Yasmin asked:

Very good story except....did Communists really talk like that? Every word out of a Communist's mouth in this story was completely ridiculous. If people back then actually believed that drivel, then I have even less respect for communists than I did before.

Timothy Fiction is always an illusion whose success is based on how real it feels. Le Carre was not a communist and did not attend their meetings, and likely didn't hang out with them often. Obviously he had never interacted personally with the senior leadership of East Germany.

Not that you should necessarily have respect for communists, but being convinced you should have little respect for them while having no knowledge of what they actually believe in the real world seems a bit presumptuous.

You might find this interview by le Carre interesting,

Deepesh Tomar Not quite. Fiedler talked normally. As for others, you can simply compare it to how democratic politicians talk while on camera. Most of it is freedom and Liberty rhetoric and less practicality. They have to sell ideology while on the spot. As for the communists they were always on the spot. One couldn't rise to any kind of position within the party unless they sold communist principles in every word they spoke. Just think about it, unlike capitalism they had to work for a lot with no reward. They had to really believe in their principles to live with themselves and serve their country
Steven Some of them certainly did and some of them, like Fiedler in the book, probably didn't. Indeed.the far-left activists I came across at university in the mid-1980s still talked like some of the communists in this book - and those were people in the UK. The East German system was all about brainwashing its citizens and making them fear that anything they said could be overheard and reported to the Stasi, making it even less hard to believe that they would come out with this kind of thing, either because they believed it or because they thought they had to pretend to.
Spencer Yeah. It's real.
Attila Babo In the early sixties, this was the norm within the cadres and the fifties were even more extreme. The tone eased up over time though.
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