Journal of the History of Biology 29 (2):229 - 250 (1996)

While the simple historical view has pictured the Lysenko controversy as an uninterrupted series of Lysenko's victories-beginning with the 1936 discussion, and culminating in the infamous August 1948 meeting of the Lenin All-Union Academy of Agricultural Sciences, when genetics was officially abolished in the Soviet Union-it was certainly more complex, as recognized by such serious historians as David Joravsky and Mark Adams. As we have seen, the roles the competitors assumed in 1945–47 were the reverse of those they assumed in the 1930s: the geneticists managed to gain the offensive, and Lysenko was forced to defend his position.This episode suggests that the Communist Party leadership probably did not have a special bias against genetics, nor a particular preference toward Lysenko at that time. The actual decisions of the Party apparatus on particular science policies were based upon the current priorities of general foreign and domestic policies, rather than upon an “orthodox Party line” in esoteric scientific questions. It is clear and has been recognized by some historians that the Soviet scientific community was not a passive, monolithic object of the manipulation, control, and repression exercised by the Communist Party leadership; various groups within the Soviet scientific community actively exploited every opportunity provided by the Party's policies to achieve their own objectives.The Lysenko controversy illustrates the profound impact of international events on Soviet science and suggests that its history cannot be understood as a result of exclusively domestic affairs, but should be explicated within a broader framework of interaction between Soviet domestic and international policies and between the Soviet and Western scientific communities. As we have seen, one of the major causes of the geneticists' success in the postwar struggle with Lysenkoists was the shift of Soviet foreign policies toward internationalism stimulated by the wartime alliance between the “Big Three.” This suggests that the so-called “death” of genetics in the Soviet Union in August 1948 was also the result of another dramatic shift in the international situation: the climax of the Cold War confrontation between former allies in the summer of 1948, which marked the final division of postwar Europe and the world into two opposing camps, East and West
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/BF00571083
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 60,021
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

How Lysenkoism Became Pseudoscience: Dobzhansky to Velikovsky. [REVIEW]Michael D. Gordin - 2012 - Journal of the History of Biology 45 (3):443 - 468.
Adaptation or Selection? Old Issues and New Stakes in the Postwar Debates Over Bacterial Drug Resistance.Angela N. H. Creager - 2007 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 38 (1):159-190.
Karl Popper and Lamarckism.Elena Aronova - 2007 - Biological Theory 2 (1):37-51.

View all 11 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Soviet Philosophy of Biology Today.Anatoly Partashnikov - 1974 - Studies in East European Thought 14 (1-2):1-25.
Social Factors in the Development of Genetics and the Lysenko Affair.Jesús Mosterín - 2008 - Poznan Studies in the Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities 96 (1):143-155.
Mathematical Logic in the Soviet Union (1917–1947 and 1947–1957).G. Küng - 1961 - Studies in East European Thought 1 (1):39-43.
Lysenko and Genetics.J. B. S. Haldane - 1940 - Science and Society 4 (4):433 - 437.
Genetics Teaching and Lysenko.Bernhard J. Stern - 1949 - Science and Society 13 (2):136 - 149.
An Explication of the Causal Dimension of Drift.Peter Gildenhuys - 2009 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 60 (3):521-555.
Comparative Philosophy in the Soviet Union.Victoria G. Lysenko - 1992 - Philosophy East and West 42 (2):309-326.
Paul Konitzer (1894–1947): Hygieniker, Amtsarzt, Sozialmediziner, Gesundheitspolitiker.Peter Schneck - 2004 - NTM Zeitschrift für Geschichte der Wissenschaften, Technik und Medizin 12 (4):213-232.
'Through a Glass Darkly' - the Rockefeller Foundation's International Health Board and Soviet Public Health.S. Solomon - 2000 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 31 (3):409-418.


Added to PP index

Total views
74 ( #139,982 of 2,433,428 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
2 ( #298,810 of 2,433,428 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes