Unpatriotic History of the Second World War

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Joined: 20-04-08
Nov 1 2012 08:57
Unpatriotic History of the Second World War

The Socialist Party of Great Britain are hosting a talk by James Heartfield, author of recently published Unpatriotic History of the Second World War

It vindicates the opposition to the Second World War as a conflict, on both sides, as one between rival imperialist powers for a re-division of the world, and not at all a war of "democracy" against "fascism", a war in which both sides screwed down the working class and committed atrocities.

James Heartfield is an ex-RCPer (which used to publish Living Marxism)

The date is very appropriately Sunday 11 November (Armistice Day) at 6pm.
at the SPGB Head Office 52 Clapham High Street.

Joined: 6-01-07
Nov 1 2012 16:30

Very timely - will this be recorded?

Joined: 28-03-10
Nov 8 2012 07:56

By co-incidence, Bookmarks are relaunching Danny Gluckstein's A People's History of the Second World War on Saturday at 6.30. But although Gluckstein starts off from the same position as Heartfield that:

Governments on both sides of the Allied/Axis divide fought for world hegemony in a brutal fashion ranging from the Holocaust to the Hiroshima nuclear bomb. The war began as a fight between imperialist 'have nots' (Germany, Italy, Japan) against imperialist 'haves' (Britain, France, Russia). Thus it ended with the defeat of the former and a new carve-up of the world on Cold War lines. Stripped of anti-fascist rhetoric, the Allied governments fought to protect, extend, or create empires.

he ends up supporting the war:

The Second World War was different in essence from, for example, WWI or the Vietnam war. In its volatile combination of disparate elements it was unique, not only in the sheer scale of its wanton violence against civilians, but as a war worth fighting to end the scourge of fascism and Nazism.

I suppose that if you make a big fuss about the threat of "fascism" today (as do the SWP) then you are logically driven to this conclusion. Or maybe this is just an echo of the ideological smokescreen of "anti-fascism" under which the Allies fought the war.

Anyway, this Armistice Day weekend is providing an opportunity to hear both sides of the argument. For supporting the war on the Saturday, against on the Sunday.

whichfinder's picture
Joined: 9-04-10
Nov 26 2012 00:08

The recording of James Heartfield's talk has been uploaded to our audio section -


Rory Reid
Joined: 18-12-16
Sep 21 2017 13:22

I noticed this pdf has disappeared from the library. Copyright???

WithDefiance's picture
Joined: 6-03-13
Jan 29 2021 13:08


I would also be happy if that book would return here. Its a great resource for little known infos.

Red Marriott's picture
Red Marriott
Joined: 7-05-06
Jan 29 2021 14:34
James Heartfield is an ex-RCPer (which used to publish Living Marxism)

But more recently of the Brexit Party alongside Farage. Heartfield is apparently less unpatriotic than he used to be; https://www.thefullbrexit.com/brexit-party-heartfield
Also a journalist for the new-right Spiked. Yet in 2018 he wrote an article for Insurgent Notes on 1968 where he unrealistically complained that the International Socialists (SWP precursors) and the left were "reluctant to fight for political leadership" and so failed to seize power in 68;

The powers-that-be were thrashing around, without any sure idea of how to keep order. Militant workers kept on striking. But crucially the revolutionary forces lacked the will to step in and take control. http://insurgentnotes.com/author/jamesheartfield/