In 1946, Victor Sebestyen creates a taut, panoramic narrative and takes us to meetings that changed the world: to Berlin in July 1945, when Truman tells Stalin that we have successfully tested the bomb; to Ye'nan, China, in January 1946, when General George Marshall tells the Chinese Communist leader Mao Zedong that Americans won't send troops to China, assuring that the Communists will attain power.
"An education. Somber, detailed, many-faceted"
For more than 40 years, communism held eight European nations in its iron fist. Yet by the end of 1989, all of these nations had thrown off communism, declared independence, and embarked on the road to democracy.
In Twelve Days: The Story of the 1956 Hungarian Uprising, Victor Sebestyen vividly recreates not only the days of the uprising but the events, meetings and days that led up to it. He goes back to give us snapshots of seminal moments in history that would decide Hungary's fate, such as the October 9, 1944, meeting in the Kremlin with Churchill or October 15, 1949, a day that marked the execution of Laszlo Rajk, a fierce Stalinist and one of the chief architect's of Hungary's police state and the beginning of the Bolsheviks starting "to devour [their] own children".
With the end of the Second World War, a new world was born. The peace agreements that brought the conflict to an end implemented decisions that not only shaped the second half of the twentieth century but continue to affect our world today and impact its future. In 1946 the Cold War began, the state of Israel was conceived, the independence of India was all but confirmed, and Chinese Communists gained a decisive upper hand in their fight for power.