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A History of Modern Political Thought in East Central EuropeVolume II: Negotiating Modernity in the 'Short Twentieth Century' and Beyond, Part I: 1918-1968$
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Balázs Trencsényi, Michal Kopeček, Luka Lisjak Gabrijelčič, Maria Falina, Mónika Baár, and Maciej Janowski

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198737155

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198737155.001.0001

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The Many Faces of Leftism

The Many Faces of Leftism

Chapter:
(p.105) 3 The Many Faces of Leftism
Source:
A History of Modern Political Thought in East Central Europe
Author(s):

Balázs Trencsényi

Michal Kopeček

Luka Lisjak Gabrijelčič

Maria Falina

Mónika Baár

Maciej Janowski

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198737155.003.0003

The success of the Bolshevik Revolution confirmed that economic backwardness was not necessarily an obstacle for socialism, as it triggered the radicalization of leftist movements in the region. Yet this also led to polarization of the left on questions of Soviet-Russian developments and possible cooperation with non-socialist parties, as well as agrarian and national questions. While in many countries social democracy entered the political mainstream in the 1920s, its position was undermined by the rise of right-wing authoritarianism. In turn, the Great Depression made the communist position more plausible, but the Stalinization of communist parties and the imposition of socialist realism alienated most intellectual supporters. Eventually, some radical leftists turned against the communist movement attacking its dogmatism and the Stalinist show trials. At the same time, the rise of Nazism forced leftist groups to seek a common ground, first in the form of “Popular Front” ideology, and, during the war, in the form of armed partisan movements.

Keywords:   socialism, communism, Bolshevik Revolution, social democracy, Great Depression, avantgarde, socialist realism, Popular Front

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