The Poznań uprising of June 1956, coming just a few months after Nikita Khrushchev’s landmark “secret speech” at the Twentieth Soviet Party Congress, constituted the first real test of de-Stalinization. The uprising was a turning point in postwar Polish history and the precursor to subsequent bouts of unrest in Poland. Yet, the episode itself and its repercussions that year were overshadowed by more pressing and dramatic developments, especially the revolution in Hungary four months later. The responses of the leaders of the two largest non-ruling Communist parties to the Poznań rebellion have been well documented, but much less is known about how ordinary Communist Party members in Italy and France viewed the unrest. This article draws for the first time on the personal testimonies of more than fifty people who in 1956 were rank-and-file Communists from the federations of Var and Gorizia. The article looks in detail at the contemporary reactions to the anti-Communist rebellion. In so doing, it reveals much about ordinary Communists’ priorities, degrees of critical detachment, and level of commitment to the Soviet Union and the Communist cause.


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pp. 160-187
Launched on MUSE
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