From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Revisionism is a word which has several meanings.
- Among historians, revisionism has traditionally been used in a completely neutral sense to describe the work or ideas of a historian who has revised a previously accepted view of a particular topic. This usage has declined in popular discourse because of the way the word has come to be used in recent years.
- Today the word revisionism has come to refer to historical revisionism, such as attempts by some historians and pseudo-historians to rewrite the history of the Jewish Holocaust so as to suggest either that it never happened or that it has been greatly exaggerated (see Holocaust denial). The best known of such writers is David Irving.
- A similar attempt at revisionism is the attempts by certain conservative Japanese factions to rewrite Japanese textbooks to deny or ignore the occurrance of a series of attrocities committed during December 1937-February 1938 by the Japanese Army in Nanjing, China in an incident known as the Rape of Nanking
- In the history of socialism, the word revisionist was used in the late 19th century to describe those writers, such as Eduard Bernstein and Karl Kautsky, who sought to revise the teachings of Karl Marx, mainly on the issue of whether a violent revolution was necessary to achieve socialism.
- In the 1940s and 1950s within the international Communist movement, revisionism was used to describe Communists who focused on consumer goods production instead of heavy industry, accepted national differences and encouraged democratic reforms. Revisionism was one of the charges leveled at national communists or Titoists in a series of purges beginning in 1949 in Eastern Europe. After Stalin's death revisionism became briefly acceptable in Hungary during Imre Nagy's government (1953-1955) and in Poland during Wladyslaw Gomulka's government, although neither Nagy nor Gomulka described themselves as revisionists.
- Following the Soviet repression of the Hungarian Revolution in 1956, many people, particularly intellectuals, resigned from western Communist parties in protest. They were sometimes accused of revisionism by "loyalist" Communists. E. P. Thompson's New Reasoner was an example of this revisionism. This movement eventually became known as the New Left.
- In the early 1960s, Mao Zedong and the Communist Party of China revived the term revisionism to attack Nikita Khrushchev and the Soviet Union over various ideological and political issues, as part of the Sino-Soviet split. The Chinese routinely described the Soviets as "modern revisionists" through the 1960s. This usage was copied by the various Maoist groups that split off from Communist parties around the world.
- In the history of Zionism, revisionism was the name used to describe the ideas of Vladimir Jabotinsky, who was accused of revising the tenets of Zionism as set down by its founder Theodore Herzl. Eventually Jabotisnky and his followers adopted the term and called themselves Revisionists (with a capital R). Today's Likud party is a direct descendant of the Revisionists.