Conquest by Terror: The Story of Satellite Europe

By Leland Stowe | Go to book overview

CHAPTER FIFTEEN
The Conquerors' Nightmares

HAVE THE RED CONQUERORS MOVED SO FAST in Eastern Europe that they are already unconquerable?

Thus far I have confined this report to what Russia's Communists are doing in the Curtain countries, and how they are doing it. The cumulative evidence is grim. But are the Stalinists as formidable as they appear? Before yielding to exaggerated pessimism or unthinking despair we must take a sharp look at the problems which obstruct and undermine the Soviets' efforts to make their new empire both attack-proof and explosion-proof.

Captive Europe proves once again that every tyranny sows the seeds of its internal disruption and ultimate destruction. The greater the tyranny the more intolerable are the strains and counter-pressures which it creates. There's also something else which Hitler and Mussolini should have taught us. Dictators and their super-policed, overgunned régimes are never so all-powerful as they usually look.

After the fall of Paris in 1940, the German Nazis appeared --superficially--to have won lasting domination of continental Europe. Yet when "Fortress Europe" was tested it fell apart; in big chunks and with amazing rapidity. Its seemingly invincible bastions were built on sand.

That lesson remains pertinent. It is as unrealistic and self- defeating to overestimate Soviet strength as to underestimate it. In some respects the Red Colossus may be girded with steel but its feet are of clay. Some of its afflictions are incurable; most

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