An End to Diversity

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In the spring of 1947 diversity rather than uniformity characterised Eastern Europe. The Balkan revolutions were an accomplished fact: Yugoslavia and Albania were further along the socialist road than Bulgaria, but that was largely because Bulgaria had been subject to Allied scrutiny. Romania and Poland had experienced revolutions at Soviet prompting, the Romanians responding with more enthusiasm to embarking on the road their Balkan fellows were already following, while the Poles had, literally, experienced revolution at Soviet bayonet point. As to Czechoslovakia and Hungary, the one an honorary ally with a large communist party, the other a defeated power with a tiny communist party, Stalin seemed to have satisfied himself with influence rather than control: communist influence in the security services meant the communists there had more say than the communists in the French and Italian post-war governments.

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This book is about the political, social and economic changes in Czechoslovakia in the years 1945– 1948. In 1945 the 'national revolution' established the Communist Party as the dominant force within a coalition government. The leading Communists then evolved the idea of a specific Czechoslovak road to socialism that could bypass the 'dictatorship of the proletariat'. By analysing in detail the revolutionary events and the society that emerged from them, the book demonstrates that there was a real possibility of developing a distinct model of socialism containing a plurality of parties and a sizeable private sector. Such thinking, however, was effectively ended in February 1948, when the Communist Party established a monopoly of power. The fundamental causes of this change in the party's strategy are to be found, it is argued, in the international situation. The February events were of international significance as they confirmed the division of Europe into two blocs. The concluding chapter shows how important they were for the subsequent development of Czechoslovak society.
Although it is now recognized that the Stalin-Tito dispute was sparked off by Tito's desire to intervene decisively in the Greek civil war, the ideological context of that decision has never been fully explored. This article suggests that, since the early days of the Second World War, Tito had been committed to establishing a popular front ‘from below’, i.e. under clear communist control. He did this not only in Yugoslavia, but used his position in the war-time Comintern to persuade other communist parties to do the same. As a result he was dissatisfied with the all-party coalition governments established with Stalin's consent throughout Europe in 1945. Tito favoured a communist offensive, while Stalin, aware of the international position of the Soviet Union, favoured a more cautious approach. When Stalin summoned the first meeting of the Cominform in September 1947 and made Tito its de Facto leader, Tito mistakenly assumed he was to head a new international committed to a revolutionary offensive not only in Eastern Europe but in Greece and even Italy and France.
For the Djilas-Molotov meeting, seeThe Cominform: Tito’s International?
  • G R Swain
This reconstruction is based on scattered memoir references: for the existence of a USC hospital in Toulouse, see A. London, On Trial (London, 1970) p. 33; for the operations of the French Communist Party’s Migrant Workers
  • Show Hodos
  • Trials
  • A London
Communist Strategy, p. 197ff. For the civil service pay deal, see J. Bloomfield, Passive Revolution: Politics and the Czechoslovak Working Class
  • Zinner
Jugoslaveni, bivši dobrovljci u Spaniji, u koncentracionim logorima u Francuskoj
  • See I Gošnjak
The Black Years of Soviet Jewry
  • Y A Gilboa
  • YA Gilboa
The United States, Great Britain, and the Sovietisation of Hungary
  • S M Max
  • SM Max
For the civil service pay deal, see J. Bloomfield, Passive Revolution: Politics and the Czechoslovak Working Class
  • Communist Zinner
  • Strategy
  • J Bloomfield