About this book
The years between the Nineteenth and Twentieth Party Con gresses of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union comprise one of the most eventful periods in the history of the USSR. It opened with the first CPSU gathering in 13 years at a time when the Soviet Union was beset by serious domestic and foreign difficulties and was passing through a transitional period in its development. It witnessed the death of J. V. Stalin who had exercized unquestioned authority for a quarter of a century; it felt the impact of the sweeping changes undertaken by his successors as they sought to cope with the immense problems facing the new regime; and it culminated in the Twen tieth Party Congress which marked the closing of one phase of the post-Stalin era and the opening of an equally challenging newone. It would be mistaken to consider this period between October 1952 and February 1956 as an isolated unit. In fact, most of its salient features have their roots deep in the past and the full implications of the momentous changes undertaken after Stalin's death have yet to be felt. Nevertheless, it does provide a convenient - although arbitrary - demarcation of an im portant phase of Soviet history. I wish to express my gratitude to Prof. Dr. C. D. J. Brandt under whose expert guidance this study was undertaken and written.
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