Stalinism Revisited

The Establishment of Communist Regimes in East-Central Europe
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452 pages

Deals with the period of takeover and of ‘high Stalinism’ in Eastern Europe (1945–1955). These years are considered to be fundamentally characterized by institutional and ideological transfers based upon the premise of radical transformism and of cultural revolution. Both a balance-sheet and a politico-historical synthesis that reflects the archival and thematic novelties which came about in the field of communism studies after 1989.

Contains contributions analyzing various aspects related these topics for each country of the former Soviet bloc (with the exception of Albania). The essays are based on new archival research, some are reassessments of the author’s previous research and others are critical appraisals of the specific literature published on issues related to the main topic. A path-breaking comparative framework for interpreting the relationship between late Stalinism and the communist takeovers in former Eastern Europe. A bonus for the volume is that it also provides detailed, sectorial analyses for the Romanian case, something that the field paritcularly lacks.

Introduction by Vladimir Tismaneanu

Part One : Stalinism – a Takeover Model
KEN JOWITT: Stalinist Revolutionary Breakthroughs in Eastern Europe
VLADIMIR TISMANEANU: Diabolical Pedagogy and the (Il)logic of Stalinism in Eastern Europe
MARK KRAMER: Stalin, Soviet Policy, and the Consolidation of a Communist Bloc in Eastern Europe, 1944–53
ALFRED J. RIEBER: Popular Democracy: an Illusion?

Part Two : The Establishment of Communist Regimes
THOMAS W. SIMONS, Jr: Eastern Europe between the USSR and the West: Reflections on the Origins and Dynamics of the Cold War
AGNES HELLER: Legitimation Deficit and Legitimation Crisis in East European Societies
JOHN CONNELLY: The Paradox of East German Communism: From Non-Stalinism to Neo-Stalinism?
ANTONI Z. KAMINSKI, BARTLOMIEJ KAMINSKI: "Road to “People’s Poland:” Stalin’s Conquest Revisited

Part Three : Stalinism and Historiography
JANOS RAINER: Revisiting Hungarian Stalinism
BOGDAN CRISTIAN IACOB: Avatars of the Romanian Academy and the Historical Front (1948 versus1955)
EKATERINA NIKOVA: Bulgarian Stalinism Revisited
DORIN DOBRINCU: Historicizing a Disputed Theme: Anti-Communist Armed Resistance in Romania

Part Four : National or Revolutionary Breakthroughs?
BRADLEY ABRAMS: Hope Died Last: The Czechoslovak Road to Stalinism
CRISTIAN VASILE: Propaganda and Culture in Romania at the Beginning of the Communist Regime
SVETOZAR STOJANOVIC: Varieties of Stalinism in Light of the Yugoslav Case
DRAGOS PETRESCU: Community Building and Identity Politics in Gheorghiu-Dej’s Romania (1956–1964)

List of Contributors

The Sovietization of post-1945 East-Central Europe—marked by the forceful imposition of the Soviet-type society in the region—was a process of massive socio-political and cultural transformation. Despite its paramount importance for understanding the nature of the communist regime and its legacy, the communist take-over in East Central European countries has remained largely under-researched. Two decades after the collapse of the communist system, Stalinism Revisited brings together a remarkable international team of established and younger scholars, engaging them in a critical re-evaluation of the institutionalization of communist regimes in East-Central Europe and of the period of “high Stalinism.” Sovietization is approached not as a fully pre-determined, homogeneous, and monolithic transformation, but as a set of trans-national, multifaceted, and inter-related processes of large-scale institutional and ideological transfers, made up of multiple “takeovers” in various fields.... more
"One of the values of this collection of articles is to demonstrate the differences among Soviet strategies in the future satellites."
Stalinism Revisited brings together representatives of multiple generations to create a rich examination of the study and practice of Stalinism. While the articles are uniformly excellent, the book’s signal contribution is to bring recent research from Eastern European scholars to an English-speaking audience. Thus the volume is not just a “state of the discipline” collection, in which articles are collected to reflect that current situation of scholarship in a given field; instead, this one includes cutting edge scholarship that will prompt more of the same from other scholars in other fields/subfields. I would recommend this book highly to anyone interested in understanding the technology of Stalinism in both thought and practice.
"Stalinism Revisited is a big, sprawling, and often fascinating collection of articles that focus on the Stalinization of eastern Europe. Many distinguished and well-known scholars of the region have contributed to the volume: Vladimir Tismaneanu (also the editor), Mark Kramer, Agnes Heller, John Connelly, Ken Jowitt, Alfred J. Rieber, János Rainer, and others. There are chapters that discuss developments in the region as a whole and those that focus on specific countries, including the history of the Soviet Zone/German Democratic Republic, but omitting Albania."