German public debate is often marked by self-congratulation at “coming to terms” with the country’s past. Yet comparisons between antisemitism and other racisms are increasingly being demonized — and it’s stifling discussion of Germany’s colonial crimes.
Enzo Traverso teaches at Cornell University. His most recent book is Revolution: An Intellectual History.
Thirty years ago today, the Soviet Union collapsed. Twentieth-century communism should be understood in all its complexity, as revolution and regime, a spur to anti-colonialism and an alternative form of social democracy.
The Paris Commune ended on this day in 1871, after just two months in power. How do we explain, Enzo Traverso asks, the longevity and freshness of the memory of a fleeting revolutionary government?
The author, anti-fascist partisan, and Nazi death camp survivor Primo Levi died on this day in 1987. His life and the cautious Enlightenment ideology he advanced in his work, Enzo Traverso writes, told the story of the twentieth century and its battles.
Zeev Sternhell was a historian of nationalism who demolished the myth of French “immunity” to fascism. His focus on the history of ideas allowed him to trace the genealogy of France’s home-grown far right — yet proved less able to understand the social forces that powered fascist movements across the continent.
The protesters tearing down monuments to slaveholders and perpetrators of genocide are often accused of “erasing the past.” But their actions are bringing closer scrutiny on the figures these monuments celebrate — allowing history to be retold from the viewpoint of their victims.
The rise of Bolsonaro in Brazil, Trump in the US, and the far right throughout Europe has the word “fascism” on everyone’s lips. But that rising Right is distinct from twentieth-century fascism in key ways.
“Shoah” filmmaker Claude Lanzmann, who died this month, forever changed the world’s understanding of the Holocaust — for better and for worse.
Timothy Snyder’s Black Earth misuses the horrors of the Holocaust in the service of Zionist and neoconservative platitudes.