Varieties of Totalitarianism

It must have taken some courage for Laurence Rees to write Hitler and Stalin: The Tyrants of the Second World War. There are at least a dozen works in which those names appear in the title. The list includes the study by Alan Bullock,  Hitler and Stalin, Parallel Lives, published in 1991, which is regarded as a classic. It is understandable that the literature on this topic is enormous. The outcome of the Second World War largely determined the course of the second half of the 20th century. We are all fascinated by the history of that extraordinary war not only because of its importance, but also because it reveals a great deal about our humanity. It tells us what human beings are capable of and how people have behaved in the most extraordinary circumstances. There is no comparable event in modern Western history in which people behaved with such inhumanity toward one another, or on the contrary, demonstrated such great courage.

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