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Doing Medicine Together

Doing Medicine Together: Germany and Russia Between the Wars

Edited by Susan Gross Solomon
  • Book Info
    Doing Medicine Together
    Book Description:

    Of the many interwar connections between Germany and Russia, one of the most unusual - and least explored - is medicine and public health. Between 1922 and 1932, with high-level political support and government funding, Soviet and German physicians and public health specialists collaborated in joint research expeditions, published joint articles, launched a bi-lingual journal, and established joint research institutions. Surprisingly, students of Soviet-German relations have all but ignored this medical collaboration; while historians of science have treated it as political history, an exercise in cultural diplomacy designed to mitigate the impact of the post-war exclusion of both nations from the international science.

    The contributors to this volume, who come from Germany, Russia, Britain, the United States and Canada, depart from the traditional approach to the subject. Drawing on previously inaccessible archival materials, the authors move beyond politics to examine the impact of this collaboration on scientific activity. Contributors analyze aspects of the German-Russian collaboration often overlooked by students of cross-national science, including the choice of 'friends' across borders, the activities of scientific entrepreneurs, the tensions between bi-lateral and international science, and the migration of scientists. Treating Soviet-German medical relations as an instance of trans-national science lays bare its unique features. Ultimately,Doing Medicine Togetherraises new and important questions about the vaunted 'special' relation between Soviet Russia and Weimar Germany.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-7400-4
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Preface
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  5. Contributors
    (pp. xv-2)
  6. Introduction: Germany, Russia, and Medical Cooperation between the Wars
    (pp. 3-32)

    A photograph taken in Berlin in 1925 at a banquet to celebrate the founding of the bilingual German-Russian medical journalDeutsch-Russische Medizinische Zeitschrift / Russko-nemetskii meditsinskii zhurnalshows several dozen German and Russian scientists and government officials resplendent in evening dress and smiling broadly for the camera.¹ As with all photographs, the angle of the lens determines what is captured and what eludes our gaze. The connoisseur of photographic art may focus on the composition and aesthetic of the picture itself; for the historian, the photograph is a document to be set in a narrative frame and interpreted. Of what...

  7. Part One: ‘Choosing’ Scientific Friends

    • 1 German Overtures to Russia, 1919–1925: Between Racial Expansion and National Coexistence
      (pp. 35-60)

      German medical activity in Russia reveals a complex interplay of scientific ambitions and political agendas. In the crisis of defeat after the First World War, German medical officials polarized into two political camps – those seeking coexistence with the post-Versailles constellation of new states and supporting the Weimar Republic, and a rival group of Weimar imperialists, who fulminated at the ‘unnatural’ Versailles settlement. Both groups, each for its own reasons, clamoured for medical, scientific, and technical assistance for their eastern neighbours. Given that the Soviet Union was not party to the hated Treaty of Versailles, German medical influence in Russia was...

    • 2 Partners of Choice / Faute de Mieux? Russians and Germans at the 200th Anniversary of the Academy of Sciences, 1925
      (pp. 61-102)

      Academic anniversaries were never commemorated as frequently or as lavishly as during the Soviet era. The 200th anniversary of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) / Academy of Sciences of the USSR (AS USSR) was celebrated for ten days, from 5 to 14 September 1925, in both Leningrad and Moscow, and was the first in a series of such celebrations.*

      In contrast to other Soviet scientific rituals (such as public discussions, public critiques and self-critiques, and courts of honour), which were borrowed from party–state culture,¹ the tone of the anniversary performance was a child of pre-revolutionary times.² The ‘Anniversary...

    • 3 Leftists versus Nationalists in Soviet–Weimar Cultural Diplomacy: Showcases, Fronts, and Boomerangs
      (pp. 103-156)

      Within a few years of the stabilization of the Soviet regime, a core dilemma in communist relations with the outside world had crystallized: whether and how to cultivate both ideologically sympathetic ‘friends’ and influential yet politically distant ‘bourgeois’ allies. Soviet–Weimar cultural relations proved a formative test case for this thorny problem. The allure of the Soviet experiment in postwar Europe offered the emergent forces of Soviet cultural diplomacy invaluable opportunities to organize ‘friends of the Soviet Union’ – a rubric that included a broad range of non-communist sympathizers on the left. Of all the European countries, Soviet Russia in the...

  8. Part Two: Scientific Entrepreneurs across Borders

    • 4 How to Win Friends and Influence People: Heinz Zeiss, Boundary Objects, and the Pursuit of Cross-National Scientific Collaboration in Microbiology
      (pp. 159-198)

      How do scientists manage to work together across disciplinary, professional, occupational, or national boundaries? This question has been the object of intense scrutiny by historians and sociologists of science interested in clarifying the dynamics of scientific collaboration. These scholars have proposed a number of models.¹ Bruno Latour’sinteressementstheory foregrounds the role played by a powerful scientific entrepreneur who manipulates and controls diverse actors to carry out his or her scientific agenda.² Susan Leigh Star and James Griesemer, on the other hand, deploy the concept of ‘boundary objects’ to explain how diverse groups of scientific actors from distinct social worlds...

    • 5 ‘Creating Confidence’: Heinz Zeiss as a Traveller in the Soviet Union, 1921–1932
      (pp. 199-239)

      The past two decades have seen a veritable explosion of travel literature of all kinds. Yet, scientific travel has thus far been relatively underrepresented – this, even though some of the journeys that have marked the modern era most profoundly – those of Darwin and von Humboldt, for example – were undertaken in the name of science. As a genre, the travel account has its own advantages and disadvantages: what it adds in immediacy, it loses in objectivity. Analysed in tandem with other sources, accounts of scientists’ travels can provide valuable cross-cultural and cross-national insights. The disinclination to analyse scientific travel may well...

    • 6 Infertile Soil: Heinz Zeiss and the Import of Medical Geography to Russia, 1922–1930
      (pp. 240-290)

      In his book on the ambiguities of Weimar culture, written some thirty years ago, Peter Gay gave us the trenchant image of the ‘outsider’ as ‘insider.’¹ In the person of Heinz Zeiss,² we have a fascinating variant of what Gay was talking about. As a German in Russia, Zeiss was an outsider who relentlessly cultivated insider status. Within less than five years of his arrival, he had ‘gone native,’ taking the Russian name and patronymic Albert L’vovich (A.L. Tseiss); equally telling, in some of his publications (both Russian and German), he inverted the ‘we/ they’ distinction, writing ‘with us, in...

    • 7 The Scientist as Lobbyist: Heinz Zeiss and Auslandsdeutschtum
      (pp. 291-322)

      In the wake of the First World War, scientific and cultural exchange was an important component of the efforts to establish peaceful relations between Soviet Russia and Weimar Germany. Other contributors to this volume have discussed Heinz Zeiss’s scientific engagement. His role as the self-proclaimed representative of GermanKulturpolitik(cultural policy) in Soviet Russia is the subject of this chapter. In that role Zeiss not only cultivated relations with Russians but also acted as the protector of Germans living in Moscow and in settlements on the Volga River. Even before he left Germany, Zeiss had been involved in the cause...

  9. Part Three: Bilateralism and Internationalism

    • 8 Castor and Pollux in Brain Research: The Berlin and the Moscow Brain Research Institutes
      (pp. 325-368)

      Twins are special. Whenever we encounter them, we are drawn to their mixture of similarity and dissimilarity. The most famous twins in human history were the ‘Dioscuri,’ Castor and Pollux, the twin heroes of ancient Greek mythology, who have long enthralled the imagination because they were sired by different fathers: one was the son of the King of Sparta and thus mortal, the other the son of Zeus and thus immortal. In biology and the human sciences, especially in genetics, twins (Gemini or Gemelli) are a favoured object of study. They command our attention because of similarities in their disposition...

    • 9 Eugenics, Rassenhygiene, and Human Genetics in the Late 1930s: The Case of the Seventh International Genetics Congress
      (pp. 369-404)

      In the fall of 1936, nearly one thousand geneticists around the world were busily preparing for their seventh international congress, which was scheduled to meet in Moscow in August 1937. Suddenly, on 14 December 1936, theNew York Timesannounced: Moscow Cancels Genetics Parley.¹ Referring to ‘unofficial sources,’ the newspaper's Moscow correspondent reported that the Soviet government had cancelled the congress, that the congress’s president Nikolai Vavilov – together with another prominent Soviet geneticist, Isaak Agol – had been arrested,and that the congress's general secretary Solomon Levit was under attack by party officials for ‘holding German Fascist views on genetics.’ The report’s...

  10. Part Four: Scientific Migration to ‘the Other’

    • 10 Home Away from Home: The Berlin Neuroanatomist Louis Jacobsohn-Lask in Russia
      (pp. 407-461)

      The late nineteenth and early twentieth century was a time of lively scientific contact between Russia and Germany, especially in the natural sciences and medicine. Such contacts often began when Russian academics went to Germany to study. Having once made contact with their foreign colleagues, scientists from each country strengthened and broadened their ties abroad by attending conferences and publishing in one another’s countries. Since few Germans spoke Russian, the language was usually German. The First World War disrupted many of these contacts, but the 1920s saw an unprecedented peak in bilateral relations between Russia and Germany. The 1922 Treaty...

    • 11 Crossing Over: The Emigration of German-Jewish Physicians to the Soviet Union after 1933
      (pp. 462-500)

      Since the early 1990s there has been an outpouring of research on the forced emigration of Jewish professionals and scholars from Germany after 1933.¹ In the literature on the ‘unwanted,’ studies of German-Jewish émigré physicians have occupied a prominent place.² Some scholars have examined not only the fate of individual Jewish physicians but also the impact of their emigration on the specialties and institutions they left behind.³ Other scholars have tracked the flight of German physicians to such far-flung places as Britain, the United States, France, Sweden, Palestine, and also Egypt, Portugal, and Monaco,⁴ and explored how well they adapted...

  11. Index
    (pp. 501-534)
  12. Back Matter
    (pp. 535-535)