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French Socialist Party Campaign Poster Illustrating Soviet Concentration Camps 

Large political broadside poster published by the Section Française de l’Internationale Ouvrière (SFIO), utilizing an image of a map of the Soviet Gulag System as a political message to vote for the French Socialist Party.

The map illustrates the extensive system of concentration camps, spread out over nearly half of the Soviet Union.   The map is based upon the work of Russian American journalist Don Levine.  Levin's map began as a collaboration between the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) and the United Nations Economic and Social Council (UNESCO). Levine, a Russian-American journalist, was underwritten by the CIA and the Department of State. The map was first published in the anti-Communist magazine Plain Talk and later by Time. The Voice of America publicized the map all over the world, leading to frequent requests for reprints.

The map extends across the Soviet Union, illustrating the forced labor camps, which are marked by red dots and by the hammer and sickle, with work areas denoted by red shading.  

During World War II, the SFIO was active in the French Resistance and cooperated with General Charles de Gaulle.  Once France was liberated, the SFIO purged pacifists and supporters of the Vichy France government.

In the first elections after the War, the SFIO was a powerful voice, garnering 23 percent of the popular vote and 146 seats in the Chamber of Deputies.  As a result, it was a key part of a coalition government with the Parti Communiste Français (PCF) and the Christian Democratic Popular Republican Movement (Mouvement Républicain Populaire).   After 1945, SFIO membershhip fell by 50% and its share of the popular vote averagd about 15 percent of the vote and its relationship with the PCF worsened, with a result that by 1950, it held far less influence in French politics.