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A Pact with Vichy: Angelo Tasca from Italian Socialism to French Collaboration

Angelo Tasca from Italian Socialism to French Collaboration

Emanuel Rota

Publication Year: 2012

Angelo Tasca, a pivotal figure in 20th-century Italian political history, and indeed European history, is frequently overshadowed by his Fascist opponent Mussolini or his Socialist and Communist colleagues (Gramsci and Togliatti). Yet, as Emanuel Rota reveals in this captivating biography, Tasca--also known as Serra, A. Rossi,Andre Leroux, and XX--was in fact a key political player in the first half of the 20th century and an ill-fated representative of the age of political extremes he helped to create. In A Pact with Vichy, readers meet the Italian intellect and politician with fresh eyes as the author demystifies Tasca's seemingly bizarre trajectory from revolutionary Socialist to Communist to supporter of the Vichy regime. Rota demonstrates how Tasca, an indefatigable cultural operator and Socialist militant, tried all his life to maintain his commitment to scientific analysis in the face of the rise of Fascism and Stalinism, but his struggle ended in a personal and political defeat that seemed to contradict all his life when he lent his support to the Vichy government.Through Tasca's complex life, A Pact with Vichy vividly reconstructs and elucidates the even more complex networks and debates that animated the Italian and French Left in the first half of the 20th century. After his expulsion from the Italian Communist Party as a result of his refusal to conform to Stalinism, Tasca reinvented his life in Paris, where he participated in the intense political debates of the 1930s. Rota explores how Tasca's political choices were motivated by the desperate attempt to find an alternative between Nazism and Stalinism, even when this alternative had the ambiguous borders of Vichy's collaborationist regime. A Pact with Vichy uncovers how Tasca's betrayal of his own ideal was tragically the result of his commitment to political realism in the brief age of triumphant Fascism. This riveting, perceptive biography offers readers a privileged window into one of the 20th century's most intriguing yet elusive characters. It is a must-read for history buffs, students, and scholars alike.

Published by: Fordham University Press

Series: World War II: The Global, Human, and Ethical Dimension

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 1-8


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pp. 9-10

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pp. xi-xii

I have incurred great debts of gratitude in my years of work on this book. I would like to thank, first and foremost, Susanna Barrows, whose intelligence and passion guided me on Tasca’s path. Martin Jay has taught me more than I ever thought I could learn. David Bidussa, Albert Russell...

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pp. 1-9

At the end of March 1944, Palmiro Togliatti returned to Italy from his Russian exile and announced to his comrades a radically new political strategy: the Italian Communist Party had to accept an alliance with any political group, on the left or on the right, interested in fighting against fascism for the...

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1. Into the Battlefield

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pp. 10-40

During the twentieth century, the communist movement was never afraid to manipulate its own history to serve its political goals. Josef Stalin famously instructed his secret police and his photographic experts to erase from photographs and paintings the images of revolutionary leaders who had...

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2. Learning Russian: Angelo Tasca and the Stalinization of the Communist Parties

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pp. 41-61

During the second half of the 1920s, Angelo Tasca’s life was changed forever by two events he could not control: the fascist seizure of power and the Stalinization of communist parties worldwide. Fascism forced Tasca into exile, permanently separating him from Italy. The Stalinization of the...

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3. In Limbo: Angelo Tasca and Liberal Democracy

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pp. 62-87

The historical events that characterized the 1930s until the eve of World War II deeply changed Angelo Tasca. As in the previous decade, his life was determined more by the history of the great ideologies of the first half of the twentieth century than by his private decisions. The progress of the...

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4. The Road to Vichy

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pp. 88-120

In 1938, while Léon Blum was still trying to salvage the Popular Front, Gallimard published La naissance du fascisme, Tasca’s historiographical masterpiece. This book sparked a debate on the danger of a fascist seizure of power in France, and its author became the recognized expert on the topic...

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5. A Socialist in Vichy

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pp. 121-153

On September 3, 1944, Angelo Tasca spent the day in his apartment in Vichy, writing in his diary. At night, three young men knocked on his door. One of them, who identified himself as Captain Chartons (or Chartrons), said that Tasca was under arrest and that they had come to take him to...

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pp. 154-170

During the forty days he spent in prison in September 1944, Tasca still talked about socialism, but he dreamed of a trip to Italy with Liliane Chaumette. Surrounded by inmates who wanted to see a new German-Russian alliance that would embarrass the French communists, and by the...


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pp. 171-202


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pp. 203-212


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pp. 213-217

E-ISBN-13: 9780823250653
Print-ISBN-13: 9780823245642
Print-ISBN-10: 0823245640

Page Count: 232
Publication Year: 2012

Edition: Text
Series Title: World War II: The Global, Human, and Ethical Dimension