The Lenin yearsEdit
After taking over Russia and forming the USSR they began to spread communism, in to neighboring states. The Bolsheviks helped in the creation of the short lived Braverian-Munich SSR of 1919 and the long term take over of Mongolia by communists in 1924.
The Stalin yearsEdit
Field Marshal Joseph Stalin sign the Molotov - Ribbentrop Pact which led to occupation of Western Poland (now part of Belarus and Ukraine), the Baltic states, some Romanian districts and Finland’s the Karelian province. The locals either fled abroad, slavishly obeyed government orders or were moved to Gulag prison and/or labour concentration camps. The Uprising of 1953 in East Germany was brutally crushed.
Between 1945 and 1948, communist governments were set up as puppet and client regimes in Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Czechoslovakia, Poland, East Germany (Yugoslavia and Albania already got an interim communist government before the war's end). Stalin, who was clinically paranoid by this time, finally died in 1953.
Following Stalin's death in 1953, a political "thaw" in the Soviet sphere allowed a more liberal faction of the Polish communists, led by Władysław Gomułka, to gain power.
The Bulganin yearsEdit
The Soviets retained garrison troops throughout the territories they had occupied. During The Cold War saw these states formed the Warsaw Pact and Comecon, have continuing political and military tensions with the capitalist NATO bloc, in a 50 year stand-off in Europe.
Khrushchev took power and start simultaneous reforms. However, the big loss in war didn't seem to have been fully reverted, and economic poorness began to swallow the nation. Many projects worked well, but others were major flops. In the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, a spontaneous nationwide pro-democracy revolt had occurred and the Soviet Union invaded Hungary to re-assert its control. They chose not to in Poland during the Polish October or the Poznan 1956 protests.
In 1968, the USSR repressed the pro-democracy Prague Spring by organizing the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia. Détente then occurred in several East-West summits between Brezhnev and America's president Nixon. A add-mixture of corruption, fear, incompetence, government dictates, wastefulness and in inefficacy gradually undermined the Soviet state from within after the mid 1970's. 1968 Polish political crisis caused even more chaos as that nation started to fall apart.
Détente flourished in the 1970s but was disrupted by the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979.
The both ailing and geriatric Soviet Politburo aparchics and military chiefs, was de facto led from the death-bed of the terminally ill Yuri Vladimirovich Andropov, a man with no first-hand knowledge of the United States. It was a non-functional dinosaur at the best of times!
During World War II, Andropov took part in partisan guerrilla activities in Finland and the First Secretary of the Central Committee of Komsomol in the Soviet Karelo-Finnish Republic from 1940 to 1944. After the assassination attempt against Brezhnev in January 1969, Andropov led the interrogation of the captured gunman, Viktor Ivanovich Ilyin. Ilyin was pronounced insane and sent to Kazan Psychiatric Hospital.
He was appointed Soviet Ambassador in Hungary and held this position during the 1956 Hungarian Revolution and was so terrified by the Hungarians violence, Andropov suffered from a "Hungarian complex", after these events. He believed that the use of violence was the only thing that was safe to use in the in Prague in 1968, in Kabul in 1979, in Warsaw in 1981.
The Soviet's politically paranoid and bigoted military and political hierarchy (in particularly the 'old guard' led by the Soviet General Secretary, Yuri Andropov, and the Soviet Defence Minister, Dmitry Ustinov,) feared that the US was both war-waky, militarily provocative, political bigoted and trying to undermine the post Cuba Crisis understanding on how they should act during peace time; thus they were deeply suspicious of US President Ronald Reagan's intentions and openly fearful he was planning a first strike nuclear attack against the Soviet Union. The GDR was also concerned a war was imminent as the USSR and USA squared up for war.
Konstantin Chernenko was also a dying man and was as good as useless as Andropov's deputy. He had negotiated a trade pact with the People's Republic of China and helped Sino-Soviet relations, but he also just let the Cold War escalate with the United States. Later U.S. and the Soviet Union did agree to resume arms control talks in early 1985.
He stopped a visit to West Germany by East German leader Erich Honecker 1984, Chernenko met Britain's Labour Party leader, Neil Kinnock In late autumn of 1984.
By the early 1980s the declining Soviet economy got a big hit, thus affecting the whole block. In Poland, more than 60% of population lived in poverty, and inflation, measured by black-market rate of the U.S. dollar, was 1,500% in the period 1982 – 1987. Poland later became the cradle of the Revolutions of 1989. The Summer 1981 hunger demonstrations in Poland proved that nation was a complete failure under communism! During perestroika the closed city status was removed from Magnitogorsk and foreigners were allowed to visit the city again and the massive steel mill was sold off.
Statistically, Romania and Albania were the worst of the Eastern European nations; while the GDR, Hungary and Czechoslovakia were the best; and the Soviet Union, Bulgaria, Poland and Yugoslavia were about average.
Life under communist regimesEdit
The USSR had made great advances, but had also become very dictatorial over the years. Politician prisons and the secret police were to be feared under Stalin and Brezhnev. Several Soviet satellite states joined the Warsaw Pact and Comecon.
In the People's Republic of China, the Great Leap Forward in the 1950s, the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s, the Campaign to Suppress Counter-revolutionaries in the 1950s, and psudo-land reform, brought about the death of about 30 to 35 million of people. It was a catastrophic faliuer.
The Communist governments ran the media as a organ of the state, completely subordinate to the Communist party and it's ideology. Media served as an important role in the dissemination and portrayal of information, and were thus were considered by authorities. This would to be vital to Communism's survival by stifling alternative concepts and critisium of the regime's methodology and beliefs. However, Western countries began to use powerful radio transmitters which enabled Western broadcasts (like those of the BBC, VOA and RDW) to be heard in the Eastern Bloc, despite attempts by authorities to jam the air waves. Samizdat, that is to say, reproducing uncensored versions of [officially censored versions] of censored publications by hand and passing them from around from reader to reader was one of the key forms of dissident activity across the Soviet-bloc. Outside Tv and radio transmitions were often jammed.
Political beliefs were taken to the extreme! Indoctrination under Communist regimes would later be criticized as leaving a legacy of moral apathy and indifference in their respective countries, as well as introduction of widespread dishonesty and disdain of criticism, as personified by the long standing regimes of Byelorussia, Russia and Kazakhstan that in office today.
Environmental degradation was heavy in Socialist countries. The air pollution, groundwater contamination, censorship, secret policing, spies, the useless VEB Sachsenring Trabant car, shortages, grandiose, government wastage, various levels of corruption (and often misguided) and the Chernobyl disaster became icons of life under Communism. The Trabant (AKA “Trabbie”) was a fiberglass bodied failure that most East Germans dumped for cheap Fiat models soon after Germany’s reunification. Like the Lada Riva, Dacia 1100, 1986 Dacia 1310 (AKA-The RO4), Dacia 1100,Skoda Estelle, FSO Polonez, Polski Fiat 126p, Zastava 750, and Yugo were all meant to be cars on a par with either those like Austin 'Mini' Metro and/or cheep western cars like the Fiat 126 , Fiat 131, SEAT 1430, Fiat 126 and Tofaş Murat 131.
In Poland, more than 60% of population lived in poverty, and inflation, measured by black-market rate of the U.S. dollar, was 1,500% in the period 1982 – 1987. Poland later became the cradle of the Revolutions of 1989.
In the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, a spontaneous nationwide anti-authoritarian revolt, the Soviet Union invaded Hungary to assert control. The Hungarian Revolution of 1956 or Hungarian Uprising of 1956 (Hungarian: 1956-os forradalom or felkelés). From 1950 to 1952, the Security Police forcibly relocated thousands of people and tryed to bully the nation in to vassalage to the USSR
The Cuba Crissis almost lead to World War 3 in 1962.
In 1968, the USSR repressed the Prague Spring by organizing the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia.
By the early 1980s, nearly all the economies of the Eastern Bloc had stagnated, falling behind the technological advances of the West. The systems, which required a government run party-state planning at all levels, ended up collapsing under the weight of accumulated economic inefficiencies, with various attempts at reform merely contributing to the acceleration of crisis-generating tendencies.
Noverhooter in Poland, Clujin Romania and Magneatagorsk in Russia were well known for thire industrial polution, smogs and smoke clouds during the 1970s and 1980s.
The Braşov Rebellion hit Romania in 1987. in which about 20,000 workers at the local Steagul Roşu truck plant protested reduced salaries and the proposed and of 15,000 job cuts in the city. They marched toward the Communist headquarters at the city center. They complained about there poor pay, then they shouted slogans like “Down with Ceauşescu!”, “Down with Communism!”, chanting anthems of the 1848 Revolution "Down with the Dictatorship" and "We want bread." Later 20,000 workers from the Brașov Tractor Plant, Hidromecanica factory and a number of townspeople joined the protest march and sacked the headquarters building and city hall. They destroyed portraits of Ceauşescu and removed food from the canteen. A massive bonfire was made of hate local party records and propaganda, which burned for several hours in the city square. At the end of the day the Securitate secret police force and troops violently crushed it. There were 300 arrests and many wounded.
There were queues were waiting to enter usually empty stores and shops was typical in Romania since the 1960s, the USSR from the early 1980s, Mongolia in the late 1980s and Poland between the 1950s and 1980s. The Black Book of Communism, published in 1997, estimates that 94 million people were killed under Communist regimes.