The stories fascist Europe tells itself, and how to correct them

Adam Ramsay - 4 December 2018

Fascists are obsessed with history. Their ideology is less a doctrine about the economy or the future and more a story about identity and the past. It is harvested from half-truths about great victories and cruel injustices, spun into national myths about superiority and struggle, and applied as a bandage to wounded egos in times of trouble. Fascism is a story learnt in childhood, and the fight against fascism is a battle for truth about the past.

In Hungary, the front line in that argument was, for a moment, led by Kálmán Sütö, the homeless former truck driver who sells the country’s street magazine outside the gold-plated national parliament. When Viktor Orbán’s government erected a monument to “the victims of the Nazis” not far from Kálmán’s patch, he made a placard: “Horthy was the biggest Nazi of them all!”, and signed it “Kálmán the historian”. The iconography of the memorial implies that Hungary as a whole was the victim, deflecting from the historical reality that under Miclós Horthy, the country was fascist in its own right.... See more

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