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From Communism to Anti-Communism

Andre Liebich
Svetlana Yakimovich

Anti-communism in the Cold War

Dictionnaire soviétique illustré, Tome II

Joël Kotek

Texte intégral

The first page reads in French: “Dictionnaire soviétique illustré. Tome II. Moscou” –[“Illustrated Soviet Dictionary. Volume II. Moscow”]. The picture on the second page reads: “WC du Kremlin. Molotov” – [“Kremlin WC. Molotov”]. The line under the picture reads: “Pactes et Traités” – [“Covenants and Treaties”]. The third page reads: ”Miss Univers”. The fourth page reads: “5e colonne en France. Nos performances” – [“5th column in France. Our performance”]. Black and white leaflet, printed by Paix et Liberté [s.d.]; 5 x 19.5 cm.

1The “second volume” of the “Illustrated Soviet Dictionary” hammers away, as did the first volume against the illusionary character of the Soviet state. The first image in this cartoon strip emphasizes the fact that the Soviet Union is not only built on lies but that it is incapable of respecting any and every agreement. The name of former Soviet Foreign Minister, Viatcheslav Molotov, signatory of the infamous Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact on Non-Aggression in 1939, on the toilet paper recalls that infamous agreement between Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia. The Kremlin toilet is stuffed with other, disregarded pacts. The second image, portraying a grotesque, primping Stalin, mocks the world-wide cult of Stalin among Communists. The third image, under a banner proclaiming a “fifth column” shows individuals in thespian masks. One can easily detect at the extreme left the rotund bespectacled figure of Jacques Duclos, acting secretary-general of the French Communist Party in the absence, for health reasons, of the historic leader of the Party, Maurice Thorez. The other figure are Marcel Cachin, considered the founder of the French Communist Party, possibly André Marty, a revolutionary hero who was to be expelled from the Party by the end of 1952, and Thorez himself.

2Even as he claimed to be the champion of antifascism and of non-intervention, Stalin had not hesitated to enter into an agreement with the Nazis and then to prevent free elections in the countries of Central Europe which he controlled after the Second World War, in spite of commitments made at Yalta. Stalin required complete subordination of fraternal communist parties turning them into a “fifth column,” as evidenced by declarations of the leadership of the French Communist Party. Indeed, the isolation of the Communist Party was heightened by the fact that it espoused positions that could appear, in many ways, to be antinational.

3The French Communist Party might well oppose the Marshall Plan and European construction in the name of French national independence but its platform repelled numerous French people. It could hardly be otherwise after Maurice Thorez had declared on 30 September 1948, even as negotiations were ongoing concerning the North Atlantic defense alliance, that “the French people would never make war against the Soviet Union.” This declaration was reprinted on the first page of L’Humanité, the French Communist Party’s daily newspaper. In his response, on 24 February 1949, to the question “What would you do if the Red Army occupied Paris?” Thorez confirmed his explosive remarks: “Could French workers behave any differently towards the Soviet Army than those of Poland, Romania or Yugoslavia?” The French National Assembly easily noted that “for the French Communist Party, in the event of conflict between France and a foreign power, the USSR, the French people should oppose no resistance and even collaborate with it”.

4One may conclude that Maurice Thorez was giving assurances to Stalin that “although he was French, he had the soul of a Soviet citizen.”


Dominique Desanti, Les Staliniens, Paris : Fayard, 1975.


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