Two of our most distinguished historians explore one of the darkest episodes of the twentieth century.
In 1929 Stalin launched his policy of collectivization, forcing millions of peasants off their land and onto collective farms. The result was the most devastating famine in European history, in which 5 million people died.
More than 3 million of these were Ukrainians, who perished not because they were accidental victims but because the state set out to kill them – seizing all supplies, sealing the borders, exploiting a catastrophe to subdue a rebellious province. Driven mad by hunger, people ate anything – grass, tree bark, dogs, corpses – and killed one another for food.
In her forthcoming Red Famine, Anne Applebaum proves what has long been suspected: that Stalin set out to destroy the Ukrainian peasantry and Ukrainian identity, that the famine of 1931-33 was engineered, that the evidence was thereafter falsified and suppressed.
In a remarkable series of books, written from the perspective of witnesses and survivors caught in the grip of vast and terrifying forces, Anne Applebaum and Antony Beevor have redescribed modern barbarism in Europe, combining fearless scholarship and archivism with narrative verve and human sympathy.
Join us on 13th September for their discussion of Stalin’s crimes, the recovery of historical memory, and how the present is shaped inescapably by the past…