El olvidado siglo XX

BERLÍN – Pasaron 20 años desde la disolución de la Unión Soviética, que para muchos historiadores marcó el verdadero fin del "siglo XX corto" -un siglo que comenzó en 1914 y estuvo caracterizado por conflictos ideológicos prolongados entre el comunismo, el fascismo y la democracia liberal, hasta que esta última pareció haber surgido plenamente victoriosa-. Pero algo extraño sucedió en el camino hacia el Fin de la Historia: parecemos desesperados por aprender del pasado reciente, pero no estamos en absoluto seguros sobre cuáles son las lecciones.

Claramente, toda la historia es historia contemporánea, y lo que los europeos, en particular, necesitan aprender hoy del siglo XX tiene que ver con el poder de los extremos ideológicos en tiempos oscuros -y la peculiar naturaleza de la democracia europea tal como se la construyó después de la Segunda Guerra Mundial.

En algunos sentidos, las grandes luchas ideológicas del siglo XX hoy parecen tan cercanas y relevantes como los debates escolásticos de la Edad Media -especialmente, pero no exclusivamente, para las generaciones más jóvenes-. ¿Quién entiende hoy remotamente -para no hablar del problema de intentar entender- los grandes dramas políticos de intelectuales como Arthur Koestler y Victor Serge, gente que arriesgó su vida por y luego contra el comunismo?

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