British Communists and Anglo-French relations, 1914-1945
University of Exeter
Studies of the entente cordiale tend to focus on various aspects of Anglo-French inter-state relations. This is entirely right and proper: the entente was, after all, an agreement between two states. It is to be expected that any volume covering the entente historically will focus primarily, as this one does, upon relations between governments, statesmen, diplomats and soldiers. Nonetheless, these are not the sum total of the contacts between the two countries. In particular, many people in both countries considered themselves to be a part of a wider international movement of revolutionaries who were working together to overthrow capitalism and imperialism and build a ‘better’ world. From 1917 onwards, in particular, Communists believed that theirs was the ideology of the future, and that their success was only a matter of time. From 1919 onwards, the efforts of Communists were, in theory at least, directed from the Communist International (Comintern) in Moscow, a world party of which the British and French communist parties were – again, in theory at least – only branches. This paper, then, sets out to analyse the importance of France for the British Communist party in the era of the World Wars. It focuses on the impact that France itself had upon British Communists’ views of the world, and also upon the nature of the British Communist party’s relationship with its French counterpart.
Reproduced with permission of Palgrave Macmillan. This extract is taken from the author's original manuscript and has not been reviewed or edited. The definitive version of this extract may be found in the work 'Britain, France and the Entente Cordiale Since 1904' edited by Antoine Capet, which can be purchased from www.palgrave.com
In: Capet, A. (ed.) 'Britain, France and the Entente Cordiale since 1904', London: Palgrave