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Watching the watchers : communist elites, the secret police and social order in Cold War Europe

Watching the watchers : communist elites, the secret police and social order in Cold War Europe / Henry Thomson, Arizona State University.
9781009413602 (ebook)
9781009413596 (hardback)
9781009413640 (paperback)
Cambridge, United Kingdom ; New York, NY, USA : Cambridge University Press, 2024.
Physical Description
1 online resource (xiii, 339 pages) : digital, PDF file(s).
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Access is available to the Yale community.
Title from publisher's bibliographic system (viewed on 22 Feb 2024).
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Throughout history, dictators have always constructed secret police agencies to neutralize rivals and enforce social order. But the same agencies can become disloyal and threatening. This book explores how eight communist regimes in Cold War Europe confronted this dilemma. Divergent strategies caused differences in regimes of repression, with consequences for social order and political stability. Surviving the shock of Josef Stalin's death, elites in East Germany and Romania retained control over the secret police. They grew their coercive institutions to effectively suppress dissent via surveillance and targeted repression. Elsewhere, ruling coalitions were thrown into turmoil after Stalin's death, changing personnel and losing control of the security apparatus. Post-Stalinist transitions led elites to restrict the capacity of the secret police and risk social disorder. Using original empirical analysis that is both rigorous and rich in fascinating detail, Henry Thomson brings new insights into the darkest corners of authoritarian regimes.
Variant and related titles
Cambridge core frontlist 2024.
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May 22, 2024

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