Structural assimilation in Eastern Europe Birth of the Eastern bloc and the social gains of communist regimes Important institutions: - COMINFORM (1947) - Warsaw Pact (1955) - COMECON (1949) Birth of the Eastern Bloc Berend . Communist seizure of power between 1944 and 1948. Three models: - Right after the war, out of the legitimacy acquired in the Resistance - “salami” tactics, using mock coalitions “slice by slice” removing all the opponents. - Military coups – Prague, 1948, marks the end of the formation of the Eastern Bloc. Mazower . Progressive Stalinisation. Repression of opponents (sometimes using Titoism as a pretext). Industrialisation on the soviet model + state-planning. Achieved the goal of spreading communism, use of the Eastern Bloc (especially East Berlin) as a showcase for communism (see Stalinallee in Berlin). Changes imposed on Eastern Europe after WW2, heavily influenced by Soviet Regime. Assimilation into the Soviet regime was 1947/48. What about between May 45 and that time ? Traditional view of the Cold War is that the USSR is seen as the evil-doer, pointing at a certain amount of political act of the SU. ● Feb. 45: King Michael of Romania forced by the USSR to appoint a cabinet that was essentially controlled by the Communists; ● Non-Communist members of the Polish resistance invited to Moscow in early 45, arrested and jailed. ● Nov 45: elections in Bulgaria with only a unity list and no other candidates. ● Oct. 45: elections in Hungary. Fairly free and open, communists only got 17%. Over the course of the following year, gained an important influence over government. ● Nov. 1946. Elections lost by the communists, then manipulated by the Communists to gain them. ● Jan. 47: elections manipulated in a victory for the Communists in Poland. => aggressive dictatorial behaviour of the SU in Eastern Europe . Some historians argue that the West simply reacted to these series of aggressive steps by the Soviets. Disagreement on who was the aggressor in the run-up and during the Cold War - was it solely the USSR and were the ills on both sides? After a war, the winning side generally sees the growth of dissensions. Very similar pattern after WW2. In this case, one of the major winning power had a very different social/political system (USSR), unlike after WW1. Disputes between the different allies were already present even during WW2. Main fear of the 2 key players of the Allied side (USSR + USA) over what the other would do, closely linked to the different social/political worldview they followed . => Fear that the other would become dominant in Europe.
Cold War didn't break out before 1947/48. Closer look at the USSR. Was it aggressive or defensive after the end of the war? In Eastern Europe, rather aggressive behaviour. But why? ● Military realities of the end of the War. USSR and the Red Army were quite powerful, but the Soviet economy wasn't in the best shape. Good part of the war fought on Soviet soil, whereas the USA was never physically touched by WW2. Economy booming because of the war effort. Worried about the presence of the US army all around Europe.
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