The Daily Beast – Communism and fascism—how did two opposite ideologies end up looking so similar? Vladimir Tismaneanu gives his answer in a new book.
Two 20th-century ideologies promised a utopian vision that would ensure infinite happiness. They both stemmed from a political, social, and cultural construct that erased traditional ideas regarding good and evil. Both believed in the destruction of the old world, to build a new international order; each deplored what they saw as the pathetic ennui of bourgeoisie existence; each ideology’s shared purpose was to recruit members of the new utopia.
Those ideologies happen to be communism and fascism, which together brought an orgy of violence, killed millions, and led humanity to its darkest hour, where the final destination was the deplorable Gulags and the gas chambers of Auschwitz.
Vladimir Tismaneanu, a professor of comparative politics at the University of Maryland, noticed how communism and fascism, despite coming from separate ends of the political spectrum—extreme left for the former and extreme right for the latter—surprisingly have much in common. To comprehend the barbarism that plagued the last century, Tismaneanu contends that we must fully come to grips with the thought process that inspired so much destruction. So he sets off to scrupulously examine the intellectual origins, crimes, and failures of these two radical movements in The Devil in History: Communism, Fascism and Some Lessons of the Twentieth Century.
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