State surveillance and the communist lives: Rose Cohen and the early British communist milieu

Callaghan, JT ORCID: and Phythian, M 2013, 'State surveillance and the communist lives: Rose Cohen and the early British communist milieu' , Journal of Intelligence History, 2013 (1) .

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Rose Cohen was a prominent member of the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) in the 1920s. She relocated to Moscow with her husband Max Petrovsky, the Comintern’s UK representative, in 1927. Both were arrested and shot in 1937 during the Stalinist Great Terror. Drawing on information contained in MI5 personal files on Cohen and her closest friends and associates, this article has two aims: first, to use her case to illuminate the intelligence environment in which the CPGB operated in the 1920s, highlighting the extent to which this should be seen in terms of a contest; second, to use these files to develop our understanding of what it meant to be a Communist at this time, including the clandestine dimension, and the tensions and compromises that accompanied a Communist identity. In relation to this, the article uses the MI5 record as a basis for explaining the CPGB leadership’s reaction to Cohen’s death.

Item Type: Article
Themes: Memory, Text and Place
Schools: Schools > School of Humanities, Languages & Social Sciences
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Intelligence History
Publisher: Routledge
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 1616-1262
Funders: Non funded research
Depositing User: T Callaghan
Date Deposited: 02 May 2013 12:12
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2022 14:51

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