Streams

Life Behind the Iron Curtain, 1944–56

Monday, November 26, 2012

Pulitzer Prize-winner Anne Applebaum discusses how Communism took over Eastern Europe after World War II and transformed the individuals who came under its sway. Her history Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1944–56 draws on newly opened East European archives, interviews, and personal accounts translated for the first time to show in detail the dilemmas faced by millions of individuals trying to adjust to a way of life that challenged their beliefs and took away everything they had.

Guests:

Anne Applebaum

Comments [10]

Theresa A. Panzera

During the discussion about which armies took over the different parts of Europe at the end of WWII, it was mentioned that Eisenhower could have taken over Prague. My father was a member of the 656th Field Artillery and their unit had actually moved into Czechoslovkia when the order came down to withdraw back into Germany. He suffered alot as the years past, and we learned about the dictorial brutality of the Communist governments in Eastern Europe and he realized that history could have been different.

Nov. 28 2012 05:30 PM
anna from new york

"If you spent the time to read the title, the book is about the past and there is no "conflict of interest" as you claim"
Morfin, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha
ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha,
ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha
ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha
have you ever been to Poland
ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha
ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha,
ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha
ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha
This what happens when an American talks about the world
ha, ha, ha, ha
sorry, can't stop ha, ha, ha, ha


Nov. 28 2012 02:30 PM
anna from new york

"She is a current wife of a current Polish foreign minister and hardly could represent an honest and independent journalism."
Yes, there can be a problem.

Nov. 28 2012 02:25 PM

@qwert: Yes she's married to the Polish Foreign Minister AND has two children. Does that make her less of a journalist? If you spent the time to read the title, the book is about the past and there is no "conflict of interest" as you claim. Poland is no longer a socialist state and its 2012. Though I have not read Ms Applebaum's book (its in the mail) it seems like a spot on recollection of those times as per my family members,from this and other interviews.

Nov. 26 2012 01:28 PM
oscar from ny

I feel that communism was invented by he zionist to keep large groups of ppl in check, and the reason why many leaders adopted this political idealism is because they were dictators or just didnt know the future agenda, ...thats why i think president obama or is always blamed to be communist...in actuality isnt communism just a group a community of ppl doing something for a same purpose?..i mean bloomberg is kind of a communist by making whole ny not smoke or drink however much we want...vommunism is just a part of someones dna or history..

Nov. 26 2012 01:21 PM
Henry from Manhattan

If it wasn’t history, I would think it was science fiction.

Fascinating times.

Nov. 26 2012 01:15 PM
qwert

Like usually loyal employs of propaganda entertainment complex conveniently forgot to mention that Ms. Applebaum is not really Ms. Applebaum but Mrs. Sikorski. She is a current wife of a current Polish foreign minister and hardly could represent an honest and independent journalism.

Nov. 26 2012 01:06 PM
BigGuy

EUROPEAN DESTRUCTION AFTER WORLD WAR TWO

Few of us in the United States can even imagine the level of destruction suffered in the countries in Europe where the fighting was strongest during World War Two. The closest thing to it was ground zero here in New York, but the scale would have to be much, much larger. If the whole of the Boston-Washington megalopolis looked like ground zero, it would approximate, but still be far less than, the level of destruction.

The estimates in one English translated history book of Eastern Europe are that the countries where most of the fighting occurred lost "about one-third of their national wealth" or three times their highest GDP prior to 1940. These countries are Poland, Hungary, and Yugoslavia. Losses in the western Soviet Union -- Belarus, Russia, and the Ukraine -- were higher still, perhaps one-half the national wealth. (Ivan T. Berend & Gyorgy Ranki, Economic Development in East-Central Europe in the 19th & 20th Centuries, New York: Columbia University Press, 1974, p.341)

What represents one third of the United State's national wealth? One third of our wealth is in our housing stock (Statistical Abstract of the United States). So the equivalent level of destruction here in the United States would be if every single person in the country were to become homeless. If all of our housing stock, of every type -- suburban houses, apartments, dorms, prisons, hotels -- every single covered dwelling place in the whole of the country where a person could sleep overnight, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, from Canada to Mexico -- disappeared from the face of the earth. All that would still be relatively LESS than amount of destruction in the western Soviet Union.

Many of us believe the losses of the Soviet Union are because of Stalin's purges of the Red Army before the war and because of the scorched earth policy. And people question why did the Red Army fight so hard, when Stalin had killed so many? Hitler had already killed nearly all he said he would kill in Mein Kamph. The first group were all the mental and physical defectives in Germany -- and nearly all (over 90%) of the mentally disturbed and mentally retarded, blind, deaf, and permanently crippled (except for WW 1 veterans) were killed before Kristallnacht, 11/9/38. Next the Jews and Gypsies throughtout Europe, were being killed. Then, after that, all the Poles were to be killed, then all the rest of the Slavs. Most of the Red Army assumed that if they lost the war, everybody who survived would eventually be killed by Germany. If they won, their kids were likely to grow to adulthood.

The author confirmed what I wrote in an email to me last month:

Thanks Joel! I almost forgot that old book from the early 1970s. You are absolutely OK. New figures are coming out from Russia's death toll. It seems to be higher than believed before, probably 30-40 million. Unbelievable.
Best,
Ivan

Nov. 26 2012 12:46 PM
Jojo

Uh - we don't think of destruction of non-German cities when we learn about WWII? Not sure what school this guy attended, but normal schools drill the blitzkrieg of Poland and the UK into your brain pretty well. What's he talkin' about??

Nov. 26 2012 12:45 PM
Ed from Larchmont

I thought Communism was supposed to lead to freedom? That's what it's supporters, many in the U.S., claim and still claim.

Nov. 26 2012 08:01 AM

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