Dawson and Communism
Cover of issue 41.2
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How to Cite

Dawson and Communism: How Much Did He Get Right?. (2017). The Political Science Reviewer, 41(2), 276-302. https://politicalsciencereviewer.wisc.edu/index.php/psr/article/view/26


As recent scholarship has shown, Christopher Dawson wrote much about communism and Nazism, two forces he regarded as grave threats to Western Civilization. Dawson lived to see the end of the fascist specter and had the chance, if he wished to take it, to assess the validity of his theories on Nazism. Indeed, large amounts of captured German documents were available to scholars almost at once following the end of the Second World War. However, Dawson died when the Soviet Union was still a superpower, and Communist archives were largely closed to historians not loyal to the various regimes that controlled them. While the West was not completely ignorant of conditions inside the Soviet empire, Dawson left the world stage without having had the ability to test his hypotheses on communism in a systematic way. Though unfortunately not all archival materials from 1917–1991 have been released, the vast amount of information acquired since the fall of the Iron Curtain and the Soviet Union has placed us in a position to make certain judgments on the accuracy of Dawson’s contentions and predictions about communism.

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