Anguish, Anger, and Folkways in Soviet Russia offers original perspectives on the politics of everyday life in the Soviet Union by closely examining the coping mechanisms individuals and leaders alike developed as they grappled with the political, social, and intellectual challenges the system presented before and after World War II. As Gábor T. Rittersporn shows, the “little tactics” people employed in their daily lives not only helped them endure the rigors of life during the Stalin and post-Stalin periods but also strongly influenced the system’s development into the Gorbachev and post-Soviet eras.
For Rittersporn, citizens’ conscious and unreflected actions at all levels of society defined a distinct Soviet universe. Terror, faith, disillusionment, evasion, folk customs, revolt, and confusion about regime goals and the individual’s relation to them were all integral to the development of that universe and the culture it engendered. Through a meticulous reading of primary documents and materials uncovered in numerous archives located in Russia and Germany, Rittersporn identifies three related responses—anguish, anger, and folkways—to the pressures people in all walks of life encountered, and shows how these responses in turn altered the way the system operated.
Rittersporn finds that the leadership generated widespread anguish by its inability to understand and correct the reasons for the system’s persistent political and economic dysfunctions. Rather than locate the sources of these problems in their own presuppositions and administrative methods, leaders attributed them to omnipresent conspiracy and wrecking, which they tried to extirpate through terror.
He shows how the unrelenting pursuit of enemies exacerbated systemic failures and contributed to administrative breakdowns and social dissatisfaction. Anger resulted as the populace reacted to the notable gap between the promise of a self-governing egalitarian society and the actual experience of daily existence under the heavy hand of the party-state. Those who had interiorized systemic values demanded a return to what they took for the original Bolshevik project, while others sought an outlet for their frustrations in destructive or self-destructive behavior.
In reaction to the system's pressure, citizens instinctively developed strategies of noncompliance and accommodation. A detailed examination of these folkways enables Rittersporn to identify and describe the mechanisms and spaces intuitively created by officials and ordinary citizens to evade the regime's dictates or to find a modus vivendi with them. Citizens and officials alike employed folkways to facilitate work, avoid tasks, advance careers, augment their incomes, display loyalty, enjoy life’s pleasures, and simply to survive. Through his research, Rittersporn uncovers a fascinating world consisting of peasant stratagems and subterfuges, underground financial institutions, falsified Supreme Court documents, and associations devoted to peculiar sexual practices.
As Rittersporn shows, popular and elite responses and tactics deepened the regime’s ineffectiveness and set its modernization project off down unintended paths. Trapped in a web of behavioral patterns and social representations that eluded the understanding of both conservatives and reformers, the Soviet system entered a cycle of self-defeat where leaders and led exercised less and less control over the course of events. In the end, a new system emerged that neither the establishment nor the rest of society could foresee.
A new history shows that, despite Marxism’s rejection of money, the ruble was critical to the Soviet Union’s promise of shared prosperity for its citizens.
In spite of Karl Marx’s proclamation that money would become obsolete under Communism, the ruble remained a key feature of Soviet life. In fact, although Western economists typically concluded that money ultimately played a limited role in the Soviet Union, Kristy Ironside argues that money was both more important and more powerful than most histories have recognized. After the Second World War, money was resurrected as an essential tool of Soviet governance. Certainly, its importance was not lost on Soviet leaders, despite official Communist Party dogma. Money, Ironside demonstrates, mediated the relationship between the Soviet state and its citizens and was at the center of both the government’s and the people’s visions for the maturing Communist project. A strong ruble—one that held real value in workers’ hands and served as an effective labor incentive—was seen as essential to the economic growth that would rebuild society and realize Communism’s promised future of abundance.
Ironside shows how Soviet citizens turned to the state to remedy the damage that the ravages of the Second World War had inflicted upon their household economies. From the late 1940s through the early 1960s, progress toward Communism was increasingly measured by the health of its citizens’ personal finances, such as greater purchasing power, higher wages, better pensions, and growing savings. However, the increasing importance of money in Soviet life did not necessarily correlate to improved living standards for Soviet citizens. The Soviet government’s achievements in “raising the people’s material welfare” continued to lag behind the West’s advances during a period of unprecedented affluence. These factors combined to undermine popular support for Soviet power and confidence in the Communist project.
Swearing, drunkenness, promiscuity, playing loud music, brawling—in the Soviet Union these were not merely bad behavior, they were all forms of the crime of "hooliganism." Defined as "rudely violating public order and expressing clear disrespect for society," hooliganism was one of the most common and confusing crimes in the world's first socialist state. Under its shifting, ambiguous, and elastic terms, millions of Soviet citizens were arrested and incarcerated for periods ranging from three days to five years and for everything from swearing at a wife to stabbing a complete stranger.
Hooligans in Khrushchev's Russia offers the first comprehensive study of how Soviet police, prosecutors, judges, and ordinary citizens during the Khrushchev era (1953–64) understood, fought against, or embraced this catch-all category of criminality. Using a wide range of newly opened archival sources, it portrays the Khrushchev period—usually considered as a time of liberalizing reform and reduced repression—as an era of renewed harassment against a wide range of state-defined undesirables and as a time when policing and persecution were expanded to encompass the mundane aspects of everyday life. In an atmosphere of Cold War competition, foreign cultural penetration, and transatlantic anxiety over "rebels without a cause," hooliganism emerged as a vital tool that post-Stalinist elites used to civilize their uncultured working class, confirm their embattled cultural ideals, and create the right-thinking and right-acting socialist society of their dreams.
This book analyses the causes of armed conflicts in Southern Africa during the Cold War. It examines the influence of the various external forces in the region during this period and their relationship to local movements and governments.
The book focuses on states experiencing violent internal conflict and foreign intervention, that is Angola, Mozambique, Namibia , South Africa and Zimbabwe.
The author provides an unique history of the key part that the Soviet Union played in these developments. Spanning 30 years, the book explores how each country struggled for genuine independence against colonialism and apartheid and their place in the wider conflicts encompassed by the Cold War.
One of the greatest ironies of the history of Soviet rule is that, for an officially atheistic state, those in the political police and in the Politburo devoted an enormous amount of time and attention to the question of religion. The Soviet government’s policies toward religious institutions in the USSR, and toward religious institutions in the non-Communist world, reflected this, especially when it came to the Vatican and Catholic Churches, both the Latin and Byzantine Rite, in Soviet territory. The KGB and the Vatican consists of the transcripts of KGB records concerning the policies of the Soviet secret police towards the Vatican and the Catholic Church in the Communist world, transcripts provided by KGB archivist and defector Vasili Mitrokhin, from the Second Vatican Council to the election of John Paul II. Among the topics covered include how the Soviet regime viewed the efforts of John XXIII and Paul VI of reaching out to eastern side of the Iron Curtain, the experience of the Roman Catholic Church in Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic and the underground Greek Catholic Church in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, the religious underground in the key cities of Leningrad and Moscow, and finally the election of John Paul II and its effect on the tumultuous events in Poland in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
This valuable primary source collection also contains a historical introduction written by the translator, Sean Brennan, a professor of History at the University of Scranton.
In 1958, after fourteen years of military occupation, Khrushchev—in an unprecedented act—withdrew the Soviet Union’s troops from Romania as part of a political move intended to encourage the withdrawal of Western military forces from Europe. In analyzing this crucial historic episode, Sergiu Verona’s comprehensive study illustrates the dynamics of Soviet military presence in Romania and provides a framework for understanding Soviet security policy, then and now, as well as the interaction between Soviet military objectives and diplomacy. Drawing on declassified archival material in the United States and the United Kingdom, the author considers Khrushchev’s reversal of Stalinist expansionism by examining the motivation, function, and operation of the initial occupation of Romania; the complex involvement of Soviet diplomacy and its perception by the United States and other Western powers; the process by which Khrushchev decided to withdraw Soviet troops from that country; and the impact of this decision on Soviet policy. Verona extends his analysis, providing comparisons between Khrushchev’s and Gorbachev’s approaches to Eastern Europe, noting that similarities exist not only in domestic policies but in the realm of foreign policy as well.
In 1963, Michigan State University, the nation’s first land grant college, attracted a record number of National Merit Scholars by offering competitive scholarships. One of these exceptional students was Michael Kindman. After the beginning of the Free Speech Movement in Berkeley, Kindman, in line to be editor-in-chief of the official MSU student newspaper, felt compelled to seek a more radical forum of intellectual debate. In 1965, he dropped out of school and founded The Paper, one of the first five members of Underground Press Syndicate. This gripping autobiography follows Kindman’s inspiring journey of self-discovery, from MSU to Boston, where he joined the staff of Avatar, unaware that the large commune that controlled the paper was a charismatic cult. Five years later, he fled the commune’s outpost in Kansas and headed to San Francisco, where he came out as a gay man, changed his name to Mica, and continued his work as an activist and visionary.
In a brilliantly-conceived book, Jeremi Suri puts the tumultuous 1960s into a truly international perspective in the first study to examine the connections between great power diplomacy and global social protest. Profoundly disturbed by increasing social and political discontent, Cold War powers united on the international front, in the policy of detente. Though reflecting traditional balance of power considerations, detente thus also developed from a common urge for stability among leaders who by the late 1960s were worried about increasingly threatening domestic social activism.
In the early part of the decade, Cold War pressures simultaneously inspired activists and constrained leaders; within a few years activism turned revolutionary on a global scale. Suri examines the decade through leaders and protesters on three continents, including Mao Zedong, Charles de Gaulle, Martin Luther King Jr., Daniel Cohn-Bendit, and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. He describes connections between policy and protest from the Berkeley riots to the Prague Spring, from the Paris strikes to massive unrest in Wuhan, China.
Designed to protect the existing political order and repress movements for change, detente gradually isolated politics from the public. The growth of distrust and disillusion in nearly every society left a lasting legacy of global unrest, fragmentation, and unprecedented public skepticism toward authority.
The Genocide Convention was drafted by the United Nations in the late 1940s, as a response to the horrors of the Second World War. But was the Genocide Convention truly effective at achieving its humanitarian aims, or did it merely exacerbate the divisive rhetoric of Cold War geopolitics?
A Rhetorical Crime shows how genocide morphed from a legal concept into a political discourse used in propaganda battles between the United States and the Soviet Union. Over the course of the Cold War era, nearly eighty countries were accused of genocide, and yet there were few real-time interventions to stop the atrocities committed by genocidal regimes like the Cambodian Khmer Rouge.
Renowned genocide scholar Anton Weiss-Wendt employs a unique comparative approach, analyzing the statements of Soviet and American politicians, historians, and legal scholars in order to deduce why their moral posturing far exceeded their humanitarian action.
During the Cold War, the political leadership of the Soviet Union avidly sought intelligence about its main adversary, the United States. Although effective on an operational level, Soviet leaders and their intelligence chiefs fell short when it came to analyzing intelligence. Soviet leaders were often not receptive to intelligence that conflicted with their existing beliefs, and analysts were reluctant to put forward assessments that challenged ideological orthodoxy.
There were, however, important changes over time. Ultimately the views of an enlightened Soviet leader, Gorbachev, trumped the ideological blinders of his predecessors and the intelligence service’s dedication to an endless duel with their ideologically spawned “main adversary," making it possible to end the Cold War.
Raymond Garthoff draws on over five decades of personal contact with Soviet diplomats, intelligence officers, military leaders, and scholars during his remarkable career as an analyst, senior diplomat, and historian. He also builds on previous scholarship and examines documents from Soviet and Western archives. Soviet Leaders and Intelligence offers an informed and highly readable assessment of how the Soviets understood—and misunderstood—the intentions and objectives of their Cold War adversary.
As their woefully backward economy continues to crumble, much of the Soviet population remains indifferent, if not downright hostile, to the idea of reform. This phenomenon, so different from the Solidarity movement in Poland or the velvet revolution in Czechoslovakia, has been explained in terms of a “social contract”—a tacit agreement between the post-Stalin regime and the working class whereby the state provided economic and social security in return for the workers' political compliance. This book is the first critical assessment of the likelihood and implications of such a contract.
Linda Cook pursues the idea from Brezhnev's day to our own, and considers the constraining effect it may have had on Gorbachev's attempts to liberalize the Soviet economy. In case studies on job security, retail price stability, and social service subsidies, Cook identifies points at which leaders had to make critical decisions—to commit more resources or to abandon other policies at significant cost—in order to maintain the contract. The pattern that emerges attests to the validity of the social contract thesis for the Brezhnev period. At the same time, Cook's analysis points to several important factors, such as the uneven distribution of benefits, that help explain why labor unrest and activism have varied dramatically from sector to sector in recent years.
Ultimately, these case studies reveal, particularly for the Gorbachev period, deep conflicts between the old contract and the requisites of economic reform. Cook extends her analysis into the Yeltsin period to show how the democratizing state dealt weakly with labor's demands, seeking to stabilize labor relations with an inappropriate corporate structure. In the end, mobilized labor contributed greatly to the pressures that undermined Gorbachev's regime, and remained an obstacle to economic reform through the early months of Yeltsin's Russia.
After the staggering horrors of World War II and the Holocaust, the United Nations resolved to prevent and punish the crime of genocide throughout the world. The resulting UN Genocide Convention treaty, however, was drafted, contested, and weakened in the midst of Cold War tensions and ideological struggles between the Soviet Union and the West.
Based on extensive archival research, Anton Weiss-Wendt reveals in detail how the political aims of the superpowers rendered the convention a weak instrument for addressing abuses against human rights. The Kremlin viewed the genocide treaty as a political document and feared repercussions. What the Soviets wanted most was to keep the subjugation of Eastern Europe and the vast system of forced labor camps out of the genocide discourse. The American Bar Association and Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, in turn, worried that the Convention contained vague formulations that could be used against the United States, especially in relation to the plight of African Americans. Sidelined in the heated discussions, Weiss-Wendt shows, were humanitarian concerns for preventing future genocides.
Winner of the Norris and Carol Hundley Award Winner of the U.S.–Russia Relations Book Prize A Financial Times Best History Book of the Year
The Cold War division of Europe was not inevitable—the acclaimed author of Stalin’s Genocides shows how postwar Europeans fought to determine their own destinies.
Was the division of Europe after World War II inevitable? In this powerful reassessment of the postwar order in Europe, Norman Naimark suggests that Joseph Stalin was far more open to a settlement on the continent than we have thought. Through revealing case studies from Poland and Yugoslavia to Denmark and Albania, Naimark recasts the early Cold War by focusing on Europeans’ fight to determine their future.
As nations devastated by war began rebuilding, Soviet intentions loomed large. Stalin’s armies controlled most of the eastern half of the continent, and in France and Italy, communist parties were serious political forces. Yet Naimark reveals a surprisingly flexible Stalin, who initially had no intention of dividing Europe. During a window of opportunity from 1945 to 1948, leaders across the political spectrum, including Juho Kusti Paasikivi of Finland, Wladyslaw Gomulka of Poland, and Karl Renner of Austria, pushed back against outside pressures. For some, this meant struggling against Soviet dominance. For others, it meant enlisting the Americans to support their aims.
The first frost of Cold War could be felt in the tense patrolling of zones of occupation in Germany, but not until 1948, with the coup in Czechoslovakia and the Berlin Blockade, did the familiar polarization set in. The split did not become irreversible until the formal division of Germany and establishment of NATO in 1949. In illuminating how European leaders deftly managed national interests in the face of dominating powers, Stalin and the Fate of Europe reveals the real potential of an alternative trajectory for the continent.
How can the world's most powerful nations cooperate despite their conflicting interests? In Three-Way Street, Joshua S. Goldstein and John R. Freeman analyze the complex intersection defined by relations among the United States, the Soviet Union, and China over the past forty years.
The authors demonstrate that three major schools of international relations theory—all game-theoretic, psychological, and quantitative-empirical approaches—have all advocated a strategy that employs cooperative initiatives and reciprocal responses in order to elicit cooperation from other countries. Critics have questioned whether such approaches can model how countries actually behave, but Goldstein and Freeman provide a wealth of detailed empirical evidence showing the existence and effectiveness of strategic reciprocity among the three countries between 1948 and 1989. Specifically, they establish that relations among the three countries have improved in recent decades through a "two steps forward, one step back" pattern. Their innovative and remarkably accessible synthesis of leading theoretical perspectives brilliantly illuminates the nature and workings of international cooperation.
Hans Magnus Enzensberger Seagull Books, 2016 Library of Congress PT2609.N9Z46 2014
A collection of writings based on Enzensberger’s personal experience as a left-wing sympathizer during the 1960s.
Hans Magnus Enzensberger, widely regarded as Germany’s greatest living poet, was already well known in the 1960s, the tempestuous decade of which Tumult is an autobiographical record. Derived from old papers, notes, jottings, photos, and letters that the poet stumbled upon years later in his attic, the volume is not so much about the man, but rather the many places he visited and people whom he met on his travels through the Soviet Union and Cuba during the 1960s. The book is made up of four long-form pieces written from 1963 to 1970, each episode concluding with a poem and postscript written in 2014. Translated by Mike Mitchell, the book is a lively and deftly written travelogue offering a glimpse into the history of leftist thought. Dedicated to “those who disappeared,” Tumult is a document of that which remains one of humanity’s headiest times.
For nearly a half century, from 1945 to 1991, the United States and the Soviet Union maneuvered to achieve global hegemony. Each forged political alliances, doled out foreign aid, mounted cultural campaigns, and launched covert operations. The Cold War also deeply affected the domestic politics, cultures, and economic policies of the two superpowers, their client states, and other nations throughout the world.
Teaching the Cold War is both necessary and challenging. Understanding and Teaching the Cold War is designed to help collegiate and high school teachers navigate the complexity of the topic, integrate up-to-date research and concepts into their classes, and use strategies and tools that make this important history meaningful to students.
The volume opens with Matthew Masur’s overview of models for approaching the subject, whether in survey courses or seminars. Two prominent historians, Carole Fink and Warren Cohen, offer accounts of their experience as longtime scholars and teachers of the Cold War from European and Asian perspectives. Sixteen essays dig into themes including the origins and end of the conflict, nuclear weapons, diplomacy, propaganda, fear, popular culture, and civil rights, as well as the Cold War in Eastern Europe, Western Europe, East Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the nonaligned nations. A final section provides practical advice for using relevant, accessible primary sources to implement the teaching ideas suggested in this book.