Chapter 2 – Marxism-Leninism Communist Roots of the Cold War to the Eve of the Second World War—1848 to 1939

position of German power throughout Italy by German military forces in 1943 led to a substantial escalation in terror against “enemies,” including Jews and Italian resistance forces, as Italy became a German-occupied state. The Soviet leaders appeared reluctant to call their German opponents “Nazis” (i.e., “National Socialists”) because of the great similarity between Marx, Lenin, and Stalin’s shared opposition to any democratic and peaceful forms of socialism and because of Stalin’s fateful collaboration with Hitler (as reviewed further in this chapter and the next).
The Marks of a Totalitarian Blueprint. In contrast to the American and modern Western democratic faiths and systems, the twentieth century’s three totalitarian regimes imposed highly centralized dictatorships in collectivist societies focused on killing their opposition, and directed by a god-like supreme leader at the head of a militant party elite that enforced a central bureaucratic state machine administering state-owned or state-controlled conglomerates along with all other aspects of a state they sought to expand beyond national borders. In the name of leader, party, and people, Stalin and Lenin’s national Communist and Hitler’s National Socialist economic blueprint planned and controlled monopolized ownership and power over all aspects of what Marx defined as “capital,” “property,” and “the means of production and distribution.” The state had the legal authority to eliminate economic and political pluralism, with any diversion from official dogma described as counter-revolutionary activity by “enemies,” including any private economic and social enterprises and entire classes of people.
The Totalitarian Party State and Bureaucratic Machine. The totalitarian state’s political-military-industrial complex relied on vast networks of secret police, concentration camps, political commissars, and the state’s “mass organizations.” Aided by modern technologies, the state machine intruded into every sphere of human life that would be considered private or inviolable by democracies. The unprecedented scope of the state’s bureaucratic reach included individual thought and action, family, education, religion and religious conscience, culture, and non-state civil society. In totalitarian states, the single party in control became a powerful state-within-the-state, intolerant of differences and invariably subject to high degrees of corruption among the families and fiefdoms of privileged party cadre. It lacked constitutional democratic “checks and balances” and rational standards in major spheres of life, including sciences like genetics and anthropology. This was no humanitarian or democratic system that could be peacefully reformed. In the Soviet-controlled East European captive nations, for example, reformers and demonstrators who in the 1950s and 1960s appealed to any possibility of “communism with a human face” or popular reformist “springs,” were ruthlessly crushed by Soviet tanks.
Communist Semantic Deceptions. A key element of Soviet Cold War ideological mythology was the Kremlin’s misuse of words like ”right” and “left” and of terms like “Socialist Camp,” “Socialist Commonwealth,” “socialist republics,” “people’s democracies” or other depictions of a utopian Communist society. Similar were slogans about a revolutionary path that included “peaceful coexistence,” “Euro-Communism,” and “wars of national liberation.” Such deliberate Communist semantic infiltration and disinformation was mixed with other elements of Soviet state propaganda, front groups, diplomacy, and a range of “active measures” intelligence operations to gain followers by disguising the cruel realities of the Communist ideology and state.
“Socialist Realism,” Soviet and International. Another instrument of Kremlin deception and control was “Socialist Realism,” the demonstrably unrealistic Soviet designation for state-controlled Communist art and culture. Omnipresent examples of Socialist Realism were the airbrushed official portraits and other paintings mandatory in offices, schools, factories, and stadiums. Pro-communist “Socialist Realist” art was featured in the state’s movies, mass media, and literature, while all other styles were heavily censored or banned altogether similar to Nazi bans on “decadent” modern art. The authorized products included monumental statues and memorials that were displayed in Communist Party ceremonies, rallies, and parades by the regime’s monopolistic mass organizations of labor, youth, sports, and the military. Communist leaders were invariably portrayed as political gods in heroic or kindly postures, often descending from mountains or surrounded by adoring children, peasants, industrial workers, and soldiers.
Pantheons and Poets. Like the similarly politicized “national” art featured in National Socialist Germany and Imperial Japan, the Soviet Union’s artificial Potemkin-village disguises of life under the Communist regime lacked authentic realism. In each case, totalitarian dictators were gods or supermen anointed by “History.” Communist cult figures were founding prophets like Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin and later national Communist leaders like Joseph Stalin, China’s Mao Zedong, North Korea’s Kim Il Sung, North Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh, and Cuba’s Fidel Castro. Men and society were treated as malleable material with no souls,
[Book pg. 21]