Conflicted Memories

Conflicted Memories: Europeanizing Contemporary Histories

Konrad H. Jarausch
Thomas Lindenberger
in collaboration with Annelie Ramsbrock
Copyright Date: 2011
Edition: 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 304
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  • Book Info
    Conflicted Memories
    Book Description:

    Despite the growing interest in general European history, the European dimension is surprisingly absent from the writing of contemporary history. In most countries, the historiography on the 20th century continues to be dominated by national perspectives. Although there is cross-national work on specific topics such as occupation or resistance, transnational conceptions and narratives of contemporary European history have yet to be worked out. This volume focuses on the development of a shared conception of recent European history that will be required as an underpinning for further economic and political integration so as to make lasting cooperation on the old continent possible. It tries to overcome the traditional national framing that ironically persists just at a time when organized efforts to transform Europe from an object of debate to an actual subject have some chance of succeeding in making it into a polity in its own right.

    eISBN: 978-0-85745-360-0
    Subjects: History, Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. ix-x)
    Konrad H. Jarausch and Thomas Lindenberger
  4. List of Acronymns
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Introduction Contours of a Critical History of Contemporary Europe: A Transnational Agenda
    (pp. 1-20)
    Konrad H. Jarausch and Thomas Lindenberger

    In the soapbox speeches of politicians, references to Europe have until recently functioned as an institutionalized appeal to overcome the nationstate. Intellectuals like the political scientist Jerzy Mackow have lent weight to this notion by calling for a ‘European idea’—which he aptly calls ‘Europeanism’—analogous to the development of nationalism during the nineteenth century. In order to build a common identity on the basis of history beyond ‘a bunch of national narratives and legends,’ he argues ‘the Europeans need to learn and understand European history.’¹ Even the past chairman of the Association of German Historians Johannes Fried warns that...

  6. Part 1 Contested Memories

    • Chapter 1 History of Memory, Policies of the Past: What For?
      (pp. 23-36)
      Henry Rousso

      According to common sense both within and beyond the boundaries of Europe, we more or less take for granted the existence of a European ‘culture’ or ‘civilization.’ In spite of geopolitical uncertainties, divergent points of view, and ideological discrepancies, this topos is firmly anchored in the collective imagination, even though it frequently gives rise to misunderstandings. Even the most chauvinistic of historians subscribe to this idea, out of either conviction or convenience. Moreover, several works have been written in recent years about the history of European institutions or organizations, and about the economic, social, and cultural history of European countries...

    • [Illustration]
      (pp. None)
    • Chapter 2 Communist Legacies in the ‘New Europe’: History, Ethnicity, and the Creation of a ‘Socialist’ Nation in Romania, 1945–1989
      (pp. 37-54)
      Dragoş Petrescu

      ‘Man is a complex animal who is tractable in some respects and intractable in others. Both the successes and the failures of our communist cases suggest that there is a pattern to this tractability-intractability behavior, that liberty once experienced is not quickly forgotten, and that equity and equality of some kind resonate in the human spirit.’ This is how Gabriel Almond concludes his study on communist political cultures focusing on the former Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia, and Yugoslavia, as well as on Cuba, Hungary, and Poland.¹ It may be argued that, apart from liberty, equity, and equality, the notions of social...

    • Chapter 3 Writing National Histories in Europe: Reflections on the Pasts, Presents, and Futures of a Tradition
      (pp. 55-68)
      Stefan Berger

      The rise of national identity discourses in Europe accompanied the growing professionalization and institutionalization of history writing in the nineteenth century. Consequently national history writing became, for about one century between 1850 and 1950, the dominant form of history writing across Europe. Of course, national history had been written long before the nineteenth century. Thus we can trace histories of England, for example, to medieval times.¹ And of course, national history continued to be a popular genre after the 1950s, in big nation-states as much as in smaller and reemerging or nascent nation states. National histories thus possess a long...

    • Chapter 4 Between Europe and the Nation: The Inward Turn of Contemporary Historical Writing
      (pp. 69-78)
      Pieter Lagrou

      As we all know, French contemporary history followed a very peculiar path. From 1789 until at least 1945, the French nation was deeply divided over the implications of the founding event of French contemporary history, the Revolution.¹ From Robespierre to Napoleon III, Captain Dreyfus, Charles Maurras, Léon Blum, and Philippe Pétain, the cleavage over the legacy of the revolution—les guerres franco-françaises—provides again and again the interpretational framework needed to understand French history. Not that 1945 was the end of it: the momentous changes of 1958, 1968, and 1981 served each time to underscore how, in some inscrutably French...

  7. Part 2 Multiple Conflicts

    • Chapter 5 War and Conflict in Contemporary European History, 1914–2004
      (pp. 81-95)
      John Horne

      The first half of the twentieth century was the most violent period in modern European history. War, revolution, civil war, and the deliberate displacement or destruction of entire ethnic and cultural communities characterized much of the continent from 1914 to the early 1950s. Thereafter, conflict was frozen in less lethal and more institutionalized forms until the final decade of the century, when the end of the Cold War was followed by the extraordinarily peaceful integration of Europe—a process that continues today. The exception has been the violent implosion of Yugoslavia.

      This theme presents particular challenges for both a European...

    • Chapter 6 In Search of a Transnational Historicization: National Socialism and its Place In History
      (pp. 96-116)
      Kiran Klaus Patel

      At first sight, any discussion about the need for a Europeanized perspective on Nazism seems to be superfluous. It is obvious that the Third Reich and the years leading up to it embrace events of European and even of world historical importance. Without the First World War and the Great Depression—two turning points not only in German, but also in European and even global history—the Nazis’ rise to power would have been quite improbable. At least as of 1933, Europe was eagerly observing developments within Germany that culminated in the most important and radical form of European fascism....

    • Chapter 7 The Origins of the Cold War in Eurasia: A Borderland Perspective
      (pp. 117-130)
      Alfred J. Rieber

      The present essay is an attempt to broaden the temporal, spatial, and social parameters of the origins of the Cold War by adding a third and fourth dimension in order to supplement the traditional two-dimensional approach that focuses on great-power rivalry and ideological combat in the twentieth century. The aim is to widen the overly narrow Eurocentric or Atlantic focus of previous studies and to expand the context of international politics. In a broader temporal-spatial or third dimension, the origins of the Cold War represent a phase in a prolonged struggle over the Eurasian borderlands that stretches back to the...

  8. Part 3 Transnational Interactions

    • Chapter 8 Europe as Leisure Time Communication: Tourism and Transnational Interaction since 1945
      (pp. 133-153)
      Thomas Mergel

      Ideas of European integration are mostly shaped by the image of an increasing merger of distinct states. In this process differences are dissolved to be finally subsumed into one coherent social and political space with one homogenous public sphere inhabited by actors who perceive each other as similar. This idea derives from the common experience of the nation- building process and its homogenizing effects since the nineteenth century: diverse societies built a common new form, where differences were largely extinguished. This perspective has not remained unchallenged: disapproving skeptics highlight the value of European plurality, which should not be pressed into...

    • Chapter 9 Integration from Below? Migration and European Contemporary History
      (pp. 154-163)
      Karen Schönwälder

      There is hardly any doubt that migration was a major factor that contributed to the reshaping of post-1945 European societies. Labour migration was a central component of the Fordist production system and a cornerstone of the ‘golden’ postwar decades, and migration was one factor that transformed social and demographic structures.¹ Furthermore, migration, flight, and expulsion constituted central experiences in many Europeans’ lives. For others, the denial of the opportunity to migrate across borders may have been a key experience. Nevertheless, in many general national histories migration is still largely neglected. Gérard Noiriel, referring to France, has attacked ‘collective amnesia’ and...

    • Chapter 10 Twentieth-Century Culture, ‘Americanization,’ and European Audiovisual Space
      (pp. 164-193)
      Marsha Siefert

      Since the Renaissance—or more especially since its historical appreciation—the idea of Europe has resonated with the idea of ‘Culture.’ Artists, writers, musicians, and their works circulated throughout Europe while imperial capitals and emerging nation-states built institutions to train, exhibit, and judge artists and their work. By the nineteenth century what could be called the European cultural space was global, as opera houses and theatres were built in colonial capitals and outposts from Buenos Aires to Hanoi, and as European educators and performers took ‘Culture’ to the far reaches of empire. Even before the First World War, however, several...

    • Chapter 11 Economics of Western European Integration? Proving the Benefits, 1952–1973
      (pp. 194-206)
      André Steiner

      The Europeanization of economic life is not a new phenomenon in recent history. Traders have consistently been connected throughout the various parts of Europe, and the emergence of the modern nation-state did not bring transnational economic activities to an end. The first multinationals emerged in Europe in the second half of the nineteenth century, and their economic importance further increased in the twentieth century. But the attempt to create a transnational economic area with supranational institutions was successful for the first time only after the Second World War. Western European integration began as an economic process with the Marshall Plan,...

  9. Part 4 Unfinished Political Processes

    • Chapter 12 A European Civil Society?
      (pp. 209-220)
      Hartmut Kaelble

      In recent years, the term ‘civil society’ has played an increasingly significant role in the language of the European Union. It is employed in speeches given by the president of the European Commission, in the much-discussed white paper on Governance in the European Union, and in debates about the European Constitution, as well as in the catalogue of research topics supported within the Sixth Framework Programme and in several hundred additional documents published by the EU. It is nevertheless still a matter of dispute whether a civil society has in fact emerged on the level of the European Union or...

    • Chapter 13 International Socialist Attempts at Bridge-Building in the Early Postwar Period
      (pp. 221-236)
      Örjan Appelqvist

      It is all too easy for historians to allow the Cold War division process of 1947–1948 to retroactively overshadow the tentative character of the apprehensions, projects, and choices guiding different political actors during the postwar planning period that spanned from the final phase of the Second World War and the immediate transition to conditions of peace. It is all too easy to forget the weight of history felt by European postwar planners at that time, realized primarily as fear: of a repetition of the economic chaos after the First World War, and of renewed German aspirations to avenge and...

    • Chapter 14 Nation Building in the Era of Integration: The Case of Moldova
      (pp. 237-253)
      Igor Caşu

      The term Southeastern Europe refers to the former Yugoslav republics (except Slovenia), Albania, Bulgaria, and Romania—territories that were under the Ottoman Empire for centuries, along with Greece. Most of the inhabitants of these territories, with the exception of Croatia, are Orthodox Christian. I include Croatia and leave out Slovenia because of the way in which Croatian nationalism evolved over the last century and a half. I also leave out Hungary, even though most of this country was a part of the Ottoman Empire for about two centuries. Hungary could be considered as a country peripheral to the Balkans ,¹...

  10. Postscript The Subject(s) of Europe
    (pp. 254-280)
    Michael Geyer

    Lewis Carroll’s Cheshire cat had a way of disappearing ‘quite slowly, beginning with the end of the tail, and ending with the grin, which remained some time after the rest of it had gone.’ This uncanny ability left behind a flummoxed Alice (‘I have often seen a cat without a grin . . . ; but a grin without a cat?’) and generated a major conundrum when the cat’s grinning head appeared on, of all places, the Queen’s Croquet Ground. In view of the intrusion, the king wanted the cat beheaded, because anything that had a head could be beheaded,...

  11. Selected Bibliography
    (pp. 281-288)
  12. List of Contributors
    (pp. 289-294)