Posting for Marxism Forum

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Tue Nov 2 05:43:50 MST 1999

Warren, I am posting this on your behalf but urge you to post directly to
the list in the future. This is done by sending your messages to the
address "marxism at".

At 06:48 AM 11/2/99 -0500, you wrote:
>Dear Louis,
>I would like the following to be posted on the Marxism Forum, if that is
>acceptable. I am, as you probably know, a new subscriber and so I'm not
>sure this is the proper way to post messages. In any event, I hope this
>request is not inconveniencing you. Her is the message I would like posted,
>if possible:
>I am investigating, for academic purposes, what role "ideology" played in
>the formulation of Soviet foreign policy in the post-WW II era. Both in
>secondary literature and in newly-available Russian archival material, I
>have encountered frequent references to Stalin's "Leninist" obsessions, to
>"Marxist dogma" and to "Marxism-Leninism".  I have also seen allegations by
>prominent scholars that Malenkov's reaction to the first US hydrogen bomb
>test represented "heresy" in that departed from the "orthodox" Marxist
>assumption that any war with the Capitalist Camp would result in its
>destruction and therefore be of benefit to Socialism.
>For example, in a 10 March 1994 paper presented to the Norwegian Nobel
>Institute, Yuri N.Smirnov and Vladislav M. Zubok discussed Moscow's entry
>into the hydrogen bomb age.  Smirnov is Leading Researcher at the Russian
>Research Center Kurchatov Institute, and Zubok is a noted Russian historian
>specializing in the Cold War, currently at the US National Security
>Archives in Washington, DC.
>There is, in this paper, considerable discussion of the ideological dilemma
>America's first hydrogen bomb test created for the Kremlin. The authors
>allege that Stalin "left to his successors his orthodox vision of
>international affairs, based on Leninist theory.........." Later, the paper
>refers to Malenkov's public pronouncement that "other means" would have to
>be found to deal with the West, in light of the obvious fact that "war
>between the USSR and the United States .........would mean the end of world
>As factual history has shown us, Malenkov was attacked (and brought down)
>by others in the Kremlin for having departed from what the Smirnov/Zubok
>paper calls the "orthodox Marxist-Leninist ideology, which 'scientifically'
>ordained socialism's triumph in any future conflict."  The paper proceeds
>to remind that Malenkov was, in the interests of good socialist
>self-criticism, forced to face the public once again and recant, claiming
>that what he really meant to say that any attempt by the Capitalist Camp to
>use thermonuclear weapons against the Soviet Union would result in their
>being crushed by the same weapons. Malenkov's remarks were termed "heresy."
>Again, I refer to the Smirnov/Zubok paper only as one example of the broad
>use in secondary literature and archival material of the terms "Marxism",
>"Leninism", "Marxism-Leninism", "orthodox", "heresy" etc, in references to
>ideological motivation and discussion within the Kremlin, as it wrestled
>with the necessity to deal with the West following World War II and into
>the nuclear age.
>I would welcome any comments and suggestions Forum members might have on
>this apparently loose employment of labels intended to describe the
>ideology that drove Soviet foreign policy formulation during that period of
>time.  Were the ideological commitments in the Kremlin extensions of
>"Marxism", adapted to the changing world, or did they represent dramatic
>departures from "Marxism".  Did "orthodox Marxism"  assume that war between
>the Capitalist and Communist camps was eventually inevitable? Was
>Malenkov's warning about the devastating consequences of thermonuclear
>weapons really "heresy"? If so, heresy to what? How would you describe and
>define the ideology that lay behind Soviet policy formulation after 1945?
>ENDNOTE:  I have not included footnotes in this message simply because my
>software makes this awkward, however I would be pleased to supply citations
>for the above quotes, should anyone be interested.
>Thank you.
>Warren Williams
>History department
>University of Wales
>E-mail: RANGERWILL at

Louis Proyect
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