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Mark Edele

Eternal life Again and again in this book, the term ‘totalitarianism’ has served as a historiographical beacon. We have seen how ‘revisionism’ was construed as totalitarianism's other in the historiographical fights of the 1980s. We encountered Moshe Lewin's flirtation with the term, and his groping for alternatives, before exploring the work of Richard Pipes, a major proponent of understanding the Soviet Union as ‘totalitarian’. We demonstrated how the unrevisionist revisionist, Sheila Fitzpatrick, used the concept, while arguing against the

in Debates on Stalinism
Empire and nation
Mark Edele

Revolution (1990), and Russia under the Bolshevik Regime (1993) – elaborated a coherent vision of the origins of Stalinist totalitarianism out of the traditions of Russian patrimonialism and imperialism. 7 To Pipes, Stalinism was the essence of Bolshevik totalitarianism, a fusion of revolutionary practice with Russian culture. Pipes was also one of the founding fathers of the study of nations in the Soviet context. Finally, Pipes was an anti-Soviet public intellectual, pundit and policy adviser – a part of his career beyond the topic of this book. 8 His public work

in Debates on Stalinism
Open Access (free)
Brad Evans

of my forthcoming book ( Evans, 2021 ). Bibliography Arendt , H. ( 1970 ), On Violence ( New York : Harvest Books ). Arendt , H. ( 1976 ), The Origins of Totalitarianism ( New York : Harcourt Brace ). Bauman , Z. ( 1991 ), Modernity and the Holocaust ( Cambridge : Polity Press ). Brassier , R. ( 2007 ), Nihil Unbound: Enlightenment and Extinction ( New York : Palgrave Macmillan ). Cavarero , A. ( 2007 ), Horrorism: Naming Contemporary Violence ( New York : Columbia University Press ). Deleuze , G. ( 1995

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
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Christian intellectuals in Britain and the crisis of Europe, 1937–1949

From the late 1930s to the end of the 1940s a high-profile group of mostly Christian intellectuals met to discuss the related crises of totalitarianism, war and cultural decline in the democratic West. Brought together by the leading missionary and ecumenist Joseph H. Oldham, the group included prominent writers, thinkers, activists and scholars, among them T. S. Eliot, John Middleton Murry, Karl Mannheim, John Baillie, Alec Vidler, H. A. Hodges, Christopher Dawson, Kathleen Bliss and Michael Polanyi. Among its wider circle of correspondents and supporters were the era’s most influential Christian authors and thinkers – such as Reinhold Niebuhr, William Temple, Jacques Maritain, Dorothy L. Sayers and C. S. Lewis. The participants in the Oldham group saw faith as a uniquely powerful resource for cultural and social renewal, and they sought to integrate diverse Christian viewpoints, reconcile faith and secular society, and reshape post-war British society. In an ‘age of extremes’ they pursued a variety of ‘middle ways’ with regard to topics such as the social relevance of faith, the relationship of Christianity to secularity, the legitimacy of capitalism, the role of State planning, the value of patriotism, the meaning of freedom and the value of egalitarianism.


Anglophobia in Fascist Italy traces the roots of Fascist Anglophobia from the Great War and through the subsequent peace treaties and its development during the twenty years of Mussolini’s regime. Initially, Britain was seen by many Italians as a ‘false friend’ who was also the main obstacle to Italy’s foreign policy aspirations, a view embraced by Mussolini and his movement. While at times dormant, this Anglophobic sentiment did not disappear in the years that followed, and was later rekindled during the Ethiopian War. The peculiarly Fascist contribution to the assessment of Britain was ideological. From the mid-1920s, the regime’s intellectuals saw Fascism as the answer to a crisis in the Western world and as irredeemably opposed to Western civilisation of the sort exemplified by Britain. Britain was described as having failed the ‘problem of labour’, and Fascism framed as a salvation ideology, which nations would either embrace or face decay. The perception of Britain as a decaying and feeble nation increased after the Great Depression. The consequence of this was a consistent underrating of British power and resolve to resist Italian ambitions. An analysis of popular reception of the Fascist discourse shows that the tendency to underrate Britain had permeated large sectors of the Italian people, and that public opinion was more hostile to Britain than previously thought. Indeed, in some quarters hatred towards the British lasted until the end of the Second World War, in both occupied and liberated Italy.


Debates on Stalinism gives an up-to-date, concise overview of major debates in the history of Stalinism. It introduces readers to changing approaches since the 1950s, and more broadly to scholarly views on this society reaching back to the 1930s. It argues that writing the history of Stalinism is not only about the Soviet past. It is also centrally shaped by current anxieties and concerns of the scholars studying it. In short, there is a politics of writing the history of Stalinism. Combining biographical investigation of leading historians with thematic and chronological analysis of major topics of study, Debates on Stalinism uncovers the history of these politics. The book provides a snapshot of the state of the field and suggests possible future avenues of further research.

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Mark Edele

If revisionism did not break the original frame built by the totalitarian pioneers of the study of Stalinism, neither did subsequent scholarship. In the 1990s, historians became interested in the subjective aspect of Stalinism: how was it experienced by individuals? A related group explored a comparative angle: how different was Stalinism to other modern societies? Others moved into the post-war years and soon the Second World War. Finally, ‘totalitarianism’ was reinvented as a term, a revival which was eased by the compatibility of most ‘revisionist’ and

in Debates on Stalinism
Freedom, democracy and liberalism
John Carter Wood

must protect democratic institutions that had subjected political power to principles of justice. 45 Democracy and the freedoms of expression and association were at the heart of Murry’s vision of ‘the free society’. 46 However, liberal freedoms alone were neither a bulwark against totalitarianism nor a route to a Christian society. Political freedoms were seen as insufficient without social justice and a consensus on the purpose of freedom. Civil liberties were, Oldham stressed, only ‘half the picture’, and weakened by poverty and inequality. 47 Baillie agreed

in This is your hour
Pain and prayer, 1920–1970
Brian Heffernan

Therese of Lisieux’s ‘little way’ greatly influenced the spiritual lives of Dutch Carmelites after the First World War. Therese was regarded as a powerful miracle worker, but trust in God’s loving mercy and the spiritual childhood she personified were the greater part of the attraction. She provided Carmelite nuns with a new sense of their gendered role as ‘love in the heart of the church’. But the teachings of the Little Flower did not herald the end of the old way: victim spirituality. On the contrary, the rise of totalitarian ideologies, the destructive world wars and the Cold War gave it new depth and purchase. As the chapter shows, victim spirituality seemed a sensible and attractive proposition to twentieth-century Carmelites well into the 1950s, including to intellectually accomplished women such as Edith Stein, who had particular reasons of her own to embrace it. The new interest during the interwar years in Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross offered the prospect of a new way: a supposedly ‘truly Carmelite’ spirituality beyond dolorism. This came to the fore particularly in the 1950s, when discourse about identity began to concentrate on the Carmelites as contemplatives and the focus shifted from pain and penance to prayer. The chapter also looks at media representations of contemplative nuns and the influence that press coverage had on these changes.

in Modern Carmelite nuns and contemplative identities
Rammstein for GrownUps - Laibach
John Robb

camp pop with the contrast between Mina Spiller’s beautiful, almost operatic vocals and Milan Fras’s ever-present bass growl helping to define their ever-changing muse. Meanwhile, Laibach create thought-provoking projects that point the finger at the many modern ills of totalitarianism, hypocrisy and ‘the ways things are’ whilst utilising the aesthetic and exaggerating its pompous stupidity. Their decades of eccentric, brilliantly conceptual and artful releases have encompassed and embraced a bewildering variety of

in The art of darkness