After fishing Bloodlands by Timothy Snyder, I found it interesting but slightly repetitive, although I enjoyed the personal narrations and stories that were placed throughout the book. I have mentioned that I like personal stories before, yet still some of the ones I read always surprise me and help me connect to the events I’m researching.
I found that the last half of this book wasn’t as entertaining as the first half, but after finishing it I definitely know a lot about Hitler and Stalin. The one thing that got me thinking after reading this book was other political leaders, and the war crimes and murders they committed. I know that Mao killed just as many people as Hitler and Stalin and it would be interesting to see a comparison of all three leaders.
The most intriguing fact I learned was about the gradual decline in deaths that occurred as the power and control the leaders had also declined. It was a linear slope, both declining with less power and inclining when there was more power. Although, both leaders also used killing to gain control which in turn can gain them power. Stalin found himself ordering, instead of asking, for orders both related and unrelated to killing at the end of his rule. Also, thousands of deaths per month only turned into a couple deaths per months years later. This point, although somewhat predictable, interested me because I had never thought of it before.
Overall, this book was very powerful and Snyder is an intelligent and well-worded man. His statement at the end of the conclusion was brilliant. “The Nazi and Soviet regimes turned people into numbers, some of which we can only estimate, some of which we can reconstruct with fair precision. It is for us scholars to seek these numbers and put them into perspective. It is for us as humanists to tun the numbers back into people. If we cannot do that, then Hitler and Stalin have shaped not only our world, but our humanity.” (406)
Which other political leaders committed crimes and murders to the extent that Stalin and Hitler did? How do these leaders all compare?
Overall, which cultures were impacted the most from these events and how did they change these cultures? Which ones have recovered to this day?
What happened to the people that worked for Stalin and Hitler after the axis powers lost the war? Was there punishments for these people? How were they emotionally impacted form their actions?