Fear of the Unknown Post-War

Kathleen McKinnon

I think something particularly interesting about this week’s readings is that they look at far-right movements in countries that are different from Italy and Germany, for example. France in particular is a country that is known for its liberalism and move to “freedom.” It is then an interesting case to look at in the Bar-On article since it shows a history of support for apartheid and “the white man” which help perpetuate anti-west influence by some French thinkers (pg. 202).

The fact that after WWII there was a conservative revolution in Germany for example, is interesting and it makes sense as the country moved to Western values, decadence would look overwhelming. (Griffin, 40). This caused a backlash to what was new vs. was known and what was that nation’s identity to their knowledge after two wartime periods and an interwar period that was rather harsh. This also occurred in Italy and concerned the older generation about what would happen to the kids if this continued (Griffin, 41).

I think that it is interesting that the two very often cited cases for fascism in the 20th century (Italy and Germany) are also the ones that had this “Conservative Revolution” and it possibly points to the fear of the unknown and the over-blown reports of what was happening elsewhere. If a country reads the news of another country what they will find can often be negative but that does not mean modernization is bad just because the problems become different or at least more known/publicized.

Tamir Bar-On, “Transnationalism and the French Nouvelle Droite.” Patterns of Prejudice, vol. 45, no. 3 (July 2011): 199–223.

Roger Griffin, “Between Metapolitics and Apoliteia: The Nouvelle Droite’s Strategy for Conserving the Fascist Vision in the ‘Interregnum.’” Modern & Contemporary France, vol. 8, no. 1 (Feb. 2000): pp. 35–53.

One Reply to “Fear of the Unknown Post-War”

  1. I thought the emphasis on France this week was also very interesting, especially since it is the origin point for a lot of right wing thought.

    Touching on fear a bit, the attention that Biess pays to things like the fear that the New Left in Germany was very interesting, and I’m happy to see you bring it up.

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