Eric Hobsbawm (1917–2012)

by Andrew Stuttaford

The British historian Eric Hobsbawm has died.

I have written about this man on a few occasions, including this post in which I quoted writer Oliver Kamm:

According to the historian Robert Conquest, Hobsbawm was asked by Michael Ignatieff in a BBC interview in 1994: “What (your view) comes down to is saying that had the radiant tomorrow actually been created, the loss of 15, 20 million people might have been justified?” He replied: “Yes.”


 Moving to more recent panegyric, Hobsbawm remarks in On History (1997): “Fragile as the communist systems turned out to be, only a limited, even nominal, use of armed coercion was necessary to maintain them from 1957 until 1989.” He means the 27 Soviet divisions, 6,300 tanks and 400,000 troops sent into Czechoslovakia in 1968 to snuff out political reform.

De mortuis nil nisi bonum. So silence, for now.

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