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Bazhanov and the Damnation of Stalin
Boris Bazhanov
Ohio University Press, 1990

On January 1, 1928, Bazhanov escaped from the Soviet Union and became for many years the most important member of a new breed—the Soviet defector. At the age of 28, he had become an invaluable aid to Stalin and the Politburo, and had he stayed in Stalin’s service, Bazhanov might well have enjoyed the same meteoric careers as the man who replaced him when he left, Georgy Malenkov. However, Bazhanov came to despise the unethical and brutal regime he served. One he decided to become anti–communist, he sought to bring down the regime. Planning his departure carefully, he brought with him documentation which revealed some of the innermost secrets of the Kremlin. Despite being pursued by the OGPU (an earlier incarnation of the KGB), he arrived eventually in Paris, and Bazhanov set to work writing his message to the West. While Bazhanov did successfully escape to the West, Stalin had Bazhanov watched and several attempts were made to assassinate him. Bazhanov may have been fearful for his life much of the time, but he was a man of courage and conviction, and he damned Stalin as often and as publicly as he could.

In this riveting and illuminating book, Bazhanov provides an eyewitness account of the inner workings and personalities of the Soviet Central Committee and the Politburo in the 1920s. Bazhanov clearly details how Stalin invaded the communications of his opponents, rigged votes, built up his own constituency, and maneuvered to achieve his coup d’etat despite formidable odds. he also provides a better understanding of the curiously vapid way in which he other revolutionary leaders, most notably Trotsky, failed to appreciate the threat and let Stalin override them. He reveals how those Soviets with a sense of fairness, justice, and ethics were extinguished by Stalin and his minions, and how the self–centered, protective bureaucratic machine was first built. Bazhanov’s view, at the right hand of Stalin, is unique and chilling.

Bazhanov’s post–defection prediction of Stalin’s continuing and fatal danger to Trotsky shows how well Bazhanov understood the dictator. His formation, in 1940, of an armed force recruited from Soviet Army prisoners to help Mannerheim defend Finland from Stalin’s forces and his 1941 decision to decline the position of Hitler’s Gauleiter of German–occupied Russia are fascinating. But perhaps the most interesting facet to Bazhanov’s tale is the fact that almost no Soviets—even today—know the real story of the Communist party’s criminal acquiescence in Stalin’s rise to, and abuse of, power.

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Defining Russian Graphic Arts
From Diaghilev to Stalin, 1898-1934
Rosenfeld, Alla
Rutgers University Press, 1999

Defining Russian Graphic Arts explores the energy and innovation of Russian graphic arts during the period which began with the explosion of artistic creativity initiated by Serge Diaghilev at the end of the nineteenth century and which ended in the mid-1930s with Stalin's devastating control over the arts. This beautifully illustrated book represents the development of Russian graphic arts as a continuum during these forty years, and places Suprematism and Constructivism in the context of the other major, but lesser-known, manifestations of early twentieth-century Russian art.

The book includes such diverse categories of graphic arts as lubki (popular prints), posters and book designs, journals, music sheets, and ephemera. It features not only standard types of printed media and related studies and maquettes, but also a number of watercolor and gouache costume and stage designs.

About 100 works borrowed from the National Library of Russia and the Research Museum of the Academy of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg, Russia-many seen here for the first time outside of Russia-are featured in this book. Additional works have been drawn from the Zimmerli Art Museum, The New York Public Library, and from other public and private collections. Together they provide a rare opportunity to view and learn about a wide variety of artists, from the acclaimed to the lesser known.

This book is a companion volume to an exhibition appearing at the Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University.

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FDR & Stalin
A Not So Grand Alliance, 1943–1945
Amos Perlmutter
University of Missouri Press, 1993

Perlmutter's hard-hitting, revisionist history of Roosevelt's foreign policy explores FDR's not-so-grand alliance with the ruthless Soviet leader. As the first Western scholar granted access to key foreign ministry documents recently declassified in the former Soviet Union, Perlmutter provides a provocative portrait of a popular leader whose failure to comprehend Stalin's long-range goals had devastating results for the postwar world.

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From Stalin to Kim Il Sung
The Formation of North Korea, 1945-1960
Lankov, Andrei
Rutgers University Press, 2002

To understand how North Korea has survived as the worlds last Stalinist regime despite international isolationand at enormous human costs to its peopleone must look at how its political system was created. The countrys foundations were laid in the late 1940s and 1950s as a result of interaction between the Soviet Stalinist model, imposed from outside, and local traditions.

Andrei Lankov traces the formation of the North Korean state and the early years of Kim Il Sungs rule, when the future "Great Leader" and his entourage were consolidating their power base. Surveying the situation in North Korea after 1945, Lankov explores the internal composition of the ruling elite, the role of the Soviets, and the uneasy relations between various political groups. He also focuses on how in 1956 Kim Il Sung defeated the only known attempt to oust him and thereby established absolute personal rule beyond either Soviet or Chinese control.

The book is based on previously secret Soviet documents from Russian archives, as well as interviews with Russian and Korean participants.

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Inside the Kremlin’s Cold War
From Stalin to Khrushchev
Vladislav Zubok and Constantine Pleshakov
Harvard University Press

Covering the volatile period from 1945 to 1962, Zubok and Pleshakov explore the personalities and motivations of the key people who directed Soviet political life and shaped Soviet foreign policy. They begin with the fearsome figure of Joseph Stalin, who was driven by the dual dream of a Communist revolution and a global empire. They reveal the scope and limits of Stalin's ambitions by taking us into the world of his closest subordinates, the ruthless and unimaginative foreign minister Molotov and the Party's chief propagandist, Zhdanov, a man brimming with hubris and missionary zeal. The authors expose the machinations of the much-feared secret police chief Beria and the party cadre manager Malenkov, who tried but failed to set Soviet policies on a different course after Stalin's death. Finally, they document the motives and actions of the self-made and self-confident Nikita Khrushchev, full of Russian pride and party dogma, who overturned many of Stalin's policies with bold strategizing on a global scale. The authors show how, despite such attempts to change Soviet diplomacy, Stalin's legacy continued to divide Germany and Europe, and led the Soviets to the split with Maoist China and to the Cuban missile crisis.

Zubok and Pleshakov's groundbreaking work reveals how Soviet statesmen conceived and conducted their rivalry with the West within the context of their own domestic and global concerns and aspirations. The authors persuasively demonstrate that the Soviet leaders did not seek a conflict with the United States, yet failed to prevent it or bring it to conclusion. They also document why and how Kremlin policy-makers, cautious and scheming as they were, triggered the gravest crises of the Cold War in Korea, Berlin, and Cuba. Taking us into the corridors of the Kremlin and the minds of its leaders, Zubok and Pleshakov present intimate portraits of the men who made the West fear, to reveal why and how they acted as they did.

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Racing the Enemy
Stalin, Truman, and the Surrender of Japan
Tsuyoshi Hasegawa
Harvard University Press, 2006

With startling revelations, Tsuyoshi Hasegawa rewrites the standard history of the end of World War II in the Pacific. By fully integrating the three key actors in the story—the United States, the Soviet Union, and Japan—Hasegawa for the first time puts the last months of the war into international perspective.

From April 1945, when Stalin broke the Soviet-Japanese Neutrality Pact and Harry Truman assumed the presidency, to the final Soviet military actions against Japan, Hasegawa brings to light the real reasons Japan surrendered. From Washington to Moscow to Tokyo and back again, he shows us a high-stakes diplomatic game as Truman and Stalin sought to outmaneuver each other in forcing Japan’s surrender; as Stalin dangled mediation offers to Japan while secretly preparing to fight in the Pacific; as Tokyo peace advocates desperately tried to stave off a war party determined to mount a last-ditch defense; and as the Americans struggled to balance their competing interests of ending the war with Japan and preventing the Soviets from expanding into the Pacific.

Authoritative and engrossing, Racing the Enemy puts the final days of World War II into a whole new light.

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Red Atom
Russias Nuclear Power Program From Stalin To Today
Paul Josephson
University of Pittsburgh Press, 2005

In the 1950s, Soviet nuclear scientists and leaders imagined a stunning future when giant reactors would generate energy quickly and cheaply, nuclear engines would power cars, ships, and airplanes, and peaceful nuclear explosions would transform the landscape. Driven by the energy of the atom, the dream of communism would become a powerful reality. Thirty years later, that dream died in Chernobyl. What went wrong? Based on exhaustive archival research and interviews, Red Atom takes a behind-the-scenes look at the history of the Soviet Union's peaceful use of nuclear power. It explores both the projects and the technocratic and political elite who were dedicated to increasing state power through technology. And it describes the political, economic, and environmental fallout of Chernobyl.

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Stalin
A Biography
Robert Service
Harvard University Press, 2005

Overthrowing the conventional image of Stalin as an uneducated political administrator inexplicably transformed into a pathological killer, Robert Service reveals a more complex and fascinating story behind this notorious twentieth-century figure. Drawing on unexplored archives and personal testimonies gathered from across Russia and Georgia, this is the first full-scale biography of the Soviet dictator in twenty years.

Service describes in unprecedented detail the first half of Stalin's life--his childhood in Georgia as the son of a violent, drunkard father and a devoted mother; his education and religious training; and his political activity as a young revolutionary. No mere messenger for Lenin, Stalin was a prominent activist long before the Russian Revolution. Equally compelling is the depiction of Stalin as Soviet leader. Service recasts the image of Stalin as unimpeded despot; his control was not limitless. And his conviction that enemies surrounded him was not entirely unfounded.

Stalin was not just a vengeful dictator but also a man fascinated by ideas and a voracious reader of Marxist doctrine and Russian and Georgian literature as well as an internationalist committed to seeing Russia assume a powerful role on the world stage. In examining the multidimensional legacy of Stalin, Service helps explain why later would-be reformers--such as Khrushchev and Gorbachev--found the Stalinist legacy surprisingly hard to dislodge.

Rather than diminishing the horrors of Stalinism, this is an account all the more disturbing for presenting a believable human portrait. Service's lifetime engagement with Soviet Russia has resulted in the most comprehensive and compelling portrayal of Stalin to date.

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Stalin and the Fate of Europe
The Postwar Struggle for Sovereignty
Norman M. Naimark
Harvard University Press, 2019

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.

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Stalin and the Fate of Europe
The Postwar Struggle for Sovereignty
Norman M. Naimark
Harvard University Press

A Financial Times Best Book of the Year
Winner of the Norris and Carol Hundley Award
Winner of the US–Russia Relations Book Prize


“The achievement of a lifetime.”
—Stephen Kotkin, author of Stalin

“Naimark has few peers as a scholar of Stalinism, the Soviet Union and 20th-century Europe, and his latest work Stalin and the Fate of Europe is one of his most original and interesting.”
Financial Times

“A timely and instructive account not merely of our own history but also of our fractious, unsettling present.”
—Daniel Beer, The Guardian

“Adds an abundance of fresh knowledge to a time and place that we think we know, clarifying the contours of Soviet–American conflict by skillfully enriching the history of postwar Europe.”
—Timothy Snyder, author of Bloodlands

Was the division of Europe after World War II inevitable? In this powerful reassessment of the postwar order, Norman Naimark suggests that Stalin was far more open to a settlement than we have thought. Through revealing case studies from Poland and Yugoslavia to Finland and Albania, Naimark recasts the early Cold War by focusing on Europeans’ fight to determine their future.

With Western occupation forces in central Europe and Soviet forces controlling most of the continent’s eastern half, European leaders had to nimbly negotiate outside pressures. For some, this meant repelling Soviet dominance. For others, it meant enlisting the Americans to support their aims. Revealing an at times surprisingly flexible Stalin and showing European leaders deftly managing their nations’ interests, Stalin and the Fate of Europe uncovers the lost potential of an alternative trajectory before 1949, when the Cold War split became irreversible.

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Stalin in Russian Satire, 1917–1991
Karen L. Ryan
University of Wisconsin Press, 2009
During Stalin’s lifetime the crimes of his regime were literally unspeakable. More than fifty years after his death, Russia is still coming to terms with Stalinism and the people’s own role in the abuses of the era. During the decades of official silence that preceded the advent of glasnost, Russian writers raised troubling questions about guilt, responsibility, and the possibility of absolution. Through the subtle vehicle of satire, they explored the roots and legacy of Stalinism in forms ranging from humorous mockery to vitriolic diatribe.
    Examining works from the 1917 Revolution to the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, Karen L. Ryan reveals how satirical treatments of Stalin often emphasize his otherness, distancing him from Russian culture. Some satirists portray Stalin as a madman. Others show him as feminized, animal-like, monstrous, or diabolical. Stalin has also appeared as the unquiet dead, a spirit that keeps returning to haunt the collective memory of the nation. While many writers seem anxious to exorcise Stalin from the body politic, for others he illuminates the self in disturbing ways. To what degree Stalin was and is “in us” is a central question of all these works. Although less visible than public trials, policy shifts, or statements of apology, Russian satire has subtly yet insistently participated in the protracted process of de-Stalinization.
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Voting for Hitler and Stalin
Elections under 20th Century Dictatorships
Edited by Ralph Jessen and Hedwig Richter
Campus Verlag, 2011
Dictatorships throughout the twentieth century—including Mussolini’s Italy, the Third Reich, the Soviet Union, Poland, and East Germany—held elections. But were they more than rituals of participation without the slightest effect on the distribution of power? Why did political regimes radically opposed to liberal democracy feel the need to imitate their enemies? Offering significant insights into absolutist state governance, Voting for Hitler and Stalin thoroughly investigates the remarkable, paradoxical phenomenon of dictatorial elections, revealing the many ways they transcended mere propaganda.
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