Books and Movies Reviews

Darkness at Noon

Darkness at Noon is a fictional novel written by Arthur Koestler that stands as a portrayal of the nightmare politics during the twentieth century. The setting stands in the tumultuous Soviet Union in the 1930's. Rubashov, the main character, is imprisoned and psychologically tortured by the party to which he had dedicated his life. The novel is a brilliant source of history from a personal point of view. While Koestler's novel and characters are purely fictitious, the historical circumstances that the novel is based upon are morbidly accurate.
Under the rule of Stalin, rapid industrialization occurred in the Soviet Union in the 1930's. The government was soon enforcing strict discipline among all laborers. For instance, the workers had to carry a "workbook" that indicated any infractions of work discipline of which they had been guilty. Those who questioned the Communist process, wished to revise it, or whose work fell short of the assigned quotas could, and were, accused of political opposition. While the results of Stalin's "five-year plan" were astounding, the social and human costs of the effort were just as remarkable. The rapid change within the party ultimately led to division and different points of view among the members. Fear of competition for their positions began to spread throughout the high leaders, including Stalin. Between 1936 and 1938, a series of show trials were held in Moscow. Former high Soviet leaders publicly confessed to political crimes and were convicted and executed. It is still not historically certain why they made false confessions, although it seems to have been the kind of ritual confession that had characterized previous internal Communist party life. Initially the Moscow leadership used these purges to discipline and gain more centralized control over lower levels of the party. They wanted to eliminate any opposition to their positi

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