"Our Struggle": What If Hitler Had Been a Communist?

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by The Red, Nov 8, 2016.

  1. Youngmarshall Still Clowning Now

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    The first post has this " It was in this arena that Marx, and his adherents in Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler could expose the hypocrisy of those who decried their brand of socialism as dangerous when the old orders had led to such slaughter."

    I think the man of steel is going to rise to the top in this timeline too, I'm afraid.
     
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  2. BootOnFace Buoyant Armiger

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    Looks like the military is going to try to harness Hitler as a tool against the French. I'm sure that will go great.
     
  3. BootOnFace Buoyant Armiger

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    Also, in 1923 Trotsky was still a very important member of Politburo and was very much feared by the other members. He was viewed as a "Red Napoleon" due to his success on the battlefield and popularity among the soldiers and the Old Bolsheviks feared he would overthrow them in a coup, or purge them if he came into power. Even the personal endorsement of Lenin was not enough to secure him the Premiership. Of course, his personal abrasiveness helped him little, and if I remember correctly he alienated several potential allies with his big fat mouth.
     
  4. Nyvis Well-Known Member

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    Trotsky's position may be strengthened by revolutions popping up abroad, since internationalism was his main platform, in opposition to Stalin's "Socialism in one country". But from the hints we got so far, I don't think it will be enough.
     
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  5. The Red A virulent, ignorant bigot

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    Yeah this is pretty much the case, IOTL Trotsky called for a German revolution in the Autumn of 1923, the KPD went along with this but their attempt failed. This further sidelined Trotsky amongst those in the politburo who had feared that such a revolution would inevitably fail and would only serve to damage the blossoming Soviet-Weimar partnership. ITTL Trotsky has made a similar call but the actions of the Red Front have led to Stresemann clamping down on the KPD earlier, incapacitating any attempts to launch a national revolution before they began, but still making Trotsky look overzealous in the eyes of both the Germans and the Soviets.

    Although I do agree with @Cregan that a proper Premier Trotsky TL is long overdue. I’ve seen attempts been made before but they always seem to run out of steam quickly or feature Leon Notsky, a man who was secretly gagging to turn the USSR into a cuddly social democracy whilst crushing the Kronstadt rebellion.
     
  6. mudhead Little-Known Member

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    A couple of old but decent sources on the army and the state in Weimar Germany:

    Gaines Post Jr: The Civil-military Fabric of Weimar Foreign Policy (Princeton UP, 1973), synopsis here.

    Albert Seaton: The German Army 1933-45; misleading title, it has some good stuff on the Weimar period - waspish pen portraits of the protagonists.

    Schleicher can make absolutely any situation worse.
     
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  7. Utgard96 the departure sign is painted on

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    Nominative determinism in action.
     
  8. Shevek23 Spherical Cow-poke

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    I believe, and I think this is unfortunate but true, that it is a mistake to assume the OTL course of Stalinist top-down rule and fanatical and inefficient industrialization under a military central control model is the brainchild of either Trotsky or Stalin; it was the logical outcome of the mindset of all leading Bolsheviks. They believed themselves to inherit objective scientific truth in the matter of the destiny of humanity and this required ruthlessness in overcoming all obstacles--including what they regarded as the half-baked, improperly formed consciousness of the Soviet masses in general and even other Bolsheviks in particular.

    If we play the game of "who thought of this mess?" regarding how it developed in the '30s, Trotsky probably deserves more credit and blame, but that's mainly because he was an incisive thinker, not because he had some agenda setting him apart from most Bolsheviks.

    I've come believe a few things I once did not;

    1) Marx was a very good economist, but a pretty poor politician. Marxist-Leninist parties never focus on ongoing participation in a capitalist society (though I would be pleased to learn more about any that do) so do not make much use of Marx's analysis of capitalist mechanisms, and have no theory worthy of the name of how to operate a post-capitalist society beyond sheer brute force of bureaucracy. And they inherit Marx's tin ear for pragmatic politics unfortunately. They can and do capture a segment of the population's devotion, but never democratic majorities--Salvador Allende in Chile or the Sandinistas in Nicaragua may have been exceptions, but they also weren't terribly Leninist either. I am prepared to acknowledge counterexamples but we all know discussion might get heated. Let no one be offended by my sweeping statements, I would be thrilled to learn of counterexamples, and take arguments about how good an analyst of capitalism Marx was and is elsewhere since they do not belong here--IMHO he is very good at that. And I suspect that nowadays some rightists are using elements of Marxist analysis in order to maximize profits and outmaneuver workers too.

    2) The Bolsheviks, being convinced of their infallibility and being unwilling to police elements of obvious corruption of their "guardian" mission and maximize genuine worker control, were deeply committed by the nature of their movement to a tightly controlled economy and to a police state. Many people, myself included, tend to read Trotsky as "Notsky"as The Red put it just above, who would have avoided every brutal excess--in fact Stalin ripped off Trotsky's plan as soon as NEP had redeveloped Russian industry to the point it was worth expropriating again, and it was with the relief and approval of most Bolsheviks he switched over to a more coercive and centralized model of control that was consciously and openly, with the broad consensus of Bolshevik leaders, meant to tax and minimally reward both rural peasants and industrial workers--I do believe the majority of Bolsheviks were sincere in believing this would be necessary for future prosperity and that many workers sacrificing today would live to reap major benefits of the force investment of their labor in a collective socialist future, and that the sooner true communism came the better for everyone. That said, they were not leery of enjoying privilege, the first fruits of the socialist harvest, nor enjoying first and last word of how to direct both the economy and society at large. Those of us who understand there were and are reasons for democratic majorities of working people to rationally look very askance at the priorities of the better-off minority and that their sacred cows should not be protected from at least dispassionate discussion of goring should also acknowledge that it has not been historically simple to get a truly democratic revolution of any kind into power or staying there, and that the likely historic outcome is always going to be "some sumbitch or other" getting statues made for them. Trotsky, Stalin, any other name you pick out of the hat of renowned followers of Lenin, none of them were likely to lead the working class gently by the hand to a paradise of genuine freedom and superior bounty.

    As an admirer of Marx and the European-Enlightenment culture left wing tradition generally, I still hope to find some formula for this to happen, and remain confident capitalist society can be surpassed with something superior across the board, but doing so is not easy, obviously, and probably involves a tensely dialectical situation where a strong worker's movement cannot be crushed or broken but neither can dictate its will, and capitalists have very strong pressures both positive and negative imposed on them giving an evolution of a more cooperative relationship as the one way out. Neither party is aiming for such a juncture and so it may be unlikely to happen; then again it might prove inevitable in the long run as the only possible way out for all sides.

    A Trotsky leads USSR TL is difficult to do even for someone who knows their Bolshevik history well enough to realize that the saintly Notsky has no place in their narrative; the problem is the man had so many political liabilities against him. He rejected Lenin when the Russian Social Democrats split into Bolshevik and Menshevik factions; his convert status in 1917 looked like rank opportunism to rank and file Bolsheviks and leaders alike; his intellectual gifts of analysis came across as know-it-all and insulting; it would hardly do to attack him simply for a Jewish background given the status of other Jews in Bolshevik ranks but once open season on him was declared, venting veiled anti-Semitism on him was something one could get away with and indeed Jewish Bolsheviks would need to distance themselves from him somehow. There was the matter of being a competent general popular with high Red Army officers and possibly troops too being more of a liability than asset to these Marxist keen students of the French Revolution of 1789 and after. And his plan for the industrial basis of Soviet socialism and steps toward Communism being based on ruthless liquidation of opponents and exploitation of the working class in their own name would not endear him to vast democratic masses even if they could get past the permissible anti-Semitism either.

    It might be fun to contemplate what Lenin and he might have done if they were stuck with only limited influence on the course of Soviet society, having to share power with the SR with the mass peasant party being on a much firmer and broad basis than OTL, if all they could do was mobilize those who followed them voluntarily into seeking ways and means to expand industrial power on a consensual basis, being deprived of the power of coercion. But gaming out a Russian situation where no one has the power of arbitrary coercion is hard enough without making sure the Bolsheviks are in on the tangle of power involved!

    So--in this TL, we have a ruling clique in Moscow essentially identical to OTL and I don't see it going on a radically different course just because Germany does. Jockeying Trotsky into supremacy is probably not your (@The Red)'s plan and would be a tricky and largely irrelevant tour de force anyway.

    I would like to see other TLs where he remains in play; Jello Biafra did this to an extent in Reds!. Especially TLs where the outcome differs from OTL a lot in Russia-but we all understand, this will never be just because Trotsky wills it so.
     
  9. BootOnFace Buoyant Armiger

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    Shevek again with the insightful analysis. You need to stop being better at this than me!
     
  10. The Red Iron Chef M1 Abrams Concealed Carry Expert

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    Shevek is indeed better at this than I am as well. I wish I had his insight.
     
  11. Shevek23 Spherical Cow-poke

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    You may have it for free, and I never think I am better than people who buckle down and commit to writing a damn time line!

    In admiration, me.
     
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  12. Indicus Raianus Indicorum

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    You certainly write longer posts than many people who write timelines.
     
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  13. Nyvis Well-Known Member

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    Yep, the main difference between Stalin and previous Bolsheviks was nationalism instead of internationalism. In a way, they never left the mindset they had while fighting the revolution. He developed the cult of personality, but the cult of the ideology was already there. And of course, the authoritarian process was already there, starting with Lenin, enacted by Trotsky and perpetuated by Stalin.

    Some of those may have been less extreme under Trotsky, but not completely absent. He was an advocate of more workplace democracy OTL, but I doubt it would have extended to the upper levels of the state. He may have done better with the agricultural collectivization too.

    As for Marx, he wasn't a politician and never tried to be one. Engels was the one with the political vision. Marx was the economics theorist. And of course, he's the one people remembered and read, to the detriment of their political attempts.
     
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  14. Md139115 Bring back the Inquisition!

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    I don't see what the big deal is on the Trotsky-Stalin debate.

    It is irrelevant.

    The all-knowing and all-powerful Kamrad Fuhrer shall lead the world to Communism with or without either one of them.
     
  15. Bookmark1995 Bookmark95 Reborn!

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    Hitler seems to be evolving into a Mao-like figure: an awesome rebel who's military brilliance astounds many, and makes fools out of the squabbling and corrupt mess that calls itself the legitimate government.

    Of course, the Communist revolutionaries were often horrific statesmen when they came to power. So, Germany will be in for a rough time....
     
  16. Bookmark1995 Bookmark95 Reborn!

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    That was an intense discussion. Trotsky may not have been a paranoid, but he was certainly no friend of democratic franchise. as you rightly point out.

    This is a man who told democratic politicians at the Constituent Assembly ,"go to the ash heap of history!"
     
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  17. Cregan Well-Known Member

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    I am a big fan of Leon Notsky, but as you say he doesn't bear much resemblance to the real man.
     
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  18. O'Alexis 89 That French Guy

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    Oh no.
    (Sorry, I was quite busy with University and stuff..., just caught up)

    Also, Shevek's Analysis are always better than every other analysis. :p
     
  19. LHB OTL's Writer needs to be fired

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    Even his support for workplace democracy wasn't what it seemed at first blush. IIRC he was all about mobilizing society into a single, giant army for world revolution and in his world labor unions existed to educate the workers, carry out the instructions of the vanguard party and maintain rank and file discipline. Any sort of Trotskyite workplace democracy would've been comparable to the workers choosing which shade of black Model T's they would like to make.

    Except OTL Hitler was notoriously lazy, hands off and let his underlings fight it out for his favor and support. TTL Hitler might be a bit more hands-on and energetic than the one we all knew but he's unlikely to be as tightly controlling as Mao was. He also, unlike Mao, was quite capable OTL of bringing up competent underlings initially holding to that pattern until his ego and loads of meth really went to his head. That's part of why he got as far as he did OTL.

    Of course this Hitler still seems to be the reckless gambler of OTL which means he's going to be much more likely to take enormous risks, bluff and put more faith in his luck than anyone ever should. If he still gets the same set of devil dice he had OTL he's going to be really dangerous especially since this Hitler seems to be quite a bit more competent than OTL's Hitler.
     
  20. olavops Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, but no one ever really won a revolution by being cautious. Caution is the luxury of the regime, bold moves and foolish risks are what accomplish remarkable change in history.
     
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