Iron Curtain

IronCurtainSuggested by Timothy Lane • Anne Applebaum covers the sovietization of Eastern Europe that began with the Soviet conquests in 1944-5, and going through the revolts of 1953 (East Germany) and 1956 (Poland and Hungary).
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One Response to Iron Curtain

  1. Timothy Lane says:

    One thing I’ve noticed is that the Soviet tricks for imposing their control over nominally free, democratic nations seem to be appearing again here, and for much the same reasons. Thus, in Poland, the communists neutralized the Boy Scouts (which were much more popular than communist youth organizations) partly by creating an umbrella Scouts organization that replaced their emphasis on religion and morality with loyalty to the State.

    Even more interesting is the fate of the Smallholders’ Party, which actually won the majority of votes in the only (more or less) free election in postwar Hungary. They weren’t permitted to form their own government, and in particular to gain control of the police forces (which the communists had already been using to terrorize actual and potential forces). But the communists also destroyed them by using their domination of the mass media to combine with activist mobs to smear opposing leaders, destroying them politically. They even got the Smallholders’ leader to expel party members that the communists smeared as “reactionary”. Of course, control of the police (which the communists insisted on in every Eastern European country) gave them also the ability to use the legal system to attack opponents.

    It all sounds so familiar today, doesn’t it? The difference between a Democrat and a Stalinist is that the latter had the power to do what the former would like to.

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