Betrayal of the Left

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Betrayal of the Left (full title: Betrayal of the Left: an Examination & Refutation of Communist Policy from October 1939 to January 1941: with Suggestions for an Alternative and an Epilogue on Political Morality) was a book of essays published on 3 March 1941 by the Left Book Club, edited and largely written by Victor Gollancz. The book had a preface by Harold Laski.[1]

Other contributions included two essays by George Orwell, "Fascism and Democracy" and "Patriots and Revolutionaries"[2] that condemned the Communist Party of Great Britain for backing the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact of 1939 and for taking a revolutionary defeatist position in the war against Nazi Germany. Betrayal of the Left also contained an essay by John Strachey attacking totalitarianism.[3]

It was particularly critical of the Communist Party-organised People's Convention of January 1941, the high point of the party's revolutionary defeatism during the period of Stalin's alliance with Hitler. It marked a decisive break by the democratic left from its 1930s alliance with the Communist Party.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Angus Calder,The people's war: Britain, 1939-1945. Panther Books, 1969 (p. 733).
  2. ^ Archived 2006-09-28 at the Wayback Machine Institute of Historical Research. Matt Perry. University of Sunderland
  3. ^ Michael Newman, John Strachey, Manchester University Press, 1989 ISBN 071902174X (p.83).