EUROPEAN SOCIALISM SINCE WORLD WAR I by Nathanael -- Ed. Greene

EUROPEAN SOCIALISM SINCE WORLD WAR I

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KIRKUS REVIEW

These 25 New York Times dispatches and Sunday Magazine articles about European social democrats offer more of a commentary on the Times than the times. They range from Paul Warburg's 1920 interpretation of the German Social Democracy as the force of ""constructive labor"" against ""confiscatory and destructive Bolshevism"" through essays on British Labour governments, the Spanish Civil War, and the 1936 popular front government in France, with encomia lavished on Ramsay MacDonald, Leon Blum, Kurt Schumacher and Willy Brandt, Guy Mollet and veteran Pietro Nenni. The book's title is very misleading: Greene excludes all communist and left-socialist leaders and organizations, in or out of parliament, covering only anti-communist social democrats. Having thus limited his purview, he observes that ""socialism in power means socialists without the will or the power to take large strides toward socialism."" This fact delights the contributors, as in a 1929 piece reassuring Times readers that Britain's new Prime Minister is a reformer, not a Red, or Sidney Hook's 1960 disclosure that social democrats have abandoned all Marxist pretensions. One excellent essay is Herbert Matthews' 1936 survey of Spanish socialist movements. More representative are a 1920 dispatch from Italy deeming the fascisti a force for law and order though deploring their belief that ""they have to murder every agitator in Italy to get it,"" while a decade later a Times correspondent expresses puzzlement over the ""educated classes'"" abandonment of the Weimar Republic which he believes to be restoring the life-styles of both middle and lower classes. Highly marginal for general readers in history, the book may draw students of journalism and propaganda.

Pub Date: June 9th, 1971
Publisher: Quadrangle