The launch issue of Twentieth Century Communism: a journal of international history is published in May 2009. The theme of issue one is ‘Communism and the leader cult’.
From Franz Borkenau’s commentaries of the 1930s, through Khrushchev’s secret speech in 1956, the cult of the leading individual provided one of the distinguishing features of the Stalinist party and an epitome of centralisation. The proliferation of such cults, however, also posed potential dilemmas: for if there was to be a cult of leadership, Stalin’s ideal of a single monolithic will implied that this too should be centred in Moscow, and on the person of Stalin himself. Ranging across several countries and different levels of communist leadership, the first issue of Twentieth Century Communism provides new insight into how and when these cults were constructed, and with what political consequences. The issue will also feature reviews, a roundtable discussion of the Italian communist leader Togliatti and an interview with the influential German historian and architect of the concept of Stalinization, Hermann Weber.
A detailed guide to the contents of issue one, and subscription information can be found on the Lawrence & Wishart web site.