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I. T. Frolov and A. V. Ado, eds., Filosofskii slovar™, 6th ed., revised and expanded (Moscow:

Izdatel™stvo politicheskoi literatury, 1991).
In major works on totalitarianism, scholars of the period offered very little discussion of the

Nazi-Stalinist analogy. In the Kara-Murza volume, the philosopher L. V. Poliakov notes that
“for me, these [the Nazi and the Stalinist] are two worlds that are different in principle” (29).
The historian B. S. Orlov was more interested in the comparison “ which had ¬rst struck him as a
15-year-old looking at German stamps showing the same muscular workers and happy peasant
women as in of¬cial Soviet art, and later been reinforced by the Romm ¬lm “ but emphasized
contrast in social, demographic, and geographical circumstances as well (“Germaniia i SSSR v
30-e gody: skhodstva i razlichiia,” Totalitarizm kak istoricheskii fenomen, 97“107). Like other
Russian scholars who invoke the comparison, Orlov sees Nazism, like Stalinism, as a distorted
form of socialism.
Achim Siegel, The Totalitarian Paradigm after the End of Communism: Towards a Theoretical

Reassessment (Amsterdam; Atlanta: Rodopi, 1998).
Michael Geyer

are indications of the general trend.63 In the slightly more delimited ¬eld at
hand, the history of Stalinism and Nazism, it is a scholarship on one hand
that seeks out the everydayness of the regime and, quite commonly, links this
agenda to an exploration of extreme violence in both societies.64 By the same
token, there is also a heightened concern for a scholarship that aims to place
these regimes in their European and global contexts.65
The current situation leaves us with a number of openings, some of which
we did not take up but that deserve mention because they have attracted con-
siderable attention and represent viable approaches.
One important strand of scholarship is concerned with resuscitating the
concept of totalitarianism. In fact, the notion of totalitarianism has resurfaced
as something of a free agent and is now used to ¬‚ag a rather contrary set
of departures, three of which are of import. First, while it is not everyone™s
preferred way of tackling the problem, it is reasonable to argue that empirical
historians failed fully to appreciate the depth of thought invested in the idea.
For even if contemporary thinkers frequently got it wrong (Hannah Arendt
may serve as the prime example), good ideas are hard to come by and should
be salvaged from simpli¬cation and propagandistic misuse.66 Overall, Soviet
historians seem much more unforgiving in this regard than their German coun-
terparts, but as much as Hannah Arendt will not go away, neither will Alexandr
Solzhenitsyn or, for that matter, the group of Eastern European intellectuals
who are in the equally privileged and unenviable situation of having faced both
regimes.67 Whether or not they shed light on each other™s cases “ Solzhenitsyn
on Germany, Arendt on the Soviet Union, and Havel on both “ their essays in

Niall Ferguson, The War of the World: History™s Age of Hatred (London and New York:

Allen Lane, 2006); Bernard; Robert Service, Comrades!: A History of World Communism
(Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2007); Roger Grif¬n, Modernism and Fascism:
The Sense of a Beginning under Mussolini and Hitler (Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave
Macmillan, 2007); Pierre Rosanvallon, Democracy: Past and Future, ed. Samuel Moyn (New
York: Columbia University Press, 2006).
Karl Eimermacher and Astrid Volpert, eds., Verfuhrungen der Gewalt: Russen und Deutsche

im Ersten und Zweiten Weltkrieg (Munich: Fink, 2005).
¨ ¨
Erwin Oberlander and Rolf Ahmann, Autoritare Regime in Ostmittel- und Sudosteuropa 1919“

1944 (Paderborn: Schoningh, 2001); Jerzy W. Borejsza, Klaus Ziemer, and Magdalena Hulas,
eds., Totalitarian and Authoritarian Regimes in Europe: Legacies and Lessons from the Twenti-
eth Century (New York: Berghahn Books in association with the Institute of the Polish Academy
of Sciences and the German Historical Institute Warsaw, 2006).
A typical case is Arendt™s Eichmann in Jerusalem (Hannah Arendt, Eichmann in Jerusalem: A

Report on the Banality of Evil, rev. and enlarged ed. [New York: Viking Press, 1965]). This book
gets things patently wrong, as far as empirical work is concerned (David Cesarani, Eichmann:
His Life, Crime, and Legacy [London: Heinemann, 2003]). And yet it remains important for
the disquisition on the ordinariness of evil. Steven Aschheim, ed., Hannah Arendt in Jerusalem
(Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2001). By the same token, historians
have still a way to go to appreciate the complexity and depth of thought in Hannah Arendt,
The Origins of Totalitarianism.
Aleksandr Isaevich Solzhenitsyn, Edward E. Ericson, and Daniel J. Mahoney, The Solzhenitsyn

Reader: New and Essential Writings, 1947“2005 (Wilmington, DE: ISI Books, 2006); Vaclav ´
Introduction 15

understanding still help us grapple with our ever-increasing wealth of empirical
evidence. And perhaps, it is worth repeating, there is also a Left and, for that
matter, a Communist and Socialist intellectual history to be recovered.68
That is to say, these and other thinkers are not only subjects for an intellec-
tual history in its own right nor, for that matter, for a more re¬‚exive history
of the German and the Russian regimes (that is, a history that makes the
self-understanding and the perception of these regimes part of its analysis) “
although this kind of high intellectual history deserves more attention.69
Rather, they yet again have much to contribute to the ongoing debate on the
understanding of the two regimes, a debate, frankly, that has not been graced
by a surplus of ideas. The prerequisite is to take them off their pedestal (or, for
that matter, take them out of the closet) and engage them for what they have
to say in a second or third reading today. That Eastern and Western theories
of fascism should reenter this contest, as well, only ¬ts the spirit of open-ended
inquiry into those elements of twentieth-century thought that might inform a
scholarship of integration.
We did not select the above approach, however, mainly because we think
that at this point the proof is in the pudding. We believe it instead necessary to
reassess the ingredients and recipes at hand before we can once again approach
the gestalt as a whole. Therefore, we chose to capitalize on what empirical
historians have done best over the past quarter-century: we put the two his-
toriographies side by side, hoping that an intertwined look at their respec-
tive arrangements will encourage a new round of comparative and integrative
The second opening that we did not take is altogether more prominently
represented. It starts from the quite astute observation that empirical research
over the last quarter-century, in both the German and Soviet cases, had its
own respective biases. German historians, for example, were for a very long
time hesitant to engage in an in-depth analysis of ideology or, more properly,
the political, moral, and emotional culture of the regime, but this has changed
radically.70 Nor did they take into consideration the emotional, quasi-religious
investment in the regime or the attachments the regime was able to generate “ in

Havel, The Power of the Powerless: Citizens against the State in Central-Eastern Europe (Lon-
don: Hutchinson, 1985); Adam Michnik and Zina¨da Erard, Penser La Pologne: Morale et
politique de la r´ sistance (Paris: D´ couverte/Maspero, 1983).
e e
Feh´ r and Heller, Eastern Left, Western Left: Totalitarianism, Freedom, and Democracy.

Anson Rabinbach, In the Shadow of Catastrophe: German Intellectuals between Apocalypse

and Enlightenment (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1997).
For three intriguing and very different examples, see Deborah Dwork and Robert Jan van

Pelt, Auschwitz 1270 to the Present (New York: W. W. Norton, 1996); Frank-Lothar Kroll,
“Endzeitvorstellungen im Kommunismus und im Nationalsozialismus,” in Der Engel und
die siebte Posaune . . . Endzeitvorstellungen in Geschichte und Literatur, eds. Stefan Krimm
and Ursula Triller (Munich: Bayerischer Schulbuch Verlag, 2000), 186“204; Dagmar Herzog,
Sex after Fascism: Memory and Morality in Twentieth-Century Germany (Princeton, NJ and
Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2005).
Michael Geyer

terms of values and norms, as well as of tastes and behaviors.71 Under a variety
of names and with diverse programmatic intents, this topic has captivated a
younger generation of historians, who have made it their goal to explore the
emotive and mental structures of a genocidal regime. While initially this inter-
est focused on the mass enthusiasm for National Socialism, the main concern
has shifted to exploring German society at war.72 The Russian case is perhaps
even more striking. For here the rush to the archives after 1991 was linked to
what one might call, if somewhat tongue-in-cheek, the mass appropriation of
Foucault, who, as a strongly anti-Communist ex-Leftist saw the Soviet Union
through a totalitarian prism. This approach entailed a new round of research
on issues of repression, propaganda, and popular pressure to conform, but
also on the subjective and intimate remaking of personhood under Stalinism “
indeed the making of a civilization.73 Only the blind can overlook the paral-
lelism in the two historiographical trajectories, trajectories that were kept apart
by language acquisition and, one is inclined to say, the subject positions of the
respective national historians.
Whether or not this approach, or rather series of approaches, that essays
the civilizational or moral dimension of Nazi and Stalinist society can stand in
for the whole; whether or not there is such a thing as Nazi or Soviet society
(which might well be the case for the latter but applies to the former only if
we also consider the wreckage the Nazi regime caused); what the relationship
might be between savagery and civil society74 “ this seemed to us a largely
unresolved issue on which we also disagreed. In any case, rather than turning
this book into a re¬‚ection on civilization and barbarism or into another con-
troversy over the ideological or, respectively, religious nature of the regimes,75
we shied away from grand pronouncements and asked more speci¬cally about
the nature and the facets of the social project that emerged from these two
regimes. Therefore, rather than worrying about the Weberian-type “charis-
matic leadership,”76 we were rather concerned with “man and society in the
age of social reconstruction,” although Karl Mannheim™s own thought on this

If we think of the legacy of anti-Semitism, Claudia Koonz, The Nazi Conscience (Cambridge,

MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2003); Jeffrey Herf, The Jewish Enemy: Nazi
Propaganda During World War II and the Holocaust (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of
Harvard University Press, 2006).
Militargeschichtliches Forschungsamt, ed., Das Deutsche Reich und der Zweite Weltkrieg, Vol.

9/1“2: Die deutsche Kriegsgesellschaft 1939 bis 1945 (Munich: Deutsche Verlagsanstalt, 2004).
Jochen Hellbeck, Revolution on My Mind: Writing a Diary under Stalin (Cambridge, MA: Har-

vard University Press, 2006); Stephen Kotkin, Magnetic Mountain: Stalinism as a Civilization
(Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997).
Samuel Moyn, “Of Savagery and Civil Society: Pierre Clastres and the Transformation of French

Political Thought,” Modern Intellectual History 1, no. 1 (2004): 55“80.
Hans Maier, Totalitarianism and Political Religions: Concepts for the Comparison of Dicta-

torships, trans. Jodi Bruhn (London and New York: Routledge, 2004).
A good example is Hans-Ulrich Wehler, Deutsche Gesellschaftsgeschichte, Vol. 4: Vom Beginn

des Ersten Weltkrieges bis zur Grundung der beiden deutschen Staaten (Munich: C. H. Beck,
Introduction 17

matter, complicated by the transition into exile in Great Britain, was typically
not a presence.77
Of course, there is yet a third trend that is prevalent in the social sciences
proper but has won some ground in history as well.78 This direction of research
emphasizes the role of the state and the peculiar statism of the interwar years.
In this context, a few adventurous studies have broken new ground: for exam-
ple, the study of labor services in Germany and the United States or of the
three new deals in Italy, Germany, and the United States.79 But despite the
pioneering theoretical work of Claude Lefort, there has been little follow-up
in this tradition.80 Carl Schmitt has had more of a following, but the impact
of this scholarship on understanding the actual state Schmitt hoped to shape is
strikingly limited.81 This is changing, but for the time being most of the innova-
tive work comes from Soviet historiography concerning Stalinism as a political
regime.82 As mentioned, there is also a growing literature that explores the rush
to authoritarian and tyrannical regimes in the interwar years and the nature of
modern tyrannies. While Eastern Europe ¬gures prominently in this context,
however, very few have worked the Soviet Union into the grander European
and, for that matter, Eurasian picture.83
Overall, it makes sense to put this issue to the test and see what the new
departures will yield in terms of a scholarship of integration. Hence, rather
than af¬rming or debunking the latest wave of inquiries, we thought that we

Karl Mannheim, Man and Society in the Age of Reconstruction: Studies in Modern Social

Structure (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1940).
The intellectual tradition of thinking about dictatorship and tyranny is eminent and deserves

separate treatment. Dieter Groh, “Casarismus, Napoleonismus, Bonapartismus. Fuhrer, Chef,
¨ ¨
Imperialismus,” in Geschichtliche Grundbegriffe, vol. 1, eds. Otto Brunner, Werner Conze,
and Reinhart Koselleck (Stuttgart: Ernst Klett, 1972), 726“71; Hella Mandt, “Casarismus,
Napoleonismus, Bonapartismus. Fuhrer, Chef, Imperialismus,” in Geschichtliche Grundbe-
griffe, vol. 6, eds. Otto Brunner, Werner Conze, and Reinhart Koselleck (Stuttgart: Ernst Klett,
1990), 651“706; Peter Baehr, and Melvin Richter, eds., Dictatorships in History and Theory:
Bonapartism, Caesarism, and Totalitarianism (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge Univer-
sity Press and German Historical Institute, Washington, DC, 2004).
Kiran Klaus Patel, “Soldaten der Arbeit”: Arbeitsdienste in Deutschland und den USA 1933“

1945 (Gottingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2003); Wolfgang Schivelbusch, Three New Deals:
Re¬‚ections on Roosevelt™s America, Mussolini™s Italy, and Hitler™s Germany, 1933“1939 (New
York: Metropolitan Books, 2006).
Claude Lefort, The Political Forms of Modern Society: Bureaucracy, Democracy, Totalitarian-

ism (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1986).
But see Dan Diner, “Rassistisches Volkerrecht: Elemente der nationalsozialistischen Weltord-

nung,” Vierteljahrshefte fur Zeitgeschichte 37 (1989): 23“56; Friedrich Balke, Der Staat nach
seinem Ende: Die Versuchung Carl Schmitts (Munich: Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 1996).
As overviews: David L. Hoffman, ed., Stalinism: The Essential Readings (Oxford: Blackwell,


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