A television ad seen near Sunset and Cahuenga in Hollywood offers this compelling tagline.
“WWI Made Stalin a Man. WWII Made Him a Tyrant.”
The event in question is The History Channel’s The World Wars, a three-day presentation kicking off at 9 p.m. EST May 26. The teleplay covering both world wars follows “a 30-year global struggle. A fight that will either save the world–or destroy it,” according to the channel’s press materials.
So why use a misleading tagline to tease the production? Joseph Stalin’s tyrannical ways began before the start of the second World War.
Marion Smith, Executive Director of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, pins the blame on the country’s general ignorance regarding communism and its impact.
“What [the public] knows is very far from the truth,” Smith says.
As for Stalin’s pre-WWII measures, consider the monstrous Holodomor in the early 1930s as a prime example of a tyrannical regime. Stalin’s Ukrainian policies resulted in massive death tolls. A country known as a European breadbasket suddenly couldn’t feed its citizens. The Soviets let some food rot while much was sold to the West to fill the government’s coffers. Stalin’s collectivist policies, combined with a ruthless enforcement policy, doomed millions.
Smith adds that some fertile farm land was sectioned off by barbed wire so famished Ukrainians couldn’t reach the food within. Those somehow able to access the fields were shot, a “policy that came from the top,” Smith says. Landowners who managed to oversee prosperous farms despite those conditions were often targeted for death by the government.
Breitbart News reached out to The History Channel for comment and context on the ad campaign. Through a spokesperson, the channel sent this explanation:
THE WORLD WARS tells the story of three devastating decades of war told through the eyes of the powerful men who held the fate of humankind in their hands. We focus on men like Roosevelt, Hitler, Churchill and Stalin (among others) and how these individuals came of age in World War I before ultimately changing the history of mankind during World War II. Over the course of three nights, we take an unflinching look at these world figures and viewers will get a clear picture of Stalin’s ruthless rise to power in the Communist Party through WWI, and his vicious tyranny which grew even more despotic through WWII.