The period from 1945 to 1989
After the Second World War, the situation of the parties and movements that followed Marx changed fundamentally. 1956 marked an important turning point as the 20th Congress of the CPSU initiated a programme of “de-Stalinisation”; this partially delegitimised Soviet Marxism. 1968 was also crucial, as student and worker unrest occurred in many countries.
Furthermore, the post-war period was characterised by renewed broadening and subsequent divides within these parties and movements. From the mid-1950s, the canonised Soviet-style Marxism-Leninism, which had been posited as universally binding, had begun to erode. Even within the dominion of the CPSU and its dependent states, there were numerous attempts to discuss alternatives to Moscow’s theoretical orthodoxy and attempts were made to open up the debate that had followed Marx to new thinking. At the same time, and especially after 1968, the tendency towards the academisation of Marxist theory finally gained traction, although it had been noticeable during the interwar period. By the late 1970s, at least in the “Western world”, “Marxism” had become noticeably less attractive.