Dominic Sandbrook reviewed a book (Stalin’s War by Sean McMeekin) in the Sunday Times 21 March 2021 that was anti-Soviet, anti-Stalin and pro-Nazi in the extreme but, unlike the usual book reviews of such literary offal he disagrees with the book and finishes the review with the words;- “his book reads less like a serious scholarly history than a provocative thought experiment that has got completely out of hand.” If that was all he had said all would be well and good, but, alas, his ire is reserved only for McMeekin’s criticism of British and US imperialism and their policies, you know the type, we should have joined Hitler against the USSR, we should have done a deal with Japan to let them carry on the well documented slaughter of Chinese civilians (not that the UK and US did anything to stop that anyway).
Having ridiculed McMeekin for his attacks on western imperialism, though not his obvious preference for fascism, Sandbrook accepts every anti-Stalin slur without question, so, we thought, perhaps we should ask for some evidence, perhaps we should point out the stupidity that McMeekin (backed up by Sandbrook) is asking us to believe.
Sandbrook writes in defence of McMeekin’s dribbling diatribe re Soviet ‘expansionist’ invasions of Poland and the Baltic States;- “McMeekin offers plenty of grim details about the Soviet invasions of Poland and the Baltic republics in the winter of 1939-40. As he points out, Baltic leaders were ‘bound to trees with iron hoops’, had ‘their testicles kicked to pulp’ and ‘had their eyes gouged and their tongues cut out’ — all courtesy of kindly, avuncular Uncle Joe.” Oh dear, Did the Soviets bring their own iron hoops with them or did them go through the trouble of making them at the scene? Were the iron hoops different sizes to fit trees, and persons, of different widths or were they one size fits all? What if there were no trees handy? Where did all these persons with no eyes or tongues go? We don’t remember any pictures of such people, where were the witnesses? Surely, if you are going to carry out this level of violence it has to have a reason, what would that reason be if no one witnessed it?
Sandbrook mocks McMeekin’s ideas of an alliance with Nazi Germany further saying;- “Most readers will find the idea of dealing with Hitler a moral obscenity, although McMeekin is right to point out that Stalin was little better. However, some of his claims are little more than fantasy.” And what evidence do you bring forward to support your claim that “Stalin was little better” Mr Sandbrook? Oh, you have none, never mind you can always fall back on the bourgeois journalist’s tried and tested “Well, everybody knows” can’t you. In fact, just as you say about Mr McMeekin’s claims, your own are also “little more than fantasy.”