slight return: coup plot

As a relief from all the Murdoch/Met filth, what about a slight return to last week’s coup plot? One of the oddest things about Technique of the Coup d’état is Malaparte’s judgment of individuals. The most famous example is the chapter on Hitler, who he thinks was too soft. Seriously – he argued that he lacked a genuine revolutionary aim and was obsessed by remaining at least roughly within the law. He also predicted that there would be more and more tension between the SA and the broader Nazi Party as the first wanted a revolution and the second increasingly cozied up to the establishment.

This was good as far as it went, although most of his predictions can be put down to a case of where-you-sit-is-where-you-stand. Most of the people he interviewed were SA members. No surprises there – he was a fascist who swung to the Left, was fascinated by paramilitarism, and did we mention the slightly gay touch? Not surprisingly, therefore, he got the story on the SA being increasingly alienated from the Party. And his point about Hitler getting closer to the Establishment was a good one, although he expected the Establishment to swallow Hitler up rather than vice versa. Neither did he spot that in fact, Hitler would be quite capable of carrying out a violent coup once he was in charge, in order to get rid of the SA leaders and terrorise the Establishment.

Few people did, though.

Another odd personal assessment is his take on Lloyd George, who he glosses as a boring bourgeois moustache rather than the radically modern and excitingly crooked politician surrounded by spin doctors and intelligence-administrative technicians who was occasionally thought to be a potential putschist himself.

Owt else? Nothing much, except it strikes me that his ideal putschist is a sort of heavily armed flaneur.


  1. In _Nemesis?_ Douglas Reed had a rather entertaining take on the mystery of Hitler – i.e. how somebody who didn’t seem to be a true believer, and certainly wasn’t one of the changing-room gang, could nevertheless be such an effectively evil bastard once in power. Reed – who was a Strasserite at a time when that meant something, i.e. an anti-Nazi *National Socialist* – had swallowed the line that Hitler’s ancestry was a bit dodgy if you looked into it. So why Kristallnacht and the Nuremberg Laws? Simple: he was over-compensating.

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