Based in the University of Sheffield’s Department of History, ‘The Language of “Authoritarian” Regimes’ is a collaborative project intended to explore the creation, dissemination and reception of discourse in regimes commonly referred to as ‘authoritarian’. We aim to bring together scholars working on the language of ‘authoritarian’ states, and to discuss how as academics we can approach and … More The Language of ‘Authoritarian’ Regimes
By Carmen Levick Memories are funny things: they come and go, they seem true but you discover they are rather fabricated, they haunt you when you least expect it. A few years ago I embarked on a quest to piece together my own history and to outline a road to a truth, to my truth … More 1989, Memory and Me
by Brooke Sales Lee You might certainly wish for divine intervention, were you a right-wing dictator, circa 1946, who had spent the war making deals with both the Americans and the Germans. For Portugal, that was exactly what the regime got, facilitated by certain eager Americans. In 1954, Bishop Fulton Sheen announced to Americans across … More Fulton and Fátima: 1917 in the Mind of Catholic Cold Warriors
By Samantha Sherry More often than not, the language of censorship employs tropes of conflict and struggle. One wages a battle with censorship, or struggles against it. Writers are ‘victims’ of an absolute evil. What emerges time and time again is the idea of censorship as an almost abstract force. In my work on the … More Zealots, bureaucrats or ordinary people? Looking for the Soviet censor.
by Joel Baker On 18 July 1936, the army in mainland Spain followed the colonial troops in Morocco and rebelled against the government of the Second Spanish Republic. The coup was only partially successful, and the resulting division of the country marked the start of the Spanish Civil War. The leader of the uprising in … More Redefining the national community during the Spanish Civil War: Queipo de Llano’s radio propaganda broadcasts
By Lani Seelinger Let’s say that you want to teach communist history to students whose countries were never under communist rule. It’s an important episode of history to address, especially in the EU, which includes countries from both sides of the Iron Curtain. When you find source material you want to use, where do you … More Socialism in Translation: The Challenges of Teaching Communist History in the 21st Century
By Laura Sumner ‘The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!’- Donald Trump (17th February 2017) ‘This strike is subordination… In short, they [Mensheviks and Right SRs] acted as enemies of the proletariat, the enemies of the people, like true … More ‘Enemies of the people’: Fake news and Bolshevik manipulation of the press in early Soviet Sormovo
By Kate Martin With the advent of the early Soviet period, the idea of literacy and language was one which was at the forefront of the minds of the Bolshevik leadership. Although work had begun in the late 19th and early 20th century by the previous regime to make education and literacy more available to … More Speaking Soviet – The Marriage of Soviet Linguistics and Literacy in the Early Soviet Period
by Siobhán Hearne Last month, the internet went wild about Vladimir Putin’s defence of Donald Trump, particularly his dismissal of the validity of the Trump-Russia dossier. Observers seemed most amused by Putin’s comments regarding Moscow sex workers, particularly his remark that they are ‘of course, the best in the world’. This has been quoted again … More ‘Girls with Low Social Responsibility’: Putin, Pre-Revolutionary Policing, and Prostitution in the Language of ‘Immorality’.
By Dawn Hazle Popular music presents a problem to authoritarian regimes: by its nature it either has to be controlled, or banned. Yet, control requires a lot of resources, and simply just pushes the problem underground. In the Soviet Union, both approaches were undertaken: popular music was controlled through state-sponsored Vokal’no-Instrumental’nyi Ansambl’ (VIA) groups and … More Suicide really isn’t war: megalomania, counterculture and the joy of metal music in the Soviet Union
By Jon Rowson ‘It is impossible to build socialism in white gloves’ – Mikhail Kalinin, 7 November 1930 The Anniversary of the October Revolution was the apogee of public politics in the young Soviet state. The celebrations, lasting 2-3 days in all areas of the USSR, were a means of honouring the previous year’s achievements, … More The Political Language of Celebration: The Anniversary of the October Revolution, 1918-1932