On ‘Antisemitism: Part One of the Origins of Totalitarianism’

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(A review by Sidharth Vardhan of
Antisemitism: Part One of the Origins of Totalitarianism’
(1968) by Hannah Arendt
first written on September 15, 2018
(3 / 5))


 

antisemitism sidharth vardhan review analysis hannah arendt
antisemitism sidharth vardhan review analysis hannah arendt

Arendt brings out a brief history of anti-Semitism with a special focus on the way it came to be used as a propaganda device by Nazis. There is much in this – like the argument that a wealthy section of society is tolerated by the rest only as long as they serve a function. And to be able to serve a function, power is needed. Some of the richer Jews (mostly bankers) were themselves first to accept the differentiation given to them by state. This differentiation attracted prejudice, first, when the customers of the bankers become middle class rather than upper class (middle class people take loan out of needs and won’t ever like bankers) and the stereotypes created because of a single family – Rothschilds. You can add to this, the conspiracy theories. Thus Nazis found a ready prejudice to take advantage of when they came into power.

hannah arendt sidharth vardhan
Hannah Arendt

It is all very interesting but it isn’t as much hard hitting as other Arendt works I have read. May be because it is much further into past and because it is a very general social history. I always suspect those generalizations that go like ‘the Jew thinks’ ‘th upper class believed’ etc and they are in big numbers here.sidharth Vardhan signature


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