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Nothing could be more timely than thin informed, dispassionate and brilliant analysis of the facts and the motives and the reasonable assumptions to be drawn from the Soviet's policy at home and abroad. People On Our Side laid a basis for the distribution of this new book, which is, however, more controversial in content and in conclusions. Snow, returning to Russia after a not-too-long absence, reports renewed zest, faith, energy in Moscow reborn after slege, in a Ukraine achieving against odds an incredible harvest, in new conceptions of Russian social life, the arts, the place of marriage, of religion, even a slight opening up again of more goods and food. More important, he finds the main body of the Marxist-Leninist teachings reenforced, self-study and education again on the march, faith in the system which brought victory enhanced, but a healthy flexibility which makes certain it will not jeopardize the continued cooperation with capitalistic powers. The Russians have learned how to work -- they know their power. He then traces the ""pattern"" in each territory released from Nazi occupation, -- Rumania, Poland, Hungary, etc. Russia has demanded convincing proof of Nazi and Fascist elimination before loosening controls; but there has been no revolution, in the expected sense (or even in the sense it occurred in Greece, in Yugoslavia, in Belgium). The Soviet occupation created conditions which resolved themselves into new kind of leadership, new power for the workers, the peasants; reduction of taxes; strengthening the hands of antifascists; reorientation of foreign policy with natural emphasis on Soviet friendship; cooperation between state and employees; economic foundations laid for new anti-fascist government. The Red Army has pursued a consistent ""hands-off"" policy. One of the most interesting sections deals with Snow's interpretation of the facts he unearthed about the tragedy of the premature Polish uprising, which he feels was -- on evidence secured -- a political and deliberately anti-Soviet move on the part of the London Poles, a method of planned sabotage...A brief summary of what the war has cost the Soviet should prepare the western world for the needs of the future, and leads up to the verdict on Soviet pattern for Germany. I was fascinated by him lucid explanation of the processes already started of de-Hitlerising and propagandizing the German prisoners, -- a dynamic plan of action as opposed to the Geneva Convention vacuum elsewhere, -- a long term political move, in preparation for laying a groundwork for a reconstructed Germany, freed of Nazi influences...He gives an interesting picture of the social changes within the Soviet, as a result of the war, of increase in freedom of expression on local matters, of sharply critical attitudes in the Soviet press, of an enriched cultural life due to intense and growing curiosity and awareness of other ways of life -- but of an all-embracing conviction that foreign policy must first and last safeguard the Soviet...""When Russia Fights Japan"" -- says Edgar Snow -- (note -- not If) Russia may approach the end through a policy of cooperation, of ideological preparation, of using the part Russia can play as a bargaining tool with the United Nations. He then discusses the situation in China, the cause for the Stilwell recall, the ""show"" Chiang Kai Shek has made of reform (a point clearly recognized by President Roosevelt). At present we are following a policy of temporizing, of appeasement -- but the showdown must come, the two Chinas must find a way of coming together...The final chapters are character studies of Stalin and the men of the Kremlin. And in final conclusion, Snow expresses again his conviction that Soviet strength can be attributed to the realization of the basic principles of racial and national equality...Not easy reading, but rewarding reading; whether or not one agrees with his conclusions, he throws a searching light on much that is confused and dark to the average American. Don't miss it!

Pub Date: July 10th, 1945
Publisher: Random House