chapter  6
19 Pages

Aurel Kolnai’s The War Against the West and the American debate on Nazism

WithMichaela Hoenicke Moore

This chapter presents Aurel Kolnai’s The War Against the West in the political context of the American debate on Nazism. The War Against the West was thus one of the earliest and most powerful analyses of the irreconcilable contrast between Nazism and the West, calling for a radical shift with regard to attitudes and policies. The American debate on Nazism informed wartime planning for a new multilateral, cooperative international order, which included an expanded and strengthened human rights agenda and government support for economic recovery and relief as a means of encouraging democratic habits. Kolnai’s 1938 presentation of Nazism and the West has, as the title of the book would indicate, a Manichean cast to it. Few American public commentators were ready to leave the bounds of social science discourse behind to point to a transcendent sphere to explain Nazism as a manifestation of the demonic, for example, as Kolnai had done.