In the run-up to local and European elections on May 22, many flyers and leaflets drop through our letterboxes, promoting the individual parties and candidates. Contrast these with a leaflet found in the University Library on 28 May 1941 produced by the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB), and deemed important enough to keep for posterity. Times have changed – political leaflets “left” in the Library these days would probably go straight in the bin for recycling.
The message of the leaflet is clear: the CPGB denounced Churchill’s Tory-Labour coalition government and issued a rallying call to the people of Britain to take action for “Bread, freedom and a people’s peace!” and an end to the imperialist war.
The timing of this leaflet is interesting. Less than one month later, the Soviet Union was invaded by Germany, an action which led to the CPGB changing its position immediately, coming out in support of the war and giving its backing to the coalition government for the next four years.