Communism Publications

31. Lessons of the East European Revolutions of 1989

Jul 07, 2011
There is little doubt what the greatest lesson of 1989 is: communism failed. Recent commentary to the contrary, this failure is not a parochial event limited in its significance to Eastern Europe, to the resolution of the Cold War, or to Western policy initiatives, but rather a moment of global importance in the most important family of events of the last few hundred years. These events do not have a satisfactory name, even though we all know how fundamental they are. Instead of calling them the industrial revolution, modernization, the great transformation, the single transition, or the emergence of capitalism, the author here explores their definition as the energy revolution. 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

278. A Reputation Tarnished: New Perspectives on Interwar Czechoslovakia

Jul 07, 2011
March 2003 - The collapse of the Communist regime in Czechoslovakia had many wonderful consequences. For historians it has meant that so many archives that were once closed to us have been open for more than a decade. As a result, those who write about Czech and Czechoslovak history now have unprecedented access to sources and have had ten-plus years to poke around and to consider what we have found very carefully. At the same time, a new generation of historians interested in Czech, Slovak and Czechoslovak history has appeared, both in Europe and in North America. In North America alone, there are now quite literally dozens of historians who have taken up Czech, Slovak and Czechoslovak history since the mid-1980s and this generation has benefited tremendously from the opening of the archives. The intersection of these two events has meant that much that was once unavailable as a subject of historical study is now at the center of the research programs of many talented historians. more

335. Religious Freedoms and Islamic Revivalism: Some Contradictions of American Foreign Policy in Southeast Europe

Jul 07, 2011
May 2007 - Religion was one of the most strictly controlled elements of everyday life under the 45 years of communist rule in Bulgaria. The 1949 Law of Religious Denominations gave the state broad powers over the spiritual life of its citizens. The Bulgarian Communist Party promoted a Marxist atheist ideology, which held that communist subjects would abandon their faith as the living standards of the workers and peasants were improved through the marvels of the command economy. Religious education was largely banned and foreign religious exchanges were prohibited. The official clergies of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church and the Bulgarian Muslim denomination were infiltrated by Communist Party members who mobilized religious discourses to solidify support for the centralized state. In the case of Islam, traditional clothing, burial practices and circumcision were outlawed, and Bulgaria's Muslims were forced to trade their Turko-Arabic names in for Slavic ones. more

18. In Search of the Drama of History or A Second Look at Communism and Nationalism

Jul 07, 2011
The series of articles that follows confront a fundamental question of socio-political development, the nature of social allegiances and the two main systems of classification that have been proposed to explain them: class and nation. All of the articles revolve around issues raised by Roman Szporluk in his book "Communism and Nationalism: Marx vs. List," published by the Oxford University Press in the spring of 1988. 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

241. Understanding Radical Evil: Communism, Fascism and the Lessons of the 20th Century

Jul 07, 2011
October 2001- The comparison between Nazism and Communism is justified on both moral and scholarly grounds. But scholars are not judges, and the confusion between these two roles can make some scholars oblivious to important distinctions. French historian Francois Furet, in his correspondence with German historian Ernst Nolte, insisted that there is something absolutely evil, both at 1) the level of original intention and 2) the implementation of the utopian goals in Nazi practice. Comparable as the two mass horrors of Nazism and Communism are, however, there is something singular about the Holocaust. 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

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

30. Czechs and Germans: Yesterday and Today

Jul 07, 2011
The question the author here asks is: if President Havel has been able to overcome the traditional Czech stereotyping of the Germans, is the same true of the bulk of his compatriots, especially those bearing bitter memories of the last world war? While the majority of the Czechs may have accepted Havel's hopeful message about a united democratic Germany, whose territorial limits were irrelevant, they were much more reluctant to accept his apology for the expulsion of the Sudeten Germans. Havel's two statements opened a Pandora's box containing many taboos about the Czech-German relationship of which most Czechs preferred not to be reminded. Several questions about this relationship require elaboration. 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.