The Century's Greatest Heroes and Its Bloodies Villains
Toronto Sun - Comment - Jan. 2, 2000
One hundred years ago, most people earnestly believed the dawning 20th century would bring a golden age of technology-based prosperity, reason in human conduct, an end to war and remarkable advancement of all mankind. Instead of a golden era of humanism, the 20th century became the bloodiest era in the past 1000 years. To avoid repeating the crimes and horrors of the century just past, we must study - and restudy - its political heroes and villains. The heroes may not return, but the villains and their malevolent thinking certainly will. Study history, as Santayana warned, or relive it.
[a selection of two villains]
Genghis Khan with tanks. An extraordinary monster, the biggest mass murderer since the Mongols - perhaps the biggest in all history. Everyone was Stalin's enemy. Power was everything. Stalin presided over the murder of 40 million of his own people and the imprisonment of tens of millions of Russians and East Europeans. The master terrorist of all time, Stalin knew how to conjure fear and obedience on a mass scale. He repeatedly outwitted the bumbling Roosevelt and Churchill and infiltrated their governments with his agents. A despot whose name inspires fear and respect in Russia to this day, he was the real victor of World War II in Europe.
Stalin called him "my Himmler." Kaganovitch personally supervised the murder of 6-7 million Ukrainian peasants in the mid-1930s - a decade before Hitler's crimes against humanity - and went on to organize the mass murder of two million Muslims in the Caucasus and deportation of another two million to Siberia. This work continues today as Russian forces complete their Mongol-style destruction of tiny Chechnya.
Reprinted with the permission of SunMedia Corporation.