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19.  LECTURE:  Wednesday, March 2    

Khrushchev Attempts to Rejuvenate Leninism.  You can measure the significance of an event by the changes it stimulates.  Stalin’s death (video in Russian) is a perfect example of a world- historical event.  In 1953, the question was how to take advantage of the opportunity.  The new First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Nikita Khrushchev, answered this question in one of the most influential speeches in the history of world communism.

  • “Z” (Martin Malia), “To the Stalin Mausoleum,” section VIII.  Course Reader
  • Nikita Khrushchev’s secret speech to the 20th Congress of the CPSU, February 25, 1956:  HERE.  (Print)
  • William Rosenberg and Marilyn Young, Transforming Russia and China, pp. 244-74.   

20.  DISCUSSION SECTION:  Friday, March 4    

Paragraph Assignment:  What are the essential features of Nikita Khrushchev’s definition of “Leninism”?

To what extent should we consider Khrushchev’s “secret speech” to have been necessary at this point in his country’s history?  Given the impact of the speech on the Soviet Union’s allies in eastern Europe, should he have chosen his words differently?  Or did he have no other choice?  Read the “secret speech” carefully, print it, and bring it to this discussion section.

21.  LECTURE:  Monday, March 7    

Crisis in Eastern Europe:  Hungary and Poland.  The striking difference between the tumultuous events in Hungary and Poland in 1956 is that one led to military intervention by Soviet bloc troops (see the videos here and here of the Hungarian revolution) and the other did not.  What did Hungary’s leaders do that Poland’s leaders managed to avoid?  Were the conflicts really different? 

  • Previously secret:  The politburo of the CPSU meets to discuss the situation in Hungary and Poland, October 24, 1956:  HERE
  • Previously secret:  In an, at times, perversely sardonic speech, Nikita Khrushchev reports to party activists: November 4, 1956:  HERE    
  • Map of Budapest (for lecture):  HERE
  • Chronology of the Hungarian Revolution:  HERE

22.  DEBATE:  Wednesday, March 9

The Great TA Debate:  Alex Dukalskis vs. Vincent Stark.  Imagine Charlie Sheen vs. Mel Gibson but bigger, better, and Bolshevik!

23.  NO DISCUSSION SECTION:  Friday, March 11    

I will be in Beijing for the week.


24. LECTURE:  Monday, March 21    

Re-revolutionizing Communism in China:  “The East is Red.“  Like Stalin’s terror in the Soviet Union, China’s Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution is one of those multi-year events that defies easy explanation, both because of its goals and because of its savage brutality (video).  One question is why Mao unleashed his terror.  Another is why he was able to do it.  Why would anyone agree that it was important to destroy one’s country in order to build it?  Among the peasantry and many communists, especially the young, there was enormous enthusiasm for the Cultural Revolution, as well as for the tragic Great Leap Forward that preceded it. 

  • Mao Zedong, “On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the People,” February 27, 1957:  HERE. (Print)
  • Deng Xiaoping,  “Correctly Disseminate Mao Zedong Thought,” May 25, 1960:  HERE.  (Print)
  • “Circular on the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution,” May 16, 1966: HERE (Print)
  • William Rosenberg and Marilyn Young, Transforming Russia and China, remaining chapters on China,  including the Great Leap Forward and the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution.  (Note:  They get a little starry-eyed when they talk about the Cultural Revolution, so remember that this ten-year event led to the deaths of millions of people and destroyed the lives of hundreds of millions of others).
  • Previously secret:  CIA Intelligence Report, “The Cultural Revolution and the New Political System in China,”  pp. 1-28, October 30, 1970: HERE   

25.  LECTURE: Wednesday  March 23

Sealing the European Divide.  In this lecture, I will consider the practical and symbolic signicance of the erection of the Berlin Wall. 

  • Previously secret:  Letter from Walter Ulbricht to Nikita Khrushchev,  September 15, 1961:   HERE
  • Previously secret:  Nikita Khrushchev responds to Walter Ulbricht, September 28, 1961:  HERE 
  • Maps:
    Divided Germany:  HERE
    Inter-German Border:  HERE
    Berlin Wall:  HERE

 26.  Friday, March 25   DISCUSSION SECTION

Discussion Topic:   Was Mao’s conception of Leninism likely to lead to the bloodbath of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution?  Is this element in Mao’s conception of a Marxist revolution evident in Lenin’s thinking as well.  To facilitate this discussion, compare and contrast your Monday readings about the Cultural Revolution with Lenin’s conception of revolution, especially in What is to be Done? and State and Revolution.


The use of electronic devices of any kind, including laptops, video cameras, cell phones, and personal digital devices, is prohibited in my classroom!    

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