An example of how difficult it was for some left-orientated French intellectuals to come to terms with information about the real situation in the Soviet Union is provided by the conflict between M. Merleau-Ponty and J.-P. Sartre in 1953, which led to Merleau-Ponty’s departure from the editorship of the review journal Temps modernes. Prior to this, in 1950, Sartre had lent his signature to an article in which Merleau-Ponty reacted to information coming out about the Soviet punitive and prison system by calling into question the very socialist character of the Soviet regime. After the outbreak of the Korean war, however, Sartre adopted an unequivally pro-Soviet and pro-communist standpoint and did not wish to see Temps modernes give space to the opinions of this opposing viewpoint. In this article we provide an analysis of the letters which the two philosophers exchanged on this matter
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