The Doctors' Plot: Background information when reading The Betrayal

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The Betrayal

A Novel

by Helen Dunmore

The Betrayal
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  • First Published:
    Sep 2011, 336 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2011, 336 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Sarah Sacha Dollacker

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About this Book

Beyond the Book:
The Doctors' Plot

The Betrayal is loosely based on a series of investigations that took place toward the end of Joseph Stalin's rule in 1953, formally known as "The Doctors' Plot." This bizarre scheme wrongfully accused nine prominent Moscow doctors - the majority of whom were Jewish - of coordinating the deaths of high-ranking Soviet Party members. Rather than respecting these doctors' medical authority and accepting terminal diagnoses, the Party members turned on them and suspected them of plotting their assassinations.

According to a report disclosed by the CIA under the US Department of State Freedom of Information Act, the doctors were singled out, "as part of a ring of spies working for a 'Jewish-bourgeois nationalist group,' which in turn was sponsored by the American and British Intelligence organizations."

Joseph Stalin The plot originated from a deep-seated anti-Semitism that had long existed in Soviet Russia and Stalin's own paranoia; in 1946, Stalin is reported to have said that "all Jews are ...

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