RO – COMINFORM and Takeover of Eastern Europe.

The Paris Negotiations.

  • Sixteen Western European nations(including Turkey and Greece)
  • Stalin stopped Eastern Europe countries from attending.
  • Difficult to come to an agreement because each Western European state had its own agenda.
  • French – wanted to receive US aid over the economic needs of Bizonia
  • British – security of national sovereignty(Independence) and no supranational(Transcending national limits) organisations.

Stalin’s reaction to Marshall Aid.

the Soviet Union, Molotov, the Russian Foreign Minister, denounced the whole idea of ‘dollar imperialism’. He saw the plan as no more than a capitalist device for gaining control over western Europe and, worse still, condemned the idea for interfering in eastern Europe, which Stalin considered to be in his ‘sphere of influence’. Russia rejected the offer of help and neither her satellites nor Czechoslovakia, which was showing interest, were allowed to take advantage of Marshall Aid. The establishment of the Cominform later that year was clear evidence that the lines between East and West were hardening.

Politically –

  • Incorporation of eastern Europe into the spheres of soviet control
  • No longer willing for communist governments to work alongside other parties, no more coalitions.
  • The creation of cominform

Economic –

  • The creation of comecon

Military –

  • Presence of Red army in countries.

 

Comecon/Cominform.

Cominform – (the communist Information Bureau) – established in September 1947.

Countries involved – All Soviet bloc Communist parties, as well as French and Italian parties.

Aims:

  • Promote ideological unity among the communist parties in Europe.
  • Complete the Sovietisation(Adoption of a political system and way of life modelled on the Soviet Union) of the Soviet satellite states.
  • co- ordinate activities of the communist parties in the soviet bloc and throughout the world.
  • Combat Titoism(Tito’s own version of communism in Yugoslavia)

Comecon – (The Council for Mutual Economic Assistance) – founded in 1949

Countries involved – USSR, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, Romania and GDR(joined in 1950).

Aims – All  the individual states broadly followed the Soviet pattern of economic development. which were: collectivise agriculture, establish centralised economies, five year plans for large-scale industrialisation and the development of heavy industry.

Soviet takeover of Eastern Europe.

Poland:

  • Stalin set up the Provisional Government(June 1945), communist-dominated.
  • Stalin did not allow free elections.
  • The soviets used the element of fear to rule and made up electoral results, gaining 394 seats whilst Mikolajczyk and the Polish Peasant party had only gained only 28 in the January 1947 election.
  • doctrine of containment(issued by Truman) accepted that Poland was in the Soviet Sphere of Influence, therefore the USA would not interfere in the Soviet takeover of Poland.

Hungary:

  • During free elections of November 1945, communists only gained 17% in the Coalition Government
  • Two years later, press still free
  • Borders still open, most businesses in private hands.
  • Country still occupied by the Red Army.
  • most threatening opposition – ‘The Smallholders’ Party’ – arrested by Soviets by for conspiring against the operation.
  • August 1947 – Communists only have 45% of the votes on the left wing

Czechoslovakia:

  • The Communists won the vote by 38% without the use of violence or manipulation
  • The Foreign Minister Jan Masaryk said he “returned as a lackey of the Soviet Government” which shows how powerless Jan was, even as a Foreign Minister.

Yugoslavia:

  • The Communists Party won 90% of the votes in the election.
  •  Tito was able to implement a smooth revolution based on the Stalinist model in the USSR.

Romania:

  • The Socialist Party join with the Communists
  •  80% of the vote were won by the communists in November
  • No strong leaders that could oppose the Soviets, helping Stalin to consolidate his position very rapidly

Bulgaria:

  • Stalin urged the Bulgarian Communists to set up a Labour Party to have a broader base.
  • In October elections oppositions parties were winning over one-third of the total votes.
  • Stalin allowed the Communists to liquidate the oppositions.
  • The Bulgarian Communists took the creation of Cominform as a cue for pressing on with its programme to nationalise industry, collectivising agriculture, which made a one-party state.

Baltic states(Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia):

  • Reoccupied by USSR in 1944
  • Sovietization(aimed at weakening the national identity of the Baltics)  – meant that the Baltics were subjected to the adoption of Soviet-like institutions, laws, customs, traditions and way of life(reinforced through the use of propaganda)
  • large scale industrialisation
  • attacks on national culture, religion and freedom of expression.
  • elimination of opposition
  • Massive deportations to inhospitable areas of soviet union, for example Siberia (90,000 Baltic nationals in March 1949) to eliminate resistance to their economic policy of industrialisation and collectivisation.
  • Deportees allowed to return after the secret speech of Nikita Khrushchev in 1956, however many deportees did not survive their years in Siberia anyway.

 

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