The international democratic press carried many articles,
commentaries and reports on the work of the World Congress
of Culture in Defence of Peace, convened in Worclaw (Poland)
on August 25-28 (1948.mn)
It would have been simple for delegates to succumb to the
temptation of reaching formal unanimity, avoiding differences
and making general declarations about peace and culture,
which all of them could have signed readily, even those who
are preparing for a new war.
As a matter of fact, one of the speakers, the British delegate
Olaf Stapledon, fell into this temptation. In an endeavour to
formulate a common united programme of intellectuals in
defence of peace, Stapledon proposed in his report an
impracticable plan of reconciling the different ideologies
instead of a plan for definite action against the warmongers.
Had the Congress taken this path, it inevitably would have
become entangled in abstract pacifist phraseology which would
have been very much to the taste of the warmongers, those
experts in the art of camouflage.
It was clear from the reports of Fadeyev (Soviet Union) and
Prenant (France), and later from Amado (Brazil) and Donini
(Italy) when they took part in discussion, that the Congress
intended primarily to define clearly who were the warmongers,
the enemies of peace and culture. The cardinal task of the
Congress was not to elaborate general resolutions about “inter-
penetration of Western and Eastern cultures” but to show what
popular and national forces were in fact opposing the forces of
imperialism in the battle for peace or war.
It was important not only to make speeches against imperialism
in general but to name the imperialist circles which today, as
Hitler did yesterday, brazenly declare their aim of world
domination, come forward as the instigators of a new war and
threaten the peace and independence of the peoples. To have
concealed from the Congress this main problem of determining
who are the warmongers, to have lulled it with eloquent
speeches, slurring over or avoiding all sharp issues, would have
meant that the Congress had attained not real results.
In his report, Fadeyev, with great force and conviction, posed
the problem of exposing the warmongers as the central issue in
the discussion. Certain delegates, such as professor Taylor
(Great Britain) tried to make light of the responsibility of the
United States imperialists and their stooges, but the concrete
proof offered by speakers from Italy, France, Latin America,
Africa, Asia and even from the United States itself
convincingly corroborated the indictment against the
instigators of war, against Franco’s accomplices, against the
executioners of the Greek people, all of whom are threatening
the national culture and independence of Brazil, France, Italy
and many other countries harnessed to the yoke of the dollar.
The most substantial result of the Wroclaw Congress is that this
Congress, in the name of the representatives of world culture,
clearly defined the enemies of peace and culture in the person
of the Wall Street war instigators and their accomplices in the
other capitalist countries. This was the finest contribution of
the progressive intelligentsia to the struggle for peace.
The Congress Manifesto leaves no possibility of
misinterpretation. It lays bare also the responsibility of those
reactionary forces in the different countries of Europe, which
have become the accomplices of U.S. imperialist circles in
their policy of war and enslavement of peoples.
However, in the struggle for a united front of the intelligentsia
in defence of peace and progressive culture it is not enough
merely to expose the war-makers. The progressive
intelligentsia must clearly recognise that today the struggle for
peace in each country takes on the concrete form of consistent
defence of national culture and independence against the threat
of new imperialist domination.
They declared that a world culture could only be built through its own free development and mutual enrichment—not on the ruins of a suppressed national cultural.
Here, too, some delegates tried to divert the congress
along channels of a colourless cosmopolitanism, with the aid of
which certain groups servilely camouflage American
imperialism’s fantastic plans for world domination.
In the course of discussion this cosmopolitanism, which is a
negation of the sovereignty and national independence of
peoples, was denounced as one of the main weapons used by
the ruling imperialist clique to lull the vigilance of the peoples,
and to win over to their side a large section of the intelligentsia
who in this way become accomplices of the imperialists in their
schemes for world domination.
The Congress counterposed to the imperialist plans for a
“world government”, “super-national sovereignty” and the
“negation of national sovereignty”, a concrete policy of peace
and defence of the national independence, sovereignty and
culture of all peoples. And once again the Soviet delegation
demonstrated by its speeches, and by its multi-national
composition that the free development of culture, the
strengthening of national independence and sovereignty are
today the best guarantee of the peaceful co-existence of
The unbreakable ties between the struggle for peace and the
struggle for national independence and culture became even
more evident after many speakers—among them Ehrenburg
and Cesaire and the delegates from Poland and Latin-America
—pointed out that there is a new content in the struggle for
national independence and culture now that the working people
are taking over the leadership of the struggle.
Lenin wrote that every national culture has its latent elements of democratic and socialist culture, for in every nation there are working and exploited masses whose living conditions inevitably give birth to a democratic and socialist ideology.
Since Lenin wrote this, we have seen the victory of Socialism
in the Soviet Union, the beginning of a new culture in the new
democracies, the workers and the mass of the people taking the
decisive role in the struggle against fascism in all countries at a
time when the bourgeoisie and its ideologists have betrayed the
national independence in their countries. These factors have
enabled the democratic and socialist principles in the national
culture of all countries to develop rapidly. The Soviet Union—
where flourishes cultures, national in form and socialist in
content—is showing the way to peace and culture for all
peoples, thus helping the struggle of the masses in different
countries for their progressive culture.
The discussion showed that the new relations between the
intelligentsia and the people and the new tasks of the
intelligentsia in the struggle for peace, correspond to this new
content in the struggle for peace, for national independence and
Certain delegates tried to maintain that intellectuals should
remain aloof from the struggle. But the Congress expressed
itself uncompromisingly in favour of a culture connected with
the people and in the service of the people, for a culture which
takes part with all its forces to play its part in the day-to-day
struggle of the people. The delegates saw in the Soviet Union
an example of the invincibility of this culture and that is why,
at the congress, they realised the leading role of the Soviet
people and of their culture in the struggle for peace.
The Wroclaw Congress also demonstrated that among men of
culture also the forces of peace, democracy and socialism are
growing, organising and coming out against the forces of war,
imperialism and oppression. The ice has been broken, the path
charted and the first battle in defence of peace and culture won.
In our day, when all roads lead to Communism, the Communist intellectuals have proved, and demonstrate by new deeds, that they are at their posts in the front ranks of the battle for peace.