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SOVIET OBJECTIVES POST-WWII Into the Whirlwind: The Iron Curtain Develops…

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Presentation on theme: "SOVIET OBJECTIVES POST-WWII Into the Whirlwind: The Iron Curtain Develops…"— Presentation transcript:

1 SOVIET OBJECTIVES POST-WWII Into the Whirlwind: The Iron Curtain Develops…

2 Introduction …conditions are rather gloomy here- almost mid- war conditions, overcrowding, poverty. As for Communism- my dear [friend] a shrot visit here is enough to make one decide that Capitalism is worth fighting for. Black as that may be, with all its bloodstains, it is less gloomy and arid and hopeless than this inert ghastly police state. Lawrence Durrell writing a friend from Belgrade (late 1949s)

3 Introduction Say what you will- the Communists were more intelligent. They had grandiose program, a plan for a brand-new world in which everyone would find his place…From the start there were people who realized they lacked the proper temperament for the idyll and wished to leave the country. But since by definition an idyll is one world for all, the people who wished to emigrate were implicitly denying its validity. Instead of going abroad, they went behind bars. Milan Kundera

4 Introduction Stalinism means the killing of the inner man. And no matter what the sophists say, no matter what lies the communist intellectuals tell, thats what it all comes down to. The inner man must be killed for the communist Decalogue to be lodged in the soul. Alexander Wat

5 Postwar Foundations Soviets marched through E. Europe, deaths totaled over 30 million, while 157,000 soldiers were executed for failing orders or deserting Russian lands destroyed, farms and villages gone, roads, railways, bridges destroyed Thousands of horses, pigs, cows killed 1950s harvest worse than those in 1929


7 Russian Age-Sex Pyramid- 1994


9 Wartime Centralization Soviets became adept at manufacturing war machines, regardless of human life and welfare Party bureaucrats equated power and success with large-scale production (Brezhnev era) Heavy industry was encouraged/demanded at the expense of consumer products Ultimately, this economic ideology would lessen Soviet standard of living (1970s, 1980s) War against Nazis became war of Soviet Patriotism – Leninist metaphors of class struggle could be linked to real-world

10 Soviet Security Soviets invaded through Eastern Europe- sought to strengthen their frontier lands E Europe lived under cloud of Germany prior to WWII Germans treated Europe (east Europe) as its rightful territory European history/ European culture suffocated during Nazi rule Soviets took over where Germans left off (1945) Eastern Europe attached to Soviets like a surrogate Eastern European culture, politics and economy suppressed for 50 years


12 Soviet Practices/Manipulations Soviets sought to replicate their govt in Europe Institutions and Practices were dictated to Soviet lands Each country would have constitution, reformed economy, police state, governed by Communist puppet master in Moscow Artists, painters, professors/teachers, sculptors closely monitored Europeans (at end of WWII) more concerned for peace, prosperity than democracy- Soviet subservience taken as a better alternative to Nazi fascism


14 Lenin Socialism Lenin more concerned with ownership, not social relations Large-scale businesses (state run), state services and redirecting public lands Allegiance needed to be assured Soviet aggression can grow tiresome and not guaranteed Middle-class needed to be eliminated

15 Soviet Methods of Guaranteed Allegiance 1. Secure monopoly of power 2. Secure monopoly over economic reforms- state control 3. Secure monopoly on thought Churches closed (except Poland) Open confrontation with Catholic Church Protestant Church of Bulgaria tried for conspiracy Communists even put on trial (too friendly to Tito communism, not Stalinist enough) **A legitimate power should not have to force its people into obedience; rather its people should want the form of govt that serves them, leads them, and secures them

16 Soviet Economic Reforms Emphasized heavy industry investment at expense of consumer products/services Agricultural employment dropped steadily throughout Czechoslovakia and Germany Farms collectivized by state, property-ownership declined Countries ordered to produce goods outside of their specialization Eastern Europe became like a colonized people Czechs ordered to make abundance of shoes, Hungarians- trucks Pre-WWII Czechs had higher industrial output than France, ahead of Austria (by 1956 they trailed Austria)

17 Quote from Postwar by Judt …Russian rather than a German solution cut Europes vulnerable eastern half away from the body of the continent. At the time this was not a matter of great concern to western Europeans themselves. With the exception of Germans…western European were largely indifferent to the disappearance of Eastern Europe. Indeed, they became so accustomed to it, and were…preoccupied with remarkable changes in their own countries, that it seemed quite natural that there should be an armed barrier running from the Baltic to the Adriatic. But for the peoples to the east of that barrier, thrust back into a forgotten corner of their own continent, history itself ground slowly to a halt.

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