2 TAKEOVER, STALINISM, AND DE-STALINIZATION

How did the takeover, or incorporation of Eastern Europe into the Soviet sphere of influence, occur in the first place? One needs to understand the process of takeover in order to better understand the collapse of Communism in 1989.

Any effort to understand the nature and characteristics of change in Eastern Europe in the 1980s can be found in the earlier stages of its economic and political development. Change was brought to Eastern Europe as the Second World War ended and German influence collapsed, creating a power vacuum that was filled by the Soviets, who were able to install their clients in power.

A few general comments about the pattern of Communist takeover during this period, which stretched from 1944 to 1947, are in order. At the time, it seemed that the West failed to appreciate the fact that Joseph Stalin pursued a more subtle approach, for the most part, which resulted in a seizure of power in a gradual and incremental fashion.

Poland and Germany, for example, were strategically most important to the Soviets, even though there was no master plan of takeover. The two Central European countries of Hungary and Czechoslovakia fell into an intermediate zone, exemplified by the fact that Soviet

-17-

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Change in Eastern Europe
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Part One - The Rise and Fall of Communism 1
  • 1 - Introduction 3
  • 2 - Takeover, Stalinism, and De-Stalinization 17
  • 3 - Poland, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia: 1956-1989 31
  • Part Two - The Post-Communist Transition 71
  • 4 - Poland 73
  • 5 - Hungary 89
  • 6 - The Czech and Slovak Republics 99
  • 7 - Bulgaria 109
  • 8 - Romania 119
  • 9 - The Former Yugoslavia 133
  • 10 - Albania 145
  • 11 - Foreign Policy 153
  • 12 - Conclusion 163
  • SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY 167
  • Index 177
  • About the Author 184
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