How influential was communism during the interwar period outside the USSR?

HideShow resource information
View mindmap
  • How influential was communism during the interwar period outside the USSR?
    • Stalin's influence and interests
      • According to Thompson
        • Stalin could not control Communists outside of USSR, his power was limited strictly to inside Soviet Union
      • According to Thompson
        • Communist Parties outside of USSR subscribed to Stalin's views
          • Revolution in Russia, weakest link in imperialist chain, was merely overture to rapid worldwide revolution
          • Were convinced that socialism in former Russian Empire was impossible without similar revolution in advanced countries
      • According to Richards
        • Stalin was disinterested in Communism outside Russia
          • Stalin was indifferent to internalist ideals of Comintern
            • Hardly ever attended meetings personally, sent representatives
        • Clear even in 1920s, from his declaration in 1924, in favour of "Socialism in One Country"
          • World revolution would take backseat
          • Stalin more interested in Soviet Security
    • Popular Front (France and Spain) - according to Richards
      • Supports notion communism was influential
        • Closest political left in Europe came to effective strategy of unified anti-fascist action
        • Consisted of alliances of political parties including Marxists, socialists, liberals, moderates and even conservatives
          • But were Communists poweful?
          • Marxists contributed to efforts
        • Rejected fascism
        • Electoral victories of French and Spanish coalitions of 1936 were greatest achievements
          • But were these achievements of other parties?
      • Doesn't support idea communism was influential
        • Political Pact
          • Defend French and Spanish Republics
          • Bring about social and cultural change
          • Preserve international peace
          • Attack causes and symptoms of economic crisis
        • Negation of fascism (even though contained in promotion of peace, democracy and end of hunger) ultimately proved weak basis for unity
        • Effects of far-reaching social legislation enacted by Popular Front governments in France and Spain were severely constrained by:
          • advance of fascist threat
          • economic circumstances
          • Internal differences within Front itself
        • Popular Frontism unable to develop active and effective alternative to policy of appeasement of Nazism pursued by major democracies
        • Also impeded because unable to become political focus of collective security largely because such a strategy was associated by democracies with interests of Communist Russia
    • Comintern according to Richards
      • Organisational weaknesses, doctrinal disputes and rivalries, and effects of internal terror within Stalinist system also limited effectiveness
      • International's initial president, Zinoviev, executed in August 1936, after first of fake show trials (start of Stalin's Terror)
      • Under such pressures, considerable tension existed between Comintern orthodoxy, expressed in publicly declared strategic "theses", national Party leaderships, and activist rank and file
      • Attempts made to impose broad strategic measures from outside regardless of specific national factors
      • In process, division of European labour movement, begun by secession of revolutionaries from social democratic parties following 1917 Russian Revolution and immediate aftermath of war in 1918, became irreconcilable
      • Fatal divide opened up in spite of sporadic attempts by rank-and-file activists to achieve pragmatic unity of action
    • Splits in Italy (according to  Richards)
      • 1919-1921
        • witnessed irreparable split in ranks of Socialist Party (PSI), resulting in secession of a "Bolshevik" wing and founding of Italian Communist Party (PCI) in January 1921
      • By 1926, PCI's leaders would be arrested, imprisoned, or forced into exile and party's Congress that year would be held in Lyons
      • Right to strike formally abolished as prelude to establishing dictatorial state structure
        • Included 'fascistised' judicial system complete with special courts for political crimes
      • Antonio Gramsci, founding leader of PCI and its best-known and most insightful thinker
        • In 1928, sentenced to 20 years' imprisonment
    • Germany (according to Richards)
      • In 1917, Socialist SPD split in two
        • The communist KPD was a breakaway movement
      • German Communist Party (KPD) and Socialist Party (SPD) hurled insults and sabotaged each other's initiatives during Weimar years, while Nazi support burgeoned
      • Free trade unions abolished by Nazi regime and SPD outlawed by 1933
      • Reichstag Fire in Feb 1933 allowed Hitler to outlaw Communists and institutionalise authoritarian measures
      • Richards states:
        • Historians speculated that if the left in Germany had not been so divided, Hitler may have been prevented from coming to power in 1933 thereby avoiding war in 1939
          • Richards argues ultimately it could not have been prevented due to divisions in German society exacerbated by unemployment because of the Wall Street Crash


No comments have yet been made

Similar History resources:

See all History resources »See all Communism (Roads to Modernity) resources »