Cold War and After



The revolutions of the twentieth century also stimulated new responses on the conservative side. One of the most important discussions of Babeuf in the Cold War period came from an Israeli scholar, Jacob Talmon, in The Origins of Totalitarian Democracy (1952).1 The political motivation for Talmon’s trilogy, of which this was the first volume, was quite explicit; Talmon was studying the Jacobins at the time of the Moscow Trials, and the parallel of the two suggested ‘the existence of some unfathomable and inescapable law which causes revolutionary Salvationist schemes to evolve into reigns of terror and the promise of a perfect direct democracy to assume in practice the form of totalitarian dictatorship.’2 In 1957 Talmon addressed a Conservative Party Summer School, paying tribute to British Toryism and claiming ‘as an Israeli … to be part of a conservative tradition of immemorial antiquity’.3


French Revolution Popular Support Historical Choice Revolutionary Tradition Israeli Scholar 
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  1. 2.
    J.L. Talmon, The Myth of the Nation (London 1981), p. 535.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    J.L. Talmon, Utopianism and Politics (London, 1957), p. 7.Google Scholar
  3. 9.
    P. Baccou et le Club de l’horloge, Le grand tabou (Paris, 1981), pp. 23, 25–6, 39–40.Google Scholar
  4. 10.
    J.-P. Apparu (ed.), La droite aujourd’hui (Paris, 1979), p. 273.Google Scholar
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    P. Chaunu, Le grand déclassement (Paris, 1989), pp. 45, 259.Google Scholar
  6. 17.
    F. Furet & D. Richet, La révolution française (Paris, 1986), p. 345.Google Scholar
  7. 18.
    F. Furet & M. Ozouf, Dictionnaire critique de la révolution française (Paris, 1988), pp. 200–2; Legrand, p. 329.Google Scholar
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    O. Le Cour Grandmaison, Les citoyennetés en révolution (Paris, 1992), p. 81.Google Scholar
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    C. Lévi-Strauss & D. Eribon, De près et de loin (Paris, 1988), pp. 15–16.Google Scholar
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    See F. H. & C. C. Lapointe, Claude Lévi-Strauss and his Critics (New York, 1977), which claims its bibliography is ‘as complete as is technically feasible’.Google Scholar
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    W. Harich, Kommunismus ohne Wachstum (Hamburg, 1975), pp. 63, 184–6.Google Scholar

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© Ian H. Birchall 1997

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