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.
Rejecting the argument that the pact represented a guarantee of peace, the best interpretation she could place on it was that the USSR saw it as an opportunity to spread revolution: “considérant que la guerre est la meilleure des situations révolutionnaires, l’URSS décide ouvertement de laisser les pays capitalistes (…) se jeter les uns sur les autres.” (, 37.) Unconvinced by her own hypothesis, she concludes that, far from guaranteeing peace, the pact has actually hastened the arrival of war.
Critical of Aragon for his defence of the pact, her faith in communism is undermined; and her judgment that the pact will hasten war is confirmed when, “bouleversée d’horreur,” she learns of the Soviet invasion of Poland on 17 September (, foreign correspondent Paul Nizan had been a fully fledged member of the Party since 1928, but he resigned a month after the news of the pact.
His immediate responses were articulated in his editorials for which was published between 19.
The time lag is significant since it meant that this later account of the pact was as much influenced by the changed political climate of the Cold War as by Aragon’s own memories of 1939.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).In the early part of the summer, his articles as foreign correspondent in had reiterated criticism of the French and British governments for their failure to pursue negotiations with the Soviet Union for collective security.Nizan was away on holiday when news of the pact broke, and various accounts underline his apparent shock at discovering the news.carried the essence of the party line between 27 August and 21 September.It was characterised by statements of support for a united France standing against the Hitlerite aggressor, under such unambiguous headlines as: “Le peuple de France unanime contre l’agression,” “Tout pour maintenir et renforcer l’Union” and “L’Europe, demain, ne sera pas hitlérienne.” This position, however, changed after 20 September, when instructions from the Comintern informed the PCF that the war was no longer to be considered anti-fascist, but a war between imperialist powers which the party should therefore oppose.A revised version of , published in 1967, gave Aragon the opportunity to modify further his account of the pact.There are, therefore, three versions of Aragon’s writing of the pact.,” Aragon was warning of the dangers of delaying such an agreement.The timing of the pact was particularly awkward for the PCF since not only was the news unexpected, but the majority of the party hierarchy was on holiday when news of its imminent signature broke late on 21 August.