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

10 ZEEV STERNHELL one – an élite which had come up from the front or which had been formed in their own organizations. It was that élite which alone would be capable of assuring the organic, fleshy, quasi- tribal unity of the nation. But neither the Fascists nor the Nazis had the time or the means to bring to fruition such a gigantic task. Moreover, a social revolution was incompatible with the idea of national unity. The Nazi revolution and the Fascist revolution were incapable of going beyond a political and cultural revolution. The result was that the traditional élites prospered in Italy and Germany – bankers and industrialists, military men, officials and intellectuals – on condition that they did not show too much opposition to the régime. In fact, not wishing to destroy the existing society, neither Hitler nor Mussolini even tried to replace the traditional élites in positions of authority, except at the top of the pyramid. The concept of a national revolution was integral to an intellectual debate that had been taking place for some years. At the beginning of the century, in Germany, Italy and France, this idea was already current. The intellectual structures of a national revolution existed before the war and were concretized when suitable conditions arose. Here it is interesting to note how close to each other, despite the enormous differences in their respective national histories, the three great countries of Western Europe, which with a few years difference were to make their national revolution, were around 1900. The third of these revolutions, which took place in France in 1940, was not always the least disastrous. The concepts were already in place, for the nationalism of blood and soil, of the Land and the dead, had triumphed long before August 1914; cultural determinism was well established both in a country whose national unity was very recent and in a country where the nation- state was the product of an uninterrupted political process lasting for seven or eight centuries. The revolt against the Enlightenment was a general phenomenon. The first Fascists, the heirs par excellence of nationalist particularism, convinced that the war had proved them right, had little difficulty in getting their ideas accepted by large sections of public opinion. It should also be pointed out that the transition from cultural determinism to racial determinism was made without much difficulty. It is in any case very difficult to draw a clear dividing- line between them. Even if cultural determinism, in its original Herderian form, did not necessarily end in racial determinism, it was an almost unavoidable step toward it. This explains the ease with which the racial laws were accepted not only in   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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