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"An anticommunist is a dog", Sartre, c. 1952

The Opium of the Intellectuals --Raymond Aron

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Anti-communism refers to opposition to communism. Historically, the word "communism" has been used to refer to several types of communal social organization and their supporters, but, since the mid-19th century, the dominant school of communism in the world has been Marxism. Marxist communism drew far more supporters and opponents than any other form of communism. As such, the term anti-communism is most often employed to refer to opposition to Marxist communism.

Marxism, and the form of communism associated with it, rose to prominence in the 20th century. Organized anti-communism developed in reaction to the growing popularity of the communist movement, and took on many forms as the 20th century unfolded. Conservative monarchists in Europe fought against the first wave of communist revolutions from 1917 to 1922. Fascism and Nazism were based on a violent brand of anti-communism, they incited fear of a communist revolution in order to gain political power, and they aimed to destroy communism in World War II. Nationalists fought against communists in numerous civil wars across the globe. Liberalism shaped much of the anti-communist foreign policy of the Western powers, and dominated anti-communist intellectual thought in the second half of the 20th century.

Following the October Revolution in Russia, Marxist communism became largely associated with the Soviet Union in the public imagination (though there were many Marxists and communists who did not support the Soviet Union and its policies). As a result, anti-communism and opposition to the Soviet Union became almost indistinguishable, especially in terms of foreign policy. Anti-communism was an important element in the foreign policy of the Axis powers during the 1930s and the United States during the Cold War.


George Orwell, a democratic socialist, wrote two of the most widely read and influential anti-totalitarian novels: Nineteen Eighty-Four and Animal Farm, both of which featured allusions to the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin.

Also on the left wing, Arthur Koestler — a former member of the Communist Party — explored the ethics of revolution from an anti-communist perspective in a variety of works. His trilogy of early novels testified to Koestler's growing conviction that utopian ends do not justify the means often used by revolutionary governments. These novels are: The Gladiators (which explores the slave uprising led by Spartacus in the Roman Empire as an allegory for the Russian Revolution), Darkness at Noon (based on the Moscow Trials, this was a very widely read novel that made Koestler one of the most prominent anti-communist intellectuals of the period), and Arrival and Departure.

Whittaker Chambers — an American ex-communist who became famous for his cooperation with the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), where he implicated Alger Hiss — published an influential anti-communist memoir, Witness, in 1952.

Boris Pasternak, a Russian writer, rose to international fame after his anti-communist novel Doctor Zhivago was smuggled out of the Soviet Union (where it was banned) and published in the West in 1957. He received the Nobel Prize for Literature, much to the chagrin of the Soviet authorities.

Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn was a Russian novelist, dramatist and historian. Through his writings, — particularly The Gulag Archipelago and One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, his two best-known works — he made the world aware of the Gulag, the Soviet Union's forced labor camp system. For these efforts, Solzhenitsyn was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1970, and was exiled from the Soviet Union in 1974.

Herta Müller is a Romanian-born German novelist, poet and essayist noted for her works depicting the harsh conditions of life in Communist Romania under the repressive Nicolae Ceauşescu regime.

Ayn Rand was a Russian-American 20th century writer who was an enthusiastic supporter of laissez-faire capitalism. She wrote We the Living about the effects of Communism in Russia.

See also

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