From Lenin to Malenkov: The History of World Communism

From Lenin to Malenkov: The History of World Communism

From Lenin to Malenkov: The History of World Communism

From Lenin to Malenkov: The History of World Communism

Excerpt

Both the subject and the literature of communism are vast. Communism is a theory, which professes to explain philosophy, religion, history, economics and society. Communism is a vocation, whose devotees accept its discipline in every part of their private and professional lives. Communism is a science of conspiracy, a technique of wrecking and subversion. Communism is a revolutionary movement, a political force which operates in a social environment, which recruits its members from various classes of society, and marshals its armies against various political opponents.

Each of these aspects of communism has its literature. In the field of theory there are the works of the masters--Marx, Engels, Kautsky, Plehanov, Luxemburg, Lenin, Trotski, Stalin--and many works of commentary. On the vocation we have the testimony of ex-communists, including imaginative writers of the stature of Silone, Serge, Plisnier and Koestler. On the conspiracy there are both official documents and a rich assortment of memoirs by ex-communists and others, of varying degrees of reliability. On the revolutionary movement there is a wealth of raw material in the reports of congresses of the Comintern and of the individual parties, and in the miscellaneous periodicals published by them. On the Russian Revolution and the Soviet regime there are a few analytical works of great merit, and some outstanding studies of the French and Chinese parties have recently appeared. The most important survey of the communist movement as a whole-- with special emphasis on the Comintern--is Franz Borkenau The Communist International, which appeared in 1938 and dealt mainly with the events of 1918--1919 and of the 1920's. The same author's recent work, which appeared when the present work was in the press, has carried the story forward, for Europe only, to 1950, with fuller chronological detail but less acute analysis than his first book. But in the field of comparative analysis of communist movements, on the world scale, much more remains to be done.

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