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History of Communism in Europe

Volume 5, 2014

Narratives of Legitimation in Totalitarian Regimes – Heroes, Villains, Intrigues and Outcomes

Dalia Báthory
Pages 7-16
DOI: 10.5840/hce201451

Weaving the Narrative Strings of the Communist Regimes – Building Society with Bricks of Stories

The long duration of the Communist regime cannot be explained without closely looking at the manners of creating shared meanings and agreement on explanations on the shared historical context. Narratives of legitimation, some easier to depict than others, were almost as important as the use of force in imposing the specific values of the regime. In other words, soft power was the buttress of hard power. But the nuances are numerous, once we put this otherwise obvious remark under closer scrutiny. The case studies presented in this issue of the yearbook underline the practice of combining soft power with hard power: that is, legitimating narrative discourses transmitting sets of values and beliefs, backed up by policies of various forms of violence.