New history articles (June 2012 edition)

Posted in Journals, Reading by Alex L. on September 13, 2012

Historical Proceedings header

With this post, I’m starting a new monthly article series called “Historical Proceedings” that reviews a sampling of the new historical articles published in mostly academic journals (but also some popular magazines). I’m a few months behind on these and also on my monthly posts about new history books, but I’m working to catch up.

As with the books, I’ll be choosing articles every month that I think are interesting, enlightening, and well written (all, admittedly, subjective criteria). I hope these posts inspire you to read new works of history and to share your comments with me below.

The Historian journal cover“The Repression of Soviet Koreans during the 1930s” by Alexander Kim in The Historian (Summer 2012).

Joseph Stalin killed so many people from so many different communities during his purges of the 1930s that it’s hard to deny the veracity of the quote that is often attributed to him: “a single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic.” To understand the human toll of the purges, it helps to take a closer look at one cross-section of the population that was affected by them.

Alexander Kim writes in The Historian, a publication of the Phi Alpha Theta Historical Honor Society, about Soviet Koreans who were forcibly relocated from their homes in the Far East to barren lands in Kazakhstan. That they were accused of trumped-up charges of spying for the enemies of the Soviet Union was not unique by Soviet standards of the 1930s. But Kim describes how the Soviet Koreans’ integrality to the local economy (they were adept vegetable farmers) and easy ability to escape Soviet authorities by crossing the border into China delayed their repression by Stalin’s agents. That was something most other groups were not able to do during the purges. (more…)