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Open Access Fascism for the British Audience

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Fascism for the British Audience

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The Communist Party of Great Britain’s Analysis of Fascism in Theory and Practice

image of Fascism

A key player in the campaigns against fascism, the Communist Party of Great Britain (cpgb) has been subject of much attention by historians of anti-fascism. The Party’s approach to anti-fascism, through various campaigns such as the ‘united front from below’ and the Popular Front have been well documented, however its own analysis of fascism has been subjected to much less scrutiny. It has generally been accepted that the cpgb faithfully followed the interpretation of the Communist International. While this is true, this article will argue that the cpgb’s analysis of fascism was often adapted to suit the British political climate. By examining the cpgb’s approaches to ‘social fascism’, democracy and the British Union of Fascists (buf), this article will show that the cpgb’s analysis of fascism was much more fluid. Moreover it will suggest that the Party only adhered to the strictest of Comintern analyses at times of increased attention from Moscow. Finally this article will show that the cpgb’s analysis of fascism as an antithesis to all things ‘British’ survived, and indeed was strengthened, by the end of the Second World War. By 1945 its analysis of fascism was much more generic, following an economic and ideological reading as per the Stalinist interpretation, but with a strong focus on patriotism, and the empirical evidence of the destructive and murderous qualities of fascism as shown by the Holocaust.

Affiliations: 1: PhD Researcher (History), School of Arts and Media, Teesside University, Lewis.Young@tees.ac.uk

10.1163/22116257-00302002
/content/journals/10.1163/22116257-00302002
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A key player in the campaigns against fascism, the Communist Party of Great Britain (cpgb) has been subject of much attention by historians of anti-fascism. The Party’s approach to anti-fascism, through various campaigns such as the ‘united front from below’ and the Popular Front have been well documented, however its own analysis of fascism has been subjected to much less scrutiny. It has generally been accepted that the cpgb faithfully followed the interpretation of the Communist International. While this is true, this article will argue that the cpgb’s analysis of fascism was often adapted to suit the British political climate. By examining the cpgb’s approaches to ‘social fascism’, democracy and the British Union of Fascists (buf), this article will show that the cpgb’s analysis of fascism was much more fluid. Moreover it will suggest that the Party only adhered to the strictest of Comintern analyses at times of increased attention from Moscow. Finally this article will show that the cpgb’s analysis of fascism as an antithesis to all things ‘British’ survived, and indeed was strengthened, by the end of the Second World War. By 1945 its analysis of fascism was much more generic, following an economic and ideological reading as per the Stalinist interpretation, but with a strong focus on patriotism, and the empirical evidence of the destructive and murderous qualities of fascism as shown by the Holocaust.

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/content/journals/10.1163/22116257-00302002
2014-10-27
2018-09-19

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