The Imperialist Character

Review of Politics 12/3 (July 1950): 303-20.

Used in The Origins of Totalitarianism, Part 2.


Of the two main political devices of imperialist rule, race was discovered in South Africa and bureaucracy in Algeria, Egypt and India; the former was originally the hardly conscious reaction to tribes of whose humanity European man was ashamed and frightened, whereas the latter was a consequence of that administration by which Europeans had tried to rule foreign peoples whom they felt at the same time to be hopelessly their inferiors and in need of their special protection. Race, in other words, was an escape into an irresponsibility where nothing human could any longer exist and bureaucracy was the result of a responsibility that no man can bear for his fellow man and no people for another people.

Review of Politics