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The Collectivization of Agriculture in Communist Eastern Europe

Comparison and Entanglements

Edited by Constantin Iordachi and Arnd Bauerkamper

Publication Year: 2014

This book explores the interrelated campaigns of agricultural collectivization in the USSR and in the communist dictatorships established in Soviet-dominated Eastern Europe. Despite the profound, long-term societal impact of collectivization, the subject has remained relatively underresearched. The volume combines detailed studies of collectivization in individual Eastern European states with issueoriented comparative perspectives at regional level. Based on novel primary sources, it proposes a reappraisal of the theoretical underpinnings and research agenda of studies on collectivization in Eastern Europe.The contributions provide up-to-date overviews of recent research in the field and promote new approaches to the topic, combining historical comparisons with studies of transnational transfers and entanglements.

Published by: Central European University Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. v-vii

List of Maps

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p. viii-viii

List of Tables

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pp. ix-x


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The Collectivization of Agriculture in Eastern Europe: Entanglements and Transnational Comparisons

Arnd Bauerkämper, Constantin Iordachi

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pp. 3-46

The sweeping economic and sociopolitical changes set into motion by the collapse of communist dictatorships and the end of the Cold War have significantly transformed Eastern European societies. In the last two decades, numerous scholars in various disciplines have attempted to understand the nature of these changes and assess the societal impact of Eastern European...

Part I. The Interwar Soviet Model and its Post-1945 Application in the Newly Annexed Territories

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Collectivization in the Soviet Union: Specificities and Modalities

Lynne Viola

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pp. 49-78

The collectivization of agriculture in the Soviet Union was an integral component of Stalin’s First Five-Year Plan (1928–32). Wholesale collectivization began in the winter of 1929–1930. The pivotal years in collectivization were 1930 and 1931, when the state made its greatest strides to force Soviet peasants into collective farms and to eliminate the so-called...

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The Collectivization of Agriculture in the Baltic Soviet Republics, 1944–1953

David Feest

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pp. 79-110

Two analytical questions are of outstanding importance concerning the history of the collectivization in the Baltic Soviet Republics: first, why was agriculture not collectivized immediately after the incorporation of the Baltic states into the Soviet Union in July 1940 or after the region’s reconquest in 1944; second, why was collectivization implemented so hastily in...

Part II. Land Collectivization in Central Europe

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The Collectivization of Agriculture in Poland: Causes of Defeat

Dariusz Jarosz

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pp. 113-146

The collectivization of Polish rural society and agriculture from 1948 to 1956 has recently been the subject of numerous new studies based on sources inaccessible to researchers before 1989.1 Thanks to these studies, we now have a better understanding of how agricultural policy was shaped and modified during the period in which production cooperatives—called...

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Ideology and Asymmetrical Entanglements: Collectivization in the German Democratic Republic

Jens Schöne

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pp. 147-180

March 15, 1953 was just like any other Sunday in the German Democratic Republic: the Free Farmer, a weekly paper distributed by the Society of Farmers (VdgB) was published. But this particular issue focused entirely on one extraordinary event: the death of Josef Wissarionowitsch Stalin. The head of the Ministry and Secretary of the Central Committee...

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Collectivization in Czechoslovakia in Comparative Perspective, 1949–1960

Jan Rychlík

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pp. 181-210

This paper provides a general survey of the agricultural collectivization process in Czechoslovakia, which took place between 1949 and 1960, in an attempt to explain the political and economical motivation behind this campaign and its long-term consequences. To fully understand the process of collectivization, it is necessary to explain property relations and economic...

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The Forced Collectivization of Agriculture in Hungary, 1948–1961

József Ö. Kovács

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pp. 211-248

Despite the Hungarian Communist Party’s repressive anti-peasant policies and the suppression of the 1956 Revolution, more than three quarters of the Hungarian peasantry refused to join the collective system until the forced collectivization campaign from the end of 1958 until early 1961.2 Although this fact alone is important—as it involved more than 1.2...

Part III. Land Collectivization in Southeastern Europe

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The Collectivization of Agriculture in Romania, 1949–1962

Constantin Iordachi, Dorin Dobrincu

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pp. 251-292

The collectivization of agriculture in Romania (1949–1962) was one of the longest and most arduous campaigns of social engineering in the countryside launched in post-1945 Eastern Europe, involving a war against the peasantry lasting more than 13 years. The length of this campaign was caused by a number of structural as well as contingent social and political...

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Collectivization in Yugoslavia: Rethinking Regional and National Interests

Melissa K. Bokovoy

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pp. 293-328

With the acceptance of individual peasant production and land ownership in 1953, the Yugoslav Communists (Communist Party of Yugoslavia, CPY) ended the long struggle for control of the countryside and the hearts and minds of the Yugoslav peasants. The CPY’s Commission for the Village admitted the party’s collectivization program had...

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Collectivization and Social Change in Bulgaria, 1940s–1950s

Mihail Gruev

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pp. 329-368

In September 1944, the Soviet army occupied Bulgaria, a middle-sized Balkan country with 111,000 square km of territory and a population of about seven million inhabitants (after the return of the territories formerly under Bulgarian control in Macedonia and Thrace to Yugoslavia and Greece, respectively). At that time, Bulgaria was among the most...

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“Any Other Road Leads Only to the Restoration of Capitalism in the Countryside:” Land Collectivization in Albania

Örjan Sjöberg

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pp. 369-398

After splitting with Moscow in 1961, Albania’s communist party, the Albanian Party of Labor (APL),3 proclaimed that its model of socialism was unique to the Eastern Bloc. This was indeed true, at least with respect to how rural areas and agricultural production were organized. Although collectivization in its earliest phases mirrored campaigns in other Soviet...

Part IV. Axes of Differentiation: Center and Periphery, “Class Struggle,” Social and Ethnic Cleavages

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Collectivization as Social Practice: Historical Narratives and Competing Memories as Sources of Agency in the Collectivization Campaign in the GDR

Arnd Bauerkämper

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pp. 401-432

The transformation of agriculture and rural society in the GDR in the 1950s was initiated “from above” by the leadership of the Socialist Unity Party (Sozialistische Einheitspartei Deutschlands), or SED. At the same time, however, the process was implemented, interpreted and appropriated by various regional and local actors who either rejected collectivization or...

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The Appropriation and Modification of the “Soviet Model” of Collectivization: The Case of Hungary

Zsuzsanna Varga

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pp. 433-466

As Cold War conflict intensified toward the end of the 1940s, the efforts to Sovietize Central and Eastern Europe were accelerated, resulting in the large-scale implementation of the Stalinist social, political, and economic model.2 Despite key differences in the timing and the methods applied in each country, the supremacy of this model was not disputed until...

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Collectivization at the Grass Roots Level: State Planning and Popular Reactions in Bulgaria, Romania, Poland, and the GDR, 1948–1960

Gregory R. Witkowski

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pp. 467-496

At the end of the Second World War, communist parties throughout Eastern Europe sought to transform the agricultural system by implementing collectivization of agricultural land. State planners and party functionaries proceeded from the notion that massive change could be engendered through the rationalization of production and the elimination...

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Eastern European Collectivization Campaigns Compared, 1945–1962

Nigel Swain

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pp. 497-534

This contribution represents the culmination of more than three decades of research into the collectivization of agriculture in Eastern Europe and its demise.1 It is based on my doctoral research into Hungarian collectivization, intermittent monitoring of rural issues in Hungary in the 1980s,2 information about the collectivization process that emerged from research...

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About the Authors

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pp. 535-542

Arnd Bauerkämper is Professor of Modern European History at the Freie Universität Berlin. He studied history and English at the universities of Bielefeld, Oxford and Göttingen. Selected publications: Die “radikale Rechte” in Großbritannien. Nationalistische und faschistische Bewegung vom späten 19. Jahrhundert bis 1945. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht Verlag, 1991...


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pp. 543-558

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9789633860489
Print-ISBN-13: 9786155225635

Page Count: 570
Illustrations: Maps and tables
Publication Year: 2014