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Hermann Weber, the Mannheim University-based doyen of communist studies, died on 29 December 2014; he was 86 year of age. Weber’s impact on the study of communism was given a special significance by the country’s cold-war division on Europe’s front line between East and West; and his work had the insights of a former communist ‘insider’ who had broken with a system he soon recognised to be a dictatorship over the party and society.
The term ‘cultural turn’ is generally associated with a shift in leftist, socialist and communist politics after 1956. The upheavals of that year – primarily Soviet intervention in Hungary and Nikita Khrushchev’s revelation of the atrocities committed by Stalin – triggered realignments on the left, both within and without of the communist movement.
1956 proved to be not only a landmark for the international communist movement but a turning point in the Cold War. By the autumn of that year, the bi-polar world order that had been steadily forming since the second world war, had consolidated into diametrically opposed camps whose conflicting interests would dictate the course of history for the next three decades.
Timothy Scott Brown
This issue of Twentieth Century Communism marks a change from earlier ones: it is the first not to be based around specific themes. Instead, the journal’s pages were opened to a diversity of topics and approaches to the history of communism throughout the ‘short’ twentieth century.
This article discusses the way in which Chilean communists addressed sexuality and family life during the Popular Unity Government (1970-1973). Focusing on communist youth, the article provides a close reading of the youth-oriented magazine Ramona analysing the discussions about contentious issues and discusses the underlining tensions between older and younger generations of the Communist Party.
One might suppose that historians of communism have less to learn than most from the current vogue for transnational history. Whatever criticisms might be made of the great traditional landmarks of communist historiography, restriction of the subject to an exclusively national terrain is not one of them.
This paper considers some of the political trajectories of the ninety or so African Americans who fought in the Spanish Civil War as part of the Fifteenth International Brigade. It locates these trajectories as part of broader interventions made by black internationalist intellectuals and activists in shaping the terms of anti-fascist solidarities.
In addressing this theme of ‘A century of anti-communisms’, the present issue of Twentieth Century Communism, overspilling into the next, joins a rapidly increasing body of literature on the subject.
The article offers an overview of anti-communisms – ranging across the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and across Eurasia and the US.
Gavin Bowd, Madeleine Davis, Paulo Drinot, Dianne Kirby, Carl Levy, Matthew Worley
A roundtable with Gavin Bowd, Madeleine Davis, Paulo Drinot, Dianne Kirby, Carl Levy and Matthew Worley reflect on the character and significance of anti-communism as a concept on the basis of their own particular research interests.
REVIEWS Arnd Bauerkamper and Francesco Di Palma (eds), Bruderparteien jenseits des Eisernen Vorhangs: Die Beziehungen der SED zu den kommunistischen Parteien West- und Sudeuropas (1968-1989) Gareth Pritchard Philip Bounds, British Communism and the Politics of Literature 1928-39 David Margolies Pierre Brocheux, Ho Chi Minh: A Biography Suchetana Chattopadhyay John Butler, The Red Dean of Canterbury: The Public and Private Faces of Hewlett Johnson Dianne Kirby Andy Croft (ed.), After the Party: Refl ections on life since the CPGB Richard Cross Ken Keable (ed.), London Recruits. The Secret War against Apartheid Irina Filatova Jose Gotovitch, Du communisme et des communistes en Belgique. Approches critiques Aldo Agosti Lucio Magri, The Tailor of Ulm: Communism in the Twentieth Century Willie Thompson Josie McLellan, Love in the Time of Communism: Intimacy and Sexuality in the GDR Gareth Pritchard Serge Wolikow, L’Internationale communiste (1919-1943). Le Komintern ou le reve dechu du parti mondial de la revolution Kevin Morgan
This article addresses how the universalism of the Bolsheviks’ ideology induced a range of tensions in the face of specific local conditions, from clashes within the multiethnic Soviet state to an inability to sanction ‘freedom of criticism’ within a global movement.
In his Little Moscows: Communism and Working-class Militancy in Inter-war Britain (1980) Stuart Macintyre showed that in the interwar years, in some small places in Britain, communists were able to attract a substantial following at a local level.
Drawing on the British and other European literature, this paper considers how the phenomenon of local communisms may most usefully be conceptualised by the comparative historian. Interpreting the notion ‘little Moscow’ as connoting both scale and exceptionality, it argues that the combination of social typicality and political atypicality poses specific methodological challenges which require the careful specification of those feature of these societies which were also atypical.
Leo Goretti, Matthew Worley
Organisations of youth [...] which openly declare that they are still learning, that their main task is to train party workers for the socialist parties [...] must be given every assistance. We must be patient with their faults and strive to correct them gradually, mainly by persuasion, and not by fighting them.
This article analyses the educational policies for girls carried out within the Italian young communist league in the late 1940s-early 1950s. Particular attention is paid to the influence of Catholicism over communist policies, to the main activities promoted for young female militants, and to the way in which moral and sexual issues were addressed within the Italian young communist league.
Richard Cross introduces issue 3 of Twentieth Century Communism.
This review provides a wide-ranging survey of the post-war history of communism and communist parties in South Asia with particular attention to developments in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, India and Sri Lanka. It focuses on the parties and organisations of the communist left; the key elements of their political programmes and practices; and their relationship with other forces on the left. It assesses the dynamic between communist and nationalist politics and between clandestine revolutionary and peaceful parliamentary roads to political advance in the South Asian context.