten, ed. Reinhart Koselleck (Frankfurt
am Main: Suhrkamp, 1987), 349“75.
For two particularly impressive memoirs in this respect see Willy Peter Reese, Mir selber seltsam
239

fremd: Die Unmenschlichkeit des Krieges: Russsland 1941“44, 1st ed. (Berlin: List, 2004); and
Paul Feyerabend: Killing Time: The Autobiography of Paul Feyerabend (Chicago and London:
University of Chicago Press, 1995).
States of Exception 395

also part ways with those historians who think of genocide as a matter or
military or war culture. In a state of exception the question is “who decides” “
and what this decision might entail. In war this question amounts to asking
what kind of peace the combatants thought feasible. The long and the short
of it is that National Socialism never contemplated peace with and for its
enemies, certainly not for Bolsheviks or Jews, but neither for Russians or Poles.
The National Socialist regime pursued their subjection or extermination, quite
literally radicalizing, returning to the roots, of war as life-and-death struggle.
The alternative of extermination or self-destruction was there all along as a
fatal worldpicture, but it became the key to the German war plan. This is why
we think of the Holocaust as an integral part of the war the Third Reich fought
and why we think it must not be arti¬cially separated from the eradication of
the social institutions of Stalinism and the spoliation of the Soviet Union or,
for that matter, of destruction of the social fabric of Polish society. Holocaust
and destructive war were not identical, but they fall into the same spectrum
of radical violence. The Soviet Union also did not make peace with fascists
before and after the war, although it was caught in odd compromises. But it
was surely ready to make peace with Germany and the Germans. What Stalin
and so many communists could not ¬gure out “ and this was the animus of
much of their war making and surely the conundrum of their peacemaking “
is why the Germans of all peoples were so resistant to (their) revolution. After
all, it had been their idea in the ¬rst place.
10

Mutual Perceptions and Projections
Stalin™s Russia in Nazi Germany “ Nazi Germany
in the Soviet Union

Katerina Clark and Karl Schlogel
¨




encounter in paris 1937
Without doubt, the centers of attention for visitors to the 1937 World™s Fair in
Paris were the German and Soviet pavilions, and to a lesser extent the Italian
pavilion. They were perceived as they were projected: as well-designed sym-
bolic constructions “ true representations of their “systems.”1 Both represented
different, even opposing and competing worldviews (Weltanschauungen), polit-
ical orders, and systems. Yet, at the same time, the constructions were seen not
only as rivals, but also as twins, deeply related to each other by virtue of their
monumentalist and power-centered aesthetics. One Italian visitor even used the
term “totalitarian.” An observer from Art Digest wrote in his report from Paris:

The ¬nest pavilions are those of Japan and the smaller countries, those which
aren™t striving for prestige. In contrast, the German building with its frighteningly
vast tower can only be seen as an expression of fascist brutality. Russia is rep-
resented by another construction in the same spirit and the Italian pavilion also
produces a surprisingly similar effect, this time achieved by more contemporary
means.2

It seemed that even the topographical location of the exhibition halls evoked a
comparative view. Every visitor entering the World™s Fair in Paris had to pass

The exhibition is analyzed in detail in Igor Golomstok, Totalitarian Art in the Soviet Union,
1

the Third Reich, Fascist Italy and the People™s Republic of China (New York: HarperCollins,
1990), 132“8; Jurgen Harten, Hans-Werner Schmidt, and Marie Luise Syring, eds., “Die Axt
¨
¨ ¨ ¨
hat gebluht“”: Europaische Kon¬‚ikte der 30er Jahre in Erinnerung an die fruhe Avantgarde
(Dusseldorf: Stadtische Kunsthalle Dusseldorf, Dusseldorf 1987), especially Dieter Bartetzko,
¨ ¨ ¨ ¨
“Todliches Lacheln: Der deutsche Ausstellungspavillon von Albert Speer,” 336“43, and Maria
¨
Christina Zopff, “Ein Rundgang im sowjetischen Pavillon der Weltausstellung 1937 in Paris:
Architektur, Bauplastik, Wandmalerei in ihrer Aussage und Bedeutung,” 426“9; Suzanne Pag´ e
et al., eds., Ann´ es 30 en Europe: Le temps menacant 1929“1939 (Paris: Mus´ e d™Art de la Ville
e e
de Paris, Flammarion, 1997).
Quoted in Igor Golomstok, 135.
2


396

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