The Devil in History: Communism, Fascism and Some Lessons of the Twentieth Century

February 07, 2013
12:00 pm - 02:00 pm

The Devil in History: Communism, Fascism and Some Lessons of the Twentieth Century from National Endowment for Democracy on Vimeo.


Vladimir Tismaneanu
University of Maryland

with comments by

Michael Allen
National Endowment for Democracy

moderated by

Marc F. Plattner
International Forum for Democratic Studies

About the event

The Devil in History is a provocative analysis of the relationship between communism and fascism. Reflecting the author’s personal experiences of living under communist totalitarianism, the book is about political passions, radicalism, utopian ideals, and their catastrophic consequences in the twentieth century’s experiments in social engineering.

Vladimir Tismaneanu compares communism and fascism as competing and occasionally strikingly similar systems of political totalitarianism. In his presentation, he examined:

  • the inherent ideological appeal of these radical, revolutionary political movements
  • the visions of salvation and revolution they pursued
  • the role of charismatic leaders
  • the place of violence within these systems, and their legacies in contemporary politics.

About the speakers

Vladimir Tismaneanu is professor of comparative politics and director of the Center for the Study of Post-Communist Societies at the University of Maryland. His research areas include communist political systems, comparative politics, political sociology, and political theory, as well as the contemporary politics of Central and Eastern Europe. His previous books include Fantasies of Salvation: Democracy, Nationalism and Myth in Post-Communist Europe (Princeton University Press, 1998) and Reinventing Politics: Eastern Europe from Stalin to Havel (Free Press, 1994). Mr. Tismaneau is also a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Democracy and the research council of the International Forum for Democratic Studies.

Michael Allen is special assistant to the vice president of government relations and public affairs at the National Endowment for Democracy.