How the Soviet Union Died

Article excerpt

This massive tome on contemporary history is one of the most valuable published in recent years. I say this not merely because of Brian Crozier's high reputation as historian and publicist, but because almost half the book consists of texts of eye-popping Soviet top-secret documents released in Moscow before and after the fall of the Soviet Union. They are now archived at the Hoover Institution. These documents, a handful out of thousands, have been chosen by the author to document his analysis of how a global catastrophe - Lenin's revolution - began, how it spread and why it ended.

Excellently translated, these documents are in a sense footnotes to the book's 51 chapters. For scholar and average reader alike, these archival materials in the book are as riveting as Mr. Crozier's prose is illuminating. The verbatim Politburo discussions and memoranda afford a fascinating glimpse into the minds of Soviet leaders during crises like the 1956 anti-Soviet Hungarian uprising, Poland's anti-Soviet Solidarity, the war in Afghanistan. The archives reveal hair-raising conversations between Joseph Stalin and Mao Tse-tung, Stalin's unsuccessful plot to assassinate Marshal Tito and the genesis of the Soviet-inspired 1950 war in Korea.

(I wish that I.F. Stone groupies like Peter Jennings, Dan Rather, Anthony Lewis and other news paladins, would study the Soviet archives on the Korean War in Mr. Crozier's volume to see how meticulously Stalin and Kim Il Sung plotted the aggression against South Korea. Mr. Stone's scandalous "Hidden History of the Korean War" claimed that the U.S. military-industrial complex started the conflict and used villainous methods to wage it. No wonder that the evidence that Mr. Stone was a paid Soviet agent becomes more and more plausible.)

One achievement of this book is that it should lay to rest the claim by left-liberal historians that the West started the Cold War. In fact, what both Mr. Crozier and the once-secret Soviet archives show clearly is that the Cold War began the day V.I. Lenin seized power and then created what the author calls Lenin's "expansionist machine."

The "laws" of Marxism-Leninism predicted the defeat of capitalism by the world proletariat. Therefore, by perverted Bolshevik logic, all the Soviet Union was doing in seeking world domination was expediting the fulfillment of the "laws" of history. Nikita Khrushchev, when he told Adlai Stevenson "We will bury you," put crisply what Lenin had written soon after the Bolshevik Revolution:

"We live not only in a State but in a system of States and the existence of the Soviet Republic besides the imperialist states during a lengthy period of time is inconceivable. …