Oliver Stone is an independent thinker, an opponent of American imperialism, and has spoken favorably about the Ron Paul campaign. So when he released his new history-themed documentary series it was a given it would cause a measure of interest among libertarians. Sure enough, once part one of the series was released both mostly positive and mostly negative reactions by visible libertarians followed. Here is my take on the first part of his series “World War Two” touching upon several points I found worthwhile to comment on.
- The film begins with a shot of Stone himself, he is sitting in an armchair and explaining his motivation for shooting this film. He does so in the most patronizing, sage-like voice he can muster. What is more, the entire film has Stone speak in this oh so wise and kindly tone and pedestrian tempo as if it being narrated by an all-knowing Papa Frost. One serious thumb down here. The last thing anyone needs from their history program is to patronize them.
- One mayor goal the film seems to task itself with is to tell more about the Soviet role in bringing about the defeat of Nazi Germany in WWII. This rubbed at least one prominent libertarian, namely Justin Raimondo of antiwar.com the wrong way. By the end of his piece on the Untold History, Raimondo had accused Stone of having revealed his “Trotskyist sympathies”.
I believe that is uncalled for. I do not know a whole lot about Stone’s politics (other than that he strikes me as a fairly amorphous progressive). As far as I know he may indeed lean toward comrade Trotsky. However, it is impossible to establish this on the basis of his fairly innocent portrayal of WWII Soviet Union.
The way Stone portrays the Soviet Union is not different from how it was portrayed in the United States during WWII, when Americans temporarily thought of Soviets as their friends. If viewing WWII-era USSR with somewhat sympathetic eyes means Stone is at least a Trot, then so were tens of millions of Americans who were gripped by news of ongoing Russian struggles at Moscow and Stalingrad and ate up stories about Soviet generals, society and weapons brought to them by such Trotskyste powerhouses as Reader’s Digest.*