Nationalism and Authoritarianism in Interwar Europe: Contemporary Lessons?

Pedro T. Magalhães

Research output: Conference materialsAbstract


This article is a study on the reactionary appropriation of the concept of nation in interwar Continental Europe. It shows how this takeover occurred in political theory by examining the writings of two key thinkers on the right, Carl Schmitt (1888-1985) and Eric Voegelin (1901-1985), and placing them in the broad interwar political as well as in their specific intellectual contexts. The article discusses Schmitt’s engagement with the idea of nation in some of his most famous works, such as The Crisis of Parliamentary Democracy (1923) and Constitutional Theory (1928), and it unearths a portion of Voegelin’s interwar intellectual output that, for the most part, remained unpublished in the author’s lifetime and has thus far been virtually ignored by the secondary literature. It argues that, albeit through different routes, both authors drained the idea of a national political community from its democratic potential and surrendered it to the emerging strongmen of political reaction. In the conclusion, the paper draws some lessons from this episode in intellectual history to the analysis of contemporary developments within European nationalisms.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2019
MoE publication typeNot Eligible
EventEurope as a Global Actor : International Conference - ISCTE-Instituto Universitário de Lisboa / Universidade Autónoma de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal
Duration: 8 May 201910 May 2019


ConferenceEurope as a Global Actor
Abbreviated titleEGA 2019
Internet address

Fields of Science

  • 517 Political science
  • Europe as a Global Actor

    Pedro T. Magalhães (Speaker: Presenter)

    8 May 2019

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesOrganisation and participation in conferences, workshops, courses, seminars

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