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There is a clear sense that Stalin and other officials had differing views and therefore actions, that depended almost entirely on the needs of the nation, as they perceived them, at the time the decisions were made.
Prior to 1948, the Soviet Union's record concerning Jews was mixed. On the one hand, Lenin, the first leader of the Soviet Union, had consistently and vigorously condemned anti-Semitism, and in the late 1920s and 1930s Stalin had acted to stamp out public manifestations of anti-Semitism. (36) on the other hand, Stalin began in the late 1930s to suppress and destroy Jewish cultural activities and institutions. The arrests and show trials of 1936-1938 included an attack upon many leading Jewish communists. Further, government tolerance of popular anti-Semitism no doubt influenced the considerable collaboration of Soviet citizens with the Nazi Holocaust.
Regardless of the overall anti-Semitic stance of the party, and Stalin it was opportunistic in its response to real situations, at once protecting and utilizing Jewish peoples and organizations and cleansing the national body of the "Jewish problem."
Building a stand that the character of Stalin dominated the ideologies of early Soviet development is not difficult, nor is finding evidence that Stalin himself was inherently anti-Semitic in his ideology, but forming an idea that this sentiment was consistently applied to Russian Jews is difficult. The particular brand of Russian Nationalism that dominated Stalin's political, social, economic and cultural identity, Russian National Bolshevism was ultimately incongruent with any separatist identity, the Jews included. Stalin sought to homogenize the people of Soviet Russia through many means, and targeted all faiths who held any particular hold over people, including but not limited to the Greek Orthodox, Muslim and the Roman Catholic faiths as well as those who practiced the Jewish faith in separatist organization.
Stalin and others wished to make Socialism the national religion, seeking to unite all Soviet Russia under one overall cause and though in the end some separatism was allowed, such as through the allowance of national independence of Soviet states, there was ascension to the idea that some vestiges of faith and individualism were essential to the strength of Soviet Russia. Stalin's anti-Semitism was a reflection of his overall scheme to remake a homogenous Russia. His particular fear of Jews was as a result of their success in the world, just as it was feared by most of the Western world and played out in many examples of anti-Semitic policy.
Barbusse, Henri. Stalin: A New World Seen through One Man. Translated by Holland, Vyvyan. New York: Macmillan, 1935.
Brustein, William I. Roots of Hate: Anti-Semitism in Europe before the Holocaust. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 2003.
Byrnes, Robert F. "The Climax of Stalinism, 1950-1953" Annals of the American Acedemy of Political and Social Science, 313 (May 1958), 8-11.
Kostyrchenko, Gennadi. Out of the Red Shadows: Anti-Semitism in Stalin's Russia. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 1995.
Lumer, Hyman. "3 Excerpts -- Lenin on the Jewish Question, 1974, International Publishers, New York," in Anti-Semitism and Zionism: Selected Marxist Writings. Edited by Rubin, Daniel, 19-81. New York: International Publishers, 1987.
Mendes, Philip. "The Melbourne Jewish Left, Communism and the Cold War. Responses to Stalinist Anti-Semitism and the Rosenberg Spy Trial." The Australian Journal of Politics and History 49, no. 4 (2003): 501.
Thatcher, Ian. "Nazism and Stalinism: Ian Thatcher Argues That Surface Similarities between the Regimes of Hitler and Stalin Disguise Deep-Seated Differences." History Review (2003): 8.
Tucker, Robert C. Stalin in Power: The Revolution from Above, 1929-1941. New York: Norton, 1990.
Weinryb, Bernard D. "Stalin's Zionism" Proceedings of the American Academy for Jewish Research, 46 (1979-1980) 555-572.
Robert C. Tucker, Stalin in Power: The Revolution from Above, 1929-1941 (New York: Norton, 1990, 379.
Ian Thatcher, "Nazism and Stalinism: Ian Thatcher Argues That Surface Similarities between the Regimes of Hitler and Stalin Disguise Deep-Seated Differences," History Review (2003), 8.
Bernard D. Weinryb, "Stalin's Zionism," Proceedings of the American Academy for Jewish Research, Vol. 46 (1979-1980). 555-572.
Gennadi Kostyrchenko, Out of the Red Shadows: Anti-Semitism in Stalin's Russia (Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 1995), 11.
Robert F. Byrnes "The Climax of Stalinism, 1950-1953," Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science (May 1958). 9.
William I. Brustein, Roots of Hate: Anti-Semitism in Europe before the Holocaust [book online] (Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 2003), 103.
Hyman Lumer, "3 Excerpts -- Lenin on the Jewish Question, 1974, International Publishers, New York," in Anti-Semitism and Zionism: Selected Marxist Writings, ed. Daniel Rubin (New York: International Publishers, 1987), 32.
Philip Mendes, "The Melbourne Jewish Left,…[continue]
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