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

6 ZEEV STERNHELL Once one accepts the idea that social and economic problems are psychological phenomena, one can change the relationships between people, one can transform life without touching the social and economic system. If exploitation is a psychological and not an economic phenomenon, in order to end it, it is sufficient to give people a common myth, to give everyone the feeling of working for the good of the country, of being in the service of some higher cause rather than for their personal interests. As if by a miracle, exploitation and alienation disappear. One has only to add Fascist camaraderie, uniforms and grand parades to give a sense of belongingness and equality. One can destroy the moral and intellectual content of liberalism while preserving the capitalist economy and its social structures together with all the benefits of modernization and technology. Fascism showed that the world could be changed by the force of will, that a moral and political revolution, a revolution involving the nation as a whole, was sufficient to give a whole generation the feeling of entering into a new era. It was sufficient to regard the leader as a new Christ and to commune in him, and the nation would be restored to its natural unity. This was an idea that the revolutionaries of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries had never considered. This was an essential aspect of the novelty of Fascism and of its attraction. The essential difference between the two types of revolution required from the beginning a new form of conceptualization. It was then, just after the Great War, that there appeared for the first time the concept of totalitarianism. This does not in any way mean that the revolutions of the twentieth century were a product, and certainly not an exclusive product, of that war. Invented by the founders of Italian Fascism, this concept had a major objective: the Fascist intellectuals wished to demonstrate the great originality of their enterprise, to show the entire world that the fascisization of the Italian State was something other than a simple change of régime, and from the end of the 1920s, something other than one more dictatorship. The Fascist intellectuals were writing for people who were acquainted with Montesquieu and Tocqueville, and they wished to show that it was not a new despotism or a new tyranny that was coming into being. For them, the essential difference was that the new régime was an enterprise of civilization: before becoming a political phenomenon, Fascism was a cultural phenomenon. Thus, in the Fascist imagery, the moment when Mussolini became prime minister was the beginning of a new era,   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 PEOPLEÌS SOVEREIGNTY: THE ORIGINS OF TOTALITARIANISM REVISITEDPart Two. IDEOLOGY AND POLITICAL DYNAMICSTAKING FASCISM SERIOUSLYThe Disappearance of FascismThe Originality of Fascism: The Old QuestionsNew QuestionsTaking Fascism Seriously÷TodayNAZISM, 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 TOTALITARIANISMÌS 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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