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IRAN Between Two Revolutions

IRAN Between Two Revolutions:This work began in 1964 as a study on the social bases of the Tudeh
party, the main communist organization in Iran. Focusing on the short
period between the party's formation in 1941 and its drastic repression
in 1953, the original work tried to answer the question why an organization
that was clearly secular, radical, and Marxist was able to
grow into a mass movement in a country noted for its fervent Shi'ism,
traditional monarchism, and intense nationalism. The study, however,
gradually expanded as I realized that the Tudeh success could not be
fully assessed without constant references to the failures, On the one
hand, ofits many contemporary nationalistic parties; and, on the other
hand, of its ideological predecessors, especially the Social Democrats
of 1909-1919, the Socialists of the 1920s, and the Communists of the
1930s. The study further expanded as the 1977-1979 revolution unfolded,
shattered the Pahlevi regime, and brought to the fore not the
Tudeh but the clerical forces. Thus the study has evolved into an
analysis of the social bases of Iranian politics, focusing on how socioeconomic
development has gradually transformed the shape of Iranian
politics from the eve of the Constitutional Revolution in the late
'nineteenth century to the triumph of the Islamic Revolution in February
The book is divided into three parts. Part I provides a historical
background to the understanding ofmodern Iran, surveying the nineteenth
century, the Constitutional Revolution, and the reign of Reza
Shah. Part II analyzes the social bases of politics in the period between
the fall of Reza Shah's autocracy in August of 1941 and the establishment
ofMuhammad Reza Shah's autocracy in August 1953. These
thirteen years are the only major period in the modern era in which
the historian can look below the political surface into the social infrastructure
of Iranian politics, and thereby examine in depth the
ethnic as well as the class roots of the various political movements.
Readers who are not interested in the internal workings of the communist
movement in this period are advised to skim Chapters 7 and
8, which examine in detail the class and ethnic bases of the Tudeh

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