The Soviet takeover of Eastern Europe

To begin study of the Soviet takeover of Eastern Europe, we must first understand the reasons why the USSR (or Stalin) would want to take control of Eastern Europe.

1. "We are socialists, we are enemies of today's capitalistic economic system... We can see the truth of American capitalism. They want to spread their power and influence... Only by uniting can the socialist states stop this economic imperialism."

From this quote by Stalin, it is clear that his aim was to stop economic imperialism.

2. "The Soviet social system is a better form of society than any non-Soviet social system."

This tells us that Stalin think the Soviet Social System (and/or communism) is superior.

3. "Throughout history, Poland has been a corridor for attack on Russia."

Stalin wanted to take over Poland for the security of the USSR and it is a weak zone and an easy way into the USSR.

4. "The Soviet Union had a loss of life several times greater than that of Britain and the United States put together."

The USSR had suffered greatly as Eastern European countries almost 'let the Germans through'.

Stalin believed that many Eastern European governments were against them, so the Soviets needed additional security.

Although the Soviet takeover of Eastern Europe was not complete until 1948, it began before the Second World War had ended.

These were the three steps to the take over by the Soviets:

  1. The Red Army set up anti-fascist governments in the countries that had liberated and local communists were given high leadership positions in the new governments.

  2. Rigged elections were held to make sure the communist dominated governments kept power.

  3. Opposition groups were either exiled, imprisoned or executed.

The establishment of Soviet organisations:

Cominform: (Communist Information Bureau) , officially established on October 5th 1947.

Comecon: (Council for Mutual Economic Aid) set up in January 1949

More...

Containment: The US policy during the Cold War to stop the spread of communism