4. Oui

Attribution (front or state): Front (International Union of Students (IUS))
Author/publication: International Student Peace Conference (Prague
Publication date: 1959

Remarks: Whereas “Whoever Loves the World…” was a state-sponsored film about a front event, the World Youth Festival, and whereas said Festival was a collaboration between two fronts, WFDY (youth) and IUS (students), this booklet was the product of a single front, absent state affiliation. The International Student Peace Conference of 1959 took place in the IUS’s hometown of Prague, where its executive offices employed representatives of student unions from five continents. The IUS was working especially hard in the years when the conference took place to recruit and admit student organizations from beyond the eastern bloc. If Stalinism had painted them red in the early 1950s, it was the fronts’ mandate toward the end of the decade to recoup lost legitimacy by reclaiming tolerance and neutrality. The response from the West, however, and particularly from the Social Democratic center-left, was tepid. This event and the document designed to publicize it–most notably international attendance and thus buttress the IUS’s claim to be a transnational representative organization, thus came it a key juncture in front history. The Bulgarian’s ideological bias is unsurprising. But more telling of the Soviet-backed fronts’ dilemma is the British statement. “Government cannot despise public opinion,” she argues, accompanied by a call for peace and international contact. For how better to resolve an ideological conflict than to permit free debate, and let “History […] decide.” It is true that the Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev was saying many of these same things at the time. As was the IUS, hungry for Western attendance, and with it, legitimacy. Nonetheless, there was no doubting the liberal, Western ring to the British representative’s statement.

Supplementary media: Here is the cover to the 136-page pamphlet in which the pages appear. Notice the peace dove, a favorite motif in eastern-bloc propaganda, one that Picasso reinforced when in 1951 he drew a white peace dove to help WFDY and IUS promote the III. World Festival of Youth and Students in East Berlin.