Willi Munzenbery, the League Against Imperialism, and the Comintern, 1925-1933 ( 2 Volume Set)

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A monumental study filled with ‘never before’ revealed information and facts from the archives in Moscow, Berlin, Amsterdam, London and Stockholm uncovering why the Comintern established and supported the League against Imperialism and for National Independence (LAI, 1927-37) and its anti-imperialist agenda. A riveting study of intrigue, power struggles, and personal ambitions deftly defined by communist ideology and strategy with eminent activists like Münzenberg, Nehru and Albert Einstein this is a ‘must have’ resource reference.

This book represents the product of a very substantial amount of original research which transforms our understanding of the history of the League against Imperialism. Until Petersson availed himself of the opportunities afforded by the opening of the Russian archives comparatively little was known about the LAI, its organization, its relations with the Comintern, or the role of its principal players, particularly that of Willi Munzenberg.


“What is most remarkable about Petersson’s research, in fact, is the amount of detail that he has been able to document and to reveal: where there had been scarcity there is now abundance…Petersson has provided a new way of understanding the history of colonialism and its opponents in the twentieth century…by putting together a historical narrative about a somewhat shadowy and secretive organization from such a complex range of sources concerned with activities which were deliberately designed to make their operation opaque to any outsider.”
- Robert JC Young,
Professor of English, Comparative Literature,
New York University

Table of Contents

Volume I
Commendatory Foreword by Professor Robert JC Young
List of Abbreviations
Previous Research: Historiography in Passim
Archives, Documents and Method
Linking the Ties that Bind Together
Part I
Chapter 1
Conceiving the Anti-Colonial Project

Lenin, the Comintern and the Colonial Question
Internationale Aebeiterhilfe, Philanthropy and the Colonial Question
Hands off China and Against the Cruelties in Syria
Selling the Anti-Colonial project
Chapter 2

The LACO, Comintern and Berlin
En route to Brussels: Assembling the Anti-Imperialist Network
The Aggravated Network
Part II
Chapter 3

Euphoria (not Utopia)
Gather All Visionaries and Utopian Dreamers
The LAI “Organism” Investigated and Experienced
Chapter 4
Brussels Revisited

The End of Euphoria
Chapter 5
Utopia Redefined, Part I

Adapting to Ideology, and Chatto’s Network
The Reversed Trojan Horse
The Arnot Connection: Evaluation of the Colonial
Work and the “Colonial Conference”
Chapter 6
Utopia Redefined, Part II

Consolidation Models
Bound for Utopia
Utopia Disrupted, Frankfurt am Main,
Volume II
Part III
Chapter 7
Anni confusionis

Aftermath: The Onset of the Anni confusionis
The Crisis
A Languishing Movement, Part I
The Trial
Chapter 8
One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

The Return to a United Front
Hub of the Anti-Imperialist Movement
Revival (or Decline?)
Chapter 9

A Languishing Movement, Part II
Prologue to the End
Chapter 10
Collapse and Ruin

Organisation No More
Chapter 11
Postscript: The LAJ in Exile – Paris 1933 and London 1933-37 – A New Beginning … and the End…

Appendix I: Chronology 1925-1933
Appendix IIL Dramatis Personae
Bibliography: Archives, Sources and Literature

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