Cominform and the takeover of Eastern Europe

http://www.history.com/topics/cold-war/cold-war-history

The Paris negotiations – 1947

The name ‘Paris negotiations’ derives from the act of a conference that both the British and the French called for in Paris during 1947. The purpose of this conference was primarily aimed to formulate plans in relation to US aid. Bevin who was known for the his work in engineering a particular break and so it marked the beginning of the formation of a Western Bloc. Eastern European countries did not attend because they were obligated by Stalin to not attend. Agreements were difficult to make as each western European state had its own agenda/motives. Overall, in the negotiations, they eventually came to an agreement which was to consider the formation of a custom union.

Stalin’s reaction to Marshall aid  – September 1947

Stalin used capitalism terror  described by Molotov as the term ‘ Dollar Imperialism’ whereby they suppressed workers in the European union). In September 1947, Stalin decided to uphold a conference by inviting Eastern European countries and also members of the communist parties such as the French and the Italian communist parties to a meeting in Poland located at Szklarska Poreba to address the formation of the Cominform – the Communist Information Bureau. The Cominform was established in September 1947 to help promote Soviet influence in Eastern Europe and among the communist parties in Europe. The prime aim of the Cominform was to complete the sovietisation of the Soviet satellite states, to organise the activities of the communist parties in both the Soviet bloc and throughout the world. One could argue, that Stalin also used Cominform to combat Titoism ( the act of breaking from the Soviet bloc/ communist parties). Moreover, The Comecon ( The council for mutual economic assistance) was established in 1949 by the USSR, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland and Romania, later on in 1950 the GDR joined the comecon. The primary aim of the Comecon was to integrate the economies of Eastern Europe with the USSR. However, one could also say that it was not until 1959 that the organisation was given more authority and better organisation. Also, it was stated that there was no actual effective economic integration in the Soviet bloc until after 1949.Stalin’s response to the Marshall aid was rather abrupt politically, economically and militarily, Stalin decided to put intense pressure on the Eastern European states to boycott the Paris negotiations preventing countries under Soviet influence from attending this created an end to the Soviets co-operation with the USA. An economic approach would be the establishment of the Comecon as it meant a growth in the development of the Soviets control over communist countries preventing them from having a change in ideology. A military approach would be the on- going presence of the Red Army in these countries as the Red army occupied most regions of Eastern Europe.

The Takeover of Eastern- Europe

Josef Stalin asserted his authority in countries in Eastern Europe by setting up communist friendly governments to partake in the election whilst brutally attacking the opposing governments in the election and manipulating the votes within the election. This is evident in countries such as Poland, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, and the Baltic States ( Lativia, Lithuania, Estonia).

Poland

Stalin had set up a provisional government of National Unity in June 1945 , Stanislaw Mikolajczyk was the leader of Poland who later on resigned in August 1945. The elections were manipulated and so the Peasants’ party gained a mere 28 whilst the polish communist party had the majority vote.

Romania

Stalin decided to call on Petru Groza to appoint two more non- communists to the government in order to strengthen the amount of seats won by the communist party. In November 1946, the communist dominated Front went to the polls

Bulgaria

In December 1945, Stalin forced the communist- dominated  Bulgarian government to include two more members of the opposition. In September 1946 he urged the sceptical Bulgarian Communists to set up a ‘Labour Party’ which would have a broader base and a better mask for the present period.

Czechoslovakia and Hungary

Up to autumn of 1947, Stalin appeared to be fascinated primarily in preserving a strong communist influence in Czechoslovakia and Hungary rather than incomplete domination.

Baltic States – (Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia)

August 23rd  1939,  the German-Soviet nonaggression pact that included secret protocols/motives  dividing Eastern Europe into spheres of interest settled the fate of the Baltic states. On September 28 Soviet Union forced Estonia to sign a mutual cooperation pact that allowed the entry of 25 000 man large Red Army garrison. On October 3 Latvia had to sign the same agreement allowing formation of 30 000 men large Soviet garrison. A size larger than Latvian peacetime army. On 10 October Lithuania also was forced to open borders to garrison of 20 000 men. The Baltic states became the satellite states of the Soviet Union and a communist government was set up in all three Baltic states.

 

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