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A History of Modern Political Thought in East Central EuropeVolume II: Negotiating Modernity in the 'Short Twentieth Century' and Beyond, Part I: 1918-1968$
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Balázs Trencsényi, Michal Kopeček, Luka Lisjak Gabrijelčič, Maria Falina, Mónika Baár, and Maciej Janowski

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198737155

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198737155.001.0001

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Stalinism and De-Stalinization

Stalinism and De-Stalinization

(p.342) 9 Stalinism and De-Stalinization
A History of Modern Political Thought in East Central Europe

Balázs Trencsényi

Michal Kopeček

Luka Lisjak Gabrijelčič

Maria Falina

Mónika Baár

Maciej Janowski

Oxford University Press

By 1948, a full-fledged Stalinist dictatorship was introduced all over the region. Socialist realism became an official aesthetic ideology; in historiography, in most cases it was the national Romantic vision that was extolled as “progressive,” but there were also attempts to claim the progressive character of a strong central state power. Independent reflection on Stalinism was only possible either in exile or in the private sphere. After Stalin’s death, however, criticism started to appear, digging more and more into hitherto banned cultural, economic, and historical topics. In 1956 the dramatic events in Hungary and Poland triggered a wave of reflections on the limits of resistance. Yugoslavia, breaking with the Soviet bloc in 1948, followed a different trajectory; however, this did not lead to a lack of repressions towards dissidents, such as Milovan Đilas, whose theory of the “new class” was to have an enormous impact in the region and beyond.

Keywords:   Stalinism, totalitarianism, anti-totalitarianism, socialist realism, “Thaw”, personality cult, 1956 Revolution in Hungary, Polish October, the “new class”

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