Re: Deluge - Chapters 5 and 6

1

This isn't exactly the Spirit of 1989 here.

That was her best album.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-16-16 6:10 AM
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for the starving cities of Austria-Hungary this last was a key prize (and one which they were soon to find turning to dust in their hands)

Like so many convenience store robbers, the German government keeps forgetting that stealing stuff is usually less effective in the long run (and sometimes the short run) than getting it some other way.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-16-16 6:23 AM
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I'm sorry Tooze doesn't feel that Nestor Makhno is even worth a mention.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 05-16-16 6:43 AM
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Winner for five years running of the Ukrainian anarchist's Oscar Wilde posing contest.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-16-16 6:47 AM
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Heaven knows what Trotsky was playing at.

You could ask him. Tooze seems fond of quoting Trotsky, so it's a little odd that he doesn't use him as a source in this case.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 05-16-16 7:14 AM
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4 wins.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 05-16-16 7:23 AM
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I'm still catching up, starting chapter 4, noting it may be unlikely but still a pretty interesting AU concept: the democratizing alliance of the US, Russia, Germany, China arrayed against the all-in imperialist powers Britain, France, Japan.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 05-16-16 7:24 AM
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4 is indeed remarkable.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 05-16-16 7:31 AM
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Ok, now I have SIX chapters to catch up with. And an introduction. Ack.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 05-16-16 7:32 AM
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I'm still two chapters ahead. Not that it helped. The summary was very good and I can't think of anything to add.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-16-16 7:34 AM
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About 2/3 of the way through chapter 4. Maybe I'll catch up this week.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 05-16-16 7:43 AM
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The summary talks about Lenin taking heat from Bolshevik Committee and Petrograd Soviet, but what about the rest of the country - how did Bolsheviks maintain any support at all after losing that much territory? Was it that at that point a lot of the forces who could have turned them out were already arrayed against them in civil war, and against other socialists they had a +5 Ruthlessness sword?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 05-16-16 7:56 AM
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The German Empire, also, defeated itself through the scale of its own victory; the hundreds of thousands of troops it needed to garrison its vast new holdings in the East were all unavailable for the final offensive against Britain and France in the West, which began in late March 1918.

Actually, this looks in retrospect like an unforced error by Hindenburg and Ludendorff. If they had responded to Trotsky's "neither war nor peace" posturing by simply saying, "Well, fuck you then", they could have left a token force in the east, moved most of their army to the western front and had some chance, albeit limited, of forcing the western allies to the negotiating table. After which they could have gone back and dealt with the Red Army at their leisure.

As it was, by restarting the war in Russia immediately, they were able to free up enough forces to kick Italy's arse, but not to make a decisive impact on the western front. Poor strategic thinking. I mean, they'd probably have lost the war anyway, but it might have been closer.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 05-16-16 7:56 AM
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5: Trotsky starts off by saying "our plan was to delay as long as possible in order to give time for a Communist revolution in Germany". OK, reasonable strategy, if you believe that Germany's on the brink of revolution.

But then he says that they decided to prove that they were truly the enemies of Germany by deliberately getting beaten by them. "It was my opinion that, cost what it might, before the signing of peace we must give the workmen of Europe a clear proof of the deadly enmity between us and governmental Germany... We will sign the peace terms under bayonets. Then the picture will be clear to the workmen of the whole world."

Which is crazy. Lenin seemed to think that the German offensive would peter out in Estonia and Latvia, and that doesn't really matter, which betrays both callousness and an inability to grasp how fast the German army would be able to move against zero opposition.

That second point's critical. If Lenin and Trotsky thought that the Germans would take months to conquer Russia, then it makes more sense to hope for a revolution to kick out the props from the Reichswehr. But they didn't; they took weeks. Even if it was reasonable in February 1918 to think "there's going to be a revolution in Germany in the next couple of years", that's still very different from "in the next three weeks". That blatantly was not the case, and only an immediate German revolution could have saved them.

Because it was stupid, especially for someone thinking in Marxist terms, to believe that the immensely lucrative conquest of the granaries, fields, mines and factories of the western Russian Empire would make a German revolution more likely. But this is what Trotsky and Lenin seemed to believe - that the German working class would be moved to revolt against their victorious Kaiser out of pity.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-16-16 7:58 AM
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how did Bolsheviks maintain any support at all after losing that much territory? Was it that at that point a lot of the forces who could have turned them out were already arrayed against them in civil war

That was true later in the year, I think, but not so much at the start of 1918. In fact, signing the Brest-Litovsk treaty was one of the triggers for the Civil War. At the time we're talking about (December 1917-March 1918), the Bolsheviks controlled pretty much all of European Russia, except for the far north around Archangel and the south towards the Caucasus.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-16-16 8:03 AM
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12. I think western historian in general underestimate how much support there actually was, if not for the Bolsheviks as such, then certainly for "Peace, Land and Bread". There is a good deal of truth in the narrative of Lenin and his intimate circle wading through blood to the establishment of the Soviet Union, but they didn't do it on their own.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 05-16-16 8:03 AM
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Nice summary ajay. I'm pretty sure Nestor Makhno turns up in the Russian Civil War chapters.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-16-16 8:06 AM
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That second point's critical. If Lenin and Trotsky thought that the Germans would take months to conquer Russia, then it makes more sense to hope for a revolution to kick out the props from the Reichswehr.

Well, yes. It was a monstrous miscalculation. But it was, in some sense, a calculation.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 05-16-16 8:07 AM
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Actually, this looks in retrospect like an unforced error by Hindenburg and Ludendorff. If they had responded to Trotsky's "neither war nor peace" posturing by simply saying, "Well, fuck you then", they could have left a token force in the east, moved most of their army to the western front and had some chance, albeit limited, of forcing the western allies to the negotiating table.

Agreed. But it was in their nature. They couldn't turn down the chance of conquering vast new eastern estates full of subservient peasants any more than a Labrador can turn down the chance of going after a tennis ball.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-16-16 8:11 AM
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14, 15: The Bolsheviks' (lack of) credibility as German enemies actually counted a lot: Tooze argues later (don't know how controversially) that the wars of intervention weren't actually about communism at all, but driven by the perception that Lenin was essentially handing over Russia to Germany, and this couldn't be permitted.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-16-16 8:11 AM
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Though of course Trotsky's argument as given is nuts.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-16-16 8:13 AM
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18: but Lenin and Trotsky knew perfectly well that there was no way Russia in spring 1918 could put together any kind of cohesive defence strategy. Trotsky says exactly that in the Brest-Litovsk chapter. And, yes, the Germans moved at record speed, but there were lots of examples from earlier in the war on the Eastern Front of the Germans moving fast against actual opposition.

And the whole "this will make the European worker rally to our defence" thing is nuts. If your strategy starts "first we deliberately lose a war and get conquered" then it's a shit strategy, no matter what step two is.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-16-16 8:15 AM
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20 - I don't think it's that controversial that that was one ostensible motive but whether or not it's controversial that it was an actual motive I have no idea.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 05-16-16 8:18 AM
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I STILL THINK WESTERN CIVILIZATION WOULD BE A GOOD IDEA.


Posted by: Opinionated Gandhi | Link to this comment | 05-16-16 8:20 AM
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I'm sorry Tooze doesn't feel that Nestor Makhno is even worth a mention.

Particularly the famous incident in which the A-bomb meant for Makhno ended up being turned against the Steel Tsar Iosif Djugashvili.


Posted by: One of Many | Link to this comment | 05-16-16 8:22 AM
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OP:But look at them now, they're in NATO and a "German-dominated European Union", which is basically the same thing. It just came apart a bit in the implementation.
Justly snide, but I like Tooze's point that there was underlying legitimacy for those new protectorates. I wanted Tooze to give more details about the proposed liberal German order in the east, especially considering interwar Eastern Europe did in fact get a multilateral security system in France's Cordon Sanitaire treaties and the Little Entente.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-16-16 8:25 AM
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23: IIRC Tooze rests on the fact that intervention was cancelled as soon as Versailles was finalized.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-16-16 8:28 AM
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I like Tooze's point that there was underlying legitimacy for those new protectorates.

Well, kind of sort of. I mean, more legitimacy than there was to them being part of the Russian Empire, but we're still talking (as Tooze points out later) about German-occupied territories setting up governments under German supervision which promptly requested German support.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-16-16 8:29 AM
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And the whole "this will make the European worker rally to our defence" thing is nuts. If your strategy starts "first we deliberately lose a war and get conquered" then it's a shit strategy, no matter what step two is.

To make the implicit explicit - these statements must have been at least 75% crafted to save fact, no?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 05-16-16 8:36 AM
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Face, even.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 05-16-16 8:36 AM
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28 is true, though requesting protection against one's former imperial masters would make sense anyway.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-16-16 8:37 AM
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29: I suspect so. I doubt the reliability of something Trotsky wrote in 1925 when it comes to working out what he was thinking in 1918. "History will be kind to me, for I intend to write it."


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-16-16 8:38 AM
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Further on 26, 28: Linking back to what Tooze sets out to do in the Intro :
"...the other powers too were motivated to search for a new order beyond imperialism."
And apparently (civilian) Germany was trying this at Brest. But again details.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-16-16 8:40 AM
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You shouldn't worry so much about history.


Posted by: Opinionated Iceaxe | Link to this comment | 05-16-16 8:42 AM
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When looking for details of what states the ToBL set up, I found the Belarusian government-in-exile, out of power since 1919 but still active today. (With website.)


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 05-16-16 8:44 AM
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Tooze argues later (don't know how controversially) that the wars of intervention weren't actually about communism at all, but driven by the perception that Lenin was essentially handing over Russia to Germany, and this couldn't be permitted.

I'd love to see him discuss this in more detail. I've never encountered such an idea before in my life, although there was a current in the white emigration which believed that Lenin was an active German agent from the moment he stepped onto the sealed train. I don't believe that either.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 05-16-16 8:49 AM
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36: I murkily remember the same idea cropping up in A Peace to End All Peace. It's consistent with other stuff, like Wilson being a ferocious anti-communist, but not prosecuting the interventionary war. Haven't re-read that chapter yet.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-16-16 9:03 AM
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I've never encountered such an idea before in my life

Do you mean you've never encountered "Lenin was a German agent" or "The intervention happened because the Allies thought Lenin was handing Russia over to the Germans?"


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-16-16 9:09 AM
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The latter. As I say I don't find either theory convincing.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 05-16-16 9:11 AM
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The Germans sent him to do exactly what he did. How is he no a German agent?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-16-16 9:12 AM
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40. Lenin thought Ludendorff was a useful idiot; Ludendorff thought Lenin was a useful idiot. In 1918 it looked like Ludendorff was right, but in 1923 Lenin was running the Soviet Union and Ludendorff was lying like a rug to escape being banged up for his part in the Beer Hall Putsch. I think we have to give that one to Lenin on points.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 05-16-16 9:19 AM
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It is admittedly difficult to think of what he might have successfully done that would have benefitted the Germans more than what he actually did. But then that's also true of George Bush and Iran.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-16-16 9:20 AM
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Ajay gets it, I think.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 05-16-16 9:23 AM
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If you just transport someone to somewhere in the knowledge that they will do something there that benefits you, that doesn't make them your agent - I think there has to be some sort of command-and-control relationship.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-16-16 9:27 AM
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They transported him in a sealed train, like he was a medication you had to put in a capsule so it's contents get to where they are needed without being absorbed too soon.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-16-16 9:30 AM
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I've been saying for mare than a decade that GWB was Iran's unwitting (half-witting?) agent.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 05-16-16 9:34 AM
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I'm not even convinced they knew what he would do. They thought he was a loose cannon which would go off one way or another to the detriment of the Russian war effort; and they didn't want him to go off while he was in range of their own forces. It was a low investment tactic with a high pay off if it worked, and it nearly did.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 05-16-16 9:35 AM
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47: More than nearly - it totally worked! Just the pesky Westerners spoiled the party.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-16-16 9:37 AM
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Which reminds me, I really must make a final push on the Hannay/Lenin novel and get it finished this summer.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-16-16 9:40 AM
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45: "Take 2 Lenins and call me in the morning."


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 05-16-16 9:43 AM
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49. As in Richard Hannay of 39 Steps fame?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 05-16-16 9:50 AM
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That's the one. Original concept mentioned in TFA here http://www.unfogged.com/archives/comments_12223.html#1466586

As you can see, progress has been slow.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-16-16 9:54 AM
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I knew nothing about the sealed train, but I found this pretty great Atlantic article from 1954.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05-16-16 9:58 AM
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The other proposal would be good too, but I think the Hannay/Lenin one is more you. I'd read it in a heartbeat. How old would Kim be in 1914?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 05-16-16 10:00 AM
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re: 52

The funniest Radio 4 thing I ever heard was from their adaptation of Greenmantle.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00tmckv

The bit when Hannay is rescued by Sandy Arbuthnot who is dancing as a dervish priest. Where Hannay says something like:

'Dammit, Sandy! You look just like a dervish priest!'

And Arbuthnot, who, and this is crucial, was played by James Fleet (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0281424/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1) says:

'But I am, Hannay, I am a dervish priest!'

in the most bathetically deadpan voice.

I couldn't work out if it was meant to be funny or not, but it was like the most arch comic line, ever.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-16-16 10:02 AM
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I'd like to encourage ajay in 49. The chapters I read were some very good stuff indeed.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 05-16-16 10:12 AM
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Like "But you are, Blanche, you are in that chair"?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 05-16-16 10:25 AM
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13: Actually, this looks in retrospect like an unforced error by Hindenburg and Ludendorff. If they had responded to Trotsky's "neither war nor peace" posturing by simply saying, "Well, fuck you then", they could have left a token force in the east, moved most of their army to the western front and had some chance, albeit limited, of forcing the western allies to the negotiating table. After which they could have gone back and dealt with the Red Army at their leisure.

I think that may be one of those things that looks clearer in retrospect, since we now know how screwed up the Russian army was at the time. It would look really stupid if H&L followed that plan, only to see the Bolsheviks pull off a resumed offensive while the Germans were busy in the west. Plus, without the Ukrainian grain, does Austria-Hungary drop out of the war earlier? That would be a major monkey-wrench in the German plans.


Posted by: Dave W. | Link to this comment | 05-16-16 10:36 AM
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Tend to agree with 58. The key to Germany and especially Austria by 1917 is food. They didn't have enough of it and pretty much the only hope for victory depended on securing lots of it. So rolling the dice on what happens with a peaceable settlement in the East looks less attractive than just having your army control the food you need to feed your army.


Posted by: RT | Link to this comment | 05-16-16 11:18 AM
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Except, and this is mentioned by Tooze, getting food through a peaceable settlement requires being willing to pay for the food. Which they weren't.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-16-16 11:21 AM
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It was more "able" than "willing", but I don't think the difference would matter to a Ukrainian peasant.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-16-16 11:23 AM
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1) Wondering how and why the Germans could know that an obscure scholar and pamphleteer could subvert a whole nation in time of war, I looked it up at Wiki, and Lenin was in a closed traincar to Russia, with 32 other dissidents. Germans aimed a shotgun, not a sniper rifle. PS: Gotta read Lars T Lih.

2) Last night I glanced at a little material on the Chinese Warlord era, just a little more than Wiki, an Osprey, and learned that arms and material were gained from a multitude of places (Italy, USSR, US, homemade - each to their own major warlord) and that White Russians were all over China, as mercenaries, trainers, officers, international contacts and deal facilitators.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-16-16 12:10 PM
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I thought the handling of Brest-Litovsk was good. On one hand, I thought Tooze gave the Allied leaders too much credit for their stated goals in intervening in Russia. But on the other, I had no idea the Bolsheviks were so open to cooperating with Germany to the extent of almost accepting a protectorate relationship. It throws a very different light on Rapallo, and also on the weird way so many German extreme-rightists liked to be sort-of Soviet, to talk them up and borrow style tropes.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 05-16-16 2:32 PM
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16: There is a good deal of truth in the narrative of Lenin and his intimate circle wading through blood to the establishment of the Soviet Union, but they didn't do it on their own.

Always use the buddy system when you go wading through blood.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 05-16-16 3:31 PM
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If I read just 15 pages/day, I should be able to catch up by my summary week. Too bad I lack follow through on that kind of pacing.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 05-16-16 11:15 PM
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63: It throws a very different light on Rapallo
This usually is cast an alliance of convenience between pariah states, but, anticipating and stretching Tooze, Germany and the USSR (plus Japan) both become 'insurgent' powers against American hegemony, which puts the Ribbentrop pact in a different light as well. Interestingly, all three insurgents were heavily involved in warlord China.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-16-16 11:26 PM
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66: I guess it kind of rehabilitates the old Harold Mackinder geopolitics stuff about inevitable conflict between the heartland and the wider world. Not that possessing the Ukraine has delivered world domination to anyone yet, but Tooze's take on it does have that feel. Like "why does NATO/Oceania and Japan/Korea/Taiwan/ASEAN/Eastasia exist but not Germany/USSR/China/Eurasia?"


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 12:54 AM
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I think that may be one of those things that looks clearer in retrospect, since we now know how screwed up the Russian army was at the time.

But the Germans were also aware at the time of how screwed up the Russian army was: they were face to face with them, encouraging them to desert (I think Tooze mentions this) and watching them get out of the trenches and head home. They should have known that it was in no state to mount a renewed no-notice or short-notice offensive, even against a reduced German presence.

Lenin was in a closed traincar to Russia, with 32 other dissidents

Hmm, interesting. I didn't know that - thanks bob. Wonder what happened to the others?

66: Germany and Japan were insurgent powers in 1914 as well. France was a status quo power with the exception of revanchism over Alsace-Lorraine (not to be ignored!); Britain and Russia were status quo powers.
But what's interesting about Tooze's thesis is the idea that the biggest insurgent power of all in WW1 was the US; Wilson's vision of a world in which all the European powers had beaten each other into penniless exhaustion.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 2:25 AM
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54, 56: I'll do what I did with the Nixoniad and bung it up online on a blog.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 2:26 AM
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There actually seems to be some debate about who was on the train, even though the Germans required a full list and carried out a comprehensive search of the train, presumably checking against the list. The most significant passengers other than Lenin were Zinoviev and Karl Radek, but there were quite a few others and some weren't even Bolsheviks.

There's a good blog discussion here:

https://leninsbody.wordpress.com/2016/02/26/lenin-the-sealed-train/

I think Tooze understates, perhaps because he's deliberately not doing military history, how badly the Germans were leathering Russia even before the peace talks - the battle of Riga was the first time they used the new infiltration tactics and brief, super-intense artillery prep in depth they would use to hammer the Italians and nearly do in the British the year afterwards. (In fact the same bloke, Georg Bruchm├╝ller, did the artillery plan for Riga, Caporetto, and Mars-Michael - they used to call him Durch Bruchm├╝ller, ie Breakthrough Miller. See, Germans can laugh!)


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 2:49 AM
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Lenin was in a closed traincar to Russia, with 32 other dissidents.

I wonder what they talked about. Did they get a free preview of the April Theses? If so, once they got to Petrograd, did the ones who were not Bolsheviks go and warn their respective parties in advance that Lenin was going off on one?

69 sounds great. Looking forward to this.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 2:52 AM
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The most significant passengers other than Lenin were Zinoviev and Karl Radek, but there were quite a few others and some weren't even Bolsheviks.

I'd like to think that two or three of them were just random passengers. "Wow, everyone else in this carriage seems really intense."


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 2:53 AM
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Was Radek a Bolshevik at that point? I thought he was in the Judaean People's Front Mezhrayonka. As of course was Trotsky, who didn't formally join the Bolsheviks until after the July days, IIRC.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 2:56 AM
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Random pax are a possibility - the train was sealed in the sense of being under customs seal, not physically tinned up, and the customs zone was marked down the middle of a carriage with chalk. German socialists tried to visit several times. As for conversation, there was a huge row about access to the toilet. Also, Lenin and Zinoviev kept getting drunk on German beer.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 3:21 AM
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Also, the German secret service may have delivered a lot of cash to the train while it was oh so conveniently held up in a Berlin railyard.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 3:23 AM
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67: Eastasia doesn't exist either--the countries listed are part of Oceania too.
You could say the Soviet bloc was Eurasia, temporarily including China.
Interestingly, China is trying to consolidate a continental bloc, with alliances across Central Asia and Russia. The 'March to the West". Also interesting when Orwell came up with the concept.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 3:41 AM
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Come to think of it, I reckon the sealed train was pretty much like Unfogged.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 3:56 AM
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Radek's memoir of the trip.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 4:05 AM
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Let me be the first to suggest the Smolny Instititute.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 4:14 AM
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re: 78

Ol' laugh-a-minute Lenin, there. Life and soul of any party.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 4:29 AM
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80. Interesting that he had both his wife and his girlfriend on the train. Wonder how that went.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 4:37 AM
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And, more important, the vanguard.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 4:38 AM
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Hmm, interesting. I didn't know that - thanks bob. Wonder what happened to the others?

Lenin had to eat, didn't he? How many were in there when the boxcar arrived.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 4:47 AM
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""Oh, I am a cook and a captain bold,
And the mate of the Nancy brig,
And a bo'sun tight, and a midshipmite,
And the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union!"


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 5:13 AM
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It's clear by now that the true value of this reading group will be fanfic output. I think summaries can be suspended.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 5:41 AM
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Still behind. I just finished the Asia chapter, and I'm getting the sense that Tooze is being awfully free with his "if only" counterfactuals. The situation in China was complex and could have gone wrong in all sorts of ways, but Tooze just sort of handwaves that "if only" the USA had come through with a few million, things would have stabilized and been fine.

Am I being unfair here?


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 7:10 AM
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No! When you catch up on the summaries you'll find me agreeing with you. In the past. When the disciplined readers read.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 7:37 AM
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88

87 me.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 7:49 AM
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89

Thanks for clearing that up.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 7:50 AM
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90

Maybe this time?


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 7:52 AM
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91

Nous sommes tous 87.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 7:54 AM
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92

Yay, software updates.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 7:54 AM
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93

Speak for yourself, old-timer.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 7:56 AM
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94

A movie just covering that train trip would be pretty cool - along the lines of HBO's Conspiracy (about Wannsee).


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 8:16 AM
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94: Yes. Especially because most of them presumably ended up being shot by Lenin.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 8:19 AM
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96

Oh, you got shot by Stalin. I was into being shot by Soviet leaders before Lenin died.


Posted by: Hipster Revolutionary | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 8:25 AM
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A movie just covering that train trip would be pretty cool - along the lines of HBO's Conspiracy

Other possible approaches to take:
Lenin's Eleven
The Fellowship of the Hammer and Sickle
The Petrograd Job


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 8:28 AM
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98

Vanguards on a Train: revolutionaries talk about overthrowing their states; one goes back and actually does it.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 8:33 AM
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99

"Huge row about access to the toilet" buries the lede. Lenin wrote out and distributed bathroom tickets, only one in four of which entitled the bearer to smoke therein!


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 8:36 AM
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100

The Bald Target


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 8:37 AM
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101

I have never heard of Radek before, but after that excerpt he sounds kind of great.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 8:38 AM
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99: The man clearly had leadership skills.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 8:38 AM
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103

The part where they all force Lenin to get new clothes and shoes was just like when my mother dragged my oldest brother to get a new suit.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 8:44 AM
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104

101. Fascinating guy, but more than a bit flaky. Murdered in the Gulag.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 8:45 AM
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96: Lenin was the original goddamn hipster. The beard? The cap? Never had a real job? Sitting in libraries writing blog postspamphlets about how unfair the world is? Fuck that guy.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 9:04 AM
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105: No, he was following in a long tradition of Russian hipsterdom. (Herzen, Cherneshevsky, Bakunin just to name a few). His only innovation was to make the leap from hipster to dictator.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 9:09 AM
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107

106: And look how that turned out. Unoriginal, a hipster and a mass murderer.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 9:13 AM
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108

That memoir reads like a desperate attempt to cover up what was (by 1924) obvious: the success of the Bolsheviks depended almost entirely on the fortuitous fact that they were entirely reliant on a German victory to keep them get them in power, particularly in 1918, when the regime was basically kept alive through a give-everything-to-Germany-except-our-control plan. And then they also got lucky because Germany collapsed at more or less just the right time for them, causing the Allies to suddenly not give much of a shit about Lenin but also making it less obvious that the rise to power was dependent on the Kaiser.

Also, more obviously, it's an attempt by Radek to wrap his arms around the I was an OG Leninist there when the music mattered, man, in the middle of a power struggle.


Posted by: R Tigre | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 9:17 AM
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109

Something grammar something. Anyhow Radek had a nice if ludicrous beard.


Posted by: R Tigre | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 9:20 AM
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110

The Bolsheviks are kind of the perfect story for an HBO series, actually. Maybe run it 1910-1928 for the series run. The only problem is finding a plausible sympathetic protagonist; if it's Trotsky fuck them. I guess they could use Stalin as a Tony Soprano type charismatic sociopath, but its kind of hard to generate the requisite sympathy when everyone knows he'd killed millions. Still, nice moustache.


Posted by: R Tigre | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 9:30 AM
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103: indeed. I noticed that "We persuaded him to at least buy some new boots. He had travelled in mountain boots with enormous nails" - Lenin, of course, being a serious craghopper, given to dashing off to the Alps or the High Tatra for two months at a time whenever things weren't going well in the international socialism business.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 9:36 AM
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The Bolsheviks are kind of the perfect story for an HBO series
The whole of Deluge would make a framework for a series of such series. The Marvel Universe of shattering historical tragedy.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 9:37 AM
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110. Hard to pick a PoV character from a 21st century perspective if you want to use a leading Bolshevik, because even the ones who were generally regarded at the time as nice people, like Bukharin, were nevertheless complicit in some pretty questionable shit.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 9:51 AM
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114

Gorky? I don't think he was there, but whose to say he couldn't have been.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 9:54 AM
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113: From what little I've seen, every named character in Game of Thrones is a murderer and/or war criminal. And that seems to be doing fine.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 9:56 AM
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116

So, Lenin, but with dragons.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 9:58 AM
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117

From what little I've seen, every named character in Game of Thrones is a murderer and/or war criminal.

HODOR!


Posted by: Opinonated Hodor | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 9:59 AM
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118

Or ice zombies? I see random episodes and they make no sense at all.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 10:00 AM
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119

Peter Dinklage is funny. And I haven't seen him commit any atrocities yet.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 10:01 AM
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120

119: stick around.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 10:05 AM
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Deluge would make an awesome TV series, if you had an sufficiently imaginative director to show-not-tell the stuff like the mass unemployment in the early 20s and the Red Scare intercut with Wilson being frighteningly intense in meetings but at the same clearly away with the fairies, and Lenin being Lenin and Ludendorff being Ludendorff...


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 10:07 AM
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What if the steps Tooze says could have made for a lasting peace after World War I happened and worked. And Germany and Russia are both well-functioning social democracies in 1933. But former revolutionaries and old-school imperialists are having trouble making ends meet, so Lenin and Ludendorff are forced to share an apartment in Kiev.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 10:10 AM
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The Bolsheviks are kind of the perfect story for an HBO series, actually

Such a series would inevitably involve Topless Krupskaya. I think this would be a mistake.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 10:11 AM
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Lenin and Ludendorff are forced to share an apartment in Kiev.

Working title: "Red Dwarfs". In episode 1 they explore the basement and discover a creature evolved from a member of the proletariat.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 10:12 AM
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125

Halford, get me an agent.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 10:14 AM
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126

Spinoffs could include The 1922 Treaty of Rapallo: The Animated Series and Gustav Stresseman: One Night Only.


Posted by: R Tigre | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 10:14 AM
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127

Actually I take back 123. The Wiki article on Krupskaya has a picture of her in the 1890s looking rather like Emily Blunt.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 10:14 AM
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128

127 I know, plus sexy librarian.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 10:16 AM
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129

Not that pic so much tho


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 10:16 AM
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130

A good one. No gentiles.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 10:17 AM
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122 - I like it but weird Russuan/reactionary fatso was already the plot of Perfect Strangers. Maybe we could get Bronson Pinchot as Lenin and an aging Jim Belushi as Ludendorff.


Posted by: R Tigre | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 10:20 AM
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I'm waiting for bob to come excoriate us. Or tell us which anime has totally done the Ludendorff/Lenin slash.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 10:21 AM
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133

No Jim Belushi. Got to write a part for Courtney Thorne-Smith though.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 10:22 AM
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134

131: That reminded me that I've been meaning to complain bitterly about Adam Kotsko's utterly wrongheaded interpretation of Perfect Strangers


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 10:26 AM
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135

Archive of Our Own has 6 fics tagged as Hitler/Stalin, 2 as Stalin/Trotsky.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 10:26 AM
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136

I applaud you for typing those search terms, but am not brave enough to follow.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 10:30 AM
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134: He gets paid for having opinions about things like that. What's your excuse?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 10:31 AM
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137: Idiocy.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 10:33 AM
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139

Carry on.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 10:34 AM
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139: Glad you approve.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 10:50 AM
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141

If only all employee evaluations were that easy.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 10:56 AM
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142

Huh, looking it up Balki was supposed to be Greek, not Russian. Who knew. Maybe peep.


Posted by: R Tigre | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 11:03 AM
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142: He was Meeposian!!!! Well.. I don't know how it's spelled.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 11:05 AM
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144

There were lots of sheep jokes so I knew he wasn't Russia.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 11:05 AM
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Anyway, Kotsko somehow failed to note that Balki was a MPDG, before the fact. And that the creepy thing about him was that he was such a blatant ripoff of Andy Kauffman's Latka.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 11:09 AM
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132: anime has its own native assholes, and a tradition of portraying Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and Tokugawa Ieyasu as middle school girls. Ships ahoy.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 11:28 AM
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147

Ludendorff and Joffre sparring by gossip and party invites would have a certain appeal.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 11:34 AM
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Umm, you may laugh but the Japanese instinct (?) for metaphor and allegory is why I watch the stuff.

Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin as young girls battling for control of a student council, would of course be funny, but in anime kids would get betrayed tortured and killed, and the series would illuminate both ways, Soviets and ordinary life, and the Brechtian effects would help.

Ask ya, which is better, Election or Primary Colors?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 11:39 AM
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149

Obviously, anything set in Omaha is going to be better.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 11:42 AM
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148: Haven't seen either. I'm not entirely joking in 147, I get what you say about allegory. I have no idea what Brechtian effects are though.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 11:45 AM
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148- Stereotyping here, but it seems like it makes sense for the Japanese to be good at metaphor and allegory since they aren't 'allowed' to be direct in their culture.

It kind of makes me wonder about the prophets though Jesus and Mohammed peace be upon them. Both had a tendency to speak in allegory or metaphor. I guess they would take a lot of pains to avoid hurting anyone's feelings.

Good thing we don't have to worry about Stalin's posthumous feelings. I doubt he would approve of being portrayed as a Japanese schoolgirl.

Personally I think I'd find the mustache off-putting.


Posted by: roger the cabin boy | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 12:10 PM
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152

School Girl Team Zinoviev Power Revolutionary Nationalization Strike Force Go!


Posted by: R Tigre | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 12:12 PM
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145: So close! In TFA, we find a discussion of Perfect Strangers and comments by Kotsko, but no intersection between the two sets.

BTW, according to that thread, Wiki says it was Mypos.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 12:22 PM
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The good thing is knowing that if screenwriters are lurking here to steal our great ideas--gold, Jerry, pure gold--we have in-house counsel to get our share.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 12:25 PM
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154: Does everything we write here belong to ogged?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 12:32 PM
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||

Since thread is winding down, and since thread has gone in this direction, anime report!

1) I was wrong about streaming money being significant, the American money is only about 5-10% of producers gross, but the Chinese are engaged in a bidding war, and the studios are drowning in up front cash that won't last more than a couple years. Production values as high as time will allow.

2) Like I said this is sweeps season, so anime is very good but not so interesting. Appeal is mostly to fans talk.

3) Talk about one, Bungou Stray Dogs, Literary Stray Dogs, I think the English is used, is about the Japanese Taisho canon re-imagined as crime fighting superheroes and villains in present day Yokohama. Maybe a dozen, I'll use one.

Osamu Dazai is portrayed as constantly trying to talk waitresses into double suicide. This is played for laughs, but a viewer is also aware that three woman died at his instigation, so maybe not so funny? (This is the Brechtian effect, interrogating your position as audience)

Osamu's power is the ability to drain life and superpowers from anyone he touches, which is funny and referential. But what the double movement taught me, is that in the anime, and perhaps in some Japanese readings, Dazai is the strongest force and voice and agent of compassion, pity, magnanimity. I did not quite know that.

So there is another level, which is the relationship of the Japanese readers to these literary giants as celebrities icons human signifiers. And maybe one about the presentation, couldn't really have Dazai killing a waitress in the anime, could we? Could we? It is the usual cartoon+death grimdark comedy.

It is as if Abe Lincoln, Vampire Hunter had a level that was serious about Lincoln, and our attitudes toward Lincoln. And maybe it did.

|>


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 12:35 PM
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155 -- probably not, though it's a bit unclear. In any event Ogged like all mid-2000s jackasses tossed a creative commons license at the bottom of his page b/c it seemed like the cool thing to do, so even if he does own anything he doesn't. So feel free to profit off his lame ass.


Posted by: RT | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 12:41 PM
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158

I haven't read the chapter yet, but sure hope that Tooze's departure from history and analysis into psychodrama includes Lenin's fondness for cats as a factor in generating alternate histories to illuminate events.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 05-17-16 1:29 PM
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159

OK, Chapter One is up at caveofwhitewater.blogspot.com.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-19-16 7:22 AM
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159: Great stuff.


Posted by: Ume | Link to this comment | 05-19-16 12:24 PM
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Thank you! Chapters Two to Nine will follow at weekly intervals, and by the time they're all up then I should have finished Chapter Ten...


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-19-16 1:34 PM
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159 is pitch perfect. Ume spotted who O'Hara was, or had been. But there is in fact a very good straight Buchan pastiche trying to break out of that. Do please go on.


Posted by: NW | Link to this comment | 05-19-16 2:28 PM
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163

122 should needs some cabaret numbers, though.


Posted by: conflated | Link to this comment | 05-21-16 12:34 AM
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122 should needs some cabaret numbers, though.

Joel Grey as Lenin, Helmut Griem as Ludendorff? An aging Lisa Minnelli as Rosa Luxemburg?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 05-21-16 3:43 AM
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Wilkommen, Bienvenue, Comrade.

That's what it should needs.


Posted by: conflated | Link to this comment | 05-21-16 6:16 AM
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