This brief respite was only anotherntactical maneuver, however, and thenSoviet regime soon returned to thenassault on its own people. Justifyingnhis actions with the argument that thenpeasantry would deprive the State ofnfood if only it could, Stalin felt entitlednto use the same weapon and starve thenpeasantry into submission first. Thisncampaign, which reached its peak innthe terror-famine of 1932 and the earlynpart of 1933, was directed not onlynagainst the farmers but also against thenrebellious Ukrainians, who for yearsnfought for self-determination withinnthe Russian Empire. The famine wasncentered in the fertile Ukraine; that itnwas imposed deliberately may be seennfrom the fact that stored grain in thenregion was not released to the peasants;nalso, the peasants were forcibly preventednfrom entering the cities, wherensmall bread rations existed, and fromncrossing into the Russian Republic,nwhere there was no hunger. All thatnwhile the Soviet authorities officiallyndenied there was any starvation in thenafflicted areas.nThe evidence Conquest presents,nthen, makes an overwhelming case fornbelieving that Stalin consciously usednfamine as a weapon for a mass destructionnof what he considered a classnenemy. Using the best statistics availablento him. Conquest concludes thatnsome 14.5 million people either diednin 1930-37 of unnatural causes or werensent to camps where they perished notnmuch later. Of these, about 6.5 millionndied during the anti-kulak campaign,nand about seven million duringnthe famine of 1932-33. We shouldnkeep these figures in mind when wenare told, as we so often are, that thenSoviets would never want another warnbecause they lost 20 million people inntheir conflict against Hitler.nStatistics lack the human appealnwhich case histories can provide, andnHarvest of Sorrow quotes many witnessesnto the human suffering in thisnholocaust. In fact, a famine of this sortnis even worse than a war. Conquestncites a “former activist” as saying:nOn a battiefield men dienquickly, they fight back, theynare sustained by fellowship andna sense of duty. Here I sawnpeople dying in solitude bynslow degrees, dying hideously.nwithout the excuse of sacrificenfor a cause. They had beenntrapped and left to starve, eachnin his home, by a politicalndecision made in a far-offncapital around conference andnbanquet tables.nSo great was the misery of the victimsnof this frightful extermination thatnsome were driven to cannibalism:nOne activist who had beennworking on the collectivizationncampaign in Siberia came backnto the Ukraine in 1933 to findnthe population of his villagen”almost extinct.” His youngernbrother told him that they werenliving on bark, grass, andnhares, but that when these gavenout, “Mother says we shouldneat her if she dies.”nIs it possible that a tragedy of suchnmammoth dimensions could have occurrednwithout the knowledge of thenoutside world? In a certain sense it is,nfor “credible” Western observers visitednthe area and then joined Sovietnofficialdom in denying there was anynwidespread starvation in the Ukraine.nSome, like Edouard Herriot, were perhapsndeceived by skillful manipulation;nothers, like Sir John Maynardnand Beatrice and Sydney Webb, deceivednthemselves; while New YorknTimes correspondent Walter Durantynconsciously lied to his readers (in 1932nnnhe received a Pulitzer Prize for “dispassionate,ninterpretive reporting ofnthe news from Russia”). Such was thenpower of this deception that it hasntaken almost half a century for thentruth to emerge and be generally, ifnreluctantiy, accepted.nAnd yet even those who perhaps willnadmit Stalin used famine as a weaponnin 1932-33 find it difficult to acceptnthe notion that this may be a standardninstrument in the arsenal of Communistnregimes. To the objective eye thenrecord is indisputable. We need onlynrecall the Cambodian holocaust of andecade ago, when famine helped decimatena proud people; in Afghanistan,nnow, the Soviet invaders are intentionallyndestroying crops and livestock andnmoving populations to areas wherenthere is little food; in Ethiopia todaynsimilar things are going on—yet whennwe hear of foodstocks sent by the Westnrotting on Ethiopian docks, we find itnhard to believe this could be governmentnpolicy instead of mere inefficiency.nIn Against All Hope, his horrifyingnmemoir of his imprisonment in Castro’snCuba, Armando Valladares reportsnon hunger as a device used tonbreak. down Cuban prisoners’ resistance.nDespite all these witnesses, it stillnseems difficult today for normal peoplenof goodwill to believe the Communistsnare using famine as a lethal weapon.nHalf a century ago, it was even morendifficult. At that time. Conquest pointsnSEPTEMBER 1987143n