Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe 1944-56

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Within a few years the once-vibrant movement became yet another monochrome tool of indoctrination. But the idealism lived on, in secret.

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In , a year-old girl met friends from her old troop to discuss things not mentioned at school; they were given jail terms of two to five years. There was no longer room for private societies. The German anti-fascist groups were liquidated. For the new communist regimes any non-party organisation was a threat, however benign. The moment they liberated areas from the Nazis, Soviet agents fixated on youth movements.


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Long before formal political control was imposed upon adult organisations or on the political and economic life of a nation, youth clubs were infiltrated and shaped for ideological ends. The politicisation of youth groups was the bellwether of totalitarianism. In much the same way, Moscow-sponsored communists took over the media, political parties and the secret police.


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Churches and charities were tainted by messy deals. It was a template developed over three decades in Russia and applied to the countries of East Europe after The slow and silent takeover of institutions and the step-by-step eradication of dissenting voices was the prelude to full economic and political revolution; by the time totalitarianism became a reality, the countries of East Europe had, like their youth movements, been infiltrated, subdued and subverted. Resistance became suicidal.

There followed the full menu of Stalinism: five-year plans, denunciations, midnight arrests, gulags, show trials and the compulsory chorus of adulation.

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Few better or more important books than Iron Curtain will be published this year. I have concentrated on youth movements, but the book is about far more. It is about how totalitarianism seeped into every aspect of life and poisoned it. She uses the stories of everyday life, gleaned from a huge range of sources and interviews, to show how tyranny insinuates itself into societies and how people learnt to survive.

Iron Curtain: the Crushing of Eastern Europe, By Anne Applebaum | The Independent

Applebaum takes us into the dark heart of totalitarianism. Love puzzles? Get the best at Telegraph Puzzles. Books on Amazon. A collection of the best contributions and reports from the Telegraph focussing on the key events, decisions and moments in Churchill's life. This book tells the story of the men and women of Fighter Command who worked tirelessly in air bases scattered throughout Britain to thwart the Nazis. The essential gift book for any pet lover - real-life tales of devoted dogs, rebellious cats and other unforgettable four-legged friends.

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Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1944-56 by Anne Applebaum: review

Terms and Conditions. Style Book. She draws on newly opened East European archives, interviews, and personal accounts translated for the first time to portray in devastating detail the dilemmas faced by millions of individuals trying to adjust to a way of life that challenged their every belief and took away everything they had accumulated.

Today the Soviet Bloc is a lost civilization, one whose cruelty, paranoia, bizarre morality, and strange aesthetics Applebaum captures in the electrifying pages of Iron Curtain. Reactionary Enemies.

Internal Enemies. Homo Sovieticus.


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