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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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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-

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

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Thesis advisorLaybourn,
Additional Information: EThOS Persistent ID
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 15:42
Last Modified: 20 Aug 2015 00:59


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