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Potemkin empire

β€œIt is remarkable that the Soviet command system functioned as well as it did, given the ideological resistance to truth which was fundamental to the Stalinist system. In war, telling the truth is essential not for moral reasons, but because no commander can direct a battle effectively unless his subordinates tell him what is happening: where they are, what resources they possess, whether they have attained or are likely to attain their objectives. Yet since 1917 the Soviet Union had created an edifice of self-deceit unrivalled in human history. The mythology of heroic tractor drivers, coal miners who fulfilled monthly production norms in days, collective farms which produced record harvests, was deemed essential to the self-belief of the state. On the battlefield, in some measure this perversion persisted. Propaganda wove tales of heroes who had performed fantastic and wholly fictitious feats against the fascists.” – Max Hastings, Armageddon

Published inMax HastingsPolitics & LawThe Second World War

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