Communist Party Historians Group

The Communist Party Historians Group, a group within the Communist Party of Great Britain ( CPGB ) from 1946 to 1956, formed an influential group of British Marxist historian who contributed to the history from below. Its members included leading British historian. In accordance with their political positions many members completed their projects rather from institutions of adult education as from academic institutions out. Founded in 1952 some of its members, the influential socio-historical journal Past and Present.

Known members

  • Robert Browning
  • Maurice Dobb
  • Christopher Hill
  • Rodney Hilton
  • Charles Hobday
  • Eric Hobsbawm
  • Victor Kiernan
  • John Morris
  • A. L. Morton
  • George Rudé
  • Raphael Samuel
  • John Saville
  • Dorothy Thompson
  • E. P. Thompson
  • Dona Torr
  • Brian Pearce

Objectives and methods

There are essentially two objectives given the work of the Communist Party Historians Group:

This dualism had already expressed Marx: "Men make their own history but not under circumstances chosen themselves."

To bring the action of the lower layers within the official account of British history to advantage, required originality and perseverance during the research process: It meant paying attention to marginal voices in texts in which the persons concerned were hardly mentioned or depicted as passive. These techniques also influenced feminist historians and the Subaltern Studies Group.

1956 and later

After 1956, the group lost many prominent members, as the uprising in Hungary, Khrushchev's secret speech and other factors led to a general shift in the minds of many Marxists. Many members of the group became leading members of the New Left, especially Samuel, Saville and Thompson.

Other members, including Eric Hobsbawm, not stepped out and launched in 1956, the quarterly series of monographs Our History. The CP History Group existed until the dissolution of the CPGB in 1991 and then could not even increase the number of its members and their scientific production, as the party was already in terminal decline. In 1992, she founded new as Socialist History Society (SHS ). Membership there is not dependent on the membership of a political party.

SHS published twice a year their journal Socialist History and a series of monographs under the title Occasional Papers.