With the USSR are bad-
The fashionable attempt to equate communism and Nazism is in reality a moral and historical nonsense. Despite the cruelties of the Stalin terror, there was no Soviet Treblinka or Sobibor, no extermination camps built to murder millions.With the British Empire are entirely reasonable-
No wonder Hitler was such an enthusiastic admirer of Britain's empire, which he described as an "inestimable factor of value". The echoes of Nazism in the colonial record are unmistakable
The Ends Justifies The Means:
With the USSR, yes-
communism in the Soviet Union, eastern Europe and elsewhere delivered rapid industrialisation, mass education, job security and huge advances in social and gender equality. It encompassed genuine idealism and commitment, captured even by critical films and books of the post-Stalin era such as Wajda's Man of Marble and Rybakov's Children of the Arbat. Its existence helped to drive up welfare standards in the west, boosted the anticolonial movement and provided a powerful counterweight to western global domination.With the Empire, no-
By the numbers:
But the question, as Colin Jones, president of the Royal Historical Society, puts it, should be: "Which narrative?" If Britain had genuinely come to terms with its imperial history, no senior politician would have dared suggest celebrating it or mobilising apologists to sanitise its record for schoolchildren.
The British empire was, after all, an avowedly racist despotism built on ethnic cleansing, enslavement, continual wars and savage repression, land theft and merciless exploitation. Far from bringing good governance, democracy or economic progress, the empire undeveloped vast areas, executed and jailed hundreds of thousands for fighting for self-rule, ran concentration camps, carried out medical experiments on prisoners and oversaw famines that killed tens of millions of people.
For the USSR, we must avoid an "ideologically-fuelled inflation game":
The real records of repression now available from the Soviet archives are horrific enough (799,455 people were recorded as executed between 1921 and 1953 and the labour camp population reached 2.5 million at its peak) without engaging in an ideologically-fuelled inflation game.With the Empire we can cherry pick sources about death tolls from idealogically fuelled nutjobs whose estimates are more than ten times those of mainstream historians:
To this day, Kenyan victims of the 1950s campaign of torture, killing and mass internment are still trying, and failing, to win British compensation during a "counter-insurgency" war that, by some estimates, left 100,000 dead.