Roots of a Man-Made Famine in Ukraine

Even the ancient Greeks depended upon farmers in Ukraine to produce abundant crops of wheat.  Yet ... in the 20th century, things dramatically changed in Ukraine when the Soviet leader, Joseph Stalin, forced collectivized farming on that country.

In 1921, after the Bolshevik Revolution, Russia took over most of Ukraine.  During the early years of the 1930s, when much of Ukraine's grain crop was sent elsewhere—to fulfill government-imposed quotas related to collectivized farming—disaster ensued. 

Millions of people died as Ukraine—Europe's bread basket—experienced famine (which people in Ukraine refer to as Holodomor). Literally translated, from the Ukraine, Holodomor means "to inflict death by hunger."

Survivors, and historians, tell us this was no famine brought about by nature.  It resulted, they say, from a completely preventable series of events.

The catastrophe is the subject of a new movie, called Bitter Harvest, starring Max Irons (as Yuri) and Samantha Barks (as Natalka).

The clip—at the top of this page—is from the documentary "Harvest of Despair: The Unknown Holocaust." It explains the early roots of the man-made disaster that not only caused massive chaos in Ukraine, it unnecessarily claimed the lives of millions of people, mostly farming families.

The documentary incorporates historical footage, including scenes from the civil war which erupted in Russia after the Bolshevik Revolution.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5155stories and lessons created

Original Release: Feb 24, 2017

Updated Last Revision: Feb 24, 2017

Media Credits

Clip from "Harvest of Despair: The Unknown Holocust."


Produced and directed by Slavko Nowytski for the Ukrainian Famine Research Committee in Canada, with the assistance of the National Film Board of Canada. 

Narration writer and story consultant, Peter Blow

Photography by Thomas Burstyn and Yuri Denysenko

Edited by Yurij Luhovy

Music by Zenoby Lawryshyn

Distributed by International Historic Films, Inc. 

Released, 1984

Online, courtesy Google Video.


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"Roots of a Man-Made Famine in Ukraine" AwesomeStories.com. Feb 24, 2017. Feb 18, 2019.
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