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Which Socialism, Whose Détente?

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Maud Bracke

Part I. West European communism and internationalism, 1956–1967

Chapter 2. West European Communism and the Changes of 1956

Texte intégral

1In the first part of this chapter I will introduce the changes that took place in 1956 in the communist world, while focusing on the problems created in West European communist parties and their immediate responses. In the second part of the chapter I will analyze more closely the domestic development of the PCI and PCF between the late 1950s and the early 1960s. The changes of 1956, in the short term, led the PCI to undertake a number of changes in its internationalism, which were clustered around the concept of polycentrism and the claim for limited forms of communist party autonomy. In the case of the PCF there was strong resistance to change, despite the fact that it was the Soviet Communist Party that had initiated it. As both parties adapted to the new situation in the communist world, they went through a phase of domestic isolation. The PCI responded to this by seeking domestic political integration. In the case of the PCF, the crisis was more profoundly one of domestic legitimation, which led, generally, to immobility.

1. 1956

1.1. The 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union

2Stalin’s death in 1953 gave way to a power struggle in the Kremlin between L. Beria, V. Molotov, G. Malenkov and N. Khrushchev, from which, by 1955, Khrushchev had emerged as the leader. At the 20th Congress of the CPSU in 1956, Khrushchev initiated a series of strategic and doctrinal changes. These were, firstly, de-Stalinization and the denouncing of the personality cult; secondly, the strategy of “national roads to socialism”; and thirdly, the strategy of “peaceful coexistence with the capitalist world.” While de-Stalinization was foremost a matter of identity, the national roads strategy had the potential of affecting the concept of socialism, and peaceful coexistence dramatically changed strategy vis-à-vis the West.

  • 1 For more detail on the secret speech and the circumstances in which it became known in the West, s (...)
  • 2 The PCF delegation, including future general secretary Waldeck Rochet, Marcel Sevrin and Etienne F (...)
  • 3 Lavau, “L’URSS et eux…,” p. 191.

3De-Stalinization, by far the most upsetting event of the 20th Congress, was initially cloaked in mystery. Khrushchev’s so-called secret speech, “On the Cult of Personality and its Consequences,” a violent attack on Stalin, his one-man rule, his crimes against the Soviet peoples and his errors during the Second World War, was read during the Congress, in a closed session, to delegations of some of the world communist parties.1 Of the West European communist parties only the PCI and PCF were invited to this meeting.2 Because the myth of Stalin had fulfilled such a central role in communist identity and the myth system, de-Stalinization created a fundamental problem of identity for all Soviet-aligned communist parties. They were henceforth to have an openly problematic relation to their own history and the history of the movement to which they belonged.3 In the communist world, the critique of the historic, mythical world leader of communism threatened to give way to criticism of the Soviet Communist Party as a whole and of the wider Soviet system and the nature of its political leadership. The question of Stalinism touched upon the status of the CPSU as a leading party, and, ultimately, internationalism.

  • 4 Reiman, “La rivoluzione d’ottobre,” pp. 49–60.
  • 5 I will come back to this in chapter four.

4However, things did not go that far, as resistance was immediately manifested at different levels against the opening up of such deeply reaching debates. To start with, Khrushchev himself circumscribed the limits of the debate by introducing the concept of “personality cult.” In this interpretation, the crimes committed during the Stalinist era were considered to have been due solely to the exaggerated cultivation of one omnipotent leader. The phenomenon was disconnected from the wider political, ideological and societal contexts in which it had occurred. Accordingly, de-Stalinization as a remedy needed to do nothing more than put a halt to the personality cult. De-Stalinization was intended to isolate Stalinism from Leninism, in order to save the latter.4 Also, in the wider communist world strong resistance existed to the debate on Stalinism as well as to dramatic policy or identity shifts. De-Stalinization not only raised questions regarding Soviet leadership, but regarding the leaders of every communist party who had based their political legitimation to a large extent on the myth of Stalin and the CPSU. In all the East European communist regimes, the death of Stalin in 1953 had provoked political crises, with open power struggles within the parties and revelations regarding past terror. While in Czechoslovakia a series of “de-Stalinizing” political trials eliminated an entire generation of party leaders,5 in Poland former general secretary Gomułka, expelled from the party in 1949, had to be brought back to power. The unleashing of strong oppositional forces was the immediate result of de-Stalinization not only in Poland, but especially in Hungary, as will be discussed below.

  • 6 On the national roads strategy of 1956, from a theoretical perspective, see, for instance, Fejtő, (...)

5The theory of “national roads to socialism” implied the acceptance of different strategies for, and paths towards, socialist revolution for communist parties in different national contexts. As a theory, it had existed already under Lenin and Stalin. In the communist world there had always been a tension between the acceptance of national variations on the one hand, and the privileged status of the Soviet path on the other hand. The national roads strategy had older roots, specifically in Western Europe: the national roads strategy became the official policy for the West European communist parties during the Popular Front era (1934–1939), and later on in the phase of “national unity” at end of the Second World War (1944–1947). After the founding of the Cominform in 1947, and in the context of Cold War doctrinal rigidity, the possibility of “national roads to socialism” was discarded from Soviet texts. In the acceptance of national roads towards socialism Khrushchev was, in the first place, pressured by the fact that different types of socialism existed de facto in Eastern Europe, in terms of the political system or the economy. The national roads strategy presupposed a degree of autonomy for communist parties in the communist world and with regard to the Soviet Union. Nevertheless, it was always specified that the flexibility concerned merely the road towards socialism, or the revolutionary process or the transition towards socialism. The actual model of the socialist and communist society remained in theory unchanged and Soviet socialism continued to have a privileged status.6 The largely artificial distinction between the notions of road and model was obviously an effective tool in containing communist party autonomy and diversity.

  • 7 On the application of the national roads strategy to West European communism, see Duhamel, Les Sov (...)
  • 8 Some confusion surrounded these different variations; Legvold, “The Soviet Union,” p. 332.

6Although the national roads strategy did not, on a theoretical level, break with previous strategies for the takeover of power, it turned out to be very important to West European communism, leading to (partial) integration into the domestic parliamentary system. It also gave rise to at least a de facto questioning of the Soviet and East European paths to socialism, and, at a further stage, of the models for socialism they represented. For the socialist struggle in Western Europe, Soviet doctrine in this period envisaged a non-violent strategy, the “peaceful road to socialism”: the revolution in the West was conceived as a process or transition rather than a break.7 Although the “parliamentary road to socialism” was, in Soviet theory, only one possible variation of the “peaceful road,” it became the preferred program for the West European communist parties.8

  • 9 Legvold, “The Soviet Union,” p. 338.
  • 10 Duhamel, Les Soviétiques et les voies de la révolution, p. 207.

7The overall strategy in the West was referred to in Soviet and West European communist writings as the “general-democratic and anti-monopolistic phase” of the class struggle. Central to this scenario was the creation of a broad “progressive alliance” between communist parties, reformist parties of the Left, and possibly other groups. The communist party should take the initiative for this type of alliance and should at all times assume the “leading role.” The alliance would come to power through a parliamentary majority. Other, non-parliamentary means of gaining power, as for example through the trade unions, the peace movement and other civil society groups, were given less attention in Soviet texts.9 The definition of which groups could be considered “progressive forces” was not very clear and remained a matter of relative freedom for the communist parties in the West. According to the Marxist-Leninist vulgate, once the “main enemy” had been identified, allies should be chosen on the basis of their “objectively” having interests counter to those of the main enemy. The main enemy in Western Europe was defined in this phase as “monopolistic capital”: this included the large businesses and, increasingly, multinational firms. One change particularly relevant to West European communism was the possible inclusion of the middle classes in this broad strategy. The interests of these groups, it was argued, tended to go counter to those of monopolistic capital; hence, it was possible to turn them into progressive forces.10

  • 11 Light, The Soviet Theory, p. 47.
  • 12 Rey, Le dilemme russe, pp. 280–281.

8The third major policy shift introduced at the 20th Congress was the strategy of “peaceful coexistence with the capitalist world.” According to this doctrine, military confrontation between communist and capitalist states should and could be avoided. Economic and ideological competition between both systems should flourish instead, and through these non-violent forms of competition, socialism would naturally demonstrate its superiority. Peaceful coexistence was considered to be an element of the “democratic foundations of international relations.” These democratic foundations included, furthermore, respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty, the renunciation of force, non-aggression, and non-interference in internal affairs.11 At the root of this change lay the understanding that the issue of global war had undergone a qualitative change since the onset of the nuclear age. Soviet state interests in peaceful coexistence were to do with concerns for cutting military spending, expanding economic relations beyond the socialist world, and becoming once more a respectable diplomatic player on the international scene. The strategy was furthermore motivated by a new approach to the “German problem”: the wish to obtain the formal recognition of the German Democratic Republic (GDR), in the first place by establishing diplomatic relations with K. Adenauer’s Federal Republic of Germany (FRG). Peaceful coexistence was expected to create the right atmosphere to increase trust between East and West, in support of these negotiations.12

  • 13 On the shift away from a bipolar worldview, see Petro, Rubinstein, Russian Foreign Policy, pp. 216 (...)
  • 14 For more detail on Soviet strategies outside Europe in this phase see Garthoff, Détente and confro (...)

9Peaceful coexistence, like the national roads strategy, went back to Lenin, but Khrushchev’s changes were significant. Peaceful coexistence was now elevated to a cornerstone of Soviet foreign policy and to a theoretical status which neither Lenin nor Stalin had granted it. While Lenin and Stalin had used the term to describe the phases between periods of war with the capitalist world, for Khrushchev, peaceful coexistence could now be envisaged as the permanent structure on which relations with the West should be based. The perceived qualitative change in the conditions of international relations led Khrushchev to no longer consider war with the West as “fatalistically inevitable,” as Lenin had put it. However, peaceful coexistence did not put an end to the class struggle—to the contrary, it was intended as a strategy to make the world safe for socialism and revolution. It was considered the most suitable context in which socialism would come about naturally and in different parts of the world. Nonetheless, it constituted a break with the Zhdanovian view of the global class struggle from a strictly bipolar perspective. Soviet strategy in 1956 moved away from the Zhdanovian paradigm in another way, namely, by shifting its attention to the “global anti-imperialist struggle.” Although fully viewed in terms of the global class struggle, anti-imperialism permitted the blurring of the two camps. Khrushchev introduced the concepts of “zone of peace” and “national-democratic states,” which included de-colonized states in the Third World (also non-Marxist ones), as well as the increasingly important Movement of Non-Aligned States.13 Support for “movements of national liberation” was viewed as a privileged field of communist-capitalist competition, although much uncertainty remained regarding support for non-Marxist or non-Soviet-aligned liberation movements. The Soviet Union, from the 1960s onwards, started to expand its influence in Africa, the Middle East and Latin America.14

1.2. The invasion of Hungary and the anti-revisionist campaign

  • 15 On the Hungarian revolt and Soviet intervention see Valenta, “Soviet Policy toward Hungary and Cze (...)

10The military invasion of Hungary by the Soviet Union in October–November 1956 painfully revealed the limitations of the ideological permissiveness that was suggested by the “national roads” strategy. It did not cause a break with this strategy, but it marked the limits of it in a sense that was highly disadvantageous for the autonomy of communist parties and states worldwide vis-à-vis Soviet dominance. Both in Hungary and Poland in the autumn of 1956, social and political unrest broke out as a result of the crisis of legitimation in both communist parties. Soviet policy in Hungary in 1956 was a fatal mix of hesitation and repression. Imre Nagy’s “new course,” which included economic reforms and an end to generalized police repression, was initially supported by the Kremlin, but fear of far-reaching change led the Soviet leadership to support Nagy’s removal in 1954.15

  • 16 There were 25,000 Hungarian casualties, among which 5,000 were killed. Roberts, The Soviet Union, (...)

11Public frustration regarding the blocking of further reform, combined with sentiments of solidarity with Polish demonstrators, led in October 1956 to the first series of violent demonstrations with radical demands in the streets of Budapest and elsewhere. The Soviet response of installing new leaders—Rákosi, and at a later stage Gerő —only stimulated public discontent. The first Soviet military invasion, on October 23, was relatively small in scope. Resistance from Hungarian civilians as well as parts of the army surprised the invaders. The Soviet–Hungarian “compromise”—a ceasefire and the return to power of Nagy—led the contestants to pressure Nagy into pursuing his new course even further. On 31 October the Hungarian Communist Party renamed itself the Hungarian Socialist Workers’ Party. Spontaneous mass protest movements accumulated in the streets and anti-Soviet sentiments among them grew stronger. On 1 November, Nagy, alarmed by renewed Soviet troop concentrations, announced that Hungary would leave the Warsaw Pact. The Soviet Union reacted on 4 November by invading Hungary a second time, now massively, with hundreds of tanks and tens of thousands of troops.16

  • 17 On the Kádár regime in the late 1950s and 1960s, see, for example, Valenta, “Soviet policy,” pp. 1 (...)

12Significantly, and unlike what happened in Czechoslovakia in 1968, proletarian internationalism was not explicitly invoked by the Soviet leadership to justify the invasion. It was simply not considered necessary to do so: the argument that Hungary was falling into the Western camp and that a “counter-revolution” was underway was considered sufficient justification. While the 1956 crisis in Hungary caused more bloodshed than the Czechoslovak one in 1968 and was in this sense more tragic, the pacification and realignment of the country on Soviet terms came about with less difficulty in the former case than in the latter. However, unlike what happened in Czechoslovakia twelve years later, the invasion of Hungary did not put an end to reform policies, especially in the economic sphere. While limited political relaxation and an end to the fiercest forms of repression did occur in the late 1950s, the core principles of orthodox doctrine such as the “leading role of the communist party” were at all times observed.17

  • 18 It was attended by 64 communist parties, of which 13 were ruling parties; all the European communi (...)
  • 19 I use the term revisionism, like the term orthodoxy, only in a descriptive sense—that is to say, a (...)
  • 20 More detail on this conference, with a focus on the PCI and PCF, can be found in Griffith, “The di (...)

13The immediate effect of the invasion of Hungary in the communist world was an “anti-revisionist” campaign. It was meant to halt the tendencies towards programmatic flexibility and communist party autonomy, which the 20th CPSU Congress had unleashed. It was announced on the occasion of the first World Conference of Communist Parties held in 1957 in Moscow.18 The final resolutions identified “revisionism” as the main danger to the communist world.19 Revisionism here referred not only to Hungary but also to the Yugoslav League of Communists (YLC) and the PCI, both of which had started to express interest in alternative, more pluralistic forms of communist world organization. Although Soviet leadership over the communist world was confirmed in the concluding text, a statement was added on the “complete equality” of all communist parties, under pressure from “autonomist” parties such as the PCI, the YLC and Romania. Equally, the text recognized the possibility of varying national roads to socialism, but affirmed the lasting validity of “general laws” on the road to socialism. Yugoslavia refused to sign the final declaration, which led to yet another condemnation of Tito by the Soviet Union.20

  • 21 Lazar, “Unité et crises,” pp. 29–43.

14The effects of the 20th Congress and the invasion of Hungary on West European communism were contradictory. The national roads strategy permitted a type of transition to socialism better suited to West European liberal, pluralist democracies. Moreover, peaceful coexistence seemed the necessary international framework inside which communism would no longer be viewed as the enemy to Western Europe. Although in the mid term the West European communist parties, in varying ways and to different extents, did take up the challenge of these strategic changes and found themselves transformed by them, in the short term the reflexes of preserving party identity and unity in response to de-Stalinization prevailed. All communist leaders feared the disruptive effects of de-Stalinization, which led them to close ranks and halt debates in their parties, be it on Stalinism, on domestic strategy or on internationalism. The general picture of the immediate responses by West European communist parties can be held as an indicator of the complexity of the matter. Two groups of parties emerged by the end of 1956. Those parties, of which the leadership between 1953 and 1956 had already initiated some careful changes, now continued this path without too many disruptions. Along with the PCI, this was the case for the Spanish, Portuguese, Swedish, Danish and Belgian parties. There were, on the other hand, parties that opposed any form of change within their own party organization, in terms of their domestic strategy, or in the organization of the communist world. These included the French, British, Austrian, Dutch, Swiss, Finnish and Luxembourgian parties.21

  • 22 Kriegel, “The International Role of the French Communist Party,” p. 38.
  • 23 See also Lazar, “Unité et crises,” p. 43.
  • 24 While, in terms of adherents, both parties lost only marginally, in terms of voters the PCI stagna (...)

15Furthermore, the phenomenon of delayed consciousness22 played a role here: the effects of 1956 were only felt at a later stage, as inside the world communist movement and inside these parties mechanisms existed by which questions regarding major changes were tabooed. Hence, the events of 1956 did not affect the basic orientations of the internationalism of these parties in the short term. Indicative of this is the fact that, contrary to what happened in 1968, all the West European communist parties openly supported the Soviet invasion of Hungary. The internationalist orientations of these parties were not immediately affected in 1956, because the leaderships of these parties consciously used internationalism as an element of continuity at a time when continuity was much needed. As far as the effects on the domestic position of these parties are concerned, the events of 1956 were damaging, but not to the extent that might have been expected. There was no clear causal link between the reactions to de-Stalinization and the evolution of the domestic strength of the Western communist parties.23 Rather, those parties which already had a steady implant, and which disposed of their own, domestic sources of legitimation, were able to limit the damage in terms of voters and adherents.24 This was the case for the PCI, to a lesser extent the PCF, and also the Finnish party. The smaller parties, by contrast, entered an era of decline. Those who left the communist parties in 1956–1957, generally adhered either to reformist socialism, or were later on, in the context of the Sino–Soviet rift, to position themselves to the Left of Soviet-aligned communism and to criticize it for imperialism and the pursuing of state rather than revolutionary and internationalist interests.

2. THE PCI AND PCF IN THE POST-1956 COMMUNIST WORLD

16Before examining the responses of the PCI and PCF to the challenge of 1956, a picture will be drawn here of the longer-term characteristics of the positions of these parties in the world communist movement between 1956 and 1968. This constituted the practical framework within which the internationalism of these parties developed after 1956. I will analyze here the main aspects of the power relations that existed between the Soviet Communist Party and the PCI and PCF by listing a number of instruments of control, and by accentuating the different roles played by the two parties in the world communist movement.

2.1. Instruments of control after 1956

17Khrushchev dissolved the Cominform in 1956. From then on there was no longer a permanent organizational structure of the communist world. This, however, did not mean that the CPSU no longer controlled communist parties worldwide. It had at its disposal a number of instruments and practices that gave it the possibility to influence the policies as well as the internal organization of the West European communist parties. The most important public means of control in the post-Cominform period were the conferences of world (and European) communist parties, and the often long preparation processes preceding them. Throughout these preparations, relations between communist parties were re-bargained and modes of interaction redefined. The texts which were adopted were considered as actualization of Marxist-Leninist doctrine and were supposed to determine these parties’ domestic strategy and their own Congress resolutions. Other instruments, by which the observation of official WCM doctrine was checked and enforced, were the regular bilateral meetings between communist parties. These meetings were moments of reassessment of the power relations that existed between these parties. Officially, and according to the communications of these meetings which were always couched in triumphalist langue de bois, the intention was to exchange views and experiences. In practice, the meetings were often the occasion to realign communist parties and to exercise intense pressure on them.

  • 25 For a similar view see, for example, Marcou, Les pieds d’argile, pp. 12–13.

18Furthermore, communist parties regularly attended each other’s national congresses. The attendance of, in particular, a Soviet delegation at a congress of a West European communist party was a matter of prestige. The behavior and the speeches of the delegations on these occasions were crucial expressions of the “state of affairs” between the parties and in the communist world generally. Furthermore, much of the control in the post-Stalinist era was exercised not so much through visible institutions, but rather through well-established networks of world communist leaders and so-called apparatchiks. The instruments of control were increasingly informal and hidden, which was at the same time the weakness and strength of Soviet dominance over the “brother parties” in the West. At times, the element of secrecy made Soviet interference more efficient because it tied the Western communists to the Soviet Union in a bond of compliance. But the more important evolution after 1956 was towards a weakening of the means of control and a growing autonomy for the Western parties, although this autonomy always remained limited.25

  • 26 Marcou, Les pieds d’argile, p. 17. On the affinities between the French and Czechoslovak parties, (...)
  • 27 On the—still relatively unknown—International Leninist School and the formation of (French) commun (...)

19Relations between the leaderships of communist parties were a mix of these private and official spheres. There existed privileged relations between specific parties, as, for example, in the 1960s and 1970s, between the Italian and Yugoslav parties, between the Italian and the Japanese parties, between the French and the Polish parties, and, until 1968, between the French and the Czechoslovak parties.26 Privileged relations also existed between individual leaders across parties: certain leaders of the West European communist parties were allied to certain leaders in the Soviet Union and the East European communist parties. This made the leaderships of the Western parties particularly vulnerable to changes taking place in their East European counterparts. The personal power relations and modes of interaction which ruled inside the world communist élite went back to the Comintern and Cominform networks, but persisted long after 1956. Their force weakened from the mid-1960s onwards, however, when, in most of the West European communist parties, the generation of leaders who had spent the wartime in the Soviet Union (such as Palmiro Togliatti of the PCI and Maurice Thorez of the PCF) was replaced by a younger generation. These younger leaders had never lived in the Soviet Union, nor had they been educated at the “International Leninist School,” as previous generations had.27

  • 28 The International Department was heir to the Foreign Affairs Department, which had been the practi (...)
  • 29 Shapiro, “The International Department of the CPSU,” p. 47.
  • 30 Marcou, Les pieds d’argile, pp. 13–14. The journal appeared in Russian, French, English, Spanish a (...)

20In the structures of the Soviet Communist Party, the International Department (ID) was the determining agency concerning policies towards West European, non-ruling communist parties after 1956.28 The ID played a prominent role in the CPSU apparatus and represented the old Bolshevik dream of world revolution. Its long-term leader, B. Ponomariov, a “relic of the Comintern” as Khrushchev is reported to have described him, possessed enormous prestige in the higher party circles in Moscow. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s he was a key figure in shaping Soviet foreign policy, thus representing the “ideological” dimension in Soviet foreign policy as opposed to the “realist” dimension, which was represented by the Soviet embassies in the West as well as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Moscow. Hence, in policy towards West European communist parties, control over the observation of orthodox doctrine was a central element. Throughout the 1970s, a double development took place: while the ID became increasingly important, it shifted its attention increasingly to the Third World.29 When West European party delegations met with representatives of the CPSU, they generally faced Ponomariov (if relations were good or if the meeting was particularly important), or his aides (when the Soviet leaders wanted to express their discontent). His most important collaborators throughout the 1960s and 1970s, particularly responsible for Western Europe, were Zagladin and Suslov. The International Department edited the journal Problems of Peace and Socialism, the influential theoretical and ideological periodical of the world communist movement, which informed communist parties worldwide of “orthodox” developments in Marxism-Leninism and “the right line.” Its offices were located in Prague and were a microcosm that reproduced the old habits of the communist world and cherished nostalgia for the Comintern times.30 Publications in this review were often a way for Soviet or East European leaders to criticize “deviating” communist parties or to announce changes in the general line. Although its influence diminished in the 1970s, in the 1960s, generally, the journal was still a highly important means of communication and control.

  • 31 In Italy, for example, this was organized by the Soviet-sponsored Italtourist.

21Pressure on the West European communist parties was exerted not only through control and punishment but also through gifts, in the form of genuine carrot-and-stick tactics. The financial and material support originated mostly from the Soviet Union, but to a lesser extent also from other East European regimes. There were different types of financial and material support: regular funding of the parties; funding of affiliated organizations such as the trade unions and the “friendship” organizations; support to the party press organs through a large number of subscriptions; irregular donations; economic support and trade co-operation through the sponsoring of private firms in the West; and regular sponsoring of tourism to the East, specifically for West European communist leaders and militants.31

  • 32 Soviet financing of West European communist parties was, during the Cold War, mirrored in the West (...)
  • 33 The PCI share grew between 1965 and 1966 from $ 2,500,000 to 5,700,000; the PCF share between the (...)
  • 34 The only account of this is Bartošek, Paris–Prague, chapter four. According to Bartošek there was (...)
  • 35 Information from the archives of the East German Communist Party SED, suggest that in 1968 the Fre (...)
  • 36 The most important one in France, for example, was the BERIM (Bureau d’études et de recherches pou (...)

22During the Cold War much mystery and speculation surrounded the “gold of Moscow.” This affected the credibility of the West European communist parties domestically.32 Since the opening of archives in the former communist regimes, historians are better informed with respect to the first two types of support. From the 1950s onwards, and throughout the Cold War, non-ruling parties around the world received an annual amount of money from the so-called Assistance Fund. It was managed in Moscow but also contained contributions from other ruling communist parties, although these diminished from the Khrushchev years onwards. The total amount of allowances going to the West European parties in 1956 was $ 6,000,000, which represented about 90 per cent of the total fund. Of the Western parties, the greatest beneficiary was the PCI, followed by the French and Finnish parties. Although it is difficult to draw clear conclusions regarding the Soviet criteria for the distribution of the allowances, it seems that the domestic strength of the party mattered more than loyalty.33 While the total figure for Western Europe amounted to $ 9,000,000 in 1964, during the Brezhnev years the West European share stagnated and the communist parties and liberation movements in Africa, Latin America and Asia benefited somewhat more. As far as support from other East European communist parties is concerned, there is only information on the Czechoslovak CPCS.34 This party supported the PCF and, to a lesser extent, the PCI by means of irregular gifts to the trade unions,35 sponsored holidays, support to the press, and, most importantly, commercial enterprises.36

2.2. The positions and roles of the PCI and PCF

  • 37 On Eugen Fried, an agent in Paris sent by Moscow, see, essentially, Kriegel, Courtois, Eugen Fried(...)

23While the theory of proletarian internationalism was, in principle, common to all communists worldwide, in practice the room for maneuver of individual communist parties varied. From the 1920s, both the PCI and PCF had found themselves in a subordinate position towards the Soviet Union, but the conditions of this differed somewhat between the two cases. This was to do with varying attitudes towards these parties by the Soviets, as well as with different responses by the two party leaderships. In the interwar period, Moscow started to consider the PCF as a pillar in its overall European strategy. Under Soviet auspices, Paris became a haven for those communist leaderships operating clandestinely, such as the Italian and the Spanish. By contrast, Moscow was less interested in the Italian Communist Party, which domestically did not play any important political role from 1926 onwards. This created an intellectual climate in which original ideological thinking could develop more freely than in the case of the PCF. While Moscow sent a number of Comintern agents to Paris as “tutors” of the PCF in the 1930s, the PCI was spared this kind of “assistance,” most probably because it was not considered important enough.37

  • 38 Gramsci, A. Selections from the Prison Notebooks. London, Lawrence & Wishart, 1971.
  • 39 For a comparative overview of the relations which the PCI and PCF entertained with international c (...)

24Under Maurice Thorez, the PCF succumbed completely to Soviet orders from the late 1920s onwards. This led the party not to embark upon an electoral agreement with the Socialist Party in 1927, as well as to a large number of expulsions of leaders. Also, the emergence of the Popular Front in 1936 was the direct result of Soviet and Comintern strategies. Nonetheless, the Popular Front experience, followed by the party’s involvement in the Resistance from 1941 onwards, did have the effect of turning the PCF into a mass party with a steady domestic implant. The leader of the PCI, Palmiro Togliatti, had also succumbed to loyalty towards Stalin from the 1920s onwards after a phase of conflict with the CPSU which had led to the expulsion of a number of Italian communist leaders. Moreover, during the 1930s Togliatti was an important leader of the Comintern and as such had an impact on its strategic choices. However, Togliatti, in a more effective way than the French communist leadership, succeeded in reconciling the interests of the communist world with the domestic interests of the PCI. Alongside this, he allowed a higher degree of diversification inside the party leadership, including, to some extent, dissent against the Comintern line. Furthermore, in the theoretical works of Gramsci, in particular the Prison Notebooks, a creative and complex application of Marxism to West European societies was developed, which was profoundly to influence PCI politics and culture.38 The experience of underground work throughout the 1930s and the anti-fascist Resistance during the Second World War provided the party with a source of legitimation which was largely national in character.39

  • 40 Lazar, Masions rouges, p. 310; Andrews, Mithokhin, The Mitrokhin Archive, pp. 600–601.

25The differing Soviet attitudes towards different (West European) communist parties were motivated, during the Cold War, by geo-strategic considerations. When, after 1956, the Soviet Union wished to improve its relations with some of the Western powers, France was more important to Moscow than Italy.40 Generally, this was so because France, in this period, was more important in world politics than Italy: after the Second World War, France was still considered as one of the four leading nations in the world and was still a colonial power. From the 1960s onwards it became a nuclear power. Italy, by contrast, was considered by the Soviets at the onset of the Cold War as a defeated nation, greatly dependent on the United States in political and economic terms.

  • 41Fille ainée de l’église communiste,” Kriegel, Le système communiste mondial, passim.
  • 42 The “highest responsibility” referred especially to the distribution of the allowances from the As (...)

26Importantly, both parties traditionally had a differing view on their own role in the communist world. The French Communist Party had, since the 1920s, considered its role in the communist world as, in the words of A. Kriegel, the “oldest daughter of the communist church.”41 After 1956, this role was transformed into the (self-assigned) role of the prime defender of “orthodoxy” in the world communist movement, and, after the Sino–Soviet break in the 1960s, of the defender of “unity” or strict cohesiveness. This corresponded to its ideal image of a monolithic organization with a commonly observed doctrine, inside which strategic interests naturally converged. Furthermore, the PCF considered itself to be the most influential communist party in Western Europe, with “special responsibilities” towards smaller communist parties in the West and, later on, towards communist parties of Northern Africa. As far as Western Europe in the 1950s and 1960s was concerned, the Soviet Communist Party delegated the PCF to assume “permanent contacts and the highest responsibility” with regard to the smaller parties—the Belgian, Dutch, Luxembourgian, Swiss, British, Irish and Portuguese parties. The PCI assumed the same responsibilities towards the Austrian and Greek parties.42

3. THE PCI, THE PCF, AND CHANGES IN INTERNATIONALISM, 1956–1962

  • 43 For a comparative discussion of the immediate repercussions of 1956 on the PCI and PCF, see Lazar, (...)

27In the first instance, the PCI and the PCF displayed similar reactions to the shock of the 20th Congress; these were generally marked by reflexes of identity and unity. At a later stage, however, the attitudes of the French and Italian communist leaderships increasingly diverged, and with this, the fate of their parties. In the PCI, the leadership, and Togliatti in particular, initiated a process of resetting internationalism on specific issues. A first step was the questioning of the organization of the communist world. In the PCF, led by Thorez, a similar crisis of identity led to the conservation of its traditional internationalism, in particular regarding doctrine.43 In neither party did de-Stalinization bring about an open debate on Stalinism or on the party’s own history. The de-Stalinization that came about in both cases was an official and limited reassessment of certain elements of the ideology and the identity of the party, and was at all times carefully controlled by the leadership. In both parties, official de-Stalinization was based, in terms of the myth system, on the mechanism of “isolation”: the myth of Stalin was isolated from the remaining myth system of communism in order to save the latter. The difference between the two parties, however, occurred in the point at which the myth system was disintegrated and how much of it was left intact.

  • 44 This is suggested in Fejtő, The French Communist Party, p. 75.
  • 45 For more detail on PCF press coverage of the Hungarian crisis see Deli, De Budapest à Prague, pp. (...)
  • 46 Agosti, Storia del PCI, 1921–1991, pp. 79–81.
  • 47 Fejtő, The French Communist Party, p. 71.

28The limitations to change in internationalism became clear from the fact that both parties publicly and fully supported the Soviet invasion of Hungary. There were, however, subtle differences between the PCI and PCF interpretation of the crisis. The PCF not only supported the military invasion, it probably encouraged the Soviets beforehand to invade.44 Following the second invasion, Humanité adopted a triumphalist tone (“popular power is restored”), categorizing the revolts as “fascist” and reproducing the Soviet thesis of a capitalist conspiracy in Hungary.45 For the PCI, by contrast, the first invasion “could and should have been avoided,” while the second invasion had clearly been necessary.46 The importance of this difference lay in their understanding of why the invasion was considered necessary. To the PCF, the question of whether the Hungarian communists could have solved the problem alone was of no importance to justify the invasion. The crucial fact in this reading was that the communist world as a whole was endangered by the capitalist infiltration in Hungary. To the PCI, on the other hand, the (second) invasion was only justified because the Hungarian Communist Party—supposedly—could not handle the situation. A similar difference had occurred in the interpretation of the uprising in Poznań in Poland, a month earlier. While the PCF fully aligned with the Soviet reports on capitalist agents operating among the Polish workers, the PCI, together with the Yugoslav and the Chinese parties, accentuated the role of the Polish Communist Party.47

3.1. The PCI: Polycentrism and the “national road”

  • 48 Gozzini, Martinelli, Storia del partito comunista italiano, pp. 456–458.
  • 49 A series of changes came about with respect to the internal organization and structures of the par (...)

29In the PCI, de-Stalinization led to a process in which the myth of the Soviet Union, as maintained by the party leadership, became increasingly auto-referential, referring to the PCI and its own history rather than the actual Soviet system or even its history.48 The general crisis of identity and disunity inside the party was partly overcome by introducing concrete, more or less manageable changes in internationalism.49 These involved, in the first instance, a critique of the organization of the communist world, and, further, critical reflection on the orthodox “roads” to socialism, and thus implicitly on the model and concept of socialism and WCM orthodoxy. While this left many questions unanswered as to the meaning of revolution and its function as a source of domestic legitimation, the PCI throughout this period, and especially after 1960, benefited from the omnipresence of the theme of anti-fascism.

3.1.1. The organizational critique: Polycentrism

  • 50 Urban, Moscow and the Italian Communist Party, pp. 225–243. The full minutes of all the meetings o (...)
  • 51 The interview “Nove domande sul XXo congresso del PCUS” is published in (PCI, ed.) Il Partito comu (...)
  • 52 I am here in disagreement with J.B. Urban, who has argued that already in 1956 Togliatti envisaged (...)

30Togliatti’s initial reaction was to taboo de-Stalinization. Immediately following the 20th Congress, Togliatti informed the limited Secretariat, but not the wider Direzione, of the existence of Khrushchev’s Secret Speech. At the Central Committee meeting of 13 March, Togliatti discussed peaceful coexistence and the national roads strategy in a positive way, but did not mention de-Stalinization.50 However, Togliatti soon undertook a dramatic shift, which introduced a new era in the party’s internationalism. Togliatti was more widely challenged by his immediate collaborators than PCF leader Thorez, and was more responsive to it. At the Direzione meetings of 15 and 29 March, several leaders, including U. Terracini, P. Ingrao, G.C. Pajetta and G. Amendola, pressured Togliatti to link de-Stalinization to wider theoretical issues. Togliatti’s famous interview “Nine questions on the 20th Congress of the CPSU” with the (non-communist) journal Nuovi argomenti in June 1956 outlined the official party response to de-Stalinization.51 It was a way to initiate, but also to circumscribe, the debate on Stalinism. In the interview, the Italian communist leader urged the Soviets not to limit their analysis of Stalinism to the denunciation of the personality cult. Instead, he argued for a more genuinely Marxist investigation of the more structural causes behind the phenomena of the “progressive superposition of personal power” and the “accumulation of bureaucratization, violations of legality, stagnation and degeneration.” The criticism of the Soviet leaders had a clear function: it allowed the PCI to legitimize its claim to autonomy vis-à-vis the Soviet Union. This, in turn, served a more flexible development of the “Italian road to socialism.” Communist party autonomy was never, in Togliatti’s conception, an absolute principle for its own sake, but always instrumental to a freer development of domestic strategy on the one hand, and to a more democratic and more effective organization of the communist world on the other.52

  • 53 It was Khrushchev who had first used the term polycentrism in connection to a new organization of (...)

31Next to arguing for more autonomy for communist parties in terms of domestic strategy, Togliatti envisaged a new, “polycentric” form of organization of the communist world, that is to say, a regionally based organization of clusters of communist parties and/or states.53 The concept of polycentrism was the central vehicle for change in the party’s internationalism in this period in three ways: it reflected on the organization of the communist world, on the concept of socialism, and, from the early 1960s onwards, on the world order. In the initial, minimal interpretation which Togliatti gave to it, polycentrism meant that communist parties with geo-political affinities should reinforce their links and jointly deliberate their domestic and regional problems and co-ordinate their strategies. Between and inside these regional clusters of communist parties, relations should be egalitarian: there should not be a “guide party” or guide state. This idea broke with Stalinist traditions of international communist organization, as under Stalin any type of bi- or multilateral contacts between communist parties had been banned as “faction forming.”

  • 54 I use the term “maximalist polycentrism” here for the “strategic polycentrism” as used by Sassoon.
  • 55 See the discussion in Boggs, The Impasse of European Communism, pp. 119–137.

32In the Nuovi argomenti interview, the first traces of another, maximalist meaning of polycentrism could be found, which implicitly raised the question of the value of the Soviet model for socialism.54 The idea was that there were different paths to socialism and that, as a result, strategy should differ significantly according to the regions of the world. In this maximalist meaning, polycentrism had far-reaching doctrinal implications: there was a specific West European path to socialism, different from the experiences in the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe or Asia. Togliatti explicitly traced this line of thought back to Gramsci. This took place in the context of a wider “rediscovery” of Gramsci’s writings in the 1950s by the PCI leadership. The renewed interest in Gramsci around 1956, initiated by the PCI leadership, served two causes: to demonstrate the older roots of the PCI’s critical internationalism, and to contain the disruptive effects of de-Stalinization on identity and doctrine.55 Maximalist polycentrism went beyond Khrushchev’s notion of national roads: firstly, while in Khrushchev’s view the national road to socialism was only incidentally allowed by the Soviet Union (as the invasion of Hungary had shown), for Togliatti it should become the norm. However, the concept of polycentrism, in either definition, was never intended as a break with the communist world, its aim only being to change its organization and modes of action.

  • 56 Urban, Moscow and the Italian Communist Party, p. 232.
  • 57 On Soviet pressures against the concept of polycentrism, see Vacca, Togliatti sconosciuto, pp. 189 (...)
  • 58 Sassoon, The strategy of the Italian Communist Party, p. 100.

33Polycentrism and autonomy, although often categorized together under the heading of “new internationalism” by the PCI itself at the time as well as in historiography, were in fact two very different things. The idea of a regionally defined path to socialism, in its ultimate implications, went counter to a strict notion of party autonomy. The tension between these concepts was to become clear in the responses from other West European communist parties to the PCI’s attempts to realize polycentrism in the 1960s. The difference between autonomy and (maximalist) polycentrism was reflected in distinct reactions from the Soviet leaders: they perceived polycentrism as more threatening to their dominance over the communist world and to their definition of orthodoxy.56 Even before the anti-revisionist campaign of 1957, there was direct pressure on the PCI leadership: at a meeting held in Moscow in June 1956, Molotov made it clear to Direzione member Pajetta that the Soviets would never accept the type of analysis Togliatti made of the Soviet system in the Nuovi argomenti interview, nor the strategic and doctrinal implications of polycentrism.57 As a result, Togliatti moderated his views and saved what was minimally needed to preserve the “Italian road.” Firstly, this implied watering down his fiercest criticism of the Soviet system (“degeneration”) and once more reaffirming the superior character of the Soviet Union. Secondly, he shifted to advocating simple party autonomy instead of maximalist polycentrism.58

  • 59 See the memoirs of G. Cerreti, eyewitness to the first meeting. Cerreti, Con Togliatti e Thorez, p (...)
  • 60 Pajetta, Le crisi che ho vissuto, pp. 76–79.
  • 61 Lazar, Maisons rouges, p. 93.

34Although the term was dropped until 1961, the PCI took a series of initiatives with an implicit polycentric character, which were at the time still banned in WCM custom. These announced the emerging of a cluster of West European communist parties. In late March 1956, a secret meeting took place in Rome between Thorez and Togliatti, requested by the latter.59 Another secret meeting between a PCI and a PCF delegation was organized in May of the same year in San Remo. The PCI proposed here the establishment of “privileged relations” between the two parties, the creation of a joint journal, and the exchange of permanent representatives. The significance of these initiatives, however, was limited. It became amply clear that the two parties disagreed on all the important issues concerning the organization of the world communist movement, on the interpretation of Stalinism, and on Khrushchev’s innovations. At the next meeting in Paris in July 1956, no agreement was reached on any of the earlier proposals, apart from the exchange of representatives. With regard to polycentrism, a major point of disagreement between the two parties was the Italian proposal to extend their contacts to other communist parties of Western Europe, and even other non-communist groups on the Left. This the French communists refused.60 However, the PCI’s commitment to these projects was also, ultimately, limited: as doctrinal disagreements between the two parties proved very important, it did not wish to be constrained in its innovations by close collaboration with the PCF.61

  • 62 On the PCI and Yugoslavia in this period see also Urban, Moscow and the Italian Communist Party, p (...)

35From the outset, Western Europe was not the only geographical entity in Togliatti’s ideas on regional communism—the Mediterranean was another. Togliatti’s meeting with Tito in Belgrade in late May 1956 probably influenced his thinking in this respect. Although Tito did not use the term, his conception of the non-aligned movement had an affinity with Togliatti’s new ideas. After more than ten years of fierce hostility between the two parties, formal relations were resumed in 1956 and regular meetings took place throughout the 1960s, despite the anti-Yugoslav campaigns in the WCM.62

3.1.2. The “national road” and domestic integration

36Along with a new conception of the world communist movement, the claims to autonomy were intended to make possible a freer elaboration of the “Italian road to socialism.” The PCI leadership in 1956 perceived the need, as well the occasion, to change the bases of its domestic strategy. The occasion was provided by the theoretical acceptance of nationally differing strategies—although Hungary had demonstrated the limits of this in practice. The need for a change in domestic strategy followed from the rapid changes that had occurred in Italian society and its economy, and, politically, from the party’s acute isolation after 1956. Italian society and economy in the 1950s and 1960s underwent a dramatic transformation. The Italian miracolo economico in the first instance seemed to give proof of the successes of capitalism: economic modernization and rapid industrialization. This went hand in hand with an accelerated change in society: the growth of the tertiary sector, the emergence of mass consumption, the rise of the middle classes, especially in the northern and central parts of the country, and the democratization of education.

  • 63 For a general picture of the changes in Italian society and economy, see, for example, Sassoon, Co (...)

37The effects of all this, however, were disruptive in many ways and led to new forms of inequality and exclusion, as well as the break-up of agrarian societies and the rapid emergence of large urban centers. Most importantly, the unequal development of the North and the South was accentuated and gave rise to massive internal and external migration.63 In this context, the challenge was to propose a workable alternative for classic laissez-faire government policies, and to represent diversified groups in society.

  • 64 In 1948, the Socialist Party had split over the Cold War issue into an anti-Soviet PSDI and a neut (...)
  • 65 On Italy and NATO in the early 1960s, see Nuti, Gli Stati Uniti e l’apertura a sinistra.

38Following the invasion of Hungary, the Socialist Party (Partito socialista italiano, PSI) underwent a strategic shift, taking a critical distance from the Soviet Union and from the PCI and shifting its attention to the political centre and the Christian Democratic Party. Before 1956, the PSI, only half as important as the PCI in terms of electoral support, had found itself in a subordinate position towards the latter. Internationally, it had been sympathetic to the communist world.64 Its break with communism in 1956 marked the beginning of a steady alienation between the two parties, in terms of ideology and program, and in terms of international alignment. The Socialist Party shifted to a more positive, albeit still conditional, appreciation of the European Economic Communities (EEC). Next to this, the Italian government played an active role in re-launching NATO and reinforcing cohesion inside it after the Suez crisis of 1956.65 The enduring dependence of Italy on the Western bloc and the United States, and the foreign policy positions of the main political parties, created a situation in which the PCI was isolated in terms of foreign policy orientations, more sharply than before 1956.

  • 66 For a similar view see Flores, Gallerano, Sul PCI, p. 110–112.
  • 67 Lazar, Maisons rouges, p. 95.

39In such circumstances, the PCI’s domestic program needed to be a factor of integration. The development of a nationally adapted strategy was facilitated by the party’s traditions of a relatively independent line, especially the experience of anti-fascist resistance, and the via italiana strategy in the post-war period. However, 1956 was a moment of break also in this respect. The careful relativization of the Soviet model of socialism in 1956 created the possibility to reflect upon the “Italian road” in a freer way. Although this was not said openly at this stage, the Soviet Union ceased to have the value of a model of socialism for the PCI in 1956.66 In the Nuovi argomenti interview, Togliatti, in a most non-orthodox way, argued that certain countries might develop socialism without the communist party taking the lead in the process.67 Given the centrality of the doctrine of the “leading role of the communist party” in Soviet theory and practice, this was the implicit denial of the universal value of the Soviet model and its orthodoxy. It was, however, a relative critique of the Soviet political system and society: it did not imply more than the idea that the Soviet model may not be suited to Italy. This was not an absolute criticism of the Soviet Union: there was no critical analysis of the Soviet model for reasons of principle, or connected to a universal definition of socialism.

  • 68 More detail in Gozzini, “Il rapporto tra il sindacato e il PCI” pp. 189–191.
  • 69 Giorgio Amendola was a PCI member from 1929 and an MP from 1948; he headed the first PCI delegatio (...)
  • 70 Lazar, Maisons rouges, p. 115

40The new thinking on the road to socialism in Italy found its first expression after 1956 in the development of updated, more sophisticated if not yet heterodox, analyses of Italian capitalism. A crucial impulse in this respect came from the communist-dominated trade union the CGIL (Confederazione generale italiano del lavoro), whose leaders in the mid-1950s initiated a self-critical reflection on general strategy. The trade union leadership developed innovative analyses regarding, for example, the modernizing aspects of Italian capitalism and the uneven development of the North and South.68 Furthermore, the party’s study centre, the Istituto Gramsci, with its regular conferences and publications, pressured the party leaders into more doctrinal and theoretical flexibility. New analyses were developed, for example, on the technological revolution and on monopolies. In the central leadership these ideas influenced, in particular, Direzione member G. Amendola, who, in around 1960, started thinking in terms of the generally positive effects, on the working classes also, of the so-called economic miracle.69 On the other hand, the limits to this innovative thinking should be noted. For example, at the same time Togliatti still defended the “relative impoverishment” of the Italian workers in contrast to the accumulation of wealth by the higher classes.70

3.2. The PCF: the defense of orthodoxy and the crisis of legitimation

41While the PCI leadership shifted from initial attempts to contain the disruptive effects of de-Stalinization towards constructive change within the new paradigm, the PCF moved from initially opposing Khrushchev’s innovations to being immobilized by them. In terms of the organization of the communist world, as well as in terms of doctrine and strategy, the party was, in this phase, the staunchest opponent to changes that it intuited were not “orthodox.” Its traditional obedience, however, led it to shift to complete alignment with Khrushchev. A crisis of domestic legitimation at the end of the 1950s, which was much more profound than in the case of the PCI, and the threat of loss of unity and identity, led it to emphasize continuities in terms of doctrine and international alignment.

3.2.1. Khrushchevism or orthodoxy?

  • 71 At the request of some of the more reform-minded members such as B. Frachon and future leader W. R (...)
  • 72 Fejtő, The French Communist Party, p. 66.

42The PCF leadership did not discuss the Secret Speech until a Bureau politique (BP) meeting in early March. The Central Committee meeting of 22 March only cautiously hinted at the issue of Stalinism. It was not before the Central Committee of 10 May in Arceuil that Thorez mentioned the Secret Speech and the critiques of Stalin. However, the general tone of Thorez’s speech was one of veiled criticism of Khrushchev. The reference to the “report ascribed to Khrushchev” at the BP meeting of 18 June, which insinuated the non-authenticity of the document, should be understood as criticism—veiled but clear to the well-informed.71 Moreover, Thorez seemed to criticize Khrushchev for having created the possibility for theoretical debates and revisions: he emphasized that “actions not words” were needed to cure the problems of communist rule.72 Resistance against the Khrushchevite changes within the PCF, on various levels, was strong enough to lead the traditionally very loyalist party to almost openly criticize the Soviet leadership.

  • 73 With respect to Yugoslavia, Thorez had clearly demonstrated his reservations with respect to Sovie (...)
  • 74 Lazar, Maisons rouges, pp. 100–103.

43In the context of the post-1956 confusion in the communist world, the PCF took on the role of the guardian par excellence of “orthodoxy.” At the 1957 Conference, the PCF was one of the protagonists among those condemning “revisionism,” by which it referred to Yugoslavia and the PCI. When Tito was condemned in 1958, Thorez could hardly disguise his enthusiasm, considering it almost as a personal triumph.73 Furthermore, the PCF press started attacking the PCI and launched fierce polemics against the party, following the latter’s 8th Congress in December 1956. While it had already become clear at the Paris meeting of July 1956 how far the positions of both parties diverged, relations between them became further embittered up to 1961, and the PCF leadership continued to openly attack the PCI, notably for its theses on polycentrism. One reason why the PCF leadership reacted in such a harsh way to the carefully initiated changes of its Italian counterpart was the fact that it feared the diffusion of “Italian” ideas inside its own ranks; after 1956, the reform-minded in the PCF were often referred to as les Khrushcheviens or as les Italiens.74

  • 75 A similar interpretation can be found in Fejtő, The French Communist Party, p. 58. Fejtő notes tha (...)

44Taking up the role of prime defender of orthodoxy was, to the PCF, not only an expression of its traditional fille aînée role; nor was it simply a matter of an overestimation of its own influence in the communist world. Its significance was wider: behind it lay the old ideal-vision of a world communist movement, closely connected in doctrinal, organizational and strategic terms, and in which the Soviet Union continued to have a special status, doctrinally, organizationally and strategically. To the PCF, 1956 was the first step in a process towards the disconnection between this ideal-vision of the world communist movement and the role of the Soviet Union within it on the one hand, and its skepticism with regard to the actual policies of the Soviet leaders on the other. The role it conceived for itself, then, reflected genuine and persistent attempts to push the existing situation towards this ideal-vision. Similarly, its standard for the assessment of “orthodox” doctrine began to be disconnected from actual Soviet conceptions of it.75

  • 76 The new official interpretation of Stalinism was laid down in the publication L’URSS et nous. Verd (...)
  • 77 More detail on this can be found in Hincker, Le Parti communiste, pp. 51–52.

45In the PCF, de-Stalinization was more sterile than in the PCI and was entirely disconnected from wider issues regarding doctrine, communist rule, and the history and nature of the PCF itself. The official interpretation of the problem of Stalinism was that “mistakes” had been made under Stalin in the Soviet Union. It was admitted that these could not be reduced to the personality of one leader alone, and that more general problems, such as the violation of collective leadership, had occurred. While Thorez asked for a “thorough Marxist analysis” addressing why these problems had occurred, he did not suggest any deeper-lying explanations, limiting himself to historical justifications such as the “objective situation” of war and the global class struggle.76 In no way did 1956 lead, in the PCF, to a reflection on the concept of socialism or of doctrine. Apart from the temporary and mostly hidden skepticism of the Thorez leadership vis-à-vis the Khrushchev leadership, the representation of the Soviet Union, by the leadership as well as among the rank and file, did not significantly change after 1956.77

  • 78 Lazar, Maisons rouges, pp. 101–102.

46While resistance to the acceptation of de-Stalinization was strong, the national roads strategy and peaceful coexistence were only accepted in a reluctant and “personalized” way. Doctrinal changes in terms of the “road” to socialism or the model of socialism itself did not occur. Throughout 1956, Thorez affirmed on several occasions that the national roads strategy by no means implied doctrinal flexibility, and that the model of the Soviet Union and of the dictatorship of the proletariat, as well as the “general laws” on the road to socialism, were still valid. Publications by the PCF in 1956 and 1957 emphasized that the Bolshevik Revolution and the Soviet Union remained universal models. In the polemics with the PCI, the PCF went as far as to deny the possibility of a peaceful transition to socialism, for lack of a historical example.78

  • 79 This is according to Hincker, Le Parti communiste, p. 51.
  • 80 Fejtő, The French Communist Party, pp. 44–45.

47Peaceful coexistence was also hard to accept for the Thorez leadership, although after 1957 lip service was paid to it. With regard to peaceful coexistence, the PCF, and Thorez in particular, were initially troubled by the question of how it would relate to revolution. While the acuteness of this problem to the PCF itself and its domestic strategy was only to appear in full by the mid-1960s, the initial resistance to it was significant. The question of whether peaceful coexistence would be beneficial to the cause of revolution in the West was one of the central questions in the discussions of the Bureau politique between 1956 and 1961, although this did not have repercussions in the wider party.79 A clear indication of the unease surrounding peaceful coexistence was the fact that P. Hervé, party journalist, former resistance member and private secretary to J. Duclos, was expelled from the party for pointing to the un-revolutionary implications of peaceful coexistence. Hervé developed an argument on the tension between peaceful coexistence and revolution in an orthodox (Bolshevik) sense.80 His opting for the former threatened to undermine the PCF’s central sources of legitimation.

  • 81 Thorez had been aligned with Molotov, Khrushchev’s challenger in the Kremlin. Khrushchev’s victory (...)
  • 82 Moreover, it was rumoured that Waldeck Rochet was Khrushchev’s privileged contact in the PCF leade (...)
  • 83 Fejtő, The French Communist Party, p. 71.

48Despite its objections, however, the PCF leadership came to align itself with Khrushchevism by 1957. While in the mid term this was due to the Sino–Soviet conflict, in the short term it was the result of, besides the invasion of Hungary and the anti-revisionist campaign, insistent pressure from the Soviet leadership. This led to an agreement between the two parties made at a bilateral summit meeting in June 1956 in Moscow. The Soviet leadership would support the Thorez leadership against internal opposition, especially with regard to the PCF’s Algerian policy, and against the influence of Togliatti’s “revisionism,” and the latter would support Khrushchev as a matter of principle.81 Thorez needed this support from the new Soviet leadership, as inside the party his line of objections against Khrushchevism was seriously challenged. Inside the Bureau politique, Frachon and Rochet in particular were almost openly in disagreement with Thorez, and rumors circulated about a conspiracy.82 The party leadership was seriously criticized on the issue of Hungary, especially by intellectuals and compagnons de route. Many of them, including C. Roy, J.F. Rolland and temporarily J.P. Sartre, broke their ties with the party. Furthermore, circles of intellectuals who decided to stay in the party, as for example those collaborating in the journal L’Etincelle, openly challenged the party leadership during 1956 and 1957, inspired by both “Chinese” and “Italian” arguments.83 Faced with the threat of loss of unity and identity, and in an attempt to demonstrate the historical integrity of the party as a member of the world revolutionary movement, the leadership responded to this by stressing continuities, especially in terms of doctrine, international alignment, and the myth of the Soviet Union.

3.2.2. The crisis of legitimation: de Gaulle and Algeria

  • 84 Fejtő, The French Communist Party, p. 63.
  • 85 Hincker, Le Parti communiste, p. 51–52.
  • 86 Fejtő, The French Communist Party, pp. 42–43.

49In comparison to the PCI, the PCF did not perceive the need or the occasion to undertake major changes in its internationalism after 1956. It did not perceive the need, because domestically it was less isolated in terms of foreign policy than the PCI. In 1956, the governing Socialist Party, the Section française de l’internationale ouvrière (SFIO), led by G. Mollet, initiated contacts with the Soviet Union. An SFIO delegation met with Soviet leaders in May in Moscow. Although the concrete results of these contacts were meager, and although tension existed between the two governments regarding the war in Algeria, the two governments mutually recognized one another’s strategic interests.84 Moreover, the image of the Soviet Union in French public opinion in the Khrushchev era was generally a positive one.85 Besides this, the PCF was not isolated among the forces of the Left in the same acute way as the PCI was in 1956. Throughout the 1956–1958 crisis it succeeded in avoiding a sharp deterioration in its relations with the SFIO. In 1956, before the 20th Congress, the PCF announced its ambition to create a “new Popular Front” with the SFIO and the Radical Party.86

  • 87 Hincker, “Le Parti communiste français et de Gaulle,” p. 181.
  • 88 Lazar, Maisons rouges, p. 108. See also the appendix.
  • 89 According to Kriegel, de Gaulle drew 1.5 million votes from the PCF in 1958. Kriegel, “The PCF and (...)
  • 90 On the early phase of Gaullist foreign policy, see Paxton, Wahl, De Gaulle and the United States, (...)

50The PCF did not perceive an occasion to change its internationalism, because alongside its traditional submission to the Soviet Union it depended on the Soviet Union and the world communist movement for its sources of legitimation more strongly than did the PCI. In addition to the disruptive effects of 1956, the party was faced with a profound crisis of legitimation due to the Algerian War and the coming to power of Charles de Gaulle as president in 1958. The domestic position of the PCF in the “traumatic” period of 1958–1962,87 was such that both anti-imperialism and anti-fascism were seriously weakened as sources of legitimation. General de Gaulle returned to power after the political crisis of the spring of 1958 and the constitutional referendum of September, and with the promise to bring the war in Algeria to a peaceful end. De Gaulle and his Rassemblement du Peuple français (RPF) won the legislative elections in November, while the PCF dropped from roughly 25 per cent of the vote in 1956 to about 19 per cent, thereby losing about 1,600,000 voters.88 It was clear that de Gaulle had been able to draw a substantial number of votes from the PCF, not only on the issue of Algeria, but also on the issues of anti-Americanism and national sovereignty.89 De Gaulle’s was a fiercely anti-American discourse and he presented opposition to American hegemony in NATO and the Western world as a matter of national sovereignty. He initiated diplomatic contacts with the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, a policy which was to become more evident from the mid-1960s onwards. In 1960, France and the Soviet Union signed a “friendship treaty.”90

  • 91 Kriegel, “The PCF and the Fifth Republic,” p. 73.
  • 92 Kriegel, “The PCF and the Fifth Republic,” p. 73.

51De Gaulle’s anti-Americanism, his rapprochement with the socialist regimes, and his ambition to present France as an independent force in the Cold War, was only beneficial to the PCF in a superficial way and in the short term. It legitimized its own anti-Americanism and, to some extent, its alignment with the Soviet Union. But in a more fundamental sense, de Gaulle posed the PCF a problem of legitimation, of identity, and, from the mid-1960s onwards, a problem of strategy. The PCF failed to elaborate a coherent and effective propagandistic answer to de Gaulle. Between 1958 and 1962, the PCF portrayed de Gaulle as a “class adversary” with radically opposed interests and motivations, but who nevertheless pursued an international policy which was “objectively” advantageous to world socialism.91 This ambivalent position vis-à-vis de Gaulle weakened the party’s oppositional force. It came about, besides its own interests in not antagonizing de Gaulle’s foreign policy paradigm too strongly, as a result of direct pressure exercised by the Soviet Union, which aimed at an agreement with Gaullist France in the context of the Cold War, and, especially, the Algerian War.92

  • 93 According to Hincker, the PCF expected repression against communists after 1958. Hincker, “Le Part (...)
  • 94 For a similar view see Kriegel, “The PCF and the Fifth Republic,” p. 74; and Berstein, “Le PCF et (...)

52In the first instance the party had attempted to portray Gaullism as a form of fascism or as “paving the way to fascism.” This campaign, however, proved not very effective and faded away by 1962. The analogies with fascism, apart from, possibly, the concentration of capital, were lacking in a too obvious way.93 More fundamentally, de Gaulle himself, like the PCF but with a very different content, symbolized wartime resistance and represented to part of the French public anti-fascist values. The impossibility of building legitimation on anti-fascism sharply contrasted to the situation in Italy, where the continued existence of (neo-) fascist groups and their connections to mainstream politics did provide the PCI with a strong source of legitimation. Furthermore, de Gaulle caused an existential problem to the PCF, not simply because he was a powerful competitor in electoral terms and drew on the party’s sources of legitimation, but also on a symbolic level. De Gaulle and the PCF both claimed to be the ultimate incarnation of the nation and of Frenchness; this claim was essential to both in their political identity.94

  • 95 Fejtő, The French Communist Party, pp. 38–40.
  • 96 Droz, “Communisme et Gaullisme face à la décolonisation,” p. 104.
  • 97 For the international Cold War context to the Algerian War, see Wall, France, the United States an (...)

53Furthermore, anti-imperialism as a source of legitimation was weakened by the war in Algeria, the issue that dominated French politics in the mid-1950s to early 1960s. Throughout the Algerian crisis, PCF policies were characterized by ambiguity, inactivity and an unwillingness resolutely to engage in favor of decolonization. The PCF was caught between its understanding of French patriotism and French state interests, its alliance with other parties of the Left, in particular the SFIO, and responsiveness to Soviet interests and pressure. At the outbreak of the anti-colonial revolt in Algeria in 1954, the PCF, while protesting against French repression, did not support the insurgents. Up to 1960, the party refused to support the Front de libération nationale (FLN), favoring the slogan “Peace in Algeria” rather than “Independence for Algeria.”95 In March 1958, the PCF voted in favor of the “special powers” requested by the Mollet government. The PCF’s justification of this, on behalf of unity with the socialists, could not obscure its blunt opportunism on the issue of Algeria.96 When de Gaulle proposed a mixed system of “self-determination” in Algeria in September 1959, the PCF gradually shifted from initial skepticism with regard to what it called “a demagogic retreat from French responsibilities,” to full support of Gaullist policy. The PCF here aligned itself with the Soviet position. The Soviet Union, fearful of American intervention in Algeria, favored a “French solution” to the Algerian question—the ending of the war on the basis of a French-Algerian agreement on a gradual transformation to independence.97

  • 98 Fejtő, The French Communist Party, pp. 99–101.
  • 99 See the oral history sources in Charby, Les porteurs d’espoir.
  • 100 Fejtő, The French Communist Party, p. 110.

54The PCF’s Algerian policy caused serious disagreement in the party ranks, and the PCF was never in touch with the protests against the Algerian War on the French streets.98 The political groups and parties most active in support of Algerian independence were the Parti socialiste unifié (PSU), a party founded in 1960 by former disillusioned SFIO and PCF members, and the Trotskyite groups, in which Alain Krivine became a leading figure. A number of left-wing activists and intellectuals, among them J.P. Sartre, gave material support to the FLN. In 1960, they published the “Manifesto of the 121” (“Declaration on the Right to Insubordination in the War in Algeria”).99 This document criticized the PCF leadership and argued for immediate independence and support for the FLN. Pressurized by this, the PCF did engage in mobilizing in favor of Algerian independence after 1960. However, the PCF had lost the initiative on the far Left and its credibility as an anti-imperialist force had vanished.100 To be sure, the PCF did not suffer much from the Algerian crisis in terms of voters, due to the fact that French public opinion, partly even on the Left, was as ambivalent on the question of Algerian independence as was the PCF. At the same time, the Algerian question created a generation of leftist intellectuals and young critics who, as of 1960, systematically denounced the PCF’s non-revolutionary character and its involvement in Soviet superpower interests. There was a direct link between their debates on Algeria in the late 1950s and the events of May 1968.

  • 101 Lazar, Maisons rouges, p. 106–107.

55This crisis of legitimation led the party leadership into ideological and strategic immobility, and led it either to ignore the rapid economic and societal changes or to perceive them in a highly biased way. Like Italy, France went through a phase of unseen economic growth and economic modernization during the 1950s and 1960s. While the contradictions stemming from this process were less evident than in the Italian case, modernization did lead to frustration among certain social groups, including peasants and unskilled workers, who felt threatened by new forms of competition and meritocracy. The PCF ignored the positive character of the economic development, thereby missing an opportunity to understand the transformation of society that was taking place. The party’s maintaining, up to 1964, of the thesis of the “absolute and relative impoverishment” of the French working classes was emblematic. The fact that the adoption of this thesis brought the PCF into disagreement with influential Soviet theorists such as A. Arzumanian101 hinted at a first disconnection of its own understanding of orthodoxy from the actual situation in the Soviet Union.

  • 102 This partly followed from the opposition against the leadership which had emerged immediately foll (...)
  • 103 There was also an “Italian” dimension to the affair, as Casanova had been closely connected to the (...)

56To be sure, a number of PCF leaders and intellectuals did initiate a critical reflection on the party’s domestic strategy in the context of the rapid changes taking place in French society and the economy.102 The most important challenge in terms of analysis of the domestic situation came from the review Economie et politique. The various contributors to this journal drew attention to the positive, modernizing effects of the expansion of the economy on the French population, including the workers. More sophisticated analyses of Gaullism were elaborated: it was argued that in some ways Gaullism might serve national interests by causing divisions in world capitalism. These views, although implicit in some of the party’s own official positions, were not acceptable to the Thorez leadership. The party’s “unity” was reasserted, in a highly Stalinist fashion, in 1961 with the exclusion of L. Casanova, BP member, and M. Sevrin, secretary of the organization. Although the party was, at a later stage, to take over some of the analyses of the excluded members, the effect of the affair in the short term was the further hindering of de-Stalinization and doctrinal innovations.103

Notes

1 For more detail on the secret speech and the circumstances in which it became known in the West, see Lazitch, Le Rapport Khrouchtchev et son histoire. An elaborate interpretation of de-Stalinization in the history of the communist world can be found in Carrère d’Encausse, 1956. La déstalinisation commence.

2 The PCF delegation, including future general secretary Waldeck Rochet, Marcel Sevrin and Etienne Fajon, at the end of the Congress met with Khrushchev and Ponomariov for further explanations regarding the Stalinist crimes. Robrieux, La secte, p. 26.

3 Lavau, “L’URSS et eux…,” p. 191.

4 Reiman, “La rivoluzione d’ottobre,” pp. 49–60.

5 I will come back to this in chapter four.

6 On the national roads strategy of 1956, from a theoretical perspective, see, for instance, Fejtő, L’héritage de Lénine, chapter two.

7 On the application of the national roads strategy to West European communism, see Duhamel, Les Sovietiques et les voies de la révolution, pp. 199–205.

8 Some confusion surrounded these different variations; Legvold, “The Soviet Union,” p. 332.

9 Legvold, “The Soviet Union,” p. 338.

10 Duhamel, Les Soviétiques et les voies de la révolution, p. 207.

11 Light, The Soviet Theory, p. 47.

12 Rey, Le dilemme russe, pp. 280–281.

13 On the shift away from a bipolar worldview, see Petro, Rubinstein, Russian Foreign Policy, pp. 216–218.

14 For more detail on Soviet strategies outside Europe in this phase see Garthoff, Détente and confrontation, pp. 40–42; Rey, Le dilemme russe, pp. 282–283; Westad, The global Cold War, chapter 2.

15 On the Hungarian revolt and Soviet intervention see Valenta, “Soviet Policy toward Hungary and Czechoslovakia,” in Terry, Soviet policy in Eastern Europe, pp. 93–125; Fehér, Heller, Hungary 1956 revisited. For archive-based detail on the military aspects of the invasion see Györkei, Horváth, Soviet military intervention in Hungary.

16 There were 25,000 Hungarian casualties, among which 5,000 were killed. Roberts, The Soviet Union, p. 48.

17 On the Kádár regime in the late 1950s and 1960s, see, for example, Valenta, “Soviet policy,” pp. 110–125; and Rupnik, L’autre Europe, p. 313.

18 It was attended by 64 communist parties, of which 13 were ruling parties; all the European communist parties were present.

19 I use the term revisionism, like the term orthodoxy, only in a descriptive sense—that is to say, as it was used in the world communist movement at the time, and not as an analytical tool.

20 More detail on this conference, with a focus on the PCI and PCF, can be found in Griffith, “The diplomacy of Eurocommunism,” pp. 400–401.

21 Lazar, “Unité et crises,” pp. 29–43.

22 Kriegel, “The International Role of the French Communist Party,” p. 38.

23 See also Lazar, “Unité et crises,” p. 43.

24 While, in terms of adherents, both parties lost only marginally, in terms of voters the PCI stagnated while the PCF in 1958 went down dramatically; more on this below.

25 For a similar view see, for example, Marcou, Les pieds d’argile, pp. 12–13.

26 Marcou, Les pieds d’argile, p. 17. On the affinities between the French and Czechoslovak parties, see chapter 4.

27 On the—still relatively unknown—International Leninist School and the formation of (French) communist leaders, see Wolikow, Vigreux, “L’école Leniniste Internationale de Moscou.”

28 The International Department was heir to the Foreign Affairs Department, which had been the practical successor to the Comintern after its dissolution in 1943. For more detail see Kramer, “The Role of the CPSU International Department,” in Fleron, Hoffmann, Laird, Soviet Foreign Policy, pp. 444–463.

29 Shapiro, “The International Department of the CPSU,” p. 47.

30 Marcou, Les pieds d’argile, pp. 13–14. The journal appeared in Russian, French, English, Spanish and German.

31 In Italy, for example, this was organized by the Soviet-sponsored Italtourist.

32 Soviet financing of West European communist parties was, during the Cold War, mirrored in the West and particularly in Italy and West Germany, by significant American financial support, for example to the Italian Christian Democratic party.

33 The PCI share grew between 1965 and 1966 from $ 2,500,000 to 5,700,000; the PCF share between the same years rose from 1,200,000 to 2,000,000. Riva, Ora di Mosca, pp. 46–65.

34 The only account of this is Bartošek, Paris–Prague, chapter four. According to Bartošek there was most probably systematic funding from the other East European communist parties to the West European ones. Bartošek, Paris–Prague, p. 138.

35 Information from the archives of the East German Communist Party SED, suggest that in 1968 the French communist trade union CGT received material from several “sister organizations” in the East.

36 The most important one in France, for example, was the BERIM (Bureau d’études et de recherches pour l’industrie moderne), founded in 1948, which regularly sent commissions to the PCF. Bartošek, Paris–Prague, p. 117–130.

37 On Eugen Fried, an agent in Paris sent by Moscow, see, essentially, Kriegel, Courtois, Eugen Fried.

38 Gramsci, A. Selections from the Prison Notebooks. London, Lawrence & Wishart, 1971.

39 For a comparative overview of the relations which the PCI and PCF entertained with international communism, see Lazar, Maisons rouges, pp. 304–311. For a more “optimistic” view on PCI autonomy during the Comintern period, see Agosti, “The Weak Link in the Cast-Iron Chain.”

40 Lazar, Masions rouges, p. 310; Andrews, Mithokhin, The Mitrokhin Archive, pp. 600–601.

41Fille ainée de l’église communiste,” Kriegel, Le système communiste mondial, passim.

42 The “highest responsibility” referred especially to the distribution of the allowances from the Assistance Fund. Bartošek, Paris–Prague, pp. 138–139.

43 For a comparative discussion of the immediate repercussions of 1956 on the PCI and PCF, see Lazar, Maisons rouges, pp. 90–99. For the impact on the wider (political and intellectual) Left in both countries, see Groppo, Riccamboni, La sinistra e il ’56 in Italia e in Francia.

44 This is suggested in Fejtő, The French Communist Party, p. 75.

45 For more detail on PCF press coverage of the Hungarian crisis see Deli, De Budapest à Prague, pp. 83–88.

46 Agosti, Storia del PCI, 1921–1991, pp. 79–81.

47 Fejtő, The French Communist Party, p. 71.

48 Gozzini, Martinelli, Storia del partito comunista italiano, pp. 456–458.

49 A series of changes came about with respect to the internal organization and structures of the party. A turnover in personnel took place, as a larger number of older party cadres, such as P. Secchia, were sidetracked and replaced by a younger generation more in line with Togliatti’s strategy of careful change from above.

50 Urban, Moscow and the Italian Communist Party, pp. 225–243. The full minutes of all the meetings of the Direzione throughout 1956 are published in Righi, Quel terribile 1956.

51 The interview “Nove domande sul XXo congresso del PCUS” is published in (PCI, ed.) Il Partito comunista italiano, pp. 34–61.

52 I am here in disagreement with J.B. Urban, who has argued that already in 1956 Togliatti envisaged the priority of national party interests over the interests of the world communist movement (Urban, Moscow and the Italian Communist Party, p. 251). Rather, it seems that Togliatti could not imagine a fundamental and long-term divergence between the interests of the party and the interest of the wider communist movement.

53 It was Khrushchev who had first used the term polycentrism in connection to a new organization of the communist world, at the 20th Party Congress. Soon afterwards though, the term was discarded from official Soviet texts. The best discussion of polycentrism is still Sassoon, The strategy of the Italian Communist Party, pp. 99–116. For a discussion by Togliatti see Togliatti, “Il ‘sistema policentrico’ e la via italiana al socialismo,” in (PCI, ed.) Il PCI e il movimento operaio internazionale, pp. 62–81.

54 I use the term “maximalist polycentrism” here for the “strategic polycentrism” as used by Sassoon.

55 See the discussion in Boggs, The Impasse of European Communism, pp. 119–137.

56 Urban, Moscow and the Italian Communist Party, p. 232.

57 On Soviet pressures against the concept of polycentrism, see Vacca, Togliatti sconosciuto, pp. 189–193.

58 Sassoon, The strategy of the Italian Communist Party, p. 100.

59 See the memoirs of G. Cerreti, eyewitness to the first meeting. Cerreti, Con Togliatti e Thorez, pp. 319–323.

60 Pajetta, Le crisi che ho vissuto, pp. 76–79.

61 Lazar, Maisons rouges, p. 93.

62 On the PCI and Yugoslavia in this period see also Urban, Moscow and the Italian Communist Party, p. 234.

63 For a general picture of the changes in Italian society and economy, see, for example, Sassoon, Contemporary Italy, chapter two; Ginsborg, Storia d’Italia, chapter seven.

64 In 1948, the Socialist Party had split over the Cold War issue into an anti-Soviet PSDI and a neutralist (though tending towards the communist world) PSI. On the shift of the PSI in 1955–1956, see Delg’Innocenti, Storia del Pci, esp. pp. 189–202. In the 1953 parliamentary elections, the PSI obtained 12 per cent of the vote, while the PCI obtained 22 per cent; in 1958, it rose to 14 per cent while the PCI stagnated. From the 1960s onwards, the PSI stagnated, while the PCI continuously rose. Lazar, “‘Affinités électives’,” p. 154.

65 On Italy and NATO in the early 1960s, see Nuti, Gli Stati Uniti e l’apertura a sinistra.

66 For a similar view see Flores, Gallerano, Sul PCI, p. 110–112.

67 Lazar, Maisons rouges, p. 95.

68 More detail in Gozzini, “Il rapporto tra il sindacato e il PCI” pp. 189–191.

69 Giorgio Amendola was a PCI member from 1929 and an MP from 1948; he headed the first PCI delegation to the European Parliament in 1969.

70 Lazar, Maisons rouges, p. 115

71 At the request of some of the more reform-minded members such as B. Frachon and future leader W. Rochet, a resolution was issued on some of the criticism of Stalin publicly expressed by Khrushchev at the 20th Congress; on the other hand, a statement on the “merits” of Stalin was added. Fejtő, The French Communist Party, pp. 54–69.

72 Fejtő, The French Communist Party, p. 66.

73 With respect to Yugoslavia, Thorez had clearly demonstrated his reservations with respect to Soviet–Yugoslav reconciliation. Nevertheless, in 1957 he did resume official contacts with Tito, although not wholeheartedly. Fejtő, The French Communist Party, p. 105.

74 Lazar, Maisons rouges, pp. 100–103.

75 A similar interpretation can be found in Fejtő, The French Communist Party, p. 58. Fejtő notes that its suspicions that the Khrushchev leadership was not capable of fulfilling the “leading role” in the movement were similar to the positions held by the Chinese communists at the time.

76 The new official interpretation of Stalinism was laid down in the publication L’URSS et nous. Verdes-Leroux analyses in greater detail the intellectual shifts in Marxist theory that accompanied de-Stalinization in the PCF. Verdes-Leroux, Le reveil des somnambules, pp. 67–70.

77 More detail on this can be found in Hincker, Le Parti communiste, pp. 51–52.

78 Lazar, Maisons rouges, pp. 101–102.

79 This is according to Hincker, Le Parti communiste, p. 51.

80 Fejtő, The French Communist Party, pp. 44–45.

81 Thorez had been aligned with Molotov, Khrushchev’s challenger in the Kremlin. Khrushchev’s victory over Molotov in the summer of 1957 thus signified the end of Thorez’s calculations with respect to Khrushchev’s elimination. Fejtő, The French Communist Party, pp. 68–69.

82 Moreover, it was rumoured that Waldeck Rochet was Khrushchev’s privileged contact in the PCF leadership. Fejtő, The French Communist Party, p. 62.

83 Fejtő, The French Communist Party, p. 71.

84 Fejtő, The French Communist Party, p. 63.

85 Hincker, Le Parti communiste, p. 51–52.

86 Fejtő, The French Communist Party, pp. 42–43.

87 Hincker, “Le Parti communiste français et de Gaulle,” p. 181.

88 Lazar, Maisons rouges, p. 108. See also the appendix.

89 According to Kriegel, de Gaulle drew 1.5 million votes from the PCF in 1958. Kriegel, “The PCF and the Fifth Republic,” p. 75.

90 On the early phase of Gaullist foreign policy, see Paxton, Wahl, De Gaulle and the United States, chapter three; Vaisse, La politique étrangère, chapters one and two.

91 Kriegel, “The PCF and the Fifth Republic,” p. 73.

92 Kriegel, “The PCF and the Fifth Republic,” p. 73.

93 According to Hincker, the PCF expected repression against communists after 1958. Hincker, “Le Parti communiste français et de Gaulle,” pp. 181–194. Between 1962 and 1966, the official analysis of Gaullism was “a regime of personal power”; between 1966 and 1969, the focus was on the concentration of capital and the monopolies.

94 For a similar view see Kriegel, “The PCF and the Fifth Republic,” p. 74; and Berstein, “Le PCF et de Gaulle sous la IVe République,” p. 84.

95 Fejtő, The French Communist Party, pp. 38–40.

96 Droz, “Communisme et Gaullisme face à la décolonisation,” p. 104.

97 For the international Cold War context to the Algerian War, see Wall, France, the United States and the Algerian War.

98 Fejtő, The French Communist Party, pp. 99–101.

99 See the oral history sources in Charby, Les porteurs d’espoir.

100 Fejtő, The French Communist Party, p. 110.

101 Lazar, Maisons rouges, p. 106–107.

102 This partly followed from the opposition against the leadership which had emerged immediately following the 20th Congress, mainly in the review L’Etincelle, which had disintegrated in 1957. Other important centres of opposition were the review Voies nouvelles, and the cell of Sorbonne-Lettres.

103 There was also an “Italian” dimension to the affair, as Casanova had been closely connected to the Italian reform-minded communist Emilio Sereni. More detail on the so-called Sevrin-Casanova affair can be found in Dreyfus, PCF. Crises et dissidences, pp. 131–140; Robrieux, Histoire intérieure, pp. 497–580.

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