Josef Stalin was also extremely fond of purging and millions of people died because of it. Funny thing is he started with his own party and as his paranoia grew, so did the circle of people he considered to be disloyal. Eventually generals and peasants alike were purged and Big Brother was officially born.
But the impetus to "cleanse" the social body rapidly spilled beyond these elite boundaries, and the greatest impact of the Purge was felt in the wider society -- where millions of ordinary Soviet citizens assisted in "unmasking" their compatriots. Frank Smitha describes this mass hysteria well, writing thatHistory is a pesky thing and while some might say that today's political purges aren't violent, calling for a revolution is one step in that direction. Eventually an innocent person is going to die due to the intolerance now making its way through the country, but the teabaggers are so far gone that they will consider it a step in the right direction. Returning this country to a McCarthy like existence with a 1984 mindset and 2009 technology enforcement capabilities. Does anybody think this will end well?
A society that is intense in its struggle for change has a flip side to its idealism: intolerance. People saw enemies everywhere, enemies who wanted to destroy the revolution and diminish the results of their hard work and accomplishments, enemies who wanted to restore capitalism for selfish reasons against the collective interests of the nation. If those at the top of the Communist Party and an old revolutionary like Trotsky could join the enemy, what about lesser people? In factories and offices, mass meetings were held in which people were urged to be vigilant against sabotage. It was up to common folks to make the distinction between incompetence and intentional wrecking [i.e., sabotage], and any mishap might be blamed on wrecking. Denunciations became common. Neighbors denounced neighbors. Denunciations were a good way of striking against people one did not like, including one's parents, a way of eliminating people blocking one's promotion, and ... a means of proving one's patriotism. Many realized that some innocent people were being victimized, and the saying went around that "when you chop wood the chips fly." As with Lenin, it was believed that some who were innocent would have to be victimized if all of the guilty were to be apprehended.
Better late than never. Now that female Vietnam War veterans are in their sixties, it's time to investigate how the war affected their health. As with men, a good guess would be, poorly.
Well, that was depressing. Hopefully this should bring a smile to almost anyone's face.