The Ukrainian Genocide that killed the masses.
“Our father used to read the Bible to us, but whenever he came to the passage mentioning ‘bloodless war’ he could not explain to us what that term meant. When in 1933 he was dying from hunger he called us to his deathbed and said “This, children, is what is called bloodless war...”
(as remembered by Hanna Doroshenko)” - (Holodomor 1932-33)
Statue from the Holodomor Memorial
In Ukrainian, Holodomor means “killing by hunger”. The Holodomor was a Ukrainian genocide/famine that was caused mainly by Joseph Stalin, who at this time, ruled the Soviet Union. This famine lasted one year, from 1932 to 1933, but began in 1929. In this tragic event, a copious amount of people died and people would do whatever they could to survive. At the time, Ukraine was experiencing a famine and it could be easy for Stalin to make Holodomor look like an accident or passive justice for rebellious people that Stalin feared. Stalin would do everything in his power to keep Ukraine from getting food. Not only did many people die, but many were also deported.
Picture of Joseph Stalin
People walk by a starved man laying in the street.
Many frightened Ukrainians would attempt to flee to other countries or Russian states, but they would either get shot or would be captured and then returned to Ukraine so they could starve. After the first year, 190,000 people tried to escape Ukraine. Many everyday people’s desperation and agony led to them eating their own child or parts of their bodies, such as their foot. Many isn’t just a small group of people, but tens of thousands people resorted to doing very sad and tragic things. One memory recalled by Motrya Mostova was, "People were dying all over our village. The dogs ate the ones that were not buried. If people could catch the dogs they were eaten. In the neighboring village people ate bodies that they dug up,” - (Holodomor 1932-33)
Starving children during famine photo by Gareth Jones
"Mourners visit the Holodomor memorial in Kyiv, Ukraine." - (Kiyiv Post)
The Milgram Experiment
The Milgram Experiment Connection
Photo from Milgram Experiment (man shown is the controller).
The Stanford Prison Experiment
Would there be such harsh situations if they weren't in this situation? Probably not. Would these healthy and mentally stable students act this way in a different setting? That's also probably a no. This is the fundamental attribution error. The situation that the students were put in brought on the harshness and cold feelings between everyone. People would normally want to blame the person, such as blaming the guards for their actions. Facts have to be faced, everyone in the experiment was mentally stable and the situation they were put in brought out these evil acts.
The Stanford Prison Experiment Connection
This relates to Holodomor because people were no longer working as a group and were now turning on each other just to survive. Everyone that was involved in creating Holodomor would have to basically abandon all morals just to carry out the task. “The experiment showed that one third of the guards began to show an extreme and imbedded streak of sadism,” - (Stanford Prison Experiment). All of the very harsh punishment from people helping create Holodomor caused people to turn on each other just to survive. In the experiment, “The prisoners began to suffer a wide array of humiliations and punishments at the hands of the guards, and many began to show signs of mental and emotional distress,” - (Stanford Prison Experiment). This shows that situations like this will make people turn to very insane acts. For example, people were resorting to eating their own children in Holodomor.
There has to be very drastic measures for someone to be willing to eat their own child. The fundamental attribution error from the Stanford Prison Experiment could relate to this. The main reason these people ate their own families and children was due to the fact that they were in a situation that required it. Stalin put everyone in the position where it was either die or do horrible things to survive. “The experiment appeared to show how subjects reacted to the specific needs of the situation rather than referring to their own internal morals or beliefs,” - (Stanford Prison Experiment). People will do whatever is necessary in order to survive. It's obviously easy to blame the people for their actions, but that's not the case. If you put these Ukrainians in any other situation, they wouldn't have eaten the people they cherished. People would be searching every nook and cranny for any possible food they could find. Plus, the conditions at this time were getting worse and worse. The Stanford Prison Experiment was very similar to Holodomor in the sense of abandoning morals for a certain situation.
Photo from Stanford Prison Experiment. Guards is punishing a prisoner.
Stanford Prison Picture: