Yuri Ivanovich







INT: That's very interesting to hear, particularly thinking of the econ... the cultural conflicts of America today as well, that's very interesting to hear you say that. Do you think that the Marshall Plan was also responsible perhaps for splitting the world into the Western camp and the Eastern camp?

MD: The Marshall Plan may not have been responsible for splitting the world because there were forces at work that did that, but I think it contributed to deepening the rift between East and West. Of course, the Russians might have expected to benefit from the Marshall Plan, but they didn't and then I think, from then on it was considered by us as a way of sort of splitting the world.

INT: I'd just like to go back on one thing, just that we were talking about earlier on, about this, again, this aura that surrounded the Communists at the time, something that's... I think a lot of people, young people today, would find difficult to understand, not disagree with it particularly, but just a difficult concept to grasp and ask you again perhaps if you could just tell us a bit more about what was it that... was it a sense that Communism with get rid of the ills and the injustices in society or you said it was partly fashionable, but not really fashionabl. What was it about Communism that appealed particularly to young people, students, at the time?

MD: Young students... young people and students felt that... Communism was the only way that they had heard of that would adicate - that's what they thought - inequalities in society. They couldn't trust any of the other parties to do it, because these parties had been seen at work and had not succeeded in doing this or had not been willing to do it. So I think that this social motivation was very strong. And the Communist Party was seen as the only party that was speaking for the working class and in a sense that was true. And they felt that the only chance for a really... a real orientation of society was through that party. Of course, they were blind to some of the things that characterised the Communist Party, but I think that it's not that they were blind, I think that their priorities were to take care of certain things first and then once we had managed to change a number of things, we would be able to cope with some of the problems that might be created by the party in power. So what was of importance to them was this ability to change the social structure of the country and I think there was plenty of idealism and hope. The idea of a classless society was a great hope even if it floundered, even if it didn't materialise later, but in those days, there was this idea that we couldn't have fought against Fascism and go on with a system that didn't cope with these social problems.

INT: Very interesting, thank you. Let's cut there.


INT: The Americans had a fear at the time that Communism would take over Western Europe, that the Red Army might march from Moscow to the Channel. How did you feel about those American alarm bells at the time?

MD: We felt that this fear that the Red Army would take over, that the Communist Party would take over was hysterical and not justified at all, because even thought the Communists represented a significant force on the French political scene, they were only a minority. Besides, I don't think that the politicians or the political class in power would have let the Communists take over without doing something to prevent them from taking power. And it seemed to us quite unrealistic and politically motivated to think of things in those terms. So we felt that the panic was created in order to justify certain types of action and propaganda, but did not correspond to reality at all.

INT: And could I finally then just ask you again about this aura that surrounded Communism and was there a sense at the time that Communism couldadicate problems. What was the real core of this appeal?

MD: The appeal of Communism to young people and to students was that of a hope that it was possible to create a classless society and to overturn the social hierarchies that existed in the old world and I think that young people thought of Communism in those idealistic terms and not in terms of political manoeuvring or in terms of strategy. I think it was really idealism that motivated people. They felt that the old system had brought about Fascism in several places, had brought the Vichy government in the French system, because never forget that the Vichy government was a revenge over the popular front and they felt that in order to change things and to overturn social order, you had to build a completely different society and Communism seemed to be the hope of the world at the time.

INT: And cut.

(End of tape)