Tag: Communism

Book Review: Iron Curtain

Iron Curtain

Anne Applebaum, Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe 1944-1956. (New York, NY: Doubleday, 2012).

Better works of history are crafted. They begin with a question. They are created through exhaustive research, editing, and organization. A better work of history answers the original question, creates new questions considers alternative interpretations, and provides overwhelming evidence in support of their answers. Doing so by creating a readable narrative. Anne Applebaum’s Iron Curtain is a better work of history. Applebaum’s original question: How did the Soviets and their allies transform well-meaning Eastern European social/ aid organizations created, or reconstituted, in the immediate aftermath of World War II into tools of oppression?1 In a chilling but necessary read Iron Curtain provides an answer.

Biography: Mátyás Rákosi

Rakosi

Figure 1: Foto: Hungarian Government

One of the “Little Stalins” installed to power in the wake of the Red Army’s march toward Germany during the closing months of World War II, Mátyás Rákosi certainly shared his sponsor’s brutality. Crude in his behavior, a trait he nurtured as a badge of his lower-class status, Rákosi helped fashion Hungary’s Socialist catastrophe. Employing identity politics and “salami tactics” Rákosi slowly sliced away all those opposed to collectivism. Fear, intimidation, and death were considered necessary tools in his effort to build a classless society. From his rise to leadership in 1945 to his forced exile in 1956 hundreds of thousands of Hungarians were either imprisoned or executed.