The World Anti-Communist League: Origins, Structures and Activities

  • Pierre Abramovici
Part of the The Palgrave Macmillan Transnational History Series book series (PMSTH)


There is a type of no-compromise anti-communism that can be referred to as militant or “fighting” anti-communism. Many of the groups that adopted this approach during the Cold War were gathered together in the only transnational organization that achieved global representation: the World Anti-Communist League (WACL). Although the WACL came into existence in response to the activities of the Soviet Union and the world communist movement during the 1950s and 1960s, its origins go back to the Bolshevik revolution.


Annual Assembly Liberation Theology Death Squad Bolshevik Revolution Communist Threat 
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  1. 1.
    See Alain Guérin, Les commandos de la guerre froid (Paris: Julliard, 1969).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    The best example is Frédéric Laurent, L’Orchestre noir (Paris: Stock, 1978). I wrote my first article on the WACL in 1979 making use of much of this material.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    John Lee Anderson and Scott Anderson, Inside the League (New York: Dodd Mead, 1986).Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Penny Lernoux, Cry of the People (New York: Doubleday, 1980).Google Scholar
  5. 6.
    John Dinges investigated the Condor network but drew links with the WACL, not the CAL. See Dinges, The Condor Years (New York: New Press, 2004).Google Scholar
  6. 7.
    See J. Patrice McSherry, Predatory States: Operation Condor and Covert War in Latin America (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2005).Google Scholar
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  11. 18.
    The Consejo Episcopal Latinoamericano (CELAM: Latin American Episcopal Conference) was formed in 1955 in Rio de Janeiro by the Catholic bishops on the continent. It was CELAM that pushed the Second Vatican Council (1962–65) towards a more progressive stance, preparing the way for the Medellin conference of 1968 in support of liberation theology. Considered “Marxist” by the conservative church establishment (and Opus Dei and some Jesuits), CELAM represented a major split within the post-Council Church. Pope John Paul II condemned the “Marxist aspects” of liberation theology in 1987. See Daniel Levine and Gilbert Vincent, “The Impact of Liberation Theology in Latin America”, Archives des sciences sociales des religions 71 (1990), pp. 43–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 23.
    A former OSS Jedburgh during the Second World War, in the late 1960s Singlaub was a field officer during the secret CIA operations in Tibet and was involved in the Phoenix Program as head of the MAGVSOG (Special Operation Group) in Vietnam. In 1977, while Chief of Staff of US Forces in South Korea, he publicly criticized President Carter’s decision to withdraw US troops from the Korean Peninsula. He was relieved from duty and subsequently resigned from the military. He went on to co-found the Western Goals Foundation, a conservative lobby group, in 1979, followed by the US Council for World Freedom, the US chapter of the WACL, in 1981. He was fully involved in the Iran-Contra affair. See Singlaub’s memoirs, Hazardous Duty: An American Soldier in the Twentieth Century (New York: Summit Books, 1991).Google Scholar

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© Pierre Abramovici 2014

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  • Pierre Abramovici

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