Revolution as Profession Reply

By Norbert Bolz, TELOS

When the historian Ernst Nolte formulated the thesis that Auschwitz was “the fear-induced reaction to the extermination processes of the Russian Revolution,” he was finished in the academic world. It was even of no help to him emphasizing that the copy was more irrational, more appalling and atrocious than the original. He was not forgiven the comparison since he seemed to call into question the singularity thesis, the incomparability of NS terror. That fit the taboo on totalitarianism theory. Right-wing and left-wing terror should not be mentioned in the same breath; National Socialism and International Socialism are not to be compared. And therefore all attempts to similarly work through the reign of terror by the Communists in its broad impact, as has been done with that of the Nazis, have been in vain. Of course, one would have to differentiate here. French intellectuals have undoubtedly been affected by the shocking reports by Koestler and Solzhenitsyn about the Moscow Trials and the Gulag. That was, at best, embarrassing for the German left. And so it should be no surprise that it celebrated Lenin’s 150th birthday—though under coronavirus conditions.

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