Academia in Upheaval: Origins, Transfers, and Transformations of the Communist Academic Regime in Russia and East Central Europe

By Michael David-Fox; György Péteri | Go to book overview

Chapter 5
The Sovietization of Higher Education in the Czech Lands, East Germany, and Poland during the Stalinist Period, 1948-1954

John Connelly

At the outbreak of the Cold War, the Soviet Union initiated a transfer of its models of political organization to the states of Eastern Europe. Historians have long been impressed by the degree to which this transfer succeeded: By the early 1950s a once variegated landscape of national cultures was thought to resemble a monolithic bloc. Joseph Rothschild has characterized Stalinist Eastern Europe as a place of

bureaucratic arbitrariness; police terror uncontrolled even by the local party; economic deprivation while pursuing overambitious industrial investment programs and undercapitalized agricultural collectivization drives ("lunar economics"); colonial-like foreign-trade dependence on the Soviet Union; isolation from the non-Communist world and to some extent even from other people's democracies; synthetic Russomania; a mindless cult of Stalin adulation; and resultant widespread social anomie, intellectual stagnation, and ideological sterility.

He ascribed the emergence of this new world to "administrative supervision by Soviet personnel" and "absolute obedience to Soviet directives and even hints." 1

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