THE LOSS OF GOD AND WANTON GENOCIDE
Timothy Snyder teaches history at Yale. Several years ago, he wrote a powerful book entitled, Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin. In the book, Snyder examines the killing of 14 million noncombatants (from 1933-1945) in a specific area of land, under Joseph Stalin and Adolph Hitler. This is genocide on a scale that most of us are unfamiliar with. The majority of those who were killed were outside the concentration camps of the Holocaust. Snyder’s thesis is that the “bloodlands” are a region which comprises modern-day Poland, Ukraine, Russia and the Baltic States. Here is where common civilians were systematically starved, shot, hanged, burned, and butchered.
Making use of many new primary and secondary sources from eastern Europe, Snyder brings scholarship to many forgotten, misunderstood, or incorrectly remembered parts of history. Snyder estimates that the Nazis were responsible for about twice as many noncombatant killings as Stalin’s regime. Further, Snyder tells us that the vast majority of Hitler’s victims, Jewish and otherwise, never saw a concentration camp. He reminds us that 3 million Soviet POW’s died in Nazi camps. The book is a meticulously documented manual of how cruel and evil normal human beings can become.
Snyder’s book is in the same vein as The Rape of Nanking, or The Gulag Archipelago. It’s a haunting reminder of what happens when a culture turns its back on God. Hitler and Stalin were moral monsters who set themselves up as gods, and the brutality of their regimes are vivid reminders of what happens when this occurs.
by Jay Childs, Senior Pastor
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