Cover Osteuropa 6-8/2017

In Osteuropa 6-8/2017

The founding of freedom
Hannah Arendt and the theory of revolution

Helmut König

Deutsche Fassung


The October Revolution was intended to liberate Russia from Czarist rule, and led to the establishment of a totalitarian order. In her book about the American and French revolutions, Hannah Arendt presents a theory of the failure and success of revolutions. When the revolutionaries see themselves as executors of a legitimacy of progress, or when the revolution promises to fulfil basic human needs, then it willl lead to tyranny rather than freedom. This applies to France in 1789, to Russia in 1917, and to all states in which the alleged revolutionaries incite attacks on democratic institutions in the name of the people.

(Osteuropa 6-8/2017, pp. 185–209)