First Advisor

Franz Langhammer

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in German


World Languages and Literatures




German literature -- Soviet Union -- 20th century -- History and criticism, Popular fronts -- Europe -- History -- 20th century, Communism -- Europe -- History -- 20th century, Soviet Union -- Politics and government -- 1936-1953



Physical Description

1 online resource (143 p.)


Das Wort was a literary journal published by German Communist writers and fellow-travelers exiled in Moscow from 1936 to 1939. It was to be a mouthpiece for German literature in exile and to promote the Popular Front policy, which sought to unite disparate elements in non-Fascist Europe in opposition to the Nazis. Das Wort, under the editorship of German Communist writers whose close association with the Soviet Union had been well established in the previous decade, tried to provide a forum for exiled writers of various political persuasions, but was unwavering in its positive portrayal of Stalin's Soviet Union and the policies of that country. As the level of hysteria grew with the successive purges and public show trials in the Soviet Union, the journal adopted an even more eulogistic and militant attitude: any criticism or expression of doubt about Soviet policy was equated with support for Fascism. Thus the ability of the journal to contribute to the formation of a true common front in Europe to oppose Fascism was compromised from the outset by its total support for the Soviet Union. The Popular Front policy foundered on this issue, and that portion of German literature in exile which was to form the first generation of East German literature was inextricably bound to the Soviet Union well before the German Democratic Republic came in to existence.


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