The Communists Take Power

  • Robin H. E. Shepherd

Abstract

Primed by the experience of two world wars in less than three decades and the economic depression of the 1930s, the post-Second World War consciousness of Europe was ready for change. The left was particularly well placed to take advantage. The Soviet Union had endured huge sacrifices in defeating the Nazis and this, combined with the leading role played by communists in the resistance movements, appeared to give radical groups the moral right to a certain respect. The fact that the Nazi-Soviet non-aggression treaty1 in August 1939 had led directly to Hitler’s invasion of Poland — the event which triggered the war itself — had been lost amid the mass of upheavals which followed. In any case, the mainstream European left had done such a comprehensive job of white-washing Stalin’s monstrous crimes that the masses were largely ignorant of what communism in practice meant.

Keywords

Depression Europe Amid Milo Defend 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

  1. 4.
    See R. Conquest, The Great Terror, revised edition (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1971).Google Scholar
  2. 9.
    A translation is contained at the end of Dubček’s autobiography: A. Dubček, Hope Dies Last (London: HarperCollins, 1993).Google Scholar
  3. 13.
    See George Leggett, The Cheka: Lenin’s Political Police (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1986).Google Scholar
  4. 14.
    ‘The whole Czechoslovak affair left the Soviet leaders with a profound distrust of intellectuals, especially in the humanities and social sciences, as well as of all economic reformers.’ Geoffrey Hosking, A History of the Soviet Union (London: Fontana Paperbacks and William Collins, 1985), p. 374Google Scholar
  5. 16.
    J. Patočka, What Charter 77 Is and What It Is Not (7 January 1977). In Good-Bye Samizdat, ed. Markéta Goetz-Stankiewicz (Northwestern University Press, 1992), p. 143.Google Scholar
  6. 17.
    V. Havel, The Trial (October 1976). In Open Letters, Selected Writings 1965–1990, selected and edited by Paul Wilson (New York: Vintage Books, 1992), pp. 106–7.Google Scholar
  7. 18.
    See Misha Glenny, The Rebirth of History (London: Penguin, 1993).Google Scholar
  8. 19.
    G. Schopflin, ‘The End of Communism in Eastern Europe.’ International Affairs, 66 (1990): 3–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Robin H. E. Shepherd 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robin H. E. Shepherd

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations