Why do communist countries need propaganda?
European national stories
Dr. phil., born 1950; General Secretary of the Association of Hungarian Historians; Deputy Director of the History Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences; Professor of Contemporary History at the European Institute Budapest, Rákóczi út 5, 1088 Budapest / Hungary.
Email: [email protected]
introductionCommunist politics and communist ideology claim "internationalism".  According to communist views and political rhetoric, the class and international solidarity of the proletarians are much more important than their respective national affiliations.
For decades the slogan "Workers of all countries, unite!" Appeared on the front pages of the daily newspapers of communist parties. In the "fraternal community" of the countries of the Soviet bloc in East Central Europe, serious attempts at closer "internationalist" cooperation were undesirable. Symbolic "friendship meetings", trips with "friendship trains", spectacular events such as the "World Youth Meetings" or international meetings of "progressive" intellectuals had little to do with true internationalism.
In political practice, on the other hand, especially in agitation and propaganda (agitprop), the national card was played out often and emphatically.
Imperialists and capitalists of all kinds have been portrayed as enemies of the nations. This led to a very selective view of history: The Germans, for example, were seen in many official and semi-official communist narratives as the traditional and, since the early Middle Ages, the most dangerous enemies of the East Central European nations - apart of course from the citizens of the German Democratic Republic, the first democratic and peace-loving State on German soil. In the same propaganda, Russian imperialism was a hallmark of the tsarist empire, while the Soviet Union appeared as the guarantor of the freedom of socialist countries and nations. The Soviet Union was the most important supporter (in word and deed) of the freedom struggles of all oppressed peoples on all continents. The communist propaganda in national colors seemed more credible than the abstract internationalism of the globally exploited workers. "The same socialist content in many national forms" was a slogan that was often heard.
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