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The Communist Party of Great Britain and its struggle against fascism 1933-1939

Murphy, Dylan Lee (1999) The Communist Party of Great Britain and its struggle against fascism 1933-1939. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

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    Abstract

    The sectarian tactics of the Comintern's Third Period
    prevented the Communist Party of Great Britain from
    articulating an effective response to the rise of fascism
    during 1933. The CPGB leadership saw the main threat of
    fascism in Britain coming from the National Government,
    whose measures were portrayed as leading to the gradual
    'fascisation' of British society. This led to the Party
    leadership ignoring the BUF as politically irrelevant.
    However, sections of the CPGB rank and file felt
    differently, linking up with their Labour movement
    counterparts; organising activity on a mass scale to
    prevent BUF activity on the streets of Britain.

    In mid 1934, reflecting pressure from below and the
    change in Comintern anti-fascist strategy as advocated by
    Dimitrov, the CPGB leadership changed tack and sanctioned
    counter-demonstrations to BUF meetings. In October 1934 it
    offered a united front electoral pact to the Labour Party.

    In 1935 the CPGB embraced the popular front policy
    adopted by the Comintern at its Seventh World Congress. The
    popular front movement was designed to change the 'profascist'
    foreign policy of the National Government and
    replace it with a people's government favourable to a
    military pact with the USSR. This guiding principle lay
    behind the popular front activity of the CPGB during 1935-
    39.

    By 1939 after six years of hard work the CPGB had little
    to show for its struggle against fascism. Despite a small
    increase in membership, and a slight growth in influence
    amongst the trade unions and intelligentsia, it had failed
    to bring about a change in British foreign policy favourable
    to an alliance with the Soviet Union or to emerge as a
    significant force within the British Labour movement. This
    failure can be largely ascribed to its pursuit of an antifascist
    strategy determined mainly by the requirements of
    Soviet foreign policy and not by the concerns of British
    workers.

    Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
    Additional Information: EThOS Persistent ID uk.bl.ethos.323773
    Uncontrolled Keywords: Communism, Fascist, Popular Front, CPGB, USSR, History
    Subjects: J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe) > JN101 Great Britain
    H Social Sciences > HX Socialism. Communism. Anarchism
    D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D731 World War II
    Schools: School of Music, Humanities and Media
    Depositing User: Graham Stone
    Date Deposited: 30 Jun 2009 16:42
    Last Modified: 28 Jul 2010 19:39
    URI: http://eprints.hud.ac.uk/id/eprint/4855

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