Thursday, July 7, 2011

Clearing Up Bookmarks

FLG had meant to link to this previously, but for some reason or another never got around to it. Otto posted five controversial things he believes FLG was inspired to do the same, thought about it, compiled a list, but cannot find it now. So, he'll post Otto's list for now and compile a new list of his own eventually:
1. The Soviet Union, particularly under Stalin, practiced racial discrimination against a number of nationalities and Jews were not the worst treated group by a long shot.

2. The mass deportation of nationalities by Stalin to Siberia, Kazakhstan, and Central Asia constituted genocide by any reasonable definition of the word.

3. The mass expulsion of ethnic Germans from their homes in Central Europe at the end of World War II was a crime against humanity with no moral justification.

4. The mass expulsion of Palestinians from their homes in 1948 was also a crime against humanity with no moral justification.

5. American academia is rigged so people like me who believe things like I listed above can not get jobs at US universities.

BTW, go visit Otto's blog.


Anonymous said...

Harumpf. American academia is so rigged that being pro-Nakba and anti-Israel makes one eminently qualified for a chair of Judaic studies at any Ivy.

Mrs. P

Anonymous said...

By the way FLG, I've been meaning to share with you this tidbit from a March issue of PAW (Princeton Aluni Weekly. It's from a fairly recent grad who has a corporate mergers &acquisitions in Cairo -so he was present for the Arab Spring and phoned in what he saw and learned. Among the lessons :

"Lesson 3: The right to bear arms is not a bad idea. On Jan. 29, we were in Tahrir Square when I received a panicked phone call from my father. He informed me that all the police and security forces had been withdrawn from the streets, that the army was only partially deployed, that prisoners had been released from jails, and that thugs were on the prowl. We were urgently needed back home to protect our streets.

"We were fortunate that a colonel, who had been at the local officers club, took it upon himself to organize the neighborhood militias. We were divided into groups, each of which would protect one of the entrances of the island of Zamalek. We were told to arm ourselves with weapons that could kill or disable in one blow, because our adversaries would seek to do the same. My weapon was a baseball bat; others had golf clubs or had fashioned spears by attaching kitchen knives to sticks, and still others had antique swords, handguns, and even automatic weapons. Knowing that we had assault rifles on our side was comforting on a cold street at 4:30 a.m., as gunshots rang out from all directions. I always have been amused by America’s fascination with the right to bear arms, dismissing it as national zealotry. After living through the necessity of forming a neighborhood militia, I now recognize the protection it affords."

The alumni was educated in Egypt until he came to Princeton. Then he returned home. Wonder where he got the quaint idea that the right to bear arms is merely national zealotry....Sarah Palin?

Mrs. P

J. Otto Pohl said...

Thanks for the plug. My audience is so small that none of things I posted was controversial with them. But, I am pretty sure I am the only person with a blog who believes most of them. All the academic blogs I have seen with a few exceptions such as Juan Cole have been extremely pro-Israeli. Most of them have also been pretty hard core leftists on issues in general. See for instance Henry Farrell and company at Crooked Timber.

George Pal said...

Not that I’ve anything to say about another man’s list but if it were mine I’d quibble with number four and replace it with the conveniently forgotten mass forced repatriation (Churchill and Roosevelt complicit) of Russians, Cossacks, Latvians, Ukrainians, Croats, and other Eastern Europeans to Soviet hands and near sure death, immediate or slave labor induced.

J. Otto Pohl said...

George Pal:

The forced repatriations are mostly covered in point two. Or at least the largest number of those severely punished. Legally the Soviet government considered most people forcibly repatriated and sent to special settlements to be a subset of those deported within the USSR and territories it controlled. But, most repatriates were allowed to return home, but with restrictions on living in big cities and subsequent job discrimination. A minority were executed, sent to labor camps, or sent to special settlements. This last category was the largest of the three and constitued several hundred thousand people. I would have to look up the exact number. I know it included a little over 200,000 Russian-Germans.

Repatriated Crimean Tatars, Kalmyks,and Chechens show up in the records undifferentiated from those deported from Crimea, Kalmykia and Chechnya. The Black Sea Germans sent back to the USSR show up as a sub-category of German special settlers with the heading "repatriated." They were mostly sent to hard labor in the Urals, Kazakhstan, Far North, Siberia, and Far East or to cotton farms in Tajikistan. These groups were condemned to internal exile as special settlers "forever" on 26November 1948. But, were released in 1955-1956.

Most of the repatriated Russians and Ukrainians punished were members of Vlaslov's ROA. That is people who actually put on German uniforms so could be considered traitors under the laws of war. They formed a separate contingent of special settlers sentenced withou trial to seven years work at various construction sites.

Legally the US and UK did not recognize the Baltic states as part of the USSR. So while some Latvians were sent back in violation of official policy in law, most Baltic DP as well as Western Ukrainians avoided forced repatriation. The majority of Baltic refugees were allowed to settle as refugees in the US, Canada, Australia, UK, and Sweden. In contrast over two thirds of the Russian-Germans in Germany were repatriated to the USSR since all of them were Soviet citizens in 1939. Only about 70,000 were allowed to remain in West Germany and another 30,000 settled in the Western hemisphere, mostly in Canada.

Very, very few Croatians were sent to the USSR. They were not Soviet citizens. A lot of Croations were forcibly repatriated to Tito's forces in Yugoslavia. Something that had a much shakier legal basis than repatriation to the USSR. But, still the massacre of repatriated Croats was Tito's crime, not Stalin's.

Given that most of the worst repression of repatriates is covered in points one and two I did not feel it needed a separate point.

George Pal said...

Mr. Pohl,

Apparently I’d bungled my comment leading you to believe repression of repatriates was my concern when I had tried to make the point that the forced repatriation was an American and British moral failure of near criminal proportions worthy of its own point.

“Something that had a much shakier legal basis than repatriation to the USSR”

The Soviet government had no legal claim on people who didn’t want to be returned and certainly no moral claim. Russians putting on German uniforms could indeed be considered traitors by the Soviets and just as easily considered defectors by the British and Americans – no stretch, considering the totalitarian nature of Soviet Russia.

There was no legal basis for repatriation only a Yalta agreement and nothing in that agreement concerned itself with the return of Soviet citizens POWs who were unwilling to go back to the USSR.

There was precedence of a sort though - after WW I; The repatriation treaty of April 19,1920 between Germany and the Soviet Union declared “Prisoners of War and interned civilians of both sides are to be repatriated in all cases where they themselves desire it."

J. Otto Pohl said...

Mr. Pal:

Regarding the Yugoslav repatriations you should read Nikolay Tolstoy's the Minister and the Massacres. Tito's forces had yet to form an officially recognized government at the time. So their authority over Croatian refugees was indeed shakier than the Soviet claims.

I am pretty sure there was an agreement regarding the repatriation of all Soviet citizens at Yalta. That included those who did not wish to return. I would have to look up the exact wording. But, there certainly was a working understanding that the US and UK would return all persons having Soviet citizenship in 1939 regardless of their wishes. Stalin wanted it extended to include those from areas annexed in 1940, but the US and UK did not recognize these acquisitions.

That the forced repatriations were a moral failure on the part of the Western Allies is agreed. But, it appears one of the motivating factors was a quid pro quo regarding the voluntary repatriation of US soldiers that had been German POWS and were now in Soviet hands. Not all of them returned, but most did. The fear was that far fewer would have been allowed back if there had not been the forced repatriation of Soviet citizens.

George Pal said...

Mr. Pohl,

I agree it was a quid pro quo but it was also cowardice and betrayal. In this, Churchill, as Tolstoy recounts in The Secret Betrayal, happily went the extra mile. There was an agreed upon definition as to what exactly was a Soviet citizen. Tolstoy’s account has the British returning thousands of Russians who did not meet the definition, most of them being aged Czarist Royalists and officers who’d fled post Revolution Russia. The Soviets were more than surprised when the British delivered them to the NKVD – unasked.

Furthermore, Britain’s Special Operations Executive, (a War office operation created in 1940 to encourage resistance in countries occupied by the Axis) had let it be known that Russians in the German armed forces surrendering to the Allies could receive political asylum. Essentially, in the end, the War office had lost out to the Foreign office and the betrayal was accomplished

Finally, I recall having the impression the agreement at Yalta for repatriation having no stipulations regarding those who did not wish to be returned came from the The Secret Betrayal.

On the other hand, it also quoted Anthony Eden (as reports reached him of British officers’ eyewitness accounts of repatriated Russians not wishing to be returned being executed as they disembarked the ships delivering them) as saying “provisions of the Crimean Agreement” had to be met. So I don’t know – but would like to.

J. Otto Pohl said...

George Pal:

I checked the Yalta Agreements of 10 and 11 Feb. 1945 do indeed call for the return of all Soviet citizens to the USSR regardless of their wishes.

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