Il a publié de nombreux ouvrages, dont : Les Marxistes et la question...
The first part of the 20th century saw a succession of wars, destructions and revolutions that put Europe to the fire and the sword. From the upheaval of the old world in 1914 to the new status quo established in 1945, the European continent has gone through a whole epoch of devastation and chaos.
Enzo Traverso uses the concept of « European civil war » to account for this terrible combination of total war – war without limits or fronts – with local conflicts and genocides, through which divergent visions of the world collided. Taking an extensive and well documented perspective, he outlines the main features of the era: a mix of archaic violence, cold, bureaucratic violence and modern technology, designed to annihilate the enemy; the brutal experience of forced exile by some populations; the highly emotional clashes opposing civilians within societies torn apart by conflicts (URSS 1917-1923, Spain 1936-1939, The French resistance 1939-1945); fear and terror infusing the mind of people.
The author also considers anew the role of those who were active participants, analyzing the positions of the intellectuals in between the two wars, stressing how a shared rejection of the state of world as it was lead to opposite choices – from communism (as with Gramsci and Benjamin) to the conservative revolution (as with Jünger and Schmitt). He also looks at the battle led by the militants and resistant fighters against fascism, taking into account the connections with Stalinism and the collective failure to face the reality of the genocide.
Crucially, this book thus goes against the relativist tendency that endorses the victims’ suffering but puts all the protagonists, fascists and anti-fascists, in the same, indistinct purgatory of ideologies.
Enzo Traverso was born in Italy in 1957. A lecturer in Political Sciences at the Jules Verne University of Picardie, he is a recognized specialist of 20th century German and Jewish history and thought. He has published extensively. His works include: Les Marxistes et la question juive. Histoire d’un débat, 1843-1943 (1990) ; Les Juifs et l’Allemagne (1992) ; Siegfried Kracauer. Itinéraire d’un intellectuel nomade (1994) ; L’Histoire déchirée. Essai sur Auschwitz et les intellectuels (1997) ; Le Totalitarisme. Le xxe siècle en débat (2001) ; La Violence nazie (2002) et La Pensée dispersée. Figures de l’exil judéo-allemand (2004).