3, 762)1 bought at a high price by the French and British governments, and “La paix véritable.” (OP3 764) This echoes the PCF’s rejection of the accords on the grounds that, far from preventing war, they would make war more likely by freeing Hitler’s hands for an attack on the Soviet Union.
(Adereth 83) Despite continued opposition to Hitler’s expansionist policies, Aragon is careful to maintain a distinction between the Nazi régime, which he deplores, and the humanist culture of the true German nation, celebrated in a special number of The signing of the Nazi-Soviet non-aggression pact in Moscow on 23 August 1939 came as a bolt out of the blue for the party.
Criticism of Franco-British failure to pursue negotiations with the Soviet Union for collective security had been the cornerstone of articles in by Aragon and Paul Nizan throughout the preceding month.
Indeed, as late as 22 August, in an article entitled “Gare aux capitulards!
The characterisation of the news as a “coup de tonnerre” is a frequent one.
It is the phrase used in her memoirs by Lise London, a party militant since the early 1930s, to describe the feelings of many party members.Hitler,” reaffirmed opposition to Hitler, and underlined the importance of the pact in preventing war and encouraging France and Britain to pursue negotiations with the USSR.confirming Aragon’s editorials by presenting the USSR as a defender of the peace.An examination of these three evolving, though hardly revolving, accounts will be placed in the context of reactions to the pact by other Communist intellectuals and writers of the time.The years preceding the outbreak of war were ones of intense activity for Aragon, who wrote numerous articles and essays, and delivered speeches on the international situation.Reactions of shock to the news of the pact were widespread among left-wing intellectuals.Given the PCF’s history of anti-fascism throughout the 30s, both within France and particularly in relation to the Spanish Civil War, news of an alliance between Hitler and the leader of the socialist world was for many not easy to accept.Aragon, in consultation with Marcel Gitton, the only member of the Politburo in Paris, published an editorial entitled “Vive la paix! (Courtois 42) The pact was presented as a “un gain pour la paix,” a triumph for the Soviet Union which had brought Hitler to an agreement.The Soviet Union was seen as a guarantor of peace, unlike the allies, prevaricating over negotiations for collective security.It too stressed the party’s continued opposition to Hitler, and its readiness to defend France against future fascist aggression (reprinted in Courtois 493-95).In his editorial of 25 August in, “Tous contre l’agresseur,” Aragon reaffirmed the point, supporting “la déclaration du Parti Communiste Français, qui montre que je ne me suis pas trop avancé hier, qu’en cas d’agression, tous les Français défendraient leur pays, et tiendraient, les armes à la main, les engagements de la France,” (reprinted in Virebeau 6).