The Anti-Catholic Origins of Anti-Communism
Udi Greenberg, Associate Professor of European History, Dartmouth College, and Visiting Scholar at the Berkeley Center for the Study of Religion
The Christian campaign against secular Communism was a defining phenomenon in Europe’s modern history. Over the last few years, scholars have begun to uncover its many roots—especially in anti-Semitism—and to chart the vast intellectual production and political mobilization it inspired. This talk will add to this burgeoning work by exploring the role of Protestant anti-Catholic polemics in shaping anti-secularism. I will show how crucial anti-Catholic tropes from the late nineteenth century, according to which Catholicism denied free will and enslaved individuals psychologically, resurfaced as a crucial anti-Communist trope in the twentieth century. By tracing this genealogy, I will investigate how intra-religious concepts were utilized to explain allegedly secular movements.
Udi Greeberg is an associate professor of European history at Dartmouth College. He is the author of the prize-winning The Weimar Century: German Émigrés and the Ideological Foundations of the Cold War (Princeton University Press, 2015), as well as many articles on European thought and politics. He has also written for The New Republic, The Nation, Dissent, Boston Review, and other publications.