What is the origin and context of the Marxist/Leninist quote "With an iron fist, we will drive humanity to happiness?" Rather than just the name of the author, some background would be helpful. For example, here is a citation on Stalin's quote regarding the Pope:

"The Pope! How many divisions has he got?"

Said sarcastically to Pierre Laval in 1935, in response to 
being asked whether he could do anything with Russian Catholics 
to help Laval win favour with the Pope, to counter the increasing 
threat of Nazism; as quoted in The Second World War (1948) 
by Winston Churchill vol. 1, ch. 8, p. 105.

Googling has produced limited results, with no dependable attribution. The closest I've come is this:

The administration at Solovki put up a sign at the main camp, 
which captured perfectly the Leninist program. It read, “With an 
Iron Fist, We Will Lead Humanity to Happiness.”

If this is the extent of the information available, that's fine, but I thought I would double check..

  • What is the difference between a "historical origin" and an "origin"? – MCW Nov 21 '14 at 14:35
  • 1
    I was trying to be as specific as possible to avoid answers like "well, somebody said it, duh." Sorry if my clumsy phrasing offended you. I will edit my question to add more detail. – user3120173 Nov 21 '14 at 15:00
  • Not an offense - just wanted to make sure that there wasn't some subtlety that escaped me. – MCW Nov 21 '14 at 15:21

The original Russian version is Железной рукой загоним человечество к счастью. The images Google found:

iron fist 1 iron fist 2 iron fist 3

all show fragments of the same photograph which absolutely could NOT have been made in Solovki.

The reason is that the orthography of the text is the old (pre-revolutionary) one. By 1923 when the prison camp was created, the new orthography was quite thoroughly entrenched; moreover, the old one was strongly associated with the counter-revolutionaries (the Whites rejected the reform, despite it having been prepared before the bolshevik takeover) and thus it was unthinkable that it would be used in such a communist cornerstone as a prison camp.

In fact, this slogan is from the Civil War times (when both the old and new orthography were used), and could have been done by either Bolshevik or Socialist-Revolutionary activists.

PS. This does not mean that Solovki did not have such a slogan. What I am saying is that the slogan did not originate there.

  • Out of curiosity, can you explain what about the sign indicates the older orthography rather than the new? – MCW Nov 21 '14 at 18:10
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    @MarkC.Wallace: i, yat, terminating hard sign – sds Nov 21 '14 at 18:11
  • The tvyordniznak after the K in "to"? (Ok, if you put it that way, perhaps adding this information wouldn't shed any meaningful light. Forget I asked). – MCW Nov 21 '14 at 18:13

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