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Go Back   Armchair General and HistoryNet >> The Best Forums in History > Historical Events & Eras > World War II > Personalities

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Personalities From the leaders to the followers; this is about the people who made history.

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  #181  
Old 28 Mar 17, 23:39
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Originally Posted by ShAA View Post
Very weird. I've read quite a few soldiers' memoirs and it's the first time I see this nickname. I've just googled it and found out it was a nickname out of prison camp jargon.
Interesting.

These two quotes have the poet Joseph Brodsky using the nickname Gutalin and explaining that it was the slang term for Georgian shoe polishers:

Brodsky, A Personal Memoir

Conversations With Joseph Brodsky
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  #182  
Old 06 Apr 17, 08:30
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Radzinsky's biography, "Stalin", has this interesting observation:
"Stalin's great hero was Ivan the Terrible. One curious work in his personal library was A.N. Tolstoy's play, Ivan the Terrible, published in Moscow 1942, the most terrible year of the war, and read by Stalin while the Soviet Union was suffering one heavy defeat after another. He read it carefully, amending the style in bold handwriting, and crossing out expressions of grief. His favorite tsar's speech must be like his own, clipped and laconic. The cover of the book, with his pensive doodles, is particularly interesting."

Too bad Radzinsky did not describe the doodles. Maybe wolves came to mind while pondering Ivan the Terrible?
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  #183  
Old 05 May 17, 13:49
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While Stalin doodled with wolves, he also drew cartoons of his victims' fate. Boris Ilizarov, a historian and member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, observes Stalin used to draw offensive sketches often using a blue pencil of some of his victims while attending long politburo meetings. One example was of his finance minister, Nikolai Bryukhanov, who was depicted naked, hanging from a rope by his genitals.

Another archivist with access to Stalin's files, Larissa Rogovaya, said "Stalin loved to scribble all over his books and papers. He also doodled in his books. And in his remarks he did not mind his language."
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  #184  
Old 01 Jun 17, 09:02
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Yale University is digitizing item's from Stalin's archive, about 28,000 documents, or over 400,000 pages. A leader of the project notes the wide range of comments Stalin marked in the margins. For example, in a book by his ideological nemesis Karl Kautsky the dictator might explode with rage and scrawl "Traitor!" next to the particularly objectionable section. Stalin also made detailed notes and comments demonstrating a good understanding of Marxist theory.

Project leader concluded "Yes he may have been brutal and paranoiac--but he was not stupid."
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  #185  
Old 19 Jun 17, 09:56
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Stalin doodled wolves and drew graphic sketches of his enemies. His wolves remind me of the Russian proverb, “If one is afraid of wolves stay out of the woods.”

To be invited to Stalin’s lair in the Kremlin was a daunting experience for commanders who were summoned during the war. I have highlighted some of these meetings in other threads. But as I re-read Yuri Bondarev’s war novel, “the Hot Snow”, his artful, fictional description of an army commander meeting with Stalin demonstrates his command of the many military memoir accounts of such meetings. Some snippets from Bondarev’s twelve-page description of the meeting between General Bessonov and Stalin:

“In the first few moments he [o] noted none of the details of this spacious room with its portraits of Suvorov and Kutuzov on the walls, its long conference table with its official green top, the topographical map on another huge table, the telephones and the long flex lying coiled on the carpet. As he entered the room, every nerve and muscle tensely alert, he saw only Stalin, a small man, who at first sight seemed to have little resemblance to his portraits. Stalin was coming towards him with soft, slightly rolling strides in supple, squeakless boots; he was wearing an army type tunic that fitted closely over his sloping shoulders. His thick moustache and heavy eyebrows gleamed with a barely discernible trace of grey, his narrow, yellowish eyes were calm, and Bessonov’s first thought was: What will he ask me now?”


To be continued
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  #186  
Old 19 Jun 17, 11:37
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I forget which inner party member said this, but it was something along the lines of Stalin putting a lot of stock into eye contact: too little and you were hiding something. Too much and you were a challenge. The trick was to find the middle ground if you wanted to keep your job, and maybe your life.

Now that might have been the paranoia of living close to the Tsar in a dystopian court, but considering how arbitrary the purges were I wouldn't discount it.
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  #187  
Old 20 Jun 17, 07:27
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There's a saying the eyes are a window to the soul.

In readings, an article pointed out a technique of Japanese negotiators have the visitors sit facing outward into the light through the conference room windows while the Japanese team facing into the room would be in shadow and harder to read the eyes and facial features.

In training for martial arts, interrogation, and debriefing agents, watching the eyes was an integral part of observation. In foot surveillance, to make eye contact with a subject would permanently "burn" you for the rest of the operation.

Among mammals, to stare is an aggressive act.
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