The Communist Regimes in Eastern Europe: An Introduction

By Richard F. Staar | Go to book overview

Chapter 11 INTRA-BLOC RELATIONS, Or Unity in Diversity

THE EXPERIMENT of maintaining a single organization, the Communist Information Bureau or Cominform, to control Eastern Europe politically from Moscow existed less than nine years. It is doubtful that this instrument could have been used at all after the death of Stalin. The only eyewitness account of the Cominform's establishment tells how Andrei Zhdanov proposed that its weekly newspaper be called For a Lasting Peace, For a People's Democracy. This political slogan was treated as a joke, especially by the Italians and the French. Only after Zhdanov had explained that he was voicing Comrade Stalin's suggestion did the laughter cease.1

This organizational meeting took place during September 22-27, 1947, at Szklarska Poreba (the former Bad Schreiberhau) in that part of Silesia which Poland had annexed with Soviet support at the end of the Second World War. Representing the host country's communist party was Wladyslaw Gomulka, who signed the original Cominform manifesto denouncing the Marshall Plan and condemning the United States as "an arsenal of counterrevolutionary tactical weapons."2 The other delegates came from the remaining East European parties and from those in Italy and France, where it was assumed the communists would be in power shortly.

The second meeting took place at the beginning of 1948 in Belgrade, where Cominform headquarters functioned for a brief period. The next, at Bucharest, on June 28, 1948, issued the communique excluding the Yugoslav communist party from the organization. A fourth meeting, at Budapest toward the

____________________
1
Eugenio Reale, Nascita del Cominform ( Rome, 1958), p. 51. For the predecessor organization see the research guide by Witold S. Sworakowski, The Communist International and Its Front Organizations ( Stanford, Calif., 1965).
2
Gunther Nollau, Die Internationale. Wurzeln und Erscheinungsformen des proletarischen Internationalismus ( Cologne, 1959), pp. 193-196.

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