Friday, April 6, 2007

Great Quote But Who Said It?

The May '07 Atlantic Monthly has a bit on page 30: "Stalin Was Right." It begins as follows: " 'A single death is a tragedy,' Joseph
Stalin said. 'A million is a statistic.'" It has become almost an established "fact" that Stalin said this. But did he? I think not. It doesn't appear in any of his works or speechs, nor in the memoirs of people who knew him. A check of the internet will reveal that Russian historians don't know anything about this quote as being from JS. It is never given with an attribution. "JS said this while beating his mother as reported by so and so." So beware! This is a quote that appears to be completely bogus. Hey, if anyone knows the source-- let me know: for the sake of historical accuracy. Until then,when you read it in an article or posting as from JS you can assume the author hasn't done his homework.
Thomas Riggins

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