Reviews two formerly unpublished texts by Franco Venturi on the communist idea, written on the eve of and during World War II. The two writings provide a reliable evidence of Venturi’s intellectual itinerary, in a phase when his historical apprenticeship was strictly intertwined with his political militancy. Venturi’s interest for the utopian communism of the late 18th century combines with the urgency to involve the Soviet Union and the communist movement in the death struggle of democracies against fascist regimes. Sterilizing the totalitarian germ inherent to the originary idea of communism, rescuing it from the hypetrophic statism that accompanied its development, became for Venturi both a suggestion of historical interpretation and a political programme.
Keywords: Communism, Utopian Socialism, Totalitarianism, Historiography