European History 329 Assignment 1


Instructions: Answer the following question as thoughtfully and thoroughly you can incorporating specific references from the readings below drawn from the syllabus. It should be four to five pages, double-spaced with one-inch margins on each side. Use specific references from the readings to support your argument. Please proof-read for grammar, spelling and syntax.

T. von Laue, “Stalin in Focus,” 1983 (via JSTOR) ab_segments=0%2Fbasic_SYC-5187_SYC-5188%2F5187&refreqid=fastly-default %3A41f0d76827b77651cc3536fab133d0ac 
1905 Treaty of Portsmouth (Articles 1 thru 11 only) 
1918 Treaty of Brest-Litvok (Articles 1 thru 11 only) 
Winston Churchill on Allied Intervention in the Russian Civil War, 1919   
Adolf Hitler, “Eastern Orientation or Eastern Policy,” from Mein Kampf, 1924 (in Blackboard)
Joseph Stalin, “The Task of Economic Executives,” 1931
The Franco-Soviet Treay of Mutual Assistance, May 1935 
History of the Cuzon Line Settling the 1919-1920 Polish Soviet War
The German-Soviet Non-Aggression Treaty, August 1939

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Review each of the assigned readings above. Construct from them a response to von Laue’s view in “Stalin in Focus” that Soviet Communism was a brutal system, but one that emerged to prevent the domination of that country “by any means necessary” in a world in which the major industrial states (Britain, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Belgium, the U.S.) acted as global predators imposing their domination over all societies without the ability to resist them. What validity if any do you see in von Laue’s argument after examining the documents above? Conversely, some have argued that despite von Laue’s acknowledging Stalin’s crimes, his theory still serves to shift some of the responsiblilty for those crimes from those who commited them (Stalin and his supporters) by partly and unjustly blaming Western and Japanese imperialism for creating the global context in which these crimes were commited. After examining these documents is there in your view any degree of truth in von Laue’s theory? If not, how should the repeated invasions of Russia/the USSR in the 20th century, the declared intention of the Nazi movement to invade that country as early as the 1920s, the refusal of the French and British to co-operate with the USSR in confronting Hitler before 1939, and the alliances of some Central Europe states (Hungary, Rumania, Slovakia, Bulgaria) with the Nazi regime’s 1941 invasion of the USSR be understood if not as part of the underlayng context for understading what was driving Stalin’s dictatorship? And was Stalin making excuses  for his repressive rule or otherwise wrong when he claimed in his 1931 speech on “the Tasks of Economic Executives” that “those who fall behind get beaten” and that the country had ten years to prepare for the coming invasion?

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