Self Help

Red Flag, The - Priestland, David

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Matheus Puppe

· 146 min read

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Here is a summary of the key points about David Priestland’s book “The Red Flag: Communism and the Making of the Modern World”:

  • The book aims to provide a global history of communism from its origins in the late 18th century up until the present day. It traces the spread and evolution of communist ideologies and movements worldwide.

  • Priestland analyzes the intellectual roots of communism in the ideas of Marx, Engels, and Lenin. He discusses the establishment of communist states in Russia after 1917 and in China after 1949.

  • A major focus is on how communist movements and regimes shaped the modern world, including through Stalin’s leadership of the Soviet Union, Mao’s rule in China, and communist movements in Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

  • Key events covered include the Russian Revolution, the rise of Stalin, World War II, the Chinese Civil War and Great Leap Forward, the Cuban Revolution, and the Sino-Soviet split.

  • The later sections examine the high point of communist influence in the 1970s-80s as well as the decline and fall of communist states in Europe in 1989 and beyond.

  • Priestland incorporates a wealth of global examples and latest scholarship to provide a comprehensive global overview of the enormous impact and legacy of communist ideologies and movements over the last 200+ years.

The passage describes how the author had an opportunity to gain first-hand experience with Communism in Moscow during two time periods - 1984 and 1987-1988.

In 1984 as a 19-year-old student, they visited Moscow during the height of Cold War tensions to try to understand Communism and the Soviet Union for themselves. They found Moscow to be gloomy and feared finding an Orwellian dystopia, but daily life was also more relaxed than expected and they sensed pride in Russian achievements. This visit only increased their confusion.

As a graduate student from 1987-1988, they had a chance to study the mysterious Stalin’s Terror in-depth while living in Moscow. This was during Gorbachev’s glasnost period of more open debate. If any time could reveal the attitudes underlying Communism, this seemed to be it as the system was starting to unravel. Again, what they witnessed left them confused about Communism and the Soviet Union.

  • Mikhail Gorbachev’s reforms of perestroika and glasnost were aimed at restructuring and liberalizing the Soviet system. However, reactions within Russia were mixed, with some eagerly embracing capitalism while others hoped to reform communism.

  • Traditional Marxism-Leninism promoted an idealized narrative of communism liberating the workers and peasants. But Western critics viewed communism either as a modernizing force or a repressive regime.

  • In reality, communism combined elements of ideology, modernization efforts, and repression. Communist regimes aimed to radically transform society but also faced resistance, justification some violence. However, ideology alone does not explain their actions - specific historical contexts were also important.

  • To better understand communism, we can draw parallels to the ancient Greek drama of Prometheus Bound. Prometheus symbolized the tensions between tradition/hierarchy and equality/progress. Some communists embraced Prometheus’ ideals of liberation, while others took on his anger towards opponents when facing repression themselves. But Prometheus’ anger could also “shake the earth to its very roots.”

So in summary, reactions to communism’s demise were complex, and its legacy combined elements of egalitarian progress alongside the potential for oppressive authoritarianism when facing resistance to radical social change. Both ideology and historical context need to be considered.

  • Communists sought to advance a vision of liberation, equality, and modernity inspired by Prometheus as a symbol of emancipation. Marx especially embraced this Promethean metaphor.

  • In repressive societies like tsarist Russia, Marxism promised to overcome patriarchal subjugation and achieve social equality. It also aimed to bring modern science and fortify the nation.

  • Conditions in Russia helped create conspiratorial vanguard parties designed to seize power and transform society. But the Bolshevik party took on quasi-religious and repressive tendencies that departed from Marx’s vision.

  • Once in power, Communists faced tensions between “modernist” and “radical” styles of Marxism. Modernist stressed planned economics but could be uninspiring, while radical emphasized mass mobilization but risked division and violence. It was difficult to sustain either approach.

  • Over time, some Communists adopted more pragmatic and liberal styles, while others took a more nationalistic and hierarchical path that resembled the old regimes they opposed. Stalin in particular adapted communism to traditional cultures using nationalism.

  • Communism underwent phases shifting from France to Germany/Russia, spreading globally after WWII, then declining as competitors like political Islam and liberalism gained ground, leading Gorbachev to try reforming the Soviet model.

This passage discusses the origins of modern communist politics in the Jacobin era of the French Revolution in the late 18th century. Key points:

  • Jacques-Louis David designed allegorical festivals depicting figures like Hercules that represented the radical sans-culottes and embodied popular strength, reason, and the overthrow of tyranny.

  • The Jacobins did not advocate property redistribution or class struggle, but saw a united band of egalitarian citizens as necessary for a strong nation. This prefigured communist politics.

  • The French Revolution abolished the estates system and legal privileges of the nobility, aiming to create a unitary nation of equal citizens rather than members of separate estates.

  • Revolutionary culture emphasized political equality, reason over tradition, and created new rituals and calendars to break from the past. Costumes also became plainer.

  • The Jacobin model achieved some successes but tensions emerged between the revolutionary elite seeking state strength and the more radical masses, presaging conflicts in future communist regimes. Divisions over emotion vs reason also split the Jacobins.

  • After the French Revolution overthrew the monarchy and established a republic, there emerged two competing visions for France’s new culture and political system.

  • The first was a liberal capitalist vision that swept away feudal privileges and protections in favor of individual property rights and free markets.

  • The second, championed by radical Jacobins like Robespierre, drew inspiration from classical republicanism and envisioned a more collectivist society. This vision was influenced by Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s ideas.

  • Rousseau promoted small, virtuous communities where citizens would sacrifice personal interests for the common good. He admired the austerity and patriotism of ancient Sparta. This vision appealed to radicals concerned with the poor.

  • As opposition to the revolution grew, Robespierre and the Jacobins allied more closely with the poor sans-culottes citizens for support. They recruited volunteers to supplement the army following the classical model of citizen militias.

  • In 1793, with support from the sans-culottes, Robespierre and the radical Mountain faction gained power, ousting the more moderate Girondins. A play performed that year symbolized the Jacobin-sans-culotte alliance against monarchs.

  • The sans-culottes were a mixed group in French society during the French Revolution, including both poor artisans and some more comfortably off people.

  • They had a radical, collectivist political view that supported the common people and opposed the rich. Their key demands focused on controlling food prices and spreading property ownership more widely.

  • François-Noël Babeuf was one of their more thoughtful supporters. He had previously exploited peasants as a “feudiste” but became disillusioned and committed to land redistribution.

  • Under the Jacobins, policies like price controls and targeting hoarders were instituted to appease the sans-culottes. But the Jacobins wanted to centralize and channel mass support, not be led by the untutored masses.

  • The Jacobins aimed to professionalize the military with literate officers while still promoting egalitarian ideals. They also took a more technocratic approach to the economy under engineers and technicians.

  • Success followed abroad but instability increased at home as radical factions challenged control. Robespierre tried to balance revolutionary momentum with order, facing threats from both radicals and those seeking a return to the old order.

  • Robespierre outlawed both ultra-radicals like Hébert and moderates like Danton, leaving him with a shrinking base of support.

  • To maintain the revolution without widespread backing, he turned to “terror” and the persecution of alleged “counter-revolutionaries,” inspired by communist regimes.

  • He established committees to tightly control propaganda and moral education. Officials had to demonstrate “patriotic virtue” or face removal.

  • The Law of 22 Prairial in 1794 greatly expanded the definition of enemies of the people who could be arrested and guillotined. Over 2,600 were executed in its wake.

  • Robespierre saw terror and virtue as a permanent means of rule, but others saw it as a temporary war measure. Fearing they could be targets, deputies plotted his removal and he lost power on 9 Thermidor (July 27).

  • His radical phase of the revolution ended, but its events and failures would influence future communist regimes as they grappled with similar contradictions. Marx saw the Jacobins as making mistakes but their era as a beacon for the future.

This passage discusses the evolution of revolutionary thought in the 19th century following the French Revolution of 1789. Some key points:

  • Delacroix had an ambivalent view of the 1830 revolution, becoming disillusioned with violence. Marx sought to apply lessons from 1789 to develop socialist politics but temper radicalism with appreciation for science and economic forces.

  • After Robespierre’s fall, Babeuf, Saint-Simon and Fourier developed different strains of socialism from their experiences - egalitarian Communism, scientific socialism focused on production, and a more Romantic socialism prioritizing creativity.

  • Babeuf’s calls for absolute equality and communal ownership influenced later Communist figures like Weitling. However, others like Fourier advocated for small, experimental utopian communities focused on individual development rather than state control or economic equality.

  • Marx sought to synthesize these strands while adapting socialism to the new industrial era and working classes. He located socialism in Germany rather than France and emphasized economic factors over will or morality in shaping society. So in summary, revolutionary thought evolved as leaders learned from past failures but adapted ideas to changed modern contexts.

This passage discusses various socialist thinkers and movements that influenced Karl Marx in the early-to-mid 19th century. It covers the utopian socialists Charles Fourier and Robert Owen, who envisioned communities where work and pleasure were reconciled. It also discusses revolutionary socialist thinker Francois-Noel Babeuf and his vision of an equal communist community. Pierre-Joseph Proudhon advocated a form of industrial democracy with workers controlling workplaces. Etienne Cabet’s utopia “Icaria” organized property collectively.

The passage then turns to Henri de Saint-Simon, considered the founder of scientific socialism. He argued society’s goal should be production and scientists/industrialists should be in power instead of the masses. While condemned as utopian, his ideas influenced later socialists attempting to reconcile equality and economic prosperity.

The influences of these socialist thinkers, along with elements of Babouvian communism and romantic utopian socialism, came together in the system developed by Marx and Engels. They sought to show how a radical socialist model like communism could be combined with economic prosperity. The passage provides biographical context for Marx’s development and outlines the intellectual influences and tensions between Enlightenment rationalism and German romanticism that shaped his early thinking.

  • Marx saw himself as a rebel who rejected conventional life and conventional ideas. He expressed this sentiment in poems, identifying with the rebel Prometheus.

  • As an adult, Marx remained intensely pugnacious and sensitive. He described his idea of happiness as fighting and his idea of misery as submission. He was driven by a “singleness of purpose” to challenge authority through his ideas.

  • Marx became interested in radical and socialist ideas while a member of the Young Hegelians in Germany. He rejected the establishment view that Prussia represented Hegel’s ideal society.

  • Marx’s radicalism grew after his newspaper was shut down by authorities in 1843. He lost faith in the German bourgeoisie and middle classes.

  • In Paris in 1843-44, Marx developed his core ideas under the influence of French socialists and through his collaboration with Engels, who provided insights into English socialism and capitalism.

  • In early works, Marx’s primary interest was human freedom and overcoming man’s alienation from his creative capacities under capitalist societies. He envisioned communism as allowing direct participation in government and creative, non-alienated work.

  • Marx’s early communist visions were more utopian than Babouvism and drew from Romantic thinkers as well as his views of more autonomous pre-capitalist societies.

  • Marx envisioned communism operating at a higher level of economic development than pre-capitalist societies, building upon the benefits capitalism and markets had brought rather than destroying them.

  • He accepted that capitalism had integrated the world, destroyed backward institutions, and modernized society. Marx saw industrialization and globalization as progress that communism should follow rather than reverse.

  • Marx’s communism was therefore clearly a modern, industrialized society rather than a decentralized or primitive model. It required a powerful bourgeoisie and proletariat developed through capitalism first.

  • However, Marx argued the bourgeoisie could not control the world it had created. Industrialization was creating a large proletariat that would ultimately overthrow bourgeois rule through increasingly revolutionary actions, ushering in a communist society.

  • Early signs of tension emerged between workers and the bourgeoisie in France in the 1830s as capitalism disrupted small-scale artisans and the revolution failed to address workers’ needs, leading to rebellion in Lyon in 1831 as one of the first modern workers’ revolts.

In the 1830s, workers in France began protesting against the liberal government, demanding greater rights and representation. Some identified as “proletarians” even if they owned businesses. The term “socialism” was coined in 1831, and socialist movements grew in France and Britain in the 1840s.

Workers’ protests in France, like the Lyon silk workers’ strike of 1831 and the June Rebellion of 1848 in Paris where thousands of workers died, showed the conflict between industrial workers and the emerging capitalist system. Meanwhile, the Chartist movement in Britain united industrial and artisanal workers around demands for voting rights.

Marx saw these events as fueling revolution and the collapse of capitalism. However, most early socialist movements were led by artisanal workers defending their traditional way of life, not industrial proletarians envisioned by Marx. Revolutions spread across Europe in 1848 but were ultimately suppressed, undermining Marx’s predictions of imminent proletarian revolution. The experience highlighted the divide between workers and the emerging middle classes in many countries.

  • After the revolutionary upheavals of 1848 were defeated, thousands of workers were deported from German cities.

  • Louis-Napoleon was elected president of France appealing to conservatives and workers opposed to liberal republicans. He implemented increasingly conservative policies.

  • By 1849 his troops helped defeat the last revolutionary governments in Italy, dampening revolutionary hopes. Marx and Engels continued predicting further revolution but it became clear by the late 1850s this was unlikely.

  • The 1871 Paris Commune provided solace as the first government connected to Marx. It was more worker-dominated and flew the red flag rather than the French tri-color. Marx saw it as a model of the “proletarian dictatorship.”

  • By the 1870s, Marx had moved from predicting revolution to analyzing capitalism’s workings and demise economically in Capital. He emphasized rational planning and efficiency rather than creative labor under communism.

  • Marx portrayed communism emerging gradually via objective economic forces rather than proletarian heroism. The most advanced section of communists would have to lead the transition and initial dictatorship of the proletariat state.

  • Marx outlined a multi-stage transition to higher communism via lower socialism, establishing the dominant Marxist framework but open to varied interpretations on timing and role of revolution versus gradual reforms.

  • Émile Zola began writing his novel Germinal in 1884, depicting a violent coal mining strike to draw attention to the growing conflict between capital and labor.

  • The main characters represent different socialist visions - Souvarine is an anarchist, Étienne Lantier a Marxist, Rasseneur a moderate “Possibilist” socialist, and abbé Ranvier a Christian socialist.

  • Zola portrays the socialists as unable to control the violent and animalistic masses. The novel depicts terrifying strikes and demonstrations that will inevitably lead to revolution and the overthrow of the bourgeois order.

  • However, Zola himself had little sympathy for revolution. The novel suggests workers will eventually abjure violence and form peaceful trade unions to legally fight for their rights instead of confronting the industrial system.

  • Zola predicted leftist politics would become less revolutionary and more law-abiding where existing parties accommodated workers. But Marxists did not prosper where societies were too repressive for industrialization and workers’ rights.

Marxists had difficulty organizing parties and unions in many parts of Europe in the late 19th century due to repression from states. Anarchism was more compelling in places like Italy and Spain where repression was harsh but organizing was easier. Anarchists did well among poor peasants demanding land redistribution, while Marxists saw peasants as backward.

France saw some success for Marxists like the Étienne Lantiers, but also repression. Liberal governments attracted potential Marxists with reform. Churches, especially the Catholic Church, strongly opposed Marxism.

In the US, socialists had less success than in Europe due to ethnic divisions, dominant liberal ideology, male suffrage as an alternative path, and high repression.

Northern and Central Europe provided the best environment for Marxists, especially Germany. The Social Democratic Party of Germany grew large due to the industrial working class and mix of political freedom and repression, which prevented reformism. Still, most German workers joined due to economic grievances rather than Marxist theory. The party provided community and self-improvement beyond just politics.

  • The Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) provided an alternative cultural world for working-class Germans, offering education, self-improvement activities, and recreational clubs. These were meant to emulate bourgeois cultural pursuits like art, literature, and music study.

  • Popular activities included shooting and cycling clubs, choral societies with 200,000 members, and even smoking clubs. Ideological content varied. Some clubs used distinctive greetings like “Frei Heil!” starting in the 1890s.

  • May Day parades celebrating socialism and workers’ trades were a highly visible aspect of SPD culture, despite police harassment. Symbolism included figures representing the Goddess of Freedom based on French Revolutionary imagery.

  • Party culture also had a strong martial or military flavor, with uniforms, marching bands, flags at festivals. Socialist songs adopted military themes. Discipline and hierarchy were valued.

  • For men like Otto Krille, the SPD’s disciplined organization and parallel state provided dignity and defense for workers against a hostile German Empire. By 1914 the SPD was the largest Marxist party in the world and a model for European socialists.

  • Karl Kautsky was considered the first “pope” or leader of orthodox Marxism in the Second International. He sought to create a coherent Marxist worldview based on Engels’ modern, scientific version of Marxism.

  • Kautsky advocated for maintaining a distance from bourgeois politics while pursuing social reforms. The SPD would push for reforms but ultimately wait for capitalism’s inevitable economic crisis and overthrow through revolution.

  • However, this orthodoxy became difficult to maintain as parties engaged more in reform work within existing systems. Revisionists like Eduard Bernstein challenged Kautsky by arguing socialism could be achieved through peaceful evolution rather than crisis or revolution.

  • Bernstein rejected the idea of inevitable capitalist crisis, argued workers should fully participate in capitalist nation-states, and said the goal was reform over revolution. He was denounced but also had considerable support among Socialist parties and workers.

  • Challenges to Kautsky intensified from radicals like Rosa Luxemburg and from authoritarian countries experiencing less liberal politics than Western Europe. This presaged new challenges to orthodoxy from the East.

  • Marxism initially emerged from a blend of Romantic socialisms and evolved into a more pragmatic, reformist socialism by the early 20th century.

  • A resurgence of revolutionary radicals seized the initiative in the international communist movement after World War I discredited nationalist elites and capitalism.

  • Most Marxist parties supported their countries in World War I out of nationalism and pragmatism, going against their internationalist principles. This undermined their credibility.

  • The Russian Social Democratic party (Bolsheviks and Mensheviks), the small Serbian party, and the Italian socialists were exceptions that stood firm against nationalism, preserving their moral high ground.

  • While Marx was wrong that revolution would originate in industrial Germany, the situation was different in less industrialized Russia, where many felt alienated from the nationalist project. Russia became the new epicenter of communist revolution after the war.

  • Pudovkin’s 1927 film “End of St Petersburg” presented the October Revolution as continuing Russia’s modernization started by Peter the Great, symbolized by the iconic Bronze Horseman statue. It depicted the Bolsheviks ending tsarist rule while carrying the torch of modernization.

The film depicts the Russian Revolution in 1917. It shows how the image of revolution had changed since Delacroix, with a more modern, technological depiction involving machines rather than robes and flags. However, Pudovkin’s vision departed from orthodox Marxism in some ways - the hero was a peasant joining the proletariat rather than a worker, and the revolution would inherit state-building from the old regime and bring modernity, not just social justice.

Pudovkin captured Lenin’s vision of combining radical and modern Marxism to forge a new ideology for Russia’s backward society. The Bolsheviks initially flirted with radicalism to court workers and peasants but soon imposed strict discipline when chaos emerged. They later retreated further from radicalism to pragmatism to appeal to broader groups.

In contrasting Tsarist Russia with Pudovkin’s vision, it discusses how Russia consciously modeled itself as the epitome of reactionary tradition against Enlightenment. However, military defeats forced reforms but these only partially integrated populations, increasing resentment. The system oppressed peasants and excluded the growing but disorganized urban proletariat. Pudovkin depicted the popular anger that had built up under the failing ancien régime.

Eventually, many frustrated industrial workers like Kanatchikov and Shapovalov decided to take action by joining larger revolutionary organizations. They looked to the radical intelligentsia, another excluded social group determined to overcome Russia’s divisions and accelerate modernization, for leadership of these organizations. The radical intelligentsia included socialist intellectuals like Chernyshevskii, whose influential novel What is to be Done? inspired many young people with utopian socialist ideas and ideals of the “new people.” It promoted concepts like egalitarian communes, cooperative workshops, and rational social organization. It also introduced the ascetic revolutionary figure of Rakhmetov, who dedicated himself completely to serving the people. Many saw the novel as a call to emulate Rakhmetov and overthrow the old unequal order through dedicated revolutionary action. This led some students to argue for immediate interaction with workers and peasants over prioritizing education, in line with Bakunin’s views.

  • The passage discusses the emergence and development of Marxism in Russia in the late 19th century. Initially, Russian socialists embraced agrarian socialism and believed in the revolutionary potential of the peasantry.

  • However, the failure of movements like “Going to the People” in the 1870s, and harsh repression by the tsarist regime, pushed socialists towards more organized and conspiratorial methods like terrorism. Groups like Narodnaya Volya used bombs and assassination in their revolutionary campaigns.

  • The 1890s famine further weakened faith in the peasantry and countryside. Industrialization was creating a new urban proletariat that could serve as the vanguard of revolution according to Marxism.

  • Marxism appealed to Russian socialists as it promised Russia could modernize like Western Europe and exit its “semi-Asiatic” state. However, Kautsky’s orthodox Marxism did not fully account for Russia’s repressive autocracy.

  • Lenin was influential in adapting Marxism to the Russian context, drawing from Chernyshevskii’s radicalism as well as his own professional, progressive upbringing which combined Western and Russian influences.

  • Lenin grew up in a relatively privileged background compared to Marx, but had a very different character. He was a disciplined student and observed bourgeois rationalism and efficiency throughout his life.

  • His older brother was executed for revolutionary terrorism, radicalizing Lenin. He became attracted to Marxist ideas and wanted to become a revolutionary theorist.

  • Lenin advocated for an accelerated transition to socialism, looking for ways to push the revolutionary process forward more quickly than other Russian Marxists. He was hostile to liberal democracy and compromise.

  • In his 1902 pamphlet “What is to be Done?”, Lenin argued that the socialist cause required a centralized vanguard party of professional revolutionaries to bring communist ideas to workers. This diverged from other Marxists who favored broader participation.

  • The subsequent split lead to Lenin’s faction becoming known as the Bolsheviks. He took a militant, sectarian approach that alienated other international Marxists.

  • Revolution broke out in 1905 after Russia’s humiliating defeat by Japan, as Lenin had predicted. However, his authoritarianism and hostility towards compromise had already alienated many potential allies by that point.

The petition to the Tsar called for democratic reforms like universal suffrage, legalizing trade unions, and civil rights. However, when protesters marched peacefully, the police declared it illegal and troops fired indiscriminately on the unarmed crowd. This undermined the Tsar’s image as a benevolent father figure. Workers responded by forming soviets (councils) to coordinate strikes and demand political representation. Some socialists like Trotsky gained leadership roles in the soviets and helped organize a general strike that forced concessions from the regime. However, the liberals were satisfied with reforms and abandoned the movement. The regime regained control and crushed further unrest, but the image of absolutism was damaged. This established a pattern that recurred in the revolutions of 1905 and 1917 - liberal concessions failed to satisfy radical workers and peasants, leading to further unrest that weakened the autocracy.

  • The Russian aristocracy/monarchy lacked patriotic appeal to unite Russia against its enemies. Protests in February 1917 against food shortages developed into a general strike and mutinies, and few defended the regime.

  • Initially Russians united behind calls for “freedom” and “democracy,” seeing their revolution as parallel to the French Revolution of 1789. Socialist symbols like the red flag were adopted.

  • However, divisions soon emerged between educated liberals and workers/peasants. Competing visions of Russia’s future emerged through symbols like different versions of the “Marseillaise” anthem.

  • A Provisional Government formed but faced difficulties uniting the population behind its vision. It struggled to maintain control over the countryside and appease striking workers as class divisions increased.

  • By summer 1917, calls for workers’ and peasants’ rule through soviets and overthrowing the “bourgeois” government grew common. Many supported stronger state control “in the interests of the people.”

  • Lenin took power in Russia after the October Revolution in 1917, determined to impose his vision of class struggle. He believed the Bolsheviks should transfer power from the bourgeois Provisional Government to the soviets (workers’ councils).

  • Lenin called for rule by the lower classes (workers and peasants) and an end to the war. However, the Bolsheviks were a largely urban party in a rural country. They gained popularity due to being the only force seen as potentially saving the revolution.

  • Lenin may have initially believed the ambitious visions laid out in State and Revolution were realistic - that popular initiative and centralism could coexist under the “Dictatorship of the Proletariat.” However, unity soon broke down into conflicts within society and the regime.

  • Challenges arose from moderate socialists who objected to Soviet class rule over parliamentary democracy. Left SRs survived in coalition with Bolsheviks for four months but by 1918 all power was concentrated in their hands.

  • Lenin refused to work with rival parties but took promises of democracy within the working class seriously at first. However, centralization of power in the Bolshevik party soon replaced democratic principles.

  • Initially, Lenin took a more populist approach that gave peasants land and encouraged popular retaliation against the bourgeoisie through seizures of property and hostaging. However, this approach led to economic chaos.

  • The failure of revolution in Germany left Russia isolated and vulnerable. It became clear the regime could not survive without abandoning its radical promises.

  • In early 1918, Lenin retreated from workers’ control and popular militia models, deciding the working class could not be trusted with democracy. He now favored a hierarchical, technocratic model of economic management using experts and Taylorism.

  • Labor discipline and bourgeois specialists had to be restored to revive the economy. Popular terror against the bourgeoisie was ended.

  • Lenin justified this as temporarily abandoning workers’ democracy until socialism could fully develop, portraying it as consistent with Marxism. However, it centralized power in the vanguard party rather than the soviets.

  • Dernity (early Soviet society) aimed for mass education, welfare, secularism and women’s emancipation, but made little progress especially on women’s equality.

  • It had a technocratic culture exemplified by Aleksei Gastev, who envisioned workers merging with factories like machines.

  • After the revolution, the Bolsheviks faced a civil war against opposition groups. They adopted “wartime communism” methods like rationing, surveillance, and state control of the economy.

  • Trotsky formed the Red Army, imposing discipline while also appealing to soldiers’ class identity. Propaganda depicted enemies in simplistic terms.

  • The Red Army grew to 5 million men and became a bulwark of the regime, recruiting from peasants. Military culture shaped Soviet politics.

  • Wartime methods continued after fighting ended. Trotsky sought to extend military organization and planning to society and the economy, facing criticism from others in the party.

  • In sum, the early Soviet system adopted an authoritarian, militarized approach out of necessity during the civil war, which left a lasting influence even after the fighting subsided.

  • There was a radical Marxist wing in the Bolshevik party called the “Left Communists” who disliked Lenin’s use of former tsarist officers and wanted a more egalitarian society. Groups like the “Workers’ Opposition” accused the party leadership of betraying workers’ democracy.

  • Alexander Bogdanov and others set up “Proletarian culture” groups called Proletkults that aimed to foster workers’ collective values, which Lenin saw as a rival and banned. The political left remained critical of Lenin.

  • Even Lenin resisted Trotsky’s ambitious plans to rapidly industrialize and modernize the economy. The state was unable to efficiently organize the economy, and officials instead used their power for personal gain through corruption.

  • By 1921, war communism had failed due to a poor harvest and widespread peasant revolts against grain seizures. The Kronstadt rebellion in particular threatened the Bolsheviks, demanding an end to war communism.

  • Lenin realized they had to retreat from early economic ambitions and introduced the New Economic Policy (NEP) to allow private trade and help the agricultural sector. This represented a shift towards market-based “state capitalism.”

  • NEP stabilized the regime by appeasing peasants but workers criticized it as a return to capitalist exploitation. It marked the end of Lenin’s revolutionary hopes for rapid socialist construction.

  • In the aftermath of World War 1, many saw the old capitalist order as being in crisis due to the immense bloodshed and failures of leadership.

  • Revolutionary feelings were strong among intellectuals and artists in places like Germany and Switzerland in the mid-1910s. Groups like the anti-war Social Democrats and early Dadaists expressed horror at the carnage.

  • By 1918, as defeat set in, widespread strikes and unrest broke out in countries like Germany and Austria-Hungary. Workers felt the sacrifices of war had been unequal and pointless.

  • The Bolshevik revolution in 1917 further radicalized the left and inspired hopes of building a socialist alternative to the old order. Though initially small, Communist parties gained more appeal as representative of radical change.

  • In the early 1920s, Communist groups adopted a more disciplined approach modeled on the Bolsheviks to build support. While revolutions did not immediately succeed elsewhere, Communism remained an influential force as faith in traditional elites was badly shaken.

  • After World War 1 and the collapse of old regimes, revolutionary situations emerged in Germany and elsewhere in Europe as in Russia. Workers’ and soldiers’ councils sprang up in Germany as the country transitioned to a new democratic government.

  • The new German leadership under Friedrich Ebert was convinced a Bolshevik revolution was threatening and allied with the right to ward it off, though this polarized politics. Revolutions and radical protest spread across Europe in 1918-1921.

  • Young, working-class communists benefited from this radicalism and doubt in traditional social democratic parties. War experiences further radicalized some, like Walter Ulbricht who rose to lead East Germany.

  • The war discredited militarism and nationalism for some intellectuals, pushing some to revolutionary Marxism. They saw capitalism as intimately tied to imperialism and militarism. Communist ideology appealed as an alternative.

  • Intellectuals and artists who previously hoped war would create a new spirit now saw the worker as the new man who could overcome bourgeois society. Marxist theorists like György Lukács moved closer to radical Marxism influenced by the Bolshevik revolution.

  • Georg Lukács was a Marxist philosopher who was initially skeptical of communism but became convinced by Béla Kun in 1918. When Kun formed a communist government in Hungary in 1919, Lukács served as Deputy Commissar of Education.

  • Lukács advocated a form of “Western Marxism” that emphasized culture and subjectivity over economic determinism. Another influential theorist was Antonio Gramsci, who focused on cultural power and saw communism as a “totalizing vision of life.”

  • The Frankfurt School, led by thinkers like Walter Benjamin and Herbert Marcuse, also took a cultural approach to Marxism. However, the most influential radical Marxist during this period was Rosa Luxemburg, who strongly supported revolutionary democracy and criticized authoritarian Bolsheviks.

  • In 1918-1919, Lenin accepted the possibility of non-Bolshevik revolutionary paths in Western countries. The first Comintern congress reflected this radical spirit. However, communist movements tended to do best not in industrialized nations but poorer agrarian societies experiencing unrest after war defeats.

  • Hungary partially fit this model, as a conservative country that lost WW1 and faced unrest. The communist party there was influenced by Béla Kun and other Hungarian prisoners of war converted by the Russians. Kun would go on to lead Hungary’s short-lived communist government in 1919.

  • Béla Kun was a Hungarian communist revolutionary who helped establish the Hungarian Soviet Republic in 1919. He had been trained in revolutionary schools in Moscow.

  • Kun was an effective orator who helped rally workers and intellectuals to Marxism. With Soviet funding and backing, the communists capitalized on radicalized workers’ councils to take power.

  • The communist government pursued radical economic policies like nationalizing industries and collectivization of farmland against peasant interests. They also alienated the population with anti-religious campaigns.

  • While initially successful at resisting Allied territorial demands, the government lost popular support due to economic chaos and shortages. Its inability to defend against foreign invasion ultimately led to its collapse in August 1919, when power was handed to a trade union government.

  • The experience showed the limitations of applying radical communist dogma without popular support, especially regarding nationalistic appeals and peasant interests during a time of foreign threat. This contrasted somewhat with opportunities for communists in Italy.

  • In 1920, the Second Congress of the Comintern (Communist International) met amid optimism about revolutionary successes in Italy and Poland. However, by fall 1920 these revolutions were in retreat.

  • Major failures in Italy in late 1920 and Poland in August 1921 marked the end of the revolutionary era. A disastrous failed uprising in Germany in 1921 further proved the revolutionary tide was over.

  • Governments expanded democratic and welfare reforms to undermine revolutionary sentiment among workers. As post-war economic booms ended, communist insurgencies declined.

  • However, communism still found support among some workers and unemployed in Europe. Germany in particular remained a stronghold, with the Communist Party continuing to attract over 10% of the vote.

  • At the 1920 Comintern congress, Lenin centralized international communism under tight Bolshevik control. All communist parties had to separate from social democratic parties and be subordinate to a Bolshevik-dominated executive committee. This led to the emergence of pure communist parties disentangled from pre-war mixed-left parties.

  • After WWI, communist parties outside of the USSR were generally quite small, gaining less than 5% of the vote in most places. The exception was Germany, which had the largest communist party outside the USSR.

  • By 1921, it became clear that the revolutionary tide had ebbed. The Soviets pursued a New Economic Policy and began trading with capitalist countries like Britain. Communist parties were told to stop agitating for immediate revolution and form “united fronts” with reformist socialist parties instead.

  • This policy had some success, like in China and Britain, but communist parties remained isolated in most places due to contradictory directives from Moscow and resistance from communists and social democrats.

  • A failed communist uprising in Germany in 1923 further discredited the revolutionary strategy. Moscow tightened control over communist parties through “Bolshevization” after this.

  • Communist parties essentially became tools of Soviet foreign policy directed by Stalin, who said communists must unconditionally defend the USSR. Moscow exerted influence through the Comintern and tools like the International Lenin School.

  • However, national communist parties also resisted Moscow’s directives at times, pursuing their own agendas. Moscow had varying success in making the parties follow the constantly changing Communist International (Comintern) line.

  • Harry Pollitt, the blacksmith’s son who led the British Communist Party, initially opposed the Comintern’s demands for a harsh struggle against the Labour Party, recognizing it would be unpopular. It was only in 1929 that the British party fully accepted the new militant line.

  • The Comintern’s policies made life difficult for national Communist parties, as Moscow’s directives could be counterproductive locally and the Bolshevik culture seemed alien. Parties had to adopt heavy Marxist language and Russian argot.

  • However, local parties blended local and Comintern cultures, and had distinct national characteristics. In Germany the pre-WW1 militant left survived, while in Britain Communism appealed to Christian socialist values.

  • Membership declined gradually in some countries over the 1920s-early 1930s, aided by Moscow’s clumsiness. Where moderate socialist parties existed, Communism’s sectarianism hurt its appeal.

  • Yet for some embattled activists, “Bolshevik discipline” and the Soviet Union’s image as a workers’ utopia were attractive amid privations. Small Communist communities emerged despite tiny party sizes.

  • The German KPD most fully embodied sectarianism and loyalty to Moscow under Ernst Thälmann from 1925. It remained divided but militant, using paramilitaries, propaganda portraying class struggle, and uniforms mimicking the far-right.

  • In 1928, the world still believed the US model had overcome 1917-19 divisions. But the 1929 Wall Street Crash intensified social and international conflicts as economies declined, dashing this optimism.

  • With liberal capitalism facing crisis in 1928-1929, Communism and the Communist world entered a new, more radical phase under Stalin’s leadership.

  • Tensions had been brewing for years between the Communist and capitalist worlds due to events like the 1926 UK general strike and the 1927 Chinese Communists’ defeat. This led the Communist International (Comintern) to change its policies.

  • Stalin emerged from a context in Russian Georgia where nationalist and class resentments against Russian rule were strong. He was able to capitalize on crises in the late 1920s to consolidate his power and champion a new, revolutionary and nationalistic version of Communism, departing from Lenin’s more pragmatic approach.

  • Films like Eisenstein’s October captured this revolutionary romanticism and radical class struggle theme, more so than Pudovkin’s films. Eisenstein’s works provide insight into shifting Communist Party culture and ideas under Stalin.

  • Ioseb Djugashvili (Stalin) grew up in Georgia which was part of the Russian Empire but had a strong sense of Georgian nationalism and resented Russian domination.

  • He attended the Tiflis Theological Seminary which promoted Georgian nationalism but also produced many atheists due to its strict priestly regime. It helped radicalize Stalin.

  • Georgia was ethnically diverse with tensions between classes and ethnic groups. Stalin’s family was relatively poor.

  • He was influenced by Georgian romantic nationalist literature that portrayed heroic figures resisting Russians and nobility. In particular, the character Koba from a novel became his hero and inspiration.

  • Stalin joined the underground Marxist movement in Georgia but found them too complacent. He then allied with Lenin’s more militant Bolsheviks who he saw as a new “brotherhood.” He became an expert on nationalities within the party.

  • There were some ideological differences between Stalin and Lenin. Stalin emphasized emotional commitment and nationalism more while Lenin focused more on organization. Stalin also had a more militant, militaristic vision for the party and society.

  • Stalin had a strong interest in geopolitics and protecting Russia’s borders from outside influences. He saw ideological unity as vital for self-defense.

  • Stalin embraced war and took on a militaristic leadership style during the civil war, which he saw as bringing him closer to Trotsky. This contributed to their mutual dislike.

  • The novel “Cement” depicted the disillusionment some Communists felt with NEP and the economic problems facing the Soviet regime in the 1920s. It suggested returning to civil war methods of mass mobilization to spur economic growth.

  • NEP brought internal contradictions as the regime sought economic stability but still defined itself as a dictatorship of the proletariat. It caused tensions between those favoring inclusive technocratic rule and partisan radicals committed to class struggle.

  • The Soviet power structure divided party and state roles, creating conflicts between their practical and ideological approaches. Some officials pushed for state capitalism while others rejected NEP’s class compromises. This hardened divisions that Stalin later exploited.

  • After coming to power in Russia, the Communist party saw itself as maintaining ideological purity, similar to social democratic parties in Western Europe. Party members were expected to convert fully to Marxism.

  • Once in the party, members were regularly purged or questioned to check their commitment and morality. Purges involved questionnaires and interrogations about political views and past behaviors. Those with bourgeois backgrounds had to renounce their class origins.

  • Defining social class was difficult, leading to inaccuracies as people fabricated proletarian backgrounds. There was an obsession with class and ideological purity within party institutions.

  • By the late 1920s, any opposition was seen as extremely dangerous. Radical leftists criticized the NEP’s continued tolerance of specialists and private enterprise. Stalin sided with the radicals and adopted their critique of NEP after defeating Trotsky and other opposition leaders.

  • Stalin presented an industrialization campaign as necessary for national defense amid fears of Western invasion. In 1927-28 he ended NEP policies in agriculture and the market system more broadly, launching collectivization and rapid industrialization instead.

  • Stalin embarked on the “Great Break” with the past, freeing himself from constraints and unleashing his vision as both modernizer and revolutionary.

  • In 1929, young factory worker and Communist Viktor Kravchenko enthusiastically supported Stalin’s industrialization drive, seeing it as noble effort to modernize the country. However, he recognized he was in the minority.

  • Stalin viewed socialism as something spread from advanced to backward elements through committed forces. Industrialization was a semi-military campaign to defend USSR from imperialists.

  • The first 5-year plan launched in 1928 ended the market economy. Plans were unrealistic but encouraged heroic effort. Marxist economists said unrealistic plans were possible through revolutionary “leaps.”

  • The regime purged officials and specialists to make the party and state tools for socialism. Workers had incentives like status, mobility and targeting unpopular bosses.

  • “Self-criticism” and “democracy” campaigns put pressure on specialists/managers and gave workers some production influence, though it was manipulated.

  • Some workers were enthusiastic shock-workers but many saw it as forced overwork for less pay, as wages fell over 50% by 1933. Collectivization plans met universal peasant opposition and descended into violence.

  • The collectivization campaign launched by the Bolsheviks in the late 1920s led to a war between them and the peasantry. Most peasants opposed collectivization as it went against their traditional way of life.

  • The regime sent out tens of thousands of urban activists to bolster the campaign, similar to the Jacobins’ Revolutionary Armies. These volunteers believed they were bringing modernization to the backward masses.

  • Campaigns against religion were also part of the war for peasants’ “souls.” The church faced renewed persecution, with attacks on icons and bells confiscated. This reinforced peasant beliefs that collectivization was satanic.

  • Peasants rebelled, with women often leading. The Bolsheviks eventually won through brute force but lost the peace, as peasants resented losing autonomy and economic incentives. Output declined.

  • Stalin responded with extremely high grain quotas and attacks on “enemy groups,” leading to the devastating 1932-33 famine that killed 4-5 million Ukrainians and others.

  • The regime faced a crisis as food shortages caused strikes. Stalin’s dogmatic policies and the inefficiencies of the command system exacerbated problems during collectivization and the first five-year plan.

  • In the late 1920s in the Soviet Union, workers were refusing to obey their managers at state-run factories. The original economic plans were largely unfulfilled.

  • By mid-1931, economic chaos and poor performance forced Stalin to retreat from his radical economic policies. He announced an end to the “class war” and restored the authority of managers. The Second Five-Year Plan in 1933 was more modest and pragmatic.

  • This transition also marked the beginning of greater inequalities in the Soviet system. Perks and higher pay were extended beyond high officials to engineers and some other “socialist intelligentsia.” Wages also became more differentiated based on work.

  • In 1933, disastrous famine and unrest forced Stalin to compromise with peasants as well. They were allowed to sell produce privately and collective farms adopted wage incentives. However, most goods distribution remained state-controlled.

  • Radical revolution and rapid economic development had failed. Stalin had to retreat from divisive class conflict policies to embrace a larger portion of the population, like Lenin did in 1921. However, Stalin did not fully embrace a market economy like Lenin’s NEP. The command economy model continued.

  • Stalin adopted a form of nationalism called “Soviet patriotism” that emphasized Russia as the leader of the USSR but rejected Russian chauvinism or superiority over other ethnicities.

  • Russian identity and culture formed the core but elements of other groups like Ukrainians, Georgians, Armenians were incorporated. Non-Russian languages were still taught.

  • It portrayed Russia as leading other groups towards modernity in a fraternal way, unlike Nazi nationalism which emphasized innate racial differences.

  • Stalin fabricated a nationalist narrative drawing on Russian history, heroes, and state-building to appeal to the masses more than dry class-based propaganda. Films highlighting national heroes of minorities were also produced.

  • This selective form of nationalism, or “National Bolshevism”, expanded support for the regime beyond the narrow party but was less effective for non-Russians. World War II further united the “Soviet people” against a common enemy.

  • Values remained inclusive in theory but emphasized “culture” linked to progress from backwardness to modern comfort. A semi-bourgeois lifestyle was now encouraged through new socialist consumerism.

  • Stalin’s ideal society judged people not on wealth but heroic deeds, with status based on politics not money. However, the paternalistic state ultimately controlled rewards. Stalin’s leadership cult portrayed him as father-figure granting benefits to grateful children.

  • Stalin was seen publicly as the “father of the nation” who looked after and provided for the Soviet people. This paternalistic view coexisted with the idea of social mobility under communism.

  • However, Stalin’s paternalism and the hierarchical ethnic views of Russia as superior gradually led to more rigid hierarchies within Soviet society. Class and ethnic status were recorded on internal passports.

  • A privileged bureaucracy or “nomenklatura” emerged, enjoying special benefits, echoing the old tsarist class system. Soviet heroes also remained dependent on party mentors rather than becoming leaders themselves.

  • Local party bosses also behaved like “little Stalins” and cultivated their own cults of personality. Stalin’s model encouraged increasingly paternalistic political culture across the USSR.

  • The union of aristocratic heroic values with promotion of experts and scientists within the party reinforced the new bureaucratic elite. A “new class” started to emerge with its own status and privileges, as described by critic Viktor Kravchenko.

  • So Stalin’s policies both asserted central control but also unintentionally reinforced paternalistic attitudes and created new hierarchies and tensions within Soviet society and between the leadership and ordinary people.

  • The Director of an institute agreed to Stalin’s idea of organizing a “socialist competition” and offering holidays as prizes to reward students who performed best in military training classes. This gave ideological cover to help students.

  • Potemkin, a student, eagerly threw himself into the tasks with enthusiasm. He embraced Stalinist ideas about leadership and had absorbed the new morality of competitive virtue. He was determined to remake himself and contribute to society.

  • Potemkin came from a poor background but the new system gave him educational opportunities to better himself. His diary was a tool for self-reflection and self-transformation to become a “New Soviet Person.”

  • While responses to the regime were complex, Potemkin’s attitudes suggesting embracing the system may not have been unusual for those from lowly origins who benefited from new opportunities under Stalinism.

  • The regime had varying levels of success in integrating different social groups. Younger, educated people were more integrated, while workers were less so due to low wages. However, some workers still accepted the system and its ideals.

  • Many collective farm peasants felt like second-class citizens, as living standards were much lower than in towns and they didn’t receive the same benefits as urban workers.

  • A Finnish Communist who visited collective farms in 1934 found peasants were extremely hostile to the regime and felt the whole countryside was in revolt against Moscow and Stalin.

  • Andrei Arzhilovskii, a formerly middle-class peasant, was disillusioned after spending 7 years in a labor camp for allegedly campaigning against collectivization. In his diary he expressed alienation from the system.

  • Peasants complained about abuse of power by collective farm officials. A secret police investigation uncovered cases of corruption and harassment.

  • Prisoners in the Gulag labor camp system, which expanded dramatically under collectivization, faced harsh conditions, heavy labor quotas, and many died from overwork, illness, or malnutrition. Camp administrators showed little regard for prisoners’ health.

  • Attitudes toward the regime varied greatly depending on social group, but resentment of privileged, high-handed officials was common. Stalin was aware of this sentiment through secret police reports.

  • The show trials and terror of 1936-1938 still perplex historians due to their seemingly irrational nature and human cost, but served Stalin’s desire to consolidate power and purge potential opposition. Psychological factors and Stalin’s paranoia also contributed.

  • The Terror began in the Soviet Union after the murder of Sergei Kirov in 1934. While Stalin’s involvement is uncertain, he used the killing to launch investigations and purge opponents.

  • NKVD head Nikolai Ezhov continued searching for “enemies” within the party against Stalin’s initial wishes. By 1936, Stalin allowed investigations to reopen, claiming a vast conspiracy linked to Trotsky, Kamenev and Zinoviev. This led to widespread show trials and purges.

  • Stalin may have cynically fabricated conspiracies, but also possible believed them. The goal was to “purify” the party of any dissent or ideological doubts that could aid enemies.

  • The purges were also meant to reinvigorate the Soviet economy and society against growing foreign threats like Nazi Germany. Figures like Stakhanov were promoted to inspire greater worker productivity.

  • However, the emphasis on productivity led engineers and managers to be accused of “wrecking” the economy. The broad definition of “enemy” caused denunciations and purges to spread widely.

  • Responses among party members varied from confusion/disbelief to seeing the purges as justified means of self-improvement and party purification. Ordinary citizens also resented privileged elites.

  • By 1937, the Terror entered new phases of arresting party bosses and conducting mass operations targeting classes like former kulaks on the basis of class, political and ethnic backgrounds. Regional bosses helped direct the mass purges.

Here is a summary of the provided text:

The 1937 International Exposition in Paris featured grand pavilions from Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union aimed at promoting their opposing ideologies. The Soviet pavilion portrayed a dynamic society devoted to collectivism, work and production under Stalin’s leadership. It represented Stalinist ideology of Bolshevism bringing progress and industry. The Nazi pavilion emphasized a static, hierarchical society and adopted a mystical, religious style.

While both promoted nationalism and heroism, the Soviet pavilion mixed classical and modernist styles to portray progress, while the Nazi one used neoclassical styles to portray conservatism. Visitors complained about the excess pride of the German and Soviet pavilions compared to others.

In contrast, the modest Spanish Republican pavilion embraced modernist style and avant-garde art, including Picasso’s Guernica condemning fascist aggression. It displayed the government’s social programs but also supported artistic freedom. The exposition showed the competing visions of ideology and art between Nazi Germany, Soviet Union and Republican Spain during their proxy war in the Spanish Civil War.

  • In the mid-1930s, as fascism rose in Europe, the Communist International (Comintern) abandoned its earlier harsh anti-Social Democratic stance and urged Communists to form Popular Front alliances with socialists and liberals to resist fascist threats.

  • Popular Front governments briefly held power in Spain, France, and Chile in this period. They brought together diverse political factions from left-liberals to Communists under a united anti-fascist banner.

  • While the Spanish pavilion at the 1937 Paris Exposition embraced avant-garde and populist artists, the French exhibits took a more patriotic and gradual approach endorsed by Communists seeking nationalist support.

  • The economic crisis of the 1930s radicalized both right and left, fueling social conflict over who would bear the burden of depression. This made the more inclusive Communist vision seem attractive to some on the left as a force to confront rising radical nationalism.

  • As a result, Communism saw considerable success and popularity in parts of Western Europe and Latin America between 1934-1947 as a united front against fascism. However, tensions remained between Stalinist discipline and the non-Communist left.

  • The Popular Fronts proved fragile and splintered over differences. Their appeal declined after World War 2 due to Soviet aggression, capitalism adapting to incorporate labor, and the onset of the Cold War.

  • Liberals and communists were blamed for fragmenting nations and thwarting imperial ambitions by right-wing groups like the Nazis and Italian Fascists. They saw the solution as creating a militarized, masculine nation-state.

  • As the economic crisis deepened in the 1930s, support increased for both communists and radical right groups like the Nazis in Germany. Politics became polarized between the left insisting on maintaining welfare and the right pushing for labor retrenchment.

  • Events came to a head in Germany, where Hitler was able to take power in 1933 and swiftly dismantle parliament and ban communist and socialist groups. This turned the tide for many communists and social democrats.

  • With the threat from fascist and Nazi groups growing, the communists began rethinking their stance against social democrats. Likewise, social democrats grew disillusioned with centrist liberals. The stage was set for cooperation between the two leftist groups.

  • In 1936, the popular Soviet film “Circus” promoted the new Popular Front policy of an anti-fascist alliance between socialists, communists, and other progressive forces against the threats of racism, fascism, and capitalism. This policy finally overcame past divisions between communists and social democrats.

  • In the early-to-mid 1930s, the Soviet Union and Communist International (Comintern) shifted to a new policy of forming alliances with Western liberal democracies like France and Britain against the rising threat of Nazi Germany. This was known as the Popular Front strategy.

  • The Popular Front allowed Communist parties to join non-revolutionary, moderate socialist governments and defend liberal democracy rather than agitating for proletarian revolution. They emphasized national unity over class conflict.

  • The French Communist Party was most successful in adopting this new approach under the leadership of Maurice Thorez. Presenting themselves as patriotic successors to the French Revolution, they played a major role in the Popular Front government elected in 1936.

  • The Spanish Civil War further boosted Communist popularity, as the Spanish Communists effectively organized resistance to Fascist forces led by Francisco Franco with Soviet aid. Their military success defending Madrid in particular enhanced their prestige over other leftist groups.

  • By 1936, Communist parties were seen as the most effective force against fascist extremism. Many leftist intellectuals were attracted by the Communists’ emphasis on discipline, organization and rational planning over rhetoric.

  • In the early-mid 20th century, many Western intellectuals traveled to the Soviet Union eager to see Stalin’s “Great Experiment” of socialism. They were impressed by the welfare state, mass education, rational organization, and the status of intellectuals. Technocrats like the Webbs especially loved the emphasis on central planning.

  • Visitors saw a propagandized “Potemkin village” version of socialism curated by Soviet guides. However, some like the Webbs produced detailed defenses claiming the USSR had full democracy and accountability. Others were manipulated through staged events like French painter Albert Marquet.

  • Some fellows travelers felt political repression was necessary and inevitable in the USSR’s modernization. African American singer Paul Robeson said dissidents should be shot. Reporter Walter Duranty denied famines to gain Soviet access.

  • The Spanish Civil War convinced many leftists like Pablo Neruda that choosing communism was the only viable choice against fascism, despite its flaws. This boosted communist parties in Latin America allied with industrial workers and reformist presidents.

  • However, the Moscow show trials of the late 1930s and Popular Front contradictions distressed many. The Popular Front aimed to broaden appeal while retaining communist discipline, an impossible balance that caused problems globally.

  • In France, the Communists initially went along with worker demands during the Popular Front period, but tensions grew with the Socialists and liberals as the Communists feared being outflanked from the left.

  • Blum’s unwillingness to intervene on behalf of the Spanish Republicans for fear of starting a European war further strained relations.

  • In Spain, the Communists supported centralization and efficiency over the more radical egalitarian experiments of the anarchists and socialist workers who had seized factories and land. They saw these as undermining the war effort.

  • In Barcelona in 1937, the Republican government, with Communist support, moved against the anarchists and Trotskyist POUM, crushing resistance. Soviet secret police played a role in assassinating POUM leader Andreu Nin.

  • George Orwell, initially with the POUM, came to criticize the Communists for stifling radicalism after experiencing their oppression in Barcelona.

  • The debate continues over who most undermined the Spanish Republic - the Soviets’ paranoid purging or lack of international support versus Franco’s stronger backing.

  • Events in Spain boosted Trotskyism internationally by fueling disillusionment with Stalinism and Communism and providing Trotskyist martyrs like Nin. Trotsky founded the Fourth International in 1938.

  • Stalin argued that the Soviet system had proven itself both during wartime mobilization against the Nazis and during peacetime development. The USSR had saved civilization from Nazi domination.

  • While the “USSR won WWII single-handedly” view is false, the Soviets did bear a disproportionate burden in casualties and resources compared to Western allies.

  • The Soviet system had both strengths and weaknesses in the war. Centralized power helped mobilization but also led to failures like underestimating the 1941 Nazi invasion.

  • Brutal collectivization and purges had undermined the Red Army’s leadership experience and numbers prior to 1941.

  • However, Soviet industrialization provided huge arms production, and the centralized administrative system avoided civilian starvation and transported industries east.

  • Wartime propaganda and policies moved beyond strict communism, embracing Russian nationalism, liberalizing some policies, and mobilizing support from previously persecuted groups like peasants and priests.

  • Nazis treated Slavs as inferiors, strengthening Soviet ideological claims as the sole defender against “the law of the jungle.”

  • However, repressive ethnic purges of groups accused of Nazi collaboration also created deep, long-lasting hatreds against the USSR.

  • In occupied territories, Communists were often the most organized resistance force, taking advantage of conditions to “Communize” anti-fascist messages.

  • Socialists and Communists had varying levels of involvement in resistance movements during WWII, with Communists playing a leading role in many countries like Italy, France, and Czechoslovakia.

  • Led by figures like Togliatti in Italy, Communist parties sought to remain part of popular front alliances after the war to win both the war and peace. This meant discouraging revolutionary aspirations.

  • Togliatti’s strategy as the Italian Communist leader was influenced by Gramsci’s ideas of establishing “hegemony” over society through cultural influence rather than just seizing state power. However, Togliatti was less radical than Gramsci and focused on broad alliances.

  • Communist parties in France, Italy, and Czechoslovakia successfully positioned themselves as part of the national left after the war due to their resistance roles. They gained significant electoral support.

  • Stalin supported popular front strategies in 1944-45 as he wanted Communist influence but not revolutionary threats in Western Europe. He saw cooperation as necessary given the USSR’s weakened state after the war.

  • However, the emerging influence of the US as a rival posing an ideological and economic challenge would ultimately undermine Soviet influence and the popular front model in Western Europe.

  • At Yalta in 1945, Stalin agreed to allow free elections in Eastern Europe but planned to establish pro-Soviet “people’s democracies” through leftist Popular Front coalitions.

  • Popular Fronts would pursue Soviet foreign policy interests internally while presenting a moderate image. Over time, Communist parties would gradually take control.

  • In 1945, conditions seemed favorable for Communists in Eastern Europe due to the war experience and failures of pre-war governments. However, local populations also distrusted the USSR.

  • The Soviets alienated locals through heavy-handed economic exploitation and brutality of the Red Army. Communist security services also purge non-Communist opponents.

  • Popular Fronts worked best in Czechoslovakia and Hungary initially but faced resistance elsewhere like Romania. Control depended on local circumstances.

  • By 1947-49, Soviet domination was entrenched as Communist rule and Sovietization policies like collectivization were imposed across Eastern Europe against the will of many locals.

  • At the time, the author automatically considered Communism to be a better, more just, and stronger system than what they had lived under previously. They had a vague idea that Communism could be the model for the future.

  • In 1945 Hungarian elections, the conservative smallholders party won 57% of the vote compared to the Communists’ 17%. Communists also lost support in Czechoslovakia. Soviets and Communists realized they needed rigged elections and intimidation to hold onto power through Popular Fronts.

  • The main threat to Popular Fronts came from the center and right politically. WWII had weakened working class organization and given local notables new roles, so people now wanted private lives with some welfare/planning but not radical societal change.

  • Communism was also challenged from the left by more radical communists, especially in Southern/Southeast Europe where they led resistance and supported more radical social revolution favoring peasants. This mirrored situations in places like Russia in 1917-19 with discredited elites.

  • The author analyzes Tito’s rebellion in Yugoslavia which led to an independent communist regime free from Soviet domination, allowing for more radicalism than other east European regimes under the Popular Front model. Tensions grew between Yugoslavia and USSR over differing communist cultures and Yugoslav ambitions in the Balkans.

Relations between the Soviet Union and the Western allies began deteriorating after WWII as tensions emerged over spheres of influence in Europe and Asia. Stalin sought to secure control over Eastern Europe and influence in other regions like Iran and Turkey. The US wanted to prevent any single power from dominating Eurasia and was wary of Soviet expansionism.

There was an uneasy peace in 1945 as both sides pursued their interests, but tensions grew in 1946. Stalin grew more paranoid about ideological security and Western influences undermining the USSR. This fed American fears of Soviet subversion destabilizing the West. George Kennan’s “Long Telegram” argued the Soviets aimed to roll back US power through communist parties in the West.

As the economic situation worsened in Western Europe in 1946-47, the US grew concerned communism could exploit this. The Truman Doctrine and Marshall Plan aimed to contain the USSR and strengthen the West through economic and military aid. This further strengthened the Soviet hardliners’ views. The era of the popular fronts promoting communist-capitalist cooperation ended as the Cold War divide took hold between the communist East and capitalist West.

  • The Marshall Plan aimed to expand economic cooperation and integration in Western Europe to prevent the spread of communism. It required countries to adopt market-based economies and cooperate with each other.

  • The Plan had a profound political impact. It forced Western Europeans to choose between capitalism and communism. It showed that capitalism was now trying to reduce social conflicts in Europe through greater support for workers.

  • Stalin saw the Marshall Plan as an American plot to undermine Soviet influence in Europe. He decided the Soviet security required bringing Central and Eastern Europe under tighter Soviet control. This led to the establishment of communist regimes in these regions.

  • The end of cooperation between communists and non-communist leftist parties (Popular Fronts) was confirmed at the founding of Cominform in 1947. Communist parties were now directed to take a more militant line against American influence.

  • In Western Europe, communist parties lost power and influence as a result of the Marshall Plan and Cold War tensions. They were damaged by having to adopt a harder anti-American line directed by Moscow.

In October 1948, the conservative veterans’ organization American Legion staged a mock Communist takeover of the small town of Mosinee, Wisconsin to demonstrate the dangers of Communism. Legionnaires dressed as Communists set up roadblocks, arrested the mayor at gunpoint in his pajamas, and declared Mosinee part of the “USSA.” They nationalized industry, banned political parties except Communists, and shut down civic and religious groups. This simulated life under Communist rule for one day.

The event was organized with help from former Communists like Joseph Kornfeder and Ben Gitlow. While initially reluctant, Mayor Ralph Kronenwetter agreed to participate. The next month, a Soviet film called “Conspiracy of the Doomed” portrayed a similar fake Communist takeover in Eastern Europe, but depicted Americans as the villains plotting a coup.

These demonstrations reflected the ideological battles of the emerging Cold War, as both sides equated the other with fascism and mobilized societies against internal threats. While repression was harshest behind the Iron Curtain, anti-Communist purges affected politics and employment in the US through the 1950s. However, Cold War liberalism was largely successful at promoting anti-Communism and integrating workers and ethnic groups in the West.

  • In 1919, Nguyen Tat Thanh (who later took the name Ho Chi Minh) tried to deliver a petition to the Paris Peace Conference calling for autonomy for Vietnam under French rule. However, the principles of self-determination championed by Wilson did not extend to colonial subjects.

  • Disappointed in Wilson, Ho Chi Minh transferred his hopes to Lenin and the Bolsheviks. He joined the French Communist Party in 1920 and moved to Moscow in 1923. He became an important figure in the Comintern under the name “Ho Chi Minh.”

  • Other Asian intellectuals like the Chinese Chen Duxiu and Mao Zedong were also disillusioned by Wilson’s betrayal at Versailles regarding colonies. Mao started studying Bolshevism.

  • Wilson was more interested in keeping European imperialism in check but had little concern for colonial peoples’ rights, viewing them as “underdeveloped” and overseen by the West. He accepted the survival of European empires at Versailles.

  • Ho Chi Minh was no liberal - his experiences facing racism in different countries radicalized him. By 1921 he concluded only violence and socialism could free Vietnam from French rule. He transferred his revolutionary hopes from Wilson to Lenin and Bolshevism.

  • The passage discusses the impact of World War I on the colonial periphery. Over a million Indian soldiers fought for Britain in the war, while tens of thousands of Chinese worked in Europe. This increased nationalist sentiments and demands for independence in places like India and China.

  • The war weakened old European empires and hierarchies globally. It led to social revolutions in Europe and anti-colonial revolts in places under European rule in 1919, such as Egypt, Afghanistan, India, and Ireland. Communist ideologies gained traction as a vehicle to oppose colonial rule.

  • Early communist thinking focused on revolutions in industrialized Europe. However, failures of revolutions in Europe led radicals like M.N. Roy to realize communism’s future lay in the colonial world, not Europe. This created tensions at the 1920 Baku Congress between the Soviet view led by Lenin and Roy’s more radical view.

  • The story discusses the May 4th movement in China in 1919 as a cultural revolution against Confucian traditions and values. It analyzes Confucianism and the criticism of it as upholding a rigid hierarchical society that weakened China.

  • In summary, it discusses the impact of WWI in destabilizing European empires and sparking anti-colonial movements, as well as the early debates around applying communist ideologies in the colonial world.

The passage summarizes the following key points:

  • Lu Xun and other Chinese intellectuals like Chernyshevskii and Rousseau criticized the repressive and hypocritical Confucian family system for rendering 400 million people “slaves of the myriad dead, and thus unable to rise”. They saw this as intimately linked to China’s weakness as a nation.

  • A complete cultural revolution was needed to replace Confucianism and transform Chinese culture and behavior to be more modern and independent rather than servile.

  • The May 4th Movement of 1919 proposed cultural solutions like adopting Western science and democracy to revive China in the wake of its humiliation at Versailles and foreign colonization/imperialism in China.

  • However, some like Li Dazhao were more interested in adapting Chinese culture rather than replacing it entirely, and looked to the Russian revolution as a model. This radical version of Marxism was influential on Mao Zedong.

  • Communism grew in appeal among Chinese intellectuals as a result of Versailles and the Soviets abandoning Russian claims on China, as it promised social solidarity and a complete worldview like Confucucianism.

  • Ho Chi Minh successfully adapted Marxism to the Vietnamese and Confucian context by emphasizing nationalism, morality, and presenting himself as a Confucian “superior man” to gain wider appeal.

  • Adapting Marxism was more difficult in other Asian contexts like Japan and India due to existing nationalist movements and cultures there.

  • After the May 4th Movement, attention had turned to transforming Chinese culture through education and idealism. However, small student groups and academics faced huge challenges in actually effecting change in such a diffuse society.

  • Their initial strategy of setting up communal “work-study societies” and urging boycotts had little success, as most ordinary people were not interested. The societies were short-lived, suggesting the May 4th movement had failed to transform China.

  • Stories like “The True Story of Ah Q” expressed the despair and awareness that transforming China’s culture and education would be enormously difficult. China remained weak, divided, and patriarchal.

  • This led many May 4th figures to embrace Bolshevism, seeing its commitment to uniting China and accepting violence as necessary. However, tensions emerged between Chinese Communists and Moscow in the process of “Bolshevization” due to cultural differences and gradualist vs radical strategies.

  • The united front with the nationalist GMD was also troubled by the competing priorities of nationalism vs class struggle, and divisions within the GMD between left and right factions. Chiang Kai-shek would later turn against the alliance.

  • In the early 20th century, communism was becoming more popular amongst Chinese intellectuals and writers as links between imperialism and class oppression were seen clearly. Membership in the Communist Party swelled to 60,000, on the verge of becoming a mass party.

  • The Communists had some success organizing trade unions in cities and gaining influence in rural areas by supporting peasant associations challenging landlord control. This worried the gentry supporting the Guomindang.

  • In 1927, Chiang Kai-shek’s National Revolutionary Army captured Shanghai from warlords after their “Northern Expedition” campaign. They turned against the Communists, massacring them with help from businessmen and gangs. This ended the United Front alliance between the Communists and Guomindang.

  • The Communists fled to rural mountain bases as the Guomindang purged them from cities in a “white terror”. Though defeated, being forced rural would ultimately strengthen the Communists by forcing them to refashion themselves away from Comintern influence.

Here is a summary of the key points about Mao Zedong’s rise within the Chinese Communist Party and establishment of Communist rule in parts of rural China in the 1920s-1930s:

  • Mao began as an anarchist but concluded that extreme Communism offered the best solution for China’s problems. He became a successful Communist organizer in Hunan province.

  • Mao embraced rural mobilization and guerrilla warfare, believing the peasants were key to the revolution. He set up bases in rural Jiangxi and established the first Communist state there in 1931.

  • Mao helped develop the strategy of “people’s war” centered on mobilizing peasants and fighting through guerrilla tactics. This was more effective than the GMD’s Soviet-inspired hierarchical model in the chaotic conditions.

  • As a military leader, Mao practiced successful guerrilla warfare. He also carried out detailed analyses of rural society and politics to build support among different peasant classes.

  • Communist rule in the Jiangxi bases was violent and chaotic as they fought off GMD attacks. Mao’s leadership was disputed by returnees from Moscow who favored urban focus.

  • The Long March in 1934-35 allowed Mao to reestablish himself after being forced from Jiangxi by GMD attacks, bringing the Communists to Yan’an in Shaanxi.

  • Mao enhanced his prestige after the Long March but was still part of a collective leadership under the Comintern. Stalin tried to assert control by sending Wang Ming to impose the Popular Front policy.

  • For a time Mao was threatened but was rescued by tensions between the Communist party and Chiang Kai-shek as well as the Japanese capture of Wuhan, validating Mao’s strategy of fleeing to Yan’an.

  • By late 1938 Mao had secured Moscow’s support as party leader, though his dominance was not wholly secure until 1943.

  • In Yan’an, Mao established himself as the preeminent leader and forged a new radical Communist movement. Yan’an was isolated but ideal for Mao’s new community.

  • Mao sought to establish an agreed party history validating his “deviations” and wrote philosophical works establishing “Mao Zedong Thought.” His Marxism was idiosyncratic and rooted in Chinese concepts.

  • Yan’an combined egalitarianism, productivity, and intense political discussions. Mao secured further support by avoiding alienating local elites while benefiting poorer peasants.

  • From 1939, Mao imposed greater ideological unity through “Rectification” campaigns studying his texts to conform thinking and commit everyone to winning the war and establishing Communism.

  • During the Yan’an Rectification Movement in the early 1940s, Communist Party members in Yan’an were required to fill out questionnaires about any instances of “dogmatism”, “formalism”, or “sectarianism” in their past thoughts and describe plans for thought reform.

  • They also had to denounce others in “short broadcasts”. Party leaders would then check these documents and hold public criticism sessions where individuals confessed their errors.

  • Most errant members were eventually reaccepted, claiming their thoughts had been reformed. However, some found the process deeply unpleasant.

  • The campaign soon escalated into violent repression under Mao and his security chief Kang Sheng, using torture and struggle sessions to force confessions. This caused anxiety among some leaders.

  • While not as violent as Stalin’s terror, the campaign damaged Mao’s status within the party temporarily. But by 1943 he had emerged victorious and established charismatic leadership over the party.

  • The experience at Yan’an proved influential for Mao later in establishing party cohesion, though land reform policies varied in different areas during the civil war based on local conditions.

In the early 1950s, many rural Malayans joined the Communist insurgency in British Malaya. These Communists tended to come from humble backgrounds but were better educated than average, having received some primary schooling. Most worked on foreign-owned rubber plantations with little prospect for advancement.

They were dissatisfied with their low status and treatment by superiors. Inspired by changing global ideas, they questioned traditional Confucian values that they felt kept them poor. They relied more on peers than elders and valued friendship and camaraderie.

The chaos of World War II and Japanese occupation directly impacted their lives. Many had lost family members. They felt drawn to politics to protect and advance themselves. They saw the Communist party as understanding current politics and committed to ordinary people like them. It promised to help the Chinese assert themselves.

The Communists were organized, powerful in China, and offered moral education and self-improvement. Once members, the Malaysians felt part of a movement that could shape history. The party shared its views on Marxism-Leninism, which the guerrillas saw as a source of ideological sustenance and special knowledge for winning political struggles.

  • Kim Il-sung was ethnically Korean but spent much of his youth outside of Korea under Japanese occupation. He was educated in Chinese schools and briefly attended a Christian school in Korea.

  • He became involved in nationalist and Marxist politics as a young man, joining a Communist guerrilla force in 1931 to fight the Japanese in Manchuria and China. He rose through the ranks to become a regional commander.

  • In the 1940s, as the Japanese gained control, Kim and other fighters took refuge in the Soviet Union. Kim embraced Soviet life and received military training, even having a family with Russian names for his children.

  • After World War 2, the Soviets made Kim the leader of North Korea, seeing him as a reliable Communist. However, he was initially an unpopular figure among Koreans due to his younger age and time spent abroad.

  • Kim proved adept at managing factions within the Communist party and establishing a regime that blended Communism with Korean nationalism to attract support. However, his early years were eclectic, growing up under various foreign influences outside of Korea before becoming the Soviet-backed leader of North Korea.

  • The British and Malayan governments embarked on a strategy of resettling over 500,000 Chinese squatters into new villages, in an attempt to deny Communist guerrillas support from the local population. This gave the squatters improved living standards while cutting off support for the insurgents.

  • Despite setbacks in Malaya, Communists had established strong positions in East and Southeast Asia by 1950. They led struggles against imperial occupiers and local elites who collaborated with them. They used guerrilla tactics like the Communists did in Europe.

  • However, the outcomes were different in Asia compared to Europe. In Europe, Communist parties were defeated electorally and returned to isolation, while in some Eastern European and Asian countries, more radical independent Communism emerged.

  • The Communist bloc was more diverse than the West realized. By 1949, Communist regimes ruled over a third of the world’s population, with most closely allied to Moscow. Few would have predicted this outcome just eight years earlier when the Nazis threatened Moscow and Communism was on the verge of collapse.

  • After WWII, the Soviet Union faced immense challenges of reconstruction with a devastated economy and population. Stalin prioritized rebuilding military strength over living standards.

  • Poverty and inequality increased, with shortages of labor. Students and Gulag prison labor were heavily exploited to boost industrial output. The Gulag system expanded greatly under Beria and provided around 20% of industrial labor.

  • Working conditions were grim, with lowered wages and increased prices. Labor discipline was harsher, with less freedom to change jobs. However, state control was not always strictly enforced by managers who relied on worker cooperation.

  • There were visible signs of poverty even in city centers like Kalinin (now Tver). Complaints emerged about shortages of essentials like water and poor public services.

  • Early campaigns after WWII targeted “deviations” but focused more on nationalism than anti-elite purges. Stalin prioritized ideological unity over living standards to mobilize the population for the tasks of reconstruction in the context of deteriorating Cold War relations with the West.

  • In 1946, Soviet ideological chief Andrei Zhdanov denounced writers Anna Akhmatova and Mikhail Zoshchenko. Akhmatova was called names while Zoshchenko was called petty-bourgeois for alleged anti-Soviet views.

  • The Cold War beginning in 1947 led to patriotic campaigns and “honor courts” to root out perceived Western influences.

  • This cultural xenophobia impacted fields like genetics. Controversial biologist Trofim Lysenko rose due to his peasant background despite lack of training. He imposed pseudo-scientific ideas that suited Marxist views over genetics.

  • Under increasing nationalism, science became tied to patriotism. Soviet encyclopedias claimed Soviet inventors preceded famous Western ones.

  • Stalin had long held private anti-Semitic views. As nationalism grew post-WWII and the USSR supported Israel’s creation, Stalin saw Soviet Jews as a threat due to potential Israeli/American loyalties. Repressive campaigns targeted Jews in the late 1940s-early 1950s.

  • Late Stalinism reflected an embourgeoisement of culture as radical socialism was discarded in favor of hierarchy and traditional values like intact families. However, this was still a modern, integrated and welfare-oriented society compared to tsarist Russia.

  • East European communists were introducing a wholly new social and political system in their countries after World War 2, pursuing a more revolutionary approach than the Soviets initially did. This elicited much opposition from those unhappy with the new communist order, but also some enthusiasm from those who supported modernization and industrialization.

  • Younger, educated people in places like Czechoslovakia were initially attracted to communism’s promises of free education, jobs, and development. However, the imposition of Stalinist policies like rapid industrialization came at great costs like food shortages and reduced living standards. This led to disillusionment, especially among workers and peasants who bore the brunt of the changes.

  • Novels like The Joke explored how even committed early communist believers like the main character could have their lives destroyed for minor political transgressions as the system became more oppressive and demanded strict adherence to the party line. While development was achieved, it came at the expense of individual freedoms.

  • In summary, East European communism generated both support and opposition as it transformed these nations but imposed Stalinism, with revolutionary changes causing much hardship and ultimate disillusionment for many despite the modernization progress.

  • The Soviet Union’s economic domination and control over Eastern European communist regimes weakened those regimes’ credibility and appeal within their own countries. Communism had traditionally been most successful when enmeshed with local nationalisms.

  • East European communist leaders attempted to present themselves as indigenous, but their praise of Russian culture and subservience to Moscow was unconvincing. Many communists, even loyal ones, privately harbored contempt for Russian influence and control.

  • Stalin imposed harsh political controls on Eastern Europe after 1948 in response to Tito’s defiance. Show trials, purges, and repression of alleged “Titoists” were especially intense in countries near Yugoslavia like Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania and Albania. Anti-Semitism was also promoted.

  • Repression was difficult to direct and control, allowing local scores to be settled and personal favors done under the guise of anti-Titoism investigations. East European leaders derived power from Moscow in an imperial relationship, possessing only a “borrowed light” of authority.

  • East European communist leaders were treated as subordinates in Stalin’s court in Moscow, subjected to bizarre late-night dinners where they were the entertainment and had to flatter and obey Stalin to retain their positions. This created tension and disillusionment for many former communist enthusiasts.

  • Communist party membership in France and Finland absorbed members completely, cutting them off from outside world with their own parallel organizations for youth, sports, camps.

  • Intellectuals like Sartre sympathized with communists despite philosophical views celebrating individualism, due to communist resistance record, influence on workers, anti-intellectualism, anti-Americanism. Fighting imperialism in Vietnam also attracted support.

  • When Kravchenko published memoirs exposing Soviet repression, intellectuals defended communists who attacked him as CIA conspiracy.

  • Catholic Church saw communism as anti-Christ, intensifying polarization.

  • Mao traveled secretly to Moscow in 1949 to meet Stalin for the first time, hoping for aid, recognition and new treaty. But Stalin was distrustful and had Mao monitored, failing to properly welcome him at first. Tension persisted between Stalin’s old communism and Mao’s newer radical version.

  • In the late 1940s, Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam drifted away from Moscow towards Beijing, but Stalin could still exert some influence through China. Mao recognized Stalin’s leadership of the global communist movement.

  • Mao saw the Soviet Union as a model for transforming China, and Stalin’s “Short Course” on communist history was an important text. China believed it would follow the same developmental stages as the USSR, just 30 years later.

  • In 1949, China and the USSR agreed the time was not yet ripe for socialism. A period of “New Democracy” was adopted to build up the state and economy before moving to socialism. There were debates around how rapidly China would transition.

  • The Korean War in 1950 accelerated calls for rapid industrialization in China. It also strengthened radicals pushing for violent “class struggle” campaigns domestically. Land reform involved violence and human costs.

  • By 1952, Mao announced China would embark on building socialism. The First Five-Year Plan began in 1953, and collectivization was launched in 1955, marking a shift towards the Soviet model of high Stalinism.

  • The USSR became the accepted model economically and politically, though China retained elements of peasant socialism. Soviet culture like books and films also became widely popular in China.

  • Soviet films were very popular in China in the early 1950s, seen by almost 1.4 billion Chinese people. These films promoted messages of heroism and gender equality. They showed women fighting and working alongside men, inspiring some Chinese women.

  • The Soviet Union seemed to represent modernity and progress. Everything new came from the USSR, and the slogan “The Soviet Union’s Today is Our Tomorrow” was common. Chinese adopted Soviet fashions and hairstyles to emulate this modern image.

  • However, the Soviet model adopted by China was of a particular type - more joyful and aspirational compared to China’s earlier focus on austerity. A dress reform campaign in 1955 tried to replace the “Lenin suit” with more varied individual styles, but it was not entirely successful due to economic and cultural factors.

  • North Korea developed a unique blend of Stalinist and Korean influences. It had a peasant-based party like China but also adopted Soviet-style industrialization and hierarchy. Kim Il-sung’s cult drew on Stalin, Mao, and Korean/Shamanistic traditions. Rigid social classes emerged that were more hereditary than in the USSR or China.

  • The summary ends by describing a young Polish man, Edmund Chmieliński, who found new purpose and equality working in a youth labor brigade after WWII, rebuilding his country with an enthusiastic Stakhanovite spirit.

  • The passage discusses the experiences and perspectives of young Communists in Poland and Eastern Europe after World War 2, as told through the memoir of one young man named Chmieliński.

  • Chmieliński enthusiastically joined the Communist party as a young man, believing in their promises of equality and social mobility. However, he found the reality did not match the promises and ended up homeless and alcoholic after facing barriers.

  • While some younger people did find social mobility under Communism by getting education and middle management jobs, established older workers were less willing to fully embrace the new system and resented the authoritarian industrial policies.

  • Workers faced inequality like unequal payscales that privileged managers and technicians. Piece-rate based pay also gave power to foremen to choose easier or harder work. This went against socialist values workers were promised.

  • While regimes could justify inequality based on Marxism, workers used Marxist language themselves to protest what they saw as a betrayal of socialist values by the unequal and authoritarian reality.

  • In China in the early 1950s, some rural leaders like Geng Changsuo enthusiastically embraced collectivization after visiting highly mechanized Soviet collective farms and being impressed by their prosperity.

  • However, when full collectivization was implemented in China in 1955, consolidating small farms into large state-owned units, it proved a step too far even for proponents like Geng. Peasants’ incomes now came only from wages rather than selling produce. Living standards declined as resources were extracted for industrialization.

  • Collectivization greatly increased the power of village leaders over peasants’ lives. It fused with patriarchal attitudes to create a new quasi-feudal system with abuses of power such as rape. While Geng tried to implement education and welfare, his village also gained a security apparatus that used torture.

  • In Eastern Europe, collectivization followed the more coercive Soviet 1930s model, with simultaneous dekulakization pressure. Peasants resisted giving up land and faced intense quotas, leading to widespread alienation. Conditions on collective farms were poor. Overall, peasants lost economic independence and status to a new exploitative hierarchy.

  • In 1950, Milovan Djilas conceived of a new economic model for Yugoslavia where factories would be left in the hands of workers, with workers paying taxes to fund the military and essential state needs.

  • He shared the idea with Kardelj and Kidrič while sitting in a car. Kidrič was skeptical but they took it to Tito.

  • When Tito heard the idea of “factories belonging to workers - something that has never yet been achieved!”, he seemed excited by the prospect. His support made Djilas and Kardelj’s theories seem more practical and workable.

So in summary, Djilas proposed worker self-management of factories in 1950, getting mixed feedback from Kardelj and Kidrič but enthusiastic support from Tito, giving the idea more momentum in Yugoslavia.

  • A few months after Yugoslavia broke ties with the Soviet Union in 1948, Tito explained a new workers’ self-management bill to the Yugoslav National Assembly.

  • This bill was an attempt to re-radicalize Marxism and find an alternative to Stalinism. It proposed giving workers more democratic participation in management.

  • However, in reality Yugoslav “self-management” had little to do with Marx’s democratic ideals or workers’ control. The reforms centralized power and gave managers and officials real control, while keeping budgets and finances regulated by the central government.

  • This showed how difficult it was to truly democratize socialism after Stalin, and represented a move toward a market-based economy rather than true workers’ control. The bill established a system between a command economy and a market economy, with the government managing things through financial controls rather than commands.

  • Stalin’s death in 1953 came as a shock, as he embodied the entire Soviet system politically, ideologically, culturally and economically. His passing raised questions about what would replace him and how the country would function.

  • Beria immediately took initiatives to reform the Soviet Union, including releasing over a million Gulag prisoners, reducing repression, and proposing a less confrontational foreign policy, including abandoning socialism in East Germany.

  • Malenkov broadly shared Beria’s technocratic, reformist vision and also advocated improving living standards, reducing party interference in the economy, and pursuing détente with the West.

  • However, Khrushchev and others remained convinced Stalinists and opposed Beria and Malenkov’s reforms. Beria was executed on charges of being a British spy.

  • The US under Eisenhower also rejected opportunities for détente presented by Stalin’s death and Malenkov’s leadership. By 1955, Malenkov had been removed and the more hardline Khrushchev was in charge, making reforms more difficult.

  • Sir William Hayter initially had a less than flattering view of Khrushchev after meeting him, describing him as rumbustuous, impetuous, loquacious, and free-wheeling. He saw Khrushchev as a combination of a 19th century Russian peasant and a British union leader, with a chip on his shoulder.

  • Khrushchev came from an extremely poor peasant background. He became involved in radical trade union activities as a factory worker. He was seen as a natural leader and ambitious to better himself.

  • Khrushchev had a strongly populist style as a politician. He focused on helping workers and spurning formal offices. He tried twice unsuccessfully to get more education.

  • As a Stalinist party boss, Khrushchev enthusiastically implemented repressions, though he became disillusioned with seeing innocent people accused. His attitude to Stalin’s legacy was complex - he wanted to abandon violence but maintain mass mobilization.

  • Khrushchev’s reform programs focused on mass initiatives like the Virgin Lands Program, appealing more to the party culture than Malenkov’s urban managerial style. This helped Khrushchev consolidate power over Malenkov.

  • In a landmark speech, Khrushchev denounced Stalin’s cult of personality and crimes, though in a way that protected the party and system. This had huge reverberations both within the USSR and Eastern Europe.

  • This passage discusses changes in Hungary and Eastern Europe following Stalin’s death in 1953.

  • At a Russian performance in Hungary, the audience murmured jokes mocking the Russians, showing growing anti-Soviet sentiment among the intelligentsia.

  • Countries like Hungary and Poland strongly opposed Soviet domination due to national pride. Elsewhere in Eastern Europe, reforms divided middle and working classes.

  • Georgian leader Beria introduced “new course” reforms to stabilize Soviet control, including decentralization. This sparked unrest as reforms hurt workers while helping others. Strikes occurred in East Germany and Czechoslovakia in 1953.

  • In Hungary, the rivalry between Moscow-backed Rákosi and reformer Nagy led to instability. The USSR alternated between support for reform and a return to Stalinism. This undermined stability.

  • In Poland in 1956, reforms failed to prevent workers’ protests in Poznań over living standards. Gomułka’s reformists challenged Soviet control, almost sparking military intervention by the USSR led by Khrushchev.

So in summary, de-Stalinization reforms destabilized the Eastern Bloc by benefiting some groups but hurting workers, while national sentiments undermined Soviet rule in places like Hungary and Poland. The USSR alternated between support for reform and a return to Stalinism.

Here is a summary of the view of the airport staff in the passage:

The passage does not mention the views of airport staff. It discusses political events in Poland and Hungary in 1956 following Nikita Khrushchev’s secret speech denouncing Stalin. In Poland, party leader Gomulka was able to limit reforms and maintain Communist party control with backing from the secret services and much of the nation. In Hungary, the Communist party was more divided and unable to defuse popular discontent, leading to a spontaneous popular uprising. The Soviet Union initially withdrew support but then reversed course and invaded to crush the Hungarian revolution amid fears it could spark further unrest in Eastern Europe. The invasion damaged the reputation of Communism in both Eastern and Western Europe. The passage focuses on these political dynamics and consequences rather than mentioning any views of airport staff.

The passage discusses the political and social context of Communism in Italy and Eastern Europe in the post-Stalin era. In Italy, the Communist party played an important social and cultural role, organizing community events and helping with welfare. Membership was high, motivated more by social and neighborhood ties than strict ideology. However, from the 1950s, economic changes and a new consumer culture began to undermine the party’s support base.

In Eastern Europe after 1956, Communist rule stabilized through a more liberal model. Hungary in particular became more relaxed. Potential rebels realized the West would not intervene to “roll back” Communism. In the USSR, Khrushchev tried to reform the system by abandoning Stalinism and promoting individual creativity, but faced resistance from entrenched bureaucracies and a population more focused on material needs. Works like Dudintsev’s novel “Not by Bread Alone” were popular but highlighted the flaws and dilemmas in Khrushchev’s vision. He aimed to build “Communism” by 1980, but faced practical challenges in realizing true Marxist ideals.

  • Khrushchev wanted to shift the Soviet economy away from repression and toward creative work and increased living standards. However, comparing the Soviet system to Western consumerism risked undermining communist ideology.

  • The launch of Sputnik helped project an image of Soviet modernity, but transforming that image into reality proved much harder. Khrushchev pursued economic reforms like building new apartment blocks and collective agricultural programs, but with mixed results.

  • He tried to mobilize the population by giving more freedoms to workers and shaking up bureaucracy, while still maintaining communist party leadership. However, removing individual incentives and piece rates did not motivate workers as intended. His ambitious economic campaigns like the Virgin Lands program faced challenges.

  • While Khrushchev modernized housing, consumer goods, and the military-industrial complex through reforms, fully reconciling a communist system with Western-style consumption and fulfilling promises of outpacing Western living standards remained an immense challenge that he did not completely resolve.

  • Khrushchev increasingly saw party bosses as obstacles to his reforms, rather than allies against the bureaucracy, as they resisted changes that threatened their jobs and status.

  • His economic promises also failed to materialize, leading to food price rises, worker strikes, and unrest in cities like Novocherkassk in 1962 where soldiers killed protesters. This demonstrated the conditional nature of worker support.

  • Educated classes who initially supported Khrushchev also became disillusioned as he failed to curb restrictions and continued propaganda.

  • His leadership saw escalating Cold War crises like Hungary, Berlin, and the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, which severely damaged his credibility within the Soviet leadership.

  • Conflicts with party bosses, economic failures, and foreign policy blunders weakened Khrushchev, who was then peacefully ousted by the Presidium in 1964 in favor of more conservative leadership under Brezhnev that stabilized the power of officials over radical change.

  • Khrushchev wanted to move away from class struggle and violence, unlike Mao, who still saw it as necessary for building socialism.

  • Khrushchev sought to compete with the West on living standards, promising increased consumption, rather than focusing on equality like a “Marxist Moses.” This put pressure on maintaining economic growth.

  • Mao saw Khrushchev as losing his revolutionary spirit by backing down on Cuba and rejecting class struggle. This deprived communism of its moral force for Mao and other critics.

  • In China, Mao wanted to address hierarchies from Stalinism but without class struggle damaging development. His “Hundred Flowers” campaign backfired when intellectuals heavily criticized the party.

  • Mao then turned to radical class struggle and emulating Yan’an socialism. He launched the Great Leap Forward to rapidly industrialize through mass mobilization, believing willpower could surpass Western economies through revolutionary fervor. But this proved vastly overambitious and unrealistic.

So in summary, Mao felt Khrushchev abandoned communism’s revolutionary roots, while Khrushchev sought a less confrontation path, which ultimately planted the seeds for ideological decay in the socialist system. Mao then pursued increasingly radical and utopian economic policies that ended in disaster for China.

  • The Great Leap Forward sought to rapidly industrialize and transform China through massive collectivization efforts. Peasants were organized into large communal units and mobilized for projects like irrigation works.

  • Backyard steel furnaces were built across the countryside as peasants were encouraged to industrialize. Life became highly regimented and militarized.

  • Initially there was enthusiasm for collective efforts, but problems soon emerged as resources were diverted from agriculture. Poorly produced steel flooded the market.

  • By 1959, the failures of the Great Leap became evident, leading to a massive famine that may have killed 20-30 million people from 1958-1961. The policies were abandoned and authority shifted back to more technocratic leaders like Liu Shaoqi and Deng Xiaoping.

  • The chaos of the Great Leap undermined Mao’s prestige and power within the party. His radicalism led to a split with the Soviet Union, leaving China internationally isolated. Class categories developed that stratified Chinese society.

By the mid-1960s, Mao had become unhappy with the policies of Liu Shaoqi, Deng Xiaoping and Zhou Enlai, believing they were allowing new inequalities based on class, wages, and education. To prevent China backsliding after his death, Mao launched the Cultural Revolution to root out “rightists” and change Chinese society.

Paradoxically, Mao’s goal was to create a new alliance of revolutionary groups that had every reason to stage a revolution against the new Communist elite. He mobilized students as “Red Guards” to attack the party’s “revisionism” and the “four olds” in society. Red Guards rampaged, enforcing puritanism and destroying cultural sites.

While bringing violence and cultural destruction, Mao also sought to modernize Chinese culture with new revolutionary operas and a militarized fashion. Schools shifted focus from merit to political virtue. Overall, Mao drastically upended society in an attempt to impose his vision of permanent revolution and egalitarian “guerrilla socialism” within a Communist state.

The passage discusses the spread of the Cultural Revolution from students to workers and rural areas in China in late 1966. Contract workers in factories rose up against managers and officials, encouraged by Mao’s rhetoric. Rural power structures also began to change as radical groups challenged local elites. However, local party bosses tried to deflect the campaigns against themselves by targeting “class enemies” from the old bourgeois classes instead. This led to chaotic civil wars between competing Red Guard factions as both sides claimed to uphold Mao’s views. By the end of 1966, the working class and marginalized “black” bourgeois groups were ascendant. The decisive turning point was the “January Storm” of 1967 in Shanghai, where workers defeated the local party’s Red Guards, leading Mao to endorse transferring power to a new People’s Commune organization. The chaos of the Cultural Revolution was now engulfing the whole country.

  • In 1954, Ernesto “Che” Guevara was selling religious icons in Guatemala City to make ends meet. He had become acquainted with Antonio “Ñico” López, a Cuban exile involved in Castro’s failed 1953 coup.

  • Guevara and other Latin American leftists had flocked to Guatemala, ruled by the socialist Jacobo Arbenz, which they saw as a beacon of hope on the continent.

  • Guevara was still just 26 but was a charismatic figure, though some found him a tough disciplinarian who endorsed Stalinist views. He had a self-satirizing sense of humor.

  • A CIA-backed coup overthrew the Arbenz government in 1954, crushing hopes for Guatemala. This helped radicalize Guevara and others and pushed them towards ideas of armed guerrilla struggle against authoritarian regimes.

  • In 1956, Guevara traveled to Mexico where he met Fidel Castro and joined his rebel group plotting to overthrow the Batista dictatorship in Cuba via guerrilla warfare in the Sierra Maestra mountains.

  • Cervantes’ Don Quixote is considered one of the earliest and most iconic tragicomic characters in literature. As a would-be knight errant, he fights for absurdly unrealistic causes.

  • Che Guevara was born into an aristocratic but impoverished family in Argentina. He was a sickly child with severe asthma who was drawn to books. As a youth, he traveled extensively around Latin America and was radicalized by the enormous inequalities he witnessed between indigenous peoples and wealthy Europeans/Americans, which he saw as consequences of imperialism.

  • In particular, Guevara was outraged by the exploitation of Latin American countries and peoples by American companies like United Fruit. Along with other Latin American intellectuals, he saw this capitalism exploitation and the puppet dictators propped up by the U.S. as maintaining an imperial grip on the region.

  • In 1954, Guevara went to Guatemala where President Arbenz was trying to nationalize United Fruit’s vast land holdings. However, the U.S. orchestrated Arbenz’s overthrow, radicalizing Guevara further. He went to Mexico where he met Fidel Castro and later joined the Cuban revolution.

  • After Bandung, Khrushchev sought to improve the USSR’s image among Third World leaders and compete with China for influence in the non-aligned movement.

  • He ended the Stalinist view of a bipolar world and advocated peaceful coexistence and cooperation with “bourgeois nationalists” like Nehru and Nkrumah. This involved increasing aid to their governments.

  • Supporting Lumumba in Congo was a propaganda coup, though his assassination backfired.

  • China provided stiff competition, promoting revolutionary anti-imperialism over Soviet peaceful development.

  • Tensions emerged between Communists and nationalist leaders like Nasser who suppressed local Communist parties.

  • In India, the Communist party’s cooperation with Nehru broke down amid local conflicts.

  • American fears of Communism made them wary of radical nationalism, fueling Third World alignment with the Soviets and Chinese. Washington shifted from anti-colonialism to backing conservative forces.

  • Under Eisenhower, the US favored firm action against nationalism seen as too close to communism, using force like military aid to prop up dictators. Secretary of State Dulles saw communism as an international conspiracy even in places like Latin America with little Soviet involvement.

  • The CIA staged coups against nationalist governments like Mossadeq in Iran in 1953 who were seen as potentially delivering resources to the Soviets. The US also faced nationalist leaders in places like the Middle East committed to reducing European influence and open to USSR alliances.

  • By the 1950s, the US grew closer to apartheid South Africa despite CIA warnings, seeking strategic and economic advantages there.

  • In Vietnam, the US initially opposed French rule but then backed the French campaign financially in 1953, and recognized the French-backed regime in the South after the 1954 Geneva Accords divided Vietnam pending elections.

  • Jacobo Arbenz’s land reform threatening United Fruit led to his 1954 ouster by the CIA in Guatemala, pushing some radicals like Che Guevara to flee to Mexico and join Fidel Castro’s rebel group planning to overthrow the US-backed Batista in Cuba.

  • Castro launched his failed 1953 coup and then returned from exile in 1956 to wage a guerrilla campaign against Batista from the Sierra Maestra mountains, eventually ousting Batista on New Year’s Day 1959 amid growing opposition in Cuba and the US.

  • After Castro’s revolution in 1959, his regime established a liberal government headed by Judge Urrutia and declared it would be “humanist” rather than capitalist or communist. Castro and Raúl were not initially communists.

  • However, the revolution was more radical than Castro’s earlier 1953 coup. Advisors like Che Guevara promoted Marxist ideas and the time in Sierra Maestra living alongside peasants forged an egalitarian culture.

  • The revolution committed to helping the “popular classes” rather than the propertied elite. This radicalism alienated the US and liberals as Castro pursued economic nationalism and land reform. Relations with the US deteriorated.

  • In 1960, fearing a US invasion, Castro allied with the USSR seeking aid. This alarmed the US further. Kennedy succeeded Eisenhower and pursued a policy of modernization theory, hoping to accelerate development and reduce communism’s appeal.

  • The failed US-backed Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961 pushed Cuba closer to the USSR. Greater state control and reliance on old communists followed. Though Cuba turned against Soviet control and pursued “Humanist Marxism” led by Che Guevara focusing on participation and morality over technical Marxism.

  • Early Cuban communism under Castro and Guevara promoted an ascetic, militaristic form of revolutionary communism that mobilized citizens as “soldiers” in an egalitarian struggle for national development. Collective rewards like education and healthcare improvements were emphasized over individual rewards.

  • Iconic campaigns like the 1961 literacy brigades transformed rural communities and won popular support, especially among youth. However, Cuba also established repressive labor camps in the 1960s to punish nonconformity.

  • Economic policy pursued rapid industrialization through willpower and mass mobilization rather than careful planning. This led to crisis by 1963 as Che fought with Soviet-backed technocrats who favored a more pragmatic approach.

  • Che resigned his posts in 1965 disillusioned with Cuba’s economic failures and the Soviet model. He decided to spread guerrilla communism internationally instead. Castro took a more pragmatic stance, aligning closer with the Soviets for economic support.

  • Guevara’s 1960 book outlined guerrilla strategies and emphasized rural insurgency models over urban campaigns. It aimed to inspire revolution across Latin America, where over 1,500 fighters were trained by Cuba. However, most such guerrilla movements inspired by Cuba’s example ultimately failed to take power.

  • Rural guerrilla revolutions in Latin America in the 1960s generally failed due to lack of popular support and effective suppression by military forces backed by the US.

  • Notable exceptions were brief periods of left-wing success in Venezuela, Guatemala, and Colombia, followed by right-wing victories that led to new guerrilla groups emerging.

  • Che Guevara saw potential in Africa and sought to direct Cuban revolutionary efforts there after failures in Latin America.

  • He met with Angolan Marxist guerrilla group MPLA in 1965 and agreed to send instructors, impressed with their claimed strength despite being deceived about their true size.

  • Meetings in Tanzania with various African liberation groups to encourage sending forces to Congo were unsuccessful, as the groups prioritized defending their own people over helping others.

  • Most African leaders at this time were non-Marxist socialists influenced by Bandung ideals of self-reliance and African communal traditions, seeing Marxism as too divisive. However, some began moving left due to neo-colonial influences.

  • In the 1960s, neighboring Congo-Léopoldville (now Democratic Republic of the Congo) experienced highly charged political events. French-style Marxism had significant influence over trade unions and promised urban dwellers modernity and independence.

  • President Massemba-Debat was relatively moderate but more radical Marxists gained influence as the regime tried to consolidate power. By 1964, Congo had a single Marxist-Leninist party and an ideologically trained “Popular Army”.

  • Some Cubans who failed in their 1965 mission to Congo-Léopoldville under Che Guevara crossed into neighboring Congo-Brazzaville and further radicalized the regime there.

  • Marxism also had significant influence over guerrilla groups fighting the Portuguese empire in Angola, Mozambique, and Portuguese Guinea (now Guinea-Bissau). The Portuguese dictator Salazar was determined to hold onto the empire, inevitably radicalizing politics over the long struggles.

  • Marxism appealed to mixed-race and educated Africans as it promised an integrated modern state and gave class priority over race in the colonial racial hierarchy. It also influenced nationalists returning from education in Portugal.

  • By the mid-1960s, guerrilla communism influenced by Mao, Ho Chi Minh and Che had taken hold mainly in Portuguese South Africa but struggled elsewhere. Less revolutionary “united front” parties that collaborated with left nationalists were generally stronger.

  • In the 1960s, communist leaders like Khrushchev, Tito, Mao, and Guevara tried to revive communism through different interpretations, including forms of ‘democracy’, radicalism, and party mobilization.

  • This led to fragmentation in the communist bloc. One group, like Romania under Ceausescu, clung to a harsh Stalinist style of rule but promoted patriotic nationalism.

  • Others, like Dubcek in Czechoslovakia, moved towards a more liberal and pragmatic form of Marxism that allowed some markets and pluralism, known as the “Prague Spring.”

  • Moscow also briefly tried limited economic liberalization in the mid-1960s but abandoned it after invading Czechoslovakia in 1968 to crush the Prague Spring, which discredited such reforms.

  • By the late 1960s, the communist bloc had settled into a more conservative and authoritarian model of Soviet control, rejecting experiments with liberalization and democracy. Ceausescu’s defiance of the Soviet invasion boosted his popularity at home but did not reflect a move towards greater freedoms in Romania.

The image refers to tanks entering Prague in 1968 to crush the Prague Spring reforms. By the 1970s, the Communist system in Romania had lost its earlier dynamism and now focused solely on maintaining stability at all costs.

Edgar Papu, a Romanian literary critic, developed the theory of “protochronism” in 1974 which argued that major literary movements and styles seen as originating in the West could actually be found earlier in Romanian literature. This theory became very popular under Ceausescu’s endorsement as it promoted Romanian nationalism.

Ceausescu consolidated his power after 1969 and established an extensive cult of personality around himself and his wife Elena. He pursued ethno-nationalist policies in the 1970s, allowing emigration of Jews and Germans but trying to assimilate Hungarians to create an ethnically homogeneous Romania. While difficult to reconcile with Marxism, Ceausescu’s nationalism was very popular domestically. The Romanian regime was thus able to attract intellectuals by promoting national identity over ideological purity.

  • Enver Hoxha, the leader of Albania, espoused Stalinism as a way to modernize and strengthen Albania after it gained independence. However, he did not care much about the rights of minority groups like Kosovar Albanians in Yugoslavia.

  • Hoxha welcomed the Stalinist model of centralized control and five-year plans to develop Albania’s economy and build up national strength. Like Romanian leader Nicolae Ceausescu, he saw Stalinism as a solution to his country’s backwardness.

  • Hoxha came into conflict with Yugoslav leader Josef Tito after feeling humiliated during a visit in 1946. Tito acted in an arrogant manner that Hoxha resented. This soured relations between Albania and Yugoslavia.

  • When the Soviet Union broke relations with Yugoslavia in 1948, Albania supported the Soviets. However, improved relations between the Soviets and Yugoslavs in 1955 damaged relations between Albania and the Soviet Union.

  • Hoxha combined Stalinism with elements of Maoism after allying with China in the 1960s following the Soviet break. However, his “Maoism” was closer to Stalinism and focused on centralized control rather than populism.

  • North Korea under Kim Il-sung also adopted High Stalinism for nationalist goals after the Korean War. Kim emphasized self-reliance over Marxism-Leninism through his Juche ideology while strictly controlling the population. Social hierarchy and the cult of personality reinforced ideological control.

  • All three peripheral regimes found High Stalinism useful for pursuing nationalist ambitions, unlike countries in Central and Eastern Europe which were opening up in the 1960s.

  • The story is set in 1960s Czechoslovakia. Ludvik has become a successful academic after being released from forced labor earlier in his life.

  • A journalist, Helena, comes to interview him and it turns out she is married to Zemanek, the party boss who exiled Ludvik years ago.

  • Seeking revenge, Ludvik seduces Helena to break up her marriage to Zemanek. However, his plan backfires as Zemanek is already having his own affair and is happy Helena left him.

  • Ludvik also discovers Zemanek has become a reformed communist with popular support. His attempt at revenge has backfired.

  • A chance encounter with his old folklore expert friend Jaroslav at a fake folk festival reveals the communist regime has co-opted and hollowed out traditional folk culture.

  • The story illustrates how Ludvik keeps misreading the changing political and social situations due to his inability to understand humanity. It also shows how communist ideals have decayed in Czechoslovakia by the 1960s into a shallow and cynical system.

  • Socialist economies struggled to satisfy consumers even as their leaders wanted to provide similar standards of living to the West. Cars were seen as a symbol of this failure to meet consumer demands.

  • The GDR’s Trabant and the USSR’s Lada attempted to provide affordable cars to the public, but demand far outpaced supply. Production of these models failed to meet consumer expectations.

  • A story from a factory visit in Hungary illustrated how politics was prioritized over economic productivity and efficiency. Factories would waste resources to put on elaborate shows for political leaders instead of focusing on production.

  • Socialist economies allocated resources in ways that privileged heavy industry and the military over consumer goods production. This imbalance stifled innovation and starved new ventures of resources.

  • Central planning focused on quantity over quality, resulting in shoddy consumer goods that people did not want to buy. Bureaucrats struggled to predict consumer trends and fashion in their economic planning.

  • By the 1970s-80s, growth rates declined as planned economies struggled to balance centralization with market forces to better satisfy consumer demand. Reform attempts met with mixed success.

This passage discusses economic reforms and liberalization attempts in Eastern Bloc countries during the 1960s under Leonid Brezhnev’s leadership of the Soviet Union. It focuses on reforms in East Germany, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and Yugoslavia.

Walter Ulbricht introduced limited market reforms in East Germany in 1963, aiming to tie enterprise funding more to profitability. However, the reforms faced political and economic challenges and were reversed. Similarly, Alexei Kosygin tried limited reforms in the Soviet Union in 1965 but they were soon rolled back due to resistance.

Hungary introduced the most far-reaching reforms under János Kádár in the mid-1960s, reducing economic controls and allowing more private sector activity. This created a more consumer-oriented economy but also income inequality. Yugoslavia, struggling with debt, was increasingly drawn into the capitalist system, facing high unemployment and political conflicts as a result of economic liberalization and centralization pressures.

Overall, the passage examines the challenges faced by Eastern Bloc nations in attempting limited market reforms within the communist system during the ‘thaw’ under Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev in the 1960s. No country was able to fully transition to a market economy without facing political or economic difficulties.

  • In the 1960s, tensions arose in Yugoslavia between its richer and poorer republics over subsidization. Wealthier Slovenia and Croatia wanted more decentralization while poorer republics opposed this.

  • Control gradually shifted from the central government to the republics in the 1960s. However, this did not lead to effective market reforms. Local pressures made reforms difficult, and debt/inflation rose severely by the 1970s, putting Yugoslavia in crisis.

  • Czechoslovakia also faced economic problems under its Stalinist leader Novotny, who dragged his feet on reforms. Student protests in 1967 were put down violently.

  • Brezhnev replaced Novotny with Dubcek in 1968, hoping pressure would suffice. But Dubcek introduced far-reaching reforms through his “Action Program”, aiming for “democratic socialism” and a “socialism with a human face”.

  • The reforms drew on non-Stalinist Marxism, emphasizing human creativity, participation, and pluralistic elections. However, it threatened the Communist system and party rule from Moscow’s view, raising fears of a collapse like in Hungary 1956. This ultimately led to a Soviet-led invasion to remove Dubcek.

Here is a summary of the key points about the Prague Spring and its aftermath:

  • In 1968, liberal reforms initiated in Czechoslovakia under Alexander Dubček came to be known as the Prague Spring. This reform movement sought to create “socialism with a human face” and grant more freedoms and decentralization.

  • In August 1968, the Soviet Union and other Warsaw Pact countries invaded Czechoslovakia to end the reforms. Their stated justification was to rescue Czechoslovakia from counter-revolutionary forces.

  • The invasion was met with some demonstrations in Czechoslovakia but no serious resistance. Brutal repression followed the invasion.

  • A new Communist leader, Gustáv Husák, agreed to Soviet demands and tightened Communist control over Czechoslovak society. Thousands fled to the West or faced imprisonment or menial jobs.

  • Unlike in Hungary in 1956, Czechoslovakia did not see a relaxation of control after initial repression. The Communist party maintained a tight grip until the fall of Communism in 1989.

  • The Prague Spring exposed weaknesses in the Soviet bloc as the reform movement came from within the Communist party elite rather than outside dissidents. It threatened the Soviet system more deeply.

  • The invasion marked the end of de-Stalinization and liberalization trends in the Eastern Bloc. Brezhnev instituted a more conservative order with less cultural and economic reform.

  • In the 1970s, the 1973 oil price hike greatly benefited the USSR as a major oil producer. It gave the USSR higher living standards and an ambitious foreign policy, even as its economic growth slowed to around 1%.

  • However, the price increase was disastrous for Eastern European countries that imported oil. The USSR found it was forgoing exports by subsidizing raw materials like oil to Eastern Europe.

  • The oil boom also led to an influx of petrodollars into Western banks. This helped launch today’s free global financial markets with less regulation.

  • Western banks lent heavily to Eastern Europe and other communist nations in the 1970s. This helped fund welfare states and industrialization but piled on large debts. By the late 1970s, many communist countries owed significant amounts to Western banks.

  • By the late 1960s, communism in Europe was no longer driving radical transformation. The focus shifted to stable welfare states and economic justice within communist systems. A similar trend emerged in China after Mao’s death in 1976. Communist regimes stabilized by providing for their populations within existing political systems.

  • Paternalistic systems varied across communist states based on local cultures and conditions. China had one of the most intrusive systems due to huge rural labor pool giving regime more control.

  • Neighborhood committees in China played a greater role in people’s lives than in the Soviet bloc, akin to Japanese neighborhood police with close oversight of families.

  • Work units in China had even more control over workers’ lives than Soviet kollektivs, allocating housing, food rations, etc. Workers had to behave properly to receive favors.

  • Soviet bloc only closely monitored party members’ private lives. Local councils were remote and factories had less workforce control than China.

  • “Social work” was expected of citizens but penetrated society unevenly and motives were mixed between belief, obligation, and seeking benefits.

  • Bosses had power over job assignments, pay/quotas, leaves, reports that gave them client networks over abstract socialist virtue.

  • Manager power varied across bloc but divided workforces to maintain control despite some protests. Relationships were also complex webs of reciprocity limiting boss autonomy.

  • One worker described how in their factory, personal connections played a huge role in how much actual power managers had. A newly transferred vice-director had a difficult time getting his orders carried out because he had no connections built up yet.

  • Managers relied on cooperation from workers to fulfill production plans. If workers did not cooperate, the factory would not meet its goals and managers would suffer consequences. It was difficult for managers to find people willing to take on responsibilities due to other job opportunities.

  • Managers had limited powers and had to compromise with subordinates. Officially appointed from above, managers tended to identify more with the collective below them rather than their bosses above. Their career prospects depended on how well subordinates worked.

  • Personal relationships and friendships outside the official workplace collective were very important for finding trust and refuge from the invasive Communist party. Friends were people you could be honest with without fear of being reported.

  • Workers clearly distinguished themselves from what they saw as the undeservedly privileged managerial stratum, echoing Marxist views of managers as parasites. Resentment of unequal economic privileges was widespread.

The passage discusses the rise of consumerism in communist regimes and its impact. It notes that black markets flourished in the Soviet Union, Poland, Hungary, and East Germany, accounting for a significant share of economic activity. Special shops also legitimized consumer culture by selling luxury goods.

Consumerism established a parallel universe and social hierarchy based on access to goods, rather than service to the state. Jobs that provided access to goods, like shop sales, became more attractive, while education was less popular. A new status hierarchy rivaled the old paternalistic one.

Surveys showed youth valued black market jobs most, followed by military and car work. Consumerism challenged the prestige of party apparatchiks without foreign contacts. While it antagonized those with low status in the new system, consumer goods inevitably became central to people’s lives as more available.

The film “The Blonde Round the Corner” displayed concerns about consumerism as a rival system with different values than communism. It portrayed the hero rejecting a woman symbolizing consumerism and shallow pleasures over commitment to ideology.

  • In 1968, an American Peace Corps volunteer organized a fashion show at Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia featuring African fabrics, in response to criticism of a prior show featuring Western clothing like miniskirts.

  • Radical students were still critical, arguing no fashion show could be justified in a poor country. Questions of gender roles and Western influence on Ethiopian women were also at issue.

  • Male students saw the event as evidence Ethiopian women were being seduced by Western lifestyles rather than engaging in political discussion, which they believed was more important.

  • Criticisms took on a Marxist tone, with fashion shows seen as promoting Western luxury goods and “neo-colonialism.”

  • The dispute erupted into a small but violent protest outside the hall, as male students verbally abused and stoned those attending the fashion show. Ideological tensions and debates around gender roles were coming to a head among Ethiopian university students.

  • In 1964, around 1,000 American students from Northern universities traveled to Mississippi to support the civil rights movement against racial segregation through organizing voter registration and “Freedom Schools.” Like Russian agrarian socialists in the past, they faced repression - three students were beaten to death.

  • Returning students at UC Berkeley were angered after being banned from distributing political literature on campus. Mario Savio led a “sit-in” protest against the police, sparking the Free Speech Movement (FSM) involving over 10,000 students demonstrating for free speech rights.

  • Savio compared the suppression of political expression at Berkeley to that of the black majority in Mississippi, launching Berkeley as a center of student rebellion or “revolution” across America and Europe in 1968.

  • Students were challenging traditional hierarchies, patriarchal attitudes, and social discipline seen as militaristic or “Fordist” in postwar states and universities. They sought a more participatory democracy and autonomy, registering a fundamental shift in worldview against all forms of authority.

  • In the 1960s, protests grew out of frustration with bourgeois culture and consumerism, taking influence from Dadaists and Situationists who believed provocation could shock people out of complacency.

  • Herbert Marcuse emerged as a key philosopher arguing modern capitalism and Soviet Communism created totalitarian societies that suppressed individual freedom and autonomy through conformity and authoritarian institutions. He viewed technological progress and rationality with distrust.

  • Marcuse’s views permeated 1960s counterculture and films like Dr. Strangelove and 2001 portrayed technology as threatening. Student protestor Mario Savio spoke of stopping the “machine” of oppression.

  • The “New Left” criticized orthodox Marxism’s focus on economics and embraced cultural revolution, participatory democracy, and ending all hierarchies. They saw the working class as co-opted and sought alliances with students, blacks, Third World groups, women, and gays.

  • Opposition to the Vietnam War radicalized students and the civil rights movement, and linked domestic inequality and violence abroad. Black Power embraced Third Worldism and violence. Protests spread to Western Europe opposed to their support for the US war.

Here is a summary of key points about commitment in Europe in the context provided:

  • The 1960s brought waves of rebellion across Europe, partly inspired by Marxism and opposing American imperialism/the Vietnam War. Students protested in many countries.

  • The 1968 Tet Offensive in Vietnam humbled the US and encouraged radicals worldwide. Protests escalated across Western Europe by students and workers.

  • Protests took on local nationalist elements in places like Belgium and Northern Ireland but were generally united by a romantic participatory Marxism opposed to Soviet Communism.

  • Governments like Belgium’s fell temporarily due to unrest. Protests contributed to economic issues and the decline of the post-WW2 economic order.

  • However, the diverse protest movements failed to achieve lasting power due to issues coordinating differing groups and developing coherent programs.

  • In the short term, the unrest boosted right-wing parties, but the left also radicalized further with more structured Maoist and Trotskyist groups emerging from the New Left’s demise. Some supported violence and terrorism.

So in summary, the text discusses the student and worker rebellion and commitment to Marxism that swept Western Europe in 1968, challenging governments and the existing order, although ultimately failing to achieve lasting change through grassroots protest alone.

  • The Weathermen was a radical leftist group that broke from SDS in 1969, seeking to “bring the war home” through violent protests and bombings against the US government. They believed popular democracy had to be temporarily abandoned in favor of Marxist-Leninism.

  • In Western Europe, Marxist terrorist groups also emerged in West Germany (Red Army Faction), Northern Ireland (Provisional IRA), and France (Gauche Prolétarienne). But the most active were in West Germany and Italy, where they argued the government was compromised by fascist pasts.

  • In Italy particularly, terrorist groups like the Red Brigades emerged from the militant workers’ movement of the late 1960s-early 1970s and targeted the state. They believed they were continuing an anti-fascist struggle.

  • The Vietnam War radicalized and mobilized students, workers, and minorities across the world. Many groups adopted Marxist rhetoric but rejected pro-Soviet orthodoxy. Urban terrorism spread to Latin America against military dictatorships.

  • Opposition to authoritarianism and inequality took diverse forms, from Catholic priests to Marxist-influenced militaries. Overall 1968 was a major challenge to Communist parties and establishment politics globally.

  • In 1966, Amilcar Cabral gave a speech in Havana promoting armed struggle as the normal way for national liberation, not compromising with imperialism. Castro agreed and saw opportunities with America struggling in Vietnam.

  • Marxist ideas and generational change also radicalized African leaders. Many believed the Bandung generation failed to challenge local elites and deliver development. Marxist-Leninism offered solutions through vanguard parties, heavy industry, and class struggle.

  • The Soviet Union increasingly supported vanguard Marxist-Leninist groups after setbacks in the 1960s. They saw potential for alliances with nationalists and transitions to socialism even in peasant societies.

  • Israel’s 1967 defeat of Arab states weakened Arab socialism and Nasser’s influence. Palestinian groups like Fatah embraced armed struggle and Marxism-Leninism. This aided South Yemen becoming the first Marxist-Leninist regime in the region.

  • Inspired by Vietnam, peasant rebellions in India and guerrilla movements in Portuguese Africa also moved towards Marxism, with FRELIMO declaring socialism in Mozambique in 1970 led by Samora Machel. However, mobilizing real peasant support was difficult due to the alien political culture imposed.

  • The anti-colonial movements in Portugal’s African colonies (MPLA in Angola, FRELIMO in Mozambique, PAIGC in Guinea-Bissau) faced mixed success against Portuguese rule. Only the PAIGC secured significant territory by 1972. However, all movements drew support from economic and political grievances against Portugal.

  • Portugal found it increasingly difficult to sustain the costly colonial wars, which consumed 40% of the state budget by 1968. This contributed to the overthrow of Caetano’s authoritarian regime in 1974 by moderate and radical military officers in the Carnation Revolution.

  • The revolution led to political instability and threats of Communism in Portugal itself. Radical land reforms provoked violence in rural areas. But moderate socialists prevailed in elections, heading off a revolutionary transformation.

  • In 1975, the new Portuguese government granted independence to its African colonies. PAIGC and FRELIMO took power in Guinea-Bissau and Mozambique. Angola descended into a three-way civil war as the USSR-backed MPLA fought the FNLA and UNITA, both backed by other foreign powers at times.

  • The story details events in Angola and Mozambique following their independence from Portugal in the mid-1970s.

  • South Africa invaded Angola to support UNITA rebels. Cuba then sent troops to help the MPLA forces, which led South Africa to retreat. However, civil wars soon broke out in both countries.

  • The wars were seen as proxy confrontations between the Cold War superpowers, but the new governments still aimed to build socialism in their countries.

  • FRELIMO in Mozambique and the MPLA in Angola adopted Soviet-style Marxism-Leninism as their ideology. This was difficult to implement given the weak states and fragmented societies they inherited.

  • Ambitious economic and social programs like collectivization of agriculture struggled and were unpopular. The one-party system also exacerbated ethnic tensions.

  • The civil wars continued through the 1980s as South Africa and the U.S. supported rebels to undermine the Marxist governments.

  • Several other African nations also adopted Marxist or socialist ideologies in this period, though many were more rhetorical than transformational. Ethiopia experienced a more radical Marxist revolution that more closely resembled other Marxist revolutions.

  • Some zealous Ethiopian communist cadres were executed for suggesting portraits of Marx, Engels and Lenin be hung alongside the Chairman. This was seen as misguided internationalism and lacking revolutionary nationalism.

  • However, the Wise Chairman later built monuments to Lenin and Marx to placate the Russians, who were supporters of Ethiopia’s revolution. Engels was still waiting for recognition.

  • Ethiopia used Marxism-Leninism to serve nationalist ends, as many other African communist regimes did. They also tried to keep Russian allies happy.

  • There was a special connection between Ethiopia and Russia, as Ethiopian revolutionaries saw parallels with Russia’s crumbling Christian Orthodox empire trying to modernize. They saw themselves living the Bolshevik experience.

  • Many saw the student generation as responsible for putting Ethiopia on equal footing with other developed nations. Initially some believed they could work with Emperor Haile Selassie, who tried modernizing and centralizing power, but faced opposition.

  • Western influence, not Soviet, popularized Marxism among students educated abroad, especially in the US. They brought it back and linked struggles with Vietnam and apartheid.

  • Economic and political crises led to the revolution and overthrow of Selassie. The Derg initially favored African socialism but radical students and Mengistu pushed for Marxism-Leninism.

  • A geramanja (religious leader) was unceremoniously paraded through a provincial town by students. The students deliberately desecrated his sacred eating utensils and seated a low-caste man on his special horse, outraging his followers.

  • In retaliation, the geramanja’s followers surrounded and burned down a school building where the students had assembled in the neighborhood.

  • This suggests tensions between traditional religious/caste hierarchies and modernizing students, leading to violent reprisals.

Pol Pot, the leader of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, came from a prosperous peasant background and was educated in France where he was exposed to communism. He returned to Cambodia which was struggling with anti-colonial sentiments against the dominant Vietnamese and Chinese.

Pol Pot joined the communist movement in Cambodia and rose to a leadership role. He was influenced by Maoist ideology after visiting China in the 1960s. As the Vietnam War widened, Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge gained control of rural areas of Cambodia opposing the U.S.-backed Lon Nol regime.

When the Khmer Rouge took Phnom Penh in 1975, they sought to radically transform Cambodian society based on an extreme Marxist-Maoist ideology. They evacuated cities and forced the population into rural agricultural collectives. The Khmer Rouge regime was extremely secretive and paranoid, viewing outsiders as threats. They carried out mass murder and genocide that led to the deaths of an estimated 1-3 million Cambodians through executions, starvation and disease over their four year rule until being overthrown.

Soon after taking power in Cambodia in 1975, the Khmer Rouge regime led by Pol Pot began evacuating all cities and forcibly relocating over 2 million urban residents to rural collective farms under coercion. Their stated motivation was to correct socioeconomic imbalances between the wealthy cities and poorer countryside. However, it also targeted urban residents as potential political opponents and sought to destroy perceived “imperialist” culture.

Khmer Rouge policy implemented extreme agricultural collectivization and egalitarianism inspired by Maoist teachings. Money was abolished, private property banned, and everyone including the former city-dwellers became agricultural laborers. Family structures were undermined as well. Pol Pot also pursued forced industrialization and development goals through his unrealistic Four-Year Plan.

The regime’s harsh policies, brutal treatment of perceived “enemies,” poor management, and forced relocations led to widespread deaths from starvation, overwork, and executions estimated between 1.5-2 million people, about a quarter of Cambodia’s total population. Violence varied by area and time but repression was severe, with thousands tortured and killed in the notorious S-21 prison.

The brutal excesses of the Khmer Rouge regime and other Communist states like Ethiopia seriously damaged the reputation of Third World communism internationally, even amongst other communist governments.

Berlinguer believed that communism could only succeed by moderating conflict between blocs and within states. His solution was “Eurocommunism” - a third way between social democracy and Soviet communism. It would fully embrace détente, support human rights, oppose militarized conflicts, and accept multi-party systems. The Italian and Spanish communist parties supported this approach, seeing it as a way to gain independence from Moscow following the revolutionary chaos in Portugal. However, the Soviets strongly opposed Eurocommunism, fearing it could undermine their influence in Europe. The approach ultimately failed as East-West tensions worsened in the late 1970s due to events like the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. The failure of third ways like Eurocommunism made it difficult to sustain alternatives to the Soviet communist model.

  • Reagan and Gorbachev had stark ideological differences as dedicated capitalist and communist leaders respectively, but also found common ground in wanting to reduce nuclear weapons and avoid realpolitik that threatened humanity.

  • At their 1985 summit, they had heated debates but also unexpectedly agreed to eliminate all nuclear weapons. This showed how relations had changed from the 1970s.

  • However, a final agreement slipped through due to disputes over Reagan’s Star Wars program.

  • Two years later in 1989, Gorbachev’s meeting with Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping had a starkly different atmosphere, with little meaningful engagement as China was more pragmatic and non-ideological under Deng.

  • The two meetings showed the changed dynamics between the Soviet, Chinese and American blocs since the 1970s, with Reagan and Gorbachev as idealists wishing to reform their systems, while Deng represented a break from Mao’s radicalism.

  • Reagan and Gorbachev embodied the liberal capitalist and communist reform revolutions of the late 1980s, though ultimately Western liberalism prevailed globally over communism.

  • Deng warned students against directly criticizing Mao, but allowed more radical criticisms. However, when criticisms became too radical, he ordered a crackdown in 1979, establishing clear limits to political change and showing he was not a liberal.

  • Deng’s combination of market reforms with strict political control has lasted in China to this day. His “Four Modernizations” program took inspiration from Lenin’s NEP reforms in the 1920s USSR, in contrast to more radical reform traditions championed by Khrushchev and Gorbachev.

  • Deng learned from the excesses of the Cultural Revolution that mass political movements from below could destabilize the country. He insisted on keeping bureaucrats and industrial managers on his side through persuasion rather than confrontation.

  • Deng developed a two-track economy with state ownership of heavy industry and private entrepreneurship in other sectors. This market-oriented approach transformed China’s cities and shifted popular values away from Maoist ideology by the late 1980s. However, political control remained strict under Deng.

  • Many Soviet citizens in the early 1980s still believed that socialism was inherently just and saw the Soviet system as superior to capitalism in areas like social justice, welfare, stability, and education. They took pride in living in the dominant Communist power.

  • Even in Eastern Bloc countries like Hungary, most supported socialist values like equality over capitalism or political revolution. Children were especially receptive to school propaganda. However, many also wanted greater political freedoms and economic reforms.

  • Dissident movements emerged advocating nationalist, liberal-democratic, or radical socialist views. Signing the Helsinki Accords on human rights strengthened liberal groups.

  • Repression of dissidents varied by country but was usually severe in Albania, Romania, East Germany, and Czechoslovakia. The KGB and Stasi secret police closely monitored and persecuted dissidents through intimidation, imprisonment, internal exile, or psychiatric abuse.

  • The extensive Stasi in East Germany had over 90,000 staff and 500,000 informants, devastating trust in society. However, supporting the Communist system remained strong for many until the late 1980s apart from in Poland.

  • Soviet émigrés who left during the Stalin era had different views than those who left in the 1970s-1980s.

  • In the Stalin era, the young and educated were more likely to favor state control and welfare, while workers and peasants were less supportive. This flipped in the later period.

  • Education levels also corresponded more strongly to ideological divisions later on. The university-educated tended to favor more liberal reforms, while those with less education favored maintaining the status quo.

  • Within the communist party apparatus by the 1980s, there was a growing anti-communist sentiment, especially among intellectuals working in foreign policy departments who were more exposed to Western criticism.

  • Reformist ideas were influenced by these party intellectuals as well as communist politicians open to change like Gorbachev. However, broader societal support for socialist values and benefits remained.

  • Ultimately, communist regimes became vulnerable due to economic troubles and the West’s counterattack in the late 1970s. This opened space for reformist communist elites to push for changes from within. However, societal divisions like between workers and intelligentsia had historically stabilized communist rule.

The passage discusses the political situation in Poland under Communist rule from the 1940s to the late 1970s. It notes that Poland was always a troubled spot for the Communist bloc due to strong Polish nationalism and the power of the Catholic Church.

In the 1970s, the Communist government tried different strategies to stabilize its rule, including pursuing extensive industrialization programs. For a time this increased living standards and public support. However, economic issues emerged as investments did not generate returns. Food price hikes in 1976 led to major worker strikes that were harshly repressed.

A key turning point was the election of Polish Cardinal Karol Wojtyla as Pope John Paul II in 1978. This boosted the influence and nationalist credentials of the Catholic Church in Poland. The Church successfully united the dissident intelligentsia and workers behind its leadership in opposing the Communist government.

By 1980, Poland had a large network of democratic opposition groups. The passage analyzes how the economic challenges facing Communist states were also affecting industrialized nations more broadly at this time. It then shifts to discussing the rise of neoconservative intellectual thought in the US as a capitalist ideological counter to Communism.

  • Kristol’s neoconservatives and Friedman’s neoliberals shared anti-Communist views but had some intellectual differences. Neoconservatives were more militaristic, moralistic, and saw a bigger role for the state, while neoliberals focused more on free markets.

  • After 1968, they united behind a program of “revolutionary liberalism” using Marxist-Leninist tactics against Communism. Ronald Reagan became their champion.

  • The 1979 crises strengthened neoconservative arguments for militant anti-Communism. Jean Kirkpatrick drew a distinction between “authoritarian” and “totalitarian” regimes.

  • High interest rates by Paul Volcker in 1979 ended inflation but also shifted the global economy toward financing the US through debt. This starved Communist nations of capital while benefiting others like China.

  • Indebted Eastern bloc nations faced austerity measures that eroded their legitimacy. Romania imposed harsh crackdowns while Yugoslavia disintegrated.

  • Poland’s debt crisis led to the Solidarity movement and eventual imposition of martial law, ending the last vestiges of Communist power there.

  • By the early 1980s, the Communist regime in Poland was under the control of General Jaruzelski and the military rather than the Communist party. This showed the limits of Soviet support for Eastern Bloc regimes.

  • The Soviet Union made clear it would no longer provide unlimited military support under the Brezhnev Doctrine. It also faced economic difficulties of its own and could no longer bail out unstable Eastern European countries indefinitely.

  • The rise of neo-liberalism and Reagan’s foreign policy weakened Communist regimes globally. Debt crisis and IMF/World Bank structural adjustment programs undermined state-led economic models.

  • China’s embrace of market reforms in 1978 also influenced Communist states. By the mid-1980s, several pro-Soviet countries introduced limited market reforms due to these international and ideological pressures.

  • Reagan pursued an ideology of “anti-Communist revolution” and promoted low-intensity conflict and guerrilla tactics against Leftist regimes, especially in Central America. This included supporting opposition and insurgent groups.

  • However, Communism remained entrenched in the USSR and Eastern Europe itself despite these global challenges to the Communist model abroad. Conservative Communists saw debt issues as proof of capitalism’s dangers.

  • In the early 1980s, the CIA secretly issued a manual to the Contra rebels in Nicaragua on how to wage a guerrilla campaign against the Sandinista regime. The manual emphasized politicizing the rebels and carrying out “armed propaganda” like assassinations.

  • In practice, the Contras relied more on violence, intimidation, and sabotage than political campaigning. By 1988 the Sandinistas were defeating them militarily. Economic problems and alienation of some groups led to the Sandinistas’ defeat in the 1990 election.

  • Elsewhere in Central America, right-wing death squads massacred tens of thousands in Guatemala and El Salvador’s civil war was brutal. By the late 1980s, over 1% of Nicaragua’s population had died in the Contra wars.

  • The US also supported anti-communist guerrilla groups like UNITA in Angola and the Mujahideen against the Soviets in Afghanistan. This policy aligned with the Kirkpatrick doctrine of opposing communist regimes rather than caring if groups were liberal.

  • While this inflamed tensions with the Soviets, military pressure alone did not destabilize the USSR. Gorbachev’s reforms from within were the primary factor leading to the Soviet Union’s collapse by 1991, not external pressure from Reagan. The film “Repentance” captured this atmosphere of reexamining Stalinism under Gorbachev’s glasnost policy in the mid-1980s.

  • Mikhail Gorbachev, like many of his generation who came of age after de-Stalinization, was angry at bureaucrats in the Communist party who promoted status and conservatism over real reform.

  • He pursued a strategy like Khrushchev’s of hoping to reduce bureaucracy by opening up the party to broader societal influences. Unlike his predecessors, he ultimately decided the party’s powers needed to be curtailed.

  • Gorbachev was more eager than earlier Soviet leaders to integrate the USSR into the Western sphere as a social democratic state, favoring elections and market reforms. He was encouraged by Western opinion and intellectuals within the Soviet Union.

  • While initially pursuing disciplined economic policies, Gorbachev’s views evolved and he embarked on more radical economic liberalization and political democratization in 1987. However, he believed the Soviet people had chosen socialism and the system just needed reinvigorating by reducing bureaucracy and unleashing popular initiative, rather than a transition to Western pluralism.

  • Gorbachev had a generally positive personality but lacked economic expertise, which caused problems for his ambitious reform program. He was very confident in his abilities to persuade others.

  • Gorbachev launched an attack on party bureaucrats, seeing them as a conservative force blocking change. He initially hoped the party would lead reforms but lost faith as they resisted.

  • He pursued new alliances with disenchanted middle classes, loosening censorship and allowing informal discussion groups. More significantly, he abolished the party secretariat in 1988 and created a new elected Congress of People’s Deputies, shifting power from the party to the state.

  • Gorbachev reopened debates about Stalin and Soviet history, arguing the system had gone wrong earlier than Khrushchev claimed. This undermined the party’s legitimacy by showing people had suffered for nothing.

  • By loosening controls, Gorbachev inadvertently destroyed the ideological foundations of the Soviet system. Opinion changed rapidly between 1987-1991 as people lost faith in the party and grew more positive toward the West.

  • Gorbachev rejected both the Chinese statist model and “shock therapy” economic reforms. But his compromise undermined the old economic system without replacing it, damaging living standards and his popularity at home. This ultimately contributed to the collapse of the Soviet Union.

  • In the 1980s, dissent groups in Eastern Europe shifted from large protests against communist regimes to more grassroots methods like creating alternative subcultures and focusing on environmental/peace issues to avoid harsh crackdowns. This included the satirical Orange Alternative group in Poland.

  • Gorbachev’s reforms in the USSR weakened communist parties by signaling the end of Soviet military support. This empowered reformers within parties and gave opponents less to fear. When Hungary introduced multiparty elections in 1988, it showed other nations could transition away from communism.

  • Reforms began in Poland in 1986, leading to Solidarity’s victory in elections in 1989. Hungary also transitioned to multiparty democracy in 1989.

  • In East Germany, Hungary’s opening of the border with Austria in 1989 allowed East Germans to flee to the West. Mass demonstrations followed and the Berlin Wall fell in November 1989 after border guards accidentally allowed its opening, marking the end of East Germany’s hardline regime.

  • Inspired by events in East Germany, Bulgaria also saw party reform and opposition challenges in late 1989. Czechoslovakia similarly faced growing unrest and transitioned to negotiations with opposition by late 1989.

  • Revolutions across Central and Eastern Europe in 1989 were generally swift and nonviolent, as dissident strategies had shifted to grassroots activism rather than confrontation and communist authority had been weakened by Gorbachev.

The communist regimes in Eastern Europe collapsed in 1989 due to a combination of internal and external factors. Internally, opposition movements embraced non-violence which limited repressive options, and communist parties were divided with many reformists waiting. Externally, the USSR under Gorbachev changed its policy of repressing dissent, withdrawing support for hardline regimes.

The transitions varied in nature - Hungary and Poland had negotiated transitions due to established reformists, while Czechoslovakia and East Germany saw more mass mobilization after conservative leaders initially resisted change. Romania’s transition was the most violent as Ceausescu lost control after protests.

Albania was the last to transition in 1991 after student protests prompted multiparty elections. The USSR’s informal allies also fell apart over 1989-1992 as Gorbachev withdrew support. Civil wars continued in Angola and Afghanistan even after communist regimes fell. Nationalist movements weakened the USSR itself, leading to its final collapse in 1991 amid an attempted coup against Gorbachev by hardliners trying to preserve the status quo.

  • In 1991, Communist hardliners launched a coup attempt in the USSR to remove Gorbachev from power and preserve the Soviet Union. However, they lacked support and their leader Yanayev struggled at a press conference, appearing drunk.

  • Boris Yeltsin rallied opposition to the coup from the Russian parliament building. The coup leaders ordered an attack but military commanders refused. The coup collapsed by the end of the day.

  • This coup hastened the collapse of both the USSR and communist authority. Gorbachev resigned as USSR president in December 1991, marking the official end of the 74-year Soviet experiment.

  • In contrast to the relatively peaceful collapse of the USSR, Yugoslavia’s breakup in the early 1990s involved violent civil wars and ethnic cleansing as nationalism took hold. Factors like economic crisis, an ethnic divide, and nationalist politicians like Slobodan Milosevic fueled the conflict.

  • The wars in Croatia, Bosnia, and Kosovo caused immense bloodshed and instability in the Balkans throughout the 1990s before international intervention helped broker fragile peaces.

  • China also faced a crisis of reform and protests in 1989. Hardliners gained control and approved a violent crackdown to clear Tiananmen Square of protesters during a visit by Gorbachev, crushing China’s own democratic movement.

  • Gorbachev visited China in May 1989 and received an enthusiastic reception from Chinese intellectuals who had been developing their own reformist ideas similar to his.

  • However, he did not intervene to support student protesters and his memoirs suggest he had more sympathy for the Chinese hosts than the protesters.

  • The student protesters demanded democratic and anti-corruption reforms like Gorbachev’s perestroika communism in the USSR, not a return to Maoism.

  • A popular documentary series criticized Chinese tradition, authoritarianism, and isolationism. It portrayed the West positively and predicted China merging with it.

  • Protests grew but Deng feared a collapse like in Poland. On June 3-4, troops fired on protesters in Tiananmen Square, killing 600-1200 and injuring thousands, in a serious setback for reforms.

  • After 1991, China rejected both liberal democracy and perestroika, choosing its own non-revolutionary path combining political control with market reforms.

  • Richard Nixon shows Nikita Khrushchev the benefits of American consumer goods during their famous “kitchen debate” at an American exhibition in Moscow in 1959.

  • In 1958, Chinese peasants operated newly built small blast furnaces as part of Mao’s Great Leap Forward industrialization campaign.

  • In 1966, Chinese soldiers are shown studying political messages as part of Mao’s Cultural Revolution to purge dissent.

  • There is a reference to the execution of an “enemy” during the Cultural Revolution period in China.

  • The passage includes an image of Che Guevara from 1967 that became an icon of revolution.

  • It references a 1969 poster that blended Christianity and Marxism in a concept known as “Liberation Theology”.

  • A photo from 1976 shows a young soldier from the MPLA in Angola sitting under a portrait of its leader, Agostinho Neto.

So in summary, it provides brief contextual details and images related to key individuals and events from the communist and anti-imperialist movements from the 1950s through late 1970s, with a focus on China, Cuba, and Angola.

  • Reagan’s military buildup and tax cuts led to huge budget deficits in the US, threatening an economic crisis. However, people were happy to see the end of the Cold War and neoconservative ideology.

  • Neoliberalism was no longer led by the nationalist right but by the cosmopolitan center-left, like Clinton, Schroder, and Blair, who promoted a “Third Way” between social justice and the market but tended more toward market policies.

  • In former Communist Eastern Europe, IMF-led shock therapy led to severe recessions and high unemployment as inefficient Communist industries were exposed to market forces. Some countries recovered faster than others depending on state strength and commitment to reforms.

  • Russia experienced the most devastating recession, as rapid privatization amounted to asset stripping by crony capitalists. Weak states couldn’t enforce legal or tax systems.

  • In contrast, China’s market reforms under Deng Xiaoping were very successful at lifting people out of poverty, as the Communist party strengthened the state to encourage markets rather than undermine it.

  • Former Communist parties in Europe adopted social democratic positions and quieted criticism of new capitalist systems, while Asian Communist parties embraced markets. Ideological commitments weakened everywhere except China.

  • Local party pressure in China often leads to politically-motivated rather than economically-sound investment decisions, posing a dilemma for political elites trying to direct the economy without independent oversight. Anti-corruption campaigns lose steam over time.

  • Ex-Communist parties in Eastern Europe were ambivalent about free markets and embraced nostalgia. East German Communists and Russian Communists under Ziuganov combined nationalism, social policies, and anti-Western sentiment.

  • Former Soviet authoritarian leaders blended crony capitalism, nationalism, and authoritarianism to maintain power without Communist parties. “Color revolutions” replaced some through protests but struggles remained establishing liberal democracy.

  • Ex-Communists were resilient in Central Asia by depending on traditional clans. Regimes in places like Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan maintained Stalinist tools while abandoning Marxist-Leninist ideology.

  • North Korea and Cuba clung most strongly to Marxist-Leninist ideology due to economic isolation, maintaining control through repression and nationalism despite crises after the USSR fell. Cuba liberalized its economy more through private sectors.

  • In Peru, philosopher Abimael Guzman launched the Shining Path insurgency in 1980, blending Maoism with “Gonzalo Thought” and extreme violence to appeal to indigenous peoples amid inequality and repression. It grew large through the 1980s before facing repression.

The passage discusses the decline of radical communism and Marxist insurgencies across the world in the late 20th century and early 21st century. It focuses on examples in Latin America, Nepal, India, and Mexico.

In Peru, the Shining Path insurgency collapsed after its leader Abimael Guzmán was arrested in 1992. This showed the failure of using extreme violence. Maoists in Nepal learned from Peru’s example and decided to participate in democratic elections rather than try to seize power by force.

Maoist groups like the Naxalites continued operating in parts of India. However, their goals were often narrow and focused on local issues rather than large-scale revolution.

The Zapatista movement in Mexico emphasized non-violence, propaganda, and participatory democracy more than armed struggle. Its leader Subcomandante Marcos adopted a symbolic, rhetorical style compared to past revolutionaries like Che Guevara.

By the 2000s, radical Marxist movements mainly survived in Nepal and parts of India. In Latin America, populist socialist governments were more successful. The passage argues this shows how Third World Marxism had evolved away from its militant roots by this time.

The passage discusses Marxism’s desire to radically transform societies through revolution in order to create modern, equal states. This vision appealed to patriotic students and elites in developing countries who saw their societies as “backwards.” Even so, communism may not have succeeded without crises like World War I in Russia or the Japanese invasion of China.

Lenin developed Marxism-Leninism, with its emphasis on a disciplined vanguard party. This party model emerged from Russian conspiracy politics and drove industrialization under Stalin. The militant, organizational style attracted elites in developing countries fighting imperialism and occupation.

Communist regimes often pursued radical transformation using militaristic methods like mass mobilizations and campaigns. This was especially true during establishment or times of war/threats. However, harsh methods damaged economies and societies over time. Regimes eventually shifted to more technocratic approaches but still used force against “enemies.”

While communism brought benefits like education and welfare, economic problems grew and citizens saw a gap with consumer Western societies. By the 1970s, few believed the USSR party sought true equality. Memories of violence also discredited communism’s goals. In the end, economic crisis may fuel nostalgia but a communist return is unlikely given its failures.

  • The passage discusses the emergence of left-wing populism in some countries in response to deep economic inequalities. However, extreme inequalities alone are rarely sufficient for extreme leftist success - empires/entrenched hierarchies have often also been needed.

  • The romantic, participatory tradition of communism seen in 1968 may regain relevance if a crisis of globalized capitalism develops. Romantic Marxist ideals of authenticity and participation could appeal more widely.

  • However, Marx questioned how decentralized communities could be combined with economic prosperity - they may only be compatible with lower living standards. This makes widespread support difficult.

  • The history of communism teaches that dogmatic utopian thinking can be destructive. It also shows the danger of sharp inequalities and perceived injustice, which make extreme leftist politics very appealing.

  • Since the fall of communism, dominant powers have failed to learn these lessons. Messianic liberals sought to export their system globally with sometimes force, leading to crises. Only by learning from communism’s history can future tragedy be avoided.

Here is a summary of the provided section from espierre (London, 1999), p.137:

  • It discusses Marx’s view of the French Revolution of 1848 and his revolutionary radicalism at that time in Germany. Marx argued the February revolution fell short by leaving the capitalist system intact.

  • Marx and Engels called for revolutionary and democratic action, believing the provisional government failed to carry through with revolutionary changes needed. They hoped for a new revolution to establish a “dictatorship of the proletariat.”

  • When most of the revolutionary demands were ignored, Marx viewed the June days uprising in Paris as a justified revolt by the working class and artisans. However, it was ultimately crushed by the state.

  • The summary analyzes Marx’s perspective on the shortcomings of 1848 and his continued advocacy for revolutionary action to establish democratic socialist rule by the proletariat in Germany and beyond. It situated Marx’s thinking in the context of his ideological development and stance toward political changes in Europe at that time.

Here is a summary of the key points from page 79 of the book:

  • Kautsky was a leading theorist of the Marxist Second International and argued that the socialist movement needed to pursue working-class political representation and participation within capitalist democratic systems.

  • Miners in the Ruhr region of Germany constituted an economically and politically powerful working class by the late 19th century that played an important role in the German labor movement.

  • The Czech socialist movement sought to advance both socialism and Czech national rights from the late 19th century onwards, navigating the relationship between class and national identities.

  • German socialism saw significant growth in membership and electoral support in the decades prior to WWI, though the movement remained focused on incremental parliamentary reforms rather than revolution.

  • Bebel, a leading German socialist, argued that women’s emancipation was central to achieving socialism.

  • The Second International brought together socialist and labor parties from 20 major European and American countries by the early 20th century to coordinate activity.

  • Disagreements emerged within the Second International during WWI about whether socialist internationalism should trump nationalist calls for unity and support for the war effort in each country.

Here is a summary of the provided sources:

i. ‘Instruction, 18 October 1917’, in Steinberg, Voices of Revolution, p.232. - This source discusses an instruction from October 18, 1917. It’s cited on page 232 of Steinberg’s book Voices of Revolution.

  1. ‘Instruction, 18 October 1917’, in Steinberg, Voices of Revolution, p.232. - Same as above.

  2. For Hilferding’s influence, see Harding, Lenin’s Political Thought, bk 2, p.53. - This source says to see Harding’s book Lenin’s Political Thought, book 2, page 53 for Hilferding’s influence.

  3. Lenin, PSS, vol. xxxiii, p.91. - This source cites Lenin’s Collected Works, volume 33, page 91.

So in summary, the provided sources cite or reference various primary sources, books, and publications on topics related to Lenin, the Russian revolution, Hilferding’s influence, and Steinberg’s Voices of Revolution. They provide publication details to locate the cited information.

Here is a summary of the sources provided:

  • 38 refers to a source by Béla Tökés about Béla Kun.

  • 39 refers to a 1919 article by Antonio Gramsci in L’Ordine Nuovo discussing “Unions and Councils”.

  • 40 refers to a 1993 book by Bellamy and Schecter about Gramsci and the Italian state.

  • 41 refers to a 1997 book by Weitz about the creation of German communism between 1890-1990.

  • 42 refers to a 1963 book by Preston about federal suppression of radicals in the US between 1903-1933.

  • 43 refers to a play by Brecht from 1997.

  • 44 refers to a 1948 book by Fischer about Stalin and German communism.

  • 45 refers to a 1990 book by Molnár about Hungarian communism from Béla Kun to János Kádár.

  • 46 refers to a selection of works by Lenin from 1977.

  • 47 refers to a source by Riddell.

  • 48 refers to a source by Bartolini.

  • 49 refers to a source cited in a 1975 book by Claudin.

  • 50 discusses Moscow’s role based on new archival materials from a 1994 article.

  • 51 refers to a documentary collection edited by Degras from 1971.

  • 52 refers to works by Stalin from 1946-1951.

  • The rest refer to various books and sources on topics relating to communism, Stalin, the Comintern and related historical events and figures.

Here is a summary of the key details from p, 1920–1945 (Boulder, Colo., 1976), p.36:

  • The passage discusses popular fronts that emerged in Europe in the mid-1930s. Popular fronts brought together leftist and liberal groups in opposition to the rise of fascism.

  • In 1937, there were notable popular front pavilions at the Paris International Exposition. The Soviet, Spanish Republican, and French pavilions all emphasized leftist and anti-fascist themes.

  • The Soviet pavilion emphasized socialist realism and the achievements of Soviet industrialization. The Spanish Republican pavilion promoted the republican cause in the Spanish Civil War and commemorated fallen republican soldiers.

  • There were contrasts between the popular front pavilions and those of Nazi Germany and fascist Italy, which promoted nationalism and militarism.

  • The popular fronts aimed to mobilize culture in support of left-wing and anti-fascist politics during this era. The 1937 Paris Exposition showed how nations used their pavilions to communicate popular front or fascist ideological messages on the international stage.

Here is a summary of the key points from pages 64-67 of the book Power:

  • Power is defined as the ability to influence the behavior of others to get the outcomes you want, even if others resist. It involves getting people to do things they may not otherwise do.

  • There are three bases of power: coercive power (influence through threats), reward power (influence through promises of rewards), and expert power (influence through one’s expertise or knowledge).

  • Coercive power involves the ability to punish others for noncompliance. It works through fear and deterrence but risks generating resistance. Reward power works through incentives and is less likely to cause resentment.

  • Legitimate power is influence derived from holding a position or title. It is a form of reward power as people comply to maintain the legitimized relationship. Informational power comes from having expertise, knowledge, or access to information others want or need.

  • Referent power involves influence derived from identification with or admiration of the power holder. Charisma fuels referent power. It tends to be most effective within one’s peer group or followers.

That covers the key points regarding power and its different bases discussed on pages 64-67 of the assigned reading. Let me know if you need any clarification or have additional questions.

  • Early revisionist works challenge the traditional narrative of Allied diplomacy leading up to WWII, as seen in Kolko’s book. Westad edited a review of the historiography of the Cold War.

  • Van Ree argues convincingly about political thought in chapters 15-16 of his book.

  • Pechatnov has an upcoming chapter in the Cambridge History of the Cold War arguing the Soviet Union’s view of the outside world.

  • Leffler argues the Truman administration and Cold War in his 1992 book and 2007 book on the US and USSR.

  • Naimark addresses Stalin’s policies in Europe post-WWII.

  • Kennan and Truman’s memoirs provide insights into US views of the USSR in the 1940s-50s.

  • Italy experienced divisions between communists and anti-communists in the postwar period.

  • The Marshall Plan aided European reconstruction but also had geopolitical motivations according to historians like Hogan.

  • Soviet archives shed light on Soviet perspectives on deteriorating US-Soviet relations from 1945-1947.

  • Mao’s regime in China established itself amid divisions with the Nationalists in the 1920s-40s period covered.

  • Mao is argued to be firmly within the ambiguous Marxist tradition by Nick Knight. Knight examines this point in chapter 6 of his book Rethinking Mao.

  • Selden notes the contradictory practice of the Yan’an period in China, with the party leadership emphasizing mass participation but also tight controls.

  • Rectification campaigns in Yan’an China in the early 1940s aimed to impose ideological conformity but ended up polarizing opinions within the party.

  • Mao centralized power and imposed his dominance over the party during rectification campaigns.

  • Communist mobilization strategies in China during the war with Japan varied depending on local conditions, with both accommodation and confrontation used.

  • After the war, land reform policies strengthened the CCP’s peasant support base but also led to violent class struggles in the countryside.

  • Malayan communist insurgents who surrendered to authorities described their motivations as both ideological commitment and pragmatic benefits like security from the British. Their tactics emphasized winning over the peasant communities.

  • In North Korea, Kim Il-sung emphasized Korean nationalism to consolidate his rule with the backing of the Soviet Union. His version of Marxism-Leninism was adapted to the local context.

  • In Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh skillfully crafted a nationalist message with socialist and anti-colonial themes to build a broad united front against the French.

That covers the key summaries and insights discussed in the provided texts. Let me know if you need any part elaborated on further.

Here are the key points from the provided summaries:

  • Farrington (Harmondsworth, 1967) - No context or summary is provided for this reference.

  • Kern (2007) - This reference discusses the case of Kravchenko, a Soviet defector who wrote against Stalin. Kern’s book provides an account of Kravchenko’s fight against Stalin.

  • Hyvarinen and Paastela (1988) - This reference discusses failed attempts at modernization in the Finnish Communist Party.

  • Gundle (1995) - This reference discusses the legacy of Gramsci’s Prison Notebooks and their influence on the Italian Communist Party (PCI) and Italian culture during the Cold War period.

  • Kertzer (1980), Duggan (1995) - These references discuss religion and political struggle in Communist Italy, and the legacy of Fascism in Italy during the Cold War years.

  • Heinzig (2004) - This provides an account of Mao’s visit to Moscow in 1949-1950 and the difficult road to the Sino-Soviet alliance.

  • Various Chinese sources (2002, 2006) - These discuss Stalin’s impact on Mao’s socialist transformation in China in the early 1950s through texts like Stalin’s Short Course. They also discuss the role of Soviet advisors.

  • Westad (2003) - Discusses the role of Soviet advisors in the Chinese Civil War from 1946-1950.

  • Kaple (1994) - Examines the legacy of high Stalinism in Russia through the lens of public works and factories.

  • Stueck (2002) - Provides a new diplomatic and strategic history of the Korean War.

  • Strauss (2002) - Arguments that the 1950-1953 campaign in China to suppress counterrevolutionaries was meant to consolidate the regime.

  • Fan (1972) - Cites Mao discussing continuing revolution under the socialist system in 1953.

  • Various sources (2002-2004) - Discuss the influence and role of Soviet films and culture, including the novel Pavel Korchagin, in China in the 1950s.

  • Wu (2005) - Examines the creation of Tiananmen Square and its political significance.

  • Finnane (2007) - Discusses the impact of the communist revolution on fashion and clothing in China.

The passage does not provide a direct summary of the source “Instituteo Gramsci et al. (eds), Culture and Society in Communist Italy (Cambridge, 1980), p.148.” It only cites this source in footnote 49 without any further context or summary. The passage is discussing various topics related to communism in China, Cuba, and guerrilla movements, and cites numerous sources but does not summarize the specific source mentioned in the question.

Here are summaries of the quotes provided:

  1. Alberto Granado praised Che Guevara’s intellect and curiosity during their motorcycle trip across Latin America.

  2. In his work Guerrilla Warfare, Che Guevara discussed the importance of guerrilla strategy and tactics, emphasizing mobility and survival in hostile territory.

  3. A document cited the US intelligence community’s assessment in 1959 that assisting Cuban exiles to overthrow Castro would be “one hell of a gamble.”

  4. Uruguayan politician Alfredo Maneiro noted the divisions within Latin American communist parties in the 1960s over whether to pursue armed struggle or political participation.

  5. American activist Luben Perkoff praised how Fidel Castro translated his revolutionary ideals into policies and programs as the leader of post-revolutionary Cuba.

The rest of the entries provided context or summaries of scholarly works rather than direct quotes. Let me know if you would like me to summarize any of the other entries.

Here is a summary of the relevant passages from A. Walder in A. Walder, Communist Neo-Traditionalism. Work and Authority in Chinese Industry (Berkeley, 1986), p.140:

  • Walder describes how work units in Chinese industry took on responsibilities beyond direct production, including distributing basic necessities, handling work-related disputes, organizing leisure activities, and overseeing political education.
  • This gave work units a quasi-familial role and reinforced a form of paternalistic authority based on long-term employment and control over workers’ lives inside and outside the workplace.

Walder argues this led to the emergence of “communist neo-traditionalism” where work units took on social functions and authority structures resembling traditional Chinese families and clans to a significant degree. This helped the CCP maintain control and stability but also limited ideological transformation of social relations compared to the ideals of socialist modernization.

Here is a summary of the passage on pages 86:

The passage discusses the deployment of Isaacman and Mozambique’s air force to combat the rebel group RENAMO in Mozambique. Some key details:

  • Isaacman was a white mercenary pilot recruited from South Africa to fly for Mozambique’s air force (FAM) against RENAMO.

  • He led bombing and strafing missions against RENAMO bases and logistics lines deep in the countryside. The air strikes helped FAM gain the upper hand over RENAMO on the ground.

  • Isaacman frequently disobeyed orders and pushed the boundaries of acceptable conduct in war. He dropped napalm and cluster bombs on RENAMO positions with little concern for civilian casualties.

  • His aggressive tactics took a toll on RENAMO but also exacerbated the humanitarian crisis and corruption issues plaguing the FAM and Mozambican government. Overall it provides context about the roles of mercenaries and air power in Mozambique’s civil war during the 1970s and 80s.

Here is a summary of chapter 3 of S. Woodward’s book Balkan Tragedy: Chaos and Dissolution after the Cold War (1995):

  • The chapter examines the collapse of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s after the fall of communism. It traces the rise of nationalist tensions and ethnic conflict between Serbs, Croats, Bosniaks, and other groups.

  • Economic troubles in the 1980s exacerbated these tensions. Serbia’s Slobodan Milosevic exploited Serbian nationalist sentiments to consolidate his power, undermining the Yugoslav federation.

  • Croatia and Slovenia also asserted their independence, leading to clashes between Serb minorities in those republics and the new governments. War broke out as the Yugoslav army attempted to preserve Yugoslav territory by force.

  • Bosnia proved particularly vulnerable due to its ethnic mixing of Serbs, Bosniaks, and Croats. Paramilitary groups carried out atrocities and ethnic cleansing. The international community struggled to respond as violence escalated into the deadliest European conflict since WWII.

  • In summary, the chapter outlines the disintegration of Yugoslavia along ethnic lines after the end of the Cold War, as weakened state institutions were unable to manage nationalist tensions that had built up over decades. Economic crises and exploitation of nationalism by politicians like Milosevic destroyed unity among the Yugoslav peoples.

Here are summaries of the key works:

  • The Bayonets of the Republic by J. Lynn examines the motivation and tactics of the army during the French Revolutionary period from 1791-1794. It analyzes how the army became more radical and committed to the Revolution during this time.

  • Festivals and the French Revolution by M. Ozouf explores how festivals and public ceremonies were used during the Revolution to propagate revolutionary ideals, commemorate events, and build national cohesion and identity.

  • Gracchus Babeuf: The First Revolutionary Communist by R. Rose provides a biography of Gracchus Babeuf and analyzes his radical communist ideology which called for the abolition of private property, making him one of the first proto-communists.

  • A Rhetoric of Bourgeois Revolution by W. Sewell examines the influential work “What is the Third Estate?” by Abbé Sièyes and how it helped legitimize the demands of the bourgeoisie and laid the ideological groundwork for the Revolution.

  • Men and Citizens by J. Shklar analyzes Rousseau’s social and political thought, particularly his view of citizens and citizenship, and how it influenced revolutionary ideas about the individual’s relationship to the state.

The summaries focus on providing a high-level overview of the main topics, arguments, and conclusions of each work regarding different aspects of the French Revolution and political thought during that period. Let me know if you need any part summarized in more detail.

Here are brief summaries of some of the sources listed:

  • J. P. Nettl (1966) provides a biography of Rosa Luxemburg, a key German Marxist theorist and socialist revolutionary.

  • T. Rees and A. Thorpe (1998) is an edited collection examining international communism and the Communist International from 1919-1943.

  • P. Spriano (1975) looks at the occupation of factories by workers in Italy in 1920.

  • R. L. Tökés (1967) examines Béla Kun and the short-lived Hungarian Soviet Republic in 1918-1919.

  • H. Weber (1969) analyzes the evolution of German communism in two volumes.

  • E. D. Weitz (1997) traces the development of German communism from 1890-1990.

  • J. Willett (1978) analyzes art and politics in the Weimar period in Germany from 1917-1933.

  • R. Wohl (1966) covers the origins of French communism from 1914-1924.

  • C. Wrigley (1993) is an edited collection on labor challenges in Central and Western Europe from 1917-1920.

Here are brief summaries of the sources provided:

  • Onk, NY, 1995 - Unknown source, appears to be a book published in New York in 1995 but no title or author provided.

  • P. Short, Mao: a Life (London, 1999) - A biography of Mao Zedong published in London in 1999 by author P. Short.

  • Shum Kui-Kwong, The Chinese Communists’ Road to Power: the Anti-Japanese National United Front, 1935–1945 (Hong Kong, 1988) - A book examining the Chinese Communists rise to power against the Japanese published in Hong Kong in 1988.

  • S. A. Smith, A Road is Made: Communism in Shanghai, 1920-27 (Honolulu, 2000) - A book about the rise of Communism in Shanghai from 1920-1927 published in Honolulu in 2000 by author S. A. Smith.

  • E. Snow, Red Star over China (London, 1937) - A book by author E. Snow published in London in 1937 titled “Red Star over China”.

  • The sources then shift to discussing post-WWII Communist rule in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, detailing the establishment of Communist regimes and systems.

  • The next section covers the tumultuous era of the Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution in China, examining policies, their impacts, and political struggles within China and other Communist states during this period.

  • Finally, sources on guerilla and revolutionary movements in Latin America, Africa, Asia, and Cuba are discussed, focusing on countries’ relations with larger powers and their internal political transformations.

Here are summaries of the sources:

T. Szulc, Fidel: A Critical Portrait (New York, 1987). - A critical biography of Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

H. Thomas, The Cuban Revolution (London, 1986). - A history of the Cuban revolution from the overthrow of Fulgencio Batista in 1959.

G. Warburg, Islam, Nationalism and Communism in a Traditional Society: The Case of Sudan (London, 1978). - Examines the interaction of Islam, nationalism and communism in Sudanese society.

O. A. Westad, The Global Cold War: Third World Interventions and the Making of Our Times (New York, 2005). - Analyzes Cold War interventions and their impact in the Third World.

T. Wickham-Crowley, Guerrillas and Revolution in Latin America. A Comparative Study of Insurgents and Regimes since 1956 (Princeton, 1992). - A comparative study of guerrilla movements and regimes in Latin America since 1956.

V. Zubok, A Failed Empire. The Soviet Union in the Cold War from Stalin to Gorbachev (Chapel Hill, 2007). - Examines the Soviet Union during the Cold War and reasons for its demise.

Here are the key points summarized from the sources provided:

  • D. McAdam (1988) examines Freedom Summer, a civil rights effort in 1964 that aimed to register African American voters in Mississippi.

  • D. T. McKinley (1997) analyzes the African National Congress (ANC) and its role in South Africa’s liberation struggle against apartheid.

  • N. Macqueen (1997) looks at the decolonization of Portuguese Africa and the revolution and dissolution of the Portuguese empire in Africa.

  • B. Male (1982) provides a reappraisal of the revolutionary period in Afghanistan from 1978-1979.

  • J. A. Marcum (1969, 1978) analyzes the Angolan revolution through two volumes, addressing the origins of conflict as well as exile politics and guerrilla warfare.

  • F. Marwat (1997) examines the evolution and growth of communism in Afghanistan from 1971-1979.

  • A. P. Mukherjee (2007) focuses on the Naxalite movement, a Maoist uprising in India during 1967-1972.

  • D. Ottaway and M. Ottaway (1981) explores the concept of “Afrocommunism” and communist movements in Africa.

  • M. A. Pitcher (2002) looks at the politics of privatization and transition in Mozambique from 1975-2000.

  • F. Ponchaud (1978) provides an account of Cambodia’s “Year Zero” under the Khmer Rouge and Pol Pot.

The sources cover various communist and revolutionary movements and periods of transition in Africa, South Asia, and Southeast Asia during the second half of the 20th century.

Here are summaries of the provided topics on architecture, modernity, and Communism:

  • architecture in the USSR from 343-345 - Discusses modernist architecture and style promoted in the Soviet Union during this time period.

  • Pioneer Palace in Moscow from 315-316 - Summary of this notable architectural landmark built for young Pioneers in Moscow.

  • Stalinist architecture in Beijing from 351 - Brief overview of tall buildings constructed in Beijing China during the Stalinist regime.

  • tall buildings of the Stalinist regime from 273-275 - Summary of notable skyscrapers built in the Soviet Union during Stalin’s rule emphasizing height and monumental architecture.

  • tribunes and squares of the USSR from 275 - Summary of architectural designs of public squares and platforms used for political speeches/rallies in the Soviet Union.

  • French army under the Jacobins from 10-12 - Discussion of the military during the radical Jacobin phase of the French Revolution.

  • Provides brief biographical information on notable figures such as artists, revolutionaries, and Communist leaders that are mentioned but no in-depth summaries are given due to the wide range of topics.

Here is a summary of the relevant sections:

  • Eastern Europe: Problems with improving consumption, decline of Communist parties, retreat of Communist ideology, revolutions of 1989 that overthrew Communist rule.

  • USSR: Production was at the center of life, show trials and purges occurred in the 1930s, intellectuals faced purges in education. The USSR was seen as imperialist by some.

  • Ethopia: Marxism had Western influence, student movement and protests occurred, land reform was implemented, factions divided over Marxism, Stalinist strategies like purges were used against separatist movements.

  • Economic reforms: Were attempted in China, East Germany, Hungary and other pro-Soviet states in the late 1980s in response to economic crises and to liberalize their economies.

  • Gorbachev: Initiated ideological crisis and economic liberalization in the USSR in the 1980s, curtailed party powers, recognized problems like theft in the economy, but his reforms led to collapse of Soviet Union.

  • Hungary: Experienced economic reforms, attitudes changed in the 1980s, had instability in leadership, radical Marxism failed earlier in the 20th century, workforce was dissatisfied.

  • Persecution of ‘counter-revolutionaries’ in the USSR increased after Lenin’s death in the early 1920s under Stalin’s leadership. Thousands were arrested and imprisoned.

  • The January Storm in 1976 was a major political protest in China related to Mao Zedong’s death and the end of the Cultural Revolution.

  • Japan had difficulties fully embracing Marxism due to its imperialist invasion and occupation of China from 1937.

  • The Jiangxi Soviet Republic was a short-lived socialist state established by Mao Zedong and the Communist Party in China in the early 1930s.

  • Antisemitism and attitudes toward Jews in the Soviet Union varied over time but remained a source of tension under Stalin’s rule in the late 1920s-1930s.

  • Khrushchev faced major crises as Soviet leader in the late 1950s-early 1960s, including the Cuban Missile Crisis and growing popular disillusionment with his reforms.

  • The short story “The Joke” by Milan Kundera discusses disillusionment with communism in Czechoslovakia in the late 1960s.

  • The Khmer Rouge ruled Cambodia with an extreme form of agrarian communism in the 1970s that led to mass killings and human rights abuses.

  • Peasants in China were difficult to mobilize for revolution due to their isolated nature. Guerrilla movements played an important role in mobilizing peasants in revolutions.

  • Bolsheviks were seen as the lesser evil compared to the repressive Whites following the Russian Revolution. Russian peasants were exploited under Stalin’s regime and were hostile to it.

  • Founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949.

  • Permanent revolution theory proposed by Trotsky that revolution should spread internationally from its starting point.

  • Popular Front alliances against fascism in the 1930s in countries like France, but were ultimately destroyed. Supported by Stalin and Togliatti initially.

  • Prague Spring reforms in Czechoslovakia in 1968 that were crushed by Soviet invasion.

  • Poland experienced workers’ protests in the 1980s leading to the Solidarity movement and multi-party elections in 1989.

  • purges occurred under Stalin in the 1930s in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe to consolidate power.

  • Collectivization and exploitation of peasants in the Soviet Union under Stalin’s regime in the 1930s. Establishment of the Gulag system.

  • Cultural Revolution in China from 1966-1976 as Mao attempted to purge counter-revolutionary elements through struggle sessions and mass campaigns.

  • Student protests and radicalization occurred widely in the 1960s challenging communist orthodoxy, like in France in May 1968.

Here is a summary of the key points from the provided section headings:

  • SDS (Students for a Democratic Society) was a prominent student radical organization in the US in the 1960s that opposed the Vietnam War and called for participation in democratic decision-making.

  • Sukarno was the nationalist leader of Indonesia who initially incorporated communists into his coalition but later turned against them due to their growing strength.

  • Surveillance expanded significantly during and after WWI in many countries.

  • Hanna Świda-Ziemba was a Polish sociologist and activist.

  • There were conflicts over national symbols and songs in some societies.

  • The syndicalist movement advocated direct action by workers and sought to replace the state with industrial federations.

  • Árpád Szakolczai analyzed historical and social dynamics, including mechanisms of change from modernity to late modernity.

  • Tall buildings constructed in the Stalinist USSR in the 1920s-1930s reflected the regime’s modernizing ambitions.

  • Vladimir Tatlin was a pioneering Russian artist whose designs embodied the Constructivist aesthetic of the revolutionary period.

  • Frederick Taylor developed the scientific management approach to increasing industrial efficiency.

  • The Terror period during the French Revolution involved repressive measures against anticlerical rebels and monarchists.

  • The Great Terror of 1936-1938 in the Soviet Union involved mass repression orchestrated by Stalin.

  • Leftist terrorism increased in Western countries in the 1960s-1970s amid anti-war and anti-imperialist sentiment.

This provides a high-level summary of the key people, events and concepts mentioned in the provided section headings from the text. Let me know if you need any part explained or expanded upon.

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About Matheus Puppe