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Communists: Congress No. 5

2 minute read

For Communist Partygoers this has been a busy winter on the social circuit. Since November, the comrades have held party congresses in Sofia and Budapest, Prague and Rome. This week the current season winds up in East Berlin with the most crucial meeting of them all, to be attended by none other than Party Favorite Nikita Khrushchev.

Abruptly deciding to leave Moscow by train six days early, Khrushchev dropped in en route to see Poland’s Red boss, Wladyslaw Gomulka, who was so surprised by the visit that he didn’t even have time to deck Warsaw’s streets with welcome banners. But Khrushchev had more on his mind than just a social call. The pair disappeared to an isolated hunting lodge in northern Poland to confer over the grave issues on the Berlin agenda. One is West Berlin, where Allied troops are still entrenched more than four years after his ultimatum that the Allies get out. The other bone in Nikita’s throat is Peking, for the Sino-Soviet quarrel has seemingly passed the point of no return (see box). As at the earlier congresses, Red China will have its own delegate in East Berlin ready to take the rostrum in Peking’s defense. The stage was set for a noisy showdown.

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