Lectures on 20th Century Europe
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Welcome to The History Guide's Lectures on Twentieth Century Europe. These lectures were written over the past five years and served as the basis for my upper division European history classes at Florida Atlantic University (Boca Raton and Davie, FL) and Meredith College (Raleigh, NC). The lectures presented here are between five and ten pages in length and are meant to be downloaded and printed. Of course, you can read them online if you wish. Please keep in mind that these lectures are intended for your education and edification and not for publication by anyone but myself. If you would like to link any of these pages to your own or use them in a classroom exercise or as a citation in one of your essays, please be courteous enough to let me know about it by sending email to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com . You should also read my Conditions of Use statement for particulars. If you are looking for my credentials, please consult my curriculum vitae. The primary thrust of the lectures is modernism. My approach is intellectual in that I am trying to discover how centuries of devotion to human reason, or faith, or both together have created the twentieth century as a century of crisis. We begin our journey with Nietzsche and Freud and end with the fall of Soviet-style communism. The opinions expressed here are my own but I am sharing them with you because I believe that education is something much more than a classroom and grades. If I appear to have contributed something to your own knowledge of yourself and others, please share that knowledge with me. Navigational Hints Throughout these lectures you will encounter images and links. Clicking on an image will take you to a related page of information (located at this site) and a list of resources for further exploration. If the title of a work is hyperlinked, then that link will take you to a digitized version of that text located on another server. 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January 10, 2002: This site has been edited and some new documents have been added. 2 TABLE OF CONTENTS Lecture 1: Random Thoughts on the Intellectual History of Modern Europe Lecture 2: Nietzsche, Freud and the Thrust Toward Modernism (1) Lecture 3: Nietzsche, Freud and the Thrust Toward Modernism (2) Lecture 4: The Great War and Modern Memory -- currently editing Lecture 5: The Russian Revolution: February - October 1917 (1) Lecture 6: The Russian Revolution: Red October and the Bolshevik Coup (2) Lecture 7: The Aftermath of the Bolshevik Revolution Lecture 8: The Age of Anxiety: Europe in the 1920s (1) Lecture 9: The Age of Anxiety: Europe in the 1920s (2) Lecture 10: The Age of Totalitarianism: Stalin and Hitler Lecture 11: Hitler and World War Two Lecture 12: The Existentialist Frame of Mind Lecture 13: George Orwell and "The Last Man in Europe" Lecture 14: The Origins of the Cold War Lecture 15: 1968: The Year of the Barricades Lecture 16: 1989: The Walls Came Tumbling Down 3 Lecture 1 Random Thoughts on the Intellectual History of 20th Century Europe How naïve the glad and confident hope of a century ago, that the advance of science and the general extension of education assured the progressive perfection of society, seems to us today! Who can still seriously believe that the translation of scientific triumphs into still more marvelous technical achievements is enough to save civilization, or that the eradication of illiteracy means the end of barbarism! Modern society, with its intensive development and mechanisation, indeed looks very different from the dream vision of Progress! (Johann Huizinga, In the Shadow of Tomorrow, 1936) Out of pure necessity or perhaps through some need to entertain a rather obstinate audience, historians have often made the attempt to periodize history and historical time. That is, historians are quick to label an age based upon one or more characteristics which, to them, seem readily apparent. Don't for a moment get the impression that historians do little more than sit in cramped offices with their papers, books, maps, diplomas, artifacts and computers writing books and articles which deliberately distort human memory of centuries to come. No, there is no conspiracy at work here, my friends. In fact, the willingness of historians to place historical epochs and happenings and individuals into neat little boxes is a hangover from the historical record of the past five centuries. I would also suggest that mankind, at least those members of the species who call themselves historians, have yet to emerge from this hangover . . . a condition which was created well outside the 20th century itself. Sometime in the year 1492, the Italian Renaissance philosopher Marsilio Ficino (1433-1499), sat at his desk in the glorious city of Florence and wrote a letter to his friend, Paul of Middelburg. Here is a short extract from the text of Ficino's letter. Listen carefully to Ficino's words: If then we are to call any age golden, it is beyond doubt that age which brings forth golden talents in different places. That such is true of this our age few will hardly doubt. For this century, like a golden age, has restored to light the liberal arts, which were almost extinct: grammar, poetry, rhetoric, painting, sculpture, architecture, music and all this in Florence. Achieving what had been honored among the ancients, but almost forgotten since, the age has joined wisdom with eloquence, and prudence with the military art. In you also, my dear Paul, this century appears to have perfected astronomy, and in Florence it has recalled the Platonic teaching from darkness into light. In Germany in our times have been invented the instruments for printing books. 4 As some of you may have guessed, Ficino had both feet firmly planted in the soil of the Italian RENAISSANCE -- "and all this in Florence." The key phrase is, "For this century, like a golden age." Ficino, in other words, recognized that his own age was unlike the age which had preceded it in historical time. What Ficino has done, in essence, is to say, "Here I am in Florence, the nerve center of this great moment of rebirth. Not only am I different, I am also better than all those who came before me, except of course, those noble Greeks and Romans of the Classical Age." So, what Ficino has done is quite simple. He made a value judgment. That is to say, the period before the Renaissance was qualitatively different. And so Ficino and other humanists called it the media aetis -- the Middle Ages. Middle because it fell between the golden age of the Classical world and the golden age of Renaissance Florence. Later historians with the fresh experience of the Renaissance behind them, would dub the media aetis with another label -- the Dark Ages, a label so inconsistent with the historical record that it has only been quite recently that the label "Dark Ages" has been dropped. Before we move on, there are a few things of which we should take notice. Few Athenians in the 5th century B.C. would have been found to boast that their age was Classical. Pericles or SOCRATES or Plato or Aristotle or Alexander never would have said something like, "Ah, it's good to live in a classical age." You might have found a few Romans who might have said this several centuries later, but they were always aware that if it weren't for the Greeks, their civilization would not have been what it indeed became. And the early Christians? Can you really imagine St. Paul calling his own age "golden"? Then again, do you think you'd find many people in the tenth century saying things like, "Oh woe is me! We are living in a dark age. We must have some light"? I think not. With the perception of history comes necessary value judgments. Then again, almost 150 years before Ficino wrote his letter to his friend, we find another Florentine scholar who had the intellectual burdens of the 14th century upon his shoulders. His name was Francesco Petrarcha (1304-1374), often called the father of the Italian Renaissance. In one of his sonnets, he wrote: Living, I despise what melancholy fate has brought us wretches in these evil years. Long before my birth time smiled and may again, for once there was, and yet will be, more joyful days. But in this middle age time's dregs sweep around us, and we bend beneath a heavy load of vice. Genius, virtue, glory now have gone, leaving chance and sloth to rule. Shameful vision this! We must awake or die. Petrarch is a key figure in that he respected history. His respect for history is part and parcel of what we would call the "Renaissance frame of mind." He knew, for instance, that he was living in an age which was now different from the past. He also knew that the distant past was somehow more glorious, more filled with light, more golden. "Shameful vision this! We must awake or die." 5 One more example should suffice to drive the point home. The 18th century which, incidentally, began in 1687, or maybe it was 1714, has been frequently referred to as the Age of Reason or the Age of ENLIGHTENMENT. Modern historians did not invent this label. In fact, it was those powdered wigs of the 18th century Europe: men like John Locke, Voltaire, Montesquieu, Adam Smith, Thomas Paine and Jefferson, who determined that lumiere, Aufklarung, illuminati or enlightenment was so widespread that they must have been living in the best of all possible worlds. The truth is that it WAS a good time to live, but only if your name was Locke, Voltaire, Montesquieu, Smith, Paine or Jefferson. Here we go again -- another value judgment. What all these value judgments have done, and there are more besides those I have mentioned, is distort the historical record. These judgments have taught us, since childhood, that anything called a Renaissance or an Enlightenment must be good. Even the Scientific Revolution falls into similar assumptions. Thinking in terms of boxes and labels is easy in reality, thinking in such a manner is a short-cut to thinking. Why? Because boxes and labels are clean and neat. There is only one problem -- not everything can be easily placed in boxes. There have only been two periods in human history in which thinkers have decided to "box things up." The first occurred in the 12th century. Medieval Christianity tried to define and describe the world as a matrix, as a grid in which everything you knew, thought, felt, made love to, worked for or died for was placed in a little box on the grid. The grid was held together by the logic of Aristotle and Christianity as interpreted by the likes of popes, bearded philosophers and those roguish monks. Well, to make a long story short, due to the pressures of urbanization, the influx of gold and silver into Europe, heresy, foreign travel, the birth of the middle classes and their handmaiden, capitalism, and a hundred other things, the medieval matrix fell apart. The walls of the boxes became windows, then doors and finally, about three hundred years ago, 1687 to be exact, a man by the name of Isaac Newton destroyed the whole thing only to replace it with a more reasonable and rational model he called natural philosophy which today we call science or technology. The other period of human history which has made successive attempts to place everything in neat little boxes has been the twentieth century. The general practitioner has been replaced by the specialist. The general, widely-educated historian has been replaced by the historian of late-19th century Flemish female woolcombers. We strive for excellence based on our expertise in a specific field of endeavor. We trust those who share their expertise. Child psychologists from Benjamin Spock to Penelope Leach are trusted. So too was ALBERT EINSTEIN. He MUST have been brilliant, so trust him! Just look him -- image him in your head. He MUST know. This is 20th century stuff. Go to the resources of any university library. Go check out the Internet. How many journals related to history exist? How many journals related to English history exist? How many journals related to 18th century English history 6 exist? How many journals related to the history of agriculture in 18th century England exist? See what I mean? We like the boxes, they make life easier to understand. And even if we do not want to understand it, well, at least we know that there is somebody out there who does. Talk about smug self-assurance! Perhaps we and Ficino are not that far apart. The point is this: it is impossible to choose an expression for an entire historical epoch and then hope that it defines that epoch. Most historians recognize this but they rarely talk about it. It is one of those dirty little secrets that go along with the profession. It is easy when you deal with some self-contained topic like the Civil War or Watergate or the Kennedy assassination. Those are self-contained objects of study. But, when you choose a larger topic like 20th century Europe, then the problems begin to emerge. When Newton's Philosophie Naturalis Principia Mathematica, or The Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy hit the presses in 1687, the western world underwent a profound shock whose results and ramifications we live with to this day. The 18th century was most impressed with Newton's explanation of the physical world. When Newton finally died in 1727, at the ripe old age of 85, it was left to Alexander Pope to compose his epitaph. Pope, at this time, was working on a new translation of Homer's Iliad, a task for which he was paid, by the public, a sum exceeding £9000. Pope's couplet was simplicity itself: Nature and Nature's laws lay hid in night, God said, "Let Newton be," and all was light. You may not think this very important, but I have always been taught that Pope's couplet dramatizes the Newtonian achievement. Think about it: Newton invented the calculus, ISAAC NEWTON coordinated his physics and mathematical calculations to coincide with those of Copernicus, Kepler and Galileo. Newton was an awful man, he had no friends, he was the nerd's nerd. So what the heck did Pope know about calculus? or optics? or Newton the man? The answer is perhaps quite simple: nothing! I don't understand Newtonian physics either. But what I do know is this, if Newton could use Human Reason to explain the natural world, then it seemed clear to Pope, Voltaire and Smith and other powdered wigs that the same methods used to determine Newton's laws of the universe could be used to explain Man and Society. So, it's no accident that the majority of what are now modern social sciences were founded in the 18th century: geography, anthropology, political science, political economy, sociology, psychology and, of course, history. The 18th century must have been an Age of Light. Newton's legacy is quite clear: Reason is good, Reason will solve problems, Reason will make your life one of improvement and society is tending toward perfection. Reason, that glorious 7 word, so used and abused by the 18th century powdered wig, became the general palliative, the antidote to all that was superstitious (the Church), all that was full of enthusiasm and fanaticism (the Church) and all that smacked of oppression and tyranny (the Church and the State). Enter 1789. Enter the FRENCH REVOLUTION. The French people, at least some of them, guided by Reason and hunger, decided to form a new government, thanks to the example of 1776, and in a way, to Isaac Newton. So, Rousseau was invoked, so too was the liberalism of John Locke, and Thomas Paine became the champion of the working man in England and France. What did the French end up with? Twenty years of war and an emperor who seemed to be both rational and irrational at one and the same time. In 1796 at the age of 26, and while leading the French revolutionary army in Italy, Napoleon would confide to his diary: In Italy I realized that I was a superior being and conceived the ambition of performing great things, which hitherto had filled my thought only as fantastic dreams. Nice ego! His superior being mentality lasted until his final exile in 1815. NAPOLEON tried and succeeded in overhauling almost every single vestige of the ancien regime, of the old order represented by Louis XVI. He succeeded because he used Reason, tainted of course, with his own brand of egomania. While all this was going on, the British were having their own brand of revolution: peaceful, bloodless and destined to make Britain the "Workshop of the World" by 1859. The Industrial Revolution was the tangible symbol of Newton's achievement in astronomy. Machines and engines, pulleys and wheels, and the idea that power could be harnessed by man-made devices made the toilsome labor of the past nearly obsolete. Well, almost. The Revolution was built on the principles of natural philosophy, now recognized as science. Science made dreams reality. And suddenly, the captains of industry -- in the case of England, the middle classes -- began to make a lot of money and dreamed up new ways to spend it. Spend it rationally, however. And what of the drones who operated the machinery? Make them work eleven hours a day, six on Saturday. Get their kids into the act as well and force them to live in tenements twelve to a room. Who cared? Nothing ought to stand in the way of profits. By 1848, a revolutionary year throughout Europe, two exiled Germans by the name of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, discovered scientific laws, based again on the Newtonian paradigm along with a dash of Hegelian philosophy, that determined that industrial capitalism would, by historical necessity, cease to exist. An age of socialism in which workers would own and control the means of production would appear and, incidentally, the middle classes would disappear. Following this would come communism, each according to his ability, each according to his need. How did Marx and Engels arrive at these conclusions? Simple. They were heirs of the Enlightenment. They studied history, especially history. But they also studied political economy, law, religion, in a word, society. They were social scientists. Follow the laws and this WILL happen. How, of course, is something they never really specified and socialists, communists and Marxists ever since, have been trying to figure out the answer to this riddle. Of course, politicians on either side of the 8 Atlantic would have you believe that communism is dead. How wrong they are. What's perhaps dead is Soviet communism. After all that has been said so far we can make the general conclusion that up to about 1880, or let's say, between 1700 and 1880, the European mind could be characterized by the word REASON. Man is rational, the world is rational, Nature is rational, rational man can understand rational Nature by using REASON. But, between 1880 and 1920, a new world view took shape. It was during this period that philosophers, sociologists, psychologists, physicists and biologists made revolutionary insights into human nature and behavior and the physical world of nature. At the same time, artists—and by artists I mean poets, dramatists, novelists, painters, sculptors, dancers, composers, photographers and film makers—opened up new possibilities of artistic expression. In general, the developments in philosophy, science, the social sciences, literature and art produced a profound shift in European consciousness. MODERNISM was born. For example: the mechanical world of Newton was modified and then shattered by Max Planck and Niels Bohr. Albert Einstein's theory of relativity, according to one modern historian, "formed a knife, inadvertently wielded by its author, to help cut society adrift from its traditional moorings in the faith and morals of Judeo-Christian culture." this sense of being adrift was noticed in sociology when the French sociologist Emile Durkheim coined the term "anomie," to describe modern man's sense of drift or weightlessness. This sense of "anomie" would be called "alienation" by a later generation of Marxists, existentialist and student radicals in the 1960s. And wasn't it the American psychologist, William James, who often spoke of the "oceanic feeling" we sometimes feel when confronted with the perplexity of life in the 20th century? The sense of being lost, adrift, weightless, aimless. It's all so absurd, without meaning. We drift. And then there was Freud, ah Freud. What Freud did was nothing less than call the entire foundation of western thought and behavior into question. Reason was now on trial. Where the 18th century powdered wigs would sit back and smugly assert that "the rational is real and the real is rational," Freud said no. Man is not an entirely rational animal. He is irrational. Whether we accept it or not, we are all Freudians. We live today with Freud literally breathing down our necks. And Nietzsche. With three simple words: "God is dead," Nietzsche sent his readers into despair Lastly, the period 1880-1920 witness an artistic and cultural cataclysm which distorted and then destroyed 500 years of artistic style and principle. The Renaissance was cast aside. So too were its rules of artistic endeavor. What replaced it was accurately called modernism. 9 The period 1880-1920 is noted for its extraordinary imagination and creativity in the arts and in human thought. Yet this period, a period now 100 years past, also helped to create the notion that Europe was experiencing a distorted, fragmented and troubled period in its history. Freud called it "neuroses," Durkheim called it "anomie," James announced it as that "oceanic feeling," and Nietzsche, the German philologist turned prophet simply remarked that "God is dead." Western civilization, built upon the twin pillars of faith and reason, of Christianity and Science, now faced its greatest challenge. The key point is this: late 19th century intellectuals, thinkers and artists challenged the 18th century powdered wig and his over-reliance on Human Reason. Instead of rationality, the late 19th century thinker stressed irrationality and unreason. Whereas the 18th century philosopher saw Reason as the mainspring of human endeavor and behavior, the late 19th century saw instincts, impulses, drives and the will to power as the motive forces of the individual. It's no wonder that most Europeans welcomed the outbreak of the GREAT WAR in 1914. Here was irrationality and Unreason for all to see. Here was a chance to either (1) re-affirm the life-giving force of Human Reason and Progress or (2) embrace the will to power, after all, to create, you must first destroy. 10 Lecture 2: Nietzsche, Freud and the Thrust Toward Modernism (1) Where you see ideal things, I see what is -human, alas, all-too-human. I know man better. In the lengthy history of the western intellectual tradition there have been thinkers who stand apart from the rest. Their power of mind, their insights and profound sensibility have made their lives and ideas a powerful record of man's attempt to explain the inexplicable. These great thinkers have not always been philosophers. Great ideas appear from the minds of individuals who have demonstrated courage -individuals who dare to know. A man like Socrates -- a wise man -- was one such individual. He forced his students to question the foundations of their own knowledge. Borrowing as he did from the Delphic Oracle, Socrates' motto was "Know thyself." Use your reason! Think! Find answers. Above all, examine your life, for "the unexamined life is not worth living." We could quite easily enumerate the familiar litany of great thinkers whose ideas have graced the western intellectual tradition. What we find are individuals who are willing to raise questions -- individuals motivated by notions of the good life, or the best form of government or of human goodness, or the meaning of being and nonbeing. In retrospect, and despite their differences, obsessions and personal quirks, these thinkers, I would like to suggest, inevitably fall into a single category. Cartesian, Romantic, philosophe, Marxist, scientific revolutionary, psychiatrist or Thomistic logician, these individuals all exhibit a singular faith in Human Reason. A faith in the power of mind. They are all, in one way or another, optimists. Even Jean Jacques Rousseau, that most enigmatic of the 18th century philosophes, occasionally shed his pessimism to become a philosopher of growth. Rousseau is an oddball -but only in relation to his own time. We have no problem, I suppose, in placing Rousseau alongside the likes of Thomas Hobbes, or John Stuart Mill, or Immanuel Kant. These intellects, these giants, when taken together, constitute the western tradition. A celebration of Reason -- a faith in human thought -- a mentality in all essentials forward looking and flowing from Reason. Despite their differences, they form a coterie of intellectuals remarkably similar if not in their ideas, at least in their spirit. In the PREFACE to his book, Human, All Too Human, published in 1879, Friedrich Nietzsche offered the following insight. The language is strange and unfamiliar. What is Nietzsche talking about? Enough, I am still alive; and life has not been devised by morality: it wants deception, it lives on deception -- but wouldn't you know it? Here I am, beginning again, doing what I have always done, the old immoralist and 11 birdcatcher, I am speaking immorally, extra-morally, "beyond good and evil." Without question, Friedrich Nietzsche was perhaps one of the best known and most celebrated thinkers of the last quarter of the 19th century. He is also the least understood and the most frequently misunderstood philosopher to have written in the western intellectual tradition during the past century. In fact, it is at times difficult to pin Nietzsche down, to pigeon-hole him. The difficulty comes, perhaps, from Nietzsche's own distaste of being pigeon-holed. Pinning down a Marx, or a Hobbes, or a Hegel or a DARWIN is easy work -- they sort of do the work for us. But Nietzsche is different -- vastly different. He was a unique thinker -- unique in his approach, unique in the substance of what it was he was trying to say and above all, unique in the way he stated his thought. He is not easy to classify. He despised classification. For instance, he was not a nihilist. He said man could rise above nihilism. He was not a Romantic. He was not an Existentialist. However, given all this, Nietzsche both combines these various states of mind while at the same time he destroys them. Nietzsche is what we call a "problem thinker." His pattern of thought was asystematic -- his writing style was asystematic. The difficulty in reading or appreciating the intellectual vigor of Nietzsche stems from both the external structure of his writings and from the internal process of his philosophical reflection. Nearly without exception, Nietzsche's ideas are not expressed in systematic treatises or essays but in random and isolated affirmations and aphorisms. A few examples here should suffice: One must have a good memory to keep the promises one makes. Is not life a hundred times too short for us to bore ourselves? The masters have been done away with; the morality of the common man has triumphed. Two great European narcotics: alcohol and Christianity. What is it: is man only a blunder of God, or God only a blunder of man? My doctrine is: Live that thou mayest desire to live again--that is thy duty--for in any case thou wilt live again! Wherever Germany extends her sway, she ruins culture. The Germans are like women, you can scarcely ever fathom their depths--they haven't any. One does not know -- cannot know -- the best that is in one. Only in The Birth of Tragedy (1872) and Thus Spoke Zarathustra (1883-85) does Nietzsche's thought achieve some sort of exterior coherence. It goes without saying that Nietzsche refused to produce a philosophic system. This is so because he equated "system" with "decadence" and that decadence, after all, is what Nietzsche was trying to overcome. "What is the mark of every literary decadence?" Nietzsche asked. That life no longer resides in the whole. The word becomes sovereign and leaps out of the sentence, the sentence reaches out and obscures the meaning of the page, and the page comes to life at the expense of the whole -- the whole is no longer a whole. This, however, is the simile of every style of decadence: every time there is an anarchy of atoms. 12 As Walter Kaufmann has written: "Nietzsche's style can be taken to represent a brutally frank admission that today hardly anyone can offer more than scattered profound insights or single beautiful sentences." Nietzsche objected to systems. A system must necessarily be based on premises that by its very nature it cannot question. The systematic thinker -- a Hegel, Kant, Marx, or Descartes -- starts with any number of assumptions from which he deduces the whole of his system. He takes these assumptions for granted -- they seem "self-evident" to him. They are, of course, arbitrary, and reflect little more than the subjective side of the thinker. What Nietzsche objects to in all of this is the failure to question one's own assumptions. The thinker who believes in the ultimate truth of his system, without questioning its foundations, appears more stupid than he is -- he refuses to think beyond a certain point and for Nietzsche this is indicative of a subtle moral corruption -- of decay and decadence. No one system reveals the entire truth -- each organizes one point of view, one perspective. While he used these systems for his education, Nietzsche employed them only with caution as aids to ruthless questioning, "to look now out of this window, now out of that," he wrote in The Will to Power (Notes written 1883-88, published in 1901), "I guarded against settling down." Nietzsche then, is a problem thinker and in this respect, is similar to SØREN KIERKEGAARD (1813-1855), a mid-19th century Danish thinker who was also obsessed with THE PRESENT AGE. Nietzsche's aphoristic style highlighted his novel attempt to transcend the maze of concepts and opinions in order to get at the objects themselves. Each aphorism or set of aphorisms, must be examined as a thought experiment. But the experiments exhibit discontinuity. Making only one experiment -- as did Kant or Hegel or countless other thinkers -- would be one-sided. Nietzsche insists that the philosopher must be willing to make new experiments -- he must have an open mind and be prepared, if necessary, "boldly at any time to declare himself against his previous opinion." The thought experiment is the key. But if we are looking for truth we may be looking for the wrong thing. As Karl Jaspers has written, one cannot truly understand Nietzsche's thought until one has "also found the contradiction" to his thought. When the student of Nietzsche realizes this then his thought becomes more difficult to decipher, but no less profound. So, Nietzsche's thought is asystematic, aphoristic, highly personal and hence, psychological. His ideas, furthermore, are never free from inner contradictions. He forces his reader to undertake the ultimate quest -- "Du sollst werden, der du bist." His asystematic thought, with its highly personal introspection and inherent psychology, springs from the fact that Nietzsche's mind was an agonized mind, a tortured mind. Philosophical reflection was not calm, reasoned, scientific inquiry. It was not passive. Kant is a classic example of the calm inquirer. Isolated in his study at Konigsberg, Kant reflected, at peace with himself, and ultimately contrived an architectonic of human reason. Nietzsche was quite different -- radically different. Reflection for Nietzsche was anything but calm -- and the reason may perhaps be fairly clear: Nietzsche found himself wrestling with the most profound enigmas of modern life. The insights he achieved were struck out of his inward labor of spirit like sparks fly from the forge. Nietzsche philosophized with a hammer -- and what else does one do when everything looks like a nail? 13 It is no wonder then that the reader who approaches Nietzsche for the first time usually sighs in frustration. He is difficult to understand because he forces you to abandon convention and learn to understand. The education is slow and necessarily painful. With Nietzsche the mind and heart must be prepared for Herculean effort. His thought demands it. Life demanded it. The inward pattern and form of Nietzsche's ideas can only be grasped when the reader has wrestled with his own mind. The mind must be prepared for battle, for intense toil -- it must be open to the ultimate challenge: challenge itself. The mind must be open when Nietzsche attacks Socrates. The mind must be open when Nietzsche says, "God is dead." For Nietzsche is not simply saying, "I do not believe in God." That is not his intention. But, his intention only becomes clear when this statement is placed in its context. In other words, the statement "God is dead," becomes meaningful only when it is seen as part of the "Parable of the Madman." Throughout his notes and published works, Nietzsche establishes relations between his own reflection and the dominant intellectual currents of his own day. A partial list of what was then fashionable would necessarily include: Darwinism, idealism, irrationalism, vitalism, Marxism, socialism and positivism. Although his mind seethed like a Romantic he remained opposed to Romantic idealism and spiritualism. In an oft-quoted phrase, what Nietzsche sought was "the revaluation of all values." Nietzsche does not belong to any well-defined movement. His mind and method of reflection defines his position as solitary, profound, unique and at times, pessimistic. But, he does use his knowledge of intellectual movements and currents as dialectical elements for the forging of his own thought. Enigmatic as he was, Nietzsche belongs both to his own time at the same time that he rises beyond it. If anything, what he offered was a fresh, reflective, psychological, and poetic perspective. The only way his thought can really be studied is by going to the source, by going to his principal published works. It is for this reason that while I was reading Thus Spoke Zarathustra several years ago, I abandoned reading any published commentaries or critiques of Nietzsche. Perhaps it is better to see the film on my own then be guided by some misguided critic who has his own agenda to press upon me, a critic who perhaps possesses but no longer seeks. The story of Nietzsche's life is sad and can be briefly related. (Read Stefan Zweig's PERSONAL RECOLLECTION of Nietzsche.) He was born in Röcken, in the Prussian province of Saxony on October 15, 1844. His father (Ludwig) and grandfather were Lutheran ministers. When Nietzsche was born, his father was then 31 years old and his mother only 18. Ludwig Nietzsche christened his son as Frederick Wilhelm in honor of King Frederick Wilhelm IV of Prussia on whose birthday he was born. The king went insane a few years later -- as did Nietzsche's father in 1849. In January 1850, Nietzsche's mother moved the family to Naumburg where he spent the remainder of his childhood in the company of five women: his mother and his sister, his father's mother and two aunts. In 1858, he entered the boarding school at Pforta on a full scholarship. For six years he was subjected to the same discipline that had educated Klopstock, Novalis, Fichte, Leopold von Ranke and the Schlegel brothers (see German Idealism). In other words, Pforta was the training ground for some of Germany's most celebrated writers. The young Nietzsche excelled in religious studies, the classics and literature. He showed little talent for either drawing or mathematics. In 1864, Nietzsche graduated 14 with a thesis on Theognis, a Greek elegiac poet who flourished in the 6th century B.C. He then moved to the University at Bonn. By 1865, Nietzsche gave up the study of theology and began to devote increasing amounts of his attention to philology, the science of language. While in Leipzig visiting a friend, Nietzsche happened across a philosophical work which would influence his thought in profound ways. That book was Arthur Schopenhauer's two volume, The World as Will and Representation, published in 1819. Schopenhauer was a strange man. He was educated at Germany's finest institutions including Gotha, Weimar (the home of Goethe) and Jena. In 1819, he became a lecturer at the University of Berlin. While at Berlin Schopenhauer held his lectures at the same time as Hegel but without success. No one came to hear Schopenhauer lecture. In 1821, he retired to Frankfurt-am-Main, a lonely, violent and friendless man, who shared his isolated existence with a poodle named "Atma." For Schopenhauer, feeling and reason were in perpetual conflict. His disposition was severe, distrustful and suspicious. He believed he had discovered a philosophy which made him the successor not to Hegel or to Kant, but to Socrates. Yet, he was aware that no one paid him any attention because the "fatuous ravings" of Hegel were praised as the highest wisdom. His major contribution was his concept of Subjective Idealism -- that the world is my idea, a phantasm of the mind, and therefore, in itself, meaningless. Will, the active side of our nature, or Impulse, is the key to the one thing we know directly from the inside -- the self, and therefore the key to the understanding of all things. We shall encounter Schopenhauer again. In 1869, Nietzsche was asked to teach philology at the University of Basel in Switzerland. This offer came to him as a shock as he had not yet finished his doctoral studies. Despite this, at the age of twenty-four, Nietzsche was appointed professor of Classical Philology and his doctorate was conferred without the customary examination. He remained at Basel until 1879 when he was forced to retire due to poor health. While at Basel Nietzsche published his first book, The Birth of Tragedy, a phenomenal work which contained no footnotes, references or quotations. It is a book which seeks to explain the birth of Greek tragedy -beginning with the Dionysian festivals and ending with the Apollonian rationalism of late 5th century Athenian drama (more on DIONYSUS AND APOLLO is available here). "What were we to say of the end (or, worse, of the beginning of all inquiry?" asks Nietzsche. Might it be that the "inquiring mind" was simply the human mind terrified by pessimism and trying to escape from it, a clever bulwark erected against the truth? Something craven and false, if one wanted to be moral about it? Or, if one preferred to put it amorally, a dodge? Had this perhaps been your secret, great Socrates? Most secretive of ironists, had this been your deepest irony? The style of the work is at once beautiful and rather flamboyant. It is Nietzsche's most academic work. It is also a very systematic work and any of you familiar with Greek drama -- both tragedy and comedy -- would have little problem understanding his intention. Of course, read a little deeper into The Birth of Tragedy and there you will find the seeds to all of Nietzsche's later thought. At Basel, Nietzsche made a few friends -- one of them was the eminent Swiss art historian, Jacob Burckhardt (1818-1897), whose book The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy first 15 presented the west with its idealized portrait of the historical Renaissance. Another man with whom Nietzsche developed a close yet temporary friendship was the composer, Richard Wagner (1813-1883). As a student, Nietzsche was quite taken with Wagner's opera Tristan and Isolde (1865). He considered that Schopenhauer, Heine and Wagner were the three most important intellects of the 19th century, intellects who were second only to the greatest intellect of them all, Goethe. Wagner showed Nietzsche that greatness and creativity were still indeed possible. Nietzsche also gained three deeply personal experiences from Wagner: (1) his friendship with a great man, (2) a jealous aspiration to excel and to out-Wagner Wagner and (3) deep insights into the soul of the artist. Tristan and Isolde, for Nietzsche, stood as a celebration of Schopenhauer's ceaseless, blind, and passionately striving Will. It was also drunken frenzy which suggested to Nietzsche the ecstatic abandonment and orgiastic revelry of the ancient cult of Dionysus. Wagner also had an interesting wife -- Cosima Wagner was the illegitimate daughter of the Hungarian composer Franz Liszt (1811-1886). Nietzsche was clearly captivated by her and he never outgrew his fascination for her. After Nietzsche went insane in the late 1880s, he sent a note to Cosima which ended with the following words, "Ariadne, I love you. Dionysus." And, in March 1889, and while in the asylum at Jena, Nietzsche wrote, "My wife, Cosima Wagner, has brought me here." Nietzsche eventually terminated his friendship with Wagner and the issue was Wagner's Christianity. Nietzsche, the pagan, was angry with Wagner's opera Parsifal (1882) because it represented a profession of Christianity by an antiChristian. Nietzsche never ceased respecting that sincere and "genuine Christianity" which he considered "possible in all ages," but Wagner's Parsifal clearly did not belong in that category. After all, here was Wagner, a man burning with worldly ambition, declaring his worship to Christian other-worldliness. In other words, Wagner had proved himself to be a hypocrite and a hypocrite of the worst kind. In The Anti-Christ of 1895 (written in 1888), Nietzsche writes: There are days when I am haunted by a feeling blacker than the blackest melancholy-contempt of man. And so as to leave no doubt as to what I despise, whom I despise: it is the man of today, the man with whom I am fatefully contemporary. The man of today -- . . . .. With regard to the past I am, like all men of knowledge, of a large tolerance, that is to say a magnanimous self-control: I traverse the madhouse-world of entire millennia, be it called "Christianity," "Christian faith," "Christian Church," with a gloomy circumspection -- I take care not to make mankind responsible for its insanities. But my feelings suddenly alter, burst forth, immediately I enter the modern age, our age. Our age knows. . . . What was formerly merely morbid has today become indecent -- it is indecent to be a Christian today. And here is where my disgust commences…. Where have the last feelings of decency and self-respect gone when even our statesmen, in other ways very unprejudiced kind of men and practical anti-Christians through and through, still call themselves Christians today and go to Communion? A young prince at the head of his regiments, splendid as the expression of his people's egoism and presumption -- but without any shame professing himself a Christian! Whom then does Christianity deny? What does it call world? Being a soldier, being a judge, being a patriot; defending oneself; preserving one's honor; desiring to seek one's advantage; being proud. . . . The practice of every hour, every instinct, every valuation which leads to action is today anti-Christian: what a monster of falsity modern man must be that his is nonetheless not ashamed to be called a Christian! 16 Hopefully you can all see why Nietzsche could no longer serve Wagner for Wagner had become all that Nietzsche despised. In 1879, Nietzsche resigned his post at Basel as his health was completely broken -- he suffered miserably: migraine headaches and vomiting. But, he did manage to restore himself to health and then wrote one of his most important works, The Gay Science (1882), a book which he later tells us, "marked the consummation of my conquest of death." He then fell into a frenzy of inspiration and between 1883 and 1885 wrote Thus Spoke Zarathustra. He then added in quick succession, Beyond Good and Evil (1886), The Genealogy of Morals (1887), The Case of Wagner (1888), The Twilight of the Idols (written 1888, published 1889), The Anti-Christ, Nietzsche Contra Wagner (written 1888, published 1895) and finally, his semi-autobiographical essay, Ecce Homo (written 1888, published 1908), a book which contains subject headings like "Why I am so Wise" and "Why I Write Such Good Books." By January 1890, Nietzsche was worn out and clearly insane. He consistently signed his letters as "Dionysus" or "The Crucified." That same month he collapsed on a street in Turin and had to be carried home. He eventually entered the asylum at Jena that same year. His recovery was slow and painful but by 1897 he was deemed incurably insane. He lingered on for three more years and on August 25, 1900, he died and was buried, at his own request, at Weimar, the cultural capital of Germany made famous by Goethe. The cause of death was insanity brought on by syphilis of the brain and most Nietzsche experts are agreed on this point. But, this does open an important question. Was Nietzsche's thought the product of an insane mind? For Walter Kaufmann, the answer is a resounding No! His thought did not drive him insane as many modern writers have argued. And anyway, why would we consider Nietzsche's writings the product of an insane mind? Is it because he signed his name Dionysus? Or is it because he pointed to the hypocrisy of calling oneself a Christian when the reality is that we have killed God? Was he insane because he considered that man could become more than he is? Or was he insane because his writings are difficult to digest -- they are difficult, I don't understand them, therefore, they must be the product of a deranged mind? Poor Nietzsche. Hasn't he suffered enough? 17 Lecture 3: Nietzsche, Freud and the Thrust Toward Modernism (2) If the development of civilization has such a far-reaching similarity to the development of the individual and if it employs the same methods, may we not be justified in reaching the diagnosis that, under the influence of cultural urges, some civilizations, or some epochs of civilization -- possibly the whole of mankind -- have become "neurotic"? (Freud, Civilization and Its Discontents, 1930) As a thinker, Nietzsche attacked the conventional opinions of his day because these opinions served as so many barriers to a fuller and richer human experience. He had no faith in social reform, he hated parliamentary government and universal suffrage. He hated liberals, conservatives, communists and socialists. He did not share in the vision of progress so characteristic of the western intellectual tradition for the past two hundred years. He condemned Christian morality. He mocked the liberal notion that man was inherently good. He hated Socrates! What Nietzsche realized was that man must understand that life is not governed by rational principles. Life is full of cruelty, injustice, uncertainty and absurdity. There are no absolute standards of good and evil which can be demonstrated by human Reason. There is only naked man living alone in a godless and absurd world. Modern industrial, bourgeois society, according to Nietzsche, made man decadent and feeble because it made man a victim of the excessive development of the rational faculties at the expense of human will and instinct. Against the tendencies of bourgeois society, Nietzsche stressed that man ought to recognize the dark and mysterious world of instinct -- the true life force. "Du sollst werden, der du bist," Nietzsche wrote. "You must become who you are." Excessive rationality, an over-reliance on Human Reason, does little more than smother the spontaneity necessary for creativity. For man to realize his potential, he must sever his dependence on reason and the intellect and instead, develop his instincts, drive and will. Christianity, with all its restrictions and demands to conform, crushes the human impulse to life. Christian morality must be obliterated because it is fit only for the weak and the slave. Nietzsche said that the reason Christianity triumphed in the Roman world was that the lowest orders -- the meek and the mild -- wanted to inherit the earth from their aristocratic superiors. The lower orders were trying to strike back and subdue their superiors. They did this by condemning as evil those traits which they lacked: strength, power and the zest for life. Instead, the Christians made their own low and wretched lives the standard of all things to come. If you deviated from this standard, you were shackled with guilt. In his book, The Anti-Christ of 1888, Nietzsche wrote that: Christianity has waged a war to the death against this higher type of man. . . . Christianity has taken the side of everything weak, base, ill-constituted, it has made an ideal out of opposition to the instinct of strong life. . . . Christianity is a revolt of everything that crawls along the ground directed against that which is elevated. 18 The philosophers of the Age of Enlightenment of the 18th century, attacked Christianity because it was contrary to human reason. Because they wanted to make Christianity more reasonable, they retained Christian ethics. Nietzsche attacked Christianity as well -- but he did so on the grounds that it gave man a sick soul. It was life-denying. It blocked the free and spontaneous exercise of human instinct and will. In short, Christianity extinguished the spark of life. With the PARABLE OF THE MADMAN, Nietzsche has established that Christian morality is dead and we ourselves are responsible. There are no higher worlds, no morality derived from God or Nature because "God is dead." There are no natural rights and the idea of progress is a sham. All the old values and truths have lost their vitality and validity. Such an opinion is called nihilism. There are no moral values. Nietzsche said man could rise above nihilism. How could this be done? Well, first, one had to recognize the nihilism produced by everyday life. One had to become a nihilist. One could then rise above and go beyond nihilism by creating new values: man could then become his own master and be true to himself rather than to another. "Du sollst werden, der du bist." Man can overcome uniformity and mediocrity, he can overcome socialism, democracy, trade unionism, progress, enlightenment and all the other ills so consistent with western civilization. According to Nietzsche, man could be saved by a new type of man, the "Übermensch," the Superman. These are the men who will not be held back by the hogwash of modern-mediocre-industrial-scientific-bourgeois-Christian civilization. The superman creates his own morality based on human instincts, drive and will. He affirms his existence not by saying, with the Christian, "thou shalt not." No. Against the Mosaic law, the new man shouts, "I will." The new man dares to be himself and as himself, traditional, Christian ideals of good and evil have no meaning and he recognizes them as such. His "will to power" means, for Nietzsche, that he has gone "beyond good and evil." The enhancement of the will to power brings supreme enjoyment. The Superman casts off all established values and because he is now free of all restraints, rules and codes of behavior imposed by civilization, he creates his own values. He lives his own life as one who takes, wants, strives, creates, struggles, seeks and dominates. He knows life as it is given to him is without meaning -- but he lives it laughingly, instinctively, fully, dangerously. The influence of Nietzsche's philosophy today is difficult to assess. I can say that much of what he had to say has had some relevance for myself. While I would not call myself a Nietzschean, there is little doubt that his style of philosophy -"philosophizing with a hammer" -- has had a direct impact on my own way of thinking. Even when he is downright wrong or incoherent, Nietzsche never fails to incite the mind to new levels of thought. As an intellectual historian of the European mind, however, I think Nietzsche grasped one of the fundamental problems which faced the twentieth century. In the last quarter of the 19th century, Nietzsche saw only decay and decline. Such a statement, coming as it did in an era of progress, is enough to draw our attention to Nietzsche. With the death of God, a death quickened by the Scientific Revolution, middle class individualism, Marxism, Darwinism, positivism and materialism, traditional moral values have lost their value and meaning. In a world where nothing is true, anything goes. Nietzsche was a critic. Better yet, Nietzsche was a physician and his patient was western civilization. He had no concrete solution. His diagnosis was perhaps more astute than his proposed treatment. But what Nietzsche served to 19 do was to further erode the rational foundations of western civilization. In this respect, he can be both blamed and congratulated. Such ideas as Nietzsche developed, as Modris Eksteins clearly shows (The Rites of Spring), were bound to appeal to European intellectuals and artists who saw Nietzsche's philosophical ramblings as a means to liberate man's inner energy. In the last analysis, Nietzsche's philosophy was a philosophy of liberation. Like Nietzsche, the Russian novelist FYODOR DOSTOEVSKY (1821-1881) attacked the fundamental world view of the Enlightenment, that great age of human reason. In all his novels, Dostoevsky viewed man as innately depraved, irrational and rebellious. In his novella, Notes From the Underground (1864), the narrator rebels against all plans or schemes for social improvement. He is critical of rationalists, liberals, positivists, humanists and socialists in their endeavor to improve the lot of mankind by fashioning a society based on abstract principles of human happiness. The Underground Man rebels against both science and reason. For the Underground Man, there are no absolute, universal or timeless truths to which all men ought to conform. The world, for Dostoevsky, is a terrifying world of naked wills all engaged in conflict with one another. All men do not seek happiness, says Dostoevsky. There are some, like the Underground Man, who choose suffering because it gratifies them. These individuals are repelled by peace, wealth, security and happiness. They do not want to be robots in some sterile, positivist world in which everything fits into one box or another. For the Underground Man, by following irrational impulses and engaging in irrational acts, human beings assert their individuality. In essence, they prove that they are free. The man who is truly free defines his existence according to his own needs and not those needs or standards that have been culturally created by society. As the Underground Man admits, "the rational faculty is simply 1/20th of all my faculties of life; life is more than reasoning, more than simply extracting square roots." Well, so far we have looked at two late nineteenth century thinkers: one a philosopher-poet, the other a philosopher-novelist. Both men struggled with the knowledge that human existence was replete with irrationality. Their approach was similar in that it was personal, emotive and immediate. It should be clear then, that Nietzsche and Dostoevsky had great disdain for excessive rationalizing -- in other words, they detested the scientific frame of mind to which Europeans had clung since the seventeenth century. Like the philosophers of the 18th century Enlightenment, SIGMUND FREUD (1856-1939) identified civilization with Human Reason and regarded science as the sure path to knowledge. Freud was a child of the Enlightenment. But, unlike the philosophers of Reason, Freud concentrated on the power and influence of non-rational drives and impulses in human thought and behavior. In the 1840s, Karl Marx had argued that people believe they think freely. The truth, as Marx demonstrated, is that their ideas only reflect those ideas of the ruling class, the dominant ideology, and are 20 therefore false. Marx called this "false consciousness." Freud also believed that our conscious thoughts are determined by something hidden: our unconscious impulses. Nietzsche glorified the irrational as only a poet could. Freud, on the other hand, recognized the irrational as a potential danger. He wanted to understand it scientifically. He also wanted to regulate irrationality in the interest of human civilization as a whole. As he told one of his friends, irrationality was a "comprehensible object of science." Freud was convinced that man is not a rational being. Man's behavior, guided as it was by inner forces, was sometimes irrational. Within the mind there is mental activity that is independent of consciousness. This is the unconscious mind. For Freud, the implications of such a discovery were profound: it meant that man's actions are not always rational. And such an idea flew in the face of the ideals of the Enlightenment in no less a way than had Nietzsche's notion that "God is dead." Freud did not discover the unconscious mind. The European Romantics of the late 18th and early 19th centuries had already utilized the unconscious mind as the focus of their artistic energies. So too had the ancient Greek tragedians, Shakespeare, Dostoevsky and Nietzsche. Freud paid tribute to these thinkers and went on to describe Nietzsche as "a philosopher whose guesses and intuitions often agree in the most astonishing way with the laborious findings of psychoanalysis." But unlike Nietzsche, Freud was a man of scientific temper. His object of study and his entire life's work was destined to be the exploration of man's unconscious mind. As a medical doctor Freud specialized in the treatment of nervous disorders or neuroses. He concluded that disordered thinking was the result of fears experienced in childhood. These neuroses take several forms but can be categorized as: hysteria, anxiety, depression and obsession. To treat neurotic behavior, Freud argued that these childhood experiences must be brought to the surface so that the patient could confront himself with them. Freud treated his patients in two ways. The first technique was free association: say whatever comes to mind. This is spontaneous and uninhibited and sometimes the patient would indeed reveal something hidden. The second method was the interpretation of dreams. Dreams reveal the secret wishes and sometimes perverse behavior (to Freud, of course). Because some memories are painful we lock them up. We unconsciously make them hidden and only the skilled psychoanalyst could bring them to the surface. The "id" according to Freud, is the home of the instincts. The id constantly demands gratification and in this respect it is primitive and irrational. The id knows no values, only wants and desires. It has no awareness of good or evil. It demands sexual release and the termination of pain. When the id is denied, the individual is frustrated, angry and unhappy. Freud argued that there was a conflict between our id or instinctual nature and the requirements of civilization. He developed this thesis in his short book of 1930, CIVILIZATION AND ITS DISCONTENTS. Influenced as he was by the horrors of WWI and its aftermath, the main theme of this book was developed before 1914. Man derives the highest pleasure from sexual fulfillment, says Freud, but unconstrained sexuality drains the individual of psychic energy needed for a creative and intellectual life. Hence, it was society, working through the family, the priest, the teacher and the police, who imposes rules and restricts our animal nature which, because it is animal, demands release. Such an existence is painful and so causes 21 anxiety and frustration. But the violation of the rules of civilization also gives us guilt. Either way, we suffer torment and pain. Civilized life simply entails too much pain for people. It seemed, for Freud, that the price we pay for civilization is neuroses. Not a very happy predicament! People are not good by nature, Freud argued. The individual is a creature whose instincts often provoke aggressiveness. The first inclination is not to love one another as brothers or sisters but to "satisfy their aggressiveness on him, to exploit his capacity for work without compensation, to use him sexually without his consent, to seize his possessions, to humiliate him, to cause him pain, to torture and to kill him." Freud knew this by studying human neuroses and like Marx before him, by understanding that history is a story of conflict. Whereas Marx saw a dialectical conflict between social classes, Freud saw a dialectical conflict within the human mind itself. Civilization tries to combine individuals into families, races, peoples and nations -- into one great unity. "But man's natural aggressive instinct," wrote Freud, "the hostility of each against all and of all against each, opposes this program of civilization." From what has been said you may think that Freud broke his faith with the Enlightenment. Not so. And the reason is clear: Freud did not celebrate nor did he glorify the irrational as did Nietzsche at the end of the nineteenth century. Civilization is a burden but people must bear it for the alternative is much worse. In this respect, Freud's social theory, if we can call it that, is pessimistic to the core. Civilization, because it consistently thwarts our most basic human needs, has made man into something in-human. We all suffer neuroses. Some individuals can cope with this behavior, others cannot. Those who fail to cope require therapy and for Freud this meant psychoanalysis. But what of those individuals who have learned to cope with their own neuroses -- how do they cope with this? Religion, art, drugs, alcohol, wanton sexuality, music, politics, crystals. All of these are little more than crutches, Freud tells us, because they divert us from our genuine role to become fully human. At the same time as Nietzsche and Freud broke away from the Enlightenment tradition which specified that man was inherently good, artists and writers rebelled against traditional forms of artistic and literary expression. Their work created a great cultural revolution which we call modernism. Modernism can be characterized by the heightened awareness of the Self. It is intense introspection. For the modernist artist or writer, intellect had become a barrier to creativity and the expression of human emotion. Human reason, rather than man's liberator, had now fashioned itself as man's captor. The modernist artists abandoned all artistic traditions and literary conventions and began to experiment with new modes of expression. They destroyed history in order to create their own history. Writers such as Thomas Mann (1875-1955), Marcel Proust (1871-1922), D. H. Lawrence (1885-1930), James Joyce (1882-1941) and Franz Kafka (1883-1924) explored the inner, psychic life of the individual. Their novels, plays and poems dealt with the theme of modern man and woman -- men and women who reject the values of their own day. Their intense introspection forced them to come to grips with their anxiety caused by a guilt imposed by society, their awakened sexuality, their cravings for self-destruction and in general, their overwhelming feelings of isolation, drift, meaninglessness and alienation. (See Lecture 8 on modernism.) 22 For the modernist, there was no one reality. Reality was personal -- it was individual and therefore subjective. As a general rule, modernism was less concerned with reality than with how the artist or writer could transform reality. In this way, the artist made reality his own. Whereas the middle class industrial society of the nineteenth century valued reason, industry, thrift, organization, faith, norms and values, the modernists were fascinated by the bizarre, the mysterious, the surreal, the primitive and the formless. In a word, the modernist fashioned a world shaped by the Irrational. In this way, the modernist artist and writer reflected the concerns of a Dostoevsky, a Nietzsche and a Freud. A similar motif can be found in music. Around the turn of the century, composers began to experiment with atonality, dissonance and primitive rhythms. When Igor Stravinsky's (1882-1971) ballet The Rites of Spring was first performed in Paris in 1913, the audience rioted. The work had broken with all past conventions. It was too much to bear. Too much innovation, too quickly. And, of course, the most tangible evidence of modernism -- or at least the one with which we are most familiar -- is in the world of art. The Impressionists, centered in Paris, broke with a tradition stretching back centuries. As one of them wrote: "Don't proceed according to rules and principles but paint what you observe and feel." Impressionist painters like Pierre Auguste Renoir (1841-1919), Claude Monet (1840-1926), Édouard Manet (1832-1883), Edgar Degas (1834-1917) and Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), tried to capture movement, color and light as it appeared to the mind at one specific moment. It is, in other words, the representation of a brief moment of time and space as perceived by the artist. By 1900, artists attempted to penetrate the deep recesses of the unconscious mind. The unconscious was the true source of creativity and so these artists tried to portray their own mind in their art. In a way, they tried to visually represent what could not yet be given verbal expression. Cubists, like Picasso and Georges Braque (18821963), attempted to show the interplay between a one dimensional canvas and the three dimensional world of reality. One can only know the nature of an object by seeing it from many angles. So, cubist art presents objects from multiple points of view at one and the same time. Of course, our discussion of modernism has barely scratched the surface. But, we can make a few general claims at this point. First, the modernists rejected the traditional view that the world was a rational and orderly place. Such a world view was first expressed during the Renaissance and had become a ruling idea, of sorts, right down through the nineteenth century. By breaking away from this tradition, the modernist artist opened up completely new possibilities as well as completely new problems associated with those possibilities. Second, modernism in art and literature is also a reflection of the growing power and appeal of the irrational side of human existence. With this in mind, modernism is part of the same European experience which produced Nietzsche and Freud. Third, Nietzsche and Freud did not "make" modernism. They did not coin the term. But, they were keen observers of their own age and each, in their own way, served as the physician of that great entity: western civilization. Their diagnosis was not good. Civilization seemed to be changing before the eyes of every European. Indeed, change was everywhere. But change had its price. "Disintegration characterizes this time, and thus uncertainty," wrote Nietzsche in 1884: 23 nothing stands firmly on its feet or on a hard faith in itself; one lives for tomorrow as the day after tomorrow is dubious. Everything on our way is slippery and dangerous, and the ice that still supports us has become thin: all of us feel the warm, uncanny breath of the thawing wind: where we still walk, soon no one will be able to walk. 24 Lecture 5 The Russian Revolution, February - October 1917 (1) N.B. Lectures 5 and 6 serve as a narrative history of the Russian Revolution and are not replacements for a more in-depth treatment of such an important event. For more information, please make sure you take a look at my RUSSIAN REVOLUTION page of resources. * * * * * On Monday December 19, 1916 the corpse of Grigory Efimovich Rasputin was found and people knelt in the snow outside the Moika Palace to give their thanks to God and to Felix Yusupov, the man responsible for Rasputin's demise. On Tuesday, the Empress prayed over the corpse, smothering it with flowers and ikons. On Thursday night, Rasputin's body was buried in a plot of ground on the edge of the park at Tsarskoe Selo. His murderers could not be executed -- they were too popular. Not only that, Yusupov was married to the Tsar's niece, Irena. Instead, Yusupov was sent into temporary exile to his family estates to the south. In August 1915, one year after the start of the Great War, Tsar Nicholas II had taken over Supreme Command of the Russian Army at the Stavka (HQ) at Mogilev. It was here that he first learned of Rasputin's murder. That day he walked his collies and watched a Pathé serial called, The Streets of New York. He was too weak to survive, they said in Petrograd, power "hung over him like a shroud." His days in power were clearly numbered. Most venom was reserved for the tsarina. The crowds called her, "the German woman." Her dull and melancholy evenings were passed listening to chamber music and gazing into the fire. Each day, sometimes several times, she poured out her simple-minded political philosophy in letters to her husband at the Stavka. The Russians loved "to feel the whip," she wrote to Nicky. "It's their nature - tender love and then the iron hand to punish and guide them." February 1917 began bitterly cold. The streets of Petrograd were filled with ice. Food lines lengthened. "Never before has there been so much swearing, argument and scandal," wrote one Okhrana agent. There were 170,000 troops in the city, double the peacetime garrison, but the secret police thought them to be "raw, untrained material, unfit to put down civil disorders." The best troops, of course, were at the front. On February 14th, police agents reported that army officers had, for the first time, mingled with the crowds demonstrating against the war and the government on Nevsky Prospekt. "Behind the white columns of the hall grinned Hopelessness," a conservative said of the mood at the Duma debates. "And she whispered: ‘Why? What for? What difference does it make?'" Food hoarding was common. Wood for heating was beyond the means of the poor and the temperature in middle class flats was kept just above freezing. Grain trains on their way to the capital were blocked by heavy snowfalls. International Woman's Day was held on Thursday, February 23rd. This gave an excuse for women from textile plants to stream into the streets shouting, "Down with hunger! Bread for the workers!" They pelted the windows of the engineering shops to bring the men out. Nikolai Sukhanov, the crotchety radical civil servant who was to become the Revolution's diarist and victim, thought the disorders unremarkable. He had seen 25 them before. But what he now noticed was the strange attitude of the authorities. The crowds felt it too. They began overturning tramcars and sacked a large bakery. The "Pharaohs," slang for the police, stood by and did nothing. Okhrana agents noticed that skilled workers now joined the strikers. The agitators working the crowds no longer bothered to pull their overcoats over their heads in order to hide their faces. The troops hesitated when they were told to disperse the crowds. A Cossack officer shouted at some strikers led by an old woman, "Who are you following? You are being led by an old crone." The woman replied, "No old crone, but a sister and wife of soldiers at the front." Someone yelled, "Cossacks, you are our brothers, you can't shoot us." The Cossacks, great symbol of Russian ferocity and terror, turned away. The tsarina thought there was no more to the events in Petrograd than children running about for excitement. "If the weather was cold," she wrote Nicky, "they probably would have stayed at home." She also wrote that she hoped that a young socialist lawyer by the name of Alexander Kerensky would be hanged. In a recent Duma debate, Kerensky had called for someone to do to the Tsar what Brutus had done to Caesar. In fashionable circles, the main talk was of the party Princess Radziwill was throwing the following Sunday. Quite a few people had simply missed the boat! As luck would have it, the weather stayed warm on Friday. Demonstrators were out again in force. It seemed that all of the city's 2.5 million residents were in the streets. Something was odd in the behavior of the Cossacks. The crowds had begun to cheer their customary tormentors. A Cossack unit was ordered to charge. The horsemen rode delicately in single file through the crowd. "Some of them smiled and one actually winked," wrote one observer. Killing started on Saturday, February 25th. The demonstrators were back. All factories had closed. The police opened fire on a mob that was beating a police officer with an iron tramcar lever, and fired a volley into the crowd near the Nikolaevsky train station and the demonstrators fled. A cavalry squadron shot down nine people on the Nevsky. But slowly the people began to command, forcing officers to abandon their carriages and rescuing those who had been taken by the police. The police were melting away, fearing for their lives. Politics played little part here. There were no leaders. "What do they want?" asked one bystander. "They want bread, peace with the Germans and freedom for the Yids," his companion replied. Sunday began with a deceptive calm. The churches of Petrograd were full. The weather was warm and sunny and the scene so apparently uneventful that the tsar received a telegram that announced, "the city is quiet." So it was -- but not for long. A crowd started for the Nevsky, crossing the frozen river to avoid the police on the river bridges. They ran into an infantry unit near the Mioka canal at one o'clock. The troops knelt and fired two volleys into the crowd. Meanwhile, general fighting broke out in the Nevsky area. Students wearing Red Cross arm bands gave first aid to the wounded. At a nearby school for young ladies of the nobility, the girls heard a mistress use an unfamiliar and thrilling word: "Revolt!" As the crowds were cut down, the tsarina was visiting the grave of Rasputin. "It seems to me that it will all be all right," she wrote to Nicky . "The sun shines so clearly and I felt such peace and quiet at His dear grave. He died in order to save us." An Okhrana agent was less certain. The game depended entirely upon the army, he reported. "If the troops turn against the government, then nothing can save the 26 country." Meanwhile, Princess Radziwell's party was in full swing. The regime still had a few hours left. The president of the Duma, Rodzyanko, became more and more alarmed over the course of Sunday afternoon. Those soldiers garrisoned in the city would not shoot at the mob -- in fact, many of them had gone over! If only they had used fire hoses instead of bullets. Rodzyanko then sent a telegraph to the tsar -- copies were also sent to the high commanders asking that they support his views. The meaning of the telegram was quite clear: Situation serious. Anarchy in the capital. Government paralyzed. Transport of food and fuel in full disorder. Popular discontent growing. Disorderly firing in the streets. Some military units fire on one another, Essential immediately to order persons having the confidence of the country to form new government. Delay impossible. Any delay deadly. I pray to God that in this hour the blame does not fall on the crown. After regular 5 PM tea at Mogilev, Nicholas invited a few commanders to read the telegram. How would the tsar respond? Nicholas suggested that since the Duma was to be prorogued (closed down) that evening, then nothing should be done and no answer was necessary. This caused some concern at the Stavka, but mostly among junior officers. One officer wrote in his diary: "why can't the tsar understand that he must show his will and his power?" Meanwhile, Nicholas wrote the tsarina about the pains he had suffered in his chest while at church that morning. At 9:20 PM he sent a final telegram to his wife saying that he would leave for Tsarskoe Selo on Tuesday. Then he read a bit and played dominoes. The Volynsky guardsman who had shot down demonstrators held a meeting on Sunday night. They decided that they would not act as executioners but would join with the people. At seven o'clock on Monday morning, cartridges were issued and the unit formed up on parade in battle order. The Captain arrived with his orders. He was met with mutiny. "We won't kill anymore. Enough blood." From a barracks window a shot rang out and the Captain was dead. The Volynsky mutineers ran into a nearby engineering barracks shouting, "Comrades, get your rifles!" The locked doors of the storeroom were broken down and the quartermaster was shot dead. The engineers joined the uprising marching into the streets where their band played to cheering crowds. The gates of the main arsenal were battered in and the depot commander killed. Thousands of revolvers were handed out to the crowds. Teenagers swirled out of side streets, shouting and firing their weapons at the pigeons on the streetcar wires. The city governor demanded a plan from the police chief. The existing security plan divided the city into sectors, each under the control of a unit that was now mutinying. News came in that a squadron of armored cars were rumbling down the Nevsky with red flags flying from them. Civilians began to urge regiments to come out. "Comrade soldiers," they shouted to a battalion of the Moscow regiment, "Come out: join the people!" The crowd broke down the picket fence and surged on the troops. The commander ordered his men to fire volleys and drew his own revolver. He was beaten to death. The troops began to shoot at their own barracks while the crowd broke into the armory and helped themselves to rifles and ammunition. The Kresty prison was taken and its 2400 prisoners were freed. 27 Policemen, identified by their long coats and gray fur hats, were lynched in the streets. Station houses were set on fire. Other potential targets of the mob fled. Alexander Kerensky was woken by his wife Olga at eight in the morning on Monday, February 27th. Kerensky was thirty-six, a Duma deputy who had found his moment. Born in Simbursk, he had become involved in radical politics at St.Petersburg in his teens, but had no time for fashionable terrorism or Marxism for that matter. He was, as one observer wrote, "unquestionably humanitarian and utterly Russian in every respect." On graduation, he started a legal aid office in the city, advising workers on their rights and representing them without fees. In 1904, he married Baranovskaya, the daughter of an army officer. During the 1905 revolution, he founded a socialist newspaper and served four months in the Kresty prison after a friend's revolver was found in his apartment. Kerensky was thrilled with his luck. "I was now," he wrote, "'one of us' in radical and socialist circles." In 1912, troops shot dead 170 striking miners in the Lena goldfields in Siberia. The massacre caused deep resentment throughout Russia and Kerensky made a national reputation when he was appointed to the inquiry commission. He was elected to the Duma a few months later. Most Duma members thought him weak because he speeches were emotional. Almost alone, he denounced anti-Semitic atrocities. The war was a catastrophe for the Jews. Not a day passed without Jews being hanged on false charges of spying yet more than 250,000 Jewish soldiers fought in the ranks of the Russian army. Kerensky went in person to Kuzhi, a small town near the front in Kovno where Jews were being lynched for supposedly hiding Germans in their cellars. He examined the cellars and proved the charges false. His Okhrana nickname was "Speedy" and on the 27th he hurried through the mutinous city of Petrograd to the right wing of the Tauride Palace where the Duma met. At one o'clock, a flood of soldiers and workers, scraps of red on their coats, arrived at the palace. Kerensky greeted them. "He is their vozhd, their leader," one onlooker whispered. By mid-afternoon, two provisional committees were set up in separate wings of the palace. One was dominated by moderate bourgeois members of the Duma and would later become the Provisional Government. The other was the first Petrograd Soviet to meet since 1905. The Soviet elected a permanent executive committee drawn from all socialist groups. The Bolsheviks had two members out of the fourteen. It decided to publish its own daily newspaper to be called Izvestia. At eight o'clock on Monday evening Nicholas was cabled a warning that only a handful of his troops remained loyal. A state of siege was proclaimed. Any form of counterforce simply melted away. But the mutineers also felt their position desperate. They feared that loyal troops would be sent from the front to crush them. The defenders of the Tauride Palace, the center of the revolution, had no weapons heavier than four non-working machineguns. A volunteer sent out to buy lubricants for them returned empty-handed. But mutineers slipped into the deserted Maryinsky Palace. Grand Duke Mikhail demanded that loyal troops still holding the Winter Palace be withdrawn. He did not want the people to be fired upon from the House of the Romanovs. There should be no repetition of 1905, he remarked. Exhausted politicians, wrapped in their coats, slept in the armchairs and benches of the Tauride. Kerensky was there too. Meanwhile, a pair of soldiers cut Repin's famous portrait of Nicholas from its frame with their bayonets. Mutiny had won. 28 The mutineers had the run of the city on Tuesday. Trucks with rifles and bayonets drove through the streets while looters broke into the palaces. The French ambassador mused that the era stretching back to Catherine the Great had come to an end. He was right. Nicholas spent the day on the imperial train on his way to join his wife at the Alexander Palace. Shortly after midnight, the train was flung into reverse 90 miles short of Petrograd because the next station was in rebel hands. In the early hours of March 1, after 303 years, a Romanov was fleeing from his people. The train stopped at Pskov station. Here, in the drawing room car, March 2, 1917, Nicholas signed the act of ABDICATION. The official death toll was 1224 -- the equivalent of a few hours' casualties in the war. The Americans hailed the event as a "fitting and glorious successor" to their own revolution. US ambassador David Francis said that it was the realization of the American dream. But there were two governments in Petrograd. The Provisional Government, dominated by middle-class members of the Duma and the Soviet of workers' and soldiers' deputies. The two governments represented different classes and sharply different political platforms. The Soviet wanted an eight hour day, land grants to the peasants, an army with voluntary discipline and elected officers, and an end to the war. The Provisional Government, on the other hand, wished to continue the war and to keep social change at a minimum. Georgy Lvov, a prince and a landowner, became the first Prime Minister of revolutionary Russia. Lenin was in Zurich at the time of the revolution. When the first reports came in from Petrograd, he was astonished. Stuck in a miserable apartment whose windows could only be opened when the nearby sausage factory closed for the night, Lenin had recently told a meeting of socialists that he did not expect a revolution in his lifetime. "The tsarist monarchy has been smashed, but not finally destroyed," Lenin wrote in his first Letters from Afar (March 7, 1917). The Soviet of Workers' Deputies is an organization of the workers, the embryo of a workers' government, the representative of the interests of the entire mass of the poor section of the population, i.e., of nine-tenths of the population, which is striving for peace, bread and freedom. The conflict of these three forces determines the situation that has now arisen, a situation that is transitional from the first stage of the revolution to the second. Of more importance perhaps, was the fact that his Bolsheviks had played little part in the activities in Petrograd those final days of February 1917. The Bolshevik Party was at this time, marginal. It was riddled with informers and Lenin spent the majority of his time engaged in internal disputes with other socialists. However, Lenin held out great potential for the Germans. He was opposed to the war, an "imperialist and capitalist war." If he returned to Petrograd now he was sure to undermine the Russian war effort. And he wanted to return to Russia. He had to return to Russia. But how? The Swedes would not help return him but the Germans offered a sealed railway car which would take Lenin across enemy lines and back to Russia. "It was with a sense of awe," wrote Winston Churchill of Lenin's German 29 support, "that they turned upon Russia the most grisly of all weapons. They transported Lenin in a sealed truck like a plague bacillus into Russia." Lenin arrived at Petrograd's Finland Station late at night on April 3 and gave a speech before he had even left the platform. In three sentences, Lenin outlined the Bolshevik program and his contempt for the Provisional Government: "The people need peace. The people need bread and land. And they give you war, hunger, no food, and the land remains with the landowners." In May Leon Trotsky returned. Sentenced to life in Siberia for his part in the 1905 Revolution, he had fled across the Arctic taiga in a reindeer sled, guided by a local so drunk that Trotsky had to kick him and take off his fur hat to keep him awake. After a week he found himself safely at a railroad station and was soon in Paris. He was deported during the Great War to Spain and then went to New York a few days after Rasputin's murder. News of the February Revolution came to him in the $18 a month flat he furnished on the installment plan on 164th Street in the Bronx. He left New York with regret, a city he called "the fullest expression of our modern age." The war continued. "A great pump which sucks out the strength of the country," wrote one observer. Kerensky became War Minister in early May. He was idolized at mass meetings for the war effort. It is said that women flew into fits of hysteria and threw their jewelry at his feet. Bruce Lockhart, a British diplomat and secret agent thought Kerensky the most powerful speaker he ever was to hear -- more powerful than even Adolf Hitler. By the end of June, Kerensky's summer offensive was a disaster. Regiments dissolved as thousands of deserters streamed away from the front, killing any officer who tried to stop them. Behind the front, the few civilians left were filled with fear and the women snatched their skirts and fled when they saw soldiers. Further back, trains were so overloaded with deserters that car axles caught fire from the weight. The fiasco at the front hurried the Bolsheviks into a premature uprising -- The July Days. The men of a machinegun regiment infiltrated by Bolshevik agitators marched through the capital, urging the overthrow of the Provisional Government and the hanging of Kerensky. A mob joined them. Bourgeois Petrograd hid in terror. Regiments loyal to the government were drafted into the city and the attempt to force an issue failed. Details of German payments to the Bolsheviks were leaked to the press. Lenin was an agent of Berlin! Lenin fled, hiding in a haymakers' hut before crossing the border into Finland. Trotsky was arrested. His new home was the Kresty prison. On July 21, Lvov resigned and Kerensky formed a new government which busied itself with foreign relations and constitutional reform. Meanwhile, Russia disintegrated. Food was scarce and money flooded off the presses. 476 million rubles were printed in April, one billion in July. Inflation reached 1000 per cent. Government printing plants could no longer cut the sheets of currency so the sheets were issued to the public who had to cut the notes with scissors. In the factories, the men "come to work drunk, speak at meetings drunk….They drink methylated spirits, varnish and all kinds of other substitutes." In Tambov province, peasants ran Prince Boris Vyazemsky off his estate and looted his house. At the railroad station, deserters discovered him. They ran him through with their bayonets and clubbed him with iron bars. Then they cut off his head. 30 "Power," one observer wrote, "was hanging in the air." Kerensky was a man of authority. He thrived on it. He used the imperial train, he lived in the imperial suite in the Winter Palace, he slept with his mistress in Alexander III's bed. His commander-in-chief, the wiry Cossack, General Lavr Kornilov, mounted a confused rightest coup in early September against the government, with a division of mountain troops. It did not reach Petrograd: the rail line was cut and agitators worked on the men as they milled about the track. The "counter-revolution" collapsed. Kornilov was placed under house arrest while the general who had led the attack on Kornilov's orders shot himself. The Bolsheviks were rehabilitated by the blundering Cossack reactionary and Kerensky found himself isolated. Officers, tainted with Kornilov's counterrevolution, lost all control of their men. Louise Bryant, a young American correspondent and later the lover of John Reed, arrived at the docks of the Vyborg to watch soldiers on the adjacent platform shouting: "The officers! The bright, pretty officers! They threw them in the canal," she filed to The Philadelphia Public Ledger. "They have just finished it now. They have killed fifty and I heard them screaming." In the rear, two young officers disguised as soldiers were flung from a train into a gorge, "falling like dolls," Bryant wrote. At the front, troops fraternized with the Germans, who gave them tobacco and wine. Russia was breaking up. Nationalist movements rolled through the Ukraine, Finland and the Baltic States. Cossacks, Bashkirs, Siberians, Buryats declared themselves independent. Racial hatred boiled over. Jews were particular targets. "The pogrom movement is rising," the Russkiye Vedomosti correspondent in Bessarabia reported. "Talk is heard of shifting all the blame on the Jews." Kerensky took brandy and morphine. "He really is hysterical," his secretary told Louise Bryant. "He weeps and is so dreadfully alone. I mean, he cannot depend on anyone." There had still been no elections for the Constituent Assembly, the parliament promised since March. Committees had examined the American, Belgian and Swiss constitutions in their search for perfection. They discussed the merits of proportional representation and an upper house -- "All Russia, it seemed, was just talking and talking." Leon Trotsky, "a son of a bitch but the greatest Jew since Jesus," in the eyes of an American Red Cross representative, was a doer, not a talker. And he had just been released from prison. The stage was now nearly set for the greatest drama and the greatest dream of the twentieth century -- the Bolshevik Revolution of October 1917. 31 Lecture 6 The Russian Revolution: Red October and the Bolshevik Coup (2) People do not make revolutions eagerly any more than they do war. There is this difference, however, that in war compulsion plays the decisive role, in revolution there is no compulsion except that of circumstances. A revolution takes place only when there is no other way out. And the insurrection, which rises above a revolution like a peak in the mountain chain of its events, can be no more evoked at will than the revolution as a whole. The masses advance and retreat several times before they make up their minds to the final assault. ---Trotsky, The History of the Russian Revolution Damp winds blew off the Gulf of Finland, but there were no warm clothes in the shops. Just window after window full of flowers, corsets, dog collars, false hair -bourgeois items for which there was absolutely no demand. Lines for bread, sugar and tobacco started forming at four o'clock in the morning. On September 25, 1917, Kerensky appointed a new cabinet. It was the fourth provisional Government, the third coalition and the seventh major reshuffling since the revolution had gotten underway back in February. The town of Reval, the last stronghold between the Germans and Petrograd, was evacuated by the Russians on October 3rd. Every day now, the people of Petrograd asked the government when their city would be evacuated. Barges floated down the Neva, laden with the art treasures of the Hermitage as well as sacks full of papers from all the ministries. One barge sank. "It doesn't matter," said one of the sailors as the barge went down. Indeed, it didn't matter. Every day hundreds of thousands of "hungry, tired and angry people" listened to Bolshevik propaganda served up gratis on the streets of Petrograd. It was a simple message, according to Sukhanov: "The rich have lots of everything, the poor have nothing. Everything will belong to the poor…." It didn't matter that it was all lies. "After all," wrote the young Russian poet Boris Pasternak, "what everybody needed were not empires, but bread, salt and candles." Leon Trotsky, the "famous leader of the bandits and the hooligans," caused a sensation at the pre-parliament. He openly accused the government and the bourgeoisie of encouraging the "bony hand of hunger," to strangle the revolution. He said they were preparing to surrender the capital as part of a government conspiracy. Such a statement drew shouts from the right, shouts about Germans, sealed trains and the cry of "Bastard!" Then he and all the Bolsheviks walked out of the meeting. Sukhanov thought that they were "now taking up arms against the entire old world." In "ruined, half-wild, petty bourgeois, economically shattered" Russia, this small party was trying to create an unheard of proletarian state and a new society. They had "put an end to the united front of the democracy for ever." Civil war would surely follow. The lust for blood fueled by class hatred was strong. Manors and country estates were burning. Members of the ancien régime were being casually murdered by the mob. In a village near Baku, half a dozen ragged deserters bayoneted an elderly general who had told them, "this is my single fault. I love Russia. I love my people, I demand that you let me go." Needless to say, the deserters did not like his use of the word "demand." The mob turned on the two ladies with him and trampled their bodies to death "like a manure heap." The civil 32 war implicit in the walk-out, as all those concerned knew full well, would extend throughout Russia. Essential to a successful Bolshevik takeover was deception. And it was Leon Trotsky who was brilliant in formulating its tactics. The country was in no mood for a single party power. An uprising carried out under the slogan of the Soviet, Trotsky realized, was "something quite different." So, "whilst moving forward all along the line," he later explained, "we maintained an appearance of defensiveness." He could not do this with a properly convened Soviet Congress. There was not the slightest chance of a Bolshevik victory in a national Soviet election so the existing Congress was illegally packed with Bolsheviks. The decision to mount the coup was taken on October 10th. Lenin had returned to Petrograd disguised as a train engineer. At 10pm he crossed the city for the first Central Committee meeting he had attended since July. The meeting was held in Sukhanov's apartment. His wife, Galina, was a Bolshevik, and had ensured that her husband would not return until late that night. Twelve members took part. They all wore wigs and make-up, glued-on mustaches and false beards. Lenin wore a wig of gray hair. It had been ordered from a wigmaker who worked for the Maryinsky Theater and whose normal clientele were aristocrats. He was puzzled why Lenin wanted a gray model since most of his customers wanted to look younger rather than older. Lenin also wore glasses and had shaved off his trademark beard. Zinoviev, known for his flowing mane, shaved his head and wore a false beard. The Provisional Government's chance to arrest those plotting the coup was missed. Had the Government swooped down on the meeting that night they would have made history -- Lenin, Trotsky, Zinoviev, Kamenev, Kollantai were all there. So too were Felix Dzerzhinsky, future head of the secret police, Yakov Sverdlov, the man responsible for murdering Nicholas and his family and, of course, Joseph Stalin (see Lecture 10). The Government ought to have acted but didn't -- one more example of the impotence of the Provisional Government itself. Around three in the morning, Lenin picked up a child's ruled tablet and wrote the following resolution: "recognizing…that an armed uprising is inevitable and that its time has come, the Central Committee suggests that all party organizations be guided by this." The exhausted committee members ended the meeting, ate a light breakfast, and then left Sukhanov's flat to spread the word: Now was the time to seize power! However, the Twelve were not the only individuals with knowledge of the coup. The newspapers had been talking about it for days. When the Cabinet met on October 16th, there was no sense of alarm. They had simply assumed that a coup was unlikely since by that time, any sense of surprise had been lost. Lenin was exhausted. He dropped his wig in the mud on his way to the Finland Station and it had to be cleaned. He never got the hang of wearing it. "He kept trying to straighten it," said his Bolshevik landlady, Margarita Fofanova. Needless to say, Lenin was a very nervous man. Sukhanov thought that Lenin's ideas -- the smashing of the credit system, the seizure of banks, parity of wages, and workers' control -- were "so disproportionately few in comparison with the immensity of the tasks, and so unknown to anyone outside the Bolshevik Party, that you might say they were completely irrelevant." Maxim Gorky described the plotters of the coup as "crazed fanatics." 33 On October 22nd, the commissar for the western front cabled a message to Kerensky that said: "There is nothing left but to give up. Disintegration has attained its limit." The newspaper Russkiye Vedomosti apologized to its readers that it could run only a fraction of the stories about mutinies and pogroms that flooded its newsroom each day. Kharkov, Tambov, and Ostrog "merge into one dark picture of murders, pillages, arsons and debauch." Mobs searched everywhere for axes and crow bars so they could break into wine cellars. Landowners and shopkeepers who were suspected of speculation were beaten to death with clubs and the "same fate awaits Jews, just because they are Jews." In Petrograd, everything could be had for big money, that is, if you had it. Cab fares were fifteen times their pre-war rate. Soldiers were hired by the hour to stand in lines and sell their chocolate rations at twelve rubles to the pound. Felix Yusupov, back in Petrograd after his brief exile for the killing of Rasputin, found social life "agreeable once more" and began to give parties in his palace. If the Bolshevik coup came, most thought it would fail. "I only wish they would come out," Kerensky told the British ambassador, "and then I will put them down." David Francis, the US ambassador, thought that a golden opportunity was being lost. "Beginning to think the Bolsheviks will make no demonstrations," he cabled Washington. "If so, shall regret as believe sentiment turning against them and time opportune moment for giving them a wholesome lesson…." With the coup right around the corner, there were no plans to cope with it. At 5 AM on October 24th, military cadets acting on Kerensky's orders broke the page molds of Bolshevik newspapers and sealed off the offices. Trotsky could hardly contain his excitement: "Kerensky is on the offensive." It's pretty clear what this meant: now the Bolsheviks could accuse the government of counter-revolution. "Although an insurrection can only win on the offensive," Trotsky wrote in his massive History of the Russian Revolution, "it develops better the more it looks like self-defense." By mid-morning, Bolshevik troops retook the newspaper offices without a struggle. The molds were repaired and the papers began to pour off the presses once again. Kerensky cabled the front for additional armed forces but he hoped he would not have to use them. He had at his disposal, 200 cadets, 200 women soldiers and 134 unattached officers for policing duties. Trotsky was at the Smolny Institute, the former home of a finishing school for aristocratic girls, but now used as the general headquarters for the Bolshevik Party and the Petrograd Soviet. A delegation from the Petrograd City Hall arrived during the afternoon to ask on behalf of the mayor whether the uprising would take place or not. Trotsky met the delegation and assured them that indeed the insurrection was underway. The delegation left the Smolny a bit puzzled for there was very little indication that the city was in the midst of an insurrection. The rest of the city, meanwhile, figured that since there were no outward signs of insurrection, that the coup had not been attempted. Elegant men and women, fashionable Petrograd, assembled at the Alexandrinsky Theatre to watch Alexei Tolstoy's play The Death of Ivan the Terrible. Others, suitably dressed, were at the Maryinsky listening to Fedor Ivanovich Chaliapin in Boris Godunov. The Restaurant de Paris was turning away diners unlucky enough not to have made reservations. The cinemas, the bars and the night clubs were bustling hives of activity. With the Bolshevik coup just hours away, it's hard to fathom that fashionable Petrograd could remain so passive and unaware Not so Lenin. He spent the better part of the evening pacing the floor of his hideaway apartment. He couldn't stand the slow pace of events, the indecision in 34 both Smolny and the Winter Palace. He was also still getting information about the supposed coup second-hand. That evening Lenin sat down and wrote a letter to his wife, Krupskaya, who was then at the Vyborg party headquarters. It was now 7 PM and it was necessary, Lenin said, to get on with the uprising. "What are they afraid of?" he asked of the Central Committee. "Just ask them if they have one hundred loyal soldiers or Red Guards with rifles. I don't need anything else!" Here is the full text of Lenin's letter: Comrades! I am writing these lines on the evening of the 6th. The situation is extremely critical. It is as clear as can be that delaying the uprising now really means death. With all my power I wish to persuade the comrades that now everything hangs on a hair, that on the order of the day are questions that are not solved by conferences, by congresses (even by Congresses of Soviets), but only by the people, by the masses, by the struggle of armed masses. The bourgeois onslaught of the Kornilovists, the removal of Verkhovsky, show that we must not wait. We must at any price, this evening, to-night, arrest the Ministers, having disarmed (defeated if they offer resistance) the military cadets, etc. We must not wait! We may lose everything! The immediate gain from the seizure of power at present is: defense of the people (not the congress, but the people, in the first place, the army and the peasants) against the Kornilovist government which has driven out Verkhovsky and has hatched a second Kornilov plot. Who should seize power? At present this is not important. Let the Military Revolutionary Committee seize it, or "some other institution" which declares that it will relinquish the power only to the real representatives of the interests of the people, the interests of the Army (immediate offer of peace), the interests of the peasants (take the land immediately, abolish private property), the interests of the hungry. It is necessary that all the boroughs, all regiments, all forces should be mobilised and should immediately send delegations to the Military Revolutionary Committee, to the Central Committee of the Bolsheviks, insistently demanding that under no circumstances is power to be left in the hands of Kerensky and Co. Until the 7th, by no means! -- but that the matter must absolutely be decided this evening or to-night. History will not forgive delay by revolutionists who could be victorious to-day (and will surely be victorious to-day), while they risk losing much to-morrow, they risk losing all. If we seize power to-day, we seize it not against the Soviets but for them. Seizure of power is the point of the uprising; its political task will be clarified after the seizure. 35 It would be a disaster or formalism to wait for the uncertain voting of November 7. The people have a right and a duty to decide such questions not by voting but by force; the people have a right and duty in critical moments of a revolution to give directions to their representatives, even their best representatives, and not to wait for them. This has been proven by the history of all revolutions, and the crime of revolutionists would be limitless if they let go the proper moment, knowing that upon them depends the saving of the revolution, the offer of peace, the saving of Petrograd, the saving from starvation, the transfer of the land to the peasants. The government is tottering. We must deal it the death blow at any cost. To delay action is the same as death. If this letter showed anything, it was the total lack of coordination between Lenin and the Central Committee. It also showed Lenin's deep distrust of the revolutionary inclinations of his colleagues. Would the proposed coup actually take place? By 10 PM, Lenin decided to leave his flat and make his way to the Smolny. He put on his ill-fitted wig and added a pair of glasses but in his haste, had forgotten his makeup. So, he wrapped a large handkerchief around his head as if he had a toothache then caught a tram part of the way, arriving at the Smolny just before midnight. The sentries at the main gate refused to let him enter because his pass had expired. He telephoned Trotsky and soon both men were ready to make history. Small groups of Bolshevik troops moved out of their barracks in the early hours of Wednesday, October 25th. They were visibly relieved at the general lack of resistance. They took the Neva bridges, the main telegraph office, the post offices, the railroad stations, the Central Bank and the power stations. No shots were fired. The troops simply surrounded the office and forced those inside into submission. There was little evidence of retaliation. When Kerensky woke up that morning he looked out his window and noticed that the Bolsheviks controlled the bridge leading to the Winter Palace. He tried to telephone the Palace but his line was dead. So, the leader of the Provisional Government had to do something: he decided to leave Petrograd, go to the front and raise an army of loyal troops so that the coup could be put down. He made his way to the government motor pool but the Bolsheviks had already removed all the distributors from the cars. An ensign was sent out to see if he could requisition an automobile that worked. The ensign made his way to the British Embassy but his request for an automobile was denied. The author, Vladimir Nabokov was still in his morning bath when the ensign knocked on his door. Somewhat upset, Nabokov told him his car was not suitable for Kerensky's long journey to Tosno, where he was to meet the troops. The Chief of the Militia turned the ensign away as did the Italian Embassy. The worried ensign was about to give up when he saw an automobile flying an American flag. The Pierce Arrow belonged to the Assistant Military Attaché, E. Francis Bigg. The ensign told the attaché that the car was for Kerensky. The Americans agreed that Kerensky could use the car but also wanted his personal assurance. So the ensign and three Americans walked to the General Staff Building where Kerensky assured them that he did indeed need the car. Soon, Kerensky and several of his aides climbed into the car and were off. However, since Kerensky's driver, an American, really didn't know where they were going, they ended up making several wide circles of the Palace Square in full view 36 of hundreds of spectators who, of course, recognized Kerensky. It was at least thirty minutes before Kerensky's driver found his way out of Petrograd and toward the northern front. Government ministers arrived at the Winter Palace by cab, while in the Smolny, Lenin announced their overthrow. The city pretty much ignored Lenin's claim. Trams were running, the banks were open and factories were working. The troops stationed themselves at strategic points but were clearly bored. At 2:35pm, Trotsky felt compelled to hold an extraordinary session of the Petrograd Soviet to prevent the Congress delegates drifting away in boredom at the Smolny. He claimed that the government had "ceased to exist," as the result of a movement of "such enormous masses" for which there was no parallel in history. The only real sign of revolt was the odd armored car, siren blaring, with Bolshevik initials splashed on its gray body. Sukhanov was so unimpressed by it all that he went home to eat supper by candlelight. He thought that any Bolshevik regime would be short-lived. The siege of the Winter Palace was so sloppy that the American journalists John Reed and Louis Bryant were able to stroll into the building during the afternoon. Palace servants in their Tsarist blue uniforms took their coats, and cadets were glad to show them around. Louise Bryant found them "poor, uncomfortable, unhappy boys," reared in genteel isolation and now "without a court, without a Tsar, without all the tradition they believed in." Packing crates and mattresses littered the floors along with cigarette butts and empty wine bottles. Many of the defenders were drunk. "I am very anxious to get away from Russia," remarked one captain to Reed, "I have made up my mind to join the American army." Two cyclists arrived with a Bolshevik ultimatum threatening to open fire if the palace did not surrender by 7:10pm. The ministers still had hopes that Kerensky would appear with reinforcements and declined to give themselves up. As it turned out, the coup did not interfere with the evening life of the city. The ministers in the Winter Palace dined on soup, fish and artichokes and then ordered all the lights to be put out. Meanwhile, the Bolshevik-manned battleship Aurora, moored on the Neva, was ordered to open fire on the Palace when a red light was shone from the Peter and Paul Fortress. However, since the cruiser was fresh out of the dockyards it had only blank ammunition on board. Anyway, the fortress garrison could not find a red light but eventually a purple flare was launched and the Aurora began to fire its blanks. The cadets at the Palace opened fire with their machine guns but it was several minutes before they realized that no bombs were falling. The women's detachment loyal to Kerensky, declaring that its function was to fight Germans, left the Palace. At 11 PM, the six-inch guns of the Peter and Paul Fortress began to fire rounds at the 1500-room Winter Palace. One shell missed by several hundred yards; another hit but did little damage. Most shells fell into the Neva. Meanwhile, the Ministers took naps. In a period of two hours, the Bolsheviks fired thirty-five shots at the Winter Palace: only two shots found their mark and according to Trotsky, did little more than "injure the plaster." At 2 AM on October 26th, a friend called on the Justice Minister Malyantovich to ask how he was. "Not bad. In cheerful spirits," he replied. He lay back and tried to sleep but soon he began to hear noises. The ministers grabbed their coats. A cadet rushed in and asked "What are the orders of the government? To fight to the last man?" Wearily, the ministers shouted back, "It's not necessary. It's useless. No 37 bloodshed!" Just then a mob of Bolsheviks crowded into the room. One man stood at the front and shouted: "I inform you, all you members of the Provisional Government, that you are arrested. I am Antonov-Ovseenko, a representative of the Military Revolutionary Committee." Petrograd had fallen to the Bolsheviks. COMMENTS AND REFLECTIONS ON 1917 This so-called October Revolution was an "armed insurrection" carried out by the Bolshevik Party using the apparatus of the Petrograd Soviet. Lenin insisted that the transfer of power from the Provisional Government to the Bolsheviks take this militarized form rather than the political form of a vote by the forthcoming AllRussian Congress of Soviets, an approach favored by Zinoviev and Kamenev. Lenin did this because he believed, as did Marx, that the class struggle was class warfare and so necessarily involved physical violence. No other method could demonstrate where the real power lay. In the same manner, Lenin understood the literal meaning of Marx's call to "expropriate the expropriators" by urging the masses to "steal the stolen." This was no violation of Marx's view of the logic of history -- armed coercion was always integral to that logic. And so, the October coup set the precedent for the continuing use of coercion by the Party through all the stages required to construct socialism. From his refuge in Finland, Lenin initiated pressure for such an insurrection in the wake of the Kornilov affair of the late summer, and by October 10th he had persuaded the Central Committee to vote 10 to 2 for such an action "in principle." But the task of organizing the insurrection fell to Leon Trotsky. In order to give the Party coup an appearance of greater proletarian legitimacy, Trotsky delayed it so that it would coincide with the forthcoming, national Congress of Soviets. This was against Lenin's express command. Trotsky also engineered the creation within the Soviet of the Military Revolutionary Committee, which was in fact dominated by the Bolsheviks, to carry out the actual takeover of Petrograd. In other words, this Revolution was a minority military action, not a mass event like the one that occurred in February, or in 1905, for that matter. To be more precise, what did occur was an amateur police operation of the Military Revolutionary Committee, some sailors of the Baltic fleet and a handful of Red Guards to take over the nerve-centers of the capital on the night of October 24th. The Petrograd proletariat and the city's military garrison remained overwhelmingly neutral. Because there were no forces to fight for the Provisional Government, the Bolsheviks had almost nothing to overthrow. As Lenin himself put it, the Party "found power lying in the streets and simply picked it up." Thus the strategy that Lenin had embraced in his APRIL THESES paid off in the October seizure of power. Lenin, the Bolshevik leader, hitherto unknown to most Russians as well as the outside world, suddenly found himself the chairman of the Council of People's Commissars of the Russian Soviet Republic, a government that was in fact little more than the Bolshevik Party in power. This new power immediately issued two decrees. The first, "On Peace," called for a negotiated end to the war. What this really meant was Russia's unilateral withdrawal from the conflict. The second, "On Land," socialized gentry and state properties. What this implied was an endorsement of the already accomplished agrarian revolution. As Lenin put it to Trotsky on the night of the coup, "it makes the head swim." 38 Our sense of wonder at the Bolshevik victory has lingered in the historiography ever since, where it has produced problems of interpretation The problem arises from the facts. First, that the Bolshevik Party was largely Lenin's personal creation and second, that his personal insistence on armed insurrection was the driving force which led up to the October coup. However, does all this mean that without Lenin there would have been no Red October and hence no Soviet regime? This rather extreme version of the "great man" theory has often been advanced. Even Trotsky, though committed as a Marxist to the social logic of history, comes close to holding Lenin indispensable to Bolshevik victory. Trotsky may have wished to be more cautious. The events of 1917 -- from Order Number One in February to the emergence of the Left SRs in October -- show that even without Lenin there was ample room on the Russian Left for an extremist party of "revolution now." Consider that statement carefully. Before October it was the case that Lenin's Party, although the most hierarchical of all the Russian parties, was not as yet the monolithic instrument commanded at will by its leader that it later became. Indeed, Trotsky's own historical role belies the overriding importance he attributed to Lenin. In addition, Trotsky's role also points to the fluidity of the Party in 1917. After all, Trotsky abandoned the Mensheviks only in June 1917. And in October, it was Trotsky who was directing the Bolshevik seizure of power. Go figure! He even countermanded Lenin's impatient directives in order to coordinate the Party takeover with the Congress of Soviets, so as to enhance the coup's "proletarian" appearance. Lenin, for all the impetus he gave to the coup, had nothing to do with carrying it out, since he was still in hiding when it began. Where Lenin was more than truly indispensable was in his role, over the previous fourteen years, as architect of the Party organization. However, even in this domain, by 1917, there were numerous little Lenin's who could have pursued the same maximalist policies. The maximalist strategy that Lenin worked out in the April Theses would work only in the exceptional social circumstances that the war had by 1917 created in Russia. The central fact of that year was that the linchpin of the over-centralized Russian Imperial system was removed. From that point on, all subordinate structures in the country began to quickly unravel. The army, the industrial economy, the social structure of the countryside, and the administrative system of the Empire, both in the Great Russian provinces and among the border nationalities all disintegrated. By the end of the year, Russia no longer possessed any functioning, organized structures. The result was a generalized void of power, an interregnum in all aspects of national life. Thus, by the end of October the wreckage of the Russian Empire was up for grabs, vulnerable to whatever force with the will and organizational capacity to take it over. The dynamic of national disintegration began with the army and was driven throughout the year above all by the war. The policy of the Provisional Government was to prosecute the war to a victorious conclusion at the side of its democratic allies. The policy of the Soviet was to fight only for a "democratic peace without annexations or indemnities." Once discipline had been restored after the work of Order Number One, the liberal-socialist coalition government formed in April adopted a compromise war policy. As a result, Kerensky's democratic offensive was launched in June. This offensive, of course, ended in nothing less than a rout. Army discipline was once again undermined and fueled the Bolshevik thrust of the July Days. And that event in turn led to General Kornilov's attempt in August to restore 39 Russia's fighting capacity by sweeping away the Soviets. But this failed effort discredited the army command and officer corps once and for all. After August, therefore, the army simply melted away, with the peasant soldiers trekking home to participate in the partition of the gentry's lands. Thus, all the political crises of the DUAL POWER, from April to July to August, were directly caused by the army, and by the fall, the impact of these crises on the army was such that the coercive power of the state was destroyed. The name for such a situation is anarchy -- the genuine absence of government. In the course of 1917 all of old Russia's structures -- the state, the army, the Empire, the local administration, the economy and both the urban and rural societies -- came apart simultaneously. Such a situation explains why, amidst a state of generalized collapse, that there was no chance of establishing a durable constitutional democracy. History militated against it. Any government that would have tried to intervene against this revolutionary process before its full unwinding would have been discredited. Even if the Provisional Government had found the resolve to immediately convene a Constituent Assembly, to unilaterally take Russia out of the war, and to give the land to the peasants, this would have hardly had the desired result. These were measures that critics later felt the Provisional Government should have adopted in order to stop Bolshevism. These measures were also, in fact, similar to Bolshevik policy. They would have been revolutionary and disruptive in their effect, and they would have only deepened the anarchy without giving the Provisional Government the new coercive means to master it -- means that came quite naturally to the Bolsheviks. The fact of the matter is that in 1917 the impetus for disintegration was such that, once it had played itself out, only an authoritarian, coercive solution was possible for creating some new type or order. As the historian and leader of the Kadet Party Paul Miliukov put the matter, by the end of the summer the alternatives for Russia were either Kornilov or Lenin. But since Kornilov and the forces of the traditional order that he symbolized had no real power, only Lenin and the Bolsheviks were in a position to pick up the pieces and to fashion a new type of order once the storm had spent its force. This new type of order would be the "dictatorship of the proletariat" proclaimed after October as the vehicle for the transition from capitalism to socialism. Drawing on Marx's analysis of the Paris Commune, during the summer of 1917 in his book State and Revolution, Lenin had interpreted the direct proletarian democracy of the workers' soviets as the realization of a new "commune" state. As such, the soviets constituted the basis of the coming dictatorship and the new socialist state. Thus, although it is only amidst a general process of national disintegration that the Russian workers' movement could have acquired "world-historical" significance, this broader process indeed received its political and ideological meaning from working-class action or, at the very least, from action in the name of the working class. It is for this reason that interpretation of the Russian Revolution both in the East and in the West, has been overwhelmingly concerned with the working class in relation to the Bolshevik Party. This question is urgent because whatever legitimacy the Soviet regime could once claim, in its own view, depended on the ideological conformity of the proletariat with the Party and hence, on the socialist authenticity of October. How then to explain the coming to power of the proletariat in October 40 1917? In fact, the proletariat did not come to power. What came to power was a political and ideological organization, the Bolshevik Party. Yet, the historical myth surrounding Red October, is that of a "revolution from below." A revolution led by the Russian masses in the interests of the Russian masses. But our narrative of the events of October have shown how nearly absent the working classes of Petrograd were during the so-called "ten days that shook the world." The myth of proletarian October is the myth of the triumph of the alienated and dehumanized masses over all their sufferings and deprivations. In this historically logical process, suffering is the criteria of authentic humanity. This was as true for Marx as it was for Dostoevsky. And since intense crisis makes suffering most acute, the war and the social collapse of 1917 conferred on the humiliated and offended of Russian life quintessential human status. For the suffering of 1917 was no myth, but a most cruel, physical and mental fact. In these circumstances, the modest Russian proletariat could indeed appear in the eyes of its self-appointed leaders, and in the eyes of many socialists throughout the world, to be the universal class and the bearer of the logic of history. Thus this myth became a mighty empirical force, the indispensable launching pad of the whole Soviet dream. Incipit vita nova. Here begins the new life. 41 Lecture 7 The Aftermath of the Bolshevik Revolution The initial triumph of the Bolshevik Revolution at the end of October, 1917 (see Lecture 6), did not mean that the entire population of Russia had been converted to Bolshevism. Lenin was aware of this. To gather national support, Lenin resorted to slogans for the masses. The most important of them was "Bread, Land, Peace and All Power to the Soviets." Was this enough? The Russian people were more antiBolshevik than Lenin would have liked. The tsar was gone and a revolution had taken the nation by storm. Were the Bolsheviks now in control? There are parallels between 1917 and the French Revolution. Those who guide the revolution feel responsible for the success of the revolution. They know that their failure is also the failure of the revolution as a whole. The revolutionaries are the prophets and martyrs of social and political change. They bear the responsibility. They must keep the revolution moving ahead while at the same time taking every precaution to keep themselves in power against all opposition. In 1793, the French revolutionaries resorted to a Reign of Terror. Would the Bolsheviks of 1917 act any differently? October symbolized a Bolshevik triumph. But what this also meant was that any hope for a liberal democratic order was now impossible. Late in November of 1917, an agreement (THE DECREE ON PEACE) was reached with the left wing SRs and peace negotiations were conducted with the Germans. Keep in mind, all the events surrounding 1917 must be seen within the context of the Great War. As far as the Bolsheviks were concerned, the revolution was over. As far as Lenin was concerned, he was in power. The Russian state, however, was in a state of decomposition. Numerous Bolsheviks began to speak of elections for a Constituent Assembly. Lenin had no use for a parliament, regardless of whether it was elected democratically or not. He considered it "inferior" to the Soviets of which the Petrograd Soviet under the leadership of Leon Trotsky was the model. But now, immediately after the October Revolution, Lenin was compelled to hold elections. On November 25, 1917, the Russian people held the first free election in the nation's 900 year history. When the vote was over, the Bolsheviks had only received one quarter of the vote...the other socialist parties, mainly the SRs, polled 62% of the vote. Bolshevik support was heaviest in the cities, especially Moscow and Petrograd, while the SR vote was largely rural. Lenin accepted these figures as accurate. But, he also maintained that "the most advanced" elements had voted for him and the Bolsheviks. Draw your own conclusions. The Constituent Assembly met only once, in January 1918. Lenin dissolved it by issuing his DRAFT DECREE and sent heavily armed guards to prevent its meeting again. Those who were not Bolsheviks were indignant when they witnessed this unconstitutional act. Just the same, there was no public outburst. Why the delegates did no more than weakly protest is clear: the Bolsheviks had already taken action on what interested the people most -- Bread, Land and Peace. Were the Russian people ready for democracy? Regardless of how we can answer this question one thing is clear -- Lenin made it impossible for the Assembly to meet. 42 The period of Soviet history which runs from November 1917 to the end of 1920, is called the period of war communism. The term implies that the main features of the period were determined by military events. Proof is abundant. For one thing, Russia entered a period of Civil War and foreign powers were on Russian soil. But the period of war communism also refers to the fact that the Bolsheviks were engaged in a militant drive to Bolshevize the population. So, on March 8, 1918, the Congress resolved that the "Party (the Russian Social-Democratic Labor Party of Bolsheviks) be named henceforth the Russian Communist Party, with the word 'Bolsheviks' added in brackets." The capital was moved from Petrograd to Moscow in the heart of European Russia. All of this was necessary in order to keep the revolution going and to secure its aims and goals. The Bolsheviks were convinced that a world revolution was about to begin, first in Germany and then England and ultimately the United States. Such a vision -"Incipit vita nova" -- led the Bolsheviks to speed up the construction of a socialist state in Russia. It also led them to take a more casual attitude toward international affairs -- after all, they expected the reign of capitalism to end shortly. [It's worth noting here an important concept in 19th century European history. Marx had said that capitalism would dig its own grave because the conflict inherent in industrial capitalism was about to be reconciled. However, we don't really need Marx to explain to us the concept that capitalism could be replaced. In the 19th century there were very few people who saw industrialization as something more than a passing phase, as something which would quickly pass from the historical stage. In fact, this whole attitude is tied together with 19th century social criticism and would have been apparent whether Marx had lived or not. The key here is an awareness of "change," not just change, but "speedy change." Therefore, it was entirely plausible that industrial capitalism could disappear as quickly as it had appeared.] By 1920 the state had taken over all enterprises employing more than ten workers. Labor was compulsory and strikes were outlawed. The state organized a barter system which replaced the free market. Internal trade was made illegal -- only the government food commissary could buy and sell. Money disappeared as the state took over distribution and production. Church and state were separated by decree and judges were removed and replaced by members of the local soviets. Nine opposition parties were liquidated. Meanwhile, the government subjected the countryside to severe requisitioning. It mobilized the poorer peasants against the kulaks (wealthy peasants). Bitter class hatred resulted in the villages and stimulated a civil war in the countryside. Lenin knew he had to act. He knew the Bolsheviks had to keep the revolution secure. He could not afford to involve the nation in a civil war. So, in December 1917 a decree was passed which set up the "All-Russian Extraordinary Commission for Fighting Counter-Revolution and Sabotage," better known by its acronym as the CHEKA. The CHEKA established its headquarters in Lubyanka Street, Moscow. The Lubyanka would be the end of the road for thousands of victims. It was not simply a prison but rather a complex system of offices and departments responsible for administering the vast bureaucratic empire known as "state security." The CHEKA was ordered to act as the "revolutionary conscience," that is, it had to protect the revolution. By mid-1918, the CHEKA aimed its attention to whole sectors of society rather than individuals. In this way, Lenin hoped, counter-revolutionaries would be eliminated. Hated and feared by almost everyone, the CHEKA was deplorable because it introduced the concept of killing people not because of what they had 43 done, but because of who they were or who they knew. Although the numbers killed by the CHEKA were relatively small compared to WWI or the Civil War, it is still difficult to accept the fact that hundreds of families simply disappeared. The government had to function. The Bolsheviks knew this. They also knew, that without direct experience, their task was indeed difficult. What made matters worse was the war. Lenin knew that peace was necessary in order for the Bolsheviks to govern. The Russians began to negotiate with the Germans and Austro-Hungarians, negotiations which dragged on until 1918. Russia hoped a revolution would break out in Germany. And on March 3, 1918, the Russians signed the TREATY OF BREST-LITOVSK. This treaty deprived Russia of the entire Ukraine, the Baltic provinces, Finland and other territory that Russia had spent 300 years trying to acquire. One third of Russia's population was gone, 80% of its iron, and 90% of its coal. Many communists resigned in protest -- they could not accept peace with Germany. Furthermore, during the months which followed Brest-Litovsk, disorder in the countryside and class warfare was made worse by open Civil War. The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk was judged a betrayal by the Allies and there was a sizable outcry within Russia itself. There were hundreds of army officers who had sacrificed a great deal for the tsar's war, and now it seemed the Bolsheviks had just given away everything they had fought for. To these men the Bolsheviks were German agents. Combining forces with the Cossacks, who feared the loss of their land and privileges, army officers formed the White Army to engage in a war against Trotsky's Red Army. Lacking sufficient organization, unable to coordinate their movements and torn apart by different political goals, the White Armies ultimately failed to challenge the Bolshevik government. Just the same, in the three years of civil war, the Whites posed a serious threat to Lenin and the Bolsheviks. Anti-Bolshevik forces were assisted with materials by the Allies who sent more than 100,000 troops as well as supplies for the express purpose of overthrowing the Bolshevik government by supporting its enemies....in this case, the White Army. Support came primarily from the United States, Britain, France and Japan and continued beyond the signing of the armistice in November 1918. Although Allied support was not crucial to the outcome of the Civil War, it played a significant role in shaping the Soviet perception of the world outside Russia. It's safe to assume that for the past 75 years generations of Soviet citizens have viewed allied support of anti-Bolshevik forces in 1918 as an example of the hostile and predatory state of mind consistent with western capitalism. At the very least, thanks to allied intervention during the final year of the Great War, the Bolsheviks came to expect a future encirclement of capitalist forces. The Civil War had another legacy for the future of the Soviet State. To deal with the anarchy caused by the civil war itself, Lenin had to resort to a strengthening of the Bolshevik's dictatorial powers. All of this, of course, to the detriment of democratic elements. The new Soviet state, barely one year old, had to use the state police to suppress all opposition. As one historian has remarked, "the dictatorship of the proletariat gave way to the dictatorship of repression." Thanks to the leadership of Trotsky, the Red Armies were victorious over the Whites. How is it that a smaller armed force like the Reds could defeat the numerically larger White Army? Well, the White Army could never gain the support of the peasantry. They could have done this by reallocating the land, something 44 which the Bolsheviks had always talked about -- remember the slogan, "Bread, Land and Peace." Instead, the Whites restored the property of landlords in areas they temporarily controlled. The peasantry, meanwhile, had enough of the Reds AND the Whites. Furthermore, the White Army lacked a skilled and highly organized command. Finally, the intervention of allied troops was ineffectual and actually amateurish. Frankly, when the allies threw their support behind the Whites, more harm was done than good. The Red Army could speak of themselves as the protectors of the nation while portraying the Whites as the dupes of foreign governments. This charge had already been leveled against the Bolsheviks after Brest-Litovsk. The struggle for power in Russia did not end with the civil war. Famine was raging. Sanitation was non-existent. And class hatreds were exploited on an unparalleled scale. Industrial production stood at one eighth of its pre-1914 level. Agricultural output fell by 30% and the distribution of essential commodities had broken down across the nation. The new regime, the Bolshevik regime, was losing support. People tire of revolutions. They figure, "look, we've done our work. We aided you as much as possible. We built barricades for the revolution. We threw bricks. We suffered the lash of the Cossack whip. We fought the White Army and we have had to do without bread. The revolution is over. Let us return to our lives." The early 1920s witnessed the growth authoritarian regimes across Europe. Poland, Romania, Bulgaria and Greece had all installed military dictatorships by 1925. The tendency toward authoritarian regimes was the result of the near total collapse of the European spirit following World War One. No one had expected this war to continue as long as it did. By 1915, there were few soldiers on either side who had a clear idea as to why they were fighting. They did know, however, that the "little fat men" -- the bureaucrats and generals in London, Berlin and Paris -- had run the war with an eye to profit. By war's end, and after 9 million men died, the viability of liberal democracy was weakened. What had capitalism done? It had brought Europe to war. What had liberal democracy done? It had brought Europe to war? And what did all that technology do? It made the killing of men easy. The only true victor in World War One was the war itself....and it would keep on winning. Authoritarian regimes are nothing new. They have been in place for centuries and it wasn't until the Age of Reason, say from 1650 to 1800, that Europe began to learn to do without monarchs. It is for this reason that limited monarchies, based on the English example, became more prominent in the 19th century. In the 20th century, the word authoritarian is often replaced by the word totalitarian. Furthermore, when we speak of totalitarian we might also use the word fascist. There are subtle differences between the three expressions. Although authoritarianism has a long history, I would suggest that totalitarian and fascist are two words of recent origin. Following WWI, Mussolini created a political party in Italy called the Fascists. Il Duce's rule was absolute and he attempted to impose his will upon the entire nation. His authority was, however, of the political right, hence fascists are often called reactionary or ultra-conservatives or in modern jargon, to the right of right. A Fascist, furthermore, is not a socialist, communist or democrat. The only parallel to modern fascism is Rome under the Empire -- after all, the word fascist comes from the Latin fasces which was an ancient Roman weapon. This much said, what about totalitarianism? This is clearly a 20th century phenomena. A totalitarian regime is one in which the state has absolute power over 45 its people. It does not mean one man rules all. It does mean, however, the absolute and total rule by one group of men or party. Total control in this case is based upon propaganda, the creation of myth and the CULT OF PERSONALITY. What made total control possible was technology, specifically communications and transportation. You cannot maintain total control unless that control reaches out to every individual, whether subject or citizen. Furthermore, whereas fascism sits to the right of right and is therefore considered reactionary, totalitarianism sits to the left of left. In the case of Soviet Russia, this meant communism. From 1914 Russia had been in turmoil. War, revolutions, famine, civil wars. Industry and agriculture was crippled, the distribution of essentials was near breakdown and the communist regime under the Bolsheviks was actually quite close to losing public support. When a large-scale anarchist revolt broke out early in 1921 and could not be suppressed until mid-1922, Lenin himself became frightened about the future of his communist experiment. The mutiny of the sailors at Kronstadt near Petrograd in March 1921 triggered a change in general policy. The sailors called for "soviets without communists." These soviets were to be chosen by universal suffrage and secret ballot. They also agitated for free speech and assembly, the liberation of political prisoners and for the abolition of grain requisitioning. Trotsky finally realized something. The Russian proletariat was opposed to the dictatorship of the proletariat. For Trotsky, all that was needed was to educate the proletariat. Trotsky and others also realized that a European revolution was not going to take place. Governments across Europe were already persecuting Bolshevik sympathizers. The bottom line is this: Russia would have to go the socialist revolution alone. Russia would be an island of revolutionary socialism surrounded by the waters of industrial capitalism. It was Kronstadt that led directly to the adoption of the NEP or New Economic Policy. Kronstadt was the catalyst. However, Lenin also recognized the need for reconstruction. It was also necessary, thought Lenin, to appease the peasants and to avert the possibility of another Kronstadt. And, since the world revolution never did take place, it was the resources from the capitalist west that were badly needed to assist Russian reconstruction. So, the adoption of NEP coincided with an AngloRussian trade treaty. Outside of Russia, NEP was seen as the beginning of the Russian "Thermidor." Thermidor specifies that period of French history following the Reign of Terror and the death of Robespierre. In other words, Thermidor is a word used to describe a "return to normalcy" which follows the more destructive or violent stage of a revolution. In French history this stage is often referred to as the "Thermidorian reaction." Under NEP, the government stopped its policy of requisitioning the peasants' entire crop and instead began to take only what was needed to meet the minimum requirements of the army and urban workers. The peasants were still forced to pay a heavy tax in kind but they were now allowed to sell the remainder of their crop. They could sell either privately or to the state. In a word, peasant agriculture became capitalist and the profit motive reappeared. With NEP, the earlier policy of war communism was abandoned. In the end, NEP helped the rich peasant at the expense of the poorer peasant, who now became a hired, landless laborer. In an odd twist, Lenin himself described NEP as a partial return to capitalism and urged the communists to become good at business. Lenin even secured the services of American efficiency experts in order to speed up the development of Russian 46 capitalism. He also admitted that it would probably take two or three decades for the peasant to be convinced that cooperative agriculture would be more efficient. Over the course of five years, NEP allowed industrial and agricultural output to rise to its pre-war levels. In this sense, NEP did achieve economic recovery. But, NEP was also bitterly disliked by leading communists who saw it as a reversal of everything they believed. By 1924, private business accounted for 40% of Russian domestic trade. Those who took advantage of NEP were called NEPmen and were often persecuted by hostile officials who tried to limit their profits, tax them heavily and drag them into court. The kulak in the late 1920s and into the 30s had essentially the same experience. To further complicate matters, there was a factional dispute within the Communist Party. One group favored the increase of private enterprise and supported NEP as the new road toward socialism. These were the right-deviationists. The leftdeviationists favored the liquidation of NEPmen and the kulaks and a return to Marxism at home and the fostering of world revolution. Trotsky was a leftdeviationist. In the center stood those who attacked both the right and the left. NEP was not the only question to agitate communist leaders in the early twenties. Lenin died in January 1924. Because of a series of strokes, for the last two years of his life he played an ever-smaller role in the direction the government had taken or would take. Who would be Lenin's successor? How would industry be organized? what direction would Russian foreign policy take? The answers to these questions were to be solved by the then Secretary of the Communist Party, Joseph Stalin (see Lecture 10). The years between 1922 and 1928 witnessed a desperate struggle for power between Trotsky and Stalin. Lenin knew this was going to happen -- there was really nothing to prevent it. Lenin found Trotsky able but overconfident. Lenin knew that Stalin had concentrated a great deal of power in his own hands -- he was afraid Stalin didn't know how to use it. Fortunately, Lenin has left us a TESTAMENT of his anguished thoughts in 1922. In the struggle of the mid-1920s, Trotsky argued for a more highly trained managerial force in industry and for economic planning as an instrument that the state could use to control social change. Agriculture should be completely mechanized and peasant individualism should be weakened. Trotsky also maintained that only a world revolution would permit Russia to carry socialism to its proper conclusion. Socialism, in other words, could not succeed in one country. There must be either a world socialist revolution or Russian socialism was doomed to failure. The opponents of Trotsky's left deviation found their voice in Nikolai Bukharin (1888-1938), the editor of Pravda. A defender of NEP, Bukharin managed to soften the rigorous Marxist doctrine of the class struggle. He believed socialism was sure of success. Bukharin did not believe in rapid industrialization -- his vision of socialism would be attained gradually over time. He favored cooperatives among peasants but opposed collectivization in which the peasants owned everything "collectively." In foreign affairs, Bukharin was eager to cooperate with noncommunist groups who might be useful to Russia. 47 In his rise to power, Stalin used Bukharin's ideas to discredit Trotsky, then, partly because Bukharin's policies were failing, he adopted many of Trotsky's policies and eliminated Bukharin. Stalin was not a theoretician. His Marxism took the form of a catechism. He could mimic the Marxist canon but could not elaborate upon the theoretical underpinnings of his statements. Stalin was a party worker and it was in the party apparatus that he felt most comfortable. He came to favor rapid industrialization. At the end of 1927 he ordered the collectivization of agricultural because its output was small when compared to the industrial sector. Agriculture, like industry, he said, must be transformed into a large-scale unified state enterprise. In opposition to Trotsky, Stalin maintained that socialism was possible within one country. An independent socialist state could indeed exist. This did not mean that Stalin abandoned the idea of a world revolution. What it did mean is that until the world revolution did take place, Russia would have to serve as the world's shining example of socialism. In international affairs, this doctrine allowed the Soviet Union to pursue a policy of "peaceful coexistence" with capitalist states when necessary. Of course, this also meant that the Soviet Union would support socialist revolutions whenever possible. Stalin's idea of "socialism in one country" gave inner strength to those communists who had doubts about the prospects of a world revolution. And while Trotsky continued to argue a western Marxist version of the future revolution, Stalin convinced everyone that the revolution in socialism that he himself had helped to create was a Russian idea, thereby bolstering his overtly nationalist posture. By the end of the Civil War, Stalin was Commissar of Nationalities. In this post he dealt with the affairs of 65 million (out of 140) inhabitants of the new Russian Soviet Republic. In 1922, Stalin proposed the new Union of Socialist Soviet Republics as a substitute for the existing federation of republics. In the USSR, Moscow would control war, foreign policy and trade and would coordinate finance, the economy, food and labor. Stalin was also Commissar of the Workers' and Peasants' Inspectorate. His duties here included the elimination of inefficiency and corruption from every branch of the civil service and to train a loyal cadre of civil servants. Although the Inspectorate never did what it was supposed to do, it did give Stalin control over thousands of bureaucrats and thus, over the entire machinery of government. Lenin attacked Stalin's work in the Inspectorate in late 1923, but by then it was too late. Stalin had managed to secure an ever-widening circle of loyal officials while he himself controlled the affairs of state. Stalin was also a member of the Politburo, the five man group of party bosses elected by the Central Committee. Here his job was the day-to-day management of the party. He was the permanent liaison officer between the Politburo and the Orgburo, which assigned party personnel to their duties in factory, office or army units. Besides these important posts, Stalin also became General Secretary of the party's Central Committee in 1922. He prepared agenda for the Politburo and passed decisions down to lower levels. He controlled, in essence, all party appointments, promotions and demotions. He made sure that local trade unions, cooperatives and army units were led by loyal communists, responsible in all cases to Stalin himself. He also kept detailed files on all managers of industry and all party members. I hope that by now you have a better idea of how it was that this simple Georgian could have captured so much power for himself in the two years before Lenin's death. I 48 would also suggest, without reservation, that Stalin knew EXACTLY what he was doing. In a centralized one-party state like the Soviet Union, a man of Stalin's ambitions who held so many key positions had an enormous advantage in the struggle for power. Just the same, the Soviet state was new. It also suffered a great deal because its great prophet, Lenin, had been incapacitated for the remaining two years of his life. Furthermore, although Stalin held numerous key positions, none of his positions were as important as the Ministry of War, and of course, that post was Trotsky's. The point here is that the likelihood of Stalin assuming power was not generally recognized -- until it was too late. Inside the Politburo, Stalin formed a three man team with Zinoviev and Kamenev. Zinoviev was chairman of the Petrograd Soviet and head man of the Communist International (referred to as the Comintern). Kamenev was Lenin's deputy and president of the Moscow Soviet. The three taken together -- Stalin, Zinoviev and Kamenev -- were what we call "old Bolsheviks." In other words, these three men had been behind Lenin and the Bolshevik cause right from the very start. You could not say this about Trotsky. Before 1917, Trotsky had been a Menshevik and served as an independent member of the intelligentsia. The triumvirate of Stalin, Zinoviev and Kamenev proved completely unworkable. Each man used the secret police in order to suppress all plots against them. They resisted Trotsky's demands for party reform. The three, at Stalin's prompting, initiated the cult of Lenin immediately before his death in January 1924 so that any act by Trotsky would have appeared as a violent act against the now dead holy saint. Any Trotsky supporter within the party was assigned a post as far from Moscow as possible. Stalin and the others also prevented the publication of Lenin's Testament (see above) so that the rank and file, the ordinary party members, would have no knowledge regarding Lenin's doubts about Stalin's leadership abilities. Instead, they published everything Trotsky had ever said which might have been at variance with Lenin. Early in 1925 Stalin and his allies forced Trotsky to resign as Minister of War. The Triumvirate then dissolved. Stalin allied himself with Bukharin and other right-wing members of the Politburo to which he now appointed his loyal followers. Using all of his accumulated powers, Stalin struck against his former allies on all questions of policy. As a result, Zinoviev and Kamenev moved into an alliance with Trotsky in 1926. Stalin now charged Zinoviev with plotting in the army and so Zinoviev was expelled from the Politburo. Next, Trotsky was expelled from the Politburo, and Zinoviev was ousted as president of the Comintern. In December 1927 a Communist party congress expelled Trotsky from the party and exiled him to Alma-Ata in Central Asia. With Trotsky exiled from the country, with Lenin dead, with Zinoviev and Kamenev deflated, Stalin was now ready to institute his "revolution from above." 49 Lecture 8 The Age of Anxiety: Europe in the 1920s (1) I am young, I am twenty years old; yet I know nothing of life but despair, death, fear, and fatuous superficiality cast over an abyss of sorrow. I see how peoples are set against one another, and in silence, unknowingly, foolishly, obediently, innocently slay one another. I see that the keenest brains of the world invent weapons and words to make it yet more refined and enduring. And all men of my age, here and over there, throughout the whole world see these things; all my generation is experiencing these things with me. What would our fathers do if we suddenly stood up and came before them and proffered our account? What do they expect of us if a time ever comes when the war is over? Through the years our business has been killing; -- it was our first calling in life. Our knowledge of life is limited to death. What will happen afterwards? And what shall come out of us? (Erich Maria Remarque, All Quiet on the Western Front, 1929) At its start, the Great War of 1914-1918 was a popular war. The war was even blessed by those thinkers and artists who were non-violent by nature. The war, many people sincerely believed, would be quick and glorious. The war soon gave way to bitter disillusionment. This bitterness is illustrated in the film Paths of Glory (1957) as well as in Erich Marie Remarque's novel, All Quiet on the Western Front (1929). The stupidity of the war became apparent to all those men who fought for their nation. On the home front, of course, the story was a bit different. But when soldiers, lucky enough to still be alive returned home, it was to a land which knew nothing of the Somme or Verdun. "A land fit for heroes"? Perhaps. Never such innocence, Never before or since, As changed itself to past Without a word--the men Leaving the gardens tidy, The thousands of marriages Lasting a little while longer: Never such innocence again. (Philip Larkin, MCMXIV) It was William Tecumseh Sherman (1820-1891) who remarked, in 1879, that "war is at best barbarism…. Its glory is all moonshine. It is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded who cry aloud for blood, more vengeance, more desolation. War is hell." But it was the British poet Siegfried Sassoon (1886-1967) who added, "war is hell and those who initiate it are criminals." This was the final verdict of the Great War, especially among the AngloFrench. "The Old Lie: Dulce et decorum est, pro patria mori." The initial "vision of honor and glory to country" faded quickly and was replaced by sorrow, pity and cruelty. For the BRITISH WAR POETS, the whole affair ended in bitterness. People felt betrayed by those men who were "running the war." The horrors of the trench -- rotting horseflesh, mud, poor food, weapons that would not fire, poison gas and the sheer terror of waiting for death -- these were the images and experience of the Great War. It was the Big Lie. There was no tangible enemy, 50 except the one the popular press could fashion. The soldier looked across the parapet and saw himself. The insanity of it all! This partially explains the Christmas truce. Or the scene at the end of Paths of Glory: as the young German girl sings, the French soldiers join in, tears in their eyes. A bond is created between the soldiers who fought the war, a bond the General Staff could neither understand nor accept. No, the war was insanity, irrationality and the triumph of unreason in a world taught that reason was the guide to the good life. What had happened? Soon the soldiers began to despise the people back home. They had no idea what the war was like. They knitted socks and sang patriotic songs. They were the "little fat men," as George Orwell was to call them. Men who made decisions carried out by wooden headed generals. The soldiers were drawn closer to one another by the common bond of experience. They were closer in spirit to the enemy than to those they left behind. "The immediate reaction of the poets who fought in the war was cynicism," wrote Stephen Spender in The Struggle of the Modern (1963): The war dramatized for them the contrast between the still-idealistic young, living and dying on the unalteringly horrible stage-set of the Western front, with the complacency of the old at home, the staff officers behind the lines. In England there was violent anti-German feeling; but for the poet-soldiers the men in the trenches on both sides seemed united in pacific feelings and hatred of those at home who had sent them out to kill each other. There's no doubt about it: war was horror, terror and futility. The romance of war had been taken out of warfare forever. The 19th century ideals of warfare -Napoleonic ideals -- were no match for the new weapons of destruction which the Second Industrial Revolution had helped to make a reality. Technology was supposed to be the servant of mankind -- liberation would result from more technology. What World War One showed was how quickly this new technology could be put to use. In the end, it was the European idea of progress which became the victim of "improved technology." The rules of warfare had changed -- and with this change the 20th century plunged into what one historian has called, "the age of total war." Immediately following the end of the war, one of France's literary giants called attention to the very clear fact that a crisis had now overtaken the European mind in the 20th century. Paul Valéry (1871-1945) brooded on both the greatness and decline of Europe in his essay THE CRISIS OF THE MIND (1919). Of the greatness of Europe, Valéry had no doubt. Europe was "the elect portion of the terrestrial globe, the pearl of the sphere, the brain of a vast body." Europe's superiority, according to Valéry, rested on a combination of various qualities -- imagination and rigorous logic, skepticism and mysticism, and above all, curiosity. "Everything came to Europe," he wrote, "and everything came from it. Or almost everything." "-- until recently." The Great War had made Valéry ponder the utter fragility of civilizations, that of Europe, as well as Babylon, Nineveh and Persepolis. Europe's decline had begun, as Valéry saw it, long before 51 the outbreak of world war. By 1914, Europe had perhaps reached the limits of modernism, which was characterized, above all, by disorder in the mind. By disorder Valéry meant the lack of any fixed system of reference for living and thinking. This lack he ascribed to "the free coexistence, in all her cultivated minds, of the most dissimilar ideas, the most contradictory principles of life and learning. This is characteristic of a modern epoch." The decline also owed much to politics which had never been Europe's strong suit, a weakness for which the continent was now being punished. The export of European knowledge and applied science had enabled others to upset the inequality on which Europe's predominance had been based. For these and other causes Europe as well as European man had finally succumbed to anxiety and anguish. The military crisis that was World War One might be over, but the economic crisis remained, as did above all "the crisis of the mind," which was the most subtle cause of all and the most fateful for literature, philosophy and the arts. Thus Valéry, along with many of his contemporaries, announced the beginning of a new Age of Anxiety in European history. Despite his pessimism, Valéry would have been the first to say that Europe's greatness persisted, though not without signs of diminishment, through most of his lifetime. He died in 1945. It is true that 20th century Europe lived, to a large extent, on the accumulated intellectual capital of past centuries. Some of its chief luminaries in science and in philosophy, for example, were born and educated in the 19th century and did a great deal of their important work before 1914: Sigmund Freud (1856-1939), Max Planck (18581947), Alfred North Whitehead (1861-1947), Carl Jung (1875-1961) and Albert Einstein (1879-1955). But along with European greatness came decline and anxiety, as Valéry suggested. Not outsiders but Europeans themselves invented the expression Age of Anxiety to describe what they thought was happening to them in the twentieth century. They dwelt increasingly not on the growing enlightenment of their times, as so many had done in the 18th and 19th centuries, nor on Europe's continued greatness, but on the anxiety they felt about their existence, their culture, and their destiny. "Today," said the Protestant theologian-philosopher Paul Tillich at mid-century, "it has become almost a truism to call our time an age of anxiety." Tillich believed that anxiety infected even the greatest achievement of contemporary Europeans in literature, art, and philosophy. Europe, according to his account, had entered its third great period of anxiety, comparable in intensity to that of the ancient world and the Reformation. The special form of anxiety that Tillich identified was the ANXIETY OF MEANINGLESSNESS. He traced it to the modern world's loss of a spiritual center which could provide answers to the questions of the meaning of life. Suffering is the result of living without purpose or faith. The knowledge that man was alone caused anxiety because the responsibility for making whatever values there were came entirely from man. Man was free -- free to choose without reference to God or an ideal world of essences -- but his freedom was a dread freedom, involving crushing responsibility and the eternal threat of non-being. The death of God, announced first perhaps by Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) in the last quarter of the 19th century (see Lecture 2), was not the only observed cause of anxiety. Also cited were the death of man and the death of Europe; in fact, the death of all the great modern idols: God, man, reason, science, progress and history. The external events of 1914 to 1945 obviously had a great deal to do with the fall of 52 the idols, and so with anxiety as well. However, it is interesting to notice that contemporary writers frequently used the fall and the anxiety to explain the events. Tillich did so, for instance, in his explanation of the success of fascism. In a time of "total doubt" men escaped from freedom to an authority that promised meaning and imposed answers. "Twentieth century man," wrote Arthur Koestler in 1955, is a political neurotic because he has no answer to the question of the meaning of life, because socially and metaphysically he does not know where he belongs. Anxiety, then, was thought to be generated by that "crisis of the mind" that Valéry had detected in 1919 but that had been also brewing for decades. When we turn our attention to European culture after the war we are struck by two things. First, this sense of despair, bitterness and anxiety. Second, we can detect the maturation of the modernist movement. A literary revolution burst upon the general public in the 1920s. Although they had established themselves and their careers before 1914, writers like James Joyce (1882-1941), D. H. Lawrence (1885-1930), T. S. Eliot (1888-1965), Thomas Mann (1875-1955), Marcel Proust (1871-1922) and Ezra Pound (1885-1972) emerged as the new giants. Collectively they are referred to as "the men of 1914." This was the "LOST GENERATION" -- artists who rebelled against the senseless slaughter that was the Great War. They had no interest in defending either the world or the values of their fathers. In Paris in 1919, a group of writers and artists launched a protest against everything. They named it Dada ("hobby horse" in French). Everything was nonsense: literature, art, morality, civilization. Action is vain, art is vain, life is vain, everything is absurd. Or, as Tristan Tzara (1896-1963) announced: DADA DOES NOT MEAN ANYTHING The activities of the dadaists were an expression of post-WWI bitterness. Without WWI as a backdrop, there may have been no dadaism at all. "In Zürich in 1915," wrote Hans Arp, losing interest in the slaughterhouses of the world war, we turned to the Fine Arts. While the thunder of the batteries rumbled in the distance, we pasted, we recited, we versified, we sang with all our soul. We searched for an elementary art that would, we thought, save mankind from the furious folly of these times. The dadaists held public meetings at which poets made brash statements about art, literature and a hundred other things. Sometimes, whole manifestoes were read by ten, twenty thirty people at once. Here's a sample: No more painters, no more writers, no more musicians, no more sculptors, no more religions, no more republicans, no more royalists, no more imperialists, no more anarchists, no more socialists, no more Bolsheviks, no more politicians, no more proletarians, no more democrats, no more armies, no more police, no more nations, no more of these idiocies, no more, no more, NOTHING, NOTHING, NOTHING. Thus we hope that the novelty which will be the same thing as what we no longer want will come into being less rotten, less immediately GROTESQUE. 53 One audience, there to see Charlie Chaplin (1889-1977), left the hall in the dark, after having thrown coins at the readers. Later, audiences replaced the coins with eggs. Such a gala effect! One journalist, an adversary of the dadaists, described a show of Max Ernst's (1891-1976) collages in the following way: With characteristic bad taste, the Dadas have now resorted to terrorism. The stage was in the cellar, and all the lights in the shop were out; groans rose from a trapdoor. Another joker hidden behind a wardrobe insulted the persons present. The Dadas, without ties and wearing white gloves, passed back and forth. . . . Andre Breton chewed up matches, Ribemont-Dessaignes kept screaming "It's raining on a skull" Aragon caterwauled, Philippe Soupault played hide-and-seek with Tzara, while Benjamin Peret and Charchoune shook hands every other minute. On the doorstep, Jacques Rigaut counted aloud the automobiles and the pearls of the lady visitors. . . . Tristan Tzara, one of Dada's Swiss founders, made poetry by clipping words from newspaper articles, putting them in a bag, shaking them up and then taking them out at random. Here's the result of one such exercise: The airplane weaves telegraph wires and the fountain sings the same song At the rendezvous of the coachman the aperitif is orange but the locomotive mechanics have blue eyes the lady has lost her smile in the woods A poem such as this does have some charm. What it doesn't have is much meaning. Dadaism was a thing of the moment -- but in the 1920s it became the vanguard of another artistic and literary movement -- surrealism. Dada deranged meaning. It also held out the possibility of violent and disruptive political protest. Surrealism was all this plus more. The surrealists borrowed from Freud and later Carl Jung, the idea that in dreams the mind is freed from the tyranny of reason. The result would most certainly be fresh and authentic symbols. And these symbols were necessary for surrealism in art meant imagery based on fantasy. The term surrealism, was first coined by the French writer Guillaume Apollinaire (1880-1918) in 1917 but the artistic movement itself came into being only after the French poet Andre Breton (1896-1966) published his DECLARATION. Breton suggested that rational thought repressed the powers of creativity and imagination and thus was a hindrance to artistic expression. A Freudian, Breton believed that contact with the hidden part of the human mind could produce poetic truth. Surrealism became a kind of mysticism -- its practitioners tended to tap sources of inspiration beyond the realm of rational concepts. They played with time, space and speed. "From around 1880 to the outbreak of World War I," writes Stephen Kern in his wonderful book, The Culture of Time and Space, 1880-1918 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1983): a series of sweeping changes in technology and culture created distinctive new modes of thinking about and experiencing time and space. Technological innovations including the telephone, wireless telegraph, x-ray, cinema, bicycle, automobile, and airplane established the material foundation for this reorientation; independent cultural developments such as the stream-of-consciousness novel, 54 psychoanalysis, Cubism, and the theory of relativity shaped consciousness directly. The result was a transformation of the dimensions of life and thought. (pp. 1-2) For instance, we have the novels of the French writer, Marcel Proust (1871-1922). Proust was born in Paris in 1871, the elder son of a wealthy Roman Catholic doctor and his cultivated Jewish wife. The young Proust was coddled by his mother but it was his younger brother Robert, who remained closer to his father and who later became a doctor. Extreme sensitivity and a Jewish background separated Proust from his schoolmates, and early in life he sought to leave his solid, middle class life for the world of aesthetic sensation. Never of sound health, Proust suffered from asthma from the age of nine. He spent nearly all his time at home where he was pampered by his mother. His was a cloistered and morbidly self-centered existence. Nevertheless, Proust was an excellent student and eventually mastered law and political science as well as literature. In 1905, his mother died and Proust undertook his greatest challenge. He also withdrew from society. He had the walls of his room lined with cork to shut out light and sound and there he retreated to think and to write, sleeping during the day and venturing forth at night. He recorded his thoughts. He recorded his processes of thinking as well as his dreams. Again, the Freudian elements ought to be clear here. All this introspection gave way to a suspension of time. Proust came to recognize that the memory has a life all its own, independent from that life to be found outside the soundproofed room. So Proust used this stream of consciousness approach to write his eight volume novel, Remembrance of Things Past. When Proust died in 1922 the novel was 4000 pages long and, according to Proust's account, only twothirds finished! Proust's novel concerns the narrator's attempt to recapture the past through a sustained effort of memory, whose recreations of experience are based on trains of association sparked by chance events. When we turn to the works of the Irish author, JAMES JOYCE (1882-1941) we find another twentieth century literary giant whose novels were experimental. They were also daring and controversial. For instance, his novel Ulysses, published in 1922, was banned in both Britain and the United States until the 1930s. Joyce has been recognized as the writer who gave the novel a new subject and a new style. The author of Ulysses is not a narrator describing a subject outside himself. He is instead a recorder of what is sometimes called "the stream of consciousness" -- the haphazard progress of reflection, with all its paradoxes, irrelevancies and abrupt shifts of interest. By this means Joyce made his characters the authors of his work while, as creator of both them and their thoughts, he viewed their actions down the long perspective of history and myth, imposing structure on what, at first, seems merely random. Above everything else, Joyce always thought of himself as a poet. While he was a student he composed numerous poems and prose sketches which he called "epiphanies." An epiphany, literally, a "showing forth" of inner truth, Joyce hoped to portray the nature of reality so faithfully as to reveal its significance without further comment. This was an extreme form of naturalism that Joyce had already detected in the works of Flaubert and Ibsen. Ulysses was the culmination of Joyce's early career. 55 It was the fulfillment of the pledge made by the character Stephen Dedalus at the end of the Joyce's novel, The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man: "to forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race." Through his work with epiphanies, Joyce had regarded this task as a long encounter with reality, the literal texture of Dublin life. So it was that Ulysses, which relates the events of a single day in the lives of two Dubliners on June 16, 1904, makes Dublin as familiar a place as the London of Charles Dickens. Joyce visited Dublin for the last time in 1912. And finally, there was D. H. LAWRENCE (1885-1930). Over a period of twenty years, Lawrence published more than forty volumes of narrative fiction, poetry, criticism, travel writing and social commentary. It's been said that Lawrence probably did more than any other write of his time to alter the course of the English novel. His importance depends less on his technical accomplishments than it does on his choice of subject matter and intense personal convictions. The son of an illiterate coal miner and schoolteacher, Lawrence was born in the Nottinghamshire village of Eastwood in 1885. He attended Nottingham University, qualified as a teacher in 1908 and worked in a London school until 1912. In that year he met Frieda Weekley, a married woman who left her husband and three children to live with Lawrence. Their eventual marriage in 1914 exemplified many of Lawrence's concerns in his novels: the breakdown of social barriers, the flouting of moral convictions, and the conflict between the psychological and physical needs or men and women. Lawrence and his wife left England in 1919, returning on several occasions. They traveled throughout Europe and Australia, spent a long period in New Mexico and died it Italy in 1930. From his first novel, The White Peacock, published in 1911, through Lady Chatterley's Lover, published in 1928, Lawrence was constantly prosecuted for obscenity. He dared utter the word orgasm in his novels. Worse still, he acknowledged that women, in fact, had orgasms. This got him into trouble with a rather prudish English audience, still reeling over the effects of late 19th century Victorianism. But Lawrence pressed on and an entire generation of young writers saw in Lawrence the attempt to interpret human emotion on a deeper level of human consciousness than that handled by his contemporaries The problem with some of his novels lay in his frank approach to human sexuality and the use of words not permitted in polite discourse. Nineteenth century taboos were still strong. But Joyce and Lawrence were bold enough to write about women who indeed had orgasms, and they were bold enough to express their thoughts on sexuality. For Lawrence, sex was important because it was part of nature and hence, part of life. Only those who truly live know also how to truly love. Sex was the key to creativity -- it was the source of energy, beauty, religion and everything wonderful. The very clear fact that Freud had made sex one of the centerpieces of his psychoanalytic theories made sex a prime topic of conversation and discourse among a new generation of writers. As one historian has noted: whereas the problem of the 19th century had been religion, the 20th century turned to the new problem of sex. The excitement produced by the new literature of the men of 1914 tended to probe the inner world in all its irrationality, its emotionality, its nastiness and vibrant 56 realities. With the novels of Lawrence, we are drawn into the characters. We don't simply "relate" to them -- Lawrence makes us be his characters as the struggle with their lives. Their struggle is our struggle. Overall, there is a genuine excitement and creativity at work here. At the same time, however, much of this enthusiasm led to a rejection of public life. In the Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) novel, Mrs. Dalloway¸ the main character, Mrs. Dalloway, cannot endure her life as the wife of a leading politician -- the whole thing simply bores her. The new artists saw Europe now plunging into total decadence, a decadence worse still then the one identified by Nietzsche and other thinkers a generation earlier. When civilization is in the process of decay, the only recourse of these writers was in artistic endeavor and not politics or public life. "I hate politics and the belief in politics, because it makes men arrogant, doctrinaire, obstinate and inhuman," wrote Thomas Mann. The English writer, Aldous Huxley (1894-1963) added, "I have to recognize that I don't care a penny for political principles." And the German Expressionist, Ludwig Marcuse, wrote, "I don't remember if I voted in those years -- certainly not for whom." It was the Age of the Common Man -- but for the troubled intellectuals of the post-war generation, the common man was a sad joke, democracy a farce and politics became the enemy of culture. The inter-war years also brought a new architecture and a new music. In Switzerland, Le Corbusier (1887-1965) led a whole school of architecture that denounced the 19th century style of eclecticism and demanded instead, buildings for the machine age. Buildings must be functional: "form follows function." In Germany, Walter Gropius (1883-1969) created the Bauhaus movement. Located at Weimar, Bauhaus was a community, an art school and a place for creative design to flourish. The hope was that art could transform society and so it was social art. Architects and artists like Gropius, Mies van der Rohe , Paul Klee (1879-1940) and Vassily Kandinsky (1866-1944) created a style suitable for the twentieth century: it was urban, industrial and technologically modern. With the rise of Adolf Hitler in 1933, Bauhaus was closed and its members brought their genius to England and the United States in a massive wave of emigration often referred to as the Great Sea Change. In music, atonality or the abandonment of rules of tonality, was the counterpart of cubism and surrealism in art and the functionalism of Bauhaus. One had to escape what was called the "Beethoven century" in order to really accomplish something different. Already in May 1913, Igor Stravinsky's (1882-1971) ballet, The Rites of Spring, had led to riots in the theater as the dancers danced flat footed and their toes pointed inward. In all these movements -- in literature, in art, in music -- the post-war theme is similar: abandon tradition, experiment with the unknown, changes the rules, dare to be different, innovate, and above all, expose the sham of western civilization, a civilization whose entire system of values was now perceived as one without justification. This was modernism: a reaction against the conventions of liberal, bourgeois, material, decadent western civilization. It's what we might call the avant garde, or bohemian or abstract today. But for the lost generation of post-war Europe, it seemed to be the only way out of either depression or suicide. In a world now proven to be without values, what else was left but what had not yet been tried 57 before? The words of Nietzsche seemed to be the conscience of the European artist and intellectual. 58 Lecture 9 The Age of Anxiety: Europe in the 1920s (2) If it is admitted that the nineteenth century has been the century of Socialism, Liberalism and Democracy, it does not follow that the twentieth must also be the century of Liberalism, Socialism and Democracy. Political doctrines pass; peoples remain. It is to be expected that this century may be that of authority, a century of the "Right," a Fascist century. If the nineteenth was the century of the individual it may be expected that this one may be the century of "collectivism" and therefore the century of the State. ---Benito Mussolini, The Doctrine of Fascism, 1932 While most of the lost and troubled generation found newness in their unconsciousness or in the efforts to twist the rules of "rational" art, there was also something real and vital which would become their experience. Not just the backdrop to their experience, but their experience itself. In the 1920s and 30s, liberal democracy was faced with a grave crisis and its greatest challenge. A new political theory emerged -- one which drew its inspiration from Caligula, Nero and Commodus. It was Benito Mussolini who proclaimed that universal suffrage was the greatest of lies. And it was Lenin who proved Russian bourgeois democracy to have been both decadent and impotent. In THE REVOLT OF THE MASSES (1930), the Spanish philosopher José Ortega y Gasset (18831955) remarked that: There is one fact which, whether for good or ill, is of utmost importance in the public life of Europe at the present moment. This fact is the accession of the masses to complete social power. The German OSWALD SPENGLER (1880-1936), believed that liberalism led to democracy which in the end would lead to caesarism. This development he outlined in his massive philosophy of history, The Decline of the West, which he published in 1919. George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) believed that democracy substituted the rule of the incompetent many for that of the corrupt few. Shaw admired Lenin -Shaw admired Mussolini. Why? Well, it was quite simply, really: any enemy of democracy was a friend to Shaw. It seemed as if perhaps Plato was right after all. His Republic, written as the classical age of Greece came to a close, was a dialogue about the education required for a perfect society. Democracy had no place in such a society: Plato merely called it "a charming form of government." In its place, Plato believed that a special breed of man, a Philosopher-King, ought to govern. One man -- endowed with the mind of a philosopher and body of a general. The Romans understood Plato -- so too did the 59 moderns. Lenin believed he was that man -- so too did Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler and Mussolini (on Stalin and Hitler, see Lecture 10). Perhaps the rule of superior beings was required for the 20th century. Perhaps democracy and parliamentary government, and socialism and communism, had run their course. After all, none of them had brought about peace. Instead, they had brought about the Great War. Although many intellectuals toyed with fascism, their general sympathies were stated in a more negative fashion. That is, they may have become fascists, but only because fascism contained no democratic principles. H. G. Wells (1866-1946), the author of The Time Machine and War of the Worlds, called for a class of governing experts or technocrats. So too did the American critic, Walter Lippmann (18941974). D. H. Lawrence believed that democracy was spent force -- a new Caesar was needed. Evelyn Waugh (1903-1966), author of Brideshead Revisited, accepted both Mussolini's Fascists and Franco's right wing dictatorship. A new ideology, Italian fascism appeared after World War One in a country which had clearly been demoralized by war. The nation found itself frustrated and basically left out of the peace negotiations in 1919. Italian Fascism was not a consistent doctrine but rather a fusion of different ideas. It was successful, temporarily at least, because Italy was near total collapse. The collapse was precipitated by war but there were other elements as well. There was, for instance, conflict between socialist trade unions and industrial capitalists. On top of that, there was the general failure of parliamentary democracy. The key to these crises was fascism with its aim, the end of class conflict. The Fascists, like the Marxists, recognized the existence of class conflict, a class war which had existed, according to Karl Marx, throughout history. The Marxist solution was a world-wide proletarian revolution in which workers would rise up, break free their fetters and seize and then control the means of production. This great event would usher in the historical stage of production known as socialism. With time, Marx argued, the state controlled economy would whither away and the perfect form of social organization, communism, would take its place. Mussolini had nothing to do with such a scenario. To believe that the proletariat would rise up on their own was idealist fantasy. Mussolini's fascism attempted to remove class antagonisms through nationalism and corporatism. The economy was organized and all producers -- from peasants and factory workers to intellectuals and industrialists -- were situated into twenty-two corporations to improve productivity and avoid industrial disputes. It all sounded good on paper but as the Italians and the world later discovered, it didn't work. So Mussolini found himself having to make compromises with big business, the monarchy and the Roman Catholic Church. The Italian economy experienced no appreciable growth. The corporate state was never fully implemented and the expansionist and militaristic nature of fascism contributed to imperialist adventures in Ethiopia and the Balkans, and ultimately, World War Two. What fascism became was a nightmare world come true -- a nightmare feared by mean like Ortega, Spengler, Lawrence and Aldous Huxley (1894-1963). It was the revolt of the dehumanized masses enslaved by a totalitarian state. Fascism's leader was BENITO MUSSOLINI. Born in 1883, the son of an anti-clerical, socialist blacksmith, Mussolini was an unruly child. He shared his father's views and added to them ideas he picked up from his wide 60 reading of revolutionary writers. He read Louis Blanqui (1805-1881), a French revolutionary leader during the Paris Commune of 1871 and master of insurrection. Mussolini absorbed the writings of Georges Sorel (1847-1922), a French syndicalist philosopher who argued that true socialism could only appear after a period of violent revolution at the hands of a disciplined proletariat. In his LETTER TO DANIEL HALEVY (1907), Sorel introduced his doctrine of the "social myth." A true myth, said Sorel, does not aim to provide a rational conception of a future society but is a vision, a dream, a great emotional force that can inspire violent revolutionary activity. Such myths cannot be subjected to rational discussion. The function of a myth, above all, is mass inspiration: "the myths are not descriptions of things," Sorel wrote, "but determinations to act." Mussolini was also familiar with our old friend Friedrich Nietzsche. Mussolini was influenced by all these theorists but spent his early years as a traveling schoolteacher and journalist. In 1912, Mussolini became editor of the Milan Socialist Party newspaper, Avanti. When the Great War broke out in 1914, he at first opposed Italy's entry but soon reversed his position and called for Italy's entry on the side of the Allies. Expelled from the Socialist Party for this stance, he founded his own newspaper in Milan, Il popolo d'Italia, which later became the organ of his Fascist movement. He served in the army until he was wounded in 1917. On March 23, 1919, Mussolini and other war veterans founded in Milan a revolutionary, nationalistic group called the Fasci di Combattimento, named for the ancient Roman symbol of power, the fasces. His fascist movement developed into a powerful "radicalism of the right," gaining the support of many landowners in the lower Po Valley, industrialists and army officers. Fascist blackshirt squads carried on local civil war against Socialists, Communists, Catholics and Liberals. On October 28, 1922, after the Fascists had marched on Rome, Mussolini secured a mandate from King Victor Emmanuel III (1869-1947) to form a coalition government. In 1925-26, after a lengthy crisis with parliament following the assassination of the Socialist leader Giacomo Matteotti (1885-1924), he imposed a single-party, totalitarian dictatorship. His corporative state came to terms with Italian capitalism but abolished free trade unions. Mussolini understood that there was a need for a complete revolution of values to replace those of decadent and bankrupt bourgeois civilization. These values were not socialist, they were not communist and they certainly were not liberal. Mussolini sought to move beyond contemporary political ideologies and his solution was fascism. Fascism stressed charismatic leadership, a dynamic leadership which would bring Italy away from the humiliation it had suffered since the late 19th century. In this manner, Fascism was both a species of revival and restoration. But, it was based on irrationality. There was no system or program, just action for the sake of action, violence for the sake of violence. Mussolini wanted to destroy the "lie of universal suffrage," he wanted to destroy parliamentary democracy by substituting for it a strong heroic elite. True, he broke the power of the trade unions but the result was near total economic collapse. As a new religion, fascism was stamped on the mind of youth through control of education but it soon ceased to interest anyone of even meager intelligence. It was almost laughable -- this theatrical performance for the sake of performance. Despite the performance, the myths, the ritual and the 61 pretended charisma of Il Duce, it has been said that the only thing Mussolini managed to do was to make the trains run on time. Fascism was a mass anti-liberal, anti-communist movement. It was radical in its acceptance of conflict. It was radical in its willingness to employ force whenever necessary. It held all upper class values in contempt. And, it attacked its enemies on both the left and the right. With a leader such as ADOLF HITLER (1889-1945), support tended to come from the lower middle class. The little men -- the clerks, the shopkeepers, the minor civil servants. These were the people whose ambitions had been frustrated by the wartime economy. These were the people who were self-taught but could not get ahead. Finally, these were the people who came out of the Great War demoralized by German defeat in 1918. There's no doubt about it. Hitler borrowed from Mussolini. But Hitler also went beyond Il Duce. Mussolini had not been ruthless enough. Lenin, the leader of the Bolsheviks in Russia, had been ruthless, so Mussolini borrowed tactics from the Party for his own purposes. Hitler hated democracy and Marxism he regarded as Jewish poison. Of Marxism, Hitler wrote: "Either this racial poison, the mass tuberculosis, grows in our people, and Germany dies of an infected lung, or it is eliminated, and Germany can then thrive." He was fanatically nationalistic. Nazism thrived on the defeat of WWI as well as the national sense of humiliation shared by all Germans due to the Versailles Treaty's war guilt clause. There is little doubt that Nazism made its appeal to the emotions of a society devastated by war. Capitalism, communism, the Jews, the pacifists and liberals, the weak and the insane were all denounced. Hitler demanded a strong government capable of voicing the national will and leading Germany back to it place in the sun. Hitler's storm troopers specialized in brutal violence. His party borrowed heavily from the Russian Bolsheviks for its organization. And this was important for in such a party as the Nazis, organization was everything. And then there was Hitler's social Darwinism -- that life is struggle and that the weak will perish. Is this an idea that became new with Hitler? Certainly not. Richard Wagner (1813-1883), after all, was racist. So too were many of Hitler's teachers. Racism was not a creation of the early twentieth century. Not only that, the entire period from 1880-1920 was one in which the science of eugenics had become popular. This is true whether we consider developments in England, France, Russia, Germany or the United States. From Nietzsche, the Nazis borrowed slogans about the Superman, the blond beast, heroic leadership, the herd and the need to purge the old order. Unfortunately for poor Nietzsche -- a man who hated anti-Semites and nationalists -- Hitler made him the Reich's official philosopher. For Hitler, the Jew was the scapegoat, blamed for everything. Everything that had anything to do with capitalism, democracy, socialism, communism, modern art and modern literature and a hundred other things was all part of a Jewish conspiracy. Stalin shared a similar disposition. The Jew was identified with intellectualism, while the German or Aryan was identified with the cultural and national soil -- the "Volk," a nineteenth century concept pre-dating Hitler by almost 100 years. "Volk is a much more comprehensive term than people," the historian George Mosse wrote in The Crisis of German Ideology, 62 for to German thinkers ever since the birth of German romanticism in the late eighteenth century Volk signified the union of a group of people with a transcendental "essence." This "essence" might be called "nature" or "cosmos" or "mythos," but in each instance it was fused to man's innermost nature, and represented the source of his creativity, his depth of feeling, his individuality, and his unity with other members of the Volk. (1964) The Nazis talked of a pure Aryan Christianity, unblemished by Judaic influence. This idea went so far that Hitler asserted there was an Aryan science and that Albert Einstein was incorrect simply because he was a Jew. All this talk about Nordic supremacy or the Aryan race was quite common at the turn of the century -although it certainly appeared in different forms. In the United States, for instance, there was consistent talk of "race suicide" and the "mongrelization" of native Americans (meaning white, Europeans) due to their intermarriage with inferior races of Slavs, Jews and Italians. Anti-Semitism, social Darwinism and eugenics were also a commonplace in England at the turn of the century, as were fears of racial suicide. But it was the Dreyfus Affair in France in the 1890s which exposed the modern appearance of anti-Semitism. Hitler learned his anti-Semitism in Austria where he developed his ideas of panGermanism, Lebensraum and the master race. Anti-Semitism was common in Russia and Eastern Europe where pogroms against the Jews already had a lengthy history by the 1920s and 30s. In fact, anti-Semitism in various forms has an extremely long history. In Germany, as compared with other areas of eastern and central Europe, there was no Jewish problem. The Jewish problem only became real after Hitler and the Nazis invented it. The Nazi and Fascist movements of the 1920s and 30s were profoundly antiintellectual. "When I hear the world culture," said Joseph Goebbels (1897-1945), "I reach for my gun." Fascism came to be led by the brutal, the ignorant and the criminal -- men who were clever at exploiting the irrationality of the masses. As keen students of modern propaganda, the Fascists and Nazis borrowed heavily from the great mass movements of the age (radio, film, print). The Fascists employed the language of religious conversion, freely using words like faith, salvation, miracle, rebirth and sacrifice. This was a tendency already apparent in 19th century nationalism, an ideology whose past extends backward to early 19th century German Romanticism. The Fascists also borrowed heavily from the Bolsheviks and communists, from the Jesuits and Freemasons and from the army. It has been said that Fascism and Nazism also learned a great deal from American advertising. Hitler and the Nazis looked to the recent German past and borrowed whatever was useful to them. There was, in the case of Hitler, a deliberate use of myth and a general acceptance of the need to lead the masses by attention to their irrational impulses. The respect for truth -- truth as discerned by thinkers like Hegel, Goethe, Marx or Nietzsche -- was replaced by the systematic lying of the Nazis. In general, the Fascists and Nazis elevated all that was horrific in pre-war and interwar European culture. They were the evil spirits of western civilization. They did not create the evil -- they merely exploited it. They heightened it. They were intellectual parasites who borrowed the ideas of others to use as the new tools of power. 63 Fascism or Fascist ideology were not restricted to Italy or to Germany alone. Fascism was a European phenomenon which developed as a reaction to the perceived failure of western-style liberal democracies and industrial capitalism. From France, Belgium and Romania to Austria, England and the United States, Fascism did manage to receive some support. Fascism was a radicalism of the political right and as such, profoundly conservative. Its ideology glorified the country over the city, stressed blind patriotism, the family, traditional values and old customs. We see the same emphasis in the German "Volk." "The world between the wars was attracted to madness," wrote the British philosopher Bertrand Russell (1872-1970). "Of this attraction Nazism was the most emphatic expression." Watching Hitler's chanting crowds, and mass meetings, one could only get the idea that some kind of madness had come over Germany. In actual fact, most Germans cared less for Fascist or Nazi propaganda. They like Hitler because he got things done, solved unemployment and restored the pride of all Germans. It's been said that people, not being truly rational, have need of ritual, romance and religion. Perhaps these needs had been neglected in a rationalized, bureaucratic and mechanical society. Fascism reminded these people that twentieth century man is in search of religion and religious faith -- faith needed to replace a Christianity now hidden. In Fascism and Nazism, they found a new faith replete with rituals, symbols, sacraments, the good book as well as a Messiah. In the end, of course, this new faith turned out to be a disastrous one. 64 Lecture 10 The Age of Totalitarianism: Stalin and Hitler We live, not feeling the country beneath us, Our speech inaudible ten steps away, But where they're up to half a conversation -They'll speak of the Kremlin mountain man. His thick fingers are fat like worms, And his words certain as pound weights. His cockroach whiskers laugh, And the tops of his boots glisten. And all around his rabble of thick-skinned leaders, He plays through services of half-people. Some whistle, some meow, some snivel, He alone merely caterwauls and prods. Like horseshoes he forges decree after decree -Some get it in the forehead, some in the brow, some in the groin, and some in the eye. Whatever the execution -- it's a raspberry to him And his Georgian chest is broad. ---Osip Mandelstam, We Live, Not Feeling, 1934? The Age of Anxiety, the age of the lost generation, was also an age in which modern Fascism and Totalitarianism made their appearance on the historical stage. By 1939, liberal democracies in Britain, France, Scandinavia and Switzerland were realities. But elsewhere across Europe, various kinds of dictators reared their ugly heads. Dictatorship seemed to be the wave of the future. It also seemed to be the wave of the present. After all, hadn't Mussolini proclaimed that this century would be a century of the right? Of Fascism? And this is what bothered such writers as Arthur Koestler (1905-1983), Yevgeny Zamyatin (1884-1937), Aldous Huxley (18941963), Karel Capek (1890-1938) and George Orwell (1903-1950). It was a nightmare world in which human individuality was subsumed under the might of totalitarian collectivism. The modern totalitarian state rejected liberal values and exercised total control over the lives of its subjects. In this way, totalitarianism became a new POLITICAL RELIGION for the Age of Anxiety. How this indeed occurred is the subject of this lecture. It goes without saying that the governments of Europe had been conservative and anti-democratic throughout their long histories. The leaders of such governments -whether monarch or autocrat -- WERE the government, and by their very nature, prevented any incidence of social or political change that might endanger the existing social order. Of course, there have been enlightened monarchs but few of them would have been so enlightened to have removed themselves from the sinews of power. 65 Before the 19th century these monarchs legitimized their rule by recourse to the divine right theory of kingship, an idea which itself appeared in medieval Europe. Such was the case in France until the late 18th century when French revolutionaries decided to end the Bourbon claim to the throne by divine right by cutting off the head of Louis XVI. Of course, France ended up with Napoleon who also claimed the divine right of kingship. Only this time, divine right emanated from Napoleon himself. In a country such as England, on the other hand, twenty years of civil war in the 17th century as well as the Glorious Revolution of 1688, produced a constitutional monarchy. In the 19th century, it was the dual revolution -- the Industrial and French Revolutions -- which created the forces of social change which monarchs, enlightened or not, could not fail to take heed. A large middle class had made its appearance in the 18th century but lacked status. Now, in the 19th century, this large class of entrepreneurs, factory owners, civil servants, teachers, lawyers, doctors, merchants and other professionals wanted their voices heard by their governments. They became a force which had to be reckoned with and the government began to utilize its talents by creating large, obedient bureaucracies. In this way, government seemed to reflect the interests of all when in actual fact, they represented the interests of the bourgeoisie. So European governments maintained order by giving the middle classes a stake in the welfare of the nation. Governments also built strong police forces and armies of loyal soldiers. Meanwhile, the great mass of people, the "swinish multitude," lay completely unrepresented. And radicals were either imprisoned or exiled because of their liberal, democratic, socialist, communist or anarchist inclinations. Despite these measures, and there were others as well, traditional authoritarian governments were not completely successful. Their power and their objectives were limited. These governments lacked modern communications and modern transportation. They lacked, in other words, the ability to totally control their subject populations. The twentieth century -- thanks to improved technology -- would change all that. In fact, it can be said that true totalitarian regimes are limited only by the extent to which mass communications have been made a reality. And, of course, with mass communications comes mass man, and the capability of total control. Following World War One, there was a revival of traditional authoritarian regimes, especially in Eastern Europe. By 1938, of all the central and eastern European countries, only Czechoslovakia remained true to liberal political ideals. It has been remarked that the reason for this development was the perception that liberal democracy was a failure. It was not "made" for Eastern European nations. These nations lacked a tradition of self-government but they did have lengthy traditions of ethnic conflict as well as a steady growth in nationalism. As agrarian nations, the large landowners and the Church opposed any efforts at land reform. These countries also contained a small and relatively weak middle class. In a way, the 18th century seemed to have ignored these countries. Finally, for nations such as Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Austria and Estonia, it was the Great Depression that dashed any hopes for a liberal government based on the western model. Although many of these central and eastern European countries would adopt fascist characteristics, their general aim in doing so was not to become fascist themselves. 66 Instead, their aim was to maintain the established order. They wanted to avoid revolution and more important, they wanted to avoid another world war. Modern totalitarian regimes made their appearance with the total effort required by the Great War. The reason for this is quite simple -- war required all institutions to subordinate their interests to one objective at all costs: victory. The individual had to make sacrifices and so their freedoms, whatever they might have been, were constantly reduced by increasing government intervention. The invisible hand of Adam Smith had to be replaced by the visible hand. Governments could not longer remain idle hoping that some "laissez-faire" mentality would carry them through the day. No. Governments had to intervene and the great event which made this notion of intervention a necessity, was the Great War. Beyond this, the crucial experience of World War I was Lenin, the Bolsheviks and the Russian Civil War. Lenin had shown how a dedicated minority -- the Bolsheviks -- could make a dedicated effort and achieve victory over a majority. This was as true of the Revolution as much as it was of the Civil War when the Bolsheviks overcame the White Army who were numerically superior. Lenin also clearly demonstrated how institutions and human rights might be subordinated to the needs of a single party and a single leader. So, Lenin provided a model for a single party dictatorship, i.e. the Bolsheviks. It was Lenin, who provide the model for Stalin as well as Hitler and Mussolini. Totalitarian regimes -- thanks to technology and mass communications -- take over control of every facet of the individual's life. Everything is subject to control -- the economy, politics, religion, culture, philosophy, science, history and sport. Thought itself becomes both a form of social control as well as a method of social control. Those of you familiar with Orwell's premonitionary novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four, should have an easy time understanding this development. The totalitarian state was based on boundless dynamism. Totalitarian society was a fully mobilized society, a society constantly moving toward some goal. Which begs the question: Is democracy the means to an end or the end itself? Paradoxically, the totalitarian state never reached its ultimate goal. However, it gave the illusion of doing so. As soon as one goal was reached, it was replaced by another. Such was the case in Stalin's Russia. Stalin implemented a series of Five Year Plans in an effort to build up the industrial might of the Soviet Union. Production quotas were constantly announced well before they had been reached in order to supply the illusion that the Five Year Plan was working. But before the Five Year Plan had run its course, another Five Year Plan was announced. Hopefully, you can intuit the psychological necessity of such an act on Stalin's part. In the end, totalitarianism meant a "permanent revolution," an unfinished revolution in which rapid and profound change imposed from above simply went on forever. Of course, a permanent revolution also means that the revolution is never over. The individual is constantly striving for a goal which has been placed just a hair out of reach. In this way, society always remains mobilized for continual effort. The first example of such a permanent revolution the "revolution from above," instituted by Joseph Stalin in 1927 and 1928. After 67 having suppressed his enemies on both the left and the right, as well as the center, Stalin issued the "general party line." Anyone who deviated from that line was condemned to either exile or execution -- in most cases, execution. Stalin's aim was to create a new kind of society and a new human personality to inhabit that society: socialist man and socialist woman -- Homo Sovieticus. At the same time, a strong army would have to be built as well as a powerful industrial economy. Once everything was owned by the State, Stalin believed, a new kind of human personality would emerge. The Soviets under Stalin were by no means successful. Just the same, the Soviets did build a new society, one whose basic outlines survived right down to the late 1980s. However, Stalinist society did have its frightening aspects and none was more frightening than the existence of brutal, unrestrained police terrorism. First used against the wealthy peasants or kulaks during the 1920s and 1930s, terror was increasingly used against party members, administrators and ordinary people. No one would ever be above suspicion -- except Stalin, of course. Some were victims of terror for deviating from the party line -- others were victims for no apparent reason other than Stalin's moodiness. One Soviet recalled that in 1931, "we all trembled because there was no way of getting out of it. Even a Communist can be caught. To avoid trouble became an exception." As we now know, Stalin's second wife also publicly rebuked Stalin for the destruction the terror famine was working and she committed suicide in 1932. And on December 1, 1934, Sergei Kirov, the man who in some circles was rumored to be Stalin's heir, was assassinated in Leningrad on Stalin's orders. Using Kirov's death as an excuse, Stalin systematically purged the Communist Party of his opponents. Hundreds of party members were shot for their alleged complicity in Kirov's death. Kirov was a full member of the ruling Politburo and leader of the Leningrad party apparatus as well as an influential member of the ruling elite. His overt concern for the welfare of the Leningrad workers and his skill as an orator earned him considerable popularity. It is doubtful that Kirov represented a serious threat to Stalin, however, Kirov did disagree with Stalin on several key issues. But Stalin had already begun to doubt the loyalty of the Leningrad party and he looked for a pretext to begin a broad purge. The murder of Kirov was necessary. Although it was Leonid Nikolaev who committed the assassination, it is now clear that the whole episode had been, over a period of two years, crafted by Stalin and the NKVD. Stalin, of course, then used the crime as an excuse to introduce severe laws against all political crimes. So, following the death of Kirov at the end of 1934, there began the Soviet witch-hunt which culminated in the Great Terror of the years 1935-1939. In 1936, Stalin brought his old comrades Zinoviev and Kamenev to a staged public trial. An international press corps was invited to lend a sense of legitimacy to the proceedings. When their trial had ended Zinoviev, Kamenev and fourteen other old Bolsheviks either admitted involvement in the Kirov Affair or signed confessions that had been fabricated for them. These men had not been conspirators but they did satisfy Stalin's paranoia. As to be expected, they were all executed. The confessional process was helped by the black jack, continuous interrogation and the swan dive, where towelling was put between the jaws and the feet and tightened, arching and breaking the back. But often, the confession was voluntary because the Party 68 demanded it. As one survivor recalled, "serving the party was not just a goal in life but an inner need." In January 1937 a second great show trial was held in which seventeen leading Bolsheviks declared that they had knowledge of a conspiracy between Trotsky and the German and Japanese intelligence services by which Soviet territory was to be transferred to Germany and Japan. A crowd of 200,000 packed Red Square in frigid weather to hear Nikita Khrushchev read out the death sentences. All seventeen were executed. Then on June 11, 1937, the cream of the Red Army, stripped of their medals and insignia, were ushered into the courtroom. They included Marshal Tukhachevsky, the most brilliant soldier of his generation and the pioneer of armored and airborne warfare. The generals were accused of spying for the Germans, found guilty, shot and dumped in a trench on a construction site, all within eighteen hours. Six of the officers who condemned them were soon shot. Of 85 corps commanders 57 disappeared within a year. Of the 100,000 Red Army officers on active duty in 1937, perhaps 60,000 were purged. The last of the public trials took place in March 1938, as twenty-one leading Bolsheviks, including Nikolai Bukharin (1888-1938), confessed to similar charges and were executed. Also to go was Yagoda, Stalin's hand-picked head of the NKVD. These public show trials and the secret trials of the generals provide only a faint idea of the extent of the Great Terror. Every member of Lenin's Politburo except Stalin and Trotsky were either killed or committed suicide to avoid execution. A partial list of those who ceased to exist would include: --two vice-commissars of foreign affairs --most of the ambassadors in the Soviet diplomatic corps --numerous members of the Central Committee of the Communist Party --almost all the military judges who had sat in judgment and had condemned --the Red Army generals --two successive heads of the NKVD --the prime ministers and chief officials of all the non-Russian Soviet republics --the director of the Lenin Library --the man who had led the charge against the Winter Palace in 1917 --a 70 year old schoolteacher who owned a book which included a picture of Trotsky --an 85 year old woman who made the sign of the Cross when a funeral passed --a man who took down a portrait of Stalin while painting a wall Not since the days of the Inquisition had the test of ideological loyalty been applied to so many people. And not since the days of the French Revolution had so many died for failing the test. Arrests multiplied tenfold in 1936 and 1937. Anything was used as an excuse for an arrest: dancing too long with a Japanese diplomat, not clapping loudly enough or long enough after one of Stalin's speeches, buying groceries from a former kulak. People went to work one day and simply did not return -- they were either killed immediately or sent to the GULAG. The NKVD employed millions of secret informers who infiltrated every workplace. Most academics and writers came to expect arrest, exile and prison as part of their lives. A historian could be sent to exile for describing Joan of Arc as nervous and tense just when the general party line wished her described as calm in the face of death. When a linguistic theory that held that all language was derived from four sounds was accepted as official, professors who opposed this view had their books confiscated. 69 By 1938 at least one million people were in prison, some 8.5 million had been arrested and sent to the GULAG and nearly 800,000 had been executed. In fact, before the KGB was dissolved in 1991, it was revealed that 47 million Soviet citizens had died as a result of forced collectivization and the purges. That figure, of course, represents the recorded tally. How many more people died without being recorded is a matter of conjecture. There is no doubt in anyone's mind that Stalin wanted to destroy any possibility of future conspiracies. So he trumped up charges against anyone who could conceivably become a member of a regime that might make the attempt to replace his own. He did this to maintain his power. He also did this, as his biographers are quick to point out, because he was paranoid. Despite the upheaval of the constant purge trials, the Soviet state did not break down. New bureaucrats were found to replace the old. New Stalin-trained officials filled all top-level posts and terror became one of the principal features of the government itself. In the end, the purgers were also purged. They were the scapegoats used by Stalin to carry out the Great Terror. Meanwhile, Trotsky had been out of Russia for years but he continued to use his pen to attack Stalin in his journal, The Bulletin of the Opposition. In Stalin's eyes, Trotsky could not be left free. Stalin's purges baffled nearly all foreign observers. He saw threats everywhere. Were they real? Leading Communists confessed to crimes against the State they never committed. Some were brainwashed, others tortured. Still others, like Nikolai Bukharin, were shot in the head. And eventually, even Trotsky was murdered in Mexico City in 1940, an ice pick to the head. Soviet life in the 1930s, purge trials aside, was one of constant propaganda and indoctrination. Party members lectured to workers in factories and peasants in the field. Newspapers, films and radio broadcast endless socialist achievements and capitalist evil. Art, literature, film and science were politicized -- sovietized. The intellectual elite of the 1930s were ordered by Stalin to become "engineers of human souls" or, as Maxim Gorky put it, the "CRAFTSMEN OF CULTURE." Russian nationalism had to be glorified. Capitalism was portrayed as the greatest of evils. Ivan the Terrible and Peter the Great were resurrected and depicted as the forerunners of Stalin. History had to be rewritten. "Who controls the past, controls the future; who controls the present controls the past," wrote Orwell. Stalin rarely appeared in public but his presence was everywhere: portraits, statues, books, films and quotations from his idiotic books surrounded the Soviet man and woman. Life was hard inside Soviet Russia and the standard of living declined in the 1930s, despite Stalin's claim that the Five Year Plans had modernized the nation. Black bread and shabby clothes came to represent the Russian masses. There were constant shortages of food although heavily taxed vodka was always available. Housing was poor and in short supply. Although life was hard, the Soviet people were by no means hopeless. The average Russian saw himself heroically building the world's first socialist society while capitalism was crumbling in the west. On the positive side, the Soviet worker received social benefits such as old age pensions, free medical services, free education and even day care facilities. Unemployment was technically non-existent and there was the possibility of personal advancement. The key to advancement was specialized skills and a technical education. Rapid industrialization under the Five 70 Year Plans required massive numbers of experts, technocrats, skilled workers, engineers and managers. So the State provided economic incentives for those people who would faithfully serve the needs of the State. But for the unskilled, low wages were the rule. But, the State dangled high salaries and special housing to those members of the growing technical and managerial elite. This elite joined forces with the "engineers of the human mind" to produce a new social class -- and all this in a supposedly classless society. Stalin's ego mania and paranoia eventually contributed to the near destruction of Soviet Russia. His perpetual and pathological lying and deception, culminating in the infamous purge trials of the 1930s, took the Soviet Union down a road out of which it is now slowly recovering, if, in fact, it ever will recover. I am reminded of the political history of the Roman Empire following the death of Augustus Caesar in 14 A.D. First Caligula, then Nero, Commodus, Severus and so on -- 250 years of military assassinations, strangulations and poisoning. In the 1770s, Edward Gibbon sat down to complete his major work of historical scholarship, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. In it, he says, "The story of Rome's ruin is simple and obvious and instead of inquiring why the Roman Empire was destroyed we should rather be surprised that it had subsided for so long.... The stupendous fabric yielded to the pressure of its own weight." Now, I don't mean to take the position that Soviet Russia was identical to the Roman Empire, but I do think that we should be surprised that Stalinist Russia existed for so long. In retrospect, however, we should acknowledge the terror, criminality and totalitarian regime of Joseph Stalin. This is indeed what Nikita Khrushchev did in his SECRET SPEECH of 1956, three years after Stalin's death. Despite all that has been said, popular memory reveals that of all the totalitarian regimes of the 20th century, none was more terrifying than that of Nazi Germany. As a product of Hitler, Germany's social and political situation, and the general attack on liberalism, Nazi Germany emerged rapidly after 1933 when Hitler came to power. The Nazis smashed all independent organizations, mobilized the economy and began the systematic extermination of the Jewish and other non-German populations. The story of Hitler is well-known -- there is an entire Hitler industry of book publishing these days, unmatched only by books on the JFK assassination. Why this might be the case is rather obvious. Hitler seemed to be evil incarnate. So too was Stalin. But then again, the west did not fight a war, not a hot one, at least, against Stalin. We also have more information regarding the Nazis than we do Stalin, whose regime was always clouded in secrecy. The Nazis, on the other hand, kept good records. In his now classic work, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, William Shirer mentions that in 1945 the U.S. First Army seized 485 tons of records of the German Foreign Office in the Harz Mountains as they were about to be burned on orders from Berlin. Such a figure, it must be added, represents only part of the whole. Hitler was born in Austria in 1889 (for more on Hitler, see Lecture 9). He dropped out of school at age 14 and then spent four years as a tramp before he left his home for Vienna to become an artist. He applied to the Imperial Academy of Fine Arts and was denied admission. He was told he had no artistic talent. Back on the streets, the tramp Hitler began to absorb a nationalist ideology. In Vienna he discovered that the 71 Germans were a superior race of people and the natural masters of the inferior races of Europe. He also learned his anti-Semitism, racism and hatred of all Slavic people. An ex-monk by the name of Lanz von Liebenfels inspired Hitler's twisted Darwinism. Liebenfels stressed the superiority of the Germans, the inevitability of racial conflict and the inferiority of the Jews. The master race, by its very nature, had to grow. Selective breeding and the systematic sterilization of inferior races was the answer. When war broke out in 1914, Hitler believed he had found salvation. The struggle and discipline of war gave meaning to Hitler's life. Life was struggle and so too was war. What better atmosphere for Hitler to further develop his nationalist and social Darwinist sentiments. But when defeat came in 1918, Hitler's world was shattered. The war had been his reason for living. What could have happened? Well, for Hitler, the Jews and Marxists had stabbed Germany in the back. Therefore, these parasitic intellectuals ought to be removed. Back home following the war, Hitler began to make wild speeches to small audiences in the streets. He didn't care if many people heard him out, only that he could articulate his message of anti-Semitism and German nationalism. And people did listen to Hitler. And they began to take seriously what he gesticulated on the streets. By 1921, Hitler had become the leader of a small but growing political party. It is interesting to note that Hitler shared very little of the interests of this party, instead, he simply took it over because he needed a party of his own. The German Workers' Party denounced all Jews, Marxists and liberals. They promised national socialism. They used propaganda and theatrical rallies. They wore special badges and uniforms and as they marched, robotlike, through the streets of Münich, they rendered their special salute. Most effective of all their tools was the mass rally -- a rally made for mass man. Songs were sung, slogans were cast about. It was a revivalist movement, or at least it had the atmosphere of a religious revival. Hitler was a charismatic speaker and easily worked his audiences up into a frenzy. Party membership began to grow. In 1923, Hitler launched a plot to march on Münich, a plot that eventually failed and sent Hitler to prison for five years. At his trial, Hitler presented his own program to solve Germany's problems. The audience listened and he began to attract their attention. He dared utter what everyone knew all along but were afraid to express. A new wave of converts began to side with the German Workers' Party. While in prison, Hitler wrote Mein Kampf. Its basic themes were German racial superiority, virulent anti-Semitism, the concept of Lebensraum, or living space, pan-Germanism and the necessity of yet another war. The Nazis now had their Bible. By 1928, the Nazi Party now had 100,000 members and Hitler had absolute control. The Nazis were still a marginal political group but world events in 1929 and 1930 produced a new mania for the Hitler program. Unemployment stood at 1.3 million in 1929. The following year, it had risen to 5 million while industrial production in 1932 fell by more than 50%. In that same year, 43% of all Germans were unemployed. Hitler now began to promise Germany economic salvation as well as military and political restitution for the "war guilt clause" specified at Versailles. He focused on the middle and lower middle classes---the office workers, civil servants and teachers. These were the people who had barely survived through the period of wild inflation following World War One. These were the people who were begging for salvation. 72 The Nazis also made their appeal to GERMAN YOUTH. Hitler and his aides were, in general, much younger than other leading politicians. In 1931, for instance, 40% of all Nazis were under thirty years of age, 70% were under 40. This is quite different from what we would find in Stalinist Russia at the same time. National recovery, rapid change and personal advancement formed the main appeal of the Nazi Party. By 1932, Hitler had gained the support of key people in the army and in big business. These individuals thought they could use Hitler for their own financial interests. So, they accepted Hitler's demand to join the government only if he became Chancellor. Since the government was a coalition consisting of two Nazis and nine conservatives, they reasoned that Hitler could be used and controlled. And so, on January 30th, 1933, Hitler legally became the Chancellor of Germany. Hitler moved quickly to establish a dictatorship. He used terror to gain power while maintaining an air of legality throughout. He called for new elections to Parliament and then had the Parliament building burned to the ground. He blamed the Communists for this act thus helping to get them out of the way and out of any possible public following. He convinced President Hindenburg to sign an emergency act that  abolished the freedom of speech and  abolished the freedom of assembly. On March 23, 1933, the Nazis pushed the Enabling Act through Parliament, thus making Hitler dictator for a period of four years. Communist Party members were arrested, the Catholic Center Party withdrew all opposition and the Social Democratic Party was dissolved. So it was that Germany, like Soviet Russia under Stalin, became a one party State. In the economic sphere, all strikes were made illegal and unions were abolished. The members of professional organizations such as doctors, lawyers, professors and engineers were swallowed up in Nazi-based organizations. In the cultural sphere, the press now feel under total state control. Blacklisting became the rule, books were burned, modern art was prohibited and anti-intellectualism became the rule of the day. Hitler promised the German people work and bread and he delivered both. As most shrewd politicians are capable, Hitler gave the people what they wanted the most. He launched a massive public works program to pull Germany out of the Depression. Superhighways, office buildings, huge stadiums and public buildings were constructed at a rapid pace. By 1936, however, government spending was now being directed almost entirely to the military, necessary for the coming war Hitler had already specified in Mein Kampf. Meanwhile, unemployment dropped steadily. In January 1937, unemployment stood at 7 million. Twelve months later it had fallen to 1 million and by 1938, Germany witnessed a shortage of labor. The standard of living increased by 20% and business profits were finally increasing. What all this recovery showed was that Hitler was more than show -- he was no Mussolini who made the trains run on time. No, Hitler had accomplished something for Germany and the German people. For those Germans who were not Jews, Slavs, Gypsies or communists, liberals, non-Germans, or insane or weak, Hitler's government meant greater opportunity and greater equality. Older class barriers were replaced by individuals who, like Hitler, were rootless and had risen to the top. The Nazis tolerated privilege and wealth, but only when it served the Party. Big business was constantly ordered around thus making, once again, the invisible hand of Adam Smith, a thing of the past. Of course, you can identify a similar tendency in 73 the United States with the New Deal and Stalin's Five Year Plans in Soviet Russia. Planning was, in other words, essential. Although economic recovery and increased opportunity won Hitler support, Nazism was totally guided by two main ideas: Lebensraum and race. As Germany regained economic strength and built up its military, Hitler formed alliances with other dictators and began to expand. Meanwhile, western Europe simply sat back and tried to appease Hitler in order to avoid another World War. War did break out in 1939 for one specific reason -- Hitler's ambitions were without limit. The Nazi armies scored impressive victories until late in 1942. Hitler's aggression was so strong that a mighty coalition of nations was needed to destroy his growing empire. By the summer of 1943, the tide had turned and two years later, Germany lay in ruins, utterly defeated. The one thousand year Reich was decidedly short-lived. The Second World War marked the climax of the Age of Anxiety. Stalin's Russia and Hitler's Germany rejected all liberal ideas. They tried to subordinate everything to the State. Basic human rights were subjected to brutality and to terror. Whereas Stalin, however, was content to extend his control over the Soviet Union, it was Hitler who aimed at unlimited territorial and racial aggression of a master race. Hitler made war inevitable: first with France, then with Britain and Russia and ultimately with the United States. 74 Lecture 11 Hitler and World War Two The Nazi empire was created by violence, lived by violence and was destroyed by violence. In contrast to other empires created by armed might, which bequeathed art and literature that are still widely admired, or administrations, customs, languages and legal codes that Europeans and non-Europeans still adhere to, from Ireland to India, the tawdry Nazi anti-civilization left nothing of any worth behind, except perhaps its contemporary function as a secular synonym for human evil. . . . Nazism was literally "from nothing to nothing": with its powerful imaginative afterlife curiously disembodied from its pitiful achievements. Rarely can an empire have existed about which nothing positive could be said, notwithstanding the happy memories of wartime tourism. . . . Even in the limited terms of its own aesthetic politics, the Nazi "New Order" was merely the universality of ugliness. (Michael Burleigh, The Third Reich: A New History (2000, p. 481) Because of his experiences in Vienna, World War One, the Münich putsch and in prison, Adolf Hitler dreamed of building a vast German Empire sprawling across Central and Eastern Europe. Lebensraum could only be obtained and sustained by waging a war of conquest against the Soviet Union: German security demanded it and Hitler's racial ideology required it. War, then, was essential. It was essential to Hitler the man as well as essential to Hitler's dream of a new Germany. In the end, most historians have reached the consensus that World War Two was Hitler's war (for more on Hitler, see Lecture 9 and Lecture 10). Unfortunately, although most western statesmen had sufficient warning that Hitler was a threat to a general European peace, they failed to rally their people and take a stand until it was too late. In this respect, you could argue that the responsibility for World War Two ought to remain on the shoulders of Britain, France and the United States. Following 1933 -- the year when Hitler consolidated his power as Chancellor through the Enabling Act -- Hitler implemented his foreign policy objectives. These objectives clearly violated the provisions of the Versailles Treaty. Hitler's foreign policy aims accorded with the goals of Germany's traditional rulers in that the aim was to make Germany the most powerful state in all of Europe. For example, during World War One, German generals tried to conquer extensive regions in Eastern Europe. And with the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk (1918) between Germany and Russia, Germany took Poland, the Ukraine and the Baltic States from Russia. However, where Hitler departed from this traditional scenario was his obsession with racial supremacy. His desire to annihilate whole races of inferior peoples marked a break from the outlook of the old order. This old order never contemplated the restriction of the civil rights of the Jews. They wanted to Germanize German Poles, not enslave them. But Hitler was an opportunist -- he was a man possessed and driven by a fanaticism that saw his destiny as identical to Germany's. The propaganda machine that Hitler adopted, however, was perhaps the most important device at his disposal. With it he 75 was able to successfully undermine his opponent's will to resist. And propaganda, after winning the minds of the German people, now became a most crucial instrument of German foreign policy as a whole. There were upwards of 27 million German people living outside the borders of the Reich. To force those 27 million into support for Hitler, the Nazis utilized their propaganda machine. For example, they made every effort to export anti-Semitism internationally, thus feeding off prejudices of other nations. Hitler also began to promote himself as Europe's best defense against Stalin, the Bolsheviks and the Soviet Union (on Stalin see Lecture 10). In fact, the Nazi anti-Bolshevik propaganda convinced thousands of Europeans that Hitler was also Europe's best defense against all Communists. Hitler was a shrewd statesman. He anticipated, for instance, that the British and French would back down the moment they were faced with his direct and willful violations of Versailles. He knew that any threat of war would drive the AngloFrench into a defensive posture. The reason for this should be pretty clear -- Britain and France would have done anything to avoid another conflict and this defensive position managed to win a vote of confidence from public opinion. The British believed that Germany had been treated too harshly by the provisions of Versailles and because of this, they were willing to make concessions to the Germans. The French, with the largest army on the Continent, refused to contemplate an offensive war, as was their position in World War One, and decided instead to protect their borders at all costs. The United States, meanwhile, stood aloof from any European conflict because they had their own problems to deal with, namely, the Great Depression. To top it all off, the British and French no longer trusted Russia, so the hopes of establishing an alliance along the lines which developed during the Great War was just not possible. So the British introduced their policy of appeasement. They hoped that by making concessions to Hitler, war would be avoided. They also held on to the illusion that Hitler was, once again, Europe's best defense against Soviet Russia. The British appeasers certainly missed the boat -- even with Mein Kampf in their hands, they failed to understand Hitler's foreign policy aims. Hitler could be reasoned with, they argued. Meanwhile, Germany grew stronger and the German people began to look to Hitler as their messiah. Hitler needed a strong army to realize his war aims. According to the provisions of the Versailles Treaty, the Germany army was to be limited to 100,000 soldiers. The size of the navy was limited as well. Germany was also forbidden to produce military aircraft, tanks and heavy artillery. The General Staff was dissolved. These were harsh provisions. How did Germany get by these conditions? Well, actually it was quite easy. In March 1935, Hitler declared that Germany was no longer bound by the provisions of the Versailles Treaty. He began conscription and built up the air force. France protested, weakly, and Britain negotiated a naval agreement with the Germans. One year later, on March 7, 1936, Hitler marched his troops into the Rhineland, a clear violation of Versailles. His generals cautioned Hitler that such a move would provoke an attack. Again, Hitler judged the Anglo-French response correctly. The British and French took no action. The British sat back. The French saw the remilitarization of the Rhineland as a grave threat to their security. With 22,000 German soldiers standing along the French border, why didn't the French act? The first reason was that France would not act alone and Britain offered no help at this point. Second, the French over-estimated German forces who marched into 76 the Rhineland. Again, their posture was decidedly defensive. And lastly, French public opinion was strongly opposed to any confrontation with Hitler. Meanwhile, European fascism was winning another war in Spain between 1936 and 1937. Mussolini and Hitler both supported Franco's right-wing dictatorship and as to be expected, the French refused to intervene. The Spanish Civil War was decisive for Hitler for it was here that he was able to test new weapons and new aircraft which would eventually make their appearance when World War Two finally broke out in 1939. And then in 1938, Hitler ordered his troops to march into Austria, which then became a province of Germany. The Austrians celebrated by ringing church bells, waving swastikas and attacking Jews. The Anschluss was yet another violation of Versailles. Why had so many people missed the boat? In Mein Kampf, Hitler had made it quite clear that Austria must be annexed to Germany, Did anyone listen? Did anyone make any effort to prevent Anschluss? No! Britain and France both informed the Chancellor of Austria that they would not help if invaded by Germany. Once again, non-intervention paved the way for Hitler's foreign policy aims. Hitler used the threat of force to obtain Austria and a similar threat would give him the Sudetenland of Czechoslovakia. More than three-quarters of the population of the Sudetenland were ethnic Germans. The area also contained key industries and was vital to the protection of Czechoslovakia. Without this area heavily fortified Czechoslovakia could not hope to withstand German aggression. Sudentenland Germans, encouraged by the Nazis, began to denounce the Czech government. Meanwhile, Hitler's propaganda machine accused the Czech government of hideous crimes and warned of retribution. He ordered his generals to plan an invasion of Czechoslovakia. At this point, the British Prime Minister NEVILLE CHAMBERLAIN decided to intervene and Hitler agreed to a conference with him. The opinion of British statesmen was that the Sudetenland Germans were being deprived of their right to self-determination. The Sudetenland, like Austria, was not worth another war, they reasoned. Once the Germans were living under the German flag, the British argued, Hitler would be satisfied. And so the fate of Czechoslovakia was sealed in September 1938. Chamberlain, Hitler, Mussolini and Daladier, the Prime Minister of France, signed the MÜNICH PACT and agreed that all Czech troops in the Sudetenland would be replaced by German troops. The British hailed Chamberlain -- the French hailed Daladier. While Chamberlain returned to England with a piece of paper in his hand, Hitler was laughing. What Britain and France had shown was their own weakness and this weakness increased Hitler's appetite for even more territory. With the Sudetenland annexed, Hitler plotted to annihilate the independent existence of Czechoslovakia. And so, in March 1939, Czechoslovak independence came to an end. After Czechoslovakia, Germany turned to Poland. Hitler demanded that the Polish port town of Danzig be returned to Germany. Poland refused to hand over Danzig since it was vital to their economy. Meanwhile, France and Britain warned Hitler that they 77 would come to the assistance of Poland. On May 22, 1939, Hitler and Mussolini signed the Pact of Steel and promised one another mutual aid. One month later, the German army presented Hitler with battle plans for the invasion of Poland. While all this was going on, negotiations were under way between Britain, France and Russia. The Soviets wanted mutual aid -- but they also demanded military bases in Poland and Romania. Britain would not give in to their demands. And of course, while all this is going on, Russia was conducting secret talks with Germany. The result of all this was that on August 23, 1939, Ribbentrop and Molotov signed the NAZI-SOVIET PACT of non-aggression. One section of this Pact -- even more secret than the Nazi-Soviet Pact itself -- called for the partition of Poland between Germany and Russia. The Nazi-Soviet pact served as the green light for the invasion of Poland and on September 1, 1939, German troops marched into Poland. Britain and France demanded that Hitler stop his forces but Hitler ignored them and so Britain and France declared war on Germany. Using the Blitzkrieg or lightening war, Poland succumbed to Germany on September 27, 1939. The period of six months following the fall of Poland has been called "the phony war." Fighting was limited to minor skirmishes along the French and German borders. But in April 1940, Hitler struck at Denmark and Norway. Hitler needed to establish naval bases in these countries from which his submarines could attack England. Denmark surrendered in only one day and Norway soon followed. The following month, Hitler attacked Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg. Surrenders followed quickly. Meanwhile, French troops rushed to Belgium to prevent a German breakthrough. The German forces converged on the French port of Dunkirk, the last point of escape for the Allies. But Hitler called off his tanks and planned to use airstrikes to annihilate the Allies. As it turned out, fog and rain prevented Hitler from using the full force of his airplanes. 340,000 British and French forces were ferried across the English Channel to England while Germany bombed the beaches. By late Spring 1940, there was every indication that France was about to fall to the Nazis. Numerous French divisions were cut off and in retreat. Millions of French refugees were making their way south and on June 10, 1940, Mussolini declared war on France. The French government sent out an appeal for armistice and so on June 22, 1940, French and German officials met in a railway car and signed the agreement. In a odd twist of fate, it was the same railway car used to sign the provisions of the Treaty of Versailles back in 1918. With France fallen, Hitler assumed that Britain would make peace. The British rejected any overtures on the part of the Germans and so in August 1940, Hitler ordered his Luftwaffe to conduct massive airstrikes against Britain and the Battle of Britain had begun. The battle raged for almost five months. On September 15, the British RAF shot down sixty German aircraft and Hitler was forced to postpone his invasion of Britain. The Germans, however, continued their night time attacks on English cities and towns but British morale never broke during the Blitz. By the end of 1941, Hitler had also invaded Russia but Russia would not yield. By early 1942, Nazi Germany ruled virtually all of Europe. Territories were annexed, some were under German military authority while still others, such as France, collaborated with the Nazis. It was over this vast empire that Hitler intended to superimpose a New Order. The Germans expropriated and exploited every country which they conquered. They took gold, art, machinery and food supplies 78 back to Germany. Some foreign factories were confiscated -- others produced what the Germans demanded. The bottom line is quite simple -- the Germans took whatever it was they wanted. Seven million people from all over occupied Europe were enslaved and transported to Germany where they lived and worked in forced labor camps. The Nazis rules by terror and fear. The New Order meant torture, prison, firing squads and concentration camps. For example, in Poland, priests and intellectuals were jailed and killed and most schools and churches were ordered closed. In Russia, political officials were immediately executed and prisoners of war were herded into camps and worked to death. Germany ended up taking 5.5 million Russian POWs, 3.5 million of which were killed or died in captivity. The task of imposing what came to be known as "the final solution of the Jewish Problem," was outlined at a conference held on January 20, 1942. One result of the WANNSEE PROTOCOL, was that a portion of the responsibility for the extermination of European Jewry was given to HIMMLER'S SS. The SS responded with fanaticism and bureaucratic efficiency. The Jews were identified with Reason, Equality, Tolerance, Freedom and individualism. The Jews had no Kultur. Though perhaps German born, they were not a people of the Volk. The SS enjoyed their work a great deal. They regarded themselves as idealists who were writing the most glorious of chapters in the history of Germany. In Russia, special squads of the SS -the Einsatzgruppen, trained for genocide -- entered captured towns and cities and rounded up Jewish men, women and children who were herded into groups and then shot en masse. About two million Russian Jews perished as a result. In Poland, Hitler established ghettoes where some 3.5 million Jews were forced to live, sealed off from the rest of the population. To expedite the Final Solution, the Nazis began to use concentration camps. These camps were already in existence for the use of political prisoners. Jews from all over Europe were rounded up under the notion that they were about to be resettled. Although the Jews knew something about plans for their eventual extermination, they just could not believe that any 20th century nation would resort to such a crime against humanity. Of course, the Holocaust was a reality. Cattle cars full of Jews and other inferior races traveled days without food or water. When the doors opened, they found themselves in the unreal world of the concentration camp. SS doctors then inspected the "freight." Rudolf Hoess (1900-1947), commandant at Auschwitz described the procedure in the following way: I estimate that at least 2,500,000 victims were executed and exterminated [at Auschwitz] by gassing and burning, and at least another half million succumbed to starvation and disease, making a total dead of about 3,000,000. This figure represents about 70% or 80% of all persons sent to Auschwitz as prisoners, the remainder having been selected and used for slave labor in the concentration camp industries. . . . The final solution of the Jewish Question meant the complete extermination of all Jews in Europe. I was ordered to establish extermination facilities at Auschwitz in 79 June 1941. It took from three to fifteen minutes to kill people in the death chamber, depending upon climatic conditions. We knew when the people were dead because their screaming stopped. We usually waited about one-half hour before we opened the doors and removed the bodies. After the bodies were removed our special commandos took off the rings and extracted gold from the teeth of corpses. . . . The way we selected our victims was as follows. . . . Those who were fit to work were sent into the camp. Others were sent immediately to the extermination plants. Children of tender years were invariably exterminated since by reason of their youth they were unable to work. . . . We endeavored to fool the victims into thinking that they were to go through a delousing process. Of course, frequently they realized our true intentions, and we sometimes had riots and difficulties due to that fact. Very frequently women wide hide their children under clothes, but of course when we found them we would send the children in to be exterminated. Auschwitz was more than a death factory. It also provided I. G. Farben with slave laborers, both Jew and non-Jew. Workers worked at a pace at which even the healthiest of workers would have found intolerable. And because Germany now had somewhat of an unlimited labor supply, working prisoners as fast as possible would solve two problems at the same time: increased production and the extermination of inmates. Auschwitz also allowed the SS, the elite members of the master race, to shape themselves according to Nazi ideology. The SS, for instance, amused themselves with pregnant women, women who were beaten with clubs, attacked by dogs, dragged by the hair and then thrown into the crematory, still alive. The SS systematically overworked, starved and beat their inmates. They made them live in filth and sleep in over-crowded rooms. The purpose of such inhuman behavior was to rob the individual of any shred of human dignity. In this way, the SS and the Nazis could demonstrate -- to themselves, of course -- that the Jew was clearly an inferior race of people. After hours or weeks, exhausted, starving, diseased and beaten, these men and women were sent to the gas chamber. Over the course of the last 3000 years or so, the Jews have been the focus of hostility, hatred and intolerance. The Egyptians, Greeks, Romans and medieval Christians all looked upon the Jew as an outsider, as a person who did not truly belong to or in the community in which they were living. What was unique about the HOLOCAUST was the Nazi's intention to murder, without exception, every single Jew they found. Also unique was the fanaticism and cruelty with which they pursued this goal. The Holocaust was the culmination of Nazi racial ideology. Using modern technology and bureaucratic machinery, the Nazis systematically killed at least six million Jews. This figure represents nearly 65% of Europe's Jewish population. 1.5 million of these were children. Another 6-7 million non-Jews were also exterminated meaning that the Holocaust resulted in the deaths of at least 13 million innocent souls. Could man ever return to the felicific idea of progress as advocated by the 18th or 19th centuries? 80 Across occupied territories of the Third Reich there were Nazi collaborators who welcomed the fall of democracy and who still saw Hitler as the best defense against communism. But each country also produced a resistance movement that grew stronger as Nazi atrocities increased. The resistance movement rescued downed pilots, radioed military movements to London, and sabotaged German railway depots. The Danish underground managed to smuggle 8000 Jews into Sweden while the Polish resistance, estimated to number 300,000, reported on German positions and interfered with the movement of supplies. Russian partisans sabotaged railways, destroyed trucks and killed hundreds of Germans in ambush. The Yugoslav resistance army, led by Marshall Tito, was a disciplined fighting force which ultimately liberated the country from the Germans. European Jews were specifically active in the French resistance movement. But in eastern Europe, the Jewish resisters received little or no support and were usually denounced to the Nazis. The Germans responded harshly to the Jewish resistance. For example, 200 Jews were killed for every one Nazi. However, in the Spring of 1943, the surviving Jews of the Warsaw ghetto managed to fight the Germans for several weeks. Also, in 1943, and after the Allies had landed in Italy, Italian resisters managed to liberate the country from the fascists and German occupation. And on July 20, 1944, Colonel Stauffenberg planted a bomb under Hitler's table at staff conference meeting -- the bomb exploded but Hitler escaped serious injury. The Nazis responded by torturing and executing 5000 suspected anti-Nazis. Although the European resistance was proof that some people refused to accept Hitler and the Nazis, their efforts did not bring an end to the war. Japan's imperialist endeavors from the early 1930s on and including the attack on PEARL HARBOR on December 7, 1941, forced the United States to end its isolationist position and enter the war. Meanwhile, Hitler had made the same blunder as had Napoleon, by attacking Russia in winter. In February 1943, almost 300,000 soldiers died in the battle of Stalingrad and another 130,000 were taken prisoner. And in the fall of 1943, Allied forces liberated Italy. Mussolini was dismissed, and eventually shot and hung by his ankles in April 1945. Finally, on June 6, 1944 -- D-Day -- the Allies landed 2 million men on to the beach head at Normandy. By August, the Allies liberated Paris and then Brussels and Antwerp. Meanwhile, the Allies were conducting massive bombing raids on German industrial cities. The Russians drove across the Baltic states, Poland and Hungary and by February 1945, they were 100 miles from Berlin. By April, American, British and Russian troops were moving toward Berlin from all sides. On April 30, 1945, Hitler and Eva Braun committed suicide and one week later, May 7, a demoralized and near destroyed Germany surrendered unconditionally. Finally, on August 6, 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima -- 78,000 perished within fifteen minutes of the blast. Three days later, another bomb fell on Nagasaki and on August 14, Japan surrendered. The legacy of World War Two was dramatic. 50 million lost their lives, 20 million Russians alone. The war also meant a vast number of people left Europe for either England or the United States in an exodus which has come to be known as the Great 81 Sea Change. Hundreds of cities were destroyed, some of them centuries-old. Only 5% of Berlin remained intact, 70% of Dresden, Hamburg, Munich and Frankfurt were destroyed. The war also revealed the existence of two superpowers -- the United States and the Soviet Union, countries which would determine the fate of Europe and the world for the next four decades. The world now had to atomic bomb. The world also had its Satan: Hitler. Vast imperialist empires were destroyed and then there was the Holocaust. In the intellectual realm and in the world of art, the European war created a Second Lost Generation with its own philosophy: existentialism. 82 Lecture 12 The Existentialist Frame of Mind As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect. He was lying on his hard, as if it were armour-plated, back and when he lifted his head a little he could see his dome-like brown belly divided into stiff arched segments on top of which the bed quilt could hardly keep in position and was about to slide off completely. His numerous legs, which were pitifully thin compared to the rest of his bulk, waved helplessly before his eyes. Franz Kafka, The Metamorphosis (1916) In the two decades which fell between the two world wars, European intellectuals lived in a state of profound shock. It was a nightmare world -- a world projected in the fantasies of a Czech writer like FRANZ KAFKA (1883-1924). Life held little intrinsic meaning to the characters which populated Kafka's novels and short stories. Man was isolated and constantly subjected to unknown and terrifying forces -forces without direction, forces without control. In the short story, The Metamorphosis, Gregor Samsa awakes to find that he is a bug. In The Country Doctor, Kafka tells the story of a doctor who travels to visit a sick child. When the doctor arrives he discovers that the boy has become nearly consumed by maggots. And in his novel, The Trial, Kafka relates the story of man known only as Joseph K, who is awakened one night by a pounding on his door. He finds that he is under arrest. The novel ends without ever telling us why. If you were unlucky enough to have lived between 1914 and 1945, you may have had the following experience. You might have: watched the slaughter at Verdun or the Somme or the Marne or perhaps you witnessed firsthand the Bolshevik terror in Russia or observed the black-shirted and brown-shirted hysteria in Italy and Germany you may have been one of the starving workers during the Depression of 1929-1935 or perhaps your family fell victim to Stalin's purges or fought in the Spanish Civil War you might have ended up in a Nazi concentration camp or perhaps you helped destroy whole cities like Coventry or Dresden or Nagasaki Regardless of where you were at the time, you could not help but notice that the world had become one of violence and uncertainty. It was a world of terror and inhumanity such that this poor globe has never seen. It seemed to many that western civilization, long in the throes of decline, had breathed its last gasp. The values of 83 western civilization once again proved meaningless and all that seemed to matter was irrational impulse and the will to power. By the 1920s and 30s it seemed that Nietzsche's diagnosis of modern man was not that far from the truth (see Lecture 2). On the other hand, the inter-war years are full of scientific and technological wonders and excitement. Great literary, artistic and philosophical works appeared at a steady rate thus giving the age its own breed of creative energy. The chief problem as observed by those with their eyes and minds wide open was one of values. Something -- some system of values -- was necessary for modern man. Man had to believe in something. That something was an ordering principle. And this was necessary, it seemed, because the scientific temperament seemed not to satisfy man but to cause him to wander even more aimlessly. Mankind needed a new book of lessons. A teacher as well. Humanity demanded it. What had happened to produce such a yearning? Where was Reason? Where was God? The result was yet another Lost Generation. Only this time, it was a generation whose experience was different from that of the 1920s. There was that serious search for values which identified with the post-WWI generation. But the new lost generation had also witnessed the irrationality and terror of fascism, the burial of the old order and the nightmare world of alienated man. And of course, all this was colored by the increased awareness that God was dead. All this was the background and experience of a new generation of thinkers who began to call themselves existentialists. Existentialism, as an academic philosophy, was born between the world wars and is usually attributed to the work of Martin Heidegger (1899-1976) and Karl Jaspers (1883-1969). The movement, however, did not become more widely known or pronounced until after 1945 when, thanks largely to the French writer JEAN-PAUL SARTRE (1905-1980)-- the 20th century Voltaire -- its ideas came to international prominence. Sartre was a student of Heidegger. He was also a novelist, playwright, editor, essayist and philosopher. This wide range of talents -- again, one naturally thinks of Voltaire -- made of Sartre the intellectual voice of the second Lost Generation. Sartre was involved with the French resistance after 1940 and his own experience colored his attitude toward the bitter and lonely experiences people endured during the period of Nazi occupation. Sartre was joined by the Algerian-born Frenchman, ALBERT CAMUS (1913-1960) and together they supplied the leadership roles of modern existentialism. With all the gods dead and buried, with nothing to believe in, the existentialists turned to humanity itself to find new values. While they recognized the nihilistic tendencies of bourgeois civilization, they were not themselves nihilists. They maintained a faith in humanity -- a faith that led them to the belief that only man could understand and solve the problems of mankind. Existentialism drew on a number of earlier ideas and one of its enduring strengths was that it managed to absorb 84 nearly two centuries of European thought into one structure. It was a perennial philosophy. It was the ultimate Nietzcsheanism. As Sartre once wrote, "existentialism is an attempt to draw all the consequences from a consistent atheist position." According to Sartre, it had been Dostoevsky who had written that if God did not exist, then anything would be permitted. This, in a nutshell, is the starting point, not the result or aim, of existentialism. If we really understand the meaning of modern godless man's plight, we are at first reduced to nausea and despair. We all must pass through that awful sense of depression that accompanies our insight into the human condition and ourselves. Man is alone because he cannot communicate with others. He finds himself in a world in which he is utterly alien to others and to himself. The world has no purpose and no meaning. If it is true that man can only know himself by looking at others, then man stares in vain. This is the human condition. So the existentialist accepts man's anxiety and anguish, a general feeling of uneasiness, a fear or dread which is not directed toward any specific object. Anguish is the dread of the nothingness of existence. And so, we are back with Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855), our toes curled at the edge of the abyss (see Lecture 2). This is the human condition. But such a condition has also been fashioned by modern society -- a society which crushes individuality and replaces it with mass society and mass man. Modern man, mechanical man, robotic man, conformist man, confused man, alienated man. Man is little more than a cog in a grand machine which man has himself has produced. And we kneel before the great machine, yearning for liberation, only to be rewarded with imprisonment in our own minds. And the whole thing seems so damn absurd. After all, says the existentialist, I am my own existence, nothing more. But this existence is absurd. To exist as a human being is inexplicable and absurd. Each of us is simply here -- each one of us simply is. Each of us is simply thrown into the here and now. But why, asked Kierkegaard. For no reason, he replied. There is no necessary connection so my life is an absurd fact. Even the 17th century French mathematician and philosopher BLAISE PASCAL (1623-1662) recognized this contingency of man's existence. "When I consider the short duration of my life," wrote Pascal, "swallowed up in the eternity before and after, and the little space I fill, and even can see, engulfed in the infinite immensity of space of which I am ignorant, and which knows me not, I am frightened, and am astonished at being here rather than there, why now rather than then." Given this rather unpleasant scenario -- anxiety, anguish and absurdity -- is nausea man's only recourse? Should we all feel anxiety? Must we all suffer "fear and trembling unto death," as Kierkegaard put it in the 1840s? Is there a way out of nihilism? The existentialist, like Nietzsche I suppose, said yes, there is a way out of nihilism. Nihilism is not the end but the means to an end. If there is only a particle of hope, it lies within human consciousness itself. Man exists so man can react. Even in despair man always holds to the possibility of creating new values. For Albert Camus, the world is absurd. True enough. But the world could not be absurd unless man judged it to be so. So, this sense of the absurdity of life, this awareness that life is without meaning, this, for the existentialists, is the starting point of all philosophy. 85 Man is unique in the world -- his being, his existence is different from all others. As JEAN JACQUES ROUSSEAU (1712-1778) wrote in the Preface to his Confessions, "if I am not better, at least I am different." Reason does not determine existence -we do not reason ourselves to exist. Nor do we exist because of Reason. It's the other way around. Man is a conscious subject, rather than a thing to be predicted or manipulated. He exists as a conscious being not in accordance with any essence, definition or system. As Rene Descartes (1596-1650) put it, "cogito ergo sum/I think, therefore I am (exist)." Or, as the modern existentialist would have it, "existence precedes essence." Man exists and his will leads him to invent rational systems which are products of his drives, instincts, fears and hopes. Man alone can only be understood by man alone. Just the same, society is always at work trying to make man a member of a group -- of a race, a religion, a nation, a school. The human personality ought to be free and unique, not directed by outside forces or objects. This last statement deserves further comment because what we are really talking about is liberation. The idea of liberation has its own history. The 18th century philosophes wanted to liberate man from the shackles of blind faith and obedience to authority. Whether that authority emanated from the Church or State made little difference. The Romantics wanted to liberate themselves from the 18th century, by liberating both the heart and the mind. Darwin helped liberate man and his evolution from Christian dogma, thus elevating further the role of science, both natural and physical, in the modern world. Marx spoke of nothing but liberation, that is, of that future time when man will be freed from the realm of necessity to enter the realm of freedom. And Nietzsche too was by all accounts keen on liberating man from the decadent values of decaying bourgeois society. And lastly, there was Freud who, I suppose, saw the liberation of man from his unconscious mind. For the existentialist, it is in the nature of human consciousness itself to be free -- to be free to create and recreate itself at will. Defined only by our acts we are free to assign values to our actions, to give our lives meaning. Unlike countless philosophers, the existentialist does not tell us what to believe or how to act. To be directed from outside is to be guilty of bad faith. The only faith is individual -- we must be true to ourselves. We must make choices -- we need to make them with total conviction. Again, we must be true to ourselves. Is it possible for anyone to act with such conviction? Man is an ambiguous creature -- man is condemned to be free. He has to act. But there is no real or true creed to tell him how to act. When man recognizes the absurdity of the human condition, he begins to act in full understanding as a free creator of his own values. But how can we be authentic individuals? How can we be true to ourselves? Is such a thing even possible? For Sartre, we should reject intellectualism, we should reject all metaphysical speculation, including philosophy itself. We must pass through a crisis whereby we see that there is no God, no meaning to be ascribed to the universe, nothing or no one to help us. We must pass through nausea and despair. Then, and only then, will we come to realize the uniqueness and wonder of man the creator of values. "This world is without importance, and whoever recognizes this fact wins his freedom," remarks one of Camus' characters. When we realize that with each choice and act we not only make ourselves but give the universe what value it has, we have discovered 86 the dignity inherent in mankind. We must be committed -- idle opinion or belief is nothing. So liberation then, is commitment to action. Like Nietzsche, as for the existentialists, we must seek but not possess. Existentialism is wholly subjective -- that is, it begins and ends with the subject: man. In the 1780s, Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) had focused all his attention on the subject only in his case the subject was not man but the human mind. He was less interested in the objects of our knowledge -- the phenomenal world -- than he was with the faculties of the human mind. Kant said that the mind is rational, it is endowed with Reason. Within the mind there are the categories of judgment, cause and effect, time and space and so on. In other words, the Rational mind projects reason on the phenomenal world. The existentialist is not satisfied with Kant's manner of thinking. Existence is not rational -- it is absurd. The best we can say is that it simply is. The philosophers have invented Reason as a shield against fear or to rationalize their most irrational desires. As William Butler Yeats (1865-1939) once wrote, "We cannot know the truth but/we can live it." The history of existentialism -- understood as the philosophy of existence -- has something of a history. Nietzsche certainly had a lot to say about the human condition. So too did Dostoevsky and Freud. And perhaps they all learned a thing or two from Søren Kierkegaard. And then there was Pascal, the French cleric and thinker who, in the age of Newton and Descartes, was brave enough to point to man's place the universe: what is man in nature? A nothing in comparison with the infinite, and absolute in comparison with nothing, a central point between nothing and all. . . . All things emerge from nothing and are borne onwards to infinity. Who can follow this marvelous process? The Author of these wonders understands them. None but He can. So what are we left with? What is the human condition? What is man's place in the universe. Shall man forever be plagued by absurdity and lack of meaning? Is existence little more than a cruel trick? 87 Lecture 13 George Orwell and The Last Man in Europe Utopian ideas and fantasies, like all ideas and fantasies, grow out of the society in which they are a response. neither the ancient world nor the modern world is an unchanging entity, and any analysis of Utopian thinking which neglects social changes in the course of history of either antiquity or modern times is likely at some point to go badly wrong. (M. I. Finley, "Utopianism Ancient and Modern") I have no more faith than a grain of mustard seed in the future of "civilization," which I know now is doomed to destruction, and probably before every long: what a joy it is to think of and how often it consoles me to think of barbarism once more flooding the world, and real feelings and passions, however rudimentary, taking the place of our wretched. . . . I used really to despair because I thought what the idiots of our day call progress would go on perfecting itself: happily I know that all will have a sudden check. . . . (William Morris, letter to Georgiana Burne-Jones, May 12, 1885) We are living in a world in which nobody is free, in which hardly anybody is secure, in which it is almost impossible to be honest and to remain free. (George Orwell, The Road to Wigan Pier, 1937) The decline of utopia and the rise of its nightmare cousin is parallel to the history of this surrealist century, which is at once the partial fulfillment of nineteenth-century dreams and their negation. (Chad Walsh, From Utopia to Nightmare, 1962) We live in the midst of a historical crisis in which our choices are between utopia and the end of civilization, in which we are presented with the existential paradox of a necessary utopia. (Michael Young, "A History of the Future," 1984) This place no good. (D. H. Lawrence's last written words) As a literary device and as a literary genre, utopian fiction occupies a strange yet undeniably important position in the history of western literature. For in a utopia the author manages to combine fact, fiction, fantasy and science fiction. Indeed, within the confines of a utopia, anything goes. An author presents a clear vision of what sort of society he wishes to see develop in the future. What he changes in that vision is a product of both his experience and the imagination which that experience has helped to produce. In 1979, Frank and Fritzie Manuel published Utopian Thought in the Western World, a massive work which more or less summed up their life's work. In the Preface to that work they have this to say of utopia: Every utopia, rooted as it is in time and place, is bound to reproduce the stage scenery of its particular world as well as its preoccupations with contemporary social problems. Here analogies to the dream and the psychotic fantasy may be telling. Observers of paranoid behavior report that though the disease remains 88 relatively constant, the mysterious, all-seeing forces that watch and persecute their patients change with time and technology. They may be spirits, telephones, radios or television sets in successive periods. Utopias are not an illness; but to a larger degree they avail themselves of the existing equipment of a society, perhaps its most advanced models, prettified and rearranged. Often a utopian foresees the later evolution and consequences of technological development already present in an embryonic state; he may have antenna sensitive to the future. His gadgets, however, rarely go beyond the mechanical potentialities of his age. Try as he may to invent something wholly new, he cannot make a world out of nothing. Having established that utopias are, more or less, products of the age in which they appear, we must ask ourselves why utopias are written in the first place. Why would an author write a utopian novel? What conditions must exist for him to even contemplate the idea? In general, utopian novels or better yet, a utopian frame of mind, or method of analysis, only appears as a result of bad times. Think about it. If everything were as one wanted, why would there be a need to produce an account that could improve upon it? Is it possible to perfect, perfection? An experience of bad times produces visions of the future in which the evils of society have been eliminated, replaced or transcended, usually for the benefit of all humanity. So it has been in the past -- so it was with the English statesman, THOMAS MORE (1478-1535). In 1516, More completed his most important work called simply, Utopia. Composed in Latin and subsequently printed in English in 1556, More portrayed both an England he came to distrust, and an island called Utopia where all those social evils More had identified in England had been transcended. More observed an England in which wealth and personal gain had come to mean more than Christian devotion or charity. In Utopia, he writes: Is not this an unjust and an unkind public weal, which giveth great fees and rewards to gentlemen, as they call them, and to goldsmiths, and to such other, which be either idle persons, or else only flatterers, and devisers of vain pleasures; and of the poor ploughmen, colliers, laborers, carters, ironsmiths, and carpenters: without whom no commonwealth can continue? But after it hath abused the labours of their lusty and flowering age, at the last when they be oppressed with old age and sickness, being needy, poor, and indigent of all things, then forgetting their so many painful watchings, not remembering their so many and so great benefits, recompenseth and acquitteth them most unkindly with miserable death. And yet besides this the rich men not only be private fraud, but also by common laws, do every day pluck and snatch away from the poor some part of their daily living. So whereas it seemed before unjust to recompense with unkindness their pains that have been beneficial to the public weal, now they have to this their wrong and unjust dealing given the name of justice, yea, and that by force of law. Therefore when I consider and weigh in my mind all these commonwealths, which nowadays anywhere do flourish, so God help me, I can perceive nothing but a certain conspiracy of rich men procuring their own commodities under the name and title of the commonwealth. It was Sir Thomas More who thrust the words utopia and utopian into the canon of modern language. The word utopia, in More's hands, is actually a play on words. In Greek, the word topos means "place." But the prefix ou or eu, rendered in modern 89 English as "u" has a double meaning: ou means "no" while eu means "good." In other words, utopia meant a "good place": it embodied a vision of the world with all its social evils removed. But as fiction -- although More's book was based partly on information obtained by Amerigo Vespucci (1451-1512) -- utopia has also come to mean "no place" or simply "nowhere." A little less than 400 years after More penned Utopia, English and American authors were struggling with their own vision of a perfect republic. In 1891, the English socialist and designer, William Morris (1834-1896), produced his best known work of fiction, aptly titled, News From Nowhere. In Morris's mind, the society of the future will have no need for government. The Houses of Parliament are no longer the seat of government but a repository for human excrement. Almost twenty years earlier, the English author and painter, Samuel Butler (1835-1902), wrote Erewhon, a satire in which conventional practices and customs are all reversed. Crime is treated as an illness and illness as a crime. And then there was the American Edward Bellamy (1850-1898), whose novel Looking Backward of 1888, took the now classic utopian format of a man who goes to sleep and wakes up 100 years in the future. And what account of late 19th century utopian literature could fail to mention H. G. Well's (1866-1946) classic, The Time Machine? And if we are looking for yet one more precedent, in 1623, an Italian philosopher by the name of Tommaso Campanella (1568-1639), a heretic who was confined for 27 years in Naples, and who later fell victim to the rack for seven years, published his utopian fantasy Civitas Solis (The City of the Sun). Morris, Campanella, More, Bellamy, and Wells are just a few representatives of the utopian mentality in western thought. But the first utopia was perhaps written by Plato, the student of Socrates and teacher of Aristotle. Plato's Republic stands forever regarded as the first utopia in history. Although the dialogue is really concerned with the education or culture required to produce the perfect society, there is enough of utopianism within it to allow it to qualify as representative of the utopian frame of mind. All of these utopias share one thing in common -- they were written at times when society seemed to be crumbling. Plato, for instance, wrote at a time when Greek direct democracy had become all but obsolete. The Classical Age of Greece had come to an end, an age which began with a war and ended with yet another war. Athens was no longer the center of Hellenic civilization, having been defeated by the Spartans. Educated Greeks began to doubt that virtue alone would lead to the good life. For how could one seek virtue in the demos when no one knew what virtue really was? In addition, how could one praise the Athenian city-state and its direct democracy, when it was that direct democracy which had condemned Socrates -- the most virtuous Athenian -- to death? And Sir Thomas More, the victim of psychological tensions in his personal life, and political tensions in his public life, could no longer reconcile the two. Reconciliation was attempted in his book, Utopia, but its ultimate fruition perhaps came with his trial and beheading at the hands and executioner of his good friend, King Henry VIII. Or Campanella, a victimized heretic, confined to a life of physical and psychological torture -- it's no wonder at all that he wrote a utopia full of illumination. After all, he spent 27 years in prison. And Morris, Bellamy and Butler -- all writing their utopian fantasies at a time when crass materialism and the cash nexus seemed to subdue and dominate mankind. For the English writers Morris and Butler, the problems they identified in English society centered on the failure of Victorian culture to combat the materialism which 90 that culture had produced and sustained. A liberal political economy of laissez faire had not delivered on its promise completely. True, the wealth of the nation had substantially increased but a great part of the population, the "great unwashed," as they were referred to, still lived in appalling social conditions. For Bellamy, the situation was a bit different. He discovered that the great dream of the American republic had also not delivered on its promise of slow but steady improvement. More than one hundred years after the founding of the republic, materialism, the cash nexus, deceit and corruption had become the centerpiece of a society supposedly built upon the twin pillars of civic duty and republican virtue. The experience of all these writers shaped their utopian fantasies and visions. Illusory or not, they held on to the promise of a better world. So they postulated worlds with strong governments, or worlds without governments at all. There were utopias in which wealth was equalized as there were utopias in which wealth was abolished outright. And there were utopian worlds with God as the mediator as much as there were utopias within which there was little room for God or gods of any kind. The utopian wrote romances -- I think this is the best word to describe them. Their experience shaped their predispositions and their aspirations. It appears that these utopias were produced at a time -- within an experience -- in which society seemed to be losing ground rather than moving ahead toward some higher goal. For Plato, it was an awareness that the virtues which had made the Athenian city state great, could no longer sustain that city state. For Thomas More, it was the fact that because the wealthy were only interested in increasing their wealth, the common lot of mankind were doomed to subservience and suffering. And for William Morris, it was industrial capitalism, the great degrader of mankind, which had stripped away man's dignity. Art, thought and creativity were sacrificed to make way for the middle classes and all they represented. But in the twentieth century, a new literary device and technique was developed -- a device born not only of apparent advancement, but also the clear experience of disillusionment, bitterness, fear, terror, depression and dejection. The world appeared as a broken watch. Observed from a distance, all looked well. But hold the watch to the ear, and one heard nothing. In 1932, the English author Aldous Huxley (1894-1963) gave us his vision of the world in his novel Brave New World. Only this time, the vision was not utopian but anti-utopian or, for lack of a better expression, dystopian. Huxley warned his readers of moral anarchy in a scientific age, an age identified by the letters, "A.F," After Ford. This is, of course, deliberate on Huxley's part -- the machine technology of Henry Ford's (1863-1947) perfected assembly line had not only produced the marvels of mechanized production but the mechanized man and woman of the twentieth century. He depicts a gray, repulsive utopia -- a dystopia -- in which Platonic harmony is forcibly introduced by the scientific breeding and conditioning of a society of human robots, for whom happiness is synonymous with subordination. The fate of us moderns is painfully apparent in Huxley's hands -- we are nameless and fearless numbers (176-45-9925). The bureaucratic impulses of the twentieth century have solved the problems of individualized anomie. We are all in this together. But who are we but a number on the tally sheet? 91 The Czech writer Karel Capek (1890-1938) provided his own dystopia ten years earlier than Huxley in his enormously popular play, R.U.R., which was first performed in a New York theatre in 1921. R.U.R. was the twentieth century version of Mary Shelley's (1797-1851) early nineteenth century novel, Frankenstein. In Capek's hands, however, the backdrop is not the factory of the early nineteenth century, but the business offices of Rossum's Universal Robots -- and we do not meet factory owners and workers but businessmen and robots. Indeed, it was from Capek's play R.U.R. that the word robot entered the English language for the first time -- a word made even more expressive by the American science fiction writer, Isaac Asimov, in his collection of wonderful short stories, I Robot. One character in R.U.R., observed that: in 10 years Rossum's Universal Robots will produce so much corn, so much cloth, so much everything, that things will be practically without price. There will be no poverty. All work will be done by living machines. Everybody will be free from worry and liberated from the degradation of labor. Everybody will live only to perfect himself. Well there you have it. A Christian-Marxist-socialist-collectivist-communist utopian dream made into reality. Man is freed from Original Sin -- he is freed from irksome labor, and he is given freedom from the realm of necessity to pursue his own goals of creativity and perfection. As a bonus -- all this is to be attained by man, for man, on this earth, not in some Augustinian city of God. Of course, the moral is as clear as the eventual outcome -- when men become gods and control their own destiny, their creations turn to destroy them. This is the fate of those who created Rossum's Universal Robots. To this now bleak portrait, we can easily add Modern Times, Charlie Chaplin's (1899-1977) film of 1936. In the guise of parody, satire and slap-stick, Chaplin portrays a machine civilization gone literally crazy with speed and efficiency. Subtitled, "A Story of Industry," the film opens with a clock which fills the screen. This image is followed by a herd of rushing cattle. The connection is complete: time and speed are the watchwords of modern times. Although "Modern Times" was the last feature length silent film to be made in the United States, we do hear the spoken word, however, human voices appear hostile to life itself, they are inhuman. Words are commands for greater industrial efficiency at the expense of the worker's mental and physical health. The first words to be heard in the film come from the owner of the "Electro Steel Company" who appears on a video screen and orders a "speed...up" of the assembly line. His second utterance, not unlike the first, simply commands, "Section Five, More Speed, Four, Seven." Later in the film, he orders the man in charge of the assembly line speeds to "Give her the limit!" The tramp, played by Chaplin, now suffering from the advanced stages of Forditis, is overcome by the speed of the line upon which he tightens the nuts of widgets and goes wild. This much having been said, there is something of a tradition now, of both utopian and dystopian writing. The entire tradition of the dystopia, a tradition pretty much born in the 1920s and 30s -- which hopefully tells you something -- found its most eloquent spokesman in the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell (19031950). As a dystopia, Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four stands as a monument to both hysteria and calm introspection, that is, if such a thing can be imagined. The novel embodies both myth and reality and I am quite sure that it will remain as standard fare in all 20th century literature courses for a good while. 92 GEORGE ORWELL was born Eric Arthur Blair, on June 25th, 1903, in an Indian town some twenty-five miles from the border of Nepal. According to his own account in The Road to Wigan Pier (1937), he was born into the lower-upper-middle class, a fact he recorded quite deliberately. Orwell was a paradox, an ambiguous man who claimed to be a socialist while at the same time he produced one of the most ruthless critiques of contemporary socialists. In The Road to Wigan Pier, Orwell remarks that: One sometimes gets the impression that the mere words socialism and communism draw towards them with magnetic force every fruit-juice drinker, nudist, sandalwearer, sex-maniac, Quaker, Nature-cure quack, pacifist and feminist in England. . . . We have reached a stage when the very word socialism calls up, on the one hand, a picture of airplanes, tractors and huge glittering factories of glass and concrete; on the other, a picture of vegetarians with wilting beards, of Bolshevik commissars (half gangster, half gramophone), or earnest ladies in sandals, shock-headed Marxists chewing polysyllables, escaped Quakers, birth control fanatics, and Labour Party backstairs-crawlers. If only the sandals and pistachio-colored shirts could be put in a pile and burnt, and every vegetarian, teetotaler and creeping Jesus sent home to Welwyn Garden City to do his yoga exercises quietly. As with the Christian religion, the worst advertisement for Socialism is its adherents. Orwell's own brand of socialism was not Marxist, or Leninist, nor was it philosophical or even economic. Socialism, for Orwell, meant decency and social justice. The class system of social distinctions ought not to be destroyed -- rather, all men and women should become even more aware of their class and their relationships with other classes. "All that is needed," wrote Orwell, "is to hammer two facts home into the public consciousness. One, that the interests of all exploited people are the same and the other, that socialism is compatible with common decency." Orwell's most important book, at least it is the one at the front of our minds, is Nineteen Eighty-Four, although Orwell's personal favorite was Animal Farm (1945). Published in 1949, Nineteen Eighty-Four has given us the common images and vocabulary of Big Brother, doublethink and Newspeak. It is also now possible to speak of something being Orwellian. Nineteen Eighty-Four also gave us a model of totalitarian society -- a vision of power, control and authority used in the name of social harmony. We must ask ourselves whether Nineteen Eighty-Four is myth or reality? That is, was Orwell describing something which he saw in his own lifetime, or, was he projecting a warning of things to come? In the year 1984, the press ran wild with updates and stories about Orwell. His picture appeared on the cover of Time Magazine as well as academic journals. How much of what Orwell had written about had become a reality? Was Orwell right? It seems that the entire literate world 93 waited thirty-five years for 1984 to roll around just to see. Numerous popular and academic treatments of Orwell were published in the years leading up to 1984. At the end of 1948, the book publisher Frederic Warburg received a manuscript of George Orwell's last novel. That novel was Nineteen Eighty-Four. Warburg summed up his impressions of the novel with the following words: "This is amongst the most terrifying books I have ever read." This view has been echoed by many critics and students for the past five decades. Orwell's bleak portrayal of a totalitarian regime was a major factor in the novel's now classic status. In 1949, it sold 400,000 copies and by 1984, it had sold over eleven million. Nineteen Eighty-Four is still read to this day by high school and college students alike. In fact, paperback sales of Nineteen Eighty-Four today average about 65,000 copies monthly and the book is in its 70th printing. Orwell drafted his earliest notes for what became NINETEEN EIGHTY-FOUR in 1943, under the proposed title of "The Last Man in Europe." What he had in mind was a book in two parts. Already established as early as 1943 was the notion of the "Two Minutes' Hate," and a future society based on organized and systematic lying and deception. Throughout the 1940s, Orwell was haunted by a recurrent fear that history was vulnerable to alteration for political ends. History, in other words, will be rewritten by those who are in power. And so, Winston Smith, the main character of Nineteen Eighty-Four, works in the Ministry of Information where his job is to correct history by rewriting it. By the Spring of 1944, Orwell had reviewed two books that both defended and attacked laissez-faire capitalism. Those two books were Friedrich Hayek's The Road to Serfdom and The Mirror of the Past by K. Zilliacus. Of both books, Orwell wrote: "Capitalism leads to dole queues, the scramble for markets, and war. Collectivism leads to concentration camps, leader worship and war." The only way out, according to Orwell, was a depressing compromise in which "a planned economy can be somehow combined with the freedom of the intellect, which can only happen if the concept of right and wrong is restored to politics." There is no sign of this compromise in Nineteen Eighty-Four. Orwell depicts a clearly repressive society. "By bringing the whole life under the control of the State," Orwell wrote in 1944, "Socialism necessarily gives power to an inner ring of bureaucrats, who in almost every case will be men who want power for its own sake and will stop at nothing in order to retain it." This inner ring of bureaucrats, of course, became the Inner Party of Nineteen Eighty-Four. Orwell's vision of repression and the even stronger image of Big Brother was clear in Orwell's mind as early as 1944. After all, the great purge trials of the 1930s were now part of history, a history Orwell knew quite well as a journalist. "Out in the street," he wrote, "the loudspeakers bellow, the flags flutter from the rooftops, the police with their tommy-guns prowl to and fro, the face of the Leader, four feet wide, glares from every point." Image all those huge paintings of Stalin and Hitler that seemed to adorn every street corner of Germany and the Soviet Union, and you'll know where Orwell obtained his imagery (on Stalin and Hitler, see Lecture 10). 94 Orwell's bleak vision of totalitarian society came not only from his awareness of actual regimes in Italy, Spain, Germany and the Soviet Union, but also from his reading of James Burnham's book of 1946, The Managerial Revolution. Burnham presented a future in which technocratic managers and experts would take over from politicians and politics would become nothing more than a struggle for power. The struggle would take place between three continents -- Europe, Asia and America. In 1944, however, Orwell had already envisioned a world of "two or three superstates which are unable to conquer one another, in which two and two could become five if der Führer wished it." And in 1947, Orwell wrote an article for the American journal Partisan Review in which he clearly presented his honest fears for the future. In this article, "Toward European Unity," Orwell wrote: The fear inspired by the atomic bomb and other weapons yet to come will be so great that everyone will refrain from using them. . . . It would mean the division of the world among 2 or 3 vast superstates, unable to be overthrown by any internal rebellion. In all probability their structure would be hierarchic, with a semi-divine caste at the top and outright slavery at the bottom, and the crushing out of liberty would exceed anything the world has yet seen. Within each state the necessary psychological atmosphere would be kept up by a complete severance from the outside world, and by a continuous phony war against rival states. Civilizations of this type might remain stable for 1000s of years. Orwell resumed work on Nineteen Eighty-Four in 1947 with his personal experience of totalitarian regimes and Burnham's book in his mind. But his world view was also shaped by a novel written by the Russian author, Yevgeny Zamyatin (1884-1937). The novel We (written 1920/21, published in Russian in 1952) was set in the 26th century in an urban, totalitarian society. Orwell read the novel with enthusiasm and pronounced it superior to Huxley's Brave New World. Zamyatin had shown the irrational side of totalitarianism. Human sacrifice and cruelty were ends in themselves and the Leader is given divine attributes. In Zamyatin's hands, the leader is now called The Benefactor. Orwell's theoretical concerns about the likely shape of the future could be considered a form of political satire. But Nineteen Eighty-Four did not merely prophesize the kind of totalitarian society that Orwell believed would arrive. Instead, Orwell was sending out a warning against something he believed could arrive, "even in Britain, if not fought against." Orwell dated his book in 1984 -- it is a point in the future. He may have been trying to tell his readers strive to avoid this! But what the reader experiences -- both then and now -- is that this society has already arrived. Although Nineteen Eighty-Four is derived from the novels of Huxley and Zamyatin, perhaps even the novels of H. G. Wells and what he knew of actual events in Spain, Italy, Germany and Russia, Orwell also drew his stage settings from what he observed firsthand in post-war England. Much of Nineteen Eighty-Four is set in a gray, gritty, depressing London of shortages, queues, inconveniences, ruined buildings and occasional bombings. Many of the specifics of the novel relate to the years 1941-1943, when Orwell was employed by the BBC. For example, the images of the canteen at the Ministry of Truth, where Winston Smith is employed, are drawn directly from the BBC canteen. The Ministry of Truth itself -- 1000 feet high, is an exaggerated version of the wartime British Ministry of Information. Even the fictional Big Brother may have been drawn from the head of the Ministry of Information, Brendan Bracken, who was known to his employees as B.B. 95 Much of the bleak quality of Nineteen Eighty-Four has also been attributed to Orwells's poor health. He outlived the publication of the novel by a mere seven months, having died of tuberculosis in 1950. And between 1939 and 1946, Orwell suffered the experience of standing by as several members of his family died. His father died of cancer in 1939. His mother died in 1943, his sister Marjorie in 1946 and his first wife Eileen in 1945. All these circumstances no doubt added to the gloom and despair usually associated with Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four. The world of Airstrip One -- England -- is a world of poor food, dingy apartments and two way television screens. It is a claustrophobic world and this is made even more apparent because the novel is written from the standpoint of one man, Winston Smith. The reader must experience the world through his eyes, and his eyes alone. The only variation is a short part titled "The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism" by Emmanuel Goldstein, the Trotsky-like figure who is daily the object of the two Minutes' Hate. Orwell also included an Appendix to the novel, "The Principles of Newspeak." This section gives a detailed explanation of Winston Smith's work at the Ministry of Truth. The Inner Party wants to suppress all dissent -- labeled "thought crime" -- by eliminating all words from the language that could express dissent. Think about it -if you were to suppress dissent by modifying the language, what words might you eliminate? For O'Brien, a member of the Inner Party, "it is intolerable to us that an erroneous thought should exist anywhere in the world, however secret and powerless it may be." In Nineteen Eighty-Four, the proles make up about 85% of the total population. They live in poverty and ignorance and are considered harmless by the Inner Party and the Thought Police. Still, the proles retained the decent human values of friendship and family that the Party had done its best to eliminate in its own members. And Winston Smith confides in his diary, "if there is any hope, it lies with the proles." In Orwell's eyes, the proles constitute not just a force, but a natural force, capable of overwhelming the Party by virtue of their own humanity. Neither proles nor Winston's search for his own past provides an escape since "nothing was your own except the few cubic centimeters inside your skull." If you ever do manage to read Nineteen Eighty-Four, you will come away from the novel saddened, angry and perhaps even full of doom for the generation that had to live through the totalitarian regimes of the 1930s and 40s. You will have felt the full emotional impact of Orwell's mind as well. Dystopias are powerful weapons, even more so than the vast number of utopian novels that came before them. Utopias hold out for a vision of the future -- a vision of how society ought to be. As a novel about how things are, Nineteen Eighty-Four ought not to be considered a clever bit of prophecy on Orwell's part. Better to leave that to a writer like H. G. Wells. Rather, I think we have to see Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four as a description of what he saw around him in post-war England. Again, the images of the novel and the two film versions are those of a post-war London. They are constant reminders of what England needed to avoid, and on a broader scale, of what we all need to avoid. It is clear that Orwell's mind and his dystopia were products not necessarily of his imagination but more importantly of his own experience. For how else should it be? As England emerged from World War Two and as the Labour Party came to power, the State began to intervene more forcibly into the lives of the citizen. And so, 96 following World War Two, England began to build that vast government-subsidized entity known as the Welfare State. No one was immune from paying the costs of that Welfare State. Individualism and collectivism were joined together as the "middle road." Orwell had seen what this union had accomplished in Italy, Germany, Spain and the Soviet Union. Could England be far behind? 97 Lecture 14 The Origins of the Cold War There are now two great nations in the world, which starting from different points, seem to be advancing toward the same goal: the Russians and the Anglo-Americans. . . . Each seems called by some secret design of Providence one day to hold in its hands the destinies of half the world. Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America (1835) THEY made it, of course; they drew the iron curtain across the middle of Europe, partly to stop us looking in, partly to stop their own poor wretches looking out enviously at the boundless goods and comforts on our side. Behind the iron curtain were the hapless peoples held captive by the grim-faced Russians and their stooges in office in the satellites; in front of it were ourselves, expressing sympathy for the captives but apologetically remaining very thoroughly armed, in however subdued a way. Fred Inglis, The Cruel Peace: Everyday Life and the Cold War (1991) The origins of the cold war are not really that difficult to uncover. Nor are these origins that complex. Here in the west we have the tendency -- not unusual, I suppose -- to place the entire responsibility of the cold war upon the shoulders of the Soviet Union. And so, there have been a few events which have shaped this response. For instance, when Mother Russia overthrew its tsar, made a revolution, became the Soviet Union, unified itself under Lenin and created an ideological structure called communism, the United States could only react with fear and trepidation. The government could not accept the simple fact that a country could exist with economic and political principles so critically opposed to democracy and industrial capitalism. By 1919 or 1920, the Red Scare had become an American reality. Through the manipulation of public opinion and repression and even physical force, anarchists, socialists and communists were clearly forced into retreat. Socialism or communism in the United States is simply an impossibility -- it is too European for American tastes. It always has been and perhaps always will be. True, there have been socialists and communists in this country well before 1917. And they exist today as well, but only as small pockets of supporters from whom we basically never hear a word. Americans fear revolution. Americans fear change -- real, fundamental social, economic and political change. And what really terrifies Americans are immigrants who desire change through revolution. Again, it's too European. This is an attitude which does have a history and I think if you study the atmosphere of the United States in the late 1840s and 50s you will discover why. In 1848, most European governments were under assault from the left. And when many of these individuals came to this country to escape political repression, they brought their ideas of revolution -- red ideas -- with them. 98 The French Revolution -- or something on the scale of the French Revolution -could never have taken place in this country. Radicalism, true liberalism, a revolutionary frame of mind, is an impossibility on American soil. Review the last two centuries of American dissent or radicalism. You will soon notice that it is a history full of examples in which independent thought or direct criticism is most often met with the club or the stick. Meaningful dissent in the United States is an impotent force. Whether that dissent is homegrown or imported from abroad, the results have almost always been the same. So when we speak of dissent in this country today, it is perhaps better to speak of permissible dissent rather than true dissent. When we turn to the more immediate and tangible causes of the cold war, we must begin with World War Two itself. On July 25, 1945, two months after Germany had surrendered, the Big Three -- Winston Churchill, Joseph Stalin and Harry Truman -met at POTSDAM in order to discuss the fate of Germany. By 1945, Stalin was the veteran revolutionary, a man who had held the reins of Soviet power and authority for nearly twenty years. Truman, on the other hand, had been President barely three months. The crucial issue at Potsdam, as it had been at Versailles in 1918 and 1919, was reparations. The Soviet Union, as to be expected, wanted to rebuild their neardestroyed economy using German industry. The United States feared it would have to pay the whole cost of rebuilding Germany, which in turn would help rebuild the Soviet Union. So, after all the discussions had ended, a compromise was reached and Germany was to be partitioned into four occupied zones. Britain, France and the United States would occupy parts of western Germany while the Soviet Union would occupy east Germany. The main issue at Potsdam and for the next two years was who would control Europe. Britain had its chance, so too did France and Germany. Was it now Russia's turn? Or perhaps the United States? Few people ever questioned why Europe needed to be controlled in the first place but in the end, everyone wanted to avoid yet another war. Russia wanted Poland. Everybody wanted Poland. But especially Russia. Historically, Poland had always been the key state needed from which to launch an attack against Russia. The United States upheld the principles of selfdetermination, principles declared in Woodrow Wilson's FOURTEEN POINT PLAN. For Wilson, nations should have the right to choose their own form of government. Of course, Wilson really meant was America's destiny to make "the world safe for democracy". The Soviets viewed this demand as unacceptable for it indicated that the United States was really taking too heavy a hand in determining what nations ought to adopt what specific form of government. In response, Stalin went on to create what Winston Churchill, never at a loss for words, dubbed the IRON CURTAIN. For Churchill: from Stettin on the Baltic to Trieste on the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of central and eastern Europe -- Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest and Sofia. From what I have seen of our Russian friends and allies during the war I am convinced that there is nothing they admire so much as strength and nothing for which they have less respect than military weakness. 99 By 1946, the United States and Britain were making every effort to unify all of Germany under western rule. The Soviet Union responded by consolidating its grip on Europe by creating satellite states in 1946 and 1947. One by one, communist governments, loyal to Moscow, were set up in Poland, Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria. Stalin used Soviet communism to dominate half of Europe. Why Stalin did this might not be clear. Was he trying to build an international communist movement beginning in eastern Europe? Or, was he simply trying to protect his borders from any intervention on the part of the United States or the allies? The climax came in March 1948. A communist coup in Czechoslovakia overthrew a democratic government and the Soviet Union gained a foothold in central Europe. Given the experience of World War Two itself, this division of Europe was perhaps inevitable. Both sides wanted their values and economic and political systems to prevail in areas which their soldiers had helped to liberate. If both sides had accepted these new spheres of influence, a cold war might never have occurred. But the nations of western Europe and the United States still had Hitler on their minds and they soon began to see Stalin as a similar threat. With World War Two at an end by the end of the summer of 1945, the United States knew that the Soviet economy was in a state of near-collapse. The Soviet Union had lost at least 20 million souls during the war alone and perhaps another 20-30 million from Stalin's decade of purge trials. Thirty thousand factories and forty thousand miles of railroad tracks had been destroyed. All the industrialization that Stalin had promised and delivered to his people with the Five Year Plans had been lost. Truman realized this and remained confident that the United States was in the stronger bargaining position. He surmised that the Soviets had to come to the United States for much-needed economic aid. As early as January 1945, FDR had already denied the Soviet request for a six billion dollar loan. Lend-Lease proved no more effective. In the Spring of 1945, Congress agreed that they would not allow LendLease for any post-war reconstruction in Russia. This was obviously a major shift in policy for under the Lend-Lease Act of 1941, the United States had shipped enormous quantities of war materiel to the Soviets, including almost 15,000 planes, 7000 tanks, 52,000 jeeps and almost 400,000 trucks. Overshadowing all these initial cold war issues of 1945 was the atomic bomb. The new weapon used at Hiroshima and Nagasaki in early August presented a whole new category of problems. Even friendly nations would have had difficulty resolving their problems -- given the state of American and Soviet affairs in 1945, the situation was positively explosive. The early history of the bomb is interesting. One would have thought that the Germans, with their V1 and V2 rockets, were far in advance of any developments by the Allies. But thanks to Hitler and the Nazis, from the early 1930s onward, there was a steady exodus of Germany's greatest scientific minds. They came to Cambridge in England or to the United States. Albert Einstein (18791955), Max Planck (1858-1947), Werner Heisenberg (1901-1976) had all pioneered the new physics upon which nuclear fission rested. The Hungarian Leo Szilard (1898-1964) and Danish scientist Niels Bohr (1885-1962) had worked on uranium fission in Germany before the war, but they left as well. In August 1939, Einstein wrote a letter to FDR urging him of the necessity to start work on a new superweapon before the Germans had developed one themselves. The Cavendish Laboratory at Cambridge became the most important British research center. It was at Cavendish that Ernest Rutherford (1871-1937) first 100 achieved atomic disintegration in 1919 and where James Chadwick (1891-1974) identified the neutron in 1932. The first chain reaction uranium fission was achieved at the University of Chicago in 1942. A huge nuclear plant built at Oak Ridge, Tennessee, produced fissionable material in large quantities. Under the direction of J. Robert Oppenheimer (1904-1967)), the actual weapons development took place at Los Alamos in New Mexico. During World War Two, Roosevelt and Churchill followed a policy that would ensure a nuclear arms race at war's end. Still, Stalin found out about the Manhattan Project and by 1943 had already begun development of a Soviet bomb. After the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagaski and the subsequent surrender of Japan, the United States developed a disarmament plan based on turning over all fissionable materials, plants and bombs to an international regulatory agency. The Soviets responded quickly with their own plan which stipulated nothing less than a total ban on the production of all fissionable material. They further added that all existing bombs would be destroyed. Wishing to preserve its monopoly on nuclear weapons, the United States continued to stress regulation and inspection by an independent agency. But the Soviets, in the hopes of neutralizing any United States advantage, insisted on immediate disarmament. Eventually an agreement was reached and the two sides agreed to disagree. Another cause of the cold war revolved around a relatively new development in United States-Soviet relations. At the beginning of 1946, Truman decided that he was "tired of babysitting the Soviets who understand only an iron fist and strong language." Stalin responded in February with a speech stressing the basic incompatibility between Soviet communism and western democracy, thus inaugurating a new hard line policy. Frustrated, Washington found meaning in a crucial document known as the "Long Telegram." In 1946, the Soviet expert George Kennan, sent an 8000 word telegram to Washington from Moscow. Kennan was a foreign service officer who new Russia well. He understood their history, their culture and their language. Kennan explained the communist mentality in the following way. The Soviet's hostility to the west is rooted in the need to legitimize their bloody dictatorship -- they must therefore believe in the inevitable triumph of communism over the beast capitalism. The Soviets, Kennan continued, would exploit every opportunity to extend their system and therefore could not and would not be converted to a policy of harmony and cooperation. According to Kennan, Russia's policy was: to undermine the general and strategic potential of major western powers by a host of subversive measures to destroy individual governments that might stand in the Soviet path, to do everything possible to set the major Western powers against each other. But since the Soviets believed that they had history on their side -- history as understood by Marx's materialist conception of history -- the communists were in no hurry and would not risk major war. Met with firmness, Kennan went on, the Soviets will back off. Eventually published as "THE SOURCES OF SOVIET CONFLICT," in the journal Foreign Affairs and signed by "X," Kennan's observations quickly gave Washington its own hard line and for the next three decades or so American foreign policy could be expressed by one word: containment. In order to quiet Soviet ambitions, the United States now had to embark on a path of intervention, under the guise of containment. 101 There were two other administrative policies that also helped to shape the future of US-Soviet relations during the early stages of the cold war. Most western European Communist parties were at a peak in the years immediately following World War Two. The French Communist Party, for instance, won almost 30% of the vote in November 1946 elections. In Greece, Communist led guerrillas supplied from Yugoslavia, Bulgaria and Albania, posed a threat to the uninspired government of Greece. The Greek communists attempted to seize power in late 1944, when their tactics of mass slaughter turned off a majority of Greeks. But the communists fought back, aided by Tito, not Stalin. Civil war eventually broke out in Greece in 1946 amid economic crisis. By January 1947, the British informed the United States that they could no longer supply economic aid to Greece or Turkey. Believing that the Soviet Union was responsible for Britain's pullout, the United States decided that they had to assume the role of supplying aid. The TRUMAN DOCTRINE of March 12, 1947 announced aid to Greece and Turkey in the stated context of a general war against communism. Aid in the amount of $400 million was approved by the House and Senate by a margin of three to one. In many ways, the Truman Doctrine marked the formal declaration of the cold war between the United States and the Soviet Union -- it also solidified the United States' position regarding containment. The Soviets accepted the Truman Doctrine's "two rival worlds" idea. It went along with the Marxist-Leninist notion of a world divided into two hostile camps -- one capitalist, the other communist. For Stalin, a final class struggle, determined by the laws of historical development, would mean certain Soviet victory. In May came the American decision to "reconstruct the two great workshops," Germany and Japan. And on June 5, Secretary of State George C. Marshall gave a SPEECH AT HARVARD which would further harden the United States' position toward the Soviets. Marshall proposed a scheme of extensive aid to all European nations if they could agree on how to revive a working economy, "so as to permit," he wrote, "the emergence of political and social conditions in which institutions can exist." There's no doubt which institutions Marshall had in mind -- a free market economy directed by forces not in Europe but across the Atlantic. Marshall even included the Soviets in his plan. But at a meeting in Paris the following month, the Soviets gave their response to the Marshall Plan by walking out. Neither Russia nor its satellite states would take up the offer. Meanwhile, as the Marshall Plan pumped US dollars into Europe, West German economic recovery began to trigger a general European recovery. The Soviets viewed this development as little more than a capitalist plot to draw the nations of eastern European into the American sphere of influence. 1947 was a crucial year in early cold war history. The forces of the free world, it seemed, were rallying to resist Soviet aggression, build up the defenses of the noncommunist world and, tackle the problem of European economic recovery with massive assistance from the United States. That assistance grew to something like $20 billion before 1951. The issue of Soviet containment was also played out in 1949 with the creation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization or NATO. The idea for something like NATO grew from general European fears of renewed Soviet aggression. Hitler was still on everybody's mind. Although Hitler was dead, was Stalin perhaps viewed as the next aggressor? Regardless of whether or not Stalin was hell-bent on world domination, the point here is that he was perceived to be an aggressor in the Hitler mold. Western 102 Europe also needed some guarantee from the United States that they would be protected from any aggression while they began the slow process of economic recovery. England, France and the Benelux countries (Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg) initiated the organization of what would become NATO by forming the Western Union in March 1948 to get the ball rolling. The main force behind the creation of NATO was not Truman, as you might have suspected, but the British Foreign Secretary, Ernest Bevin. By January of 1949, Truman called for an even broader pact which eventually would involve the United States, Canada and ten European nations. The North Atlantic Treaty was eventually signed April 4, 1949. NATO was created with the sole aim of protecting Europe from Soviet aggression, "to safeguard the freedom, common heritage and civilization of their peoples founded on the principles of democracy, individual liberty, and the rule of law." There were two main features of the Treaty. First, the United States made a firm commitment to protect and defend Europe. As stated in the Treaty, "an armed attack against one shall be considered an attack against all." Second, the United States would indeed honor its commitment to defend Europe. So in 1950, Truman selected Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969) as the Supreme Commander of NATO forces. Four United States divisions were stationed in Europe to serve as the nucleus of NATO forces. The American public embraced NATO because it offered a way of participating in world affairs and opposing Soviet power in a more indirect way. Americans no longer believed that world security would come through the United Nations -- itself a product of World War One -- but they still held on to the ideas of some sort of collective security with an ideological base. The Atlantic nations were said to be held together by both common interests as well as a common commitment to democracy and industrial capitalism. For western Europe, NATO provided a muchneeded shelter of security behind which economic recovery could take place. In a way, NATO was the political counterpart of the Marshall Plan. For the United States, NATO signified that the United States could no longer remain isolated from European affairs. Indeed, NATO meant that European affairs were now American affairs as well. Despite the apparent advantages of NATO, there were problems right from the start. Neither Britain nor France provided much in the way of military strength for a number of years. France was too heavily committed overseas, especially in Indochina and Algeria. And the British were in the midst of losing even more territories of their Empire. West German military presence in NATO was next to nothing. So, it was the United States which provided the entire muscle behind NATO. It was clearly an unequal partnership which at different times seemed to bother both Europeans and Americans. But what eventually counted, at least in the context of the late 1940s and early 50s, was not the ground forces under NATO control but the American "nuclear umbrella" acting as a deterrent against any Soviet temptation to attack. As it turned out, Eisenhower returned to Europe with tens of thousands of American GIs for the second time in a decade, this time to guard the enemy of World War Two against one of its former Allies. While this buildup continued, NATO forces remained outnumbered many times over by Russian ground forces. But what sustained Europe's spirit and perhaps deterred the Soviets -who had very little intention of an armed attack on Europe -- was the assurance that such an attack would bring the United States, with is massive resources, into the war. 103 The western alliance embodied in NATO had the effect of escalating the cold war. Historians are pretty much agreed. NATO was created by an over-reaction of the western world to what they perceived to be Soviet aggression. Once again, Hitler was on everybody's mind. But Stalin was not Hitler. Furthermore, the Soviets were not Nazis. And in the end there was very little evidence of a Soviet plot to invade western Europe. All NATO really did was intensify Soviets fears of the West and to produce even higher levels of international tension. As the rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union grew in the late 1940s and into the 50s, both countries began to rebuild their military forces. Following World War Two, American leaders were intent on reforming the military forces. There were two main goals policy makers had in mind. First, in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor, the armed forces had to be unified into an integrated system. Such a policy of unification was required by the cold war itself. Second, there was also a need for entirely new institutions to coordinate all military strategy. In 1947, Congress solved both issues by creating the National Security Act. The results of this Act should be familiar to all of us today since it established institutions we know take for granted. The Act created first, a Department of Defense which would serve as an organizing principle over the army, navy and air force. Second, the Act created the National Security Council, a special advisory board to the executive office. And lastly, the Act created the Central Intelligence Agency or CIA, which was in charge of all intelligence. In 1949, American military planners received a rather profound shock: the Soviets had just succeeded in exploding an atomic bomb of their own. The bomb was a fission bomb, created by the disintegration of plutonium 239 mixed with uranium 235. By this time, however, nuclear technology had advanced so far that this sort of bomb, like the one that leveled Hiroshima, was as obsolete as a six-shooter. The first United States explosion of an H-bomb, or hydrogen bomb, took place in 1952. The Soviets announced the detonation of a similar thermonuclear device in August of the following year. This fusion bomb, the product of fusion at extreme temperatures of heavy isotopes of hydrogen, is many times more powerful than the A-bomb. In fact, since it operates by chain reaction, the only limit to its size is determined by the size of the aircraft which is carrying it. A bomber can carry a 100 megaton bomb. The Hiroshima bomb, which killed 80,000 souls in less than fifteen minutes, was about 1/700th as large as a 100 megaton bomb. Because the H-bomb was manufactured from one of the most common elements, enough bombs could be readily produced to destroy the planet several times. Of course, who would want to do that? This was possibly the most dangerous period for nuclear war. The vast growth in the numbers and kinds of long range nuclear weapons meant the neither the United States nor the Soviet Union could hope to escape the ravages of thermonuclear war. Of course, the massive numbers of nuclear warheads produced actually resulted in a stalemate -- and this was good for everyone concerned. The world shuddered at the thought that the destiny of the globe was in the hands of two super powers, yet the logic of the "balance of terror" worked right from the start. Total war was too dangerous. It would destroy everything. There are no victors in thermonuclear war -- only victims. In the wake of all these developments a new national defense policy was needed by the United States and it came with a policy document known as NSC-68. NSC-68 was based on the premise that first, the Soviets were trying to impose absolute 104 authority over the world and second, that the United States had to face that challenge. What all this boiled down to was this: no more appeasement and no more isolation. Instead, upwards of 50% of the Gross National Product of the United States was now directed to defense spending. NSC-68 proposed increasing the defense budget from $13 to $45 billion annually. Approved April, 1950, NSC-68 stands as a symbol of America's determination to win the cold war regardless of cost. 105 Lecture 15 1968: The Year of the Barricades We are confronted with one of the most vexing aspects of advanced industrial civilization: the rational character of its irrationality. Its productivity and efficiency, its capacity to increase and spread comforts, to turn waste into need, and destruction into construction, the extent to which this civilization transforms the object world into an extension of man's mind and body makes the very notion of alienation questionable. The people recognize themselves in their commodities; they find their soul in their automobile, hi-fi set, split-level home, kitchen equipment. The very mechanism which ties the individual to his society has changed, and social control is anchored in the new needs which it has produced. (Herbert Marcuse, OneDimensional Man, 1964) The revolution which is beginning will call in question not only capitalist society but industrial society. The consumer society is bound for a violent death. Social alienation must vanish from history. We are inventing a new and original world. Imagination is seizing power. (Poster attached to the main entrance at the Sorbonne, May 13, 1968) For better or worse, most of what is presently happening that is new, provocative, and engaging in politics, education, the arts, social relations (love, courtship, family, community), is the creation either of youth who are profoundly, even fanatically, alienated from the parental generation, or of those who address themselves primarily to the young. (Theodore Rozack, The Making of a Counter Culture, 1969) 106 Throughout the 1950s and early 1960s Europe recovered from the slaughterhouse that was World War Two (see Lecture 11). More than 50 million people died during that war and unlike the Great War, WWII was also responsible for the death of millions of civilians. However, unlike the generation of Europeans who managed to survive after the Great War, the generation that emerged from WW II could hardly be called lost. True, the existentialists (see Lecture 12) may have laid claim to being yet another lost generation, but for the most part, the 1950s, thanks in large part to the role played by the United States, became an era of affluence and plenty. Germany recovered so quickly that today historians refer to its rebound as the "German economic miracle." And Germany's growth had the effect of stimulating renewed economic growth throughout most of western Europe. The status quo of Europe and America seemed restored if not actually rejuvenated. Adolf Hitler and the Nazis had been defeated and the policy of mutually assured destruction (MAD) kept the Americans and Soviets from initiating a thermonuclear war. The armed forces returning to their homes in England, France, Belgium, America and elsewhere wanted to put the war behind them and get their lives back to normal. But the children of this generation, especially as they became university students, were apolitical and remained basically quiet. From the perspective of the past twenty-five or thirty years, this calm was deceptive. In actual fact, it was the calm before the storm. The 1950s, whether we look to Europe or the United States, was characterized by consensus -- there was little need to see the world continually engaged in battle. American sociologists began to talk about something they called "the end of ideology debate", something which they deemed necessary in the age of the cold war. Of course, this was perhaps all clever rhetoric for the simple fact remains that this end of ideology debate took place in the midst of the Cold War, a war whose foundation was clearly ideological difference and hence, ideological conflict (see Lecture 14). Regardless, these quiet times associated with the 1950s were good for morale. The generations who had fought in WW II had to get back on their feet. And so, Germany, France and England were rebuilt. Material wealth seemed to be increasing for most middle class members of American and European society. Technology had managed to create an automatic society and unemployment became less of an issue than it had been for perhaps the entire century. But suddenly in 1967 and 1968, a wave of student protest movements broke out across Europe, Japan and the United States. And I need to stress here that this 107 student protest movement was not solely American but global in scope. As it turned out, 1968, often dubbed the "year of the barricades" became one of the most turbulent years in western history since WW II. It is for that reason that the episode of 1968 deserves out attention. In 1968, the entire post-war order was challenged by a series of insurrections from Berkeley to London, from New York to Prague. Oddly enough, the challenge was not successful, at least not in the period in which it actually took place. The true effects of the student protest movement were felt well after 1968. 1968 was a year of revolution. That's the year that John Lennon sang Revolution. It's the year that Grace Slick and the Jefferson Airplane sang, "Now it's time for you and me to have a revolution" from their album Volunteers. In a period of unprecedented material prosperity and cultural activity, the sons and daughters of the most privileged sections of the United States and of Europe decided to make their own revolution. They were the sons and daughters of the Left, better yet, the Old Left. Their parents, many of them at least, were either pink or red, that is, many of them were communists, socialists, Trotskyites, feminists, pacifists or just plain liberals. Their sons and daughters began to refer to themselves as the New Left. We'll return to this in a minute. 1968 was, among many other things, a moral revolt -- it was a revolt of passion in the interests of humanity. This revolt was generated by what they perceived to be their alienation from dominant social values, from the values of the power elites, the Establishment, the "It." Alienation is the keyword here. To be alienated is to be alone, to be isolated against your will. To be alienated is the sense of being outside, of being trapped outside. It was the feeling that you were under the control of an alien other which you simply could not identify. The Old Left did not understand alienation -- they recognized only exploitation -- the exploitation of the working classes by the wealthy. As you may have surmised, the Old Left had strong Marxist and socialist roots. Many members of the Old Left also had strong Leninist and in some cases, Stalinist, roots as well. After all, it was this generation which had see what a revolution had produced in the Soviet Union. But, the Old Left, at least in the 1950s, was willing to work within the system for radical social and economic change. The Old Left exhibited a passionate desire to end the exploitation of one social class by another but they were not willing to change the social order entirely. However much they wanted to free the working classes they remained reformist rather than revolutionary. The New Left believed the Old Left had run out of steam. To use the lingo of the 1960s, the Old Left had copped out, sold out to the Establishment. So, the Old Left, rather than act as a direct stimulus to social change, by the 1960s had become an obstacle to such change. The New Left was indeed new. They believed in spontaneity and action. They distrusted the System. They hated the corporate world. It could almost be said that the members of the New Left were existentialist by nature. They wanted to unite humanity: male/female, black/white, Jew/Catholic, Protestant/Existentialist. And alienation was their motto. They were revolutionary rather than reformist. 108 In the vanguard of the year of the barricades were college students. That much should be clear by any brief review of the 1960s. But what were these students rebelling against? Why had the typically quiet 1950s suddenly burst forth with the student protest movements of the 1960s? Well, a partial list would have to include: representative democracy, big business, capitalist technocracy and the rule by experts, the Vietnam War, the effects of a media-manipulated society and in general, all authority. Why? What had all of these things produced? Was the world a better place in which to live? Or was something dreadfully wrong? The year of the barricades served as a symbol of everything an entire generation of young people detested about the generation of their parents: the "It," the System, the Establishment. They hated the late 20th century hypocrisy of material, bourgeois, liberal, consumerist western society. They hated their parents for consuming it. They hated their universities for teaching it. They hated their governments for murdering for it. These students wanted their voices heard -- they were not content to let their hearts and minds be controlled by that alien other. The real danger was not the class struggle, as it had been for their parents. No, the real danger came from the "It," the establishment of consensus that their parents accepted. So, these students marched, demonstrated, they occupied administration buildings across Europe and the United States. Who were these students? Were they courageous visionaries, or romantic utopians? Were they genuine revolutionaries whose battles cries were "make love, not war," "the whole world is watching," and "never trust anyone over 30"? Or, were they nothing more than spoiled brats who, with their ids denied, simply stamped their feet in unison as some sort of collective tantrum? Was 1968 a genuine challenge to authority in the pattern of a 1789 or an 1848 or a 1917? Or, was it nothing more than clever rhetoric designed for immediate hedonistic consumption? Without looking at the causes of 1968, we are left with a movement which does look a great deal like juveniles in action. All this talk about "naked street theatre," street art, "turn on, tune in, drop out," "commodities are the opium of the people," long hair, Bobby Seale, the Chicago 7, flower power, LSD and rock and roll all gave the movement a rather comical and less genuine flavor. Of course, this is the countercultural aspect of 1968 and as such, only part of the story. Well, think about it. Who were these kids? A bunch of white middle-class American and European kids -- kids who had little knowledge of poverty, deprivation, the Depression, unemployment of World War II. They were, collectively, a cross-section of western society that had missed the major events of the 1930s and 40s: Stalin, Hitler, the Depression, Fascism and WW II. They were a generation for whom history had literally begun in 1960. The psychologists of the late 1960s attributed the student protest movement to something which Eric Erikson had identified as identity crisis. Most kids were trying to find themselves, they were trying to create a unique identity for themselves and other like themselves. The only way they could do this was to rebel against everything that mainstream American or European or western society had deemed holy. As Erikson put it in Identity: Youth and Crisis (1968): The youth of today is not the youth of twenty years ago. This much any elderly person would say, at any point in history, and think it was both new and true. But 109 here we mean something very specifically related to our theories. For whereas twenty years ago we gingerly suggested that some young people might be suffering from a more or less unconscious identity conflict, a certain type tells us in no uncertain terms, and with the dramatic outer display of what we once considered to be inner secrets, that yes, indeed, they have an identity conflict -- and they wear it on their sleeves, Edwardian or leather. Sexual identity confusion? Yes, indeed; sometimes when we see them walking down the street it is impossible for us to tell, without indelicate scrutiny, who is a boy and who is a girl. Negative identity? Oh yes, they seem to want to be everything which "society" tells them not to be: in this, at least, they "conform." And as for such fancy terms as psychosocial moratorium, they will certainly take their time, and take it with a vengeance, until they are sure whether or not they want any of the identity offered in a conformist world. This was and still is an intriguing analysis and sounded good as cover stories in Time and Newsweek magazines as well as the New York Review of Books and the London Times. But such a psychological perspective ignored a great deal of actual historical reality. In other words, there were real and vital events that fashioned the year of the barricades, both from the perspective of students and the media Establishment. The most important factor for the students of either Europe or America was the Vietnam War. Worse than a blunder, it was a crime. Kennedy and Johnson were to share near total responsibility for this war as was Richard Nixon after 1968. While young men burned their draft cards on the steps of their local Selective Service office, crowds chanted, "hell no, we won't go," or "hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?" The governments of Europe were to blame as well -- after all, Vietnam was a French problem before it was inherited by the United States. That cold warrior mentality viewed Southeast Asia as a breeding ground for international communist aggression. The Vietnamese perhaps paid the highest price for the war -- but the cost in domestic friction within and between nations was perhaps even worse. Recall the statements of George Bush and Colin Powell during the "Desert Storm Show." They were so adamant that Kuwait not become another Vietnam. They were so careful to criticize all those who dared assert their criticism of direct US involvement. And the bumper stickers are still in place as a constant reminder. I don't recall seeing these bumper stickers back in 1968, do you? Furthermore, anti-war protest became one of Bush's strongest attacks against Clinton during the presidential elections in 1992. 1968 was a year of violence. And the violence of the Vietnam War era was reflected in the violence which began to emerge in Europe and America. So 1968 marked the year that both Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. were assassinated. Who could forget the battleground which developed at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago? And what about the My Lai Massacre? Lt. William Calley oversaw the events as his GIs shot women, children and old men -- women were raped, bodies were mutilated and corpses were buried in mass graves. And the My Lai Massacre was only one of similar episodes that occurred in Vietnam. Meanwhile, the French government was temporarily paralyzed by the most sever social protest movement since the days of the Paris Commune in 1871. Administration buildings at the London School of Economics were occupied by protesting students. And as all this took place, Soviet tanks rolled into Prague, and event known as the Prague Spring. In Central Park in New York City, a 92 year old 110 woman, a Quaker, set herself on fire in protest of the war in Vietnam. And 1968 was the year that Richard Nixon was elected President. 1968 was also the year that my mother began to send telegrams and write letters to Nixon in protest of the escalation of the war in Vietnam. What was wrong? Why all this violence and protest? Why did it appear to European and American youth that revolution was the only way out? At bottom, it was the System, the Establishment, the "It." Well, what was "It"? For youth, it meant blind obedience to all forms of authority. Sounds like modernism, doesn't it? Sounds like the Reformation. Sounds like a great many social protest movements of the past 2000 years, doesn't it? Instead of the tyranny of authority, which was the favorite battle cry of the 18th century, we know encounter the tyranny of repression. Youth suddenly realized that "It" would not let them be themselves. During the 1950s and into the 1960s, the United States witnesses an era of conformity, almost of the variety Ortega y Gasset discussed in The Revolt of the Masses. The era was also one of prosperity and affluence, an era of material plenty. Television fashioned a new generation of media-manipulated consumers to a degree unmatched throughout history. "Ward Cleaverism" seemed to win the day. The governments of Europe and America became the "State," a Leviathan -- a gigantic monster whose power was without limit and which seemed to say, "do as I say, not as you think." The universities, whether in New York, California, London, Prague, Berlin, Rome or Paris became knowledge factories and independent critical thought suffered a profound yet temporary setback. "These are your courses! Take them and obey!" Why else would so many administration buildings be occupied across Europe and the United States? Warsaw, March 1968: a student demonstration leads to riots in the streets. March 13: all Polish universities are out on strike. Between March 13-24, there are more strikes, protests and marches. University buildings are occupied by student protesters. On March 25, Warsaw University fires six faculty members whose sympathies remained with the protesters. On the 28th, 3000 students march in protest. 34 are expelled, 11 are suspended, 200 are injured and 11 academic departments are closed. Rome, March 1: 200 students are injured during a protest march. 19 of 33 Italian universities are affected by the riots which broke out in response to the Rome march and 23 buildings are occupied. The students demand (1) control over their curriculum, (2) control over the selection of new professors and (3) the student supervision of all grading. Why? Well, of 60,000 students attending all the universities in Italy, there were only 300 faculty members. In other words the faculty-student ratio was 1:200. Paris, February 1968. Students strike at the Sorbonne. They demand an end to visitation rules. They also demand control over course content and the selection of new faculty members. In the streets of Paris, Molotov cocktails are heaved at the police. Students are beaten by police. 100s are injured and there were several deaths. Interestingly enough, 80% of the population of Paris supported the student protesters. 111 So, revolution seemed to be in the air, and it seemed to be everywhere. It became a moral revolt against consumerism and the fetishism of commodities. Why? What was so wrong about consumption? 112 Lecture 16 1989: The Walls Came Tumbling Down We have to consider seriously and analyze correctly [the crimes of the Stalin era] in order that we may preclude any possibility of a repetition in any form whatever of what took place during the life of Stalin, who absolutely did not tolerate collegiality in leadership and in work, and who practiced brutal violence, not only toward everything which opposed him, but also toward everything which seemed to his capricious and despotic character, contrary to his concepts. Instead of proving his political correctness and mobilizing the masses, [Stalin] often chose the path of repression and physical annihilation, not only against actual enemies, but also against individuals who had not committed any crimes against the Party and the Soviet government. (Nikita Khrushchev's Secret Speech, February 25, 1956) Gorbachev made plain that he himself was the leader of a particular generation with a particular vision: a man of late middle age, born into a system that betrayed his family, but one who is convinced nevertheless that genuine socialism was possible and still my banner. The tragedy of the Stalin era and the farce of the Brezhnev period represented for Gorbachev not the failure of ideology, but rather its perversion. (David Remnick, Lenin's Tomb, 1993) For the Soviet Union, WW II was yet another cruel landmark in the wars, revolutions and crises which had affected the country since 1905. After 1945, many returning soldiers hoped for a relaxation of Stalinist terror and dictatorship. After all, they had helped to defeat Hitler and the Nazis during the Great Patriotic War. It was not to be. Sixty-six years old in 1945, Joseph Stalin became even more ruthless than he had been before the war (on Stalin see Lecture 10). He was corrupted by his unlimited power and his suspicions of internal rebellion were clearly the mark of a paranoid personality. After the war, Stalin found no reason to relax his control. Wherever he looked, he saw problems which demanded his attention and control. The government, the Party, the army, the communist ideology and the economy were all on the verge of collapse. Stalin's answer, as to be expected, was more Five Year Plans. And with the return of the Five Year Plans came the deliberate tightening of ideological control. The target became the existence of any form of western influence upon Soviet society. So, thousands of soldiers who had seen too much of the west during WW II, 113 were sent to the GULAG and the intelligentsia was forced into retreat by party terror at the hands of the KGB. In his last years, Stalin drew into isolation -- he surrounded himself with loyal lackies and his suspicions of conspiracy and plot intensified. Before he died, he believed that his doctors had conspired against him. They were all tortured and one of them died as a result. When he died of a stroke on March 5, 1953, his assistants were relieved. Yet many people wept -- for millions of Russians, Joseph Stalin had been their savior. Iosef Vissarionovich Djugashvili – Koba – the Man of Steel, was now dead. What shape, what direction would the Soviet Union now take, now that its dictator was dead? Leadership was assumed by a team headed by NIKITA KHRUSHCHEV (18941971) who became the Premier of the Soviet Union until 1964. It was Khrushchev who had introduced the first Soviet "thaw." Most, but not all, of the GULAGS were emptied. Ethnic groups who had been resettled under Stalin were gradually allowed to return to their homeland. And in his speech at the 20th Party Congress in February 1956, Khrushchev denounced Stalin and the crimes Stalin had committed against his own people. Khrushchev cited example after example of Stalinist terror. Without criticizing Soviet communism, Khrushchev managed to reject the excesses of Joseph Stalin. Of course, Khrushchev was also able to skillfully downplay his role in Stalinist atrocities as well. Khrushchev's speech in 1956 caused a profound stir around the world. Card carrying communists as well as communist fellow travelers began to defect from the party in large numbers. Meanwhile, in Eastern Europe, Poland was on the brink of rebellion in 1956. And in that same year a Hungarian uprising against Moscow was nearly successful had not the Soviets sent in their tanks. Again, events such as these alienated a great many Soviet sympathizers and international support for the Soviets dwindled. In foreign policy, Khrushchev proposed peace, however, he threatened the west by blocking western access to Berlin and by placing missiles in Cuba. And in 1960, Russia withdrew its offer to aid China -- communist since 1949 -- to develop and build nuclear weapons. Khrushchev presented Russia with a new party program and pressed for reforms in industry, agriculture and party organization. Of course, such efforts on his part also managed to alienate and antagonize a great many party officials. So, in October 1964, and while he was away from Moscow on vacation, Khrushchev's Politburo comrades removed him from power. The international press reported that Khrushchev had been replaced for reasons of ill-health. Khrushchev was replaced by LEONID BREZHNEV, an elderly man who required massive doses of stimulants in order to appear alive. Under Brezhnev, the Soviet government turned from personal dictatorship to oligarchy, that is, the collective rule of a privileged minority. As a result, authoritarian control over the Soviet people was now relaxed. A "New Class" had been born in a supposedly classless society. In the 1970s, US-Soviet relations entered a period of detente, or peaceful co-existence. The Soviets had achieved parity in atomic weapons with the 114 United States. Slowly, the country was opened up to the outside world. Authority was relaxed, young people were allowed access to Western music and fashion, issues were open to debate, there was some artistic freedom as well as a revival of religious belief and practice. For Russian intellectuals who criticized the State, however, the story was much different. Andrei Sakharov, the man who helped invent the Soviet H-bomb was also a human rights activist. He was exiled from Moscow and placed under house arrest for six years. He died in late 1989, after having witnessed the last stage of the 1917 Revolution, the collapse of Soviet communism. Alexandr Solzhenitsyn, the Russian novelist and critic, was arrested by Stalin in 1947, sent to the GULAG until 1956 and was later exiled from the country. He fled to Vermont where he spent about ten years -- he returned to Russia in 1994. Other critics and intellectuals were declared insane and the KGB, despite efforts toward relaxation, was as powerful as ever. Brezhnev and his buddies, Kosygin, Chernenko and Andropov, were old men who survived in office for just a brief period of time. By the 1980s, political life was suffocating and the political system had ossified. Marxist-Leninist ideology had long since turned into what one Soviet official called "stale bread." The condition of the leadership was a metaphor for a system that was itself dying. Brezhnev died incompetent at age 75 in 1982, Andropov in 1984, and Chernenko barely lasted a year having died in 1985 at the age of 73. The Soviet system was regarded by increasing numbers of people with cynicism, contempt and ridicule. As a senior official under Yeltsin put it: The last seven or eight years under Brezhnev were already ridiculous. Everyone knew it, and was laughing at it, not in public, but in their home or at work. Brezhnev would give a speech on television, and his jaw would be hanging out, and sometimes he would read the same page twice. In 1985, MIKHAIL SERGEYEVICH GORBACHEV took over. Unlike Brezhnev, who need tanks of oxygen at his side, Gorbachev had good health and relative youth on his side. At 54 years of age, Gorbachev represented a generation which had begun their political and party careers after 1953. So although they were born and raised in the Stalin years, Stalin was gone by the time they begun their political lives. A self-confident and energetic man, Gorbachev talked freely to people from all walks of life. He was keenly aware of the problems facing the Soviet Union and knew that the Party had stagnated over time. Much of this stagnation as well as inefficiency was made readily apparent in April of 1986 when a nuclear reactor at Chernobyl exploded and sent radiation 300 times normal levels into the atmosphere. The Soviet government denied any such accident and denounced it as a creation of the western media. Seventeen days after the fact, Gorbachev appeared on Soviet television and gave a speech that was wholly uncharacteristic of Soviet leadership and presented a sharp break with the way the Kremlin had always handled such issues. Instead of propaganda, he delivered a serious admission of the facts of the accident. "For our internal progress," Gorbachev wrote in 1987, "we need normal international relations." The Soviets had to catch up to the rising prosperity and high technology of the Europe and North America. The Soviet Union had to concentrate on domestic development and promote international peace whenever possible. However, it could only accomplish such a goal by giving up any global ambitions. So Gorbachev abandoned the traditional Soviet anti-western orientation. He wanted to integrate the 115 Soviet Union into the main currents of modern life and that meant democracy, free enterprise and a market economy. Time magazine went on the vote "Gorby" Man of the Year and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher pronounced that Gorbachev was "a man with whom we can do business." Gorbachev gave the Soviet Union and the World two slogans: perestroika (restructuring) and glasnost (openness). PERESTROIKA held out the promise of reorganizing the State and society. For instance, individual initiative would be revived and there would be more technology and a higher standard of living. Soviet citizens were to become more involved at the grass roots level and participate in national affairs. Glasnost was the corrective held up to Stalinist excesses. Openness would permit the open discussion of the nation's problems and it would rid public thinking of propaganda and lies. Both perestroika and glasnost, as Gorbachev understood them, would transform Soviet society into a true democracy. Academics, writers, intellectuals and artists responded enthusiastically, as did most western politicians. Sakharov rose to political prominence and Solzhenitsyn was invited home. Soviet fiction that was produced and subsequently banned in the 1920s and 30s was now published for the first time. George Orwell's novels Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four were now published by Soviet printing houses. Some new novels not only told the truth about the past, but also tried to explain it. In many cases this amounted to speculation about Stalin's real nature and motivation, as in Anatoli Rybakov's celebrated novel, Children of the Arbat. Rybakov, who had won a Stalin Prize in 1951, tried to get the book published in the 1960s but failed. It was finally published in Russian in 1987. Meanwhile, historians who depended on archives had always had a more difficult time in telling the truth. Nevertheless, after a slow start, new histories began to appear and new light was shed on the recent past. In some cases, surviving participants of the Stalinist purges were interviewed, and in other cases, long-suppressed documents were published for the first time. Trotsky's works were now publicly examined but not unsurprisingly, they were condemned. Bukharin, on the other hand, was finally exonerated by Gorbachev. A good deal of archival material on the Stalinist purges and the Great Terror was unearthed and published. Some statistics were located but an accurate count of those who suffered will probably never be known. And in 1989, Soviet responsibility was finally acknowledged for the Katyn mass murders of Polish soldiers in 1939. Despite all of this, not everything was cleared up. Past manifestations of antiSemitism were revealed but in an incomplete way. Whether Kirov had been murdered at Stalin's order remained unsettled and it was revealed that some of the documents seen by Khrushchev's commission on the Kirov affair had since disappeared. In Gorbachev's way of thinking, it was to be the Russian Communist Party that was to serve as the vanguard of perestroika. It was the party that would stimulate civic activity and responsibility. In 1988, a Soviet Congress was formed, including elected members, which in 1989 chose the smaller Supreme Soviet. In 1990, the Supreme Soviet elected Gorbachev as the country's president for a term of five years. At the time, Gorbachev was still the leader of the increasingly unpopular Communist Party. Economic changes accompanied these political reforms. Industrial enterprise was encouraged which in turn would foster private initiative and loosed the stranglehold of decades of central planning. 116 By 1990, Gorbachev was cautiously promoting a market economy including the individual's right to possess private property. Religious freedoms were restored and in 1988, the Russian Orthodox Church celebrated its 1000th anniversary. Meanwhile, contacts with the outside world, especially the west, began to intensify. However, all this seemingly good stuff -- especially from the western perspective -had its downside as well. For instance, glasnost released decades of bitterness which had accumulated over the fifty years of Stalinist repression and terror. Perestroika and glasnost also revealed the widespread ecological damage the Soviets had caused on the environment. Gorbachev's reforms also polarized opinion in ways that even Gorbachev and his stalwart supporters could never have foreseen. All that restructuring and all that openness had increased the diversity of opinions and in the end, led to little more than nationalist and ethnic in-fighting. According to Anatoly Sobchak, liberal mayor of St. Petersberg: A totalitarian system leaves behind it a minefield built into both the country's social structure and the individual psychology of its citizens. And mines explode each time the system faces the danger of being dismantled and the country sees the prospect of genuine renewal. In other words, glasnost and perestroika were good things in themselves but too much too fast meant the danger of confusion amidst liberation. In an effort to preserve unity by compromise, Gorbachev entered a bitter quarrel with his more radical rival, Boris Yeltsin. The weakening of traditional Soviet authority and the release of "history" brought about by the reforms of Mikhail Gorbachev, in the end, brought disunity. Meanwhile, Lithuanians, Latvians and Estonians all demanded independence which in turn set off similar demands among Ukrainians, Georgians, Beylorussians, Armenians and the various peoples of central Asia. By the late 1980s, inter-ethnic violence had escalated. And in 1990, the Russian Republic, the largest republic of the Soviet Union, declared its limited independence under Yeltsin, and an Anti-Reform Russian Communist Party broke off from the reformist party faction led by Gorbachev. Gorbachev, caught in an avalanche he himself had helped to create, was willing to establish a new federal union of Soviet sovereign republics but remained opposed to the outright dissolution of the Soviet Union. Meanwhile, the transition to a market economy was too complex for ready and easy solutions. The production and distribution of consumer goods collapsed. Local governments hoarded essential commodities and the black market flourished as did the Russian Mafia. As the journalist David Remnick has written: the Communist Party apparatus was the most gigantic Mafia the world has ever known. It guarded its monopoly on power with a sham consensus and constitution and backed it up with the force of the KGB and the Interior Ministry police. Obviously, the spiritual rebirth and the revolution that Gorbachev had hoped for had not materialized. In October 1990, Gorbachev sadly remarked that "unfortunately, our society is not ready for the procedures of a law-based state." In response to a crisis produced by Gorbachev, the liberals of Moscow and Leningrad pressed Yeltsin for even quicker modernization. This included a multiparty system, a flourishing market economy and increased civil liberties for all 117 Soviet citizens. But, on the opposite side, were the Communist hardliners who were willing and eager to revive the old order, the Stalinist order, which depended on the army for restoring order. Gorbachev viewed all this with an eye toward compromise. But by early 1991, it was clear that Gorbachev had sided with the conservatives. On August 19, 1991, the conservative acted. They imprisoned Gorbachev in his Crimean vacation home and deposed him as president of the Soviet Union. They declared a state of emergency and began preparations for a new communist dictatorship. The problem was, the conservative faction was completely out of touch with popular opinion. Most citizens had enough of the party and thanks to glasnost and perestroika, had no intention of a Stalinist revival. Even the KGB defected over to Yeltsin's side. Emotions were high and the outburst spread to Moscow, Leningrad and other cities. The coup collapsed in three days and the chief victims, never to recover, were the Communist Party and the unity and existence of the Soviet Union. By early May 1992, twelve of fifteen republics declared their independence and the empire of the tsars and the Communists had fallen to pieces. Gorbachev had fallen victim to those forces which he had helped to release through glasnost and perestroika. The problem was that perestroika and glasnost were dynamite. They unleashed a stream of sympathetic voices at the same time that they unleashed reaction. Most revolutions have this effect. Most Russians were confused. They felt suspended between a Russia of traditional communist values and the ideals and consumer lifestyles of the west. While some favored democracy on the western model, others demanded a return to Stalinist practice. Outside the Soviet Union, perestroika and glasnost spread among people who were resentful of Soviet domination and worried about economic collapse. In 1989 and 1990, these people showed their dislike of communist leadership and demanded what were clearly democratic reforms. Communist leaders across Eastern Europe either resigned their office or agreed to reform. Poland took the lead. Here the population was traditionally anti-Russian. The Poles had long protested their country's economic decline. Soviet assurance to assist and massive loans from western Europe brought no relief. The slightest relaxation of Soviet control only encouraged Polish nationalism which had always been expressed with the support of the Roman Catholic Church. With the selection of Pope John Paul II in 1978, Polish nationalism surged ahead. In 1980, workers under the leadership of a electrician, LECH WALESA, succeeded in forming an independent labor union called Solidarity. Pressured by a series of strikes, the Polish government recognized Solidarity, despite threats of Soviet intervention. In 1981, more radical members of Solidarity began to talk about the necessity of free elections. But in December, a military dictatorship under WOJCIECH JARUZELSKI was formed and declared martial law. Walesa and others were jailed and protesting workers were dispersed by force. In 1987, Jaruzelski presented a referendum for support on economic and political reforms. Polish voters abstained or voted against him. And in 1988, Jaruzelski ended his dictatorship and started a civilian government. Meanwhile 118 Walesa appeared on Polish television pleading for pluralism and freedom. He was, as you might expect, supported by the Roman Catholic Church. In January 1989, Solidarity was legalized and the Communist Party retired. Solidarity triumphed in the first free election and led to a non-communist government in September 1989. Poland's economy was still poor -- inflation soared as the cost of living rose and the black market flourished. In December 1990, the Polish people elected Walesa as their president. In May 1989, the communist bureaucracy was abolished in Hungary. By year's end there were more than fifty political parties in existence. Democracy and free enterprise were introduced and the result, as it had been in Poland, was inflation. In East Germany, the upheaval in 1989 was even more momentous. Within a month after celebrating the 40th anniversary as a socialist workers state, and with Gorbachev in attendance as honored guest, the Communist Party collapsed. East Germany had always been indispensable to Soviet Russia. Its industry was nationalized, its agriculture collectivized and its people regimented by the Communist Party. In June 1953, the workers of East Berlin staged an uprising. What followed as a steady exodus of skilled workers into West Germany. Three million people escaped before the East German government erected the Berlin Wall in August 1961. In 1972, detente allowed diplomatic relations and closer economic ties between East and West Germany. Moscow did not object. But the East Germans always looked to the West -- they wanted those jeans and televisions. By 1985, even the East Germans began to cheer Gorbachev's perestroika initiative. In 1989, almost 400,000 people left East Germany through the opened borders of Hungary and Czechoslovakia. Meanwhile, the streets of Berlin were full of protest. On November 6th 1989, the walls came tumbling down. Three days later, on November 9th, the first hole was made in the Berlin Wall and East Germans crossed into West Berlin. The East German police stood by nervously, but the Berlin wall had fallen. Gorbachev eventually approved. The breach of the Berlin Wall had wide ramifications. In Bulgaria, the communists still maintained their authoritarian rule. TODOR ZHIVKOV was the longestserving Communist dictator in the Soviet bloc. Under his rule, Bulgaria was a docile state until Gorbachev's message of glasnost and perestroika began to penetrate the nation. Zhivkov was vehemently opposed to Gorbachev's reformminded spirit. But on November 10th , 1989, one day after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Zhivkov resigned. By mid-December, a multi-party system was in place. The end of the year was the final spurt of the "revolution of 1989." Romania's NICOLAE CEAUSESCU paid no attention to Gorbachev's reforms or the past events of 1989. He imposed poverty on his people and strengthened his power with the assistance of his wife and family. In 1988, he began to systematically level peasant villages in order to build what he called "agrotowns." Meanwhile, his government brutally suppressed all opposition in gross violation of human rights. He 119 could have cared less about the events of 1989 -- he was the last true Stalinist hardliner. On December 17th, 1989, he ordered his troops to fire upon anti-government demonstrators but four days later, the tide had turned against him. A mass demonstration on his behalf in Bucharest was disrupted by student protesters. The crowd followed the students -- even the army turned against Ceausescu. On Christmas Day, Ceausescu and his wife were tried and executed and the last Stalinist dictator had fallen. It was at this time that Czechoslovakia joined the crusade against Soviet communism. The hard line Czech communists had held power since the events of the Prague Spring in 1968. But events in Poland and Hungary coupled with the nation's economic decline, increased public pressure for change. Strikes, public demonstrations and the circulation of samizdat, or selfprinted books, made the situation positively explosive. Early in 1989, anti-government demonstrations escalated -- the government repressed them. VACLAV HAVEL was jailed. But when protests again erupted in the fall, the government faltered. Havel was released and became the leader of the opposition group, the Civic Forum. Faced with massive demonstrations in Prague -- all shown on television -- and urged on by Gorbachev to initiate democratic reforms, the Czech communist leaders resigned on November 24th. A month later Vaclav Havel was elected as president of Czechoslovakia. Viewed in their totality, the events in the Soviet Union and in Eastern Europe in 1989 had taken a surprisingly peaceful course. Gorbachev himself was partly responsible for this. He was willing to admit that Soviet satellite states had to go their own way. Under the leadership of intellectuals and priests, the people were unified against foreign domination and economic turmoil. Like Gorbachev, Eastern European Communist rulers had lost all confidence in Marxist-Leninist ideology. Finally, the material plenty of the West appeared in sharp contrast to the depravity of the East. And the people knew it! Communist regimes could not offer an alternative to western television. When all is said and done, the revolution of 1989 meant a victory for western government and ways of life. What THAT means, however, can be debated endlessly. By 1990, with the revolution over, euphoria vanished. There were now new problems. How could these nations, under the thumb of Soviet rule for four decades, adapt themselves to democratic institutions and market economies? Was it even possible? How could these nations deal with their own history, a history rewritten by the communist party? Meanwhile, glasnost and perestroika had revealed the presence of widespread corruption and environmental destruction. Politicians found it difficult to establish consensus in the face of economic disaster. Apart from the unification of East and West Germany in 1990, all Eastern European countries faced a myriad of new problems: rising inflation, falling production, unemployment, food shortages, corruption and ethnic conflict. It was the chaos that surrounded the collapse of the Soviet Union -- a collapse unwittingly unleashed by Gorbachev -- that compounded the many problems of Eastern Europe.