12 June 2011

SEVENTH


A.  It has become common for comments about the murderousness of Adolf Hitler to be followed up by comparisons to Josef Stalin.  Hitler, the usual line goes, killed only 12 million in the Holocaust, while Stalin killed many more (estimates run as high as 60 million, according to wikipedia) through political purges, mismanagement, and pogroms.  Therefore Stalin’s malice trumps Hitler’s.  This is a good example of flawed utilitarian reasoning.  Hitler’s plan on invading Russia was to intentionally starve 20-30 million Russians, completely depopulate the Ukraine, and eventually let the slavs die out through a mix of famine and disease.  Additionally, if you were a Russian prisoner of war in German hands, your odds were close to 1 in 2 of dying.  German soldiers were told to think of slavs as treacherous subhumans and to make no particular efforts to keep them alive.
B.  The above information courtesy of The Third Reich at War, by Richard Evans.