[PRO-SOVIET PROPAGANDA IN GREAT BRITAIN] The War Comes First
London: Labour Monthly, . Item #1636
 pp. 23,5x15,2 cm. In original publisher’s illustrated wrappers. Minimal tears to the spine. Otherwise very good.
Scarce. First edition.
A book of extracts from the Soviet Press selected from the Radio Bulletins of the Soviet Monitor and depicting the mobilization of the civilian front in the war against the Nazis. The articles deal with the Home Front's problems and cover topics such as production, agriculture, military questions, the role of the Communist Party in the Soviet Union, etc. All of the articles are dated. Most of the texts were issued in 1942, during or after the end of the Battle of Moscow. The reports underline the heroic deeds of the Red Army men and were intended to galvanize the Communist spirit of warriors and civilians. The edition opens with a preface by Ivor Montagu (1904-1984), an English filmmaker, screenwriter, and Communist activist. Joining the Communist Party in 1931, Montagu was heavily invested in promoting anti-Fascist causes during WWII. In 1940, he enlisted as a spy for the Soviet military intelligence, the GRU. After the end of the war, Montagu was awarded the Lenin Peace Prize, given by the Soviet government to several recipients whose work furthered Socialism, primarily outside of the USSR.
The book was published by Labour Monthly, a magazine associated with the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB). Founded in 1920 through a merger of several smaller Marxist parties, the CPGB won the support of many socialist organizations and trade unions following the political fallout of the First World War. During World War II, the CPGB mirrored the Soviet position, opposing or supporting the war in line with the involvement of the USSR. After the end of World War II, CPGB membership nearly tripled, and the party reached the height of its popularity.
The book came out a year after Stalin and Winston Churchill met for the first time in Moscow. The talks started sourly; however, after hours of informal conversations, Churchill was assured that Stalin and Hitler wouldn't make separate peace terms. The November 1942 meeting became a turning point in the relationship between these two countries. Since then and during WWII, the Brits witnessed the emergence of multiple organizations supporting friendship between the USSR and Great Britain.
Worldcat shows copies of the edition in Yale University Library, Princeton University Library, Library of Congress, National Defense University Library, University of Wisconsin - Madison, University of Kansas Archives, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, and Stanford University.