What Was The Holodomor?

From late 1932 until mid-1933, the Soviet Union experienced a major famine largely due to the disastrous policy of forcing peasants to work in collective farms. In Soviet Ukraine, the situation was deliberately exacerbated by teams of activists who removed food from peasant homes. They would go from village to village, entering each house and demanding grain, corn, squash, roots, the seeds for the next year’s crop -- everything edible. Then the state closed the borders of Ukraine. The policy was designed to quash Ukraininian separatism, but in reality took away both food and the ability to grow more food, while preventing Ukrainians from leaving their villages to find food elsewhere. Millions died. Today, the famine is known as the Holodomor.

Of course the Soviets tried to cover up how many Ukrainians died. They prevented journalists from visiting the region, forbade publication of the national census in 1937, and then altered the census for years afterward to hide the impact of the Holodomor.

Recently, though, Ukrainian demographers have gone back to look at birth and death records, which were largely unaltered by the Soviets. By estimating how many people should have died and should have been born, they can estimate how many Ukrainians went missing from late 1932 to mid-1933. Using this method, the number of “unnatural deaths” during the Holodomor is 3.9 million.

an original piece by historical-nonfiction

Actress Colleen Moore, a flapper and film star from 1917 until the early 1930s, said a flapper is a woman who “likes her freedom, and she likes to be a bit daring, and snap her cunning, little manicured fingers in the face of the world.”

An unusual Hollywood star made his debut at the age of three in 1922. He was Rin Tin Tin, the dashing dog! He made a total of 27 screen appearances until his death, in 1932.

Did you know that comedian Steve Martin taught himself to play the banjo at age 17? He won a Grammy for Best Bluegrass Album in 2010!

The Sauds and the Salafis: The History of a Political Alliance

Born in 1703, Muhammad ibn Wahhab came from Najd at the heart of Arabia. After study in Medina and 12 years of travel and study in Iraq, he returned to Arabia to launch a puritanical reform of Islam. He took aim at popular piety, destroying saints' tombs and cutting down sacred trees. He ordered the stoning of adulterous women, and preached jihad against unbelievers -- Shia Muslims among them. In short, he rejected 1,400 years of Muslim thought. But his message was popular. By the mid-1700s, Wahhab's "True Muslims," or Salafis, were powerful enough to be making alliances with the Bedouin Saud family against the Ottomans. In return, the first Saudi state endorsed the Wahhab movement. It benefited both sides: the Wahhabs had support for their extreme religious reforms, and the Sauds had given their new state legitimacy that came not from royal blood but from religious purpose. This symbiotic relationship remains today: Saudi Arabia supports Wahhabist schools around the world, and Wahhabists recognize the Sauds as deserving to rule due to their commitment to purifying Islam.

Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu -- Romania's longstanding communist leader and his wife -- were arrested after the country revolted in 1989. On Christmas Day they were shown into a dilapidated lecture hall at the Targoviste army barracks, north of Bucharest. It was a makeshift courtroom, where the couple's military captors planned to hold their trial. They were to be tried for armed action against the people, trying to flee with US$1 billion of public money, and a host of other charges. But the trial was a charade. It lasted less than an hour, and though the whole thing was filmed, the camera showed nothing but the two defendents. After a five-minute recess, the judge pronounced the verdict: death. Elena Ceausescu wept, but Nicolae stayed calm.

The couple were bound with ropes and taken into a courtyard, where they were lined up in front of a row of paratroopers. The couple were swiftly executed. After the paratroopers were finished, more soldiers poured in, filling the corpses with bullets. They wanted to be sure that the hated dictators were dead. By the end of Christmas Day, 1989, the two bodies were buried under false names.

Mahatma Gandhi lies on the ground after being shot by right-wing Hindu nationalist Nathuram Vinayak Godse, who is being restrained in the background. New Delhi, India. Jan. 30, 1948

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    By Lillian Audette

    This blog is a collection of the interesting, the weird, and sometimes the need-to-know about history, culled from around the internet. It has pictures, it has quotes, it occasionally has my own opinions on things. If you want to know more about anything posted, follow the link at the "source" on the bottom of each post. And if you really like my work, buy me a coffee or become a patron!

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