Part 3 of 5
The Ukraine Complication
A “Dec. 20 1922 New York Times article . . . detailed the activities of a ‘Jewish army’ made up of 500,000 men that was established by Lenin’s Bolshevik regime to do its bidding in Ukraine.” It was “a supreme force in some cities.” Then there was the Cheka. Solzhenitsyn relates American historian Bruce Lincoln’s estimate that the Ukrainian Cheka was 80 percent Jewish. These “were already staffing the Cheka in 1918, whereas Petliura’s pogroms only gathered momentum during 1919.” “At that time, nobody could imagine that the Civil War would ignite enormous Jewish pogroms, unprecedented in their atrocity and bloodshed, all over the South of Russia.” Petliura was Ukrainian head of state during 1918-1920. First came the largely-Jewish-led Red Terror and the first phase of largely-Jewish-led Civil War. Only then began the Ukrainian pogroms, a matter of killing Jews whom Petliura believed for plausible reasons would aid and abet any Bolshevik takeover. In other words, the actions of Jewish Bolsheviks provoked the massive pogroms of the civil war era, which are typically depicted by Jewish historians as gratuitous and evidence of a Gentile anti-Semitic psychosis.
Here is what happened, in more detail. Ukraine had no use for a Bolshevik Russia. But, the largely-Jewish-led Bolsheviks had a use for the Ukraine in mind, as breadbasket for a USSR. They immediately began an anti-Ukraine offensive. Three weeks later the Red Army was in Kiev. “The Ukrainian government and the leaders of Ukrainian parties were evacuated . . . but the Jewish representatives did not follow them.” They stayed on with the Bolshevik conquerors.
The Bolsheviks in Kiev even mobilized a whole brigade of Jewish workers, who’d been exiled in England until the February revolution, to staff the would-be new Bolshevik regime as commissars and other high officials, and created “a special Jewish squad of Red Guards.”
Grigory Chudnovsky was named Commissar of Kiev, Kreitzberg was named commissar of finances, D. Raikhstein named press officer, and Shapiro commissar of the army. Solzhenitsyn adds that, here “was no shortage of Jewish names among the top Bolsheviks . . . in such centers as Odessa and Ekaterinoslav.”
However, at the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk signed in early March 1918, which concluded the Great War between Russia and Germany, the Soviets ceded Ukraine to the Central Powers. World War I continued to rage on the Western front, as Austrian/German bayonets arrived to oversee Ukrainian independence. Any Jewish Bolshevik officials left behind were doubtless shot, but there were no bona fide pogroms. Ukraine’s Jews did go along with Ukrainian independence, but only with extreme reluctance, and many Jews mocked Ukraine’s pretense of nationality along the way. Complete independence was declared on Jan. 11, 1918.
Petliura’s inaugural government was soon replaced by that of Cossack leader Skoropadsky. Skoropadsky’s government did well by Ukraine’s Jews and even included one as Minister of Trade and Industry. But the government fell in December 1918. Petliura returned to power. His mouthpiece/newspaper wrote: The Jews “emphasize their knowledge of the Russian language and ignore the fact of Ukrainian statehood . . . Jewry again has joined the side of our enemy.” Petliura blamed the Jews for all the prior Bolshevik victories and for the renewed conflict as the Bolsheviks’ civil war conflated with wars of conquest, led by one Leon Trotsky, who could scarcely have looked more Jewish or commanded more Soviet power. This led to talk of the ‘Bolshevik Jews’ and of traitorous Jews, and to enmity between Ukrainian nationalists and Ukrainian Jews who had welcomed the Soviet conquerors earlier and were now welcoming them again.
The overall problem for Jews in the 1917-1919 period was not laws against them as during the Czarist era but rather the complete breakdown of laws during the Red Terror and Civil War, a breakdown that leading Russian Jews were instrumental in causing. Bolshevik hostility to a newly-independent Ukraine just finding its footing made things even worse. To finally achieve the long-incubating dream of nationhood, only to have it stifled in its cradle by a largely-Jewish-inspired Bolshevism, was intolerable to most Ukrainians.
Between Dec. 1918 and Aug. 1919, with Petliura in charge, dozens of pogroms occurred, killing (by the Red Cross’s estimate) some 50,000 Jews. These were not the work of the Ukrainian army, though, non-existent as yet, nor were they formally instigated by the government. Largely spontaneous in nature, peasant bands sometimes killed entire shtetls, children as well. Solzhenitsyn relates that, “The largest pogrom happened on February 15, 1919, in Proskurov after a failed Bolshevik coup attempt.” The pogrom was grotesque, nonetheless this was revenge for Jewish support of Bolshevism, exaggerated by Ukrainians but based on fact. Naturally, while these pogroms did drive Ukrainian Jews further into the arms of the Bolsheviks, it was the largely-Jewish-led Bolshevik assault on the Ukraine’s newly-established national sovereignty that had opened Pandora’s Box.
Once Nestor Makhenko took command of a real Ukrainian army, as a bona fide scourge of anti-Semitism, and surrounded as he was by Jewish functionaries, he would have peasants involved in pogroms executed. He even assembled a separate 300-member Jewish company. Only when his regular troops ranged beyond his control did they sometimes commit pogroms, despite Nestor’s policy of punishing perpetrators with death. By late 1919, Denikin’s White Army troops would also be engaging in pogroms when unsupervised, but Jews were not the only victims — Poles were pogromed in Byelorussia.
The Jews of Trotsky’s Red Army
Writes Solzhenitsyn: “The politically active part of Russian Jewry, which backed the Bolshevik civic regime in 1917, now just as boldly stepped into the military structures of the Bolsheviks . . . In 1918, “Lev Trotsky, with the help of Sklyansky and Jacov Sverdlov, created the Red Army . . . Some units were entirely Jewish, like . . . the brigade of Josef Furman . . . The Jewish share in the command corps of the Red Army became large and influential and this trend continued for many years even after the end of the Civil War.”
According to Israeli historian Aaron Abramovich, high-ranking Jews in the Red Army during Civil War included, most prominently: D. Vayman, E. Pyatnitsky, L. Glezarov, L. Pechyorsky, I. Slavin, M. Lisovsky, G. Bitker, Bela Kun, Brilliant-Sokolnikov, and I. Khodorovsky. At the onset of the Civil War, Uritsky headed the Extraordinary Command Staff of the Petrograd Military District. Members of the Petrograd Committee of Revolutionary Defense included Sverdlov, (the chairman), Volodarsky, Drabin-Gusev, Ya. Fishman (a leftist Socialist Revolutionary) and G. Chudnovsky. E. Yaroslavsky-Gubelman was commissar of the Moscow military district. Jews in charge of armies included M. Lashevich (3rd, then 7th Army of Eastern Front), V.Lasarevich (3rd Army of Western Front), G. Sokolnikov (8th of Southern Front), N. Sorkin (97th) and I. Yakir — the 14th Army. Solzhentsyn cites one more that the Israeli historian missed: Tikhon Khvesin (4th Army of Eastern Front, then of the 8th on the Southern Front, then of the 1st of the Turkestan Front).
Jews played important roles in the provision and supply services, too. Many held important positions in military medicine, others as heads of sanitation on the fronts. Abramovich, writes Solzhnitsyn, noted that an “especially large percentage of Jews could be found among political officers at all levels of the Red Army . . .” The Russian Jewish Encyclopedia cites Drabkin-Gusev as head of the Political Administration of the Red Army and Chief of the entire Red Army in 1921. He would be a big player in the Comintern later.
Other military Jews of note, mostly political officers, included: Mikhail Gaskovich-Lashkevich, in charge of the Siberian Military District. He was later First Deputy Chairman of Revvoyensoviet of the USSR. Israel Razgon was military Commissar for various districts. As head of the Red Army of Bukhara, he suppressed uprisings in Central Asia. Boris Goldberg was Military Commissar of various districts. He was in charge of the Reserve Army and helped found Soviet Civil Aviation. Modest Rubenstein was head of political administration for an army group. Boris Hippo was head of political administration for the Black Sea Fleet. Michail Landam headed the political division of one army and later served as the Deputy Head of Political Administration of the entire Red Army. Lev Berlin acted as commissar of the Volga Military Flotilla. A Jewish woman, Nadezda Ostrovskaya, was Head of Political Administration of the 10th army. There were other high-ranking Jewish women too.
The so-called Cossack Corps was multinational, and its “political department was headed by I. I. Mintz (by Isaac Greenberg in the Second Division) and S. Turovskiy ruled at Headquarters. A. Shilman was head of the operative section of the staff, S. Davidson managed the division newspaper, and Ya. Rubinov was in charge of the administrative section of the staff.” There is no question that Jews were very-much over-represented in the upper echelons of the Red Army along with many famous Russian names.
As for Trotsky, writes Solzhenitsyn, “Orchestrating a bloody war on the vast plains of Russia, he was absolutely untouched by the unprecedented sufferings of her inhabitants, by her pain. He soared aloft, above it all, on the wings of the international intoxication of the Revolution.” He boasted of finding time to read the latest works of French literature while travelling in his special railway coach.
The Civil War
Imperial rule always has its downside for subjects. However, as Ferguson suggests, it is when imperial rule begins to disintegrate that conditions are most dangerous. And when the Czarist regime crumbled, revolution for peace, bread and Soviet power degenerated into civil war, starvation and dictatorship.
A Korean communist named Nigay wrote to Trotsky of the rumor circulating throughout Russia that “the motherland has been conquered by Yid commissars . . . They’re saying that the Communist regime is being supported by Jewish brains, Latvian rifles and Russian idiots.” You can be sure that the Russian revolution was not conceived, implemented, defended, consolidated and cloned by Russian idiots. Jewish brains were paramount, as incarnated in Leon Trotsky (Lev Bronstein).
In many ways, Trotsky was the key Bolshevik over the entire formative 1917-1922 period, despite his Menshevik roots. Neutrality towards Trotsky was not an option. No one who encountered him could fail to see that here was an extraordinary, larger-than-life figure. Why such popularity? He emanated sacrifice, self-sacrifice, in the name of an idea — a rare quality even in a leader. His was a fanatical faith and it never wavered. It was still intact upon his death. His profoundest conviction was that Communist ideals would be vindicated and would triumph. To be so absolutely 180-degrees wrong required great powers of ratiocination only distantly-approximated by mere mortals, 20 million of whom would expire to the soundtrack of his words as they reverberated through the decades.
Quite apart from military strategy, for Trotsky merely to make an appearance at the front was a morale-booster for the troops. This charisma propelled his reputation into the stratosphere. He seemed everywhere, his train taking him quickly from one front to another. Many a leader has neglected the logistics of getting supplies to the troops. Not Trotsky. His deployment of political commissars at the front improved discipline. For the army chiefs, Trotsky was the ‘second man’ of the Soviet Republic. He was a major political and state official. He exerted enormous personal authority.
Strategy-wise, he focused more on the political than on the military. Ferguson notes that despite his ideological fanaticism, it was Trotsky who brought back former Czarist NCOs and officers, many rotting away in prison, “whose experience was to be vital in taking on the Whites.” At the same time, he imposed collective punishment on any former Czarist officer going over to the Whites; his family would be arrested. Trotsky went so far as to place blocking units behind unreliable detachments. Anyone making an unauthorized retreat would be greeted by a volley of gunfire from the rear. Every Red Army soldier came to appreciate that frontline fighting meant possible death but frontline fleeing meant certain death. Even if a unit were merely wavering in battle, Trotsky’s policy was that every tenth soldier be shot dead. “It was a turning point in the Russian civil war — and an ominous sign of how the Bolsheviks would behave if they won it,” remarks Ferguson. When Stalin revived this policy in 1941-42, it was as if he were releasing Trotsky’s spirit from the grave to which Stalin had sent him.
Solzhenitsyn quotes a Jewish writer of the period who insisted that Jewish self-preservation now depended on ruthless extermination of the enemy, a preview of Hitler’s policy once the fateful and ultimately fatal invasion of the Soviet Union got underway in mid-1941. “Jews must secure the gains of revolution by any means . . . without any qualms. Any necessary sacrifice must be made. Everything is at stake here and all will be lost if we hesitate.” (my emphases) He felt certain that mass executions of Jews would take place in vengeance if the revolution was lost. [Therefore] the “filthy scum must be crushed even before it has had any chance to develop in embryo. Their very seed must be destroyed . . .”
This was exterminationist talk a generation prior to Barbarossa. Comments Solzhenitsyn: “[It] was already pretty much the Bolshevik program, though expressed in the words of the Old Testament. Yet whose seed must be destroyed? Monarchists. But they were already breathless; all their activists could be counted on fingers. So it could only be those who had taken a stand against unbridled, running-wild soviets, against all kinds of committees and mad crowds; those who wished to halt the breakdown of life in the country — prudent ordinary people, former government officials, and first of all officers and very soon the soldier-general Kornilov. There were Jews among the counter-revolutionaries, but overall that movement was the Russian national one.” Indeed, “it looked as though . . . all of Jewry had decided to take the Red side in the Civil War.”
So, comments Macdonald, ‘“Solzhenitsyn sees the writer [quoted above] as seeking the annihilation of the Russian national movement that was attempting to tame the excesses of the period, and he is analogizing to the genocidal accounts of the Old testament: “So Joshua smote all the land, the hill-country, and the South, and the Lowland, and the slopes, and all their kings; he left nothing remaining; but he utterly destroyed all that breathed, as the Lord, the God of Israel, commanded” (Joshua 10:40). The Jewish writer of the Red Terror/Civil War era is advocating a genocidal war (crushing their very seed) of the Russians on the basis of Jewish religious thinking — a war actually carried out by the Bolsheviks with Jews as willing executioners.”’
Nonetheless, the smart money was on the Bolshevik regime being overthrown. Confronting Trotsky’s Red Army were three white armies: Anton Denikin’s Volunteers, Admiral Aleksandr Kolchak’s force in Siberia and General Nikolai Yudenich’s in the north-west. A Czech legion too, that had been formed to fight Austria-Hungary, got involved and it had 35,000 men. Their leaders believed they were fighting foreign elements such as Georgians, Armenians, Lithuanians and Poles — but led mainly by Jews into whose hands Mother Russia had fallen. Were they deluded?
In effect, they were absolutely correct. The fact that Red Army troops and other underlings were mostly non-Jewish is irrelevant. How could it be otherwise in a country less than 2 percent Jewish? One could certainly not mistake the revolutionaries for a Russo-centric movement with few Jews. Strikingly, Lenin equated anti-Semitism with counter-revolution. So, first came Lenin’s pairing of counter-revolutionary/anti-Semite and only later Hitler’s Bolshevik/Jew pairing. If all counter-revolutionaries were painted as confirmed or likely anti-Semites, was this not a virtually an invitation to them to paint all Bolsheviks as Jews or as their aiders and abettors?
Despite Jewish accounts to the contrary, the Whites and Greens (Ukrainian nationalists) were not out to exterminate the Jews. Pogroms were breakdowns of discipline. Unleashed bloodlust detracted from the movement’s mainly-political objectives. Since most Jews were not practising Bolsheviks, slaughtering them did nothing but undermine political objectives. In fact, though, more slaughtering was occurring on the other side. Volkogonov relates that, “One of the most significant sources of armed support for the White cause came from the Cossack population, encouraged no doubt by the policy of terror pursued against them by the Bolshevik regime as ‘the social base of the counter-revolution’.” That policy led directly to what Solzhenitsyn calls a “genocide on the river Don, when hundreds of thousands of the flower of the Don Cossacks were murdered.”
Moscow, continues Volkogonov, sent plain instructions “for the complete, rapid and decisive annihilation of the Cossacks as a distinct economic group, the destruction of their economic foundations, the physical destruction of Cossack administrators and officers, in general of the entire Cossack leadership.” One Cheka announcement read: “Cossack villages and settlements, which give shelter to Whites and Greens, will be destroyed, the entire adult population executed, and all property confiscated.” This systematic orphaning of children left only one short step to the Einsatzgruppen’s mass-murdering of children in late 1941. This treatment of the Cossacks was also prelude to the destruction of the Kulaks, a large proportion of them Ukrainians, and of the intelligentsia of Poland.
Trotsky declared that the rural bourgeoisie was the working class’s true enemy. Those ‘kulaks’ were threatening to ‘starve out’ the Soviet revolution. He warned the kulaks that sabotage would earn them retaliation shorn of any mercy. The party agreed that the dictatorship of the proletariat must force the peasants to fork over both their grain and their taxes, as well as to fight within the ranks of the Red Army. Three years of ‘Great War’ miseries, and now this. Bolshevik killings were supposedly based on objective criteria designating bourgeois status. Such doctrinally-sacred violence elevated one’s status. But in fact, the bourgeoisie referred to no identifiable or self-identified group, so the Bolsheviks could simply attach the label to anyone who resisted them and thus deserved death.
Still, comments Conquest, “Victory in the Civil War was a near thing, and more than once the Leninists felt that all was lost.” By early summer 1918, the new regime was facing likely defeat. Trotsky conceded that its territory had shrunk to the dimensions of the ancient principality of Mucovy. Its army still wasn’t big enough. Enemies patrolled all sides. From that vantage point, any mid-century specter of a Soviet dictatorship-of-the-proletariat with Eastern Europe as its Empire, including East Germany, and with its main imitator/ally the world’s most populous country, would have seemed so preposterously unlikely that anyone predicting it would have been denounced as a complete fool. There are so many points at which the whole project could have (and preferably should have) gone off the rails that to think one could re-run the entire scenario minus Jewish brains is absurd. Only Jewish brains could have kept on the rails such an unnatural monstrously-inhuman project because all logic and experience argued in its disfavor. Only a kind of genius could have taken such a non-starter and turned it into a force that would soon be ruling half the world, and such a genius was Trotsky.
When Denikin ordered all White forces to march on Moscow in July 1918, it looked like the 70-year Bolshevik reign lying ahead would end after only nine months. But wait. The tide turned. November arrived, and Denikin was defeated.
Certainly, with a little less of the massive assistance afforded to the Bolsheviks by Jews, Lenin and Co would have been ousted. Similarly, it was such a near-run thing that had Jews given a little more assistance to the Whites, that too might have done in the Reds. Why were Jews relatively scarce on the White side? One Jewish White, D. O. Linsky, looking back declared, “Jewry was possibly given a unique chance to fight so hard for the Russian land, that the slanderous claim that for Jews Russia is just geography and not Fatherland, would disappear once and for all.” He asserted that had more Jewish youth joined the Whites and had more Jews contributed financially, the Whites would have found it impossible to conduct pogroms. “Jewry was pushed from the Russian cause, yet Jewry had to [but did not] push away the pushers.” Despite everything, writes Linsky, it was “a great movement for the unfading values of [upholding] the human spirit.”
The problem, states Solzhenitsyn, was the sheer number of Jews among the Reds, where “they often occupied the ‘top command positions’.” Fittingly, “In 1919, the official Soviet press provided texts in three languages—Russian, Ukrainian and Yiddish.” And “during the Civil War, national and socialist Jewish parties began merging with the Reds,” a continuation of the phenomenon of heavily Jewish-weighted supposedly-anti-Bolshevik parties like the Mensheviks and Social Revolutionaries throwing their weight behind the Bolsheviks at key junctures, allowing the Bolshevik régime to survive.
Yes, relates Solzhenitsyn, “The White Army was hypnotized by Trotsky and Nakhamkis [an agent of the Bolshevik Central Committee] . . .” and “perceived Russia as occupied by Jewish commissars.” So hated was Trotsky’ among the Whites [and Ukrainian] soldiers, [that] almost every pogrom went under the slogan ‘This is what you get for Trotsky’.” Thus even Jews who had fought against the Bolsheviks in 1917 had an impossible time finding a place in the White Army. “[M]any Whites rejected sympathetic and neutral Jews but because of the prominent involvement of other Jews on the Red side, mistrust and anger was bred among the White forces.” In the first year there was almost no anti-Semitism amongst Whites and Jews did serve in the White Army. Jews of Rostov did collect a substantial sum for the leader of the Don Cossacks, but General Alekseev had no such so luck and went out on his Ice March, unfinanced. Sadly, “appeals by the Volunteer Army were mostly ignored, yet whenever the Bolsheviks showed up and demanded money and valuables, the population obediently handed over millions of rubles and whole stores of goods.” And, “When former prime minister (of the Provisional Government) prince G. E. Lvov, begging for aid abroad, visited New York and Washington in 1918, he met a delegation of Jews who heard him out but offered no aid.” This was typical. Pogroms meant lack of support for the Whites from Anglo and U.S. Jewry. Sympathy abroad for the Bolsheviks’ brave new world, combined with its enemies committing the worst series of pogroms in history — by far — doomed the Whites’ chances. Yet it was the undeniable prominence of Jews in Bolshevism and the regime’s absolute ruthlessness that solidified its image as a detestable alien inordinately-Jewish monstrosity.
As above, there were exceptions of Jews offering money or Jews siding with Whites, but not enough to make a difference. Even the anti-anti-Semitic Kadets “during their 1919 conference in Khartov . . . demanded that Jews ‘declare relentless war against those elements of Jewry who actively participate in the Bolshevik movement’.” They also “emphasized . . . that the White authorities do everything possible to stop pogroms . . .” Nonetheless, December 1919-to-March 1920 featured particularly nasty pogroms as the Volunteer Army retreated from Ukraine. Some White leaders acted more firmly. Wrangel stopped all pogroms in the Crimea. And accordingly, part of the Jewish population of the Crimea evacuated with him.
Still, the advent of pogroms amongst the Whites runs deeper. Writes Solzhenitsyn: “[The civil war] was literally a chaos which released unbridled anarchy across Russia [a guarantee of pogroms] . . . Anybody who wanted and was able to rob was robbing and killing whomever he wanted . . . Officers of the Russian Army were massacred in the hundreds and thousands by bands of mutinous rabble. Entire families of landowners were murdered . . . estates . . . were burned; valuable pieces of art were pilfered and destroyed . . . [and] in some places in manors all living things including livestock were exterminated.” He quotes S. Schwartz: “Mob rule spread terror . . . on the streets of cities. Owners of plants and factories were driven out of their enterprises and dwellings . . . Tens of thousands of people all over Russia were shot for the glory of the proletarian revolution . . . ; others . . . rotted in stinking and vermin-infested prisons as hostages . . . It was not a crime or personal actions that put a man under the axe but his affiliation with a certain social stratum of class. It would be an absolute miracle if, under conditions when whole human groups were designated for extermination, the group named ‘Jews’ remained exempt . . . The curse of the time was that . . . it was possible to declare an entire class or tribe ‘evil’ . . . So, condemning an entire social class to destruction . . . is called revolution, yet to kill and rob Jews is called a pogrom? . . . The Jewish pogrom in the South of Russia was a component of the All-Russia pogrom.” This was the ‘great’ step backward in civilization that Hitler, in the conventional view at least, merely consolidated — the ideological legitimization of writing off and possibly mass-murdering entire categories of humanity that cannot for whatever reason ‘get with the program’?
And what was an All-Russia pogrom but a reflection of the general collapse of civilization and ethics? Jews were amongst the worst hit by that collapse, but it was leading Jews who were most responsible for bringing about it about in the first place. Given the multiple resulting catastrophes for gentiles, gentiles in their own interest should refrain from echoing the Jewish fixation on their own losses.
In launching pogroms in 1919, members of the White army may have been copy-catting the Ukrainian pogroms, which Ukrainians evidently saw as a means of protecting Ukraine’s sovereignty against yet another assault by largely-Jewish-led Bolsheviks. Indeed, the new nation’s worst fears were justified when it fell under the Soviet yoke for 70 years and saw nine million of its ‘citizens’ starved or shot to death by either the Soviet Union or its all-but-inevitable nemesis, Nazi Germany. As bad as the Ukrainian pogroms of 1918-1919 were, what largely Jewish-led Communism and its nemesis had in store for Ukrainians was literally a hundred times worse, worse even than the Jewish Tragedy of 1941-45.
Jewish critic of Bolshevism, Bikerman, insisted that “murders, pillage and rape of women were not faithful companions of the White Army, unlike what is claimed by our [Jewish] national Socialists who exaggerate the horrible events to advance their agenda.” His co-critic
Shulgin added: “For a true White, a massacre of unarmed civilians, the murder of women and children, and robbing someone’s property are impossible things to do. Thus the ‘true Whites’ in this case are guilty of negligence. They were not sufficiently rigorous in checking the scum adhering to the White movement.” I. Levon cited the complexity of the White movement, asserting that the bad part was not the whole.
Notes Solzhenitsyn: “A. I. Deniken . . . sought to stop the outrages perpetrated by his troops. Yet those efforts were not effective.” The resulting pogroms prevented any further support for the Whites by Jews. Some pogroms were mostly a matter of pillaging for supplies, but others involved atrocities with up to a thousand killed. Even Solzhenitsyn concedes that all too often, “The most populous and flourishing communities were turned into deserts . . .” The Bolsheviks skillfully deployed the pogroms in their propaganda at home and abroad. Still, “the most atrocious pogroms were carried out by the [Reds’] First Cavalry Army during its retreat from Poland at the end of August 1920.” Troops rampaging out of control in an ethical vacuum are troops rampaging out of control regardless of ideology. In fact, Denikin’s White troops committed no more pogroms than did the Reds, and it was the Ukrainians fighting to maintain their newly-acquired statehood, recognized by the Entente powers, who committed two-thirds of the pogroms. Had the largely-Jewish-led Bolsheviks refrained from acting to destroy Ukrainian sovereignty, a slap to the face of the Entente as well, Ukrainians would have had little incentive to mass-murder Jews.
A great many soldiers had seen a half decade of war, and were burnt out. A Civil War following a Great War was too much. Russian society was undergoing the torture of double occupation as Whites and Reds won and then lost territory. Staying alive became paramount and ethics be damned. And consider that this horrible Civil War, a virtual continuation of the Great War that the Bolsheviks pulled out of to appease the Russian people, was simply a war by the largely Jewish-led Bolsheviks to keep themselves ensconced in power no matter what and despite so little popular support. The Bolsheviks reduced Russia to statelessness until their ruthless violence as a gang (that managed to recruit and deploy a new army) had intimidated all those it left alive. The statelessness of the Civil War previewed the stateless anarchy of eastern Poland and the Baltic ‘states’ as the Soviets and then the Nazis alternated in destroying them in 1939-41. The double destruction of Whites and Reds 1918-21 is what precipitated the pogroms, just as the double destruction of 1939-41 is what precipitated the Jewish Tragedy of 1941-1945. But Russia during the Civil War was a state destroying itself from within, surely an even greater crime, given that some degree of intra-group solidarity is required for survival, whereas inter-group conflict is the norm.
Solzhenitsyn summarizes: “Such was the woeful acquisition of all the peoples of Russia, including the Jews, after the successful attainment of equal rights, after the splendid Revolution of [February 1917, which was not a Jewish-made revolution], that both the general sympathy of Russian Jews toward the Bolsheviks [despite the mass slaughter of the Red Terror] and the developed attitude of White forces toward Jews [deplorable but understandable] eclipsed and erased the most important benefit of a possible White victory—the sane evolution of the Russian state.”
“Alas, the resistance of the Russian population to the Bolsheviks (without which we wouldn’t have a right to call ourselves a people) had faltered and took wrong turns in many ways, including on the Jewish issue. Meanwhile the Bolshevik regime was touting the Jews and they were joining it, and the Civil War was more and more broadening that chasm between Reds and Whites.” “If the revolution in general cleared Jewry of suspicion in [pro-capitalist] counter-revolutionary attitude, the counter-revolution has suspected all Jewry of being pro-revolutionary.” And thus “the Civil War became an unbearable torment for Jewry, further consolidating them in the wrong revolutionary positions,” from which they would “fail to recognize the genuine redemptive essence of the White armies.”
Lenin quickly decided to take advantage of the Red Army’s momentum and have it take Eastern Europe the same way Stalin would 30 years later, that is, militarily. After subduing several nations including Ukraine, the Red Army marched on Warsaw. Writes Ferguson, “Only their decisive defeat by the Polish army on the banks of the River Vistula halted the spread of the Bolshevik epidemic.” But the Bolsheviks were not to be deterred. With the end of the Great War, continues Ferguson, “Soviet-style governments were proclaimed in Budapest, Munich and Hamburg.”
Czarist regimes from 1640 to 1914 may have killed up to 20,000, including unplanned pogroms and bona fide terrorists. The death (and misery) toll for a single year of Bolshevik-induced revolution and civil war was exponentially higher. Forget for a moment the Red Terror and the famine resulting from the civil war; 1½ million were killed in civil war itself. Morality in Russia scraped bottom as mortality skyrocketed to highs unimaginable in the Imperial era.
Volkogonov observes that decades of brainwashing have rendered most people in the Soviet Union unaware that “Marxism in Russia developed in three stages: Leninism, Trotskyism and Stalinism.” Each relied on social violence, the rectitude of a single ideology, and the arrogated right “to dispose of the destinies of nations.” Absent the brilliance of Trotsky, the Bolshevik seizure of power would have failed, the Bolshevik revolution as a whole would have failed, and the Bolshevik civil war would have been lost. Russian communism was “a doctrine based on the primacy of the dictatorship of the proletariat and class war . . .” and with its highly-surprising survival, thanks to Trotsky, it could now move on to bigger game. That meant inflicting its ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’ and its ‘class war’ upon Central Europe, thereby inadvertently engendering a nemesis that would bring on a war just one ratchet shy of Armageddon.
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