Antony Beevor

The Victims of Thermidor

Midnight in the Century

By

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In 1935 at the Congress for the Defence of Culture in Paris, fellow-travelling writers became involved in their first disagreement with Communist policy. Several Party sympathisers including Andre Gide, Romain Rolland and Andre Malraux appealed to the Soviet government to release the Left Oppositionist Victor Serge, whose novels Men in Prison, Birth of Our Power and Conquered City had been published in France while banned in Russia. Ilya Ehrenburg and Louis Aragon were among the foremost of the Party’s intellectuals to oppose this move. (The whole episode is well described in Herbert Lottman’s recent book, The Left Bank.)

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