Anna M. Cienciala (
History 557 Lecture Notes
Spring 2002 (Revised Dec. 2003, summer 2, Jan.,Nov.. 2009)


A. Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and East Germany.

I. Hungary

(1) Economic Reforms.

To understand the evolution in Hungary of what came to be known as "Goulash Communism" (Goulash = traditional Hungarian dish, a kind of beef stew with hot paprika), as well as to understand how Hungary came to enjoy the most relaxed version of Communism in the Soviet bloc, we must go back to 1961. In December of that year, Party leader Janos Kadar made his famous declaration to the Hungarian people: "Whoever is not against us, is with us."

This was the beginning of a policy designed to reconcile the Hungarians with those Communist Party leaders who had joined the Soviets in crushing the revolution of 1956, and participated in executing its heroes, Imre Nagy, Pal Maleter and others in 1958. [See Lecture Notes no. 17A). The Hungarian Communists had also arrested thousands of supporters of the revolution, while at least 100,000 Hungarians fled to the West through Austria. Finally, the Hungarian Communists had condemned the revolution as "reactionary" and inspired by "western imperalism" (the U.S). All this was deeply resented by the vast majority of the Hungarian people.

However, while we bear in mind the repressions listed above, we should also realize that Janos Kadar and many other Hungarian Communists had no wish to return to the old Stalinist times of Rakosi and the terror of the AVO (secret police). At the same time, most Hungarians were deeply traumatized by the bloodletting of 1956; thus, the favorite saying on both sides was: "Never Again," that is, no more uprisings followed by Soviet intervention.

As far as party organization was concerned, the old Communist party, known as the Hungarian Workers' party (which had one million members out of a total population of ten million) collapsed during the revolution. In late 1956, it was replaced by the Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party. This party started with 103,000 members, but grew to about 400,000 by spring 1957.

The new party leadership: Janos Kadar, Gyorgy Marosan, Gyorgy Aczel, and others, had spent time in jail during the purge years 1949-52 as victims of the Stalinist Mattyas Rakosi and his group. (Rakosi fled to the USSR during the 1956 revolution; he stayed and died there). Kadar and his supporters believed in continuing industrialization and collectivization, but not by force. They believed that people must have economic incentives to accept the system and make it work. It is worth noticing that they were allowed to proceed with their reforms by Moscow.

[from: Ellsworth Raymond and John Stuart Martin,

A Picture History of Eastern Europe, New York, 1971].

The new leaders first began to implement the new policy in agriculture. They abolished the old discrimination against so-called "Kulaks,"(wealthy peasants), that is, not allowing them to enter state or cooperative/collective farms. Instead, they created economic incentives for all peasants to do so. Furthermore, mandatory produce quotas for cooperative farms were abolished, and the government paid good prices for produce. Also, peasants entering coop. and collective farms were allowed to keep their tools and livestock and to have small private plots. This policy had the advantage of both meeting food production needs and of increasing peasant income on the coop. and collective. farms.

Within 10 years, this agricultural policy ended meat and other food shortages. However, we should note that 33% of butter and eggs came from  private peasant plots ,which accounted for about 5% of the arable land; these plots also produced most of the fruits and vegetables. Some of this produce also came from small garden plots in the cities, which were mostly worked by old age pensioners. All in all, the agricultural reform, which was carried out in three stages between 1959 and 1961, resulted not only in the voluntary re-collectivization of Hungarian agriculture but also in high yields. This, plus the encouragement of small scale private enterprise in food production was a great success. Some historians see it as the major turning point in post-1956 Hungarian history. There were no more food shortages in Hungary and this meant much popular support for Kadar.

In the industrial sector, the government increased wages by 20% in late 1956, and saw to it that inflation was minimal so that people did not lose their wage increases. There was no more forced investment; capital investment was cut from about 35% to 25% of the gross national product (GNP) and workers did not face sharply rising production targets. From 1958 throught the early 1970s the Hungarian adjusted disposable income (DPI) increased by 7.3%, but declined thereafter. Per capita income (PCI) of social groups increased at this time, with the largest increase registered for white collar workers. *

*[see: Rudolf L. Tokes, Hungary’s Negotiated Revolution. Economic reform, social change and political succession, Cambridge, England, 1996, tables 2.7 and 2.8, pp. 98-99].

With both peasants and workers relatively satisfied, the Party leadership was able to retire many party opponents of its reforms and also to conciliate the Intelligentsia (people with higher education), especially the Intellectuals, ie. writers, artists, etc., the traditional leaders of political protest and opposition in East Central Europe. Thus, young people were no longer barred from universities because of their "bourgeois" descent; western foreign language broadcasts were no longer jammed; scholars, writers, artists and scientists could study abroad on western research grants. In fact, anybody could travel to the West as a tourist as long as she or he had relatives or friends there to support them. (After a while, emigre Hungarians living in the West, who had to foot the bills, called this: "Kadar's revenge"). Finally, emigre Hungarians who had left in 1956, could visit relatives and friends, or return to Hungary for good without fear of repression.

There is no doubt that the relaxation of controls on the Intelligentsia, which really began with Kadar's speech of Dec. 1961 ("He who is not against us is with us"), owed a great deal to developments in the USSR. Nikita S. Khrushchev, who emerged as Soviet party leader in late 1955, had, it is true, used armed force to crush the Hungarian revolution in November 1956, but he had no other option at the time. Note that both earlier, in February 1956, and again in 1961, he attacked some of the most glaring evils of Stalinism in the USSR that is, rigged trials and the incarceration of millions of people in labor camps. This led to more relaxed communism in Poland after Oct. 1956 (Gomulka). He also relaxed censorship and, to a certain extent, took up the consumerist policies of his short-lived predecessor in power, Georgy M. Malenkov -- whom he had attacked earlier for the very same policies.

Finally, Khrushchev effected a reconciliation with Tito of Yugoslavia and tried to improve Soviet relations with the West, especially the United States.  However, this policy broke down in 1960 with the American U-2 Spy Plane incident. (These planes flew high over the USSR from Turkish bases and took photographs. Pilot Gary Powers was shot down, survived, was put on trial, sentenced to prison, but later released and died in the U.S. President Eisenhower took the blame at the time, and Khrushshev called off a summit meeting).This incident was followed by the building of the Berlin Wall in 1961which divided the city of Berlin until Nov. 9 1989-- and by the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 . Khrushchev's reckless placing of nuclear missiles in Cuba could have led to nuclear war, if President John F. Kennedy had not rejected U.S.military leaders' advice to invade or bomb Cuba. Instead, he imposed a naval blockade of Cuba, then negotiated the withdrawal of Soviet nuclear missiles from Cuba and U.S. missiles from Turkey.

(Khrushchev's successor, Leonid I. Brezhnev -- 1906-1992, party head 1964-82, President of USSR 1977-82 -- was more successful in developing a detente with the U.S. under President Richard M. Nixon , 1913-1994, President 1968-74. It continued under President Jimmy Carter --President 1976-8 --, but broke down with the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in late December 1979. Mikhail S. Gorbachev pulled Soviet troops out of that country in 1988. As we know, U.S. and allied NATO troops came in there because the ruling Taliban supported the Al-Queda leader,Osama Bin Ladin, who organized the 9/11 attacks on the USA. The troops are still there in 2009 fighting a resurgent Taliban; Bin Ladin has not been captured.)

It is worth noting that while Kadar pursued policies of relaxation and limited consumerism in Hungary, he was trusted by Moscow and enjoyed its support. This was, of course, decisive because Soviet bloc leaders - except Romania - could do nothing without the blessing of Moscow. However, it must be emphasized that after Brezhnev came to power in the USSR in October 1964, the Hungarian Communists did not give up their free-ranging discussion of systemic economic reform which had begun before Khrushchev's fall. Even more remarkable was the fact that while talk of economic reform died down in the USSR and disappeared altogether in Czechoslovakia after 1968, reforms began to be implemented in Hungary that same year. Clearly, Brezhnev trusted Kadar.

It seems likely that while some Hungarian economists had advocated reforms in 1957 - when they could not be implemented for political reasons - they were, at the end of the 1960's influenced to some extent, by the reform ideas of Polish Economists - freely expressed in the Polish press in 1957-58 - and probably even more in the Czechoslovak economic reform program of 1968. In 1957-58, Polish Economists had proposed a significant economic decentralization, that is, allowing the law of supply and demand to govern the production of consumer goods, which were always in short supply. This meant allowing small scale private enterprise in consumer goods and services, while maintaining planning, and thus production indicators, for heavy industry. Moreover, they advocated a shift from extensive to intensive industrial production, that is, less emphasis on the extraction of raw materials, esp. coal, and investing instead  in the development of the petrochemical industry. Unfortunately, W.Gomulka, who was party head from October1956 to December 1970, refused to implement any such reforms, as did his successor Edward Gierek. (See Lecture Notes 18A).

The Czech Economists took reform thinking much further during the Prague Spring of 1968. They proposed the introduction of a system called Market Socialism, in which all annual plans and production indicators would be abolished. Instead, all production, even in large enterprises, would be governed by the demands of the market at home and abroad. Also, freely elected workers' councils were to participate in management, including budget decisions. Nevertheless, the Czech proposals retained central planning for long-term macro-economic targets, though the government was to influence enterprise managers in the desired direction by financial means, e.g. government orders and subsidies, credits from the state bank, etc. We don't know how these proposals would have worked in practice because there was no time to try them out. However, from later Polish and Hungarian reforms along these lines, it seems that it was impossible to combine central planning for long-term projects with a free market for the rest of the economy. Soviet economists were also trying to come up with a combination of central planning and the free market. However, while some experiments were made in the early 1960s, they were abandoned by Brezhnev.

The Hungarian economists of the 1960's thought along similar lines to those of their Czech colleagues in 1968. They went on thinking this way even though the proposed Czech reforms were condemned in Prague and Moscow for allegedly aiming at a return to capitalism. They did not have this aim, but it is clear that they would have had this effect in the end. In fact, Hungarian reforms, known as the New Economic Mechanism or NEM, went into effect in 1968, the very year of the Prague spring and its tragic demise.

The NEM had 4 main characteristics:

(1) Enterprises were to be independent. This was based on three principles: (a) independence, (b) self-management, and (c) self-financing. Thus, enterprise managers, or management councils, could choose what to produce and how to produce it. Workers' salaries were to be based on production profits, and workers were to have a say in production decisions and their implementation through freely elected Workers' Councils.

[Note: Workers' Councils had been tried and abandoned by Lenin in 1917-18; they were a feature of Yugoslav economic reforms of the 1950's, of the Hungarian revolution of 1956, of the Polish reforms of 1956-57, of Czech economic reform plans in 1968, and would be demanded again by Polish Solidarity as "self-management" in 1980-81].

(2) The pricing system was to be more flexible and competition was to be encouraged, even to the point of bankruptcy by the unsuccessful enterprise.

(3) Central Planning was to be reduced to a minimum. As in the Czech proposals of 1968, financial instruments such as government orders, subsidies, credits, were to steer enterprises in the desired direction, that is, the one desired by the Party leadership, but not force them.

(4) Public opinion was to be involved in economic decisions through extensive use of the media, trade unions and the legislature.

As it turned out, even though the NEM failed, its main characteristics were to inspire official Polish systemic reforms in the mid and late1980's, which also failed, while Mikhail S.Gorbachev's reform ideas did not get off the ground in the USSR. So what was wrong with NEM?

There were five main reasons why NEM failed in Hungary, and why s similar reform programs also failed later in Poland and the USSR.

(i). The most basic reason for NEM's failure In Hungary in 1968-80, was the fear of the party leadership there- as later in Poland and in USSR - that a really free market economy would spell the end of party control over it, and thus over politics as well. So, in all three countries, party leaders tinkered with the centrally planned economy trying to make it work better, not change it.

(ii). But it was not only the party that feared a free market economy - so did the vast majority of Hungarian workers who depended on the wages they were paid by economically inefficient enterprises. They also depended on cheap, subsidized food and housing, free medical care, etc. They feared that these benefits would disappear in a free market economy. [And, of course, they did after the collapse of communism in E.Europe, 1989]

(iii).While workers feared reform, party leaders also feared worker unrest and even revolt against the hardships contingent on real economic reform. Indeed, there were worker revolts against price hikes in Poland in December 1970, June 1976, and finally the birth of the Solidarity Movement in August 1980, which lasted sixteen months until it was crushed in mid- December 1981. (It continued underground until 1989). But we should note that while these revolts were sparked at first by price hikes, in 1980-81 Polish workers also wanted the democratization of the communist system.

(iv) The fourth contributing factor in the failure of NEM was the availability of western credits and loans in the 1970's. Western banks had large deposits of Arab "petrodollars" which they wanted to invest. The banks were glad to lend money and give credits to East European governments that seemed to have a firm grip on power and  so were deemed able to repay debts. However, these western credits and loans allowed the Communist leaders to avoid real economic reform.

The largest provider of these loans and credits was the German Federal Republic (West Germany), which had initiated a new policy toward Eastern Europe, called Ostpolitik (Eastern Policy), in 1969. This meant establishing economic contacts and normalizing relations with the USSR and the Soviet bloc states, even if they recognized the German People's Republic (GDR, German acronym: DDR). This policy led to a  West German-Soviet Treaty, followed by a West German-Polish Treaty in late 1970. As noted earlier (see Lec.Notes 18A), the second treaty gave West German recognition to the postwar Polish-German frontier, and this was ratified by the Bundestag or West German parliament in 1972. (Final frontier recognition came with a treaty signed in October 1990, after the unification of Germany). Western credits and loans were further facilitated by the Helsinki Agreements of August 1975, whereby the western nations recognized the postwar frontiers of Eastern Europe, while the communist nations recognized human rights (but, as it turned out, mostly in theory).

(v) The fifth factor in the failure of NEM was the caution of Soviet leaders, who, like the anti-Dubeck Czechoslovak party leaders, feared that any radical economic reform would lead either to worker revolt (as price hikes did in Poland) or to something like another Prague Spring elsewhere. Thus, the combined pressure of Soviet leaders and Hungarian opponents of reform, plus the effects of the oil crisis of 1973 - which reduced western imports from E.Europe -  brought the Hungarian NEM to a halt in the early 1970's (see par. below). It was not to be resumed until 1979-80, when the Hungarian economy, like all the economies of the Soviet bloc, was finally breaking down.

Here we should note that Western - mostly German - credits and loans to Hungary and Poland in the 1970's allowed those governments to import consumer goods and sell them at subsidized prices to the people, which of course, improved the standard of living. These credits and loans also made it possible for party leaders to purchase new western machinery and patents, on the assumption that they would make economic production more efficient without implementing systemic economic reform.

The oil crisis of 1973 led the Soviet Union to increase the price of its oil exports to the Soviet Bloc. At the same time, recession in the West reduced western purchase of E. European goods. These problems, plus the most basic one: the inefficient command economy at home, meant that both Hungary and Poland were in the economic doldrums by the late 1970's. At the same time, their debts to the West were rising at a very fast rate. These debts were owed mostly to western banks, whose loans and credits had been guaranteed by their governments, while some debts were owed to directly to western governments. In both categories, W. Germany lent the most to E. Europe.

By 1980, it was clear that tinkering with the economy would not be enough. In fact, despite reforms, Hungarian economic  problems were similar to those existing in Poland and Czechoslovakia, where there had been no significant reform.* At the same time, people were beginning to talk openly about the ecological devastation caused by intensive industrialization.

*[On economic problems, 1980, see: Janos Kornai in: G. Stokes, From Stalinism to Pluralism, rev. ed., New York, Oxford, 1996, no. 30, pp. 184- 187; in more detail, R. Tokes, Hungary’s Negotiated Revolution, part I, Systemic change, pp. 37-166 ].

2. Dissent.

According to Rudolf Tokes, an American scholar of Hungarian origin (b. Hungary, 1935) and an authority on Communist and post-communist Hungary, there were three "principal clusters" of social, cultural, and political dissent between 1962 and 1988:

A. The "Populist-nationalist" group of literati headed by the writer-poet-playwright Gyula Illyes and the essayist-playwright Laszlo Nemeth, followed by a long list of writers, poets and provincial intellectuals.

B The "Democratic Opposition" made up of former Marxist and non-Marxist, mainly Budapest-based urban, liberal academic intellectuals associated with the samizdat (self-publishing) journal Bezszelo (1980s).The most prominent members included Janos Kis, Miklos Haraszti, and Laszlo Rajk Jr. (son of Laszlo Rajk, executed in 1949).

C. "Marxist" and later "post-Marxist" socialist reform intellectuals, e.g. former prime minister Andras Hegedus; philosophers Agnes Heller, Ferenc Feher and Gyorgy Markus; sociologists such as Istvan Kemeny and Ivan Szelenyi; social scientists, and many others.* Many of these intellectuals became members of the "democratic opposition."

*[R.Tokes, Hungary’s Negotiated Revolution pp. 168-169].

Additional information on these groups helps in understanding their ideas and their role in Hungarian postwar history.

(A)The Populists, who had opposed the prewar Horthy regime (Lecture Notes 14A), did so from a desire for social justice, especially for Hungary’s poor peasants. They embraced the new socialist governments of the immediate postwar period, but not stalinisation. They had supported the 1956 revolution, but changed their views after the revolution was crushed. In their "Declaration of Writers" of September 8, 1957, which bore 216 signatures led by Laszlo Nemeth, they condemned the revolution as a product of "imperialist meddling" which stirred up "fascism" and "white terror." *

*[Tokes, ibid., p.175]

Whether or not some of the 216 signatures were forced to do so, the Populists supported the Kadar regime. After all, they had always advocated modernization and social justice, especially for rural Hungary; they also approved elitist, authoritarian means to do so. No wonder then, that they supported Kadar, saw the 1956 revolution as "a false dawn," and actively proposed new policies. Thus, Laszlo Nemeth proposed large government subsidies for both elite and mass education, official encouragement of local patriotism and more flexible censorship. As for the "incorrigibles," that is opponents of the regime, he suggested they should be given a passport to spend two years abroad. Kadar adopted many of these suggestions over the years. Indeed, according to R.Tokes, the partnership between the Populists and Imre Pozsgay’s reform communists established at the Lakitelek meeting which founded the "Hungarian Democratic Forum" on September 27, 1987 (see Lecture Notes 19), had its roots much earlier in the Populist programs of 1937, 1945-47, 1957, and 1962.*

*[R.Tokes, ibid., pp. 178-179]

(B) The democratic opposition was largely made up of three generations of Marxist intellectuals, almost all of whom were Jewish. They criticized the implementation of socialism by a bureaucratic, Marxist, political elite, and they defended humanism and democratic socialism. They shared these views with those members of the KOR in Poland (founded fall 1976), who had begun their political life as ideological Marxists. There were also some similarities with the Praxis group at the University of Belgrade in the 1960s.

The democratic opposition included the Marxist philosopher Gyorgy Lukacs (1885-1971), whose career was notable for its twists and turns. He had been culture and education commissar in the Bela Kiraly regime of 1919; spent the years 1920-44 in Moscow; returned to Hungary in 1945; was a professor of philosophy at the University of Budapest, and minister of culture under the short-lived government of Imre Nagy in 1956, but made his peace with the Kadar regime. Lukacs developed a Marxist theory of esthetics which opposed political control over the arts. His circle included the philosophers Ferenc Feher and Agnes Heller, who left Hungary in 1977 and later co-authored a leftist interpretation of the Hungarian Revolution.* A prominent member of this group was Andras Hegedus, Foreign Minister in the 1950s, who had invited Soviet forces into Hungary in October 1956, but was converted to democratic socialism in the 1960s and protested against the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. Another member of the group was the writer Miklos Haraszti, who became known in the West through his book criticizing the working conditions in a Budapest factory, and a later book critical of the comfortable relationship between the government and privileged writers. ** Another opponent of the system was the writer Gyorgy Konrad.

Mikos Haraszti

a dissident writer

Gyorgy Konrad

a dissident writer


*[Feher and Heller, Hungary 1956 Revisited. The Message of a Revolution - a Quarter of a Century After, London, 1983. **Miklos Haraszti, Worker in a Workers State, London, 1977; same: The Velvet Prison: Artists under State Socialism, New York, 1987].

Hungarian Marxist thinkers were greatly influenced by the Prague Spring and its forced demise in 1968, as well as by the shipyard revolts in Poland’s Baltic cities in December 1970, and the establishment of KOR  (Committee for the Defense of Workers) after the brutal crushing of the worker revolts in Radom and Ursus in June 1976). Gyorgy Bence and Janos Kis admitted that after these events, their position was Marxist only in "a derivative sense." Indeed, they saw the Polish [KOR] example as a model for a new "modus vivendi" (getting along, co-existing - Latin) between dissidents on the one hand and the authorities on the other. They believed this would lead to the gradual expansion of the civil rights to free expression and to "self-organization" at the grass roots level.* This was, indeed, very similar to KOR leaders’ views, e.g. Jacek Kuron, in 1981,** which were also based on the idea of transforming, not overthrowing the communist system and government.

*[R.Tokes, ibid., p.183-184; ** see Lec. Notes 18A, Solidarity Period].

Samizdat -- self-publication without official permission -- began in Hungary in January 1977, when a group of 34 Hungarian intellectuals signed a letter of support for the manifesto of the Czechoslovak Charter 77. (See part II. Czechoslovakia, below). Of course, Hungarian Samizdat was also much influenced by KOR and other Polish dissident groups with their underground publications. However, it was the death of the dissident Istvan Bibo (1911- 1979) that crystallized the rather loose dissident intelligentsia network into a democratic opposition.

Bibo had been a minister in the Imre Nagy government of 1956, was arrested in 1957, given a life sentence, but amnestied in 1963. He was allowed to work as a librarian in the National Statistical Office until he died in 1971.He wrote on public administration, party politics, democratic evolution in Eastern Europe and the Jewish question. His works became classics of liberal thinking in Hungarian intellectual history.

Bibo’s funeral was attended by most Hungarian intellectuals. More importantly, it gave rise to a major samizdat work: The Bibo Memorial Book., written by 76 authors. Their common thread was Bibo’s philosophical legacy and ideas on political reforms. Indeed, his teachings of non-violence, pragmatism and coming to terms with political realities became the guidelines for Hungarian dissidents in the 1980's.* It is striking that these were also the guidelines for Polish and Czechoslovak dissidents in both the 1970s and 1980s, so these ideas were clearly common to intellectual dissidents in these three countries.

*[R.Tokes, ibid., pp.185-186. For Hungary in 1980s and 1989, see Lecture Notes 19].

Part II. Czechoslovakia.

1. Economy.

There was no economic reform to speak of in Czechoslovakia after 1968. (See Lecture Notes 17B). The new party leadership, headed by the Slovak, Gustav Husak (1913-1991; Party leader 1969-87; President 1975-89) was afraid of anything vaguely reminiscent of the Czechoslovak reform plan of 1968. However, the Communist leaders kept much of the population relatively satisfied by raising wages and salaries, securing adequate food production, allowing people to buy consumer goods including cars, and allowing city folk to build weekend cottages in the country. Although Czechoslovakia accepted fewer western credits and loans than Poland, it too experienced stagnation and recession from the late 1970's onward. This was due to a combination of factors: the inefficiency and waste inherent in a centrally run economy, lack of incentives for workers, and old industrial machinery.

2. Dissent.

We should note that the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia stimulated dissent not only in Hungary but also some in the USSR. A demonstration protesting the invasion was organized on August 23 1968 in Red Square, Moscow, by a small group of young Soviet intellectuals who included Pavel Litvinov, the grandson of Maxim M. Litvinov (1876-1951, Commissar of Foreign Affairs in 1930-39). They were arrested, tried, and sentenced to work in labor camps.

The invasion also alienated most Western socialists from the USSR. A clear sign of this was French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre's (1905-1980) condemnation of the invasion and Soviet style Communism in his introduction to a book of essays by leading Czechoslovak dissidents. * Sartre had long known the truth about the Soviet system, but claimed it should be denied in order to continue the French workers' hope in a better, Communist world.

*[Sartre preface in Antonin J. Liehn, ed., The Politics of Culture, Grove Press, New York, 1970]

In Czechoslovakia.

At first, there was some significant dissent in Czechoslovakia. In November 1968; about 60,000 students carried out a sit-in strike in Prague. They had a 10 Point program defending the Dubcek "Action Program" of April 1968. What is more, the students united with the workers, especially the 1 million strong Czech Union of Metal Workers. Indeed, when Husak removed one of Dubcek's closest collaborators, Jozef Smrkovsky (pron. Semyrkovsky) from the post of Chairman of the Federal Assembly (Legislature) the metal workers threatened to strike. They were immediately backed by some 300,00 building workers, 200,000 farmers and 180,000 railway workers. This showed that the workers resented the crushing of the Prague Spring and were willing to challenge the new party-government leadership.

Smrkovsky appealed to the workers on TV, on January 5, 1969, not to strike on his behalf, but was dropped from his post two days later. On January 9, Alexander Dubcek himself - who was still nominally Secretary General of the Party - hinted that "irresponsible action" could provoke Soviet military measures. In the end the metal workers withdrew their strike threat in return for a government promise that Smrkovsky would be allowed to stand for election to his post next time around. (He wasn't).

We still do not know whether the Soviet troops stationed in Czechoslovakia would have intervened in case of a large-scale workers' strike, which would have been joined by students. This would have meant a strike by about 1,700,00 people (population: about 14,000,000).

Whatever the case may be, apathy set in. But on January 16, 1969, a student, Jan Palach, set fire to himself. He demanded the abolition of censorship and his death set off another wave of protest. It should be noted that Palach was not the first to demonstrate his protest by a fiery death. A Pole, Ryszard Siwiec, had set himself on fire on September 8, 1968, in a Warsaw stadium where a harvest festival was in progress. Siwiec, who was 59 years old, did so to protest the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia and to inspire his countrymen to break with what he called a "murderous" regime. However, his fiery death was cut out of newsreels and not mentioned in the media. It was only in 1991, that a film was made about Siwiec by Polish film director Drygas, titled: "Hear My Cry," .*

*[ See: "A Fiery Death Comes Back to Haunt Poland," New York Sunday Times, April 26, 1992, H-26. The author, Tara McKelvey, wrote that Palach had immolated himself in 1960 (col.4 ), but this must be a typo for 1969].

Ryszard Siwiec (1968)

New York Times April 26, 1992

Jan Palach (from William Shawcross, DUBCEK, New York, 1990)


There was a crisis in March 1969. It was precipitated by mass demonstrations after the Czechoslovak team beat the Russian team for the world ice hockey championship. [The Eagle & Bear video: "Dateline Czechoslovakia 1968," incorrectly dates this hockey match to 1968 and claims it started the Prague Spring!]. About 150,000 people demonstrated in Prague, and there was some damage to the Aeroflot (Soviet airlines) office.

In April 1969, Alexander Dubcek (1921-1992; Party leader 1968), was dismissed as Secretary General of the Party and replaced by Gustav Husak. Dubcek was sent as Czechoslovak Ambassador to Turkey. (He was there for a short time, after which he returned to his native Slovakia and was kept under police surveillance until November 1989, when he reappeared on the political scene.)

Still, on the first anniversary of the Warsaw Pact invasion, in August 1969, there was a mass response to dissident leaflets appealing for a boycott of all public transport, restaurants and entertainment, as a sign of mourning. The boycott took place. Also, about 120,000 people came to the main square in Prague and some barricades went up. The new party leader sent tanks to destroy the barricades and ordered troops to fire if necessary. On that day most Czechs lost their illusions about Husak, who was said to oppose the use of force.

At about this time, a few intellectuals, including the playwright Vaclav Havel (b.1936) and the novelist Ludvik Vaculik, issued a 10-point manifesto, signed by ten dissidents. They protested censorship and the banning of civil organizations, and demanded the recognition of the legal right to dissent. They refused to take part in elections that were not free. They also demanded respect for international treaties and urged the government to sign the International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights that had been signed by other most countries. (Compare these demands with Charter 77, below). Two of the signatories, the historian Jan Tesar and the sociologist Rudolf Battek, spent a year in jail without trial. When they came out, they continued their opposition to the regime.*

*[For an overview of Czech dissent before and after Charter 77, see: Eda Kriseova, Vaclav Havel. The Authorized Biography, trans. Caleb Crain, New York, 1993, also H. Gordon Skilling, Samizdat and an Independent Society in Central and Eastern Europe, Columbus, OH, 1989].

Here we should note that in 1970 Husak carried out a massive purge in the Czechoslovak party. About 500,000 members, or one third of the total, were expelled. Most of these people also lost their jobs. Furthermore, thousands of non-party members lost their jobs because, when questioned by screening commissions, they had not condemned the Warsaw Pact invasion of August 1968. More than 5 million people were screened in this way, out of a total population of some 14 million. As a result of this screening and purge, some 20% of Trade Union officials lost their jobs, as did some 40% of state enterprise managers, about 50% of Czechoslovak journalists, and thousands of teachers. Such a massive purge indicated many dissatisfied party members, and some of them banded together for underground political discussions. However, only about one third of these people advocated organized opposition to put pressure on Husak, so nothing came of these discussions.

In November 1971, Husak finally dared to hold elections, the first since 1968. A few weeks earlier, a leaflet was distributed, signed by 6 different opposition groups. It reminded citizens that they had the right not to vote in rigged elections, and that if they did vote, they had the right to use the secret ballot to delete government candidates from the single list available. Some 70,000 of these leaflets were distributed, but they did not have much effect.

Meanwhile, the secret police had infiltrated many underground groups. Scores of people were arrested in summer 1972; 46 were tried an sentenced to a total of 99 years and 11 months. This decimated the existing opposition. We should note that the period 1970-73 was one of relative prosperity in Czechoslovakia. The increased availability of consumer goods pacified the majority of the population.

Nevertheless, the "reformists" among the Czechoslovak Communists managed to get some of their ideas discussed in the West, for they had contact with West European Communists and the western press. Some of them (Zdenek Mlynar, J. Smrkovsky) also tried to sound out their contacts in Moscow on the possibility of a Kadar-like relaxation and economic reform in Czechoslovakia. However, they failed to get results. In 1971, elected members of the 14th Party Congress of 1968, led by the economist Edouard Goldstucker, protested against the new 14th Party Congress being rigged by Husak in May 1971.The concluding paragraph of their protest read:

As delegates of the Fourteenth Party Congress of the Czechoslovak Communist Party who are still able to express our opinions freely, we refuse to recognize the legality of either the Congress now being organized or the present regime. We see the only solution to the present crisis as the institution of fundamental democratic reforms that will open the way for our citizens to participate in the decisions that affect our society and to establish the democratic socialism toward which the "Prague Spring" of 1968 was leading. We shall continue, together with all democrats and all who espouse the ideals of socialism in Czechoslovakia and throughout the world, to struggle for these aims.* *[Legters, Eastern Europe...1945-1991, p.230].


Dissidents were active in Czechoslovakia in the 1970s, although their numbers were very small. They were led by the playwright Vaclav Havel and the writer Ludvik Vaculik. "Samizdat" (self-publishing) publications now appeared. At first, these were mostly literary works and all were produced on typewriters. As in the USSR, each person involved would type several carbon copies and pass them on. The first "samizdat" works appeared in the "Edice Petlice" (Padlock Editions) founded by Ludvik Vaculik and friends in 1972. Three years later, in 1975, Vaclav Havel sent a letter to Husak, protesting against the destruction of culture, which was essential for self-awareness, also of history, which was replaced by pseudo-history. In the same year, Havel decided to found "Edice Expedice," (Expedition Editions) of samizdat. It "published" 122 volumes of typewritten works between 1975 and 1981, and more later; the total amounted to 155 volumes. Havel published works by contemporary Czech dissident writers -- and did not ask for the authors’ permission (!). *

(from E. Kriseova, Vaclav Havel).

*[E. Kriseova, Vaclav Havel, pp.89-90, 95-97; Skilling, pp. 31,97. For works by Samizdat writers see: Marketa Goetz-Stankiewicz, Good-bye Samizdat. Twenty Years of Czechoslovak Underground Writing, Evanston, IL., 1992].

The Importance of the Helsinki Accords

The dissidents in Czechoslovakia, Poland, Hungary and the USSR were greatly encouraged by The Helsinki Accords, also known as the Helsinki Final Act, or Helsinki Declaration. These were signed by 35 leaders of Western nations and Soviet bloc states in Helsinki, Finland, in August 1975. The Helsinki Accords included a section on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms which was inserted on the insistence of the U.S. government. This was Part VII, titled: Respect for Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, Including the Freedom of Thought, Conscience, Religion, or Belief. The opening statement read:

The participating states will respect human rights and fundamental freedoms, including freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief, for all without distinction as to race, language, or religion.* *[See: Gale Stokes, ed., From Stalinism to Pluralism, rev. ed., pp. 160-162; for documents and discussion, see: Vojtech Mastny, Helsinki, Human Rights and European Security. Analysis and Documentation, Durham, N.C., 1986].

The Soviet government and E. European Soviet bloc governments signed the Helsinki Agreements because they included recognition of the postwar frontiers of Eastern Europe. Indeed, these governments claimed that they already honored human rights and fundamental freedoms. At the same time, they were glad to agree that there would be no interference in the internal affairs of any signatory state (Pt. VIII, 2). They used this later to reject Western protests against the violations of these rights and freedoms, calling them interference in their internal affairs.

Nevertheless, the Helsinki Accords provided dissidents everywhere, but especially in Czechoslovakia and then Poland, with a legal basis to protest repression. This was to prove useful in the following year. In summer 1976, there were two rigged trials of Czech rock musicians; in fact, non-conformist music was put on trial. This led to a campaign in defense of these musicians in both Czechoslovakia and in the West. Most importantly, this campaign led to the unification of the musicians with the dissident group led by a former member of Dubcek's Central Committee, Zdenek Mlynar and the playwright Vaclav Havel.

In November 1976, this united opposition was activated by the Czechoslovak government's publication of the texts of the International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights, and of Social, Economic and Cultural Rights. The government had ratified these on March 23 1976, and published them in November as Law 120. This became a hit overnight when distributed by Czech dissidents. Thus, most citizens learned for the first time that they had a legal right to free speech, assembly and association, also the freedom to strike and to form independent trade unions.

The same stand was taken a few months later by KOR, the Committee for Workers' Rights formed by intellectuals in Poland in the fall of 1976. KOR also acted on the basis of international labor covenants, the Helsinki Final Act, and the rights "guaranteed" by the 1950 Constitution of Communist Poland. (On KOR, see Lecture Notes 18A) In 1978 and later, there was some contact between Charter 77 and KOR leaders.

Charter 77.

On January 5, 1977, the Paris paper Le Monde, (The World) reported that a human rights manifesto was to be published in Prague. This, as well as a notice by the French Communist paper, L’Humanite, seems to have alerted the Czech police, who stopped a car driven by actor Paul Landovsky, with V. Havel and L. Vaculik as passengers. The police confiscated the envelopes with the text of Charter 77. Nevertheless, the charter reached many other addressees. *

*[See: E. Kriseova, Vaclav Havel, ch. 24,25].

Charter 77 pointed out that the Czechoslovak government was in violation of the agreements it had signed, and stated the Charter signatories' belief that citizens should become involved in seeing to it that these rights were observed. The Charter group was described as:

a free informal, open community of people of different convictions, different faiths, and different professions united by the will to strive, individually and collectively, for the respect of civil and human rights in our own country and throughout the world - rights accorded to all men by the two mentioned international covenants, by the Final Act of the Helsinki Conference, and by numerous other international documents opposing war, violence, and social or spiritual oppression, and which are comprehensively laid down in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The signatories authorized the philosopher Professor Jan Patocka, Vaclav Havel and the historian Professor Jiri Hajek - its chief authors - to act as spokesmen for the Charter.*

*[See: Stokes, From Stalinism to Pluralism, 2nd rev. ed., pp. 163-166; Legters, Eastern Europe...1945-1991, pp. 231-234].

The Czechoslovak authorities were so terrified of Charter 77 that they not only arrested its signatories but also launched a propaganda campaign to have workers condemn the Charter. However, this boomeranged, for many workers said they could not condemn something they had not read. Still, by 1985, Charter signatories numbered only 1,138 brave souls out of a population of about 16 million; of these 1,138, or 45%  of members, almost half were workers.

While the signatories of Charter 77 were few in number, they were stout of heart. They continued their struggle for human and civil rights despite harassment and prison sentences. The one destined to become famous was the playwright Vaclav Havel (b.1936), many of whose works are available in English. Especially worth reading is his essay in the book: The Power of the Powerless. During these years, he spent some time in prison and also worked in a beer barrel factory.

Havel (b.1936) came from a wealthy, "bourgeois," family in Prague which lost its wealth with the coming of communism. He was a rebel from his early years. He was remarkably consistent in his views on the necessity of cultural and then political freedom. He bore adversity, including prison, with courage and a sense of humor. (He was to become the President of non-Communist Czechoslovakia in December 1989, then of the Czech Republic in 1992 - 2002).

We should also note that a sister organization of Charter 77 was formed in 1978. This was the Committee for the Defense of the Unjustly Persecuted, known by its Czech acronym: VONS. Its founders and members were all signatories of Charter 77, but in VONS they worked to inform the public of specific cases of injustice. These were published underground as Sdeleni (reports). There was also some "samizdat" by dissenting Roman Catholics, but many of these were theological works. Also, there were some specialized journals dealing with economics, literature, foreign affairs, theater and history. However, most of these began to appear in 1980 and after, and they had a very small circulation.

The Czech and Slovak dissidents laid the groundwork for a "civil society" in Czechoslovakia, just as KOR and other Polish dissident organizations, then Solidarity, also Hungarian dissidents, did in their countries.The Czech and Slovak dissidents were small groups to be sure, but their courage and determination in fighting for human and civil rights and for cultural freedom over two decades (1969-89) deserve great admiration.

3. The German Democratic Republic (East Germany).

The GDR has not received much attention in this course after the Berlin Blockade and Airlift of 1948-49. This is due to the fact that the GDR was a special case. It was not a united national state but part of a divided nation, so it is often treated as part of German rather than East or East Central European history. Moreover, it occupied a special place in Soviet policy, since its very existence meant a Soviet military presence in the heart of Europe.

In fact, successive Soviet leaders, beginning with Stalin, always aimed at a united Germany either under communist rule or, at least, as a neutral state. Part of this strategy was the "Rapacki Plan" proposed in the U.N. in 1957 by Polish Foreign Minister Adam Rapacki (1909-1970; Foreign Minister 1956-67). This would have established a nuclear free zone in Central Europe. It would have meant the withdrawal of NATO missiles from Germany, while the USSR retained its overwhelming superiority in land forces either in that country or in the neighboring bloc states. This plan was unacceptable to the NATO powers, so it was never implemented.

Another attempt in this direction was the crisis Khrushchev provoked over Berlin in 1958, when he demanded that it be united and made a "Free City." It is clear that if the western allies gave up West Berlin, this would undermine West German faith in NATO. (We shoud note that by 1960 the GDR not only had the highest standard of living in the bloc but was also Moscow’s number one trade partner).

At the same time, domestic repression was harsh. This was possible not only because of the relatively high standard of living and the exodus of most active opponents by late 1961, but also because at least half of the citizens served as informers for the Secret Police, known as "Stasi." This feature of East German life became widely known after the collapse of the wall  in November 1989, and then the GDR, after which the "Stasi" files became accessible.

The dividing line in GDR history (1949-89)  is, of course, the building of the Berlin Wall in August 1961. It is now known that the the GDR ruler at that time, Walther Ulbricht (1893-1973, First Secretary of the "Socialist Unity Party," 1953-1971, and Chairman of the State Council, 1960-1973) pressed Khrushchev to allow the building of the wall. This was of crucial importance for the GDR because of the constant drain of young, educated, people who saw their future in West Germany. All they needed to do was to cross over to West Berlin by road or subway, and ask for asylum. They were then flown to interrogation points in the German Federal Republic, where they were questioned, then released to make a new life for themselves. About three million East Germans, or one sixth of the population, fled to West Germany in the period 1945-61. *

*[For documents on the Berlin crises of 1958-2, see the CWIHP (Cold War International History Project) Bulletin issue 11, Winter 1998, pp. 200-229)


(from E.Raymond and John S.Martin, Picture History of Eastern Europe, New York, 1971).

Of course, many spies also entered W. Germany via the subway from East to West Berlain. The greatest coup of the GDR secret service was to place a spy, Gunther Guillaume, as assistant to the chief of chancellery for Willy Brandt (real name: Carl Herbert Frahm, 1913-1992). Brandt had been the Socialist mayor of West Berlin in the years 1956-66, vice-Chancellor of the German Federal Republic from 1966 to 1969, Chancellor from 1969 to 1974, and had to resign because of the spy scandal. Indeed, the GDR secret service, under the able leadership of Markus Wolf, succeeded in getting many of its operatives into West Germany and even into NATO, but Guillaume was its top achievement.*

*[See: Markus Wolf with Anne McElvoy, Man Without a Face. The Autobiography of Communism’s Greatest Spymaster, New York, 1997, ch. 9. The Chancellor’s Shadow].

It was not until the late 1980s that a small dissident movement appeared in the GDR. It was linked with the German Lutheran Church, which allowed dissidents to meet in its buildings and aimed at democratizing the communist system, not overthrowing it.

As we know, the opening of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989, led to the unification of Germany. It also became apparent at that time that the GDR economy was as much in the doldrums as the other bloc countries, including the USSR.  Former East Germany is economically still far behind West Germany today, and a drain on the German economy.*

*[For a good, analytical work on the GDR published before 1989, see: David Childs, The GDR: Moscow’s German Ally, London, 1983. For a post-1989 survey, see sections on the GDR in: R.J. Crampton, Eastern Europe in the Twentieth Century. For new documents on the Berlin crisis of 1963, when Khrushchev demanded that Berlin be made a Free City, and on the Berlin Wall crisis of 1966-62, see: "New Evidence on the Berlin Crisis 1958-1962," CWIHP, Bulletin issue 11,Winter 1998, pp. 200-229].

III. The Balkans 1950-1980.

Yugoslavia was a special case, but it shared some common characteristics with Albania, Bulgaria and Romania:

(i) power was held by communist leaders who became dictators;
(ii) the economy suffered with the imposition of the Stalinist economic model, although Yugoslavia dropped much of it after 1948.

Of course, each country also had its own distinctive communist characteristics, although Bulgaria usually copied the USSR

1. Yugoslavia.

a. Economics

After the split with the USSR in 1948, Tito allowed the de-collectivization of agriculture and established "workers’ management" in the factories. This seemed to work for a while, but in reality directors soon had more to say than workers.

In the 1960s, Yugoslav citizens began to work in the West, most in West Germany. They sent their savings home to invest in the land, or came back to do so. This was the most important source of informal "foreign aid," in the period 1960-75. (These were much like the savings East European immigrants sent from the United States to their folks in the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the years 1885-1914.)
Another important source of revenue was the tourist trade along the beautiful Dalmatian coast. West Germans were the most numerous tourists who crowded the hotels in summer and brought in a great deal of money. However, the West European recession of the mid to late 1970s limited all these sources of income, which was a very hard blow for the Yugoslav economy.

b. Politics

There were changes in the political life of the country. The Communist Party of Yugoslavia was transformed into the "League of Communists of Yugoslavia" (LCY), which was supposed to guide the country’s development, not dictate it. However, Tito retained control over the party and the media and would not tolerate any serious criticism, not even from, Milovan Djilas (1911-1997), who had been his right hand during the war.

[from E.Raymond and John S.Martin. A Picture History of Eastern Europe, New York, 1972].

Djilas, once an idealistic communist, became a sharp critic of the communist system in Yugoslavia, which was far from the ideals he had fought for. His criticism brought him condemnation from Tito and other party leaders and in 1954, he was subjected to a trial before the Central Committee of the League of Yugoslav communists. He was stripped of his party posts and imprisoned, but emerged unbroken.*

*[See: "Tried by the Party," in: Lyman H. Legters, ed., Eastern Europe. Transformation and Revolution 1945-1991. Documents and Analyses, Lexington, Mass, Toronto, 1992, pp. 85-96;

In his first book, The New Class (New York, 1957),** he pointed out that the communists had established a new managerial class which ruled over the rest of the population. Tito imprisoned him for this book, but allowed him to write in prison and, after his release, allowed him to travel abroad. But Djilas went further. He published another book: The Unperfect Society. Beyond the New Class (New York, 1969). Once more, he had to spend time in jail.

**for excerpts, see: Gale Stokes, From Stalinism to Pluralism , 2nd rev. ed., pp. 101-106].

There were also Marxist critics of established communism. Like the Polish philosopher, Leszek Kolakowski in the late 1950s and 1960s, the Czech philosophers in the early 1960s and Hungarian Marxist thinkers, so too Marxist philosophers at Belgrade University looked back to the young Karl Marx and his humanistic writings, contrasting them with the fossilized dogma of communist parties in power. They published a journal, Praxis, from 1964 to 1974, when it was finally closed down.*

*[see: Legters, ed., Eastern Europe...1945-1991, pp.97-101, also Gale Stokes, From Stalinism to Pluralism, 2nd ed., 1996, "The Praxis Group," pp. 115-121]. .

The philosophers’ attempts to humanize Marxism came to naught, but they demonstrated on a philosophical level what many people felt - that institutionalized Marxism as practiced by the communist parties in power was far removed from the ideals they preached. There was, of course, some liberalization in practice, as demonstrated by the "Polish October"’ of 1956, then on a much larger scale, by the "Prague Spring" of 1968. However, the liberalization of the Polish October was curtailed by Gomulka in 1957, while the Prague Spring was crushed by the Warsaw Pact invasion in late August 1968. Hungary, after the crushing of the 1956 revolution, enjoyed a controlled economic and cultural liberalization under Kadar from 1961 onward.

National-Ethnic Conflicts in Yugoslavia.

The major problem in Yugoslavia was not opposition to Tito, but the simmering ethnic/national conflicts which had burst out with full force during World War II, although they were swept under the carpet by communism. The sharpest conflict was between the Serbs and Croats. The latter greatly resented Serbian dominance, exercised through the Yugoslav Communist Party and then the LCY, just as they had resented centralized Serbian rule in the interwar period.
The Slovenes also resented Serb control. Both peoples were preponderantly Roman Catholic and always had a higher standard of living than Serbia, Montenegro and Macedonia. They resented having to pay for the economic development of these poorer regions of Yugoslavia.

Tito tried to moderate national disputes and hostilities by giving the republics more say in running their own affairs. However, this only entrenched local communist party bosses.

In 1968, he went much further. He recognized the "Moslem nationality" in Bosnia-Herzegovina. He also granted autonomous status to Voevodina, which had a significant Hungarian minority, and to the Kosovo region which was predominantly Albanian.

The new 1974 constitution gave these autonomous regions more or less the same rights as the republics. It also established a revolving Presidency among the six republics. The LCY was supposed to hold the country together, but the republics and autonomous regions grew more independent. This was greatly resented by the Serbs, who were accustomed to running the whole country. They blamed Tito for taking this away from them.

In March 1981, Serb disturbances broke out in Kosovo, supposedly due to "Albanian Nationalism,." but really due to Kosovar Albanian predominance in all spheres of public life since 1968. In any case, they made up 80% of the population. This predominance provoked a Serbian backlash which led to more unrest and clashes throughout the decade.* These clashes would escalate into a local war in 1998, then Serbian attacks on the Albanian population and NATO intervention in spring-summer 1999.

*[See: Viktor Meier, "Yugoslavia’s National Question," reprinted in Legters, Eastern Europe,...1945-1991, pp.102-114. For earlier accounts of the national problem, see Lecture Notes no.14B; for later, see no. 19; for a detailed study of Kosovo, see: Miranda Vickers, Serb and Albanian. Kosovo. A History, New York, 1998].

When Tito died in 1980, Yugoslavia was riven by severe national tensions and economic problems. It was to plunge into turmoil in 1987-88, while the collapse of communism led to the independence of the constituent republics, civil war in 1991-95, and the disintegration of the mulltinational Yugoslav state.*

*[For general surveys of postwar Yugoslavia up to 1980, see: Barbara Jelavich, History of the Balkans. Twentieth Century, Cambridge, England, 1983 and reprints, ch. 9; for this period and later, see also sections on countries in R.J. Crampton, Eastern Europe in the Twenieth Century, London and New York, 1994, pp.308-311, 350-51. For an excellent, detailed study see: John R. Lampe, Yugoslavia. Twice There was a Country, 2nd ed., Cambridge, 2000; see also bibliography at the end of these Lecture Notes].

2. Romania.

Gheorghe Gheorghiu Dej (1901-1965) was the most prominent Romanian communist leader until his death. He defeated the Moscow-trained communists who had returned in 1944-45, was Prime Minister in 1953-55, and President in 1961-65. He has been well described as "a stalinist at home and a titoist abroad,"* for he was ruthless in repressing political enemies of any kind while, at the same time, striving to preserve some independence from the USSR.

*[R.J. Crampton, Eastern Europe in the Twentieth Century, p. 311].

Gheorghiu Dej prevented any contact between Transylvanian Hungarians in Romania and their brethren in Hungary during the 1956 revolution, and this may have inclined Khrushchev to withdraw Soviet troops from Romania in 1958. However, this encouraged Dej to oppose the Soviet directive that Romania specialize in extracting and exporting raw materials, also producing food within the framework of the Comecon (Council for Economic Cooperation, the East European version of the European Common Market, but it didn't work).

Dej, like most communist leaders, believed that no country could be communist without developing heavy industry, so he began constructing a great metallurgical complex in Galati. In doing this, he went against the Comecon project in which Romania was to provide food and oil for the other Soviet bloc countries.

He also believed in the "national path to communism." He made this clear in April 1964 in "A Statement on the Stand of the Romanian Workers’ Party concerning the Problems of the World Communist and the Working Class Movement," which declared:

...It is up to every marxist-leninist party, it is the sovereign right of each socialist state to elaborate, choose or change the forms and methods of socialist construction.

There does not and cannot exist a ‘parent’ and a ‘son’ party, or ‘superior’ parties and ‘subordinate’ parties...No party has, or can have, a privileged place, or can impose its line and opinions on other parties. *

*[ Cit: Crampton, Eastern Europe, p. 313].

Furthermore, in the same year, 1964, the Romanian party allowed the publication, of Karl Marx’s Notes on the Romanians, in which the father of Marxism attacked the 1812. Russian annexation of Bessarabia (now Moldova).* Naturally, Romanians saw this as a condemnation of the Soviet annexation of this territory in 1940 and again in 1945.

*[Crampton, ibid.]

Nicolae Ceausescu


(photographs from: A History of Romania, edited by Kurt Treptow, Iasi, 1997).

Romania under Ceausescu.

Gheorghiu Dej’s successor, Nicolae Ceausescu (1918-1989), who came to power in 1965, carried on Dej's policies of industrialization and independence of the USSR, plus some "mediation" attempts between the USSR and Red China. He did not, like other Soviet bloc states, break off diplomatic relations with Israel after the "The Seven Days War" of 1967. He also established relations with the German Federal Republic that same year. He emphasized Romanian nationalism and renamed the party as the Romanian Communist Party (1965). He continued his predecessor’s policy of "national reconciliation," implemented by Dej  with an "amnesty" for political prisoners carried out in 1962-64.
What is more, he allowed a "cultural thaw" by resuming cultural-educational contacts with the West, giving more freedom to historians and allowing the reprint of the works of the great historian Nicolae Iorga (1871-1940).

In economic policy, Ceausescu continued the development of the metallurgical complex in Galati, but went much further. He dreamed of making Romania an exporter of heavy machinery, although the country did not have the raw materials to do so. He borrowed investment capital where he could, in both East and West, and put 50% of total national investment in heavy industry. He continued this policy in 1970-89. It  starved agriculture of investment, while producing low quality industrial goods that could only be sold in Africa and Asia.

Ceausescu wanted to play a role on the international scene. After establishing diplomatic relations with Israel and West Germany in 1967, he refused to participate in Warsaw Pact maneuvers, and in the 1968 WP invasion of Czechoslovakia, which he condemned (because he did not want to see any kind of outside intervention in Romania.). At this time, he not only reached the peak of his popularity in Romania but also became the favorite communist son in the West. British Prime Minister Harold Wilson and French President Charles de Gaulle visited Bucharest, followed by U.S. President Richard M. Nixon in summer 1969. Romania joined GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade) in 1971, and created a joint Romanian-Western company with 51% Romanian capital.

Unfortunately, these excellent beginnings did not lead to economic-cultural improvement because of Ceausescu’s determination to make Romania an industrial power and himself a dictator in every sphere of life. He refused to slow down industrialization, as advised by Prime Minister Ion Gheorghe Maurer. Instead, his 1971 visits to China and North Korea, particularly the latter, strengthened his determination. At the same time, he renewed the repression of cultural-economic life. He expressed his views in the "Theses of July 1971," which announced more state control over artistic-cultural activities. He also rotated party-state positions to make sure no one became entrenched and could thus oppose him. In 1973, his wife Elena became a member of the Central Committee and soon became a dictator in the sciences, though her knowledge in this field was very limited.

In 1974, Ceausescu made himself head of State as President of Romania. He also began placing relatives in key state-party posts. This led to the Romanian joke that "Stalin built socialism in one country, the USSR; Ceausescu is doing this in one family." He also allowed the development of a sickening personality cult in which he was called "the genius of the Carpathians" and "Conducator" (Fuehrer). At the same time, he continued to push his industrialization plans at the expense of the rest of the economy while incurring a foreign debt of almost $10 billion by 1980. A serious food crisis began in 1975, when agricultural decline became critical. Agriculture was starved of investment; it was also hampered more and more by tight government regulations, and the situation was made even worse by great floods in 1970 and 1975. All this led to food rationing.

Ceausescu prevented peasants from moving to the cities. He ordered the destruction of old villages - many of them in the Hungarian regions of Transylvania - replacing peasant huts with apartment blocs. These were supposed to be an improvement on the old housing - but they generally lacked indoor plumbing and elevators.
Furthermore, he destroyed part of old Bucharest to build a garish "Palace of the People" for himself.

Another Ceausescu policy was the prohibition of abortion. This was not the result of his belief in "the right to life" -- it was to provide more workers for  industrialization. Women had to endure regular health checks to make sure they did not have abortions. The result was thousands of unwanted children in Romania’s underfunded, appalling orphanages, something not known to the outside world until after the collapse of the Romanian dictatorship in late December 1989. (See Lecture 19).

Food shortages and low wages sparked unrest.In August 1977, 30,000 miners went on strike in the Jiu Valley. Ceausescu went personally to the area, promised to meet all their demands -  and then subjected the miners to brutal reprisals. It was not surprising that the spring of 1979 saw the appearance of "The Free Union of the Romanian Working People" with branches in Transylvania, the Banat, and Wallachia. It had about 2,000 members and was led by Dr. Ionel Cana, Gheorghe Brasoveanu, and a priest, Father Gheorghe Calciu-Dumitraesa. Like the Polish KOR (Committee for Defense of Workers' Rights, fall 1979), they called for workers’ rights, including the right of free association. However, Ceausescu had the leaders arrested and the movement collapsed after a few weeks. Still, unrest continued; it was expressed by fires and explosions set up by dissatisfied workers in large industrial plants in the years 1974-81.

Ceausescu’s repression in the realm of culture led to signs of dissidence among the intellectuals. In 1971, Nicolae Breban, a member of the Central Committee and editor of the journal Romania Literara (Literary Romania), attacked Party intervention in culture. He was expelled from the Central Committee and lost his editorial job. In February-March 1977, about 200 people joined the "Goma Movement," named after its initiator, Paul Goma. This was really a campaign of open letters to Romanian leaders or/and international organizations, criticizing government policy. The key dissidents were Mihai Botez, Nicolae Breban, Ionel Cana, Doina Cornea, Mircea Dinescu, Radu Filipescu, Paul Goma, Gheorghe Parashiv, Andrei Plesu, and Dumitru Tepeneag. Ethnic Hungarians also protested the discrimination to which they were subjected.

The country, although suffering under Ceausescu’s economic and cultural policies, could nevertheless take pride in the 14 year old gymanastic prodigy, Nadia Comaneci, who won perfect 10.00 scores at the Olympic Games in Montreal, Canada, in 1976. (Some years later, she chose freedom in the United States).*

*[ For a history of Romania in the years 1950-80, see: A History of Romania, edited by Kurt Treptow, Iasi, 1997, pp. 519-548.].

3. Bulgaria.

This country’s communist leaders always copied developments in the USSR. Stalin’s death in early March 1953, did not seem to affect the brutal Bulgarian Stalinist Vulko Chervenkov (1900-198; First Secretary of the Party 1950-56; Premier1956-61). However, in 1953 tobacco workers went on strike at Plovdiv; there was a revolt in East Berlin; and Moscow announced a "new course," which was implemented to the fullest extent by Imre Nagy in Hungary until his dismissal in 1955.

Bulgaria soon changed course too. Relations improved with Greece and Yugoslavia. Bulgaria became a member of the United Nations in 1955, but also of the Warsaw Pact. At home, more was invested in agriculture and consumer goods. What is more, the terror lessened, the police were less active, and many thousands were released from prisons and labor camps. (This was, of course, already happening in the USSR, where NKVD head Lavrenty P. Beria ,1899-1953, began the process, but was executed in the power struggle that followed Stalin’s death. Khrushchev continued the releases).
At the same time, many Soviet "advisers" left the country for home and the "joint-stock companies" which Moscow used to exploit Bulgaria, were dissolved. (The same occurred in Hungary and Romania).

In March 1954, Chervenkov resigned as party head and was succeeded by Todor Zhivkov (1911-1997), who was to hold power for thirty-five years (1954 -1989), a record which beat even Janos Kadar’s tenure in Hungary (1956-1988).

(from: R.J. Crampton, A Concise History of Bulgaria, Cambridge, England, 1997)

After Khrushchev’s first attack on Stalinism and on the Stalin personality cult in February 1956, Zhivkov duly followed suit, using it for his own ends. In April, he denounced the Chervenkov "personality cult," and the old leader resigned from the Premiership.  (He retired from public life in 1961 after Khrushchev’s second attack on Stalinism that year). There was a brief "thaw," but it came to an end with the Hungarian revolution.
In agriculture, Zhivkov’s 1960 "Theses" led to mergers of existing farms into huge conglomerates. (Compare with Khrushchev’s failed plan for "Agrocities"in the USSR in the 1950s, and Mao Ze-Dong’s catastrophic "Great Leap" of 1956-59).

At the same time, Zhivkov wanted to make Bulgaria an industrial power. The 1960 targets soon proved unrealistic and were abandoned in 1963, but in the meanwhile agriculture suffered great losses. Indeed, the situation was so bad that grain had to be imported from the United States -- after Khrushchev did the same for the USSR.

A power struggle was waged between Zhivkov and Anton Yugov, who had succeeded Chervenkov as Premier in 1954, but Zhivkov managed to win Khrushchev’s support by a policy of total servility to Moscow; he forced Yugov to retire in November 1962. Two years later, when Khrushchev fell (October 1964), Zhivkov managed to hold on to power after defeating a military conspiracy to overthrow him in 1965.

In that year, 1965, Zhivkov began experimenting with economic reforms along the lines of the Soviet "Liberman Plan," that is, by giving more say to managers of local enterprises and meeting market demands. However, the Prague Spring and its tragic end stopped Bulgarian reforms, as they did in the USSR.

Now the "Fatherland Front" or bogus coalition dominated by the Bulgarian Communist Party (BCP) extended its control - really party control - over every organization and even apartment bloc committees (compare with Castro’s Cuba). The new constitution of 1971 proclaimed that Bulgaria was a "socialist" state in which the leading role was played by the BCP. The State Council was given legislative and executive powers while its chairman - Zhivkov - was to be the head of state. This was, of course, in line with Soviet and East European practice, though in the USSR the two posts were separated in 1964, so Leonid I. Brezhnev (1906-1982) who succeeded Khrushchev as party leader, did not become Soviet head of state until he managed to get around this provision in 1977. In this matter, Bulgaria preceded the Soviet Union, but with Moscow’s assent.

Zhivkov held on to power due to his slavish obedience to each new Soviet ruler. Indeed, it is known that in Khrushchev’s time he twice proposed that Bulgaria be incorporated in the USSR, but was turned down.

In foreign relations, Zhivkov also acted with Soviet blessings. He visited French President Charles de Gaulle in Paris in October 1966, and established diplomatic relations with the German Federal Republic in December 1973. In June 1975, he visited Pope Paul VI (Giovanni Battista Montini, 1897-1978; Pope 1963-1978), after which he allowed the nomination of Uniate (Greek Catholic) bishops in Bulgaria, as well as Catholic pilgrimages from Bulgaria to Rome.

At the same time, Bulgarian doctors, teachers, scientists and engineers went to work in Third World countries - mainly in Muamar al -Qaddafi’s Libya, where they earned much more money than they did at home. Some probably also "helped" maintain close relations between that ruler and Bulgaria’s secret police. Qaddafi (b. Sept. 1942), came to power in Sept. 1969. He ran terrorist training camps, where Ali Agca, the failed assassin of Pope John Paul II, May 1981, received his training(. He is known to have stopped in the Bulgarian capital, Sofia, on his way to Rome).

As is known, two Libyans were involved in the destruction of an American charter plane, full of U.S. servicemen, over Lockerbie Scotland in December 1988. (The case was finally settled with compensation for the victims' families in 2003).

Good relations with western countries did not, however, exclude terror against Zhivkov’s critics and political opponents in the West. Georgi Markov, who publicized details about the Bulgarian political elite was killed by a rycin pellet jabbed into his leg by the sharp tip of an umbrella on Waterloo Bridge, London, in September 1977. Two weeks later, a similar attempt was foiled in Paris against another dissident, Vladimir Kostov. He had unveiled the working of the Bulgarian secret police and Bulgaria’s vassalage to the USSR.

The lack of dissidence in Bulgaria was mainly due to three factors.

(1) There was no independent church to rally the opposition. (As in Russia, the Orthodox Church was part of the system.)
(2) The standard of living was much higher in the late 1970s than in the previous years. This in turn was partly due to Bulgaria’s Comecon industrial specialization of assembling cars and trucks shipped in from the USSR, and the development of a shipbuilding industry. Soon, Bulgaria began to produce magnetic discs and computer parts for other bloc countries.

In agriculture, Zhivkov experimented with Agro-Industrial Complexes (AICs), which focused on a small number of crops and brands of livestock. In the 1970s, the AICs worked quite well, so the food supply improved.

(3) The intelligentsia was reconciled with the regime by the policy or Zhivkov’s daughter, Liudmila Zhivkova (1942-1981). She spent the 1971 academic year in Oxford, became the deputy Chair (1971) and then the Chair (1975) of the committee for art and culture. In 1976, she was put in charge of the media, and in 1980 of the Politburo commission on science, culture, and art.

(from: R.J.Crampton, A Concise History of Bulgaria).

She was popular with the intelligentsia for stressing Bulgarian national history and culture. In particular, in 1981 she organized great celebrations for the 1,300th anniversary of the birth of the Bulgarian state, which was also the date of its conversation to Christianity. What is more, the orthodox saints Cyril and Methodius who brought Christianity to the eastern Slavs, including the Bulgarians, were now declared to have been Bulgarians.* . The celebration gave Bulgarians the rare feeling that at least in religion they were one up on Russia - which was converted in 888. Finally, Zhivkova patronized Bulgarian academics and writers. They all mourned her early death from cancer in 1981, at the age of thirty-nine.**.

*[St.Cyril, approx. 827-869 and St.Methodius, approx. 825-884 actually came from Salonika/Thessaloniki and were probably Slavs because they spoke the Slavic language of the area at the time, as well as Greek. They set out to convert the Slavs, even reaching Moravia. They created the languages known as Church Slavonic with an alphabet, based on Greek, which came to be known as Cyrillic after St. Cyril.]

** see: R.J. Crampton, A Concise History of Bulgaria, Cambridge, England, 1997 and later editions]


Enver Hoxha (1908-1985) was the most powerful man in the country almost from the outset of the postwar period. He had fought for a communist Albania with Yugoslav support, then turned against Tito, accepting first Soviet then Chinese help. The first party leader, Koci-Xoxe was executed as a Yugoslav agent in April 1949.

Hoxha, who led the campaign against him, became First Secretary of the Albanian party in 1954, holding this post until his death in 1985. He implemented a Stalinist type of political-economic system. It is worth noting, that most of the Central Committee members were Tusks (the other people were Ghegs) and clan relatives, so that the Albanian political oligarchy was a Tusk-clan oligarchy.
Hoxha turned against the USSR after the 20th Party Congress. at which Khrushchev attacked Stalinist errors and crimes (though not forced industrialization and collectivization).

Thus it was natural for Albania to line up with Red China when the Sino-Soviet split became evident in late1960. However, by 1970, this relationship began to decline, particularly after President Nixon’s trip to China in 1972, and then the deaths of Mao Ze-dong and Zhou Enlai in 1976, which were followed by a period of economic reform.

Hoxha strove to destroy traditional customs and attitudes in Albania. He supported the employment and rights of women - except for abortion, which was illegal in order to increase the population - and attacked religion. Priests were imprisoned and sometimes killed; many churches and mosques were destroyed, but some were preserved for their historical and artistic value. The government substituted state festivals for religious celebrations. These policies, as well as collectivization, met with strong resistance from the northern Gheg tribes who were mostly Catholic. But the government also sought to reduce patriarchal authority in all tribes; this undertaking was only partially successful.

The most significant progress was made in education. The campaign against illiteracy was so successful that it was practically eliminated by 1970. In the early 1960s every Albanian had to complete 8 years of elementary school. However, students had to engage in a period of physical work before they went on to higher studies. They also had to undergo political education, which condemned revisionism, that is, deviations from the teachings of Marxism-Leninism and Enver Hoxha.

Literature and the arts were kept under tight control, although the outstanding poet and writer Ismail Kadare (b.1936, who lived in France since 1990) managed to evade it in most of his novels. An Albanian film studio was established, and an opera, "Mrika" (name of the heroine) was written to extol the building of a hydro-electric dam. Unapproved literature was banned, including the work of Albania’s greatest poet Father Gjergi Fishta, (1871-1940), who wrote about peasant values and religion.

In April 1980, Hoxha’s closest collaborator and presumed heir, Mehmet Shehu, lost the ministry of defense but retained the premiership. Hoxha now decided that another of his followers, Ramiz Alia, was to succeed him. Shehu was either shot or committed suicide in December 1981. It seems that Hoxha feared his control over the army and police for he carried out purges in these services. Furthermore, Shehu had favored more economic relations with the West. Whatever the case may be, after his death, he was accused in the best Stalinist manner of being an agent of Britain, the U.S., Yugoslavia - and the USSR. This was a distinction not shared with any other East European communist.

(from: Miranda Vickers, The Albanians. A Modern History, London, 1995).

Hoxha died on April 11, 1985, at the age of 76. The official communique cited diabetes, heart problems and possibly a stroke. Miranda Vickers,  the leading western historian of Albania, sums up his reign as follows:

His complex and contradictory personality had forged a unique and lonely path for Albania, and left its imprint on every aspect of Albanian life. Although the country benefitted from improved agriculture, industry, and in particular health and education, such initiatives were overshadowed by a horrific legacy of brutal repression the full story of which has yet to be told. ... Hoxha’s policy of trying to practice ‘socialism in one country’ was totally impractical for Albania. The best he could manage was a policy aimed at mere survival....Hoxha’s regime not only impoverished the economy; it all but destroyed the intellectual life of the country, and far from healing the north-south divisions it actually widened the gulf between the Gheg and Tusk regions. Hoxha will be bitterly remembered for all these things within Albania, but internationally he will be recalled primarily for the violent, ruthless nationalism with which he defied Tito, Khrushchev and then Mao...* *[Miranda Vickers, The Albanians. A Modern History, London, 1995, paperback, 1997, p.209].

5. Greece.

Greece was, of course, the only East European country which did not come under communist rule, and that is why it has received little attention in this course in the postwar period, except for the civil war 1946-49, which ended with communist defeat due first to British and then U.S. support of the anti-communists.

The country experienced a series of political ups and downs, although its governments were democratic except for a brief period of military dictatorship in the years 1967-74. The monarchy, restored in 1944, fell after a plebiscite in 1973. The country underwent great demographic changes due to massive emigration to the U.S., and internal migration from the countryside to the cities. Economic prosperity increased over the years, and included a few millionaires led by the shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis (1900-1975), but there is still much poverty, especially in the countryside, and Greece trails western Europe in per capita income.

Greece’s major importance in international affairs was as a NATO ally, but it feuded with another NATO member, Turkey, over Cyprus. As noted earlier (Lecture Notes 10A), the administration of this island - laying just 200 miles off the coast of south-western Turkey - had been taken over by Britain from the Ottoman Empire in 1878 (Congress of Berlin). It then became a key British naval base in the Mediterranean, and was annexed by Britain in World War I.

In 1950, 80% of the island’s population was Greek and 20% was Turkish. The two nationalities lived separately in their own communities. The Greek population, like that of Greece itself, wanted "Enosis," that is, union with Greece. Turkey, however, feared for the fate of the Turkish population and did not want a Greek outpost so close to its shores.
In 1959, a united Cypriot state under the Greek archbishop Mikhail K.M. Makarios III (1913-1977) was established against the wishes of the Greek population and of Greece.
In 1960, Cyprus gained independence from Britain, though the latter retained its naval bases.
Four years later, a U.N. peacekeeping force was installed on the island. A series of crises followed, the most serious being the fighting in 1967-74. during which the Turkish armed forces intervened to help their people.
In 1974, the island was divided into Greek and Turkish parts. The Turkish part proclaimed itself a state but was recognized only by Turkey; it proclaimed itself a Republic in 1983, but again, was recognized only by Turkey. A precarious stability has existed since then, but U.N. sponsored peace talks collapsed in 1992.
In 1999, there were reports of the Greek government purchasing Soviet missiles to arm the Greek Cypriots. Thus Cyprus remains a highly contentious issue between two NATO allies, Greece and Turkey. *

*[For a survey of Greek history from 1945 to 1980, see: Barbara Jelavich, History of the Balkans. Twentieth Century, Cambridge, England, 1983 and reprints, ch. 10, The Greek Alternative; see also: Dimitri Constas, ed., The Greek-Turkish Conflict in the 1990s: domestic and external influences, London, 1991].


Recommended Reading for Papers, Book Reports, and personal interest (not listing most of the surveys mentioned in notes in the text).

I. East Central Europe (except for Poland, for which see Lecture Notes 18A)..

(1) Czechoslovakia.

Vaclav Havel et al, The Power of the Powerless. Citizens against the State in Central-Eastern Europe, edited by John Keane, M.E. Sharpe, Inc., Armonk, N.Y., n.d. (Published simultaneously in: International Journal of Politics, vol. XV, no. 3-4; this volume includes essays by other Czechoslovak dissidents).

Vaclav Havel, Disturbing the Peace. A Conversation with Karel Hvizdala, New York, 1990 (A self-portrait, memoir, and meditations on culture, including comments on his own works, transmitted by Havel in letters to and telephone conversations with a Czech journalist living in West Germany).

Eva Kriseova, Vaclav Havel. The Authorized Biography, New York, 1993.

John Keane, Vaclav Havel. A Political Tragedy, London, 1999 (criticial of Havel after 1989).

The Politics of Culture, (edited) by Antonin J. Liehm with Jean-Paul Sartre's essay: "The Socialism that Came in From the Cold," Grove Press, New York, 1970. (Collection of writings by the supporters of the Prague Spring, now dissidents).

Marketa Goetz-Stankiewicz, ed., Good-bye Samizdat, Twenty Years of Czechoslovak Underground Writing,Evanston, IL., 1992.(Samizdat writings).

H. Gordon Skilling, Charter 77 and Human Rights in Czechoslo-vakia, London, Allen & Unwin, 1981. (By an eminent Canadian specialist on Czechoslovakia).

H. Gordon Skilling, Samizdat and an Independent Society in Central and Eastern Europe, Ohio State University Press, Columbus, Ohio, 1989. (Information and analysis of samizdat in the region, including the USSR)..

(2) Hungary.

Peter D. Bell, Peasants in Socialist Transition. Life in a Collectivized Hungarian Village, University of California Press, Berkeley, 1984 (an anthropological treatment; for an economic-social study see Szelenyi, below).

Charles Gati, Hungary and the Soviet Bloc, Duke University, Duke, N.C., 1988. (The best overall account of Hungary from 1944 to 1987).

George Konrad, Antipolitics, New York, 1984.

Miklos Haraszti, A Worker in a Worker's State, 1973.(Shows the bad working conditions in a Budapest factory, where the writer spent worked for one year).

Miklos Haraszti, The Velvet Prison. Artists under State Socialism, The Noonday Press, Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, New York, 1989 (An exposure of the comfortable coexistence of most Hungarian artists with the Kadar regime)..

Janos Kenedi, Do It Yourself. Hungary's Hidden Economy, Pluto Press, London, 1981 (A personal account of how money could be made in Hungary at that time).

George Konrad, Antipolitics, Henry Holt and Co., New York, 1984 (an essay by a prominent Hungarian dissident, much on the lines of KOR and Charter 77 thinking about non-violent resistance to the communist state).

Paul Lendvai, Hungary. The Art of Survival,I.B. Tauris Publishers, London, 1988. (A lively book on Hungarian history and economic problems by a dissident 1iving in the West since 1958).

Bill Lomax, "Hungary, The Rise of the Democratic Opposition," Labour Focus on Eastern Europe, 5, no. 3-4, Summer 1982, pp. 2-7.

George Schopflin, "Opposition and Para-Opposition: Critical Currents in Hungary, 1968-78," in: Rudolf L. Tokes, ed., Opposition in Eastern Europe, London, 1979, ch. 5.

Ivan Szelenyi, Socialist Entrepreneurs. Embourgeoisement in Rural Hungary, University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, Wisc., 1988 (by a Hungarian emigre dissident, Distinguished Professor of Sociology at the Graduate School, City University of New York).

3.TheGerman Democratic Republic.

A. James McAdams, East Germany and Detente. Building Authority after the Wall, Cambridge, England, 1985 (analysis of German-Soviet Relations).

Henry Krisch, The German Democratic Republic: the search for identity, Boulder, CO., 1985.

Norman Naimark, The Russians in Germany. A History of the Soviet Zone of Occupation, 1945-1949,Cambridge, Mass., London, England, 1995 (shows the policies and actions of the Soviet occupation forces in the light of newly accessible Russian documents).

II.The Balkans.


Sabrina P. Ramet, Nihil Obstat. Religion, Politics, and Social Change in East- Central Europe and Russia, Durham N.C. and London, 1998 (especially good on the Balkans).

1. Yugoslavia.

Ivo Banac, The National Question in Yugoslavia. Origins, History, Politics, Ithaca and London, 1984, 2nd ed., 1988 (excellent study of the roots and development of the national question, especially in the interwar period).

Nora Beloff, Tito’s Flawed Legacy: Yugoslavia and the West, 1939 to 1984, London, 1985 (very critical of Tito).

John R. Lampe, Yugoslavia. Twice there was a Country, 2d ed., Cambridge, 2000.

Sabrina P. Ramet, Nationalism and Federalism in Yugoslavia,1962-1991, Bloomington, IN., 2 ed., 1992.(a study of the late Tito and post-Tito period).


Mary Ellen Fischer, Nicolae Ceausescu: A Study in Political Leadership, Boulder, CO., 1989.

Stephen Fischer-Galati, Twentieth Century Romania, 2nd ed., New York, 1991.

3. Bulgaria.

J.F. Brown, Bulgaria under Communist Rule, London, 1970.

John R. Lampe, The Bulgarian Economy in the Twentieth Century, London, 1986.

Georgi Markov, The Truth that Killed, London, 1983 (his dangerous knowledge about the party elite).

Robert J. McIntyre, Bulgaria. Politics, Economics and Society, London and New York, 1988 (a rather favorable assessment).

Ludmilla Zhivkova and her Many Worlds, Oxford, 1982.

3. Albania.

Vladimir Dedijer, Yugoslav-Albanian Relations, 1939-1948, Belgrade, 1984 (the war
and early postwar years of the relationship from a Yugoslav perspective).

William Griffiths, Albania and the Sino-Soviet Rift, Cambridge, Mass., 1963 (needs to be updated with documents on the rift, see: "More Evidence on the Cold War in Asia," Cold War International History Project, Bulletin, issues 8-9, Washington, D.C.,Winter 1996-1997.

Miranda Vickers, The Albanians. A Modern History, London, 1995; paperback, 1997.