AND STALINIST CONTROL
T he war in Korea, which began on 25 June 1950 and ended several months after Stalin's death, exerted a major influence on the Stalinist system. Although the Soviet Union did not openly take part in the war, limiting itself instead to the clandestine transfer of military advisers, aircraft, and crew, as well as to bulk deliveries of military technology, this was, in effect, the first true military confrontation between a socialist bloc, consisting of the Soviet Union and its allies, and a Western bloc headed by the United States. Although military attention naturally focused on the Korean peninsula, the war deepened tensions between the two blocs in other parts of the world, most notably in Europe.
The passage of the Cold War into open conflict nudged both sides into a new spiral of the arms race. In the Soviet Union, the transfer of resources to military needs occurred at the expense of living standards and further depressed the agrarian sector and those branches of the economy devoted to consumer goods. From 1950 to 1952, taxes, especially on agriculture, were raised, leading to a drop in production on private plots and to a contraction in overall food supplies. In turn, the urban population became increasingly prone to food shortages and deficits of everyday consumer items. The grave international situation also gave rise to a series of actions against an alleged American-sponsored secret network operating on Soviet territory. Cases were fabricated against agents of the “U. S. secret service” who had ostensibly wormed their way into Soviet society. In Stalin's view, the most energetic tentacles of this network were the “agencies of Jewish bourgeois nationalism” and of “world Zionism” which had established roots in the country since the war. It was under slogans such as these that purges were carried out in state and economic bureaucracies. Meanwhile, those sectors of the intelligentsia suspected of “political decrepitude” and