The Creation of the International Union of Students

  • Jöel Kotek
Part of the St Antony’s Series book series


The meeting that created the International Union of Students (IUS) took place in Prague in August 1946, less than a year after the founding of the WFDY in London. We have seen how unrepresentative the London meeting was, since most of the traditional youth organizations boycotted it. It was otherwise in Prague: the participants there really did represent the various political and religious tendencies. L’Union Nationale des Étudiants Français (UNEF) attended; as did the National Union of Students of England, Wales and Northern Ireland (NUS) and quite a strong delegation from the American National Coordinating Committee. The communists had been able to organize a world youth federation without the participation of the British SCNVYO or the French UPOJ; but they knew they could not create a credible international student organization without the NUS, the UNEF or the Americans.


National Union Student Organization False Allegation Student Union Secret Ballot 
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Notes and References

  1. L Jacques François Lefèvre, L’UNEF depuis 1945, Mémoire IEP, 1957–8; Lavaud Robert, Les étudiants français et la politique depuis 1945, Mémoire IEP, 1958; Alain Monchablon, Histoire de l’UNEF de 1956 h /968, PUF, 1981; De la Fournière et Borella, Le syndicalisme étudiant, (Paris: Le Seuil.) A. Belden Fields, Student Politic in France: a Study of the UNEF ( New York: Basic Books, 1970 ).Google Scholar
  2. 11.
    Muriel Jacobson, ‘Report of the World Student Congress, Prague’, official report to the YMCA-YWCA, December 1945, p. 7.Google Scholar
  3. 12.
    Peter T. Jones, The history of the National Student Association’s relations with the IUS, 1945 to 1956 (University of Pennsylvania, 1956), p. 6.Google Scholar
  4. 16.
    Pierre Gaudez, Les Étudiants ( Paris: Juillard, 1961 ), p. 18.Google Scholar
  5. 20.
    J. P. and Cl. Bachy, Les Étudiants et la Politique (Paris, 1973 ), p. 127.Google Scholar
  6. 30.
    See Maurice Lessof, ‘The World Student Congress’, The British Medical Students’ Journal, vol. 1, no. 3 (Spring Term 1947 ), p. 43.Google Scholar
  7. 32.
    Thomas Madden, ‘The International Preparatory Committee’, The British Medical Students’ Journal, vol. 1, No. 1 (1946), p. 9.Google Scholar
  8. 52.
    Gert van Maanen, in The International Student Movement ( The Hague: Interdoc, 1966, pp. 42–3 ), places the whole French delegation into the communist camp.Google Scholar
  9. McLaughlin, in Operation University ( Washington: National Youth Council, 1947, p. 7 ), has 12 of the 20 French delegates belonging to the communist movement. Personally, I do not think that the UNEF, unlike the NUS, can he counted in the communist bloc. I tend to lean towards a different explanation. If the UNEF delegation sometimes voted with the communists, it was due as much to weakness (the UNEF was still being challenged by the communists) as to policy. In 1946 the progressives Trouvat and Lebert thought it quite legitimate to ally with the communists to make their own ideas victorious. You did not have to be a communist to be opposed to Franco or to reject the corporatist spirit of most the Western national unions.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Jöel Kotek 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jöel Kotek
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre d’études en recherches internales et stratégiquesL’ université libre de BruxellesBelgium

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