In 1944, to honor the Allied victory in Italy, the great Arturo Toscanini–a refugee from Fascism in his home country–decided to conduct a performance of Verdi’s “Hymn of the Nations”. “Hymn” is a composition that Verdi orginaly built around the national anthems of Britain, France, and Italy. In order to honor all four of the major Allies, Toscanini decided to add “The Star Spangled Banner” for the U.S. and “The Internationale” for the Soviet Union. The music was performed by the NBC Symphony Orchestra, with the Westminister Choir and the great tenor Jan Peerce as soloist; conducted by Toscanini. It was filmed as a featurette to be shown in movie theaters, and was narrated by Burgess Meredith.

In the early 50’s, at the height of the Red Scare, U.S. censors removed the portion of this performance that featured the “Internationale”.

For years this sequence in the original featurette was considered forever lost. But recently it was rediscovered in Alaska and now this rousing rendition of the Internationale–together with chorale and orchestra under the direction of a legendary conductor–can now be enjoyed again.

As you listen to this song, remember that there have been times and places when singing this song could get you immediately arrested and or killed or “dissappeared”. Germany under the Nazis, the U.S. in the 1950’s, Chile in September 1973…people suffered and died over this song. Let us remember those who have suffered for Socialism and carry with us the knowledge in our hearts that the great truths of Socialism shall triumph someday.