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V. Z. DROBIZHEV and Y. S. KUKUSHKIN. The Role of Popular-Scientific Literature In the Propagation of Historical Knowledge
The authors analyze a number of popular-scientific works devoted to the history of Soviet society, which appeared after the Twentieth CPSU Congress. While showing the important achievements made in this field, the authors at the same time draw the readers' attention to certain shortcomings that have to be overcome. The principal task of every popular-scientific work is to disseminate the latest scientific achievements. However, a close analysis of a series of recent publications shows that side by side with well-written, and scientifically substantiated works our publishing houses are still putting out weak, superficial and stereotyped books. Quite a few publications of this type are called popular-scientific merely because they cannot be included in the category of scientific monographs.
In conclusion the authors dwell on certain organizational measures, the implementation of which could improve the entire work in the field of disseminating historical knowledge. It would be expedient, in their opinion, to coordinate the work of all publishing houses by drawing up a summarized plan for putting out popular-scientific literature, which would make it possible to avoid unnecessary duplication and concentrate the efforts of the best writers on major problems. It is also necessary to plan the development and extension of this type of literature in scientific-research institutes of the U.S.S.R. Academy of Sciences and in the country's higher educational establishments.
M. A. VYLTSAN. The Material Position of the Collective-Farm Peasantry in the Prewar Period
Drawing on new materials from the State Central Archive of the Soviet National Economy, the author of this article comprehensively examines the following two problems: the incomes derived by the collective farmers from the common enterprise and personal husbandry, and the consumption level of the collective-farm peasantry in 1933 - 1940.
The author shows how the growing volume of collective-farm output and the rising level of labour productivity enabled the collective-farm peasantry to derive ever higher incomes from the common enterprise. In the period under examination nearly 30 per cent of the total amount of grain harvested by the collective farms was distributed according to the number of workdays contributed by each peasant. The common enterprise almost fully satisfied the collective farmers' requirements in grain. Nevertheless, the collective farmers' personal husbandry continued to play an important part in their incomes. The data cited in the article on collective-farm family incomes show, for example, that most of the animal products were obtained by the collective farmers from their personal husbandry. This enables the author to draw the conclusion that the artel form of peasant cooperation, combining the common enterprise with personal husbandry, was a correct one and fully justified itself.
The radical changes in the peasants' material position, the author emphasizes, should be attributed to the advantages of the socialist economic system, the correct policy of the Communist Party and the devoted labour effort of the entire Soviet people.
L. V. CHEREPNIN. History in A. S. Pushkin's Creative Work
The author makes an attempt to analyze A. S. Pushkin's historical views by drawing on his critical notes, letters, diaries and other sources. The author shows that the great Russian poet and writer was well acquainted with major historical works of his time produced by Russian and foreign historians. He devoted much attention to ancient and West-European medieval history, to the Renaissance period, the French bourgeois revolution of the end of the 18th century and a number of other problems of world history. But his attention was always focussed on Russian history, for he was fully aware of its significance for fostering in man the feeling of national consciousness and national pride. Analyzing the process of world history, A. S. Pushkin was able to derive from it important lessons of social and political struggle.
A. S. Pushkin believed, writes L. V. Cherepnin, in the possibility of applying different methods of historical research and singled out several types of historical works. The most simple type presents a purely factual exposition of past events in their chronological sequence. Other types include historical narration in the form of annals, re-creation of the past by a critical analysis of historical sources, and philosophical interpretation of the historical process.
The article points out that the writer devoted his attention to such important problems as the objective laws governing the process of social development and the role of chance phenomena in history, the interrelation between national and universal history, the elements of similarity and distinction in the history of Russia and West-European countries, the Russian people's contribution to human progress, etc.
Side by side with annalistic, chritical and philosophic history, the author points out, A. S. Pushkin attached serious importance to artistic portrayal of history. In the difficult conditions of autocracy and serfdom A. S. Pushkin was able not only to paint vivid and true-to-life portraits of such outstanding personalities as Peter the Great, but also to show the historical role of the popular masses. A. S. Pushkin's creative work, the author stresses, clearly shows that he was prompted to take up many important historical themes by contemporaneity. The writer also displayed considerable interest in diverse aspects of source research and archeology. A. S. Pushkin's methods of criticizing historical sources are distinguished for their variety and subtlety. The writer's superb knowledge of the Russian language and brilliant understanding of its historical development enabled him to make the best possible use of its wealth in works devoted to various historical periods. In his portrayal of historical characters and events A. S. Pushkin also drew extensively on historical monuments of painting, sculpture and architecture.
I. S. KON. Neo-Positivism and the Logic of Historical Science
The article is devoted to an analysis of the latest conceptions concerning the logic of historical interpretation, which, in the author's opinion, are coming to play an everincreasing role in contemporary philosophy of history.
Bourgeois philosophy of the second half of the 19th century was dominated by two basic trends in relation to history. The positivism of Comte-Spencer-Mill, developing in polemic with the traditions of romantic historiography, emphasized the unity of scientific knowledge and the possibility of evolving a harmonious social science. However, it ignored the specific features of historical cognition and, to all intents and purposes, dissolved history in abstract sociology. On the other hand, the openly idealistic trends which became particularly widespread in the early part of this century accentuated the specific features of historical cognition but gave an erroneous interpretation of these peculiarities, thus opposing history to objective scientific knowledge. The exponents of the presentday philosophy of logical analysis are endeavouring to explain the specific character of historical cognition from a new angle by analyzing the logic of historical interpretation.
While not disputing the rightfulness of this aspect of research the author nevertheless considers it an error typical of the neo-positivist trend to examine the logic of science in divorcement from gnosiological and ontological problems. The logic of historical interpretation depends both on the subject of research and on the historian's philosophical views. That explains why the controversy over the logic of historical interpretation often enough merely brings us back to old philosophical discussions.
Making a comprehensive analysis of the "covering law" theory advanced by K. R. Popper and C. Hempel, I. S. Kon criticizes its phenomenalism and subjective interpretation of the laws governing the process of historical development. Popper, Hempel and their followers operate not with genuine scientific laws but merely with empirical generalizations and even common truisms. Quite flimsy and unjustified, in the author's opinion, is the very idea of deducing an individual historical phenomenon from a certain universal law.
The manifest weakness and inadequacy of Popper-Hempel's scheme impels other representatives of logical analysis to depart from it. This tendency can already be discerned in the works of P. Gardiner, while W. Walsh, A. Donagan, A. C. Danto, W Dray and M. Scriven have gone still further in the same direction. But, I. S. Kon points out, this process is accompanied by the establishment of closer ties between neo-positivism and other idealistic schools. Thus W. Dray, while remaining within the bounds of positivism's traditional logical concepts, is actually drawing closer to the viewpoint of the old neo-Kantian idiographism and R. G. Collingwood's "understanding." Criticizing these views, the author sees in them a tendency to substitute scientific interpretation of history by a mere description and attributes them to the influence of philosophical idealism.
The forms of historical interpretation are many and varied. The article briefly examines interpretation through motive, interpretation by analogy, functional interpretation, genetic interpretation and interpretation based on law. However, these forms of interpretation, in the author's opinion, widely differ in scientific value and importance and cannot be applied to all objects.
N. I. LEBEDEV. Imperialist Aggression Against Egypt in 1956
The author of this article examines the policy of the Soviet Union and the United States in the period of imperialist aggression against Egypt. Bourgeois historiography grossly falsifies history by alleging that it was not the U.S.S.R. and the world socialist system but the U.S.A. that played a decisive role in curbing the Anglo-Franco- Israeli aggression against Egypt in 1956.
The article convincingly shows that the U.S. government actually helped to precipitate the Suez crisis and unleash the Anglo-Franco-Israeli aggression against Egypt in 1956, thereby hoping to achieve two basic aims: to suppress the national-liberation movement of the colonial peoples and weaken British and French positions in the Middle East with a view to establishing American imperialist domination in this part of the world. The United States set the tone of imperialist policy towards Egypt following the latter's nationalization of the Suez Canal Company; the differences which arose between American and Anglo-French monopolies over the employment of armed force with the aim of re-establishing imperialist domination over the Suez Canal directly resulted from imperialist contradictions between these countries and from a number of other factors. The article points out that America's position in the period of imperialist aggression against Egypt was largely influenced by the internal political struggle on the eve of the Presidential elections, the desire to safeguard "Atlantic solidarity" and the resolute struggle of the U.S.S.R. and other socialist countries in defence of Egypt's freedom and independence.
The Soviet Union was not guided by any selfish motives in upholding the sovereign rights of the Egyptian people. It took a resolute stand against the Anglo-Franco-Israeli aggression and expressed its readiness to render armed assistance to Egypt as the victim of aggression. The Soviet note of November 5, 1956, which clearly and unequivocally expressed the Soviet Union's position, played the decisive role in curbing the imperialist aggression against Egypt. The fundamental change in the balance of world forces in favour of socialism by the time of the Suez crisis was another cardinal factor in putting an end to the aggressive war against Egypt.
R. WUNSCHE. The German Monopolies' Penetration into China During the Sino-Japanese Conflict (1931 - 1933)
In their attempts to enhance their political and economic influence in Afro-Asian and Latin-American countries, the West-German imperialists deny that Germany's policy in the past was based on aggressive aims. Exposing the neo-colonialist demagogy of West-German monopolists, the author of this article comprehensively analyzes German imperialism's expansionist policy in China in the early thirties by drawing on hitherto unpublished materials and documents from the German Central Archive in Potsdam and the Central Archive in Merseburg.
The author emphatically stresses that monopoly influence was a decisive factor in the shaping of Germany's foreign policy. The Japanese aggression in China enabled the German monopolies to take advantage of the aggravation of Sino-Japanese relations and the intensification of imperialist contradictions in the Far East, particularly between Japan, on the one hand, and the U.S.A., Britain and France, on the other, to further their own interests. In the early 1930's the German monopolies pursued an active colonialist policy. Holding much weaker positions in China than the other imperialist powers and alleging that she was guided by unselfish motives, Germany was actively penetrating into China's economy and strengthening her positions there to the detriment of Japanese, British and United States interests. The author exposes the utter falsity of the thesis of Germany's "neutrality" in the period of Japan's aggression in China and traces the causes that prompted Germany to alter her position towards the aggressor in the League of Nations. The author comes to the conclusion that the German delegates often made common cause with their Japanese colleagues.
It is generally known that the German monopolies always played an important part in supplying armaments to the Far East. The article cites convincing material testifying that the German death merchants stepped up their activity in the period of the Japanese aggression in China, abundantly supplying Japan with weapons and other war materiel. German imperialism was factually an ally and accomplice of the Japanese aggressor. An important factor that largely influenced the policy of imperialist Germany in those years was the hope entertained by the reactionary circles of Germany and other countries that Japanese aggression could be directed against the Soviet Union. The foreign policy of imperialist Germany in the period of the Japanese aggression in China reflected the German monopolies' growing activity in furthering their colonialist policy.
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