viernes, 24 de octubre de 2014

Historiadores y espías

Spies, scandal and Marxist historians. Not a combination that usually goes together, but today’s release of the latest MI5 files reveals all this and more. For over a decade MI5 have regularly been releasing files which offer a fascinating insight into twentieth century British history, and the current batch are no exception. [...] 

Christopher Hill and Eric Hobsbawm. Hobsbawm and Hill were among the most influential British historians working in the twentieth century. Hobsbawm, in particular, went on to be a major public figure heavily involved in left wing politics. What the files released today reveal is that Hill and Hobsbawm had both come to the attention of the British security services many years previously due to their Marxist beliefs and association with the Communist Party of Great Britain. From the 1940s onwards it is clear that MI5 were worried about the potential for Hill and Hobsbawm to influence their students and their links with communists sympathisers both known and unknown. Hill was described in 1951 as being ‘one of the leading Communists at Oxford University’ where his activities were becoming ‘more overt and more pronounced’ (KV 2/3941). The files also chart the differing courses the men took following the Russian suppression of the Hungarian Uprising in 1956, an action which left many British communists disillusioned with the Soviet Union. Hill was one of those who saw this as a step too far, writing to another Communist Party member that ‘We have been living for too long in a world of illusions. It was a smug, cosy little world’. By contrast the files show Hobsbawm continuing his active association with the Party into the 1960s. 

[Richard Dunley, "Spies and scandals in MI5 files", National Archives, Friday 24 October 2014.] 


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