Libmonster ID: TR-90

V. P. DANILOV and S. I. YAKUBOVSKAYA. Source Research and Study of the History of Soviet Society

The authors point out that source research - an auxiliary subject aimed at determining available sources, tracing their origin, character and authenticity of the facts recorded in them - holds an important place in the development of historical science. Close attention to the problems of source research has always been one of the distinguishing features of Russian historical science. Already in the pre-revolutionary period Russian scientists elaborated a number of source research methods, along with certain principles of source classification and critical analysis. However, the article stresses that only on the basis of the Marxist-Leninist methods was it possible to develop source research along genuinely scientific lines. In their works, Karl Marx, Frederick Engels and V. I. Lenin formulated the basic principles of the scientific analysis of sources, disclosed the close connection existing between research methods and methodology, emphasized the need of examining one or another scientific source in organic connection with the relevant historical period and bringing out the class origin and content of the source.

The authors believe that among the most important tasks confronting theoretical source research is definition of the concept "historical source," elaboration of the basic methods of source classification and principles of their critical analysis. Having examined the question of defining the essence of the concept "source," the authors formulate their conclusion in the following way: "An historical source is a monument of the past which bears the imprint of its time, which reflects living reality through the prism of social, economic, political, esthetic and other conceptions and ideas, through the prism of the vital interests of the people who created the monument. The monument itself is an historical phenomenon holding a definite place in the historical process, and only as a phenomenon can it be correctly understood and interpreted."

This definition of historical source constitutes the underlying basis of Soviet source research and serves as the initial thesis for elaborating the principles of scientific classification, critical analysis and interpretation of sources.

Examining the basic principles of source classification advanced by source researchers in the recent period (classification according to contents and classification according to category), the authors maintain that neither of these methods can be regarded as satisfactory. The authors doubt the very possibility of creating a classification applicable to all cases of historical research. The, classification of sources used by historians for investigating one or another theme is inseparably linked with the aims and aspect of research and with the concrete composition of documentary materials. Hence, in each individual case the researcher will elaborate a concrete method of source classification. However, it is possible and absolutely necessary to define some uniform basic principles of classification, the application of which will ensures a scientific approach to the analysis of the studied sources. Particular emphasis is laid in the article on the importance of classifying sources by the degree of their proximity to the events recorded, on the importance of drawing a line of distinction between historical survivals and historical tradition.

While considering the two-stage method of the critical analysis of sources correct and fully justified, the authors stress the fundamentally differing conception of these stages by Soviet and bourgeois historians. In the works of bourgeois historians the first stage ends with establishing the author of the source, the date and place of its appearance and examining its external distinguishing features. A Marxist historian, apart from establishing the above, elements, must bring out the connection of the source with a definite historical period and analyze the ideological-political class positions of its authors. A critical analysis of the source with the aim of establishing the authenticity and completeness of the facts recorded (second stage) can likewise be correctly carried out only by giving due attention to the connection of the source with the concrete historical period, to its class character and ideological-political direction.

A considerable part of the article is devoted to the critical analysis of research works on the history of Soviet society from the point of view of the use of sources and documentary publications put out in recent years. The authors pay special attention to the elaboration of the problems of theoretical and critical source research in the Soviet period. Pointing to a certain lag in this field, the authors write that the work of creating generalized and theoretical monographs and textbooks on source research in the Soviet period must be preceded by the appearance of a large number of special researches on individual sources or groups of sources, on archive funds, legislative monuments, newspapers, etc. The launching of this work should be regarded as one of the most important conditions for raising the scientific level of research devoted to the history of Soviet society.

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V. V. MAVRODIN. Soviet Historical Literature Devoted to the Peasant Wars in Russia in the 17th - 18th Centuries

The article reviews the development of Soviet historical research into the peasant wars of the 17th - 18th centuries.

Way back in the 1920's and early 1930's Soviet historians devoted much attention tithe study and publication of sources on the history of the peasant wars and achieved important results in this field. Following the victory of. the Great October Socialist Revolution, the interest of the popular masses in the history of the class struggle has grown enormously. In the early years of Soviet government fairly large editions of popular-scientific and educational literature, numerous museum expositions, etc satisfied this interest. In the period between the twenties and early thirties first attempts were made to produce historiographical and bibliographical works devoted to the history of the peasant wars. For the first time in Soviet history the peasant wars came to be regarded as the joint struggle waged by the labouring masses of Russian and other nationalities.

In some of the works, which appeared at that time the peasant, wars were regarded as reactionary movements, in others as "peasant revolutions" or as a struggle reflecting the "spontaneous socialism of the masses." A characteristic feature of many works was modernization of past events. M. N. Pokrovsky and a number of other historians of the twenties and early thirties failed to give a correct solution of the problem of the peasant wars as a whole.

An important factor in stimulating further development of Soviet historical science and research into the peasant wars of the 17th - 18th centuries was the publication, in the 1930's, of Party documents devoted to historical science and dissemination of historical knowledge in the U. S. S. R. Beginning with mid - 1930's and particularly in the postwar years Soviet historians made significant progress in the field of studying the history of the peasant wars waged in the 17th - 18th centuries. I. I. Smirnov's monograph and a number of articles and publications were devoted to the peasant uprising led by Bolotnikov. However, there have not yet appeared any generalizing research monographs illustrating the history of the peasant wars waged under the leadership of Stepan Razin and Emelyan Pugachov. But in the published documents, articles and monographs touching on the problems connected with these uprisings an analysis is made of the position and struggle of the popular masses on the eve of the peasant wars, the principal causes that gave rise to these wars, the participation of diverse sections of the labouring Russian population; and non-Russian nationalities in the peasant uprisings, the character of the peasant wars and their consequences.

On the basis of comprehensive research into the history of the class struggle in Russia, Soviet historians place such major peasant movements as the uprisings led by Bolotnikov, Razin and Pugachov into the category of peasant wars. Complete identity of views has been established on the fundamental specific features and peculiarities of all peasant wars (spontaneity, lack of organization, local and tsarist character, the absence of a class capable of leading the peasants to victory, etc.). Soviet historians have succeeded in overcoming the manifestations of schematism, sociologism and modernization, i. e., the absence of a consistent historical approach that was typical of the works published in the twenties and early thirties. Numerous publications, concrete researches and works of a genera! character, devoting much attention to the peasant wars in Russia, have appeared. A number of broad discussions on the basic problems of the peasant wars of the 17th-18th centuries have been arranged.

In conclusion the author outlines the tasks confronting Soviet historians making research into the peasant uprisings. It is essential, in his opinion, to analyze in greater detail the specific and distinctive features of each peasant war and examine the practical implementation of the aims and slogans of the peasant wars on the territory occupied by the insurgents. Another important problem still awaiting its final solution is why the peasant wars in Russia broke out at the beginning of the 17th century and ended in the latter part of the 18th century. Much attention will have to be devoted to establishing the role and significance of each individual peasant war in the history of Russia.

W. Z. FOSTER The Latin-American Revolution of 1810 - 1826

The above-mentioned article by William Z. Foster, reprinted from the November 1960 issue of the magazine "Political Affairs," convincingly proves that the liberation struggle waged by the peoples of the former Spanish, Portuguese and French colonies in Latin America in the first decades of the past century was, essentially, a bourgeois revolution which considerably accelerated the development of Latin America along the capitalist path. W. Z. Foster writes that the liberation movement in the Latin-American colonies formed part of the great bourgeois revolution embracing the entire Western Hemisphere. The article trenchantly criticizes the attempts of bourgeois historiographers to depict the revolution in Latin America exclusively as a war for secession from the metropolitan countries, as a war devoid of all social content. W. Z. Foster expresses his high appreciation of the article published in the magazine "Voprosy Istorii" ("Problems of History,"

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No. 11, 1956) under the title; "The Liberation War of the Spanish Colonies in America (1810 - 1826)." Contributed by a group of Soviet historians - M. S. Alperovich, V. I. Yermolayev, I. R. Lavretsky and S. I. Scmyonov, it analyzes the character and the motive forces of the revolution in the Latin-American possessions of Spain. In W. Z. Foster's opinion, one of the shortcomings of this article is that it fails to give a characteristic of the revolutionary movement in the Portuguese and French colonial possessions in Latin America, namely, in Brazil and Haiti.

Academician I. M. MAISKY. The 1933 World Economic Conference in London (Reminiscences)

I. M. Maisky, who was the U. S. S. R. Ambassador to Great Britain in 1933, participated in the 1933 London Conference as a member of the Soviet delegation headed by M. M. Litvinov, People's Commissar of Foreign Affairs of the U. S. S. R. Drawing on his personal reminiscences and a large number of documents and materials, I. M. Maisky gives a faithful account of the conference and its proceedings.

The conference was convened by the League of Nations to work out a series of measures aimed at combating the economic crisis that shook the entire capitalist world in 1929 - 1933. The chief sponsor of the conference was Ramsay MacDonald, Prime Minister of Britain.

The World Economic Conference opened on June 12 and closed on July 27, 1933. It was attended by some 1,500 delegates from 66 countries, including four delegates from the U. S. S. R. In the first three days the conference was addressed by MacDonald, Chamberlain, Daladier, Hull, Ishii, Young, Neurath and other leading statesmen of the capitalist world. They delivered grandiloquent speeches in which they complained of the difficulties created by the crisis, but were unable to propose any effective measures capable of moderating, let alone eliminating, these difficulties. Further proceedings of the conference and its various committees revealed sharp contradictions among the capitalist countries participating in the conference, particularly on such important questions as war debts, stabilization of currencies, returning colonial possessions to Germany, customs duties, etc. These contradictions, which are comprehensively analyzed by I. M. Maisky, made the conference utterly fruitless and prevented it from yielding any positive results. The clash of interests between representatives of finance capital of different countries completely paralyzed the work of the conference. A decisive and fatal blow to the conference was dealt by Franklin D. Roosevelt who, adhering to the policy of implementing controlled inflation in the U.S.A., categorically and vehemently opposed the stabilization of capitalist currencies, on which the governments of France, Italy and certain other European states strongly insisted.

The Soviet Union's delegation was the only one to put before the conference a number of concrete and feasible proposals. On June 14, M. M. Litvinov made a long speech in which he gave a comprehensive and lucid Marxist-Leninist analysis of the international situation prevailing at that time, and submitted to the conference two practical proposals envisaging: a) conclusion of an economic non-aggression pact between all countries and b) disposing of the accumulated commodity surpluses in all countries and extending the volume of output of industrial enterprises with the help of new purchases and orders. As an initial step the U. S. S. R. expressed its readiness to conclude an economic non-aggression pact and place orders with foreign firms amounting to approximately 1,000 million dollars, with the stipulation, however, that normal credit arrangements would be ensured. On June 20 the Soviet delegation submitted to the conference a draft Protocol on Economic Non-Aggression and secured its examination and discussion by the Economic Committee session on July 13. The Soviet draft was approved and supported by the delegations of Poland, Turkey and Ireland. During its stay in London the Soviet delegation scored a major diplomatic victory. On July 3 and 5, 1933, the U. S. S. R. signed bilateral conventions on the definition of aggression with ten East-European and Southeast European states.

The convention was a document of vast historical significance. It signified a victory of Soviet diplomacy, which largely contributed to the strengthening of the Soviet Union's security and the promotion of universal peace.

P. N. TRETYAKOV, Corresponding Member of the U. S. S. R. Academy of Sciences. New Data on the Great Moravian State

The author points out that the question concerning the social system of the Great Moravian State (9th century) still remains a debatable one. The session of the International Slav Archeological Seminar, held in Czechoslovakia on October 3 - 8, 1960, examined the new archeological data furnished by the excavations conducted in recent years in the Morava Basin with the aim of establishing whether the above-mentioned state was a pre-feudal tribal federation with primitive statehood, which arose as a result of resistance to German aggression, or an early feudal political union.

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The author of the article makes a detailed analysis of the archeologieal finds in the Morava Basin.

The materials of the excavations prove that already in the 9th century there existed flourishing towns, villages and landed estates in Moravia, that the country had a highly developed handicraft industry, agriculture and construction. Drawing on his analysis of these materials, the author makes a hypothesis that Great Moravia was an early feudal state, which collapsed under the blows of the nomad Hungarian tribes.

L. L. ZUBOK. The Struggle of the Opposite Trends in the Socialist Party of the U. S. A. (1901 - 1912)

The author of the article shows that in 1901 - 1912 three definite trends appeared within the Socialist Party of the U. S. A. - the Left-wing, "Centrist" and Right-wing.

Prior to 1905 the Socialist Party was headed by a coalition of the Left-wingers and "Centrists." After 1905 the "Centrists" united with the Rightists to form a Rightist-Centrist bloc for joint struggle against the Left-wingers. The struggle between the opposite trends within the party grew more intense. The Rightists ideological views reflected the interests of the labour aristocracy. Being confirmed supporters of America's bourgeois democracy, the "Centrists," in common with the Rightists, believed that a classless society could be achieved through "pure" democracy and, accordingly, directed their efforts towards systematically fostering the illusion that capitalism can gradually develop into socialism. Like the Rightists, the "Centrists" renounced the revolutionary methods of struggle; their idea of "revolution" was confined to a series of reforms that would ultimately effect the transition from capitalism to socialism.

Relying on the top crust of the labour aristocracy and petty-bourgeois elements that had wormed their way into the party, the "Centrists" and the Rightists treated the unorganized and lower-paid sections of the working class with contempt. Their position on the question of immigration fully coincided with the chauvinist line of the AFL. On the Negro question both the Rightists and the "Centrists" likewise took a chauvinist stand. The Rightist-Centrist bloc pursued an opportunist "neutralist" policy with regard to the trade union movement.

The Left-wing members in the Socialist Party, on the other hand, relied on the support of the proletarian elements and waged a resolute struggle against the party's opportunist leadership. They demanded that the party be purged of the fellow-travellers who were not interested in the revolutionary struggle, that the party leadership renounce its policy of collaboration with the AFL leaders, urged all party members to fight for the reorganization of the trade unions along the industrial principle and for the enlistment of the broad masses of unorganized workers into the unions.

The Left-wing elements were the exponents of the revolutionary trend within the socialist movement of the U.S.A. In the years preceding the outbreak of the first world war their influence in the working-class movement increased, but for all that they were unable to gain the decisive influence in the socialist movement. This should be attributed primarily to the fact that the Left elements did not possess a militant Marxist-Leninist program. Although the Left elements in the Socialist Party recognized the necessity of a revolutionary party and political action for the proletariat, they were not consistent Marxists. They overestimated the role of industrial unions and did not possess a sufficiently clear understanding of the teaching on the dictatorship of the proletariat. A considerable part of the Leftists believed in the establishment of an industrial republic immediately after the conquest of power by the working class. However, despite some serious mistakes and blunders committed by the Leftists, their militant revolutionary activity, their selfless devotion to the interests of the working class, their irreconcilable struggle against Gompersism and reformism of the Rightist-Centrist party leaders, against the policy of class collaboration - all this helped to awaken class consciousness in the proletarian masses, heighten their revolutionary vigilance and imbue them with the spirit of international solidarity.

Under the impact of the Great October Socialist Revolution and V. I. Lenin's works the Left-wing members of the Socialist Party of the U.S.A. gradually got rid of the errors, which prevented them from adopting the Marxist approach in the solution of the burning problems confronting the party. They shifted more and more to the positions of creative Marxism-Leninism, thereby paving the way to the establishment of the Communist Party m the U.S.A.


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