Harvest of Despair

Harvard University Press
Free sample

Berkhoff provides a searing portrait of life in the Third Reich's largest colony. Under the Nazis, a blend of German nationalism, anti-Semitism, and racist notions about the Slavs produced a reign of terror and genocide. Berkhoff also shows how a pervasive Soviet mentality worked against solidarity, which helps explain why the vast majority of the population did not resist the Germans.
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About the author

Karel C. Berkhoff is Senior Researcher at the NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies at the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Harvard University Press
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Published on
Mar 15, 2008
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Pages
480
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ISBN
9780674020788
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Europe / Former Soviet Republics
History / Holocaust
History / Military / World War II
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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In Children of Rus', Faith Hillis recovers an all but forgotten chapter in the history of the tsarist empire and its southwestern borderlands. The right bank, or west side, of the Dnieper River—which today is located at the heart of the independent state of Ukraine—was one of the Russian empire’s last territorial acquisitions, annexed only in the late eighteenth century. Yet over the course of the long nineteenth century, this newly acquired region nearly a thousand miles from Moscow and St. Petersburg generated a powerful Russian nationalist movement. Claiming to restore the ancient customs of the East Slavs, the southwest’s Russian nationalists sought to empower the ordinary Orthodox residents of the borderlands and to diminish the influence of their non-Orthodox minorities.Right-bank Ukraine would seem unlikely terrain to nourish a Russian nationalist imagination. It was among the empire’s most diverse corners, with few of its residents speaking Russian as their native language or identifying with the culture of the Great Russian interior. Nevertheless, as Hillis shows, by the late nineteenth century, Russian nationalists had established a strong foothold in the southwest’s culture and educated society; in the first decade of the twentieth, they secured a leading role in local mass politics. By 1910, with help from sympathetic officials in St. Petersburg, right-bank activists expanded their sights beyond the borderlands, hoping to spread their nationalizing agenda across the empire.Exploring why and how the empire’s southwestern borderlands produced its most organized and politically successful Russian nationalist movement, Hillis puts forth a bold new interpretation of state-society relations under tsarism as she reconstructs the role that a peripheral region played in attempting to define the essential characteristics of the Russian people and their state.
This book boldly challenges conventional wisdom about the value of preventive war. Beginning with the rise of German power and the French and British response to the Rhineland crisis leading to World War II, Scott Silverstone overturns the common impulse to point an accusing finger at British leadership for its alleged naïveté, willful blindness, or outright cowardice. Arguing against the belief that Britain could have contained Germany and avoided war if it had used force when Hitler remilitarized the Rhineland, the author uses this dramatic event to wrestle with a general strategic problem that has broad relevance for our current foreign policy dilemmas. Silverstone argues that the Rhineland crisis is a critical case for studying a central dynamic of world history—power shifts among states—and the preventive war temptation that power shifts frequently produce. There has been surging interest in the idea of preventive war, an interest stimulated by the Bush administration’s articulation of the “preemption doctrine” in 2002 and the disastrous invasion of Iraq in 2003, and by frustration over the difficulty of preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons by such states as North Korea and Iran. Clarifying the way we think about preventive war, the author analyzes the enduring strategic flaws in preventive war that must inform how political leaders and the public think about this option as a means of dealing with shifting threats in the modern world. Offering a radically conservative argument for when to wage war, this persuasive book will be essential reading for policy makers and concerned citizens alike.
This is a biography of a borderland between Russia and Poland, a region where, in 1925, people identified as Poles, Germans, Jews, Ukrainians, and Russians lived side by side. Over the next three decades, this mosaic of cultures was modernized and homogenized out of existence by the ruling might of the Soviet Union, then Nazi Germany, and finally, Polish and Ukrainian nationalism. By the 1950s, this "no place" emerged as a Ukrainian heartland, and the fertile mix of peoples that defined the region was destroyed.

Brown's study is grounded in the life of the village and shtetl, in the personalities and small histories of everyday life in this area. In impressive detail, she documents how these regimes, bureaucratically and then violently, separated, named, and regimented this intricate community into distinct ethnic groups.

Drawing on recently opened archives, ethnography, and oral interviews that were unavailable a decade ago, A Biography of No Place reveals Stalinist and Nazi history from the perspective of the remote borderlands, thus bringing the periphery to the center of history.

We are given, in short, an intimate portrait of the ethnic purification that has marked all of Europe, as well as a glimpse at the margins of twentieth-century "progress."



Table of Contents:

Glossary

Introduction
1. Inventory
2. Ghosts in the Bathhouse
3. Moving Pictures
4. The Power to Name
5. A Diary of Deportation
6. The Great Purges and the Rights of Man
7. Deportee into Colonizer
8. Racial Hierarchies
Epilogue: Shifting Borders, Shifting Identities

Notes
Archival Sources
Acknowledgments
Index



This is a biography of a borderland between Russia and Poland, a region where, in 1925, people identified as Poles, Germans, Jews, Ukrainians, and Russians lived side by side. Over the next three decades, this mosaic of cultures was modernized and homogenized out of existence by the ruling might of the Soviet Union, then Nazi Germany, and finally, Polish and Ukrainian nationalism. By the 1950s, this "no place" emerged as a Ukrainian heartland, and the fertile mix of peoples that defined the region was destroyed. Brown's study is grounded in the life of the village and shtetl, in the personalities and small histories of everyday life in this area. In impressive detail, she documents how these regimes, bureaucratically and then violently, separated, named, and regimented this intricate community into distinct ethnic groups. Drawing on recently opened archives, ethnography, and oral interviews that were unavailable a decade ago, A Biography of No Place reveals Stalinist and Nazi history from the perspective of the remote borderlands, thus bringing the periphery to the center of history. Brown argues that repressive national policies grew not out of chauvinist or racist ideas, but the very instruments of modern governance - the census, map, and progressive social programs - first employed by Bolshevik reformers in the western borderlands. We are given, in short, an intimate portrait of the ethnic purification that has marked all of Europe, as well as a glimpse at the margins of twentieth century "progress." Kate Brown is Assistant Professor of History at University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

A Biography of No Place is one of the most original and imaginative works of history to emerge in the western literature on the former Soviet Union in the last ten years. Historiographically fearless, Kate Brown writes with elegance and force, turning this history of a lost, but culturally rich borderland into a compelling narrative that serves as a microcosm for understanding nation and state in the Twentieth Century. With compassion and respect for the diverse people who inhabited this margin of territory between Russia and Poland, Kate Brown restores the voices, memories, and humanity of a people lost.
--Lynne Viola, Professor of History, University of Toronto

Samuel Butler and Kate Brown have something in common. Both have written about Erewhon with imagination and flair. I was captivated by the courage and enterprise behind this book. Is there a way to write a history of events that do not make rational sense? Kate Brown asks. She proceeds to give us a stunning answer.
--Modris Eksteins, author of Rites of Spring: The Great War and the Birth of the Modern Age

Kate Brown tells the story of how succeeding regimes transformed a onetime multiethnic borderland into a far more ethnically homogeneous region through their often murderous imperialist and nationalist projects. She writes evocatively of the inhabitants' frequently challenged identities and livelihoods and gives voice to their aspirations and laments, including Poles, Ukrainians, Germans, Jews, and Russians. A Biography of No Place is a provocative meditation on the meanings of periphery and center in the writing of history.
--Mark von Hagen, Professor of History, Columbia University
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