Europe's Century of Discontent: The...

With the demise of the Soviet Union and the collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe, a number of questions regarding the conventional understanding of totalitarianism could now be viewed in the new light. The classical studies of totalitarianism were undertaken when Nazism and Fascism had been vanquished, while the Soviet system still existed: this created an asymmetry which could now be overcome. The ideological Cold War edge which sometimes accompanied debates about totalitarianism was similar

FROM COUNTER- ENLIGHTENMENT TO REVOLUTIONS OF THE 20TH CENTURY 3 FROM COUNTER- ENLIGHTENMENT TO THE REVOLUTIONS OF THE 20TH CENTURY ZEEV STERNHELL Since the fall of the Soviet Union, there has been a renewed consideration of the revolutions of the twentieth century, the results of which have been of very unequal value. To be sure, the debate on totalitarianism, whatever the exact significance of this concept may be, has always been an ideological one. However, if in the 1940s and 1950s the academic debate was generally of a high standard and produced some works which mark an epoch, this was not the case in the two last decades of the twentieth century. In those years, the intellectual output was generally characterized by two main tendencies. First of all, one sees a continuous attempt at a “ historicization of Nazism,” illustrated in particular by the so- called “ Historians’ debate” in Germany in the 1980s. 1 The “ historicization of Nazism” is an elegant term disguising an intellectual swindle aiming to give Nazism a human character by making it into a reflection of Stalinism, or in other words into an act of legitimate defense against the Communist menace. 2 However, this way of seeing Nazism as a reaction to Com-munism is part of a much broader phenomenon which one also finds in 1 See the special issue on the Historikerstreit of the New German Critique, no. 44, Spring/ Summer 1988, with contributions among others, by Jürgen Habermas, Saul Friedländer, Martin Broszat and Anson Rabinbach. 2 The theory that Fascism and Communism are twins, accomplices and enemies at the same time, and that Nazism was an imitation of Stalinism, an understandable and even natural response to the Bolshevik danger and a simple product of the First World War, is not only a banalization of Fascism and Nazism but above all a distortion of the true nature of the European disaster of our century. This idea, put forward by Ernst Nolte in the 1960s: Three Faces of Fascism: Action Française, Italian Fascism, National Socialism, New York: Holt, Reinhart & Winston, 1965, has had an unusual fate. Though scholars regard it as outmoded, like the “ fascism- as- a- parenthesis” theory, in the sphere of intellectual polemics it is accepted today by a large part of the conservative right in Europe. Just as in the 1940s anti- Communism and the cold war were the gateway through which collaborators and Fascists could return to the political and cultural fold, so in the 1990s the factor which has permitted this German apologetic thesis to be revived is the new wave of   C h a p t e r Home  | T O C

Europe's Century of Discontent: The Legacies of Fascism, Nazism and Communism


About Book Europe's Century of Discontent: The Legacies of Fascism, Nazism and Communism

Front matterTitle PageCopyrightContentsPrefacePart One. THE THEORETICAL DIMENSIONFROM COUNTER-ENLIGHTENMENT TO THE REVOLUTIONS OF THE 20TH CENTURYTHE CONCEPT OF TYRANNYTHE DECAY OF THE NATION STATE AND PEOPLES SOVEREIGNTY: THE ORIGINS OF TOTALITARIANISM REVISITEDPart Two. IDEOLOGY AND POLITICAL DYNAMICSTAKING FASCISM SERIOUSLYThe Disappearance of FascismThe Originality of Fascism: The Old QuestionsNew QuestionsTaking Fascism SeriouslyTodayNAZISM, COMMUNISM AND THE MORAL CONSEQUENCES OF THE INEFFABILITY OF MEMORYRHETORICS OF HIERARCHY: ON LINGUISTIC AND IDEOLOGICAL PREMISES OF TOTALITARIAN FASCISMTHE CHARACTERISTICS OF FASCIST REGIMES: ELITES, SINGLE PARTIES AND POLITICAL DECISION- MAKING IN FASCIST ERA DICTATORSHIPSPower and Political Decision-Making During SalazarismMussolini and Italian FascismHitler and German National SocialismConclusions: Where is Fascism as a Political Regime?Part Three. THEORY AND REALITYSLOGANS RATHER THAN CONVERSATIONTOTALITARIAN REGIMESIntroduction1. The Evolution of the Concept of Totalitarian Regimes: A Critical Review2. A Typology of Political Regimes3. Types of Totalitarian Regimes4. The Stability of Totalitarian Regimes5. Totalitarian Regimes of the Twentieth CenturyReferencesPart Four. THE COMPARATIVE DIMENSIONTHE PROBLEM OF THE PARTY IN A POLICE STATE : NAZI AND SOVIET COMPARISONSThe Place of the PartyThe Politics of Mass ParticipationConclusionsIDEOLOGY AND CONTINGENCY IN TOTALITARIANISMS VIOLENCE: A COMPARATIVE APPROACH OF NAZISM, COMMUNISM, FASCISM TOTALITARIANISM : FROM AN INSTRUMENTAL TERM IN THE PUBLIC DEBATE TO AN ANALYTICAL CATEGORY THE INTERWAR DEBATE IN FRANCEThe Comparison Between Fascism and Communism: Natural Weapon of the CentristsA Refutation of ExtremismToward the Creation of an Academic CategoryPart Five. AFTERMATH AND LEGACIESEQUALITY OF VICTIMS EQUALITY OF REGIMES?THE AMBIVALENT LEGACY OF FASCISM IN ITALYANTI-EXTREMISM, NEGATIVE REPUBLICANISM, CIVIC SOCIETY: THREE PARADIGMS FOR BANNING POLITICAL PARTIESIntroductionI. Anti-extremismII. Negative RepublicanismIII. Civic Society: Towards a New Abstraction?IV. ConclusionIN LIEU OF AN EPILOGUE: IDEOLOGY AND REALITY IN NAZISM AND COMMUNISMLIST OF CONTRIBUTORS
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