Communism Publications

233. National Political Ideas and Regime Changes: The Case of Central and Eastern Europe After WWII

Jul 07, 2011
May 2001- When speaking about the former communist Europe, understanding its history and the emerging ideologies provides a key to comprehending its present. This paper presents some of the ideas that contributed both to shaping dissident movements after 1950 and to the collapse of totalitarian regimes in Central and Eastern Europe. I will focus particularly on the role of the intelligentsia in their respective societies' emancipation and transformation from objects into entities able to engage in the struggle for their interests. more

29. The Revolution of 1989: The Unbearable Burden of History

Jul 07, 2011
This author asserts that symbolically, the new Polish republic will be regarded as a direct continuation of the prewar republic: what existed in the period between them will be enclosed in historical parentheses. This article examines what the reason is for this East European preoccupation with the past? Why do people get so excited when trying on this or that antiquated garb or disposing of the garbage of the past? more

274. One Hypothesis on the Different Outcomes of Soviet and Yugoslav State Collapse

Jul 07, 2011
In 1991, the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia—two multinational Communist federal states with comparable histories of indigenous revolutions and similar nationality policies—disintegrated. As the only two countries that fully implemented the system of ethno-territorial federalism, the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia shared important structural features. In both cases, the basic political-administrative units—the republics—were organized along ethnic lines and were seen as the quasi-national homelands of the titular nations. more

306. The End of Postcommunism

Jul 07, 2011
September 2004 - On May 1, 2004, ten countries joined the European Union (EU). On the day of the accession, the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary all had Central-Left governments in power. One day later, Leszek Miller, the Polish premier was forced to resign. In June, Czech social democrat Prime Minister, Vladimir Spidla followed suit, and in August, the head of the Center-Left government of Hungary, Peter Medgyessy, was also forced to resign. "Too weak," "lacks energy," "cannot communicate effectively"—these were some of the accusations lodged against them. In spite of the fact that all three leaders where very popular at the beginning of their terms, it appeared that the initial success of their materialist-redistributive politics faded quickly. None of these countries was in bad shape economically—on the contrary, they were experiencing economic booms—yet political observers sensed that there was a crisis in the leadership. This situation had clear ties to EU accession. A national consensus supported the European accession almost everywhere: EU membership seemed logical and would clearly serve the common good. So, once the long-held goal of EU accession was achieved, why did these governments collapse? Was it just coincidence that all three were replaced by much younger prime ministers with very different outlooks from their predecessors? The answers to these questions are directly related to the fact that EU enlargement has brought the region to a new stage in its development, and one in which the former communists need to redefine their political roles. Indeed, this stage could be interpreted as the end of postcommunism. more

136. Present Day Hungarian Politics and The Memory of 1956

Jul 07, 2011
March 1997 - October-November 1956 witnessed the most momentous events in Hungarian history since 1848, according to Istvan Deak, but they escape an agreed definition despite remaining a defining memory. The debate in Hungary over the events of 1956 even extends to what to call them, with "revolution and struggle for freedom" being the current compromise. Deak, the Seth Low Professor of History at Columbia University and a former Wilson Center Fellow, began his Noon Discussion on 12 March by reviewing the way the 1956 revolution has been treated in Hungary from the Communist to the post-Communist period. To bring his audience up to date on the political debate and the current best understanding of what happened, he concluded with his impressions from the fortieth anniversary conference held in Budapest in September 1996. The meeting was cosponsored by the Center's Cold War International History Project, the Institute for the History of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, and the National Security Archive. more

Juche and North Korea’s Global Aspirations

Jul 07, 2011
NKIDP Working Paper #1, “Juche and North Korea’s Global Aspirations,” written by Charles K. Armstrong, follows North Korea’s expansion of diplomatic and economic ties both within and outside of the socialist bloc from the late 1960s into the early 1980s. more

210. Twenty Years After Solidarity: The State of Democracy in the Post- Communist World

Jul 07, 2011
September 2000 - In his opening remarks, Zbigniew Brzezinski outlined three categories of democracy: functioning, malfunctioning, and fictitious. Functioning democracies are characterized by political and economic pluralism. Poland represents one of the most successful "functioning democracies" in the post-communist world. Malfunctioning democracies, such as many former Soviet states today, may aspire to democracy, but are crippled by legacies of the communist past. In fictitious democracies, the organs of the Communist Party remain but the regime pursues limited, reformist economic and social policies, such as in China. Brzezinski also pointed out that wide-scale, growing poverty impedes the movement toward democracy in many post-communist countries. more

25. Understanding National Stalinism: A Comparative Approach to the History of Romanian Communism

Jul 07, 2011
In this paper, the author examines the case of the Romanian Communist Party (RCP) and its most recent leader. Until the violent upheaval of December 1989, the RCP epitomized adamant anti-reformism. Its complete collapse cannot be explained without reference to its Obstinate refusal to engage in de-Stalinization. more

273. Ana Pauker: Dilemmas of a Reluctant Stalinist

Jul 07, 2011
A defining moment during my two-year stay in Romania, struggling with the archives there, occurred when an American history doctoral student, who was in Romania on a Fulbright grant, turned to me one day and earnestly asked why on earth I would ever pick Ana Pauker as a subject for a biography. He evidently failed to see the irony in his question, since he was writing a biography of Ion Antonescu, the wartime dictator of Romania. more

303. Lessons Learned: from Nationalism to State Building after Communism

Jul 07, 2011
September 2004 - The latest challenges to a world order based on liberalism seem to render the Communist and post-Communist experiences obsolete. Some believe that Communism was so exceptional that, at the end of day, its lessons can teach us little. But I disagree. An enormous wealth of experience can be gained from the communist experiment, its rise, its reign and its fall. Perhaps the most important one is in the field of state and nation building, since no regime before communism had both the drive and the coercive power to impose institutions upon people that were so far from the organic development of both the state and the nation. Although the initial conditions for transformation vary greatly, some clear lessons do emerge out of a comparison between the successful and unsuccessful state-building projects in postcommunist Europe. more

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Dialogue

The Future of Higher Education

Mar 26, 2014Apr 02, 2014

Jeff Abernathy and Richard Morrill discuss how colleges and universities are dealing with rapidly rising costs and how the United States can still compete for students in a globalized environment.