The British Communist Party: A Historical Profile

The British Communist Party: A Historical Profile

The British Communist Party: A Historical Profile

The British Communist Party: A Historical Profile


The British Communist Party, a section of the Communist International from 1920 until the dissolution of the International in 1943, was known in that period as the Communist Party of Great Britain (C.P.G.B.); and as such, apart from various commitments in supporting parties abroad and in encouraging the development of those 'within the sphere of British imperialism', its direct activity has normally been confined to Great Britain and does not include any part of Ireland.

In preparing the present work I must acknowledge the assistance of some present and many former members of the party, and also of former members of foreign Communist parties. A few of them would perhaps be embarrassed if I mentioned their names here; and for that reason I do not do so, though none the less grateful for their help.

I have also received valuable advice from various academic colleagues. I must in particular name Mr Theodore Draper, Dr Mark Abrams, Mrs Jane Degras, Mr R. N. Carew Hunt, and Dr Ivan Avakumovic. Dr Avakumovic and Mr R. A. C. Parker did me the kindness of reading the typescript and making a number of useful suggestions for its improvement. None of these colleagues is in any way responsible for the interpretation of Communist history which I have adopted, or for the errors of fact which may remain.

Contemporary studies have special problems, but also special opportunities. I should much welcome hearing from any readers who are in a position to throw fresh light on the events herein recorded, either by the loan of documents or by personal reminiscence. I should then be able to correct and supplement this analysis of what has previously been a very obscure aspect of recent history.

H. M. P.

Oxford, June 1958 . . .

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