"May short nights, having died down, ended the battles." And the peoples of Europe were to live in the conditions of a new political reality. Very soon, there was a smell of a serious conflict between yesterday’s allies, in the West, there was talk that Stalin was ready to pursue a “salami policy”, slicing up all new fatty pieces from Europe. In reality, of course, everything was different. The leader of the USSR has always been a fan of a highly realistic policy, realizing that his main task is to keep what has been achieved and to rebuild a destroyed country. Meanwhile, the Communists, who were “on the other side” of the Soviet army, did not give up hopes for a socialist revolution.
The Second World War was still in full swing when Stalin met with the leader of the French Communist Party (PCF), Maurice Thorez. This happened on November 19 1944 of the year. Then the leader gently but unequivocally criticized the French comrades for inappropriate ambitions and dashing bravado. The French Communists were then "on horseback", reasonably proud of their avant-garde role in resisting Nazism. They hoped to preserve their own armed formations, using them later in the struggle for the revolution. However, Stalin strongly advised to give weapon and engage in peaceful construction. According to the leader, it was necessary to prevent clashes with Charles de Gaulle and actively participate in the restoration of the French military industry and the armed forces. Thus, the PCF will quickly and reliably win the hearts of the majority of the French, for whom the most important event was the acquisition of national independence.
The authority of Stalin was great, and the PCF for some time kept his instructions. However, the “revolutionary” temptation turned out to be too great, and on May 4 of 1947, the Communist faction voted against the policies of Paul Ramadier’s government, which included representatives of the Communist Party itself. Then the prime minister quite logically accused the communists of violating the principle of government solidarity, after which they lost important ministerial portfolios and, accordingly, the ability to directly influence the course of the government. This is done slyly, without any coordination with the Kremlin. And, of course, he answered the “revolutionaries” with an irritated telegram from A. A. Zhdanov: “Many people think that the French Communists coordinated their actions with the Central Committee of the CPSU (B.). You yourself know that it is not true that for the Central Committee of the CPSU (b) the steps you took were a complete surprise. ” On this occasion, the historian M. M. Narinsky concluded: “In general, the documents that became available confirm that Stalin was an activist of geopolitical thinking - territories, borders, spheres of influence, the Communist Party of Western countries acted as instruments of Soviet politics, as peculiar and specific participants of the flare-up cold war. There was no question of any seizure of power by them by force. ” (“I. V. Stalin and M. Torez. 1944-1947. New Materials”)
The French and Italian communists disarmed, following the insistent recommendations of the leader. And it saved them from a bloody confrontation with conservative and nationalist forces, as well as with the Anglo-Americans, ready to do anything to prevent the Communists from entering the West of Europe, for the zone of influence outlined by the bayonets of the Soviet army. But in Greece, the local Communist Party overestimated its strength and entered into a tough confrontation with the right-wing, monarchists, enjoying the support of the United States and England. But they were represented by 6 ministers in the government and could lead a successful peaceful struggle for power and influence (the KNG consisted of 430 thousands of members). Stalin warned the communists of Greece against confrontation with the government. But they insisted on their own, as a result of which they had to give support, which, however, did not help. At first, the right was supported by the British armed forces stationed in Greece, and then they were directly armed and trained by the Americans. In 1945-1946, the Communists had the opportunity to lay down their arms and take part in the general election, but, first agreeing, they did not go for it. The bloody, protracted war ended in the defeat of the Democratic Army of Greece (DAG), and the country itself firmly found itself in the orbit of the United States and NATO, and there was no legal force that could withstand it - the Communists defeated and banned. Their ambitions were still those. In 1947, KPG General Secretary Nikos Zachariadis wrote to Stalin that when DAG was victorious, there would be a government of national unity in Greece, independent of both the Kremlin and London.
Stalin led a completely realistic policy towards Germany. The leader was ready to abandon the idea of building socialism in the eastern zone of occupation (the future GDR) and proposed to the West to create a united and neutral Germany (such, for example, was post-war Finland). In March-April, 1947, at a meeting of four foreign ministers (USSR, USA, Britain, France), V. M. Molotov showed himself a decisive advocate of maintaining the unity of Germany. He even proposed to make the provisions of the constitution of the Weimar Republic the basis for its state-building, which indicates the absence of at least some ideocratic approach to solving the “German question”.
Stalin urged the West German Communists to abandon the word “communist” in the name of their party and to unite with the Social Democrats. And this is despite the fact that the leader didn’t really like social democracy in all its manifestations. In the countries of Eastern Europe, the Communists also united with the Social Democrats, but this unification was aimed at ensuring the predominance of the Communists themselves. And in West Germany, controlled by capitalist countries, the Communists were much weaker than the Social Democrats, and unification could lead to completely unpredictable results. And nevertheless, Stalin was ready to risk the West German Communist Party for the sake of uniting the German lands. (It is significant that in the western zones of the occupation, the local authorities forbade the Communists to change their name. They even forbade joint activities of the Communists and the Social Democrats.)
Stalin, on the contrary, allowed the possibility of resuming the activities of the Social Democrats in East Germany - as an independent force. Earlier there was a merger of the Communists and the Social Democrats into one, the Socialist Unified Party of Germany (SED). But already on January 30, 1947, at a meeting with the leaders of the SED, Stalin proposed to think about the idea of rebuilding the Social Democratic Party, without destroying, at the same time, the SED. By this he hoped to strengthen the confidence of the Germans, many of whom still continued to share the ideas of the Social Democrats. To the surprised question of the leaders of the SED about how to maintain the unity of their party, Stalin reasonably advised him to pay more attention to propaganda and agitation. Sometimes Stalin was forced to restrain the leftist bends inherent in some of the leaders of the SED. In the leadership of this party, many leaders did not want to reunite with West Germany, realizing that after unification, their power would be severely limited. In the spring of 1947, SED Vice-Chairman Walter Ulbricht spoke out against participating in the all-German meeting of presidential ministers of all German states. I had to make recommendations again - in favor of participation.
Stalin let loose on communism of Finland, the threat of which was quite a real one. The local Communists occupied a number of key posts, including the post of Minister of the Interior, and were already beginning to think about seizing power in its entirety. But another deterrent recommendation came from Moscow - to stop “revolutionary activity”.
Stalin did not immediately go to the establishment of communist regimes in the countries of Eastern Europe. At first, he believed that a special type of democracy would arise there, which would differ from both the Soviet and Western models. Stalin hoped that the socialist transformations in these countries would take place without liquidating the middle and small owners. In May, 1946 at a meeting with Polish leaders, the leader said: “The system established in Poland is democracy, this is a new type of democracy. He has no precedent. Neither Belgian, nor English, nor French democracy can be taken by you as an example and sample ... The democracy that you have established in Poland, in Yugoslavia and partly in Czechoslovakia is democracy that brings you closer to socialism without the need to establish the dictatorship of the proletariat and the Soviet building up ... You do not need the dictatorship of the proletariat because in the present conditions, when large-scale industry is nationalized and classes of big capitalists and landlords have disappeared from the political arena, it is enough to create growing mode in industry, raising it, lowering prices and giving people more consumer goods ... ”Stalin was convinced that democracy could become popular, national and social then when the largest bourgeoisie was eliminated, turning“ free elections ”into a farce, based on bribing politicians and voters.
However, the West went to confrontation with the USSR, and many non-socialist politicians in Eastern Europe chose a purely pro-Western orientation. This prompted Stalin to establish a monopoly of the communist parties. In addition, there were many fans to push the Soviet leadership to tighten policy. Thus, the leader of the Hungarian communists, Matthias Rakosi, in April 1947 of the year told Molotov about another open “conspiracy of counterrevolutionaries” and complained: “It’s a pity that the conspirators didn’t have warehouses with weapons, then they could more strongly expose them ... We want to crush the reaction and put back question of conspiracy. Now we know more than 1500 fascists ... They are racists, professors, representatives of the intelligentsia. We have to remove them. ” It is significant that Molotov himself tried to reason with Rakosi, expressing skepticism regarding his leftism: “So, most of the Hungarian intelligentsia is involved in a conspiracy?” If you go against the entire Hungarian intelligentsia, it will be difficult for you. "
Stalin’s stance on “independence”, taken by some communist leaders in Eastern Europe, also contributed to the tightening of Stalin’s position. In the first place here, of course, was Josip Broz Tito, who managed to tear Yugoslavia from the USSR. Moreover, which is typical, at first the leader of the Yugoslav communists in every way exhibited himself as a staunch Leninist and supporter of the immediate Bolshevization of Yugoslavia. So, already in 1945, they were told that the country "is firmly marching along the path of socialist development." By 1946, all non-communist parties were banned or completely under the control of the communists. A senior functionary of the Communist Party B. Zyherl assured: “The word“ party ”in Yugoslavia has the same meaning as in the USSR: the people in it mean exclusively the Communist Party. The Communist Party firmly holds all the commanding positions in the army, in the state security apparatus, in the national economy apparatus, in trade unions and other mass organizations ... Sooner or later, the Popular Front stage will have to be crossed and the creation of a single party of working people will take place ... ”. Later, Tito will try to create a model of self-governing socialism and introduce elements of a market economy. But at first he behaved like a die-hard fanatic. By the way, during the beginning of the discussion with Moscow, which led to a rupture, the Yugoslav Communist Titoists strongly cursed the USSR for the revival of "great-power Russian chauvinism." (Their special anger caused the celebration of the 800 anniversary of the founding of Moscow.) Although, of course, the main reason for the gap was the desire of the Yugoslav leader for maximum independence from the Kremlin.
Their “Tito”, albeit on a smaller scale, was in other Eastern European countries of the “people's democracy”. Take, for example, the Secretary General of the Central Committee of the Polish United Workers' Party (PUWP), Vladislav Gomulka. After the war, he in every way resisted the dismantling of industrial enterprises from those areas that were ceded to Poland after the Potsdam Agreement. But it was the USSR who insisted on their transfer! In addition, Gomulka was categorically opposed to the creation of at least some bodies coordinating the activities of the communist parties. But Stalin is just such a body (Kominform) and decided to create - of course, far from such a scale as the Comintern dissolved in 1943, the year.
Todor Kostov, Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers of Bulgaria, spoiled a lot of blood to the Soviet leadership. Thus, during the trade negotiations with the USSR, he categorically refused to disclose the cost of prices for Bulgarian products, having a clear desire simply to inflate Soviet comrades. And the Hungarian Minister of the Interior Laszlo Raik argued with Moscow in every way, sympathized with Tito and even conducted secret talks with his Yugoslav counterpart Alexander Rankovich.
The fronde of the independent communists threatened to escalate into an open rebellion against Moscow - according to the Yugoslav scenario. It was impossible to admit this, it was necessary to “clean out” the front-fighters, which was difficult enough because of their popularity. And then Stalin was unexpectedly helped by the genius of American intelligence, Allen Dulles, who proposed to the US leadership to discredit the independent communists. He believed that the elimination of popular leaders would cause discontent among the masses and communist regimes would be weakened. He was listened to, and compromising evidence was thrown at Gomulka, Raika and Kostov, for which the Americans used the recruited colonel of the Polish state security, Josef Svadlo. It was he who said “who needs it” (more precisely, L. P. Beria) about a large international conspiracy in which the independent members allegedly participate and which is headed by the American Noel Field. For this "misinformation" happily grabbed, and she really helped in the "sweep" of the Independents, who lost their posts, were expelled from the party and repressed. It would seem that the Dulles plan was realized, but it led to the opposite effect, the communist regimes became more monolithic and pro-Soviet. (Read more in the book. S. Stephen. "Operation" Split ")
The communization of Eastern Europe itself took place in different ways, although the result was the same - the establishment of a political monopoly of the communist parties. It is believed that they managed to achieve this only with the support of Moscow. Indeed, the "Kremlin" factor was very important, there is no reason to argue here. However, a lot of things also meant the ability of communist functionaries to mobilize the broad masses in their support - without this, the establishment of a new government could only occur in a military operation mode, with all the ensuing consequences. The experience of Czechoslovakia is very indicative in this respect, where the Communists and the left-wing Social Democrats allied to them constituted a government minority until February 1948, although the Communist Prime Minister Clement Gottwald was the prime minister. (And the president was Edward Benes, who opposed communism.) Opponents of the Communists from the National Socialist, People’s and Slovak Democratic Parties set out to leave the government so that it would resign. Then it was possible to form a new office, already without Communist Gottwald at the head. In response, the Communists and the left-wing Social Democrats organized powerful demonstrations by workers throughout the country, organized by both party cells and factory councils. The apotheosis of this demonstration of political power was the general strike, in which 2, 5 million workers and employees participated. The right-wing Social Democrats were afraid of losing their positions in the labor movement and refused to leave the government. And the release of a minority of ministers no longer required the mandatory creation of a new cabinet. Thus, the initiative passed to the Communists, who soon threw out their opponents from the government.
Even more difficult was the seizure of power in Hungary. In the elections in November 1945, the “kulak” Smallholders Party (PMSH) won there, the leader of which (Z. Tildy) and headed the government. The Communists received a total of four ministerial portfolios, although important ministries (including the Ministry of Internal Affairs) passed into their hands. PSMH had all the trump cards in its hands, but then its leaders made a big mistake, stating the need to return 30% of land previously confiscated from the landlords. The communists skillfully played on this, deploying a powerful protest movement, accompanied by mass (up to 400 thousands of participants) rallies and processions. After that, a significant part of the peasantry and even the PSMH itself turned towards the Communists. At the same time, the Hungarian Communist Party (VKP) launched a broad movement for the nationalization of industry. And now the initiative has already passed to her.
You can’t throw the words out of the song, during the socialist construction a lot was thoughtlessly copied from the USSR (this process was especially painful in Hungary, which resulted in a powerful 1956 uprising of the year). However, the countries of Eastern Europe retained their specifics. In the GDR, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Bulgaria there existed (albeit under the leadership of the Communists) a multiparty system. By the way, the opposition parliamentary group Znak (Catholics) met in the Polish parliament (Sejm) in 1955-1980.
A rather extensive private sector functioned. In the same Poland in collective farms consisted of a small minority, and the peasants continued to lead private farming. In the GDR, medium and small private enterprises were allowed for a long time. And only in 1972, they, for the most part (11 thousand), were bought out by the state, and their former owners became directors.
There was a place to be and political specificity. And here it is especially interesting to touch on history Romanian times Nicolae Ceausescu, who is considered a hard dictator, persecutor of freedoms and so on. However, few people know that with this "tyrant", quite significant transformations were carried out, to which the majority of countries of the socialist camp were far away. Many write about the workers' self-government, which Tito introduced in Yugoslavia, but he was introduced under Ceausescu. The workers' councils, which are based on meetings of labor collectives, played a crucial role in the activities of Romanian enterprises. The country established the High Council for Socio-Economic Development, which included party and state leaders, eminent scientists, representatives of working groups. It was this council that carried out the compilation of five-year and one-year plans, presented its conclusions and forecasts to the management. In addition, there was a Central Council of workers' control, whose chairman was simultaneously the secretary of the Central Committee of the Romanian Communist Party (RCP). Local committees exercising control of the workers acted on the ground. Much attention was paid to election competition. For one seat in the Grand People’s Assembly and the People’s Councils, several candidates were vying.
It would be wrong to idealize the construction of a socialist Europe begun under Stalin. But it is also wrong to smear it with black paint, reducing everything to violence and dogmatism. After the war in Eastern Europe, a unique formation was created, something like a special civilization. And it is extremely important to thoroughly explore the experience of its creation - from all sides.