With Margaret Thatcher’s death in the news, one hears a fair bit about how she helped defeat communism. The idea that Thatcher and Reagan and the Pope defeated communism is buncombe.
I have no wish to speak ill of the dead – or of the Baroness if she were still alive – but the narrative that involves the PM of England and the President of the US defeating communism with some strong language and a few policy decisions is . . . insufficient.
I don’t have a very good story to explain the defeat of communism, but I’ve got a better one that this (which isn’t saying much).
Without further ado, here’s my grand theory of the downfall of communism . . .
First, we must specify what we mean by “communism.” Communism is best defined as the common ideology shared by the people who won World War II.
This definition excludes people like General Wedemeyer, Joseph McCarthy, Sisley Huddleston, John T. Flynn and perhaps even General MacArthur. It may include some inconvenient people, but it has the distinct advantage of being able to explain what the hell happened after the war ended, which all other narratives cannot.
After all, if all of the Allies won, why did the US gain nothing, the British Empire begin a graceful decline, and the French Empire die, while the Russians (and their sympathizers) got everything they dreamed of and then some? The Russians won (see the map in the McCarthy review for incontestable proof). The US fought a war for Russia (the US was not alone). Some of generals knew it was happening and talked about it (see the reviews above). These facts must be explained.
At the end of the war, the communists were united. However, they soon split into factions. These factions include three of particular importance: the Soviets, American progressives and the Chi-coms. The split between the first two factions is known as the Cold War. Although there are several personal stories that describe this split, this one is the best (Whittaker Chambers’ memoir is great, but he leaves the movement altogether, so I don’t include it).