Show Trials: Stalinist Purges in Eastern Europe, 1948-1954

Show Trials: Stalinist Purges in Eastern Europe, 1948-1954

Show Trials: Stalinist Purges in Eastern Europe, 1948-1954

Show Trials: Stalinist Purges in Eastern Europe, 1948-1954


List of Abbreviations Preface Introduction Prelude in Albania The Kostov Trial in Bulgaria The Field Connection The Road to the Rajk Trial Preparations for the Model Trial The Rajik Trial The Unleashed Terror in Prague The Slansky Trial The Reinterpreted Show Trials in Romania The Interrupted Show Trials in East Germany The Polish Way of Show Trials Consequences and Conclusions Notes Selected Bibliography Index About the Author


Eight defendants stood before the people's court in Budapest: László Rajk, György Pálffy, Tibor Szőnyi, András Szalai, Béla Korondy, Páll Justus, Lazar Brankov, and Milan Ognjenovic. in his closing statement, the prosecutor spelled out the significance of the show trial.

"This trial is of international importance," he said. "In this courtroom, we pass judgment not only on the accused. . . . Not only Rajk and his associates are here in the dock, but with them sit their foreign masters, the imperialist instigators from Belgrade and Washington. . . . Rajk and his accomplices were the serfs and servants of foreign imperialists, but the special feature, the unique quality of their case lies in the fact that the clique of rulers in Yugoslavia, Tito and his band, have put the heroic people of that country under their yoke and usurped power, taking onto themselves the role of intermediaries, chief agents and storm troopers for the foreign imperialists.

"It is only just," continued the prosecutor, "that the Hungarian People's Court, in passing sentence upon Rajk and his gang, should also pass sentence in a moral and political sense, on the traitors of Yugoslavia, the criminal gang of Tito, Ranković, Kardelj, and Djilas. We have demonstrated their duplicity, their perfidy, their intrigues against democracy and socialism, their plans for and acts of assassination. This trial exposed the Titoites in their role of allies of the American imperialists and common agents of the imperialist intelligence organizations.

"It is clear from the evidence heard at this trial, that even during the war against Hitler, the American intelligence services were preparing for the fight against the forces of socialism and democracy. Behind Ranković, there stand the shadows of Field and Dulles. and as recently as the spring of 1948, Allan Dulles's brother, John Foster Dulles, announced the so-called 'Operation X,' a project for organizing underground movements in the people's democracies. the substance of that secret plan was summarized in the Swiss newspaper Die Tat on April 26 of this year: 'The west attempted first of all to penetrate into the cadres and elite of the ruling classes of those countries and it is said that they succeeded in doing so far beyond their hopes.' Well, the material of the whole trial is contained in this confession. Here the practical execution of the project of the . . .

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