The Great Purge of Stalinist Russia | Guided History

History Other Essays: Can Stalin Be Linked to the Great Purges Beyond Doubt?

There are eight of these newer papers, the MODERN BOY, TRIUMPH,CHAMPION, WIZARD, ROVER, SKIPPER, HOTSPUR and ADVENTURE. All ofthese have appeared since the Great War, but except for the MODERNBOY none of them is less than five years old. Two papers whichought also to be mentioned briefly here; though they are notstrictly in the same class as the rest, are the DETECTIVE WEEKLYand the THRILLER, both owned by the Amalgamated Press. TheDETECTIVE WEEKLY has taken over Sexton Blake. Both of these papersadmit a certain amount of sex-interest into their stories, andthough certainly read by boys; they are not aimed at themexclusively. All the others are boys' papers pure and simple, andthey are sufficiently alike to be considered together. There doesnot seem to be any notable difference between Thomson'spublications and those of the Amalgamated Press.

If one compares the GEM and MAGNET with a genuinely modernpaper, the thing that immediately strikes one is the absence of theleader-principle. There is no central dominating character; insteadthere are fifteen or twenty characters, all more or less on anequality, with whom readers of different types can identify. In themore modern papers this is not usually the case. Instead ofidentifying with a schoolboy of more or less his own age, thereader of the SKIPPER, HOTSPUR, etc., is led to identify with aG-man, with a Foreign Legionary, with some variant of Tarzan, withan air ace, a master spy, an explorer, a pugilist–at any ratewith some single all-powerful character who dominates everyoneabout him and whose usual method of solving any problem is a sockon the jaw. This character is intended as a superman, and asphysical strength is the form of power that boys can bestunderstand, he is usually a sort of human gorilla; in the Tarzantype of story he is sometimes actually a giant, eight or ten feethigh. At the same time the scenes of violence in nearly all thesestories are remarkably harmless and unconvincing. There is a greatdifference in tone between even the most bloodthirsty English paperand the threepenny Yank Mags, FIGHT STORIES, ACTION STORIES, etc.(not strictly boys' papers, but largely read by boys). In the YankMags you get real blood-lust, really gory descriptions of theall-in, jump-on-his-testicles style fighting, written in a jargonthat has been perfected by people who brood endlessly on violence.A paper like FIGHT STORIES, for instance, would have very littleappeal except to sadists and masochists. You can see thecomparative gentleness of the English civilization by theamateurish way in which prize-fighting is always described in theboys' weeklies. There is no specialized vocabulary. Look at thesefour extracts, two English, two American;

To begin with, there is no political development whatever. Theworld of the SKIPPER and the CHAMPION is still the pre-1914 worldof the MAGNET and the GEM. The Wild West story, for instance, withits cattle-rustlers, lynch-law and other paraphernalia belonging tothe eighties, is a curiously archaic thing. It is worth noticingthat in papers of this type it is always taken for granted thatadventures only happen at the ends of the earth, in tropicalforests, in Arctic wastes, in African deserts, on Western prairies,in Chinese opium dens–everywhere in fact, except the placeswhere things really DO happen. That is a belief dating from thirtyor forty years ago, when the new continents were in process ofbeing opened up. Nowadays, of course, if you really want adventure,the place to look for it is in Europe. But apart from thepicturesque side of the Great War, contemporary history iscarefully excluded. And except that Americans are now admiredinstead of being laughed at, foreigners are exactly the samefigures of fun that they always were. If a Chinese characterappears, he is still the sinister pigtailed opium-smuggler of SaxRohmer; no indication that things have been happening in Chinasince 1912–no indication that a war is going on there, forinstance. If a Spaniard appears, he is still a 'dago' or 'greaser'who rolls cigarettes and stabs people in the back; no indicationthat things have been happening in Spain. Hitler and the Nazis havenot yet appeared, or are barely making their appearance. There willbe plenty about them in a little while, but it will be from astrictly patriotic angle (Britain versus Germany), with the realmeaning of the struggle kept out of sight as much as possible. Asfor the Russian Revolution, it is extremely difficult to find anyreference to it in any of these papers. When Russia is mentioned atall it is usually in an information snippet (example: 'There are29,000 centenarians in the USSR.'), and any reference to theRevolution is indirect and twenty years out of date. In one storyin the ROVER, for instance, somebody has a tame bear, and as it isa Russian bear, it is nicknamed Trotsky–obviously an echo ofthe 1917-23 period and not of recent controversies. The clock hasstopped at 1910. Britannia rules the waves, and no one has heard ofslumps, booms, unemployment, dictatorships, purges or concentrationcamps.

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Where working-class characters appear, it is usually either ascomics (jokes about tramps, convicts, etc.), or as prize-fighters,acrobats, cowboys, professional footballers and ForeignLegionaries–in other words, as adventurers. There is nofacing of the facts about working-class life, or, indeed, aboutWORKING life of any description. Very occasionally one may comeacross a realistic description of, say, work in a coal-mine, but inall probability it will only be there as the background of somelurid adventure. In any case the central character is not likely tobe a coal-miner. Nearly all the time the boy who reads thesepapers–in nine cases out often a boy who is going to spendhis life working in a shop, in a factory or in some subordinate jobin an office–is led to identify with people in positions ofcommand, above all with people who are never troubled by shortageof money. The Lord Peter Wimsey figure, the seeming idiot whodrawls and wears a monocle but is always to the fore in moments ofdanger, turns up over and over again. (This character is a greatfavourite in Secret Service stories.) And, as usual, the heroiccharacters all have to talk B.B.C.; they may talk Scottish or Irishor American, but no one in a star part is ever permitted to drop anaitch. Here it is worth comparing the social atmosphere of theboys' weeklies with that of the women's weeklies, the ORACLE, theFAMILY STAR, PEG'S PAPER, etc.

The Great Purge, also known as the Great Terror, ..

After Henry IV succeeded in quieting the realm by granting freedom of worship, the seemed to have ended its unexpected role. It was still mentioned in connection with Montaigne's chapter on Friendship but readers were forgetting why the essayist had decided not to print it. Richelieu, in the early seventeenth century, was curious enough to want to read it but he had great difficulty in procuring a copy. A book dealer finally detached it from the Protestant into which it had been set, and bound it separately for the Cardinal. We have no record of Richelieu's impressions, but we can surmise that he must have smiled at the impetuous eloquence against tyranny. Throughout the century nothing further is heard of the essay. But in 1727, in Geneva, when the publisher Coste was getting out a five volume edition of Montaigne, he had the bright idea of adding La Boétie's discourse as a tailpiece in the last volume. His example has since been followed in all the better editions of the . The thus became again generally available to readers. An English translation, the only one before the rendering contained in this book, appeared in London in 1735. The editor has discovered only one copy of this in the United States. It is not without emotion that one picks up this early tribute to liberty, which antedates our Revolution. Since this London edition, the has appeared twice in Italian and in French many times at peculiar dates, 1789, 1835, 1845, 1863 — in periods marked by agitation preceding popular revolt. In this way, it would seem that the mildest and most just of men has become through one inspired essay an instigator of revolution, a role that has been the historic mission of other humble spirits dedicated to peace.

Stalin’s Great Purges Essay, Research Paper Stalin?s

He even credits some of these wretches with a taste forguillotining children. The passage I have abridged above ought tobe read in full. It and others like it show how deep was Dickens'shorror of revolutionary hysteria. Notice, for instance that touch,'with their heads low down and their hands high up', etc., and theevil vision it conveys. Madame Defarge is a truly dreadful figure,certainly Dickens's most successful attempt at a MALIGNANTcharacter. Defarge and others are simply 'the new oppressors whohave risen in the destruction of the old', the revolutionary courtsare presided over by 'the lowest, cruellest and worst populace',and so on and so forth. All the way through Dickens insists uponthe nightmare insecurity of a revolutionary period, and in this heshows a great deal of prescience. 'A law of the suspected, whichstruck away all security for liberty or life, and delivered overany good and innocent person to any bad and guilty one; prisonsgorged with people who had committed no offence, and could obtainno hearing'–it would apply pretty accurately to severalcountries today.

No one, at any rate no English writer, has written better aboutchildhood than Dickens. In spite of all the knowledge that hasaccumulated since, in spite of the fact that children are nowcomparatively sanely treated, no novelist has shown the same powerof entering into the child's point of view. I must have been aboutnine years old when I first read DAVID COPPERFIELD. The mentalatmosphere of the opening chapters was so immediately intelligibleto me that I vaguely imagined they had been written BY A CHILD. Andyet when one re-reads the book as an adult and sees the Murdstones,for instance, dwindle from gigantic figures of doom into semi-comicmonsters, these passages lose nothing. Dickens has been able tostand both inside and outside the child's mind, in such a way thatthe same scene can be wild burlesque or sinister reality, accordingto the age at which one reads it. Look, for instance, at the scenein which David Copperfield is unjustly suspected of eating themutton chops; or the scene in which Pip, in GREAT EXPECTATIONS,coming back from Miss Havisham's house and finding himselfcompletely unable to describe what he has seen, takes refuge in aseries of outrageous lies–which, of course, are eagerlybelieved. All the isolation of childhood is there. And howaccurately he has recorded the mechanisms of the child's mind, itsvisualizing tendency, its sensitiveness to certain kinds ofimpression. Pip relates how in his childhood his ideas about hisdead parents were derived from their tombstones:

Stalin's Great Purges Essay, Research Paper Stalin?s Purges Soviet Terror Stalin?s great purges had a distressing significance during the 1930?s

Great Purge Essays and Research Papers | …

POLITICS–Any contemporary event, cult or activity whichhas comic possibilities (for example, 'free love', feminism,A.R.P., nudism) rapidly finds its way into the picture post cards,but their general atmosphere is extremely old-fashioned. Theimplied political outlook is a Radicalism appropriate to about theyear 1900. At normal times they are not only not patriotic, but goin for a mild guying of patriotism, with jokes about 'God save theKing', the Union Jack, etc. The European situation only began toreflect itself in them at some time in 1939, and first did sothrough the comic aspects of A.R.P. Even at this date few postcards mention the war except in A.R.P. jokes (fat woman stuck inthe mouth of Anderson shelter: wardens neglecting their duty whileyoung woman undresses at window she has forgotten to black out,etc., etc.) A few express anti-Hitler sentiments of a not veryvindictive kind. One, not McGill's, shows Hitler with the usualhypertrophied backside, bending down to pick a flower. Caption;'What would you do, chums?' This is about as high a flight ofpatriotism as any post card is likely to attain. Unlike thetwopenny weekly papers, comic post cards are not the product of anygreat monopoly company, and evidently they are not regarded ashaving any importance in forming public opinion. There is no signin them of any attempt to induce an outlook acceptable to theruling class.