100 years have passed since communists seized power in Russia under the leadership of Vladimir Lenin. The Bolsheviks, as they were called in Russia, looked upon their takeover as only the first step to conquering the whole world and making it over according to the ideas of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. They almost succeeded. The pursuit by the communists of their dream became a nightmare for more than a billion people, their subjects and victims in Russia, China, Central and Eastern Europe, the Korean Peninsula, Indo-China and Cuba. It cost approximately 100 million lives, according to the Black Book of Communism, published in 1997.1 The story of communism is one of the greatest tragedies of world history, but, strangely, a tragedy almost without any spectators. Hitler’s national socialism is rightly seen as a horrible lapse into barbarism, criminal in nature, whereas the communism of Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot and their comrades is often explained away as a well- meant experiment gone awfully wrong. But the record shows that communism is also criminal in nature. It is the denial of fundamental human values such as individual freedom, impersonal justice and respect for people regardless of their colour, creed, class, sex, lifestyles or views.
In this report, Professor Hannes H. Gissurarson gives a brief summary of the books and ideas to help understand this extraordinary force, which, like a ghost, haunted Europe for over a century.