Myth of the 20th Century – Episode 54: Holodomor – Harvest of Sorrow

Social Matter
January 27, 2018

Welcome to the Myth of the 20th Century. The podcast airs on Fridays.

— Brought to you by —

Hank Oslo, Hans Lander, Adam Smith and Nick Mason


In 1932-33, upwards of 10 million people perished in a widespread famine throughout the Ukraine. Estimates vary, but the staggering death toll is undeniable. The causes are debated intensely by various factions, citing reasons ranging from politically motivated intentional starvation to horrible mismanagement of collectivized farming. But what remains notable is the relative lack of awareness of the events, in contrast with the Holocaust. The Holodomor, or “Death by Starvation”, was easily just as great a tragedy as any other, but perhaps more so, because of the silence surrounding it.


1917 – Russian Revolution begins when Vladimir Lenin and the Communists overthrow Czarist factions in Moscow; Russian Civil War begins.(edited)
1918 – World War I ends with the defeat of German forces; Russian Civil War intensifies; Ukraine declares independence from Russia. Treat of Brest-Litovsk recognizes Ukraine as a sovereign entity.(edited)
1921 – 22 — Famine begins and destroys millions of Soviet lives, including millions of Ukrainians; Lenin begins his New Economic Policy, incidentally increasing the value of Ukrainian kulak land holdings; Russian CIvil War ends with the complete defeat of the White Russians.(edited)
1924 – Lenin dies; Soviets begin new policy on diminishing Ukrainian religious, intellectual, and agricultural prowess.
1928 – Collectivization begins across the USSR with the introduction of the first Five-Year Plan.
1929 – Heavy taxes and penalties are levied against Ukrainian farmers and rural laborers with approximately 1.5 million Ukrainian kulaks lose their livelihoods and/or their lives; show trials for Ukrainian resistance begins.
1932 – Ukrainian famine explodes with millions more famers being liquidated, rebels being preemptively put down, forced confiscations of all agricultural resources, and mass atrocities committed by the NKVD for express purposes of suppressing the Ukrainian population.
1933 – Ukrainian famine continues with 74% of kulak land being totally collectivized; United States recognizes the USSR and welcomes Stalin into a new trade deal.


– The Man Made Famine of 1932-1933 in Soviet Ukraine, Krawchenko (1984) –
– The Harvest of Sorrow: Soviet Collectivization and the Terror-Famine, Conquest (1987)
– Eternal Memory: The Great Terror in Ukraine (1998) –
– Stalin’s Jews, Plocker (2006) –,7340,L-3342999,00.html
– The Soviet Story, Snore (2008) –
– Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin, Snyder (2010)
– Grappling With Holodomor, Ta-Heisi Coates (2014) –
– Red Famine: Stalin’s War on Ukraine, Applebaum (2017)
– Harvest of Despair – Documentary –


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