From then until 1988-1990, it was thought that the Cold War would go on forever, dictatorships always seem like that. So brutal and violent are the means to maintain control, it seems difficult to believe any could fall from that, but they did. There had been several attempts, most notably in East Germany in 1953, Hungary 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968, to break from the cold bloody brutal reality of “really existing socialism”, all suppressed by the Red Army with the imperial cruelty from the dark ages.
However, once the USSR had opened up, Gorbachev had relented and let the rotten system be exposed for what it was, let people criticise and change, it became clear that none of the regimes in the east could cling to anything other than the lies and fear that were the currency of their trade. The loss in lives was not high compared to the mass murder of the Soviet Union, China or the Khmer Rouge, but the loss in life is incalculable. The lives stunted by socialism, the fear, the subterfuge, the destruction of ambition, and the corruption of talent. The talented either had to sell out to a system that wanted them to be slaves, fear for their very lives or flee. The broad masses need do little other than shut up, be obedient, and be grateful for having bread, a home and a job, for they were being constantly told how things were worse in the west, yet could hear and see for themselves a different story on illegally received TV and radio broadcasts.
The hypocritical vacuous United Nations which would speak endlessly about colonialism, be criticism South Africa for apartheid, and hounding Israel about the Palestinians, was compliant and tolerant of the evil empire’s tentacles directly controlling half of Europe. An empire that claimed it would economically and technically bury the west. A claim that is so laughable today it staggers to think of those who believed it could be true, right through the 1970s.
It was an experiment that failed every test it put forward for itself. Not only were the economies a failure, and totalitarianism placing the entire population in fear of the state, but it did not deliver the socialist goal of equality. For in every single state that claimed to be socialist, it delivered an elite living in luxury, enjoying large homes, security, overseas travel, goods and most of all, knowledge of the outside world. A vile repulsive grouping of supreme mediocrities, who lived the lives of the rich and wealthy, happily ready to gun down those who may threaten their “really existing socialism”.
The profit motive had been abandoned, commercialism almost completely extinguished, people working for the common good, and everyone in fear, whilst those in charge were corrupt and willing to spill blood to preserve what they had. One wonder why those who damn capitalism today don’t look to see that efforts to enforce a collectivist mindset become fertile fields for authoritarianism and corruption.
So today I begin a series on all of the countries stunted and corrupted by Marxism-Leninism in Europe. I do so in the order of those liberated. In that I will briefly describe how the regime came about, the perhaps most notable points in its history and how it all folded. It is history that children should all learn. For what the lesson should be is how entire countries became beholden to systems that made so many compliant, and willing to go along with it all. For as we all now, all it takes for evil to flourish is for good people to do nothing.