The Writings of Wilfred Burchett
Edited by George Burchett
Edited by Nick Shimmin
Foreword by John Pilger
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print Publication Year: 2007
Online Publication Date:September 2009
Chapter DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511481659.008
Burchett's coverage of show trials such as that of Cardinal Mindszenty was certainly something he later regretted. But People's Democracies was written at a time when the propaganda war on both sides of the Iron Curtain was increasingly shrill. It falls into the category of simplistic partisan Cold War literature, but it remains of interest as an example of such writing from someone on the spot, a journalist observing the emergence of a new ‘socialist’ world that was closer to his ideals than, say, the old British Empire. The following short conclusion is a summary of what he, like many others on the Left, saw as a whole new value system being writ large in the countries of Eastern Europe.
He was not alone in subsequently discovering that those ideals were betrayed and subverted by regimes such as those he praises in this book. There were, however, exceptions to these betrayals. Tito, for example, was soon reinstated in his pantheon of heroes when Yugoslavia joined the Non-Aligned Movement, which Burchett wholeheartedly supported till the end of his life. But by the time the book came out, Burchett had parted company with Fleet Street and moved on to write about China and later report from Korea.
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Bulgaria and Hungary about which I have written most in this book are countries which are virtually excommunicated by the Western world. They have been denied membership to the United Nations.
Reference Type: bibliography