War, Rev & Pop Front
Between 1933 and 1945 the world divided between fascism and The Popular Front (i.e., the alliance of the Soviet Union, the democracies and much of the colonial world). The results were two-sided. On the positive side, the left was transformed from a set of narrow sects focused on revolution to a broad coalition of democratic forces that created new forms of literature, film and personal relations, reshaped liberal and democratic politics, and invented the democratic welfare state, the United Nations and the modern human rights discourse. But there was a negative side. Even as fascism was destroyed, other forms of authoritarianism triumphed, not only in the Soviet Union but in China, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East. Thus, the Popular Front is the seedbed not only of the cold war but of the post-9/11 world. Exploring its contradictory character, our readings will include works by Ian Kershaw, Sheila Fitzpatrick, Gary Gerstle, Arno Mayer and Francois Furet.