The Clueless and the Mythmakers

Book review. Comments on The Human Factor: Gorbachev, Reagan and Thatcher and the End of the Cold War by Archie Brown review by Dominic Sandbrook, March 22 2020.


Ah, the Clueless and the Mythmakers, in other words Russian and East European Centre, St Antony’s College, University of Oxford.

John Paul II was Communist collaborator.


John Lewis Gaddis is wrong. John Paul II celebrated the 26th anniversary of his pontificate on October 15, 2004 with a performance of the Red Army Choir specially invited to the Vatican for this occasion. The concert was broadcast to Italy and Russia. The last song that evening, performed as encore, was Oka, the anthem of the Polish Communist troops formed in the Soviet Union in 1943.

The views of some of the leading historians are hopelessly naive.

Communists took over full control over the Catholic church in Eastern Europe and the Vatican happily played along. There was no chance for an anticommunist priest to rise through the ranks of the church hierarchy. Just see what happened to the Hungarian Cardinal Jozsef Mindszenty. He was stripped of his cardinal title by the pope Paul VI for staunchly resisting Communist takeover of the church in Hungary. This decision has not been reversed by John Paul II.

There is also plenty of other evidence, also from everyday life, that conclusions reached in the hallways of University of Oxford or Yale University are simply wrong.


Communist ideology and its practical implementation in many countries are radically different from the western experience. Describing and interpreting it is a cognitive challenge. Looking for truth in the minutes of the Politburo meetings will not get you very far. You may just as well read Pravda.

Communism did not collapse and the Cold War has not been won by the West. If you think you have won but do not understand how it exactly happened, you are in serious trouble.

@LechSBorkowski