The catastrophe and holocaust brought about by the two powerful movements of fascism and national socialism will mark human life always. Now, as we feel our hatred for them, we find it difficult to understand how they could have been so powerful, how they could have appealed so strongly to millions of people of a modern age.
To understand our own times, it is necessary to understand these movements. And to understand them, we must read the basic philosophical and political documents which show the force of the ideas which moved a world to the brink of disaster.
This collection of readings has been selected to encourage students to clarify their thinking on social philosophy. They will accordingly need to determine whether the readings contain more or less coherent body of ideas which constitutes a social philosophy. They will also need to raise the more far-reaching question of whether the ideas are acceptable. To arrive at any satisfactory answer to this latter question, they will necessarily have to compare the ideas of fascism and their practical meanings with the alternatives, real and ideal, that are the substance of live philosophical issues.