Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Speech to the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union

I remember in the 1970's one could still read classifieds around every Dec 21, Stalin's birthday , in the Daily World (Now Peoples World Weekly) and find a few personals congratulating Uncle Joe on his birthday: your memory will always be with us, you were a great hero to the workers of the world, or sometimes just as simple warm wish to my Uncle Joe.

He was a hard God for many comrades to part with and they weren't about to let go. There will always be a tiny but influential group of Americans enamored with tyrants and profound cruelty.

Here's Haartz via Normsblog on how the transcript of Khrushchev's 20th Party Congress speech made it out to the world,
The secret speech was delivered on February 25, 1956, in the evening. The 1,400 delegates at the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union were suddenly invited to a final, closed session, in the Central Committee building in Moscow. The representatives of the foreign delegations were not allowed to enter the hall. When Nikita Khrushchev, the party's first secretary, began to speak, the delegates could hardly believe their ears. Some of them fainted from shock. Without any prior preparation, Khrushchev began a sharp and unprecedented attack on his predecessor, Joseph Stalin, who had died three years earlier.

During the four hours of his speech - 26,000 words - Khrushchev described Stalin as a "despot," condemned the "cult of personality," and accused him of "crimes that caused cruel violence." He criticized Stalin for "most cruel repression," for inventing the concept of "an enemy of the people," and determined that he "had severely distorted the principles of the party."Immediately after the speech, the delegates scattered, without any discussion taking place.

But word of the secret speech spread quickly. Officials cited from it at party meetings, and it began to engineer a process of reforms. First hints of a secret, historic speech delivered at the Soviet Communist Party congress reached the West a few days later. The U.S. administration, as well as the governments of Britain,West Germany, France and others, were eager to learn the contents of the speech. The assignment, naturally, was given to the intelligence organizations. But the Israeli Shin Bet beat out all the others.

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