USSR and Soviet Bloc between Ideology and Realpolitik (1947–58)
The reconstruction of the complex relations between the Soviet Union and the European Socialist countries (then called ‘people’s democracies’) in the period between the forties and fifties still suffers today from the parti pris of the sources at the historian’s disposal. In particular, the historiography on the USSR and Central and Eastern Europe has hitherto had to do with the inaccessibility of the relevant archives. It has also had to live with the pervasive climate of suspicion in the former Soviet Union, especially as regards the years of Stalin, and, subsequently, in the ‘Socialist camp’. Moreover, the ideological bipolarism caused by the Cold War — all the more so in the absence of the primary sources — has inevitably conditioned the interpretational approaches of scholars; it has made the task of evaluating events in a balanced and dispassionate way all the more difficult. It has also hampered efforts aimed at elucidating key aspects of the balance of forces and relations not only between the States of the ‘Soviet bloc’, but also between the Communist Parties in power. Yet State and Party constitute, in our case, interactive forces of crucial importance and, consequently, essential points of reference for understanding the dynamics of the link — which was supposed to be ‘of iron’, but which was revealed as having feet of clay as early as 19481 — between Moscow and the other capitals where a Communist monopoly of power was consolidated in the post-war period.
KeywordsCommunist Party Socialist Country Postwar Period Soviet Bloc Marshall Plan
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