Aurel Kolnai’s The War Against the West and British attempts to understand Nazism before the war
Aurel Kolnai’s The War Against the West remains one of the most insightful analyses of Nazi thought ever written. This chapter provides the uniqueness of Aurel Kolnai’s achievement in The War Against the West and compares Kolnai’s approach with those taken in both popular and scholarly analyses of Nazism that were published in Britain before the war. Yet The War Against the West was quite different from most British publications on the Third Reich. While Kolnai shared with Victor Gollancza variety of Christian Socialism, Kolnai’s understanding of Nazism went way beyond that ordinarily associated with the Left Book Club. Kolnai’s method consisted of accepting the potential validity of the ideas on which Nazism was based, and then demonstrating that the Nazis themselves neither understood what it was they claimed so much to admire nor were able to control the forces they had unleashed.