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Jan Dobeš BENJAMIN Z. KEDAR, PETER HERDE, A Bavarian Historian Reinvents Himself: Karl Bosl and the Third Reich

Jan Dobeš Carl Schmitt between Science and Prophecy

This article sets out the fundamental intellectual starting points of Carl Schmitt. It is concerned chiefly with his conception of law, the main features of his political philosophy, and his attitude to liberalism, parliamentarism, democracy, and the Nazi dictatorship. It also takes into account the way in which he used historical arguments to support his ideas. Particular attention is paid to the concept of the political, which Schmitt considered an independent sphere of human existence, one based on differentiating between friend and foe, an act performed by the wielder of sovereign political power. It is precisely the question of power and, linked to it, sovereign decision, which form the core of politics. Ethical or economic criteria must not enter this sphere. The natural framework in which the political is applied is the State, which appears outwardly in the sphere of foreign policy. In domestic policy the State is based on the identity of the ruler(s) and the ruled. In the twentieth century, however, according to Schmitt, this conception of politics and the State underwent a crisis with serious consequences, which lay either in the invasion of universalist tendencies undermining the special character of the State or in the subordination of politics (as the pure exercise of power) to particular interests, backroom deals, and compromises.

Jan Dobeš ENZO TRAVERSO, Trhlina v dějinách. Esej o Osvětimi a intelektuálech

Jan Dobeš MARÍNA ZAVACKÁ, Kto žije za ostnatým drôtom? Oficiálna zahraničnopolitická propaganda na Slovensku, 1956-1962: teórie, politické smernice a spoločenská prax

Jan Dobeš Totalitarianism Between Ideology and Theory

This study deals with the idea and the conception of totalitarianism. It chronicles the development of the term from its first use in the 1920s to its gradually widening scope, all the way up to its formulation as a consolidated concept after WWII. It contains at its basis the conviction that totalitarianism is a unique form of political power, to be distinguished from democracy and traditional dictatorships. Soon after this conception of totalitarianism was introduced, it encountered sharp criticism aimed at its inability to embrace the changes that occurred in communist states following Stalin’s death, subjected as they were to political interests and the logic of the Cold War and the belittling of Nazi crimes implicit in the comparison between Nazism and communism. However, in the 1980s – and particularly after 1989 – the theory of totalitarianism underwent a notable renaissance. In addition to its historical aspects, studies have concentrated on several competing theories meant to transform the concept or even completely supersede it (theories regarding authoritarian regimes, Fascism and political religion). In conclusion, the author points out that from its beginnings, the theory of totalitarianism has straddled the boundaries between ideology and politics on the one hand and ideology and science on the other.