Monday, November 30, 2009

Orwell: British v Nazi Imperialism

In this seminal essay, Orwell explains why he had decided to support the British cause in World War II, having originally opposed the conflict, which he regarded as a war between two imperialisms. He does not claim that the Nazi version of imperialism was worse than the British one, but he focuses on its sense of racial certainty, and shows how this makes Nazi imperialism more dangerous than the 'decadent' British form, because it makes the Nazis "completely merciless". Orwell does not demonize the Nazis here, yet he shows why, even in early 1940, an intelligent British writer could recognize how a virulent form of racism made a regime more dangerous than a merely a decadent late-imperialist regime.

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