Although the Soviets maintain that the Hitler-Stalin nonaggression agree ment of 1939 was aimed at gaining time to prepare for war against the Germans, Leonhard argues the consensus view of Western historians that the acquisition of Poland, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania and part of Rumania was the overriding factor. In this short, instructive study, the author scans the bewildered, horrified and furious reactions of Communists and fellow travelers around the world to the news that the Soviet Union, regarded as the standard-bearer of anti-Fascism, had be trayed the faithful. Leonhard places special emphasis on the reaction of German Communists, whose underground opposition to Fascism had been conducted under exceptionally harsh conditions. He also traces the delayed disillusionment with Soviet Communism experienced by well-known figures of the day for whom the Pact was the ultimate personal political crisis: Louis Fischer, Granville Hicks, Arthur Koestler among them. Leonhard, a German Communist who lived in Russia until his defection to the West in 1949, taught at Yale until his recent retirement. (Aug.)
Leonhard's Betrayal represents an admirable attempt to document both the reactions and fate of international Communists to the infamous pact between the dictators. The views of such noted functionaries as Erich Honecker, Josip Tito, and Milovan Djilas are recounted, along with a long list of lesser known figures of the Comintern. Leonhard (a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a former professor at Yale) rejects the idea that the pact allowed Russia to better prepare for war, arguing that, if anything, it weakened the country for the struggle which the treaty ensured would soon commence. He also makes an impassioned call to the Soviets to admit to the secret protocols of the treaty which effectively divide Eastern Europe between Hitler and Stalin. Suitable for libraries with large Eastern European collections.-- Joseph W. Constance Jr., Boston Coll. Lib.