Stalin and Togliatti: Italy and the Origins of the Cold War

Stalin and Togliatti: Italy and the Origins of the Cold War
March 28, 2012 // 4:00pm — 5:30pm CWIHP

Elena Agarossi, professor of contemporary history at the Scuola Superiore di Pubblica Amministrazione in Rome and member of the Wilson Center European Alumni Association will lead a panel discussion on her latest book entitled Stalin and Togliatti: Italy and the Origins of the Cold War which was co-authored with Victor Zaslavsky, who died late in 2009, was professor of political sociology at the Free International University for Social Sciences in Rome. Stalin and Togliatti reveals the dependence of the Italian Communist Party on Soviet decisionmaking in the early Cold War and the willingness of Stalin to sacrifice the interests of the Italian Communist Party to Soviet foreign interests. It explores the connection between the domestic Italian politics and the international affairs during the final phases of the Second World War and in the first years of the Cold War. The authors employ previously classified documents in Russian and Italian archives, including reports to Stalin on the virtually daily meetings of Palmiro Togliatti, head of the Italian Communist Party, with Soviet diplomats. This recent, post-revisionist scholarship underscores the role of Stalin’s ambitions and their incompatibility with liberal-democratic systems in the development of the Cold War. Stalin and Togliatti come out as shrewd politicians, implacable enemies of the capitalist West, yet acutely aware of the limits of their power. Stalin and Togliatti is a translation and expansion of a prizewinning book published in Italian in 1997 and updated in 2007.

Joining Agarossi on the panel is Vladislav Zubok, associate professor in the department of history at Temple University and Mark Kramer, director of the Harvard Project for Cold War Studies. Christian F. Ostermann, director of the History and Public Policy Program will chair the event. Stalin and Togliatti: Italy and the Origins of the Cold War was co-published by the Wilson Center Press as part of the CWIHP book series.

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