some of his earlier statements about Hitler and Mussolini (though he was not the only contemporary outside observer to be impressed by them), and his admiration for Stalin remained virtually unwavering. In an interview during World War II in answer to the question "Whom do you think is the greatest man this war has yet produced?" Shaw replied "Stalin, of course." Such was the effectiveness of Russian propaganda that Stalin continued to be widely regarded, throughout World War II and beyond, as the benevolent figure affectionately known as "Uncle Joe." Dukore might reasonably argue that investigation of the complex subject of Shaw's attitude to twentieth-century totalitarian leaders was outside his brief. But in reading a book about Shaw's treatment of "tricks of the governing class," it is difficult not be reminded of the painful (to Shaw admirers) subject of his failure adequately to condemn the brutality and political deceptions that characterized the totalitarian regimes that flourished in the last three decades of his life. The distance between Shaw, the creator of delightfully witty and humane comedies and writer of wonderfully entertaining, kindly, and generous letters, and the sometimes disturbingly callous commentator on world affairs in his later years
SHAW The Annual of Bernard Shaw Studies – Penn State University Press
Published: Sep 17, 2013
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