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From Communism to Anti-Communism

Andre Liebich
Svetlana Yakimovich

Anti-communism in the Cold War

La colombe qui fait BOUM

Joël Kotek

Texte intégral

La colombe qui fait BOUM, [“The dove that goes BOOM”]. Plate of full-color, fake stamp, printed by Paix et Liberté [s.d.]; 3.5 x 5 cm (size of each stamp).

1The Soviet Union presented itself as a fundamentally pacifist power. Reality was quite different as shown by this excellent caricature of “Paix et Liberté,” that plays upon one of the best known symbols of its time.

2To counter the European wish to provide themselves with a common defense mechanism (NATO), the Soviet Union prompted the creation of a vast network of pacifist NGOs, all dependent upon it. Among these was the World Peace Council, an organization still in existence today, that was entrusted to the 1935 Nobel Prize for Chemistry co-winner (with his wife Irène Joliot Curie) and later member of the Central Committee of the French Communist Party, Fréderic Joliot-Curie. He was also the initiator of the 1950 Stockholm Appeal, signed by millions, calling for the absolute prohibition of nuclear arms.

3Among Joliot-Curie’s associates was the already famous painter and Communist Party member, Pablo Picasso, who, at the First World Congress of Peace in Prague and Paris in 1949, created his famous dove of peace which quickly became the symbol of the struggle for peace. The iconography was not new as the dove had been a biblical symbol of peace but its dissemination on a world-wide level, exacerbated by the horrors of war, was such that this symbol of Communist propaganda succeeded in imposing itself upon the Western imagination. Thanks to Picasso’s dove progressive Christians and others succumbed to the Communist propaganda campaign of the struggle for peace. Needless to say, Soviet pacifism raised serious and legitimate doubts in the circles to which Souvarine belonged. They denounced early on the Soviet pacifist campaign as a pure propaganda concept in the service of a heavily armed state possessing, as of August 1949, a nuclear weapon. This is the well-aimed message of the peace dove that “goes boum,” underlining the aggressive meaning behind a widely-known and admired symbol.


Annie Kriegel, Les communistes français. Essai d'ethnographie politique, Paris : Seuil, collection Politique, 1968, (2e éd. revue, augmentée et mise à jour 1970).

Yves Santa Maria, Le Parti de l'ennemi ? Le Parti communiste français dans la lutte pour la Paix, 1947-1958, Paris : Armand Colin, 2006.

Ronald Tiersky, French Communism 1920-1972, New York : Columbia University Press, 1974.

Table des illustrations

Légende La colombe qui fait BOUM, [“The dove that goes BOOM”]. Plate of full-color, fake stamp, printed by Paix et Liberté [s.d.]; 3.5 x 5 cm (size of each stamp).
Fichier image/jpeg, 470k


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