Editorial: General issue
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 – or ‘Age of Catastrophe’ as Eric Hobsbawn called it.1 This format will continue in every other issue of the journal as it continues as a biannual publication.
What the contributions published in this issue demonstrate, is just how global the field of communist studies has become, as is reflected in the journal’s subtitle – a journal of international history. Although communist studies has never attracted researchers’ interest on the scale of, for example, fascism, we now have a burgeoning historiography and ever diversifying approaches to the subject. The challenge is the truly world scale of the field, not least because of the diversity of languages needed to read the relevant materials. One way of surmounting these obstacles is a collective undertaking informed by common themes.
Eric Hobsbawm, The Age of Extremes: The Short Twentieth Century, 1914- 1991, London: Michael Joseph, 1994.