Come ho spesso affermato su questo blog, per comprendere bene la storia contemporanea europea e particolarmente quella italiana, brutalmente mistificata da due secoli a questa parte e assai raramente rettificata dagli intellettuali e dagli educatori che ne avrebbero il compito, e’ obbligatorio conoscere la storia dell’Europa orientale, cioe’ cosa avveniva al di l’a della ‘cortina di ferro’, come e’ stato possibile che cio’ avvenisse e quali sono state le cause del fenomeno. Leggendo questo libro della Applebaum scopriremo molte cose che ci riguardano assai da vicino e forse capiremo quali sono le radici storiche del ‘malessere’ culturale, politico e sociale italiano.
Anne Applebaum e’ una giornalista americana specializzata nella ricerca storica delle implicazioni filosofiche e sociali del comunismo nell’Est Europa. Vincitrice del premio Pulitzer, collabora regolarmente con il Washington Post e Slate. E’ stata editrice di The Economist, ed e’ stata ‘adjunt fellow’ presso il prestigioso think tank American Enterprise Institute. Nel 2006 e’ stata ricercatrice presso la American Academy in Berlin. Nel febbraio del 2008, le e’ stato assegnato dalla Estonia il riconoscimento dell’ Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana. Nel 2010 a Budapest, presso il museo House of Terror Museum, le e’ stato consegnato l’Hungarian Petőfi-award. La Applebaum e’ anche direttrice del dipartimento di studi politici presso il Legatum Institute di Londra. E’ fluente in francese, russo e polacco ed e’ sposata con un giornalista e politico polacco di grande rilievo, Radosław Tomasz Sikorski.
Dal sito dell’autrice: anneapplebaum.com
“At the end of the Second World War, the Soviet Union unexpectedly found itself in control of a huge swathe of territory in Eastern Europe. Stalin and his secret police set out to convert a dozen radically different countries to a completely new political and moral system: communism. Iron Curtain describes how the Communist regimes of Eastern Europe were created and what daily life was like once they were complete. The book describes how political parties, the church, the media, young people’s organizations – the institutions of civil society on every level – were eviscerated, how the secret police services were organized, how ethnic cleansing was carried out – and how some people were forced to collaborate while others managed to resist.
Di segioto, alcuni estratti dall’introduzione, che potete leggere per intero al seguente link: IRON CURTAIN_INTRODUCTION – PDF-Document
“Although it has been most often used to describe Nazi Germany and Stalin’s Soviet Union, the word ‘totalitarian’ – totalitarismo – was first used in the context of Italian fascism. Invented by one of his critics, Benito Mussolini adopted the term with enthusiasm, and in one of his speeches offered what is still the best definition of the term:
Everything within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.
Strictly defined, a totalitarian regime is one which bans all institutions apart from those it has officially approved. A totalitarian regime thus has one political party, one educational system, one artistic creed, one centrally planned economy, one unified media and one moral code. In a totalitarian state there are no independent schools, no private businesses, no grassroots
organizations and no critical thought. Mussolini and his favourite philosopher, Giovanni Gentile, once wrote of a ‘conception of the State’ which is ‘all-embracing; outside of it no human or spiritual values can exist, much less have value’.
From Italian, the word ‘totalitarianism’ spread into all the languages of Europe and the world.
After Mussolini’s demise the concept had few open advocates, however, and the word eventually came to be defined by its critics, many of whom number among the twentieth century’s greatest thinkers. Friedrich Hayek’s “Road to Serfdom“* is a philosophical response to the challenge of totalitarianism, as is Karl Popper’s “The Open Society and Its Enemies“**, George Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty-Four” is a dystopian vision of a world entirely dominated by totalitarian regimes.
*-** Due libri che vi consiglio di leggere (“1984” credo lo conosciate gia’)
Probably the greatest student of totalitarian politics was Hannah Arendt, who defined totalitarianism in her 1949 book, The Origins of Totalitarianism, as a ‘novel form of government’ made possible by the onset of modernity. The destruction of traditional societies and ways of life had, she argued, created the conditions for the evolution of the ‘totalitarian personality’, men and women whose identities were entirely dependent on the state.
Carl J. Friedrich and Zbigniew Brzezinski pushed that argument further in Totalitarian Dictatorship and Autocracy, published in 1956 , and also sought a more operational definition.
Totalitarian regimes, they declared, all had at least five things in common: a dominant ideology, a single ruling party, a secret police force prepared to use terror, a monopoly on information and a planned economy.
By those criteria, the Soviet and Nazi regimes were not the only totalitarian states. Others – Mao’s China, for example – qualified too.
In popular speech, the word totalitarian isn’t so much self-serving as overused. Yet although the very idea of ‘total control’ may now seem ludicrous, ridiculous, exaggerated or silly, and although the word itself may have lost its capacity to shock, it is important to remember that ‘totalitarianism’ is more than an ill-defined insult.
Historically, there were regimes which aspired to total control.
If we are to understand them – if we are to understand the history of the twentieth century – we need to understand how totalitarianism worked, in theory and in practice. Nor is the notion of total control completely old-fashioned.
The North Korean regions set up along Stalinist lines, has changed little in seventy years. Though new technology now seems to make the notion of total control harder to aim for, let alone achieve, we can’t be certain that mobile phones, the internet and satellite photographs won’t eventually become tools of control in the hands of regimes which also aspire to be ‘all embracing’. ‘Totalitarianism’ remains a useful and necessary empirical description. It is long overdue for a revival.”