Communism and its Collapse (Making of the Contemporary by Stephen White

By Stephen White

Starting from the Russian revolution of 1917 to the cave in of jap Europe within the Nineteen Eighties this learn examines Communist rule. via focusing totally on the USSR and japanese Europe Stephen White covers the main subject matters and concerns affecting those international locations, including:* communism as a doctrine* the evolution of Communist rule* the demanding situations to Soviet authority in Hungary and Yugoslavia* the rising monetary fragility of the Nineteen Sixties* the complicated strategy of cave in within the Eighties. Any scholar or pupil of ecu background will locate this a vital addition to their studying checklist.

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THE PRAGUE SPRING OF 1968 The most far-reaching attempt within this period to establish a different model of communist rule was Czechoslavakia’s ‘Prague Spring’ (although the popular title of the reform movement is something of a misnomer as it embraced the whole country and lasted most of the year). The origins of the reform movement lay deep in Czechoslovakian history. The country had been the only East European state that had maintained democracy throughout the interwar period; in Poland, for instance, Pilsudski had staged a coup in 1926 that established a military dictatorship, and some of the others were overtly fascist.

There were no direct attacks on socialism, the leading role of the Communist Party, or on membership of the Warsaw Treaty Organisation. But a process of reform began to gather pace, much of it expressed in an Action Programme that was adopted by the Communist Party’s Central Committee in April 1968. The Action Programme was an eclectic document that took its inspiration from several different sources; and it was often declaratory, in that it promised subsequent reform but did not make a more specific commitment.

Soviet spokesmen justified their intervention by reference to the Warsaw Treaty, 26 ‘National communism’ in Eastern Europe which allowed the USSR to protect Hungary against ‘subversion’. Kádár, moreover, had appealed directly for the USSR’s support, disowning Nagy in a radio broadcast on 4 November and announcing the formation of a new worker-peasant government. Kádár did not repudiate a popular movement that had begun to put right the ‘anti-party and anti-democratic crimes committed by Rákosi and his associates’, but the movement had been exploited by ‘reactionary elements’, workers and young people had been misled, and the whole country had been engulfed by ‘excesses, murdering and looting’.

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