- Category: History
- Created on Thursday, 07 October 2010 07:38
- Written by J Arch Getty
For those interested in understanding the complex events of the Soviet Union, especially in the 1930s as war with Nazi Germany loomed -- on important place to start is the work of J. Arch Getty -- the professional Soviet historian who has worked to overturn that once-dominant "standard" analysis associated Robert Conquest and the anticommunist theory of "totalitarianism."
In the following video interview, J. Arch Getty starts briefly with his early years, education, and involvement with revolutionary politics in the 60s-70s, but soon focuses on his life's work: how he developed a new analysis of the Stalin-era Soviet Union.
He also discusses his own methodology -- identifying gaps and irrationalities in the "standard" analysis, and using them as doorways to a new theory of the history, to be filled in (and modified) as new data emerged from Soviet party archives over the last twenty years. In the process Getty raises (toward the end) interesting observations about the relationship of the Party and the State in the Soviet Union, including the degree of unofficial clique ("clan") politics in defining the dynamics of that Party-State amalgam and the eruption of the purges.
His work has helped dethroned the theories of "totalitarianism," and enabled us to approach to the Soviet Union as a series of real political events. In the process he has brought forward some startling discoveries and observations about those dramatic conflicts.
This video first appears on the History Faculty website. (51 minutes)
For those interested in reading Getty's work on the Soviet Union here is a short list of his major works. ( list of articles on Wikipedia)
- John Arch Getty and Roberta Thompson Manning. Stalinist Terror: New Perspectives, (ed., with Roberta T. Manning), New York, Cambridge University Press, 1993.
- J. Arch Getty, Oleg V. Naumov. The Central Party Archive: A Research Guide, Univ Pittsburgh Center for Russian. 1993.
- John Archibald Getty Origins of the Great Purges: The Soviet Communist Party Reconsidered, 1933-1938, New York, Cambridge University Press, 1985. Ninth printing, 1996.
- J. Arch Getty, Oleg V. Naumov, The Road to Terror: Stalin and the Self-Destruction of the Bolsheviks, 1932-1939, Yale University Press, 1999
- Stalin's "Iron Fist:" The Times and Life of N. I. Yezhov, Yale University Press, 2008