Page 210. " the counter-revolution in Hungary "

The Hungarian Revolution (counter-revolution from the communist-bloc perspective) lasted from 23 October to 10 November 1956.  It was a spontaneous revolt against Moscow rule and was ruthlessly suppressed by armed Soviet intervention.  An estimated 2,500 Hungarians and 700 Soviet troops died. More than 200,000 Hungarians fled the country before the border with Austria was reinforced. Imre Nagy, the Hungarian Prime Minister, was executed.

Page 219. " Sacrificing the individual to the mass "

Soviet poster illustrating Stalin and the cult of personality
Public DomainSoviet poster illustrating Stalin and the cult of personality
 Nikita Krushchev, First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (1953-1964) and Soviet Premier (1958-1964), reminded the 20th Congress of the Communist Party in 1956 that the cult of the individual must be abolished once and for all.  This echoed Lenin's assertion that the glorification of the individual was not good for society as a whole. By implication, Krushchev was denouncing his predecessor Stalin's cult of personality, through which he dominated the country for 29 years.

Page 220. " What do you think spies are: priest, saints and martyrs? "

In his savage diatribe against the world of espionage that he is so much a part of, Leamas makes it clear that both 'sides' employ the same methods, and the same sort of people.  These are not the glamorous characters that populate the world of 007.  The first James Bond film, Dr No, was released in 1962, three years before the film of The Spy Who Came in From the Cold.  The contrast between the two portrayals of spies could not be greater.  It is unimaginable that James Bond would deliver such negative opinions to the very glamorous women he meets as Leamas does to his lover, a librarian described as ungainly with large facial features.


Page 224. " he was astonished to glimpse the plump silhouette of the Brandenburg Gate "

The Brandenburg Gate, one of Berlin's most famous features, was built between 1788 and 1791.  Until the erection of the Berlin Wall in 1961, vehicles and pedestrians could pass through it.  The wall effectively closed the Gate off to both West and East Berlin.

The Brandenburg Gate
Public DomainThe Brandenburg Gate just before the Berlin Wall went up