The Tasks Confronting Historical Science and the Training of Historians and History Teachers*

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Скачать бесплатно! Научная работа на тему The Tasks Confronting Historical Science and the Training of Historians and History Teachers*. Аудитория: ученые, педагоги, деятели науки, работники образования, студенты (18-50). Minsk, Belarus. Research paper. Agreement.

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The Communist Party of the Soviet Union and its Central Committee regard the development of science as being of primary importance. The science of history, which summarises the path mankind is travelling toward communism, occupies an important place among the theoretical disciplines that help the Party in its gigantic ideological and political work.

 

Human history is developing along the lines foreseen by our great leaders and teachers Marx, Engels and Lenin. Soviet historians can have no greater honour than to promote that development and the establishment on earth of the most just of all social systems- communism. There is nothing that can replace history as the school in which the working people learn to overcome difficulties, learn not to repeat the errors of the past but to select and develop the most effective methods of creative activity.

 

Mankind is today experiencing events of great historical significance. Mighty revolutionary forces are transforming the world. The first communist society in history is being built in the Soviet Union. The People's Democracies are successfully building socialism. About 1,500 million people have cast off the colonial chains of imperialism and set up sovereign states. The wave of class battles is surging ever higher in the capitalist countries and the struggle for peace, democracy and socialism is growing more powerful. The whole course of historical development confirms the correctness of the Marxist-Leninist doctrine. "Marxism-Leninism," said Comrade N. S. Khrushchov, "has put man into a precise, accurately computed historical orbit that will bring him to the bright communist future."

 

The path followed by the Soviet people for forty-five years has led them to great achievements; the path has been an involved and difficult one and has required tremendous effort and more than a few sacrifices. Fresh countries and fresh peoples will inevitably emancipate themselves from the slavery of capitalism and from national oppression, but it will be immeasurably easier for them to follow the path to socialism broken by our country. The ways of transforming society by revolutionary means were first tested in the Soviet Union; today our people are paving the way from socialism to communism. Fundamental questions of the class struggle against the bourgeoisie and other exploiters, questions of the foreign policy of the socialist state, problems of creating and expanding the productive forces of the new society and developing social relations that are new in principle, problems involved in shaping truly humanitarian morality and culture, up to and including such intricate questions as the definition of the Marxist-Leninist Party's position on art, music, architecture and literature-the experience gained in tackling these important problems is a fund of incomparable value from which all fighters for socialism are drawing and will continue to draw ideas, forms and methods.

 

Mankind has experienced periods of flourishing civilisation in the course of many millennia of progressive development-Greece and Rome in antiquity, the Renaissance and other periods that people study from their school-days. All these periods, however, pale before the turning point in the history of human society marked by the October Revolution and the victory of socialism in the U.S.S.R. This is a valorous deed that has been performed by the Soviet people, not for themselves alone, but in the interests of all progressive mankind, and it must be made known to the present and to future generations of the whole world.

 

Such a study is essential that our contemporaries and those who will follow after them have a real picture of the great revolutionary transformation that began in Russia in October 1917. A knowledge and understanding of the exploit performed by the Soviet people will help muster the peoples of the socialist community and all progressive forces throughout the world in their struggle against imperialism, for the further revolutionary transformation of society, in their struggle to deliver mankind from world wars. This experience will help the Communist Parties, the vanguard of all mankind, in elaborating a correct Leninist line.

 

 

* Abridged from a report delivered to the АН-Union Conference on Measures to Improve the Training of Historians and History Teachers, Moscow, December 18, 1962.

 
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1. Communist Construction and the Tasks of Historical Science

 

The general line of the progress of our society towards communism is defined in the Programme of the C.P.S.U. adopted by the Twenty-Second Congress. Three closely connected tasks are postulated in the struggle for communism-the creation of the material and technical basis of communism, the shaping of communist social relations and the moulding of the new man. It is the lofty mission of the social sciences, history among them, to give the Party and the people the maximum assistance in fulfilling these tasks.

 

The experience gained in creating the material basis of socialism, a process in which economic laws took shape, is of paramount importance for the creation of the material and technical basis of communism. The study and thorough understanding of that experience, therefore, will help carry out the Programme of the C.P.S.U.

 

Knowledge of how the historically shaped community of interests and alliance of the working class and the working peasantry was consolidated in the struggle for the victory of socialism, how the friendship of the Soviet peoples grew strong and how the participation of the masses in the government of the country increased as Soviet democracy developed will be of inestimable help in shaping the social relations of communism.

 

Lastly, a knowledge of history, a correct understanding of its laws, wili play a great part in forming the new man, in solving the task set by the Party-the education of the people in the spirit of scientific communism.

 

History has a very extensive area of influence on the consciousness of people, and the power of that influence is great. Historical science plays an active part in the formation of a world outlook. A knowledge of history is an inexhaustible source of strength for new accomplishments in building communism in our country, accomplishments in the name of freedom, the happiness of the peoples and for the sake of peace on earth.

 

Historical science plays an important part in educating the people in the spirit of socialist patriotism and proletarian internationalism. The Party sees in revolutionary, patriotic and internationalist traditions an important instrument that raises the political consciousness of the people.

 

It is quite obvious that the importance of Soviet historical science transcends national bounds; it is of international significance. The building of communism in the U.S.S.R. is the clearest possible sign that mankind has entered a new phase of development. Man is confronted with stupendous new problems and all history must be employed in the solution of these problems which, of course, present themselves differently in different countries.

 

How can history be employed in the interests of human progress, how can historians help promote the battle for the victory of socialism and communism?

 

First-by applying the experience of the C.P.S.U. and the peoples of the Soviet Union and the experience of other socialist countries to the building of communism in our country.

 

Second-by applying the Soviet experience of socialist and communist construction and the experience of the People's Democracies to the building of socialism and communism on a scale suited to the world socialist system.

 

Third-by other peoples applying the experience of some peoples of the U.S.S.R. and the People's Democracies of by-passing the capitalist stage in the transition to socialism.

 

Fourth-by the working class and other working people of the capitalist countries applying the experience of the socialist and national-liberation movements in their struggle against imperialism, against aggressive wars, in their struggle for democracy, national independence and socialism.

 

Why is the question presented precisely in this manner when the issue is one of the significance of Marxist-Leninist historical science? The reason is that ever since the days of Marx, genuine social science has been called upon, not only to interpret the world, but to change it. And in order to change the world, in order to carry out the revolutionary changes for which the world is ripe, we must know the past and the present of that world, we must have precise knowledge of what has to be changed. The Party and Lenin were guided by this scientific rule in changing the face of old Russia. In elaborating the programme and tactics, Lenin always relied on historical experience. Lenin's masterly conclusions on the hegemony of the proletariat in the democratic revolution, on the possibility of the victory of socialism, in the first place in a few or even in one individual country, and on the Soviets as a form of the dictatorship of the proletariat-theses that enriched Marxist theory, were derived from a profound study of the Russian and international working-class movements, from an analysis of historical material. Lenin's attitude to history is a model for the Soviet scholar, and for the Marxist historian in general. The historian is not an unimpassioned narrator who records facts and fits them into a scheme, even if that scheme is genuinely scientific. He is a fighter whose purpose is to place the history of the past at the service of the struggle for communism, democracy and peace, for the free and independent development of all peoples, against the imperialist forces of reaction and aggression.

 

The founders of scientific socialism told us that the study of all history must be begun anew. The foundations for this colossal "studying anew" were laid by Marx, Engels and Lenin. Soviet science, following in their footsteps, has travelled a long road in the course of forty-five years. While travelling that road, Soviet scholars, placing their reliance on the works of the founders of Marxism-Leninism, have begun to erect-and have achieved

 
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some important successes in this field-a new edifice of historical science, of that science which is serving and will continue to serve the progress of mankind. The work they have done is so fundamental that they have every right to state: in the most important spheres the directives of the founders of Marxism are being successfully carried out. They have been able to do so because our Party has placed historical science on the sound foundation of Marxism-Leninism.

 

The first stage was the re-assessment, in the light of Marxist-Leninist theory, of everything accumulated by the historiography of the past; this was the formative stage of Soviet historical science. Of decisive importance at that stage was the direct participation of Lenin in formulating the basic principles. The contingent of historians of that period consisted of young scholars and scholars of the older generation who had mastered Marxist-Leninist research methods. When the Soviet people had, in the main, laid the foundations of socialism, the social sciences were confronted with new tasks; Soviet historical science had by that time acquired sufficient material for the transition to a higher stage of its development. This new stage was the Marxist-Leninist analysis of a tremendous amount of factual material. Research was carried on on a broad front, embraced many fields of historical knowledge, called into being many new methods for the analysis of sources, provided models for a profound delving into the essence of historical processes and led to a number of important discoveries. Integrated conceptions of the history of a number of peoples and states may be regarded as a great achievement for Soviet scholarship.

 

While giving credit for what has been done we must also have a clear picture of our weaknesses, shortcomings and errors. The cult of Stalin's personality was the main reason for our not having done as much as we could and should have done, the reason that much that was done was accompanied by distortion and done incorrectly. To sum up the negative consequences of the personality cult in the field of historical science, we may reduce them to three main points; first, the role of Lenin and the role of the masses and the Party in the history of our country was belittled and historical truth was distorted by an exaggeration of the role of Stalin; secondly, there was a widespread non-Marxist approach to the study of the historical process, and subjectivism and arbitrary methods affected the assessment of historical events and historical figures; thirdly and lastly, there was history written by order from above, unconscionable criticism among groups of scholars and the use of various labels.

 

The personality cult trespassed on the philosophical fundamentals and the methods of Marxist historical science. This was primarily due to the concept of partisanship in historical science having been vulgarised and counterposed to objectivity although Lenin regarded the partisanship of Marxist historical science as the highest form of objectivity.

 

Lenin, it will be remembered, called upon publicists and historians to make a detailed study of the young shoots of everything new, everything communist. Nevertheless, dogmatism and schematism blossomed forth in the period of the personality cult, led to a departure from reality and seriously limited the theoretical, cognitive role of history as a science.

 

Arbitrariness in the appraisal of events, facts, and persons engendered by the cult of Stalin had a grave effect on historical science. The contraventions of socialist legality that affected very many leading figures in the Party and the Soviet state inevitably brought about a distortion of the role they had played in the struggle for the victory of the revolution and of socialism in the U.S.S.R. Oversimplification in the exposition of the historical, process, its compulsory adaptation to schemes that suited Stalin, led to disgraceful distortions of historic truth.

 

In the final analysis the anti-Leninist ideology of the personality cult was undermining the Marxist-Leninist principle of examining events in their historical perspective, especially in the study of the development of Soviet society and the history of the C.P.S.U. The history of the more distant past was also distorted for the purpose of exalting Stalin. Fresh life was given surreptitiously to the non-Marxist theory of "the heroes and the mob". One particular manifestation of it was the idealisation of Ivan the Terrible, who was "lucky" in that respect.

 

Intolerable morals were implanted in research institutes that hampered the development of science and interfered with the work of the scientists. The discussion of questions o principle through a comradely exchange of opinions, which is necessary if science is to flourish and develop in accordance with the principles of Marxism-Leninism, was often replaced by the vulgar shouting down and defamation of honest scholars. People who did not fit in were driven out of science, often they were removed physically. Leading Soviet historians, Lukin and Piontkovsky, for instance, were slandered.

 

The value to science of sources and archive materials was doubted. The archives, as a rule, were used only to illustrate generally known propositions. Respect for facts disappeared, although without facts history is not to be considered a science. Historians had impressed on them the conviction that Stalin had either given all the principled appraisals of the historical process, or that he alone would be able to give them. Ordinary mortals should not lay claim to "lofty" theory. In practice this resulted in historians frequently drawing partial conclusions from their studies and compensating the absence of a broad theoretical approach by an abundance of quotations.

 

The personality cult put a brake on the progress of Soviet historical science along the road mapped cut by Lenin, but it could not prevent its development. The personality

 
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cult fettered Soviet historical science but it nevertheless continued to make progress. It would, therefore, be irrational to eliminate everything created by Soviet historians under the leadership of the Party in that period, everything that was created on the basis of Lenin's behests and despite the personality cult.

 

The Party has already done a great deal to overcome the negative consequences of the Stalin cult in the sphere of theory, in historical science in particular. Many of Stalin's incorrect ideological postulates were disclosed and subjected to a principled criticism on the initiative of Comrade N. S. Khrushchov at the Twentieth and Twenty-Second Congresses of the C.P.S.U. Like all other sciences, historical science has had returned to it the conditions for development and progress that are natural for socialist society.

 

Since the Twentieth Party Congress that brought about a radical change in the entire situation, our historical science has convincingly demonstrated the tremendous possibilities it possesses under socialist conditions.

 

Of great importance to historical science are: the second edition of the works of Marx and Engels, the fifth and most complete edition of the collected works of Lenin, and the publication of the verbatim reports of congresses of the C.P.S.U., and of the minutes of sessions and Plenary Meetings of the Central Committee of the Party.

 

The preparation and publication of a number of important works summarising history is an index of the progress of Soviet historical science. Among these are: a scholarly biography of Lenin, the History of the C.P.S.U.,the first four volumes of the History of the Great Patriotic War, the last volumes of the History of the Civil War, and the History of the U.S.S.R. Epoch of Socialism; it must be remembered, however, that some of these works do not take into consideration the contribution made to the development of Marxist-Leninist theory and to the understanding of some important moments in the history of our Party and our country by the Twenty-Second Party Congress. The preparation has also begun of a six-volume history of the C.P.S.U. and a full history of the U.S.S.R.

 

The growth of contingents of non-Russian historians in the U.S.S.R. is demonstrated by the appearance of collective works on the history of the Ukraine, Byelorussia, the peoples of the Baltic area, Central Asia and the Caucasus and on the history of the Communist Parties of a number of Union Republics. If we add to this the broad stream of monographs, scientific articles and other works that have appeared in recent years we get a picture of great progress in the study of our native history and the history of the C.P.S.U.

 

In the field of world history, in addition to the ten-volume World History, some fundamental researches have been published on the Paris Commune, the English revolution of the seventeenth century, and the revolutions of 1848. Summarised works on the history of Poland, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria have been published, also works on the history of the U.S.A., Mexico, and the Argentine. Every year sees the publication of a large number of monographs on basic problems of current, modern, medieval and ancient history. The geographical bounds of historical studies have been extended in the last few years in connection with the study of the history of the South-East Asian and African countries in the Soviet Union.

 

Big historical works that summarise the content of monographic studies and provide integrated conceptions of important events, periods and epochs in the history of the peoples constitute, in a way, the chief fund of historical knowledge. However, additions to this fund are not the only task confronting researchers in the field of history. A no less honourable duty is that of creating books for the general reader, books for the people. The time has come to present the problem in all seriousness-make history available to all working people, using the most varied ways and means for this purpose. Every politically conscious citizen of Soviet society, the society that is progressing towards communism, must know the history of his own country, the history of the revolutionary movement, and, above all, the history of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, which contains the sum total of the most important ideas of Leninism.

 

The development of historical science in the light of the new Programme of the C.P.S.U. requires greater attention to methodology, to the philosophy of history. Historical materialism is the theoretical basis of all social sciences, but each of them, history included, has its own theoretical problems.

 

Take, for instance, such a problem of primary importance as the role of the class struggle in history. The classics of scientific communism established the fact that the entire history of society, with the exception of primitive communal system, was the history of class struggle. The class struggle is the chief motive force in human progress. This postulate remains true for all countries of the capitalist world to the present day. It is only through the class struggle that the working class, the masses of working people, can emancipate themselves from the exploiters. In the countries in which socialism has been victorious and the exploiting classes have been completely eliminated, the internal class struggle has given place to new laws of social development. In world affairs the socialist system is counterposed to the capitalist system. An acute ideological, political and economic conflict is in progress between them. The peaceful coexistence of states with different social systems is a specific form of the class struggle. These are all completely new problems that must be studied, for without such study it is impossible to understand present-day manifestations in social life and ensure a constructive elaboration of the political line of the revolutionary forces. Another important problem is that of the growing role of the masses in history.

 
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What are the main tasks presented to Soviet historians by the C.P.S.U. The history of the C.P.S.U. The Twentieth Congress of the C.P.S.U. brought about a complete change in the study and propaganda of Party history. It was decided to begin with the compilation of a Marxist textbook on the history of the Party based on facts and giving a scientific summary of the historical experience of the Party's struggle for communism. On the basis of the decisions of that Congress a considerable amount of work has been done to re-establish Leninist principles in the study of the history of the C.P.S.U. In this field, too, the anti-Party group of Molotov, Kaganovich and Malenkov tried to sabotage the line of the Twentieth Congress, but the Central Committee decisively frustrated these attempts. The Twenty-Second Congress and the Programme it adopted created all the necessary conditions for an extensive Marxist-Leninist study of all problems of theory and of the history of our Party.

 

The most important task for the historians of the Party is to fulfil the directive of the Central Committee in compiling a history of the C.P.S.U. in many volumes on a high scientific level. The elaboration of Party history is in the centre of attention of the Central Committee. The directive issued by the Central Committee on the general lines to be adopted in preparing the six-volume edition of the History of the C.P.S.U. are of importance not only to the group of authors and editors taking part in that work, but also to all research workers and teachers of Party history.

 

Many works are now being written on the activities of local Party organisations, especially since the Twentieth Congress of the C.P.S.U. This is a good thing. But until now there has been no fundamental research that would give a complete picture of inner Party life in that period, of the Leninist standards of Party life, of Party leadership of economic and cultural organisation and of the activities of the Party in propagandising the scientific world outlook and in educating the working people in a communist spirit. There are many other problems of the history of the C.P.S.U. awaiting research. The struggle of Lenin and the Party against revisionism has, for example, been given a more or less thorough treatment in the literature on Party history, but the same cannot be said of the Party's struggle against petty-bourgeois, semi-anarchist revolutionism, against left deviations, against fascination for revolutionary catchwords and against dogmatism and sectarianism in all their forms. There is an urgent need for serious works on the tactics of Leninism at various stages in the struggle. The experience gained from Lenin's "new economic policy" as one of the ways of building socialism is of great historical importance. Lenin's bold and masterly plan was a model of constructive Marxism that combined flexibility in tactics with firm consistency in moving toward the socialist goal. Party historians should regard the writing of papers on such subjects as the fulfilment of their duty to the international communist movement.

 

The exposition and detailed portrayal of the activities of the C.P.S.U. in the world communist and working-class movement, its persistent implementation of the principles of proletarian internationalism are of great international significance.

 

In the field of the history of the U.S.S.R., first place must be taken by a profound study of the wealth of historical experience gained by the Soviet people in the struggle for socialism, and the forms and methods of creative activity evolved in that period.

 

The Twentieth Congress of the C.P.S.U. confronted historians with the task of preparing a fundamental history of the October Revolution. The importance of the timely fulfilment of this task at a high scientific level becomes greater as the fiftieth anniversary of this great historic event draws nearer.

 

Historians have always shown an interest in research into various problems of the working-class movement in our country. So far, however, there has been no serious work that summarises the entire history of our heroic working class. A work of this type must show, among other things, how fraternal friendship between the workers of all the Soviet republics took shape and grew strong, how proletarian solidarity developed among workers of different nationalities. This research has a direct bearing on the further consolidation of the friendship of the peoples of the Soviet Union.

 

Nor do we possess an integrated work on the history of the Soviet peasantry and its entry on to the path of socialism. Actually it is the implementation of Lenin's idea of an alliance between the working class and the peasantry under conditions of socialist and communist construction. This is an attractive and gratifying theme for historical studies, since the greater part of the world's population consists of peasants.

 

Soviet historians have done considerable work in studying the wars of liberation fought by our peoples. We do not, however, possess a work that summarises the age-long struggle of the peoples of our country against aggressors, one that gives a large-scale picture of the way in which participation of the masses in the struggle inevitably defeated all aggression, a work that reveals the world-wide importance of the struggle. It would be worth while publishing such a book in foreign languages.

 

The Soviet historian who studies the past, including the past of national movements, must bear in mind the wide historical field at his disposal. The dialectics of history is such that despite the reactionary aims and methods of tsarist policy, the union of other peoples with Russia, the uniting of their forces in the struggle against national and social oppression with the forces of the Russian people, prepared the way for the common front of the all-Russian revolutionary movement that in the end led to the liberation of all the peoples of the former Russian Empire under the leadership of the proletariat and its Le-

 
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ninist Party; it led to a socialist community of the peoples inhabiting our country such as history had never before seen. Union with Russia was, at certain times and for some peoples the only way they could save themselves from complete annihilation. By showing the progressive significance of the union of other nations with Russia in its broad historical aspects, the historian facilitates the strengthening of the friendship of the peoples of our country and promotes closer relations between them.

 

In this connection it is essential that the history of individual republics should be dealt with as part of the history of the whole country, in close connection with the history of the other peoples of our country-that is, events must be shown exactly as they occurred. A departure from the principle of internationalism in writing the history of one's own people leads to a distortion of the historical process and encourages nationalist prejudices.

 

It must be said that in writing the history of the peoples of our country departures are still being made from the class positions; this is shown in the incorrect appraisal of the activities of certain tsars, emirs and khans. Scholars who idealise medieval traditions are mostly liable to ignore the class principle in history and actually present historical reality in a nationalist spirit.

 

The Programme of the C.P.S.U. indicates that the study of problems in world history and of the present-day development of the world should reveal the laws of mankind's advance toward communism, the change in the alignment of world forces to the advantage of socialism, the sharpening of the general crisis of capitalism, the collapse of the colonial system of imperialism and its consequences, and the upsurge of the national-liberation movement of the peoples. The Programme lays special stress on the importance of studying the inception and development of the socialist world and its effect on the world revolutionary process in its entirety and in various zones and countries.

 

Undoubtedly one of the most important problems of world history is the study of the role of the Great October Revolution, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the Soviet state and their influence on the working-class and national-liberation movements; important, too, is the study of the comprehensive aid given by the Soviet people to the peoples of other countries in building socialism.

 

I believe we are well able to undertake a complete summarising of the experience of revolutions throughout world history; we must have a book that shows why revolutions are the locomotives of history, that shows what is general and what is specific in the laws of their development and classifies the types of revolutions and their relative significance, etc. An historico-sociological study of this type is very necessary for its importance both to theory and to politics.

 

In the study of the working-class movement in the industrially developed countries it is high time to concentrate on the post-war period. There is much to be done in studying the conditions of the working class and the struggle of the working people as seen against the background of the new features of capitalist economy. The social consequences of the revolution in science and technology, the processes of integration, the new forms of exploitation and their effect on the class struggle-these are all urgent problems confronting historians of the working-class movement.

 

In the study of the Social-Democratic movement an intolerable situation grew up among us (partly due to the influence of the personality cult). In a number of countries Social-Democratic parties have existed for seventy or eighty years. Almost half a century has passed since Lenin made his classical analysis of the substance of Social-Democratic opportunism, but his appraisal still remains as a basis for our study of the ideology and politics of Social-Democracy. Many people, however, have understood Lenin's theses to mean that nothing new has occurred, or could have occurred, in the history of Social-Democracy over the past forty years, and that we have ready-made explanations for any event or any turn taken by the Social-Democratic movement. Such an approach is sheer dogmatism. Social-Democracy must be studied deeply and comprehensively, with due consideration paid to the national features of the Social-Democratic parties, contemporary conditions for the development of the world socialist revolution and the determining role of the communist movement in the world revolutionary process. It is essential to see all the processes going on in the ranks of Social-Democrats and, on the basis of Lenin's doctrine, conduct a struggle against the contemporary ideology and politics of its Right-wing leaders.

 

Our historians are still confronted with the important task of studying the international communist movement and conducting an implacable struggle against all deviations from the principles of Marxism-Leninism in its ranks; they must struggle for unity on the basis of those principles, on the basis of proletarian internationalism. As N. S. Khrushchov stressed in his report to the Supreme Soviet "one of the negative results of the cult of Stalin's personality in the international communist movement, was the spread of left-sectarian dogmatic views that did great harm to the great cause of the struggle for socialism and weakened the influence of Marxism-Leninism among the masses". The underestimation of the struggle against left opportunism led to the neglect of the disease that has long since ceased to be an infantile disorder. It is nourished by nationalism and, in its turn, nourishes nationalism In the Declaration of 1957 and the Statement of 1960, the Communist and Workers' Parties stated that at a certain stage of development dogmatism and sectarianism could become the chief danger for some parties. The experience of recent pears has

 
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shown that leftist deviations from Marxism-Leninism have become no less dangerous than revisionism. It is the duty of the historian to take an active part in the struggle against this danger.

 

History has allotted special responsibility in the struggle for peace to the working class. As Lenin pointed out, this must not be considered a simple and relatively easy problem. In this field historians have unlimited opportunities for work. They must show how the approach to the problem changed with the changing character of the epoch.

 

The elaboration of problems of Soviet foreign policy and its basic principle of the peaceful coexistence of states with different social systems is of topical political importance; the activities of the Soviet state in the sphere of foreign politics since 1953 deserve special attention, for a new stage in foreign policy corresponds to a new stage in the internal life of the country. The study of this extremely rich period in Soviet foreign policy, the period that has had very great significance in preventing a nuclear catastrophe, is an important and worthy task for Soviet historians.

 

The present epoch makes particularly high demands of specialists in the history of the national-liberation movements in Asia and Africa. The most important thing today is an analysis of the new stage in the struggle of the peoples of the underdeveloped countries, their struggle to consolidate political and achieve economic independence.

 

Historians studying Latin America have big tasks ahead of them. Latin America is a continent with great revolutionary prospects but it must be admitted that, although much has been done, research is obviously lagging behind events. In my opinion the most urgent problems that our specialists on Latin America have to study are the following: the history of the anti-imperialist working-class and communist movements of each country, or, perhaps, in groups of countries, the history of the Cuban revolution, of the struggle for a united anti-imperialist front, the peasant movement, the role of the national bourgeoisie. The neo-colonialism of the U.S.A. must also be exposed.

 

Among our tasks we must include that of developing the history of culture, an important field of historical science. The only works we have are on individual branches of culture-literature, music, architecture, the fine arts, the theatre and the cinema. Today this is not enough. We stand in need of works on the history of culture in which the development of all the components is examined in totality and as an integral constituent part of the general historical process.

 

The struggle against the bourgeois falsification of history is an urgent, militant task for all Marxist historians. The time has passed when the imperialists relied exclusively on force in their attempts to suppress communism. Today they are looking more and more frequently to "ideological warfare" conducted under the banner of anti-communism in addition to force.

 

The main content of anti-communism is slander of the socialist system and falsification of the policy and aims of the communist parties and of the doctrine of Marxism-Leninism. An important role is allotted to historiography in this crusade for the dissemination of the most reactionary ideas. In the U.S.A., for instance, there are dozens of research institutions for the study of communism similar to those subsidised by the Ford Foundation and those that function under the auspices of the Free Europe propaganda organisation. In the Federal Republic of Germany there are over ninety institutes, societies and other organisations engaged directly in anti-communist "research".

 

At times the connection between anti-communist historiography and the politics of the imperialist powers is simply amazing. When the Atlantic Treaty was drawn up currency was given to the theory of a special "Atlantic civilisation". Today, when the reactionary forces of the West are busying themselves with the "integration of Europe" many studies have appeared that claim to prove that "integration" promotes historical development. The "Central Europe" theories that are again circulating in West Germany are in line with the revanchist policy of its ruling circles; these theories strive to find a basis in history for the claims of West-German imperialism to hegemony in Europe.

 

In view of the great achievements of the Soviet Union and other socialist countries, direct falsifications are becoming more and more unsuitable, even for internal consumption in the capitalist world. Anti-communist propaganda and historiography have to display greater finesse and adaptability. More and more works are appearing in the West in recent years in which their reactionary anti-Soviet, anti-socialist nature is clothed in the garments of pseudo-science. We may say that bourgeois anti-communist ideology is making a frontal attack on Marxism-Leninism, in the sphere of historical science, among others. Countless books on a great variety of subjects are appearing, filled with falsifications; in particular there are books on the history of the Second World War, the history of Soviet society and the history of our Party. To counterbalance our textbook, History of the C.P.S.U., dozens of works that distort the historical struggle of our Party and the Soviet people for the victory of socialism have been published. Many examples of this could be given. We cannot, we have no right to allow bourgeois falsifiers to drug the masses and do so with impunity; we must administer a sound rebuff to them. Today we have greater opportunities to do this than we have ever had before. The great achievements of the Soviet people increase to a tremendous extent our opportunities in the ideological struggle on a world-wide scale. The struggle against the falsification of history must be conducted in all fields and in all forms, and the reader abroad must be kept in mind.

 

The great variety of tasks presented to Soviet scholars makes it imperative to raise

 
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the question of the topicality of the subjects chosen for historical research. It is obvious that there are no sound reasons for the concepts, still not fully eliminated, that there must be some "historical perspective", some "distance in time" for historical research, and that insufficient source material has been accumulated in the archives for the study of current history. Such assertions will not stand up to criticism.

 

Topicality in science is not merely the problem of selecting a theme but also of the level at which it is elaborated and of the significance to the present day of the conclusions drawn from the study. A promising title for a book or a thesis on a contemporary theme does not by any means ensure the topicality of the research itself. Topicality is, first and foremost, the value of the research in the solution of the problems of our country and of the world revolutionary movement.

 

Topicality must not, of course, be understood in the chronological sense alone, as some editorial councils, publishing houses, etc., understand it. It must be remembered that the interests of Soviet science and the interests of the state require that all the most important problems of world history be studied in our country and that sound scientific points o view be elaborated on those problems. We are a great socialist power that leads the development of mankind. And I think that as far as historical science is concerned it is time for us to have, in all branches of historical knowledge, scholars of such distinction that they could set the tone in world science, scholars whose opinions would be authoritative for all specialists in a particular field. By the rational distribution of our contingent of young scholars and by preserving the necessary proportionality in the allocation of funds, we must create schools and trends capable of ensuring a leading position for Soviet historiography in the most important fields of historical research. This will be the best contribution Soviet historians can make tothe struggle for communism and will help expose bourgeois falsifications of history.

 

2. The Organisation of Historical Research to Meet Modern Requirements

 

The great tasks that carry with them great responsibility now confronting Soviet historical science make necessary a decisive improvement in historical research, a field in which there are still some serious shortcomings. One of these is the failure, in a number of fields to concentrate the efforts of the main body of scientific workers for the collective solution of those historical problems that are of the greatest theoretical and political importance; an impermissible fragmentation of scientific forces and funds still continues.

 

This naturally does not mean that we should reject individual monographs. A great deal of this type of research devoted to really important problems and carried out on a high scientific level, constitutes a valuable contribution to history. Practice has shown, however, that research in fields that are topical and have great scientific importance has at its disposal such an abundance of factual material and involve such complicated problems that great difficulties stand in the way of the individual research worker. Practice has given us convincing proof of the fruitfulness of the collective form of work and of its excellent prospects. The collective form of work helps overcome such defects as the selection of petty themes, superficiality and empiricism. It is not merely a matter of the co-operation of individual historians nor that of collecting works on various themes under a single title; collective work implies mustering scholars for the study of a theme and for the elaboration of a common point of view.

 

Now that historical science is faced with the task of conducting large-scale complex research co-ordinating the efforts of research workers acquires much greater significance.

 

The co-ordination of research is today an important condition for the development of science In so far as the social sciences are concerned, the Party and the Government have entrusted this task to the Academy of Sciences of the U.S.S.R. to be carried out on a nation-wide scale.

 

The scientific councils on complex problems, set up by the Academy, will have an important part to play in organising effective co-ordination. These councils, being authoritative in their fields, are called upon to give a comprehensive appraisal of achievements, indicate the way in which scientific trends are to develop, and also to analyse shortcomings, and suggest measures for their elimination.

 

History journals have an important role to play in the correct organisation and coordination of research and in indicating the most important trends. Their number has increased noticeably since the Twentieth Congress of the C.P.S.U. so that one journal no longer holds a monopoly.

 

Our history journals enjoy the recognition of historians both in the Soviet Union and abroad There are however, many weak spots in their work. They occasionally carry articles on partial themes of little significance. Very few articles of a summarising type are printed in which ideological questions are broadly presented. Most articles are written in a heavy inexpressive language. The journals do not review literature on history regular у and do not publish many profoundly critical bibliographical articles. A stereotyped style has been developed-the review-summary-that is mainly a resume of the contents with

 
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a few general remarks on the merits and demerits of the work. Reviewing must be raised to a higher level so that every review will in itself be a definite contribution to science.

 

Of great importance to scientific development is discussion on disputed questions and those not yet clear to science. Discussion helps eliminate antiquated and erroneous concepts. It must be said, however, that there are shortcomings in the way in which discussions are held. It sometimes happens that themes are put up for discussion before they are mature enough for it or are, in general, not suitable for discussion; there are also organisational defects. At times a discussion does not lead to any positive results. Discussions must not be used for the purpose of casting doubt on the real achievements of historical science, especially on the basic propositions of Marxist-Leninist theory. The defence of the purity of Marxism-Leninism is an unconditional demand made of every discussion.

 

When speaking of the organisation of historical research, mention must, of course, be made of our archives and their functions. It has to be admitted that the archives still do not fully serve the needs of science, - especially historical science. The indexes for scientific reference do not quite meet the needs of modern Soviet science or of economy and culture; modern technical resources are employed far from fully. There are also many shortcomings in the publication of archive material. The Chief Archives Board, that should become the main motive force in developing the work of the archives, must rid itself of red tape and routine and introduce live creative ideas that would enable the archives to function at a level that will satisfy the needs of modern science. The reference work of scientific libraries must also be placed on a much higher level; they must give better information on new books, publications, periodicals, etc., they receive.

 

It is gratifying to know that at the present stage, Soviet historical science is developing in close comradely contact with the historical science of many fraternal socialist countries.

 

Forms of creative co-operation between Soviet historians and the historians of other socialist countries have already been developed and have proved their value. One of the chief forms is the preparation of joint fundamental editions. For several years Soviet specialists in Slavonic studies have been working jointly with the Institute of History of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences on the preparation of three volumes of the documents on the liberation of Bulgaria from the Turkish yoke (the first volume has already been published). Another important work is the publication in many volumes of materials and documents on the history of Soviet-Polish relations from 1917 to the present day which is being prepared jointly by Polish and Soviet scholars. Another joint Soviet-Polish work that has, in the main, been completed, is the history of the insurrection of 1863 - 64 arranged for the centenary of that event. In collaboration with Czechoslovak scientific institutions work is under way on the publication of collections of articles and three volumes of documents on Soviet-Czechoslovak relations and the friendly bonds that exist between our peoples.

 

Year by year the number of papers read and lectures delivered by Soviet scholars in the fraternal countries is increasing. Our historians have also heard many interesting lectures by their colleagues from socialist countries.

 

Contacts with historians in the capitalist countries have been firmly established in recent years. Soviet scientists took an active part in international congresses of historians in Rome (1955) and Stockholm (1960). The discussions at those congresses showed the growing influence of Marxism-Leninism among the intellectuals of the West.

 

Other satisfactory meetings were the Anglo-Soviet Colioquium, the Franco-Soviet Conference of Historians and the Twenty-Fifth International Congress of Orientalists held in Moscow in 1960.

 

The development of the international contacts of Soviet historical science is a gratifying fact. It is the duty of our historians jointly with those of the socialist countries and progressive scientists in the capitalist world to conduct a tireless struggle in the world arena for the truthful, scientifically objective interpretation of the history of the peoples.

 

3. Measures to Improve the Training of Historians and History Teachers and to Raise the Level of History Teaching in Higher and Secondary Schools

 

The gigantic tasks that confront Soviet historical science can only be fulfilled if there is a big enough contingent of well-trained workers. Good results have been obtained in training history teachers and research workers inour country. On October 1, 1961, there were over 17,000 historians working in the higher schools and research institutes of our country, many of them outstanding scholars. Large contingents of scientists, historians among them, have been trained in the Union and Autonomous Republics, many of which were areas of almost universal illiteracy in the past.

 

The further development of historical science, however, requires an improvement in the training of teachers and research workers. Among the historians teaching in higher schools there are 3,500 who have no degree or title. The situation is particularly grave in respect of teachers in higher schools, only 1.8 per cent of whom have the degree of doctor or the title of professor.

 
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No more than 200 theses on historical themes were accepted for the doctor's degree between September 1956 and July 1962. The Decision of the Central Committee of the C.P.S.U. and the Council of Ministers of the U.S.S.R. dated June 13, 1961 on "Measures to Improve the Training of Research Workers and Science Teachers" provided the conditions necessary for higher school teachers to work on their doctors' theses. The task is to make better use of those conditions.

 

The question of training personnel has more to it than the quantitative aspect. The theoretical aspect is more important-the qualifications of those trained. The most capable people must be selected for post-graduate work; this indisputable rule is often forgotten.

 

The problem of professorial guidance for post-graduates is still an acute problem. Owing to the shortage of qualified specialists, this guidance is often entrusted to people who have not had sufficient training and whose scientific knowledge is confined to a narrow field. In view of this the idea of increasing the number of vacancies in the bigger institutions and reducing the number where conditions are not favourable, is one that deserves attention.

 

Although the writing of a thesis is important, it is not an object in itself. The thesis should be an elaboration of a problem that is topical from both the theoretical and practical standpoints and should contain new scientific and practical conclusions and recommendations, and also the summarisation and solution of problems of importance to science and practice. Since the Twentieth Congress of the C.P.S.U. the research done by Soviet historians has been largely on topical problems connected with the practice of communist construction in the U.S.S.R., the formation of the world socialist system, the development of the world communist and working-class movement and the collapse of the colonial system. During the past six years, however, the post-war period in the history of our country has been the subject of one doctor's (out of 43 on the history of Soviet society) and 58 candidate's (out of 335) theses despite the fact that this period covers almost forty per cent of the entire post-revolutionary history of the U.S.S.R.

 

The training of personnel for work on the history of the socialist countries, especially on the period of the People's Democracies, is also unsatisfactory. African studies are making only the first steps. Attention must be called to the fact that no specialists at all are being trained in the history of some countries, the countries of Northern Europe among them. Theses that expose the reactionary domestic policy of the rulers of the imperialist states are rarely met with.

 

The number of theses presented on ancient, medieval and, partly, modern history leads one to ask: is the training of specialists in these fields sufficient even to provide regular replacements of old personnel? Very few specialists are being trained in the auxiliary subjects-paleography, the history of diplomacy and historical geography. In the country's higher schools there are only fourteen specialists in historiography and source study. During recent years there has not been a single candidate's thesis on the study of sources dealing with Soviet society.

 

Some subjects for theses approved by the Higher Attestation Commission have no significance for science, which, of course, does not mean that they may not sometimes be used for other purposes (propaganda, organisational work, etc.). The choice of narrow, petty, insignificant subjects for theses is an intolerable practice that is, unfortunately, still encountered. When a subject is selected, the problem to be solved by the thesis must be clearly defined. Theses must not be accepted if they do not pose a scientific problem but are mere descriptions of facts.

 

There is the very acute problem of publishing scientific studies. The presentation of a thesis is often delayed because of the impossibility of publishing an article containing its main conclusions. Most post-graduates publish their first researches in the Transactions of various institutions, sometimes, but unfortunately very rarely, in special collected editions of post-graduate work. The trouble is that all such publications as a rule pay little attention to problems in history.

 

The way out is mainly to be found in improving the quality of the theses which should be on such subjects and so well written that scientific publishers and journals could accept them without hesitation for publication in full or in part.

 

The constantly growing significance of collective research is in obvious contradiction to the current system of awarding scientific degrees and forces scientific workers to work individually on relatively narrow, partial subjects. Some way must be found to encourage scientific personnel to participate in the creative elaboration of important scientific problems that require combined effort to provide a qualified and speedy solution.

 

The large number of talented young people available is a condition that makes possible the promotion to leading posts in scientific institutions of young scholars who, together with those of the older generation, are capable of carrying on organisational work and solving the problems presented by the Programme of the C.P.S.U. "Soviet scientists, the Academy of Sciences and leading figures in Soviet science in the first place, said Comrade N S Khrushchov "must give thought to opening the doors of science more widely to the youth. Conditions must be provided for young people, graduates of higher educational establishments who have displayed an inclination for research work, to continue their studies and acquire the degree of candidate or doctor of science."

 
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The training of qualified specialists does not begin at the post-graduate stage; an important role belongs to the higher and even to the secondary school, in short, to the entire educational system.

 

At the beginning of the 1961 - 62 academic year there were 62,000 students of history enrolled in the country's institutes. The secondary school occupies an important place in the teaching of history. In 1959 the Central Committee of the C.P.S.U. and the Council of Ministers of the U.S.S.R. passed a decision on the improvement of history teaching in schools. Decisive in determining the quality of the teaching is the qualification of the teacher. History is now taught by 120,000 teachers in the country's schools of whom one-third have not completed a higher educational course. Our immediate task is to change this situation.

 

4. For a High Ideological Level and Leninist Partisanship in Historical Science

 

The development of historical science, including its organisation, and the correct employment and training of personnel, is an important Party task and must be carried out with the revolutionary passion that is essential to us in any sphere of the struggle for communism. Historians, like all who tackle problems of scientific communism, must realise their responsibility to science, to the people and to the Party.

 

Everybody knows that as long as the class struggle exists in the world any social science must be partisan. The main feature of the partisanship of Soviet historiography is its basis in historical materialism, that which makes it truly scientific. Marxism-Leninism has, for the first time, made it possible to analyse and synthesise the events of history on strictly scientific lines. In his famous definition of partisanship in science Lenin stressed the fact that the interpretation of historical development from the position of the working class gives more consistent, profounder and fuller effect to objectivity. It may, therefore, be said that partisanship in Soviet historiography means more lofty objectivity in interpreting the historical process.

 

Historical science can fulfil its specific function in the system of social sciences only if it does not produce abstract sociological schemes but gives a complete picture of the historical development of peoples, classes and states in all its intricacy and variety, with all the wealth of colour and tone that distinguish real life.

 

The partisanship of historical science includes its political content, which is a measure of the historian's ability to make his labour an essential, effective and useful part of the common labour and struggle of the people led by the Communist Party. In selecting his subject, in defining the purpose of his research, in choosing the form in which he will summarise his material and in describing and analysing an event, the historian must always realise the social significance of each element of his work, and must always maintain strict control over what he communicates to the masses and how he communicates it, over the extent to which the spirit of Marxism-Leninism permeates his work; he must ask himself whether his work will be a realistic contribution to the people's progress toward communism.

 

Partisanship in historical science, as in any other social science, presumes a creative approach to theory, the enrichment and development of theory on the basis of new data and discoveries commensurate with the changing objective conditions and tasks of the revolutionary movement. This means close contact between theory and practice, between science and life. The decisions of the Twentieth and Twenty-Second Congresses of the C.P.S.U., the documents of the Plenary Meetings of the Central Committee and the reports and speeches made by N. S. Khrushchov, provide us with models of this combination and mutual enrichment of theory and practice.

 

Only by meeting all these requirements will Soviet historians be able to give their works the impress of the greatness of our epoch and give historical science the role of an important ideological factor in the development of Soviet society, in the progress of mankind toward communism.

 

Years and centuries will pass, the events of which our contemporaries have been participants and have witnessed will become history, but their deeds will live through the ages and historians living today must ensure that those deeds are recorded vividly and correctly. It is the Party and civic duty of Soviet scientists to create a truthful picture of our revolutionary times that mark the real beginning of human history and to base it on the theory of Marxism-Leninism.


Опубликовано 30 апреля 2016 года




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© Academician В. N. PONOMARYOV • Публикатор (): БЦБ LIBRARY.BY Источник: Вопросы истории, № 1, Январь 1963, C. 209-219

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