01/12/2018

The Communist Holocaust And Its Lessons For The 21st Century

Philip Vander Elst, CapX

For at least half a century, nearly every secondary school pupil and university student in Britain has learnt about the evils of Nazism and Fascism, and the crimes of Hitler, Mussolini and Franco. One enormously important subject, however, has generally been missing from the education curriculum: namely, the horrendous and universally destructive nature and record of Communism.

Whilst mainstream historical textbooks and political commentary have typically described Stalin’s purges and repressive rule during the 1930s and ’40s, and the post-war Soviet occupation and subjugation of Eastern Europe, their coverage of 20th-century history has tended to downplay the role of Lenin and Trotsky as the original architects of Soviet totalitarianism, rarely emphasising the full extent or scale of the bloodletting for which these two men were responsible during the early years of Communist rule in Russia (1917-1924).

The repressive nature and sanguinary record of Communism in Asia, Africa, and Latin America – in countries like China, Vietnam, Cuba, and Mozambique, to mention only a few examples, has been similarly minimised or ignored. Worst of all, there has usually been little adequate discussion of the totalitarian ideological roots of Communist tyranny – of the fact, for example, that Marx and Engels were quite open and explicit about their hostility to freedom and democracy, and their support for revolutionary violence, the physical extermination of their opponents, and the ruthless suppression of all dissent in their future Socialist State.

Not surprisingly, these failures of omission have helped to produce a lopsided and morally distorted understanding of recent modern history, particularly that of the Cold War. Instead of recognising, from the very beginning, the inherently totalitarian and globally aggressive character of Communist ideology, many on the Left spent decades constructing alibis to excuse Soviet and Chinese despotism, a pattern repeated in relation to other Communist regimes in Cuba, North Vietnam, Nicaragua, and other parts of the Third World.

To counter these misconceptions, we must begin at the beginning, with a brief explanation of the central link between Marxist ideology and Communist totalitarianism.

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