“Salami Tactics” are generally used by Cold War historians to name a USSR technique for gaining further control of Eastern Europe post-WWII and more specifically describes a steady gain of parts of Europe through political control:
- Soviets help organise “anti-fascist” governments throughout Eastern Europe to seem benevolent
- They slowly shut down/get rid of the political parties one at a time
- Eventually, the Communist-style parties are left in place – they can be restaffed by convenient Moscow-trained people (such as the Baggage Train leaders) if necessary
The name "salami tactics" is reputed to come from the Moscow-sponsored Communist leader of Hungary, Rakosi, who commented that the USSR was gaining control of Eastern Europe "like slicing off salami, piece by piece". Historians liked his description of the way in which the Soviet Union narrowed in their focus and cut off competitive parties until there was only an "end piece" or the final Moscow-friendly Communist party left.
The pattern started in Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania continued throughout the territory that the Red Army occupied, so that the leaders left were entirely under central Communist control. Czechoslovakia and Finland alone maintained the slightest semblance of a democratic system.