During the worst conflict the world has ever known, propaganda images were sharpened into weapons of mass persuasion. By Nicholas Siekierski.
Stanford historian Amir Weiner recently examined the newly accessible KGB files housed in the Hoover Institution Archives. Weiner found that “a system of checks and balances in today's Western-style democracies prevents agencies like the FBI from engaging in domestic surveillance at the same invasive scale as the KGB” (Stanford Report). The collection is composed of tens of thousands of documents, including informants' reports, interrogation minutes, and official internal correspondence. Nearly two decades after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the KGB archives are the largest accessible holdings (Russian and Ukrainian holdings are, for all practical purposes, closed) of the Soviet political police, which were left almost intact in Vilnius, Lithuania, after the Soviet Union disintegrated.
Two collections of digital photographs depicting activities and sites in the former Soviet Union are available for research at the Hoover Archives.
On March 5, 1940, the Soviet Communist Party Politburo ordered the execution of thousands of Polish military officers, government officials, and prominent civilians who had been arrested and imprisoned after the Nazi-Soviet attack on Poland in September 1939. The mass shootings of some twenty-two thousand people, some of them carried out in the spring of 1940 in the Katyn forest near the Russian city of Smolensk, are remembered as the Katyn Forest Massacre.
An episode of political violence in London a hundred years ago, featuring a cast of characters including revolutionaries from the Russian Empire, Winston Churchill, and the czarist secret police (the Okhrana) is in the news again, at least in Latvia, where the revolutionaries came from. The episode, known as the Siege of Sidney Street, has never completely disappeared from popular folklore in London, even figuring as part of the inspiration for an Alfred Hitchcock film (The Man Who Knew Too Much). Despite its notoriety, the incident has faded from history, eclipsed first by the outbreak of World War I and by much larger events such as the 1917 Russian revolution.
International, Comparative and Area Studies (ICA), a division of the School of Humanities and Sciences, presents the little-known story of the American effort to relieve starvation in the new Soviet Russia in 1921.
The Great Famine will premiere on August 15, 2012, at 7:00 pm at the Lane History Corner, Bldg 200, Room 002, Stanford University. This event is free and open to the public. Click here for more information.