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The Split in Stalin's Secretariat, 1939-1948
     

The Split in Stalin's Secretariat, 1939-1948

by Jonathan Harris
 

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Jonathan Harris demonstrates that the leaders of Stalin's Secretariat clashed sharply over the nature of the Communist party's 'leadership' of the Soviet state in the period between 1939 and 1948. The term 'party leadership' is generally misunderstood; it does not refer to the activities of the party as a whole, but to the efforts of its full time officials (the

Overview

Jonathan Harris demonstrates that the leaders of Stalin's Secretariat clashed sharply over the nature of the Communist party's 'leadership' of the Soviet state in the period between 1939 and 1948. The term 'party leadership' is generally misunderstood; it does not refer to the activities of the party as a whole, but to the efforts of its full time officials (the 'inner party') to direct the activities of the members of the party who manned the Soviet state (the 'outer party'). This study argues that A. Zhdanov and G. Malenkov, the two junior Secretaries of the CC/VKP(B) who directed the two major bureaucratic divisions of the Secretariat for most of the period under review, supported diametrically opposed conceptions of the leadership to be provided by the party's officials. A. Zhdanov argued that they should give priority to the ideological education of all members of the party and should allow the Communists who manned the state considerable autonomy in their administration of the five-year plans. In direct contrast, G. Malenkov, who directed the cadres directorate for most of the period under review, had little sympathy for ideological education and urged party officials to engage in close and detailed direction of the Communists who directly administered the five-year plans. This study contends that it is possible to illustrate this never-ending conflict by a careful examination of the public discussion of this issue in the various publications controlled by the major divisions of the Secretariat. When examined in conjunction with recently published archival materials, it is possible to pinpoint the linkages between the leadership conflict within the Secretariat, the shifts in the ongoing public discussion, and Stalin's role as the final arbiter in the dispute.

Editorial Reviews

Soviet and Post-Soviet Review
The question of the relationship between the Party and the State is crucial for understanding Soviet political. Jonathan Harris goes to the heart of the matter by examining two principal views about the Communist Party's role in Soviet society during the late 1930s and 1940s. Drawing on a meticulous analysis of the main party publications during this period, the author reconstructs the main battle lines between Georgii Malenkov and Andrei Zhdanov, the two antagonists of the book….The book provides a very detailed and extensive analysis of the debates about Party's role in Soviet system as it appeared in the official press.
Russian Review, July 2009 - J. Arch Getty
Harris' picture of powerful competing Stalinist lieutenants remains enticing and seems more like real life than the primitive picture of an omnipotent Stalin surrounded by automatons and slaves, which is unfortunately still popular among historians both here and in Moscow.
Winter 2009 Slavic Review
This book presents a detailed account of the policy disputes that defined the rivalry between Andrei Zhdanov and Georgii Malenkov, two leading members of the Communist Party Secretariat in Iosif Stalin's Soviet Union . . . Harris's work illuminates several important aspects of political life in Stalin's ruling apparatus . . . The study's great strength is its assiduous recreation of political debate inside Stalin's leadership and, as such, it should be essential reading for specialists studying the Stalin era.
Kees Boterbloem
Jonathan Harris renders in The Split in Stalin's Secretariat a highly detailed insight into the workings of the highest echelons of the Soviet regime under Stalin. It convincingly charts how personal rivalries among Stalin's favorites were reflected in the USSR's political course during World War Two and in the opening moves of the Cold War.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780739126066
Publisher:
Lexington Books
Publication date:
02/22/2010
Pages:
192
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

Meet the Author

Jonathan Harris is associate professor of political science at the University of Pittsburgh.

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