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The Comité international de défense de la civilisation chrétienne and the Transnationalization of Anti-Communist Propaganda in Western Europe after the Second World War

  • Johannes Grossmann
Chapter
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Part of the The Palgrave Macmillan Transnational History Series book series (PMSTH)

Abstract

In 1966 the Portuguese postal service issued a special set of three stamps. The stamps were dedicated to the sixth international congress of the Comité international de défense de la civilisation chrétienne (CIDCC: International Committee for the Defence of Christian Culture) which was held in Lisbon at the end of March. What lay hidden behind the event could not be seen by looking at the stamps with their symbolic Christian images. It was in fact the conference of an international anti-communist propaganda agency with sections in numerous countries of Western Europe, as well as in the United States and Latin America. In terms of its political influence and financial resources, the CIDCC was one of the most significant attempts to amalgamate anti-communist forces in Western Europe in the period after the war. The Comité, which characterized itself as a kind of “Christian Kominform”,1 was different from other similar organizations, not because of the nature of its operations but on account of the religious and moral motivation behind its activities. Its members represented a Christian-conservative worldview and maintained close links with the Catholic Church. Their disapproval of communism was primarily based on their atheist doctrine, and the way in which the Comité behaved toward the institutions and dignitaries of the church.2

Keywords

Foreign Affair Moral Motivation European Economic Community Foreign Minister Death Squad 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 3.
    Philippe Chenaux, Une Europe vaticane? Entre le Plan Marshall et les Traités de Rome (Brussels: Ciaco, 1990), pp. 39–43 (40).Google Scholar
  2. 5.
    See, amongst others: Peter Coleman, The Liberal Conspiracy. The Congress for Cultural Freedom and the Struggle for the Mind of Post-War Europe (New York: Free Press, 1989);Google Scholar
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  6. 8.
    Jacques Gadille, Le concept de civilisation chrétienne dans la pensée romantique, in Jean-René Derré, Xavier de Montclos and Bernard Plongeron (eds), Civilisation chrétienne. Approche historique d’une idéologie, XVIIIe-XXe siècle (Paris: Beauchesne, 1975), pp. 183–209.Google Scholar
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    On the concept of Abendland and the idea of Christian civilization between the wars, see Dagmar Pöpping, Abendland. Christliche Akademiker und die Utopie der Antimoderne, 1900–1945 (Berlin: Metropol, 2002);Google Scholar
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  9. 10.
    See the works by Paul Lesourd: La Cité de César et la Cité de Dieu (Paris: Portiques, 1929); L’Œuvre civilisatrice et scientifique des missionnaires catholiques dans les colonies Françaises (Paris: Desclée de Brouwer, 1931); Histoire des Missions Catholiques (Paris: Arc, 1937).Google Scholar
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    For Voix Françaises, see Jacques Duquesne, Les catholiques français sous l’Occupation (Paris: Seuil, 1996), pp. 85–6.Google Scholar
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    Hans Edgar Jahn, Lebendige Demokratie. Die Praxis der politischen Meinungspflege in Deutschland (Frankfurt am Main: Ammelburg, 1956), p. 728.Google Scholar
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    For Van Zeeland’s biography and his relationship with the Comité International, see Vincent Dujardin and Michel Dumoulin, Paul van Zeeland (1893–1973) (Brussels: Racine, 1997), pp. 156–9.Google Scholar
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    In the summer of 1952, leading protagonists of the Comité international gave a series of lectures at the Summer University that the ICH organized in Santander, with notable representatives of the so-called “Abendland” movement as guests. The contributions were subsequently published in two anthologies: Aspectos económicos de la Europa actual (Madrid: Ediciones cultura hispánica, 1953) and Panorama político de la Europa actual (Madrid: Ediciones cultura hispánica, 1953). Afterwards this meeting came to be seen as the founding congress of the Centre européen de documentation et d’information (CEDI). On the “Abendland” movement and the CEDI, see Vanessa Conze, Das Europa der Deutschen. Ideen von Europa in Deutschland zwischen Reichstradition und Westorientierung (1920–1970) (Munich: Oldenbourg, 2005), pp. 127–206.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    See the interview with the former leader of the Press Group at the Department of Propaganda in Paris, Hermann Eich, reproduced in David Pryce-Jones, Paris in the Third Reich: A History of the German Occupation, 1940–1944 (London: Collins, 1981), pp. 245–8.Google Scholar
  15. 24.
    On Jean Violet and the Cercle, see Johannes Grossmann, “Ein Europa der ‘Hintergründigen’. Antikommunistische christliche Organisationen, konservative Elitenzirkel und private Außenpolitik in Westeuropa nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg”, in Johannes Wienand and Christiane Winkler (eds), Die kulturelle Integration Europas (Wiesbaden: VS, 2009), pp. 303–40, and Adrian Hänni’s contribution in this volume.Google Scholar
  16. 26.
    On Interdoc, see Giles Scott-Smith, Western Anti-Communism and the Interdoc Network: Cold War Internationale (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), and Giles Scott-Smith’s contribution in this volume.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 29.
    On the WACL, see the (admittedly quite polemical) account by Scott Anderson and Jon Lee Anderson, Inside the League: The Shocking Exposé of How Terrorists, Nazis, and Latin American Death Squads Have Infiltrated the World Anti-Communist League (New York: Dodd-Mead, 1986), and Pierre Abramovici’s contribution in this volume.Google Scholar
  18. 32.
    Eiji Takemae, Inside GHQ: The Allied Occupation of Japan and Its Legacy (London: Continuum, 2002), p. 161.Google Scholar

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© Johannes Grossmann 2014

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  • Johannes Grossmann

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