Palmiro Togliatti

Saint and Sinner
February 08, 2010

Bitter Spring: A Life of Ignazio Silone By Stanislao Pugliese (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 426 pp., $35) In June 1950, Ignazio Silone and Arthur Koestler, two of the most prominent anti-communist writers of that era, attended a convivial dinner party in West Berlin. They had gathered with several other intellectuals to celebrate the founding conference of the Congress for Cultural Freedom, an American-sponsored riposte to the Soviet Cominform’s “peace conferences” of the preceding year.

Togliatti's Assassin Helped Moscow
July 26, 1948

It is singular testimony to the times that no one in Italy is praying more ardently for Palmiro Togliatti’s recovery than his own worst enemies. There is no doubting the sincerity of Prime Minister Alcide de Gasperi’s anguished cry that the attempted assassination of the Communist leaders was “the worst thing that could have happened.” Togliatti alive in Italy as the competent leader of a lacerated Left opposition, was high in the esteem of his followers but tainted with the stains of their recent defeat. Togliatti dead, murdered, would be invulnerable.