The public memory of 20th-century communism is a battleground. Two ideological armies stare at each other across a chasm of mistrust and misunderstanding. Even though the Cold War ended almost 30 years ago, a struggle to define the truth about the communist past has continued to rage across the United States and Europe.
On the Left stand those with some sympathy for socialist ideals and the popular opinion of hundreds of millions of Russian and east European citizens nostalgic for their state socialist pasts. On the Right stand the committed anti-totalitarians, both east and west, insisting that all experiments with Marxism will always and inevitably end with the gulag. Where one side sees shades of grey, the other views the world in black and white.