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Subject: ‘Communism’

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The best pictures of Karl Marx

Posted in Best pictures, Communism, Historical articles, History, Philosophy, Politics on Monday, 10 August 2015

The best pictures of Karl Marx are all portraits of the political thinker and proponent of revolutionary Communism.
The first picture is a woodcut.

Marx, picture, image, illustration

Karl Marx (1818-1883), German philosopher, economist, historian and political theorist

The second picture is a studio photograph.

Marx, picture, image, illustration

Karl Marx (1818-1883), German philosopher, economist, historian and political theorist

The third picture is a head-and-shoulders study.

Marx, picture, image, illustration

Karl Marx (1818-1883), German philosopher, economist, historian and political theorist

Many more pictures of Communists can be found at the Look and Learn picture library.

The best pictures of Russia’s Bloody Sunday, 1905

Posted in Best pictures, Communism, Famous crimes, Famous news stories, Historical articles, History, Politics, Royalty on Wednesday, 5 August 2015

The best pictures of Bloody Sunday in Russia show the Russian army killing the defenceless crowd standing before the Winter Palace demanding redress from the Czar.
The first picture shows Russian troops slaughtering the peaceful marchers after they converged on the Winter Palace at St Petersburg.

Bloody Sunday, picture, image, illustration

Bloody Sunday, 1905 – Russia's Day Of Shame

The second picture shows the army shooting the peaceful protesters.

Bloody Sunday, picture, image, illustration

Bloody Sunday, 1905 – massacre outside the Winter Palace

The third picture shows the victims falling under the army’s gunfire on Bloody Sunday.

Bloody Sunday, picture, image, illustration

Bloody Sunday, 1905 – the peaceful protesters die in the wintry square

Many more pictures of revolution can be found at the Look and Learn picture library.

The best pictures of Communards prisoners

Posted in Best pictures, Communism, Heroes and Heroines, Historical articles, History, Politics, Revolution on Tuesday, 4 August 2015

The best pictures of the Communards prisoners show the fate of the proto-communists after the Fall of the Commune.
The first picture shows a female prisoner being rounded up in Paris.

Communards, picture, image, illustration

The Last of the Commune by Francis S Walker

The second picture shows visiting hour in the Communards’ prison at Versailles.

Communards, picture, image, illustration

Communist Prisoners at Versailles receiving Visitors by H Woods

The third picture shows ordinary Parisians executing the defeated Communards.

Communards, picture, image, illustration

There were plenty of volunteers to shoot down people of the Commune after their defeat, by C L Doughty

Many more pictures of the Paris Commune can be found at the Look and Learn picture library.

The best pictures of the Fires of Paris, 1871

Posted in Anarchy, Best pictures, Communism, Disasters, Famous landmarks, Historical articles, History, Politics, Revolution, War on Tuesday, 4 August 2015

The best pictures of the Fires of Paris which were set during the revolutionary Commune of 1871 are all dramatic images of the city during those momentous events.
The first picture shows the burning of the Tuileries.

Paris commune, picture, image, illustration

The Burning of the Tuileries

The second picture shows the Hotel de Ville ablaze.

Paris commune, picture, image, illustration

Hotel de Ville, 24 May 1871 by F Hoffbauer

The third picture shows the dead at the barricades as Paris burns.

Paris commune, picture, image, illustration

Paris, May, 1871

Many more pictures of the Paris Commune can be found at the Look and Learn picture library.

The Berlin Wall divided Europe and was an offence against humanity

Posted in Communism, Famous landmarks, Historical articles, History on Wednesday, 19 March 2014

This edited article about the Berlin Wall first appeared in Look and Learn issue number 598 published on 30 June 1973.

Berlin Wall,  picture, image, illustration

Escapees trying to cross the border between East and West Germany after the wall was built in 1961; some succeeded, while others were shot down by East German border guards; picture by Graham Coton<

On the morning of Sunday 13th August, 1961 an old man lay asleep in his home in the village of Rhondorf. Exhausted by a hectic election campaign and by mounting criticism, Konrad Adenauer, Chancellor Of West Germany, tossed fitfully. His bedside telephone shrilled suddenly. News had come from Berlin that a barrier had been built, sealing off the East German frontier. Chancellor Adenauer listened quietly. Two hours later he went to Mass. But although he continued to remain calm for the rest of the day, he knew, as the world knew, that the ever-tense situation in Berlin had been tightened to breaking point.

Why was the Berlin wall built?

At the end of the Second World War Berlin had surrendered to Russian forces and so lay within the area of Germany claimed by Russia, which became the East German Republic. The city itself, however, was quartered between French, British, Russian and American commands. It became the scene of a trial of strength in 1947 when the Soviet Union attempted to blockade the western sector; the siege was only overcome by a massive airlift. Early in 1961 the Russians again threatened western access to the city but it was the East German Republic which brought matters to a head.

Since the early days of the republic numbers of East Germans had “voted with their feet,” by fleeing over the border from east to west Berlin to seek political refuge in West Germany. By 1961 the flow had risen to over a thousand a day. It was a direct result of the policies of repression and brutality imposed by the regime of Walter Ulbricht the East German president. The effect of the mass emigration was to reduce drastically the labour force in East Germany and to ruin plans for the expansion and improvement of the East German economy.

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The Hungarian Uprising was put down by Russian tanks

Posted in Communism, Famous news stories, Historical articles, History, Invasions, Revolution on Wednesday, 19 March 2014

This edited article about the Hungarian Uprising first appeared in Look and Learn issue number 597 published on 23 June 1973.

Hungarian Uprising,  picture, image, illustration

Soviet tanks and troops rolled into Budapest and the heroic but futile street fighting began by Graham Coton

Two young men climbed to the top of the massive metal statue and dragged up a heavy cable which they attached to its head. The crowd below roared its approval. Many hundreds of hands hauled on the rope but the statue did not budge. Then the three workers came with acetylene torches and began to cut into the statue’s knees. The crowd stood hushed as it began to topple. Then cheering broke out as Joseph Stalin pitched forward from his plinth and lay face-downwards in the square. The place was Budapest and the date the 23rd of October, 1956 – the Hungarian revolution had begun.

What had brought it about? Hungary had emerged from the war in moral and political confusion. She had officially been an ally of Germany but had bred a spirited resistance movement as well. In 1947 the communists seized power and eventually the country was governed by Matyas Rakosi. Rakosi reproduced in Hungary the tyranny which Stalin imposed on Russia and the country underwent a long period of privation and terror. The death of Stalin and his subsequent denunciation by the Russian leader, Krushchev, encouraged the Hungarians to overthrow Rakosi in July 1956. But there was little change under his successors. Nevertheless, the spirit of rebellion was abroad.

Students, dissatisfied with conditions in the universities, and factory workers, demanding high wages, joined forces; they were in turn joined by all those who resented the repressive system by which the country was governed. A series of strikes and rallies reached its climax in the destruction of the towering statue of Stalin which symbolised for the rebels the oppression and the exploitation which their country had suffered.

Their triumph swiftly turned to tragedy. The A.V.O., the Hungarian security police opened fire on the crowds and many were killed. But the police could not quell the defiant citizens for long, and more and more people flocked to demonstrate in the streets of Budapest.

Hungary turned for help to Russia. In the small hours of the following morning Russian tanks began to arrive in the city, but even they could not drive the people home. The Russian soldiers were, in fact, reluctant to attack the crowd at all; some wept when they saw the destruction which the A.V.O. meted out to its fellow-citizens.

The revolution gathered momentum and spread across the whole country. The government had to decide whether it should go on fighting the rebels or whether it should try to quieten them by giving in to their demands for a new leadership. In the end it decided on the latter course and Imre Nagy, a liberal politician who had been disgraced in the days of Stalin, was allowed to form a new government. Janos Kadar, who had also suffered under the Rakosi regime, joined the new government too.

Soon Nagy was able to announce that the Russians had withdrawn their troops from Budapest. But the withdrawal was really a clever piece of stage-management; as the tanks fell back, fresh Russian troops were moved towards eastern Hungary.

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The Cuban Missile Crisis was about not losing and saving face

Posted in America, Communism, Famous news stories, Historical articles, History, Politics, War, Weapons on Tuesday, 18 March 2014

This edited article about the Cold War first appeared in Look and Learn issue number 595 published on 9 June 1973.

Russian nuclear missile,  picture, image, illustration

Russian nuclear missile on a military parade in Red Square

On Sunday, 14th October 1962, a warm autumn day, an American U-2 plane returned from a reconnaissance flight over western Cuba. Rolls of negatives from its camera were rushed to processing laboratories and then to an interpretation centre where specialists peered at the blown-up photographs frame by frame.

By the next day, they had identified a launching pad, a series of buildings for ballistic missiles and a missile itself on the ground. At breakfast on Tuesday, John Kennedy, the American president saw the photographs They supported the reports of his intelligence agents, in Cuba and confirmed his worst fears. The Russians were installing nuclear weapons in Cuba.

How had the missiles come to be there? Since the revolution in Cuba which had brought Fidel Castro to power, Cuba’s links with the East had grown stronger, while Castro himself had said of America: “Understanding is impossible.” But why should the Russians, who had never before placed nuclear missiles in another country, install them on an island many thousands of miles away from Russia, lying next to their main adversary, and governed by an avowed enemy of the United States?

It had been done as a trial of strength. For some time, a group of Russian leaders had been convinced that the Americans had become too rich, too soft and too liberal to fight; and that the Soviet Union could safely use its utmost nuclear force against them. Krushchev, the Soviet leader, did not agree with this view but he had to put it to the test. That was why he decided to install over sixty missiles with a range of up to 2,000 miles, right under the Americans’ noses.

This would double the Soviet potential striking force against America, and if America took no action in return, she would lose face throughout the world, particularly in other places, such as Berlin, where there was open confrontation between East and West.

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Hitler could not crush Tito and the Yugoslavian partisans

Posted in Communism, Historical articles, History, Politics, World War 2 on Monday, 3 March 2014

This edited article about World War Two first appeared in Look and Learn issue number 576 published on 27 January 1973.

Yugoslavian partisans,  picture, image, illustration

Yugoslavian partisans disrupt the German occupation by Graham Coton

The sky was too blue, too clear. The sun, gleaming off the mountain rock, floodlit the scene too well.

Anxiously, Tito scanned the line of men straggling out across the narrow makeshift bridge, Some were crawling, some hobbling and some limping. Others were staggering under the weight of comrades so weak from wounds, so ravaged by typhus that they had to be carried across. All were only too easy to be pinpointed from the air.

Too often, Tito had seen what happened when the sky smiled and the sun shone.

The first warning would be the soulless drone of approaching aircraft. Then would come the glint of wings angling into view around the mountainside. And then, bombs would spatter the length of the bridge, splintering the planks, singeing the ropes to threads and sending men spinning down into the river that heaved and rushed far below.

Tito, tough and determined though he was, had wept to see them tossing along in the waters of the Neratva like so much useless flotsam. It was an ignominious and wasteful end for fighters who had followed him through long months of hardship, hunger and bone-freezing cold.

“Operation Punishment,” as Hitler had called it, was proving punishing indeed.

This was the name the Nazi Fuhrer had given to the invasion he never meant to mount.

In the spring of 1941, Hitler’s plans centred on his coming attack on Russia. Though Yugoslavia, a neutral country, would lie on the south-eastern flank of his invasion force, this hardly seemed dangerous, for it was surrounded by Nazi allies. In this context, Hitler thought that a simple pact would prove sufficient safeguard, and when Yugoslavian ministers signed one in Vienna, Hitler believed he could put Yugoslavia out of his mind.

He was able to do so for less than twenty-four hours.

The Yugoslav people were appalled and affronted by what their government had done. On 27th March, 1941, the day after the signatories had crept back shamefaced from Vienna, a group of air force officers seized power and thousands of people marched through Belgrade brandishing the Yugoslav flag and shouting the defiant slogan “Better War than Pact – Better Grave than Slave!”

Insane with rage at this insult to his pride and the threat to his policy. Hitler postponed the invasion of Russia and ordered that Yugoslavia should be destroyed and dismembered.

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In 1956 Soviet Russia crushed the Hungarian Revolution

Posted in Communism, Historical articles, History, Invasions, Politics, Revolution on Wednesday, 26 February 2014

This edited article about Hungary first appeared in Look and Learn issue number 569 published on 9 December 1972.

Hungary in 1956,  picture, image, illustration

The freedom fighters of Hungary defied the Russian tanks and the machine guns to show the world that liberty is a thing to be treasured – even to death, by Graham Coton

One rifle shot – that is all it took, nothing more – turned a wild rowdy march into a revolution in Hungary in 1956.

It was fired outside the radio studios in Budapest where hundreds of young Hungarians were making a wild demonstration against their one-party government. And it was enough to send them berserk.

Before the day was out, the office of a newspaper had been stormed by crowds carrying the dead body of a student wrapped in a flag; a statue of Stalin, a former Russian leader, had been smashed, pavements torn up, trams overturned and barricades erected.

For a long time, there had been a great deal of discontent over the presence of Russian troops in Hungary. They were there under the terms of a “self help” treaty made between Russia and her satellites a year earlier. But the students wanted them to go, and they also wanted a western type of democracy with more than one political party, freedom of worship, a free press and reforms concerning land ownership.

Inspired by a recent revolution in Poland, which was bloodless and had brought that country more freedom, the students began their march towards the statue of Joseph Bem, a Polish general whose fight in the Hungarian War for Independence of 1848-49 had made him their hero.

Chanting, “Russians go home,” they marched to the statue, near which was a barracks from where eight hundred cadets joined them. From there they marched to the radio station with the demand that their plea for freedom should be broadcast.

And it was there that the fatal shot was fired.

Nobody knows who fired it. Perhaps it was a nervous security guard. But it caused some trigger-happy rebels to fire back, and set the others rampaging destructively through the town, which caused the government to announce sinisterly that they “had applied for help to the Soviet formations stationed in Hungary.”

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Stalin’s agents ended Trotsky’s exile with an ice pick

Posted in Communism, Famous crimes, Historical articles, History on Friday, 21 February 2014

This edited article about Leon Trotsky first appeared in Look and Learn issue number 561 published on 14 October 1972.

Assassination of Trotsky,  picture, image, illustration

(Top) Joseph Stalin, Leon Trotsky and Ramon Mercader; (main picture) as Trotsky sat reading, Mercader took an ice pick and raised it murderously above his head

As the man and his wife crouched on the floor, guns barked and rattled outside, sending bullets whining across the ceiling. Firebombs crashed through the windows, while, inside the house, an incendiary hissed, then erupted in a surge of smoke and flame.

When the attack began, Leon Trotsky, lying half-asleep in bed, had thought that firecrackers were being let off to celebrate some religious festival. But then, he jerked awake, as he realised what was happening.

For over forty years, ever since he first became a Communist, Trotsky had lived in the presence of danger. And for the last twelve, death seemed to have shadowed him all the way from his native Russia to the sanctuary of his home in the Coycoan suburb of Mexico City.

But Trotsky knew that, if he died now, in a rain of bullets, no one could ever prove who had perpetrated the crime or whether or not Joseph Stalin, ruler of Russia, had inspired it. For if the would-be murderers now outside his home were, in fact, Stalinist NKVD agents, Trotsky knew that no evidence would ever be found.

The name of this Russian government organisation seemed so mild – “People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs” – but for too many people, including Trotsky, its real meaning was frighteningly sinister. No one ever knew for certain if NKVD agents were responsible for a killing or kidnapping, a “suicide” or “disappearance.” The only evidence of crime was the crime itself. The only suspicion of impending crime lay in the fear of potential victims and the warning of danger to come.

Trotsky, who had been one of the architects of the Russian Revolution of 1917, had received many such warnings. Ever since 1923, when Stalin had begun to vilify him, he was told over and over again that this was an implacable enemy, intent on murdering him.

Trotsky, one of Stalin’s sternest critics, had been banished from Russia in 1928, but as he fled to Turkey, to Norway and finally to Mexico, the threat of murder seemed to follow close behind. In the wake of the fugitive, mysterious deaths scythed down many Trotsky supporters, two of his secretaries and most of his family.

This was why, when Trotsky reached Mexico in January 1937, his home soon became a fortress. The main door was reinforced by two iron bars, and the iron railings were replaced by a high concrete wall networked by wires connected to an alarm system, and fitted with watchtowers manned by guards with machine guns.

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