Totalitarianism Revisited  

The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and the debate over the American war in Iraq, revived talk of totalitarianism among liberals and leftists thinking about radical Islamists and Middle East dictatorships. With varying degrees of enthusiasm, respected former dissidents …



Soviet Kitsch  

VLADIMIR PUTIN’S Russia is awash in Soviet kitsch. In St. Petersburg’s popular “Idiot” café a bust of Lenin sports a racy polka-dot tie. Trendy eateries with catchy names such as “Propaganda,” “CCCP,” “Soviet Kitsch,” and (no kidding) “Lenin’s Mating Call” …



Communist Crimes and French Intellectuals  

Last fall, Le Livre noir du Communisme: Crimes, terreur, répression (Paris: Robert Laffont, 1997, 850 pp.), a massive compendium of the crimes perpetrated by communist regimes created a public sensation in France and quickly became a bestseller. The controversy over …



Germany’s Postcommunists  

If the devil is in the details, the controversy over street names in former East Berlin tells the story. In September 1993 Berlin’s transport secretary, Herwig Haase, a Christian Democrat, impaneled an Independent Commission for the Renaming of Streets. Composed …





Fire and Blood in Germany  

After the arson murder of three Turkish women in the town of Moiln last fall, the worst appeared to be over in Germany. Demonstrations and candlelight marches of hundreds of thousands against racism and xenophobia seemed to prove that Germans …



The Return of the Ugly German?  

Is the ugly German making a comeback only two years after unification? So it seems, at least from the almost daily reports of brutal mob attacks, arson, and beatings of foreigners in both parts of recently unified Germany. These assaults …



German Intellectuals and The Gulf War  

Nowhere in Europe did the Gulf War provoke so explosive a public debate as in unified Germany. It was not Germany’s reluctance to contribute military forces to the coalition (deployment of troops outside of NATO territory is prohibited by the …



German Historians Debate the Nazi Past  

The Historikerstreit or historians’ controversy that erupted in summer 1986 was an intellectual event unprecedented in postwar West Germany. Its importance lies less in its originality or profundity than in its intensity. Never before have the “spirits” been so divided, …