Chapter

The Thirties and War

Norman Birnbaum

in After Progress

Published in print July 2002 | ISBN: 9780195158595
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199849352 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195158595.003.0004
The Thirties and War

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By the mid-1930s, the socialist movement was everywhere on the defensive, visibly incapable of defending the parliamentary democracy to which it was attached. Leon Blum's Popular Front government decided that it could not risk rupturing a fragile civil peace in France by aiding the Spanish Republic. The impotence of the rest of Europe, as Germany and Italy showed no compunctions about military intervention on behalf of the Spanish Fascists, was but one aspect of the agony of the decade. The problem of Stalinism was as grave. That problem became more acute as the disaster of the collectivization of agriculture, the brutality of accelerated industrialization, systematic intensification of terror, and what was later to be termed the cult of personality—the grotesque adulation of Joseph Stalin—deprived the Soviet Union of the vestiges of any claim to represent socialist democracy.

Keywords: socialist movement; Leon Blum; Popular Front; Fascists; Stalinism; cult; personality; Joseph Stalin; Soviet Union; democracy

Chapter.  11062 words. 

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