Dr. George Robert Ackworth Conquest (born July 15, 1917), British historian, became a well known writer and researcher on the Soviet Union with the publication, in 1968, of his account of Stalin's purges of the 1930s, The Great Terror. Events 1099 - First Crusade: Christian soldiers take the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem after the final Year 1917 ( MCMXVII) was a Common year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian calendar (or a Common year The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom, the UK or Britain,is a Sovereign state located See also History An historian is an individual who studies and writes about History, and is regarded as an Authority on it The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR was a constitutionally Socialist state that existed in Eurasia from 1922 to 1991 Joseph Stalin ( ნამდვილი გვარი ჯუღაშვილი|Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili; March 5 1953 was General Secretary of the Communist Party Great Purge (Большая чистка transliterated Bolshaya chistka) was a series of campaigns of Political repression and Persecution The Great Terror is a book by
Robert Conquest was born in Malvern, Worcestershire, the son of an American businessman and an Norwegian mother. Malvern is a Town and Civil parish in Worcestershire, England. Worcestershire (ˈwʊstəʃə abbreviated Worcs) is a county located in the West Midlands region of central England. The United States of America —commonly referred to as the His father served in an ambulance unit with the French Army in World War I, winning a Croix de Guerre in 1916. The French Army, officially the Armée de Terre (Land Army is the land-based component of the French Armed Forces and its largest World War I (abbreviated WWI; also known as the First World War, the Great War, and the War to End All The Croix de Guerre (sometimes lowercase in French Croix de guerre, meaning "Cross of War" is a military decoration of both France and Conquest was educated at Winchester College, the University of Grenoble, and Magdalen College, Oxford, where he was an exhibitioner in modern history and took his bachelor's and master's degrees in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, and his doctorate in Soviet history. Winchester College is a well-known boys' Independent school, and an example of an English Public school, in the city of Winchester in Hampshire Magdalen College redirects here see also Magdalene College Cambridge Magdalen College (ˈmɔːdlɨn "maudlin" is one of the constituent Philosophy Politics and Economics or Politics Philosophy and Economics (often abbreviated to PPE) is a popular Interdisciplinary degree which In 1994 he was elected a Fellow of the British Academy. The British Academy is the United Kingdom 's National academy for the Humanities and the Social sciences It was established by Royal Charter
In 1937, after his year studying at the University of Grenoble and traveling in Bulgaria, Conquest returned to Oxford and joined the Communist Party. The state of Bulgaria (България transliterated bg-Latn ''Balgaria'' The country preserves the traditions (in ethnic name language and alphabet of the First Bulgarian The Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB was the largest Communist party in the United Kingdom, though it never became a mass party like the Communist parties of Fellow members included Denis Healey and Philip Toynbee. Denis Winston Healey Baron Healey, CH, MBE, PC (born 30 August 1917 is a British Life peer and Labour politician Theodore Philip Toynbee ( June 25 1916 - June 15 1981) was a British writer and journalist
When World War II broke out, Conquest joined the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry and became an intelligence officer. World War II, or the Second World War, (often abbreviated WWII) was a global military conflict which involved a majority of the world's nations, including The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry was an Infantry regiment of the British Army. An intelligence officer is a person employed by an organisation to collect compile and analyse information (known as intelligence) which is of use to that organisation In 1940, he married Joan Watkins, with whom he had two sons. In 1942, he was posted to the School of Slavonic Studies, where he studied Bulgarian for four months. Bulgarian (български език IPA: ɛzˈik is an Indo-European language, a member of the Slavic linguistic group
In 1944, Conquest was posted to Bulgaria as a liaison officer to the Bulgarian forces fighting under Soviet command. The state of Bulgaria (България transliterated bg-Latn ''Balgaria'' The country preserves the traditions (in ethnic name language and alphabet of the First Bulgarian There, he met Tatiana Mihailova, who later became his second wife. At the end of the war, he was transferred to the diplomatic service and became the press officer at the British embassy in Sofia, Bulgaria. Sofia (София ˈsɔfija is the Capital and largest city of the Republic of Bulgaria, with a population of 1395568 in the Capital Municipality He witnessed the gradual rise of Soviet communism in the country, becoming completely disillusioned with communist ideas in the process. He left Bulgaria in 1948, helping Tatiana escape the new regime. Back in London, he divorced his first wife and married Tatiana. London ( ˈlʌndən is the capital and largest urban area in the United Kingdom. This marriage later broke down when Tatiana was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Schizophrenia ( from the Greek roots schizein (σχίζειν "to split" and phrēn
Conquest then joined the Foreign Office's Information Research Department (IRD), a unit created for the purpose of combating communist influence and actively promoting anti-communist ideas, by fostering relationships with journalists, trade unions and other organizations . The Information Research Department, founded in 1948 by Christopher Mayhew MP, was a department of the British Foreign Office set up to counter Russian A journalist (also called a newspaperman) is a person who practices Journalism, the gathering and dissemination of information about current events trends A trade union or labour union is an organization of workers who have banded together to achieve common goals in key areas such as wages hours and working conditions forming In 1956, Conquest left the IRD and became a freelance writer and historian. Some of his books were partly distributed through a US company which published a number of books at the request of the CIA. near as long as it used to be several months ago It has been actively summarized and split into sub-articles and there is a dynamic talk page discussion of all In 1962-63, he was literary editor of The Spectator, but resigned when he found it interfered with his historical writing. For other uses see Spectator. The Spectator is a weekly British Magazine first published on 6 July His first books, Power and Politics in the USSR and Soviet Deportation of Nationalities, were published in 1960. In addition to his scholarly work, Conquest was a major figure in a prominent literary movement in the UK known as "The Movement", which included Philip Larkin and Kingsley Amis. This article is about a specific literary movement - for other literary movements see List of literary movements The Movement was a term Philip Arthur Larkin, CH, CBE, FRSL (9 August 1922 – 2 December 1985 was an English Poet, Novelist and Jazz Sir Kingsley William Amis, CBE ( April 16, 1922 &ndash October 22, 1995) was an English Novelist, He also published a science fiction novel and the first of five anthologies of science fiction he co-edited with Amis. A novel (from Italian novella, Spanish novela, French nouvelle for "new" "news" or "short story ANThology is the first Major label album by Alien Ant Farm released on March 6, 2001 in the USA and March 19 His other early works on the Soviet Union included Soviet Nationalities Policy in Practice, Industrial Workers in the USSR, Justice and the Legal System in the USSR and Agricultural Workers in the USSR.
In 1968, Conquest published what became his best-known, The Great Terror: Stalin's Purge of the Thirties, the first comprehensive research of the Great Purge, which took place in the Soviet Union between 1934 and 1939. The Great Terror is a book by Great Purge (Большая чистка transliterated Bolshaya chistka) was a series of campaigns of Political repression and Persecution The book was based mainly on information which had been made public, either officially or by individuals, during the so-called "Khrushchev Thaw" in the period 1956-64. Khrushchev's Thaw or the Khrushchev Thaw refers to the period from the mid 1950s to the early 1960s when repression and Censorship in the Soviet Union It also drew on accounts by Russian and Ukrainian émigrés and exiles dating back to the 1930s, and on an analysis of official Soviet documents such as the Soviet census. Ukraine (Україна Ukrayina, /ukrɑˈjinɑ/ is a country in Eastern Europe. Émigré is a French term that literally refers to a person who has "migrated out" but often carries a connotation of politico-social self- Exile. Exile means to be away from one's home (ie city state or country while either being explicitly refused permission to return and/or being threatened by prison or death upon return
The most important aspect of the book was that it widened the understanding of the purges beyond the previous narrow focus on the "Moscow trials" of disgraced Communist Party of the Soviet Union leaders such as Nikolai Bukharin and Grigori Zinoviev, who were executed after summary and faulty trials. The Moscow Trials were a series of trials of political opponents of Joseph Stalin during the Great Purge. Nikolai Ivanovich Bukharin (Никола́й Ива́нович Буха́рин ( &ndash March 15, 1938) was a Bolshevik Gregory Yevseevich Zinoviev (Григо́рий Евс́еевич Зин́овьев alternative transliteration Grigorii Ovseyevish Zinoviev born Ovsei-Gershon Aronovich The question of why these leaders had pleaded guilty and confessed to various crimes at the trials had become a topic of discussion for a number of western writers, and had underlain books such as George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four and Arthur Koestler's Darkness at Noon. Western culture (sometimes equated with Western Civilization) are terms which are used to refer to Cultures of European origin Eric Arthur Blair (25 June 1903 – 21 January 1950 who used the Pseudonym George Orwell, was an English writer Nineteen Eighty-Four (also titled 1984) by George Orwell (the pen name of Eric Arthur Blair) is a 1949 English Novel Arthur Koestler CBE ( September 5, 1905, Budapest &ndash March 3, 1983, London) was a Darkness at Noon is the most famous novel by Hungarian -born British novelist Arthur Koestler.
Conquest claimed that the trials and executions of these former Communist leaders were a minor detail of the purges. By his estimates, Stalinist famines and purges had led to the deaths of 20 million people. Other accounts have put the figures higher and lower; for example, according to archival and demographic evidence examined by Alec Nove, there were 10-11 million excess deaths in the 1930s, while according to Norman Davies the number may approach 50 million for the whole Stalin period. Demography is the statistical study of all Populations. It can be a very general science that can be applied to any kind of dynamic population that is one that changes over Evidence in its broadest sense includes anything that is used to determine or demonstrate the Truth of an assertion Alexander Nove FRSE, FBA ( 24 November 1915, Saint Petersburg - 15 May 1994, Glasgow) was a Professor Ivor Norman Richard Davies Fellow of the British Academy (born 8 June 1939 to Richard and Elizabeth Davies  In the preface to the 40th anniversary edition of The Great Terror, Conquest has revised his estimate of Stalinist killings downwards from 20 million to 13-15 million. 
Conquest criticized western intellectuals for "blindness" with respect to the Soviet Union, and argued that Stalinism was a logical consequence of Marxism-Leninism, rather than an aberration from "true" communism. An intellectual (from the adjective meaning "involving thought and reason" is a person who tries to use his or her Intelligence and analytical thinking, Stalinism is the political regime named after Joseph Stalin, leader of the Soviet Union from 1929–1953 Marxism-Leninism is a Communist ideological stream that emerged as the mainstream tendency amongst the Communist parties in the 1920s as it was adopted Communism is a Socioeconomic structure that promotes the establishment of an egalitarian, classless, stateless Society based Conquest refused to accept the assertion made by Nikita Khrushchev, and supported by many Western leftists, that Joseph Stalin and his purges were an aberration from the ideals of the "revolution" and were contrary to the principles of Leninism. Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev (April 17 1894 – September 11 1971 served as First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1953 to 1964 following Joseph Stalin ( ნამდვილი გვარი ჯუღაშვილი|Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili; March 5 1953 was General Secretary of the Communist Party Leninism refers to various related political and economic theories elaborated by Bolshevik revolutionary leader Vladimir Lenin. Conquest argued that Stalinism was a natural consequence of the system established by Vladimir Lenin, although he conceded that the personal character traits of Stalin had brought about the particular horrors of the late 1930s. Stalinism is the political regime named after Joseph Stalin, leader of the Soviet Union from 1929–1953 Neal Ascherson noted: "Everyone by then could agree that Stalin was a very wicked man and a very evil one, but we still wanted to believe in Lenin; and Conquest said that Lenin was just as bad and that Stalin was simply carrying out Lenin's programme. Charles Neal Ascherson (born October 5, 1932) is a Scottish Journalist. "
Conquest sharply criticized Western intellectuals for blindness towards the realities of the Soviet Union, both in the 1930s and in the 1960s. Figures such as Beatrice and Sidney Webb, George Bernard Shaw, Jean-Paul Sartre, Walter Duranty, Sir Bernard Pares, Harold Laski, D. N. Pritt, Theodore Dreiser and Romain Rolland were accused of being dupes of Stalin and apologists for his regime for various comments they had made denying, excusing, or justifying various aspects of the purges. This article is about the socialist politician For the children's author see Beatrix Potter. Sidney James Webb 1st Baron Passfield PC ( 13 July, 1859 &ndash 13 October, 1947) was a British socialist economist and reformer George Bernard Shaw ( (26 July 1856 &ndash 2 November 1950 was an Irish Playwright. Jean-Paul Charles Aymard Sartre (21 June 1905 &ndash 15 April 1980 commonly known simply as Jean-Paul Sartre (ʒɑ̃ pol saʁtʁə was a French Walter Duranty (1884&ndash October 3, 1957) was a Liverpool -born British journalist who served as the New York Times Sir Bernard Pares (1867-1949 was educated at Harrow School and Trinity College Cambridge where he graduated in Classics taking a third Harold Joseph Laski ( June 30, 1893 &ndash March 24, 1950) was an English Political theorist, Economist, Author Denis Nowell Pritt (usually known as DN Pritt 22 September, 1887 in Harlesden, Middlesex &mdash 23 May, 1972 Theodore Herman Albert Dreiser ( August 27 1871 &ndash December 28 1945) was an American novelist and journalist Romain Rolland ( 29 January 1866 – 30 December 1944) was a French Dramatist, Essayist, Art historian Conquest's comment about the poet John Cornford, who had been killed in the Spanish Civil War and was a hero of the British intellectual Left, that "not even high intelligence and a sensitive spirit are of any help once the facts of a situation are deduced from a political theory, rather than vice versa," was widely quoted. Rupert John Cornford ( 27 December 1915 – 28 December 1936) was an English poet and Communist. The Spanish Civil War was a major conflict in Spain that started after an attempted Coup d'état committed by parts of the army against the government of
In 1986, Conquest published The Harvest of Sorrow: Soviet Collectivisation and the Terror-Famine, another exhaustively researched work, dealing with the collectivization of agriculture under Stalin's direction in 1929-31, in which millions of peasants died of starvation or through deportation to labor camps. Collective farming is an organization of agricultural production in which the holdings of several farmers are run as a joint enterprise Collectivization in the Soviet Union was a policy pursued under Stalin, between 1928 and 1940(much later for areas further away from capital to consolidate individual Starvation (also called inanition) is a severe reduction in Vitamin, Nutrient, and Energy intake and is the most extreme form of Deportation, not to be confused with Extradition, generally means the expulsion of someone from a place or Country. A labor camp is a simplified detention facility where inmates are engaged in Penal labor. By the 1980s, the Soviet Union was disintegrating, and access to first-hand accounts and archives in Russia and Ukraine was far easier. The 1980s was the decade spanning from January 1 1980 to December 31 1989. Russia (Россия Rossiya) or the Russian Federation ( Rossiyskaya Federatsiya) is a transcontinental Country extending Ukraine (Україна Ukrayina, /ukrɑˈjinɑ/ is a country in Eastern Europe.
In this book, Conquest was even more scathing about western left-wing intellectuals than he had been in The Great Terror. He accused them of denying the full scale of the famine, attacking their views as "an intellectual and moral disgrace on a massive scale. The Holodomor (Голодомор is the famine that took place in Soviet Ukraine during the 1932-1933 agricultural season " He later wrote that the western world had been faced with two different stories about the famine in the 1930s, and accused many intellectuals of believing the false one: "Why did an intellectual stratum overwhelmingly choose to believe the false one? None of this can be accounted for in intellectual terms. To accept information about a matter on which totally contradictory evidence exists, and in which investigation of major disputes on the matter is prevented, is not a rational act. "
After the partial opening of the Soviet archives in the later years of the rule of Mikhail Gorbachev, Conquest was able to publish The Great Terror: A Reassessment, a consideration of his 1968 book in the light of newly available evidence. Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev ( Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachyov;; born 2 March 1931 in Privolnoye Stavropol Krai) is a Russian politician
One of Conquest's recent works was Reflections on a Ravaged Century (1999) where he describes the attraction that totalitarian systems of thought seem to hold for many western intellectuals. He traces this attitude back to the Age of Reason and its culmination in the French Revolution. 17th century philosophy in the Western world is generally regarded as being the start of Modern philosophy, and a departure from the medieval approach The French Revolution (1789–1799 was a period of political and social upheaval in the History of France, during which the French governmental structure previously an
In 1962, Conquest was divorced from his second wife and, in 1964, he married Caroleen MacFarlane. This marriage was dissolved in 1978 and, in 1979, he married Elizabeth Neece Wingate, a lecturer in English and the daughter of a United States Air Force colonel. This marriage proved lasting. In 1981, Conquest moved to California to take up a post at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. California ( is a US state on the West Coast of the United States, along the Pacific Ocean. The Hoover Institution on War Revolution and Peace is a libertarian Public policy Think tank and Library founded in 1919 by U Leland Stanford Junior University, commonly known as Stanford University or simply Stanford, is a private Research university located in
Conquest is now senior research fellow and scholar-curator of the Russian and Commonwealth of Independent States Collection at the Hoover Institution. He is also an adjunct fellow of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C., and a former research associate of Harvard University's Ukrainian Research Institute. The Center for Strategic and International Studies is a Washington D Washington DC ( formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, the District, or simply D He is a member of the board of the Institute for European Defence and Strategic Studies. He is a fellow of the British Interplanetary Society and a member of the Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies and the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies. The British Interplanetary Society (BIS founded in 1933 by Mr The Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies (The Roman Society was founded in 1910 as the sister society to the Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies. Slavic studies or Slavistics is the Academic field of Area studies concerned with Slavic areas Slavic languages, literature history
Conquest has remained a British citizen and, in 1996, he was made a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George. The Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George is a British order of chivalry founded on 28 April 1818 by George Prince Regent (later George His other awards and honors include the Jefferson Lectureship in the Humanities, the Richard Weaver Award for Scholarly Letters and the Alexis de Tocqueville Award. Conquest is also known as a poet. He has brought out six volumes of poetry and one of literary criticism, edited the seminal New Lines anthologies, and published a verse translation of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's Prussian Nights. Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn ( Алекса́ндр Иса́евич Солжени́цын) (December 11 1918 – August 3 2008 was a Russian Novelist Prussian Nights (Ostpreussische Nächte is a long poem by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, a Captain in the Soviet Red Army during the Second He received the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in 1997. The American Academy of Arts and Letters is a 250-member organization whose goal is to "foster assist and sustain excellence" in American Literature, He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. The Royal Society of Literature is the "senior literary organisation in Britain " The American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS is an organization dedicated to scholarship and the advancement of learning He is a frequent contributor to the New York Review of Books, the Times Literary Supplement and other journals. The New York Review of Books (or NYREV or NYRB) is a semimonthly Magazine on Literature, Culture, and current The Times Literary Supplement (or TLS, on the front page from 1969 is a weekly literary review published in London by News International
In November 2005, Conquest was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by George W. Bush. The Presidential Medal of Freedom is a decoration bestowed by the President of the United States and is along with the equivalent Congressional Gold Medal bestowed George Walker Bush ( born July 6 1946 is the forty-third and current President of the United States. 
Much of the biographical material in this article is drawn from Andrew Brown, "Scourge and Poet, a profile of Robert Conquest," which appeared in The Guardian in February 2003 (see link below). The Guardian (until 1959 The Manchester Guardian) is a British Newspaper owned by the Guardian Media Group.
(Dates shown are not necessarily the dates of first publication)