Comrades!: A History of World Communism

Comrades!: A History of World Communism

Robert Service

Language: English

Pages: 592

ISBN: 0674046994

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Almost two decades after the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe and the USSR, leading historian Robert Service examines the history of communism throughout the world. Comrades! moves from Marx and Lenin to Mao and Castro and beyond to trace communism from its beginnings to the present day. Offering vivid portraits of the protagonists and decisive events in communist history, Service looks not only at the high politics of communist regimes but also at the social conditions that led millions to support communism in so many countries. After outlining communism’s origins with Marx and Engels and its first success with Lenin and the Russian Revolution in 1917, Service examines the Soviet bloc, long-lasting regimes like Yugoslavia and Cuba, the Chinese revolution, the spread of communism in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, and the international links among the hundreds of parties. He covers communism’s organization and ideology as well as its general appeal. He looks at abortive communist revolutions and at the ineffectual parties in the United States and elsewhere. Service offers a human view of the story as well as a global analysis. His uncomfortable conclusion―and an important message for the twenty-first century―is that although communism in its original form is now dying or dead, the poverty and injustice that enabled its rise are still dangerously alive. Unsettling and compellingly written, Comrades! is the most comprehensive study of one of the most important movements of the modern world.

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that they stood no chance against their fascist police and Stalin could not be bothered with them. Nor were the British given a place at the conference. Perhaps Stalin thought they were too weak a political force to merit inclusion. In any case he did not want communists in the United Kingdom to abandon the ‘parliamentary road’; their presence would certainly have complicated the message he aimed to deliver to the French and the Italians.8 Even the Greeks were kept away. This was a remarkable

Kremlin that he could master the situation, and maintained that Hungary would remain faithful to the communist cause. At the same time his party and government released Cardinal Mindszenty and other religious and political prisoners from custody. The press shook itself free from censorship. Open demands for national independence were made throughout the country. The armed forces were plainly on the side of the demonstrators. Nagy ended up approving the country’s withdrawal from the Warsaw Pact.

Chile and socialists to its left. Many leading figures in Allende’s Socialist Party were committed to forms of revolutionary violence, and it was sometimes hard for him to restrain them from embroiling him in trouble. The opposition whipped up anti-government sentiment. The elections to the Congress and to the Chamber of Deputies in the year before Allende’s presidential triumph had failed to provide Popular Unity with a majority of seats. The opportunities for destabilising the new government

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