EDGAR SNOW, THE LONG REVOLUTION, Hutcbinson & Co Ltd, London, 1973, pp 269, £ 3.50.
THERE was a time when communists throughout the world looked upon the leaders of the then only Socialist country, the Soviet Union, to be infallible. The wisdom of the leader of the Soviet Communist Party, Joseph Stalin, was considered all-pervading and it was sacrilegious to have even the slightest doubt on what he says and does.
The emergence of new socialist states in the post-Second World War years continued this tradition and extended it to all socialist countries. The leaders of every socialist country came to be looked upon as the national editions of the great leader, Stalin. It was therefore unthinkable to have any doubts on their wisdom.
The first shock was administered to this blind faith in the leaders of the socialist countries when the majority of them joined together in expelling Yugoslavia's Tito, the one-time hero of the guerrilla army against the Nazis, from the fraternity of international communism. This was followed by the discovery that there were others like Tito but who, unlike Tito, could not maintain themselves in power. They were thrown out from the leadership of the Party and the State which therefore were saved.
All this was done by the collective leadership of the international communist movement headed by the Soviet Party and therefore did not lead to any disruption of the movement which continued to accept the guidance of the Soviet Party. Tito and others were, in fact, denounced for having strayed from the path mapped out by the Soviet Party.
It was therefore shocking beyond imagination that, when the Twentieth Congress of the Soviet Communist Party met in 1956, an all-out attack was launched on Stalin himself. The infallible' leader whose wisdom remained unquestionable for such a long period was denounced by the very Party at whose head he had stood for nearly three decades. This was followed by a concerted ideological campaign through all media of propaganda available to the Soviet Party in order to show that, far from taking the country forward along the path of socialist development, Stalin had done utmost damage to the building of Soviet society. Millions of communists not only in the Soviet Union but in every country were asked