This is the first book to examine the nature of the highly distinctive leader cults of 'High Stalinism' in the USSR and Eastern Europe as a political, sociological and cultural phenomenon. It explores the way the leader cult was established and its operation and function within these states. It examines the way in which the cults were produced and disseminated, their place in art and literature, the reception of the cult and its adaptation for different audiences, including children and different national groups. It looks at the way the Stalin cult was exported to the communist states of Eastern Europe, and examines the highly distinctive cults which developed around figures such as Rakosi in Hungary, Bierut in Poland, Tito in Yugoslavia and Hoxha in Albania. The book examines the impact of de-Stalinisation on these cults, the conflicting responses to this process, and the survival of aspects of the cult.

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