861.00/2–1047: Telegram

The Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Smith) to the Secretary of State


357. Campaign to strengthen indoctrination of Soviet people in anti-capitalist orthodox Leninist ideology continues to expand. Latest phase in this drive centers around publication of new biography of Stalin million copies.1 Aleksandrov in his speech on 23rd anniversary of Lenin’s death and Culture and Life for January 31 emphasized necessity of studying Stalin’s biography.2 Pravda, February 6, carries two-page review of this work.

Review throughout stresses Stalin’s role as Lenin’s pupil and “great continuator of his immortal cause”, attributing to Stalin’s decisive influence in each major development in history of revolutionary movement and Soviet state. Review underlines Stalin’s life long struggle against capitalism and reemphasizes Stalin’s authorship of theory of Soviet state under capitalist encirclement. It emphasizes international solidarity of proletariat, asserting that “on basis of classical works of Stalin, workers of all countries learn art of class struggle against their oppressors, learn to prepare conditions for final victory of proletariat”.

Besides being example of dogmatic indoctrination to which Soviet people are ceaselessly subjected, review has another interesting angle. It several times applies term “immortal” to cause of party of Lenin and Stalin and concludes with this word. It notes that enemies of Bolshevism hoped that Soviet state would collapse after death of Lenin, but party carried on. Possibly one reason for current emphasis on Lenin, and Stalin as his continuator and on immortality of their crusade is to prepare public mind for smooth transition from Stalin to some future trusteeship of Lenin’s cause.

  1. This new Short Biography of Stalin was revised from a 1942 publication, reissued in 1946, and now brought up to date. It was a paean of praise of the Generalissimo. The work was performed by a group of party theoreticians led by Academician Alexandrov; Peter Nikolayevich Pospelov, editor of Pravda; and Maj. Gen. Mikhail Romanovich Galaktionov, a specialist and writer on military affairs. A few months later the Embassy reported that a film about Stalin called “The Oath” had begun intensive showings in the middle of 1946. The first complete edition of his writings began to appear also at that time. Four of 16 volumes had been published by May 1947, in an edition of about 500,000 copies priced at 6 rubles each.
  2. See telegram 203 from Moscow on January 27, p. 524.