XII
France: The Best of Patriots

Even less than for the preceding period need we deal with the general political line of the French communists after 22nd June 1941. This line, in all its basic aspects, followed exactly the pattern laid down from Moscow and applied by all communist parties of the Western camp. But the French communists, an underground organization in a defeated country, were not supposed, like their British and American comrades, to play an essential part in the dealings between the Big Three. They naturally were supposed to pay attention to American and British susceptibilities concerning Vichy, Darlan, Giraud, and de Gaulle--but this, in the case of the French communists, was much more a question of cautiously avoiding certain mistakes than of positive action. The important part of communist activities in France was entirely directed to the one task of getting as near the capture of power within their own country as they could. This task they achieved brilliantly. It is by a hair's breadth that France escaped the fate of becoming a Popular Democracy.1

____________________
1
Our information on this period of French communism is very unequal. There are the underground publications of the party itself, but they tell only a surface story. The first six months after 22nd June 1941, are covered by Rossi Physiologie, l.c., the whole of the party's trade union policy by Lefranc, Expériences syndicales, l.c., whose more relevant information, however, concerns the years 1943-4. There is an almost complete gap for the year 1942, inadequately filled by stray observations in memoirs of resistance leaders such as Colonel Passy, Souvenirs ( Paris, 1947) ( 2 vols.) and Colonel Rémy, Mémoires d'un agent secret de la France libre ( Paris, 1946). Some interesting material about the communist attitude to Giraud and de Gaulle in Henri de Kerillis, I Accuse do Gaulle ( New York, 1946), which is, however, marred by extreme partisanship. The first volume of Jacques Soustelle, Envers et contre tout ( Paris, 1947), contains only incidental details concerning our subject. But the second volume ( Paris, 1950), is the chief source for communist policy during 1943-4, and (apart from Amery's work on Albania, see below) the only comprehensive and satisfactory analysis of communist infiltration methods existing for any period or country.

-315-

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European Communism
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 7
  • Contents 11
  • Preface 13
  • Glossary of Political Organizations 19
  • Part I - The Foundations 23
  • I - Origins of the Communist International 25
  • II - United Front 50
  • III - Communists and Nazis 69
  • IV - French Communism Before 1934 81
  • Part II - Popular Front 113
  • V - The Great Turn 115
  • VI - Spain 163
  • VII - Decline and Fall 192
  • VIII - The Comintern and The Popular Front 221
  • Part III - The War 231
  • IX - The General Line: the Hitler- Stalin Pact 233
  • X - The General Line: the Grand Alliance 265
  • XI - France: the Worst of Traitors 296
  • XII - France: the Best of Patriots 315
  • XIII - Tito Emerges 337
  • XIV - Civil War in Yugoslavia 365
  • XV - Albania 396
  • XVI - Greece 409
  • Part IV - After the War 439
  • XVII - The Crisis of Liberation 441
  • XIX - Popular Democracies 484
  • XX - Cominform 517
  • Two Conclusions 549
  • Index 557
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