International political activism in the ’50s
The World Federation of Democratic Youth and Bruno Bernini’s encounter with Mao’s China
This paper examines the role played by adult-led youth groups in providing avenues for early encounters between Italian and Chinese Communists in the ’50s. In particular, it focuses on the links built up within international organisations linked to the Soviet-sponsored peace movement at a time when direct exchange between the Italian and Chinese Communist parties had yet to start. Relying on a large variety of primary and secondary sources, some of which have never been used before, I provide evidence of how participation in Soviet-led international organisations made early political contacts and interactions possible. The focus is on Bruno Bernini, whose personal experience in China is examined within the context of the World Federation of Democratic Youth’s policies and initiatives in the early and mid-’50s.