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Summary 2005(1)


The Political Background to Europe at the 1945 Watershed (Paolo Pombeni)

In this essay the author analyses the watershed year 1945: a moment of innovation, he wonders, or a pause for restoration? Some features would point to the equation 1945 equals novelty. As instances supporting such a view, he cites: the elevation of antifascism to a properly defined historiographical category; the subsequent creation of a theoretical framework for totalitarianism; the rise of a welfare state
aiming to combine a market economy with the provision of social services; and the advent of the modern social sciences upon the intellectual scene. However, if one considers the common denominator linking the various resistance movements to the 1930s versions of European fascism – viz. a vigorous harking back to separation between civil society and the political community – the question grows more complex. Present-day trends in politics, with the spirit of unionism and the community instinct to the fore, might incline one to regard 1945 not as the start to a «European revolution», but as the point of onset for a definitive decline in
the ruling paradigm on which modernism in politics rested.

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