History 2

Politics and Society in Eastern Europe by Joni Lovenduski

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By Joni Lovenduski

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Comintern policy was, for a variety of reasons, notoriously insensitive to national imperatives. The Polish party, for example, was dissolved in 1920 during the Red Interwar Eastern Europe 45 Army's advance towards Warsaw, when it became a bureau of the Russian Party. No account was taken of the strong antiRussian character of Polish nationalism, which was well rooted both in the peasantry and the growing working class. Examples of such insensitivity combined with the fact that most of the parties had been made illegal by 1929 reduced a former mass movement into a set of small, sectarian organisations.

But, he argues, both the Second (Hohenzollern) and the Third (Nazi) Reich and the Weimar period between them, together stretching over 75 years, exerted a strong unifying influence upon what was then Germany. During those years the fruits of the industrial revolution became more evenly spread across the country, a unified educational system was established, and the types of government in the individual Laender became more standardised. Whilst slight differences in the levels of urbanisation, in religious affiliation and in support for the political centre are to be found in the two countries prior to their separation, Krejci concludes, convincingly, that inherited historical differences were small.

Other sources estimate membership at between 10,000 and 12,000. These were said to be mainly intellectuals, although about l 0 per cent were industrial workers and 31 per cent were peasants (Lane, l973b, p. 4; Hiscocks, 1963, pp. 72-3). The membership of the Hungarian party never exceeded 1000 in the interwar years. In Hungary only between twelve and fourteen communists were in contact with each other by the end of World War Two, although official sources estimated that there were around 3000 members by the time the Soviet army took Debrecen in 1944.

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