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Fascination and Enmity

Fascination and Enmity: Russia and Germany as Entangled Histories, 1914–1945

MICHAEL DAVID-FOX
PETER HOLQUIST
ALEXANDER M. MARTIN
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt5hjskg
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    Fascination and Enmity
    Book Description:

    ussia and Germany have had a long history of significant cultural, political, and economic exchange. Despite these beneficial interactions, stereotypes of the alien Other persisted. Germans perceived Russia as a vast frontier with unlimited potential, yet infused with an "Asianness" that explained its backwardness and despotic leadership. Russians admired German advances in science, government, and philosophy, but saw their people as lifeless and obsessed with order.Fascination and Enmitypresents an original transnational history of the two nations during the critical era of the world wars. By examining the mutual perceptions and misperceptions within each country, the contributors reveal the psyche of the Russian-German dynamic and its use as a powerful political and cultural tool.Through accounts of fellow travelers, POWs, war correspondents, soldiers on the front, propagandists, revolutionaries, the Comintern, and wartime and postwar occupations, the contributors analyze the kinetics of the Russian-German exchange and the perceptions drawn from these encounters. The result is a highly engaging chronicle of the complex entanglements of two world powers through the great wars of the twentieth century.

    eISBN: 978-0-8229-7810-7
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. 1 Introduction: ENTANGLED HISTORIES IN THE AGE OF EXTREMES
    (pp. 1-12)
    Michael David-Fox

    The notion of theSonderverhältnis, or special relationship between Russia and Germany, is a distorting lens through which to look at relations between these countries—not to mention the broader cultures and civilizations they represented. This is true even for the period for which it was coined, when the fledgling Weimar Republic and the new Soviet regime began an uncomfortable alliance and period of intensive cultural and scientific interchange in the 1920s but in many realms were neither exclusive partners nor allies entirely by choice.¹ However, the notion of a special relationship is quite apt when thinking about the two...

  2. 2 “A Belgium of Our Own”: THE SACK OF RUSSIAN KALISZ, AUGUST 1914
    (pp. 13-38)
    Laura Engelstein

    The geneva convention of 1864 and the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907 defined international standards for the just conduct of war and the proper treatment of civilians. From the first days of fighting in 1914, the belligerent powers accused one another of ignoring them.¹ Press campaigns against “enemy atrocities” were designed to stir patriotic emotion; governments employed commissions and experts to document the enemy’s misdeeds.² Their findings justified war crimes charges presented at Versailles in 1919. The political motivation behind such claims and the lurid terms in which they were often couched led skeptics at the time and in...

  3. 3 United by Barbed Wire: RUSSIAN POWS IN GERMANY, NATIONAL STEREOTYPES, AND INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, 1914–1922
    (pp. 39-58)
    Oksana Nagornaya

    During world war i and the revolutionary turmoil in Central and Eastern Europe, Russian prisoners of war (POWs), 1.5 million strong and thus the largest group of enemy officers and men in German camps, became one of the few points of contact between Russia and Germany and an important channel by which each country could seek to influence the other. Presented in a variety of ways, the image of the POW became a popular propaganda theme in both countries. Domestically, it was used to dehumanize the enemy and enforce discipline on the home front. Internationally, it served to bolster one’s...

  4. 4 Iron Revolutionaries and Salon Socialists: BOLSHEVIKS AND GERMAN COMMUNISTS IN THE 1920S AND 1930S
    (pp. 59-82)
    Bert Hoppe

    When osip piatnitskii met German worker representatives for the first time in Berlin before World War I, the Bolshevik underground fighter experienced a veritable culture shock. In his memoirs published in 1927, the future Comintern functionary described his astonishment at what he confronted in Germany: “When I first came to a meeting and saw the well-dressed gentlemen sitting at the table with beer steins, I thought I had come to a meeting of the bourgeois, since I had never met such workers in Russia. But it was, in fact, a party meeting.”¹

    A comparable feeling of estrangement was reciprocated by...

  5. 5 Back from the USSR: THE ANTI-COMINTERN’S PUBLICATIONS ON SOVIET RUSSIA IN NAZI GERMANY, 1935–1941
    (pp. 83-108)
    Jan C. Behrends

    Joseph goebbels’s speech of 13 September 1935 on “communism unmasked,” held at the party “rally of freedom” that introduced the antisemitic legislation of the “Nuremburg laws,” marked the starting point of a propaganda campaign against the USSR that lasted until the rapprochement between the dictatorships in the summer of 1939.¹ Anticommunism was the dominating theme of the Nazi party’s rally. Before the assembled faithful in Nuremburg, speakers that included Adolf Hitler and Alfred Rosenberg emphasized the need to struggle against the Bolshevik threat. In his speech, the Third Reich’s propaganda minister started by refuting the claim of the British press...

  6. 6 Return to Soviet Russia: EDWIN ERICH DWINGER AND THE NARRATIVES OF BARBAROSSA
    (pp. 109-122)
    Peter Fritzsche

    Virtually unknown today, Edwin Erich Dwinger (1898–1981) emerged as one of the most popular German authors in Nazi Germany thanks to his firsthand accounts of his encounter with Russia in the years 1915–1920. He almost single-handedly produced the knowledge that Germans had of the Soviet Union on the eve of Germany’s 1941 invasion—otherwise German readers relied on accounts of Napoleon’s campaign 129 years earlier.¹ Together Dwinger’s books sold two million copies, making him a rich man, financially stabilizing the renowned Eugen Diederich’s publishing house, and feeding Dwinger’s thwarted ambition to compose the literary epic of National Socialism’s...

  7. 7 “The Diaries of Fritzes and the Letters of Gretchens”: PERSONAL WRITINGS FROM THE GERMAN-SOVIET WAR AND THEIR READERS
    (pp. 123-153)
    Jochen Hellbeck

    On 12 june 1941, ten days before the German invasion of the Soviet Union, Vitalii Stekolʹshchikov, a 19-year-old graduate of the Riazanʹ artillery school, was deployed from Riazanʹ to western Ukraine. In letters to his girlfriend Anna (“Ania,” “Anʹka,” “Annushka”) Panfilova, he reported on his trip, which took him through the capital (“Hello, my snub-nose! Ardent lieutenant greetings from Moscow!” [12 June]) and Kiev (“We are sitting in a restaurant, having a little beer. With nothing to do, we are remembering Riazanʹ, and I’m all with you, my dear” [14 June]) to Zhitomir, from where he reported on 18 June...

  8. 8 Ehrenburg and Grossman: TWO COSMOPOLITAN JEWISH WRITERS REFLECT ON NAZI GERMANY AT WAR
    (pp. 154-175)
    Katerina Clark

    After the german invasion in 1941, World War II became a major, if notthemajor, topic of Soviet literature. Among the countless fictional works on the war, however, those by Ilya Ehrenburg (Ilʹia Erenburg) and Vasilii Grossman emerge as distinctive in one particular respect, their cosmopolitan perspective. I say cosmopolitan in the sense that although both writers, like the typical Soviet war novelist, sought to convey the experience of Russians going through World War II, their horizon of reference was not essentially defined by Soviet space but encompassed a cosmopolitan, or more precisely, a European perspective. Given that most...

  9. 9 The Intelligentsia Meets the Enemy: EDUCATED SOVIET OFFICERS IN DEFEATED GERMANY, 1945
    (pp. 176-227)
    Oleg Budnitskii

    Major lev kopelev entered East Prussia on a Ford truck. There were no markers, so he had to distinguish the border himself: “It had already been agreed earlier: as soon as we crossed the border, we would mark it in an appropriate fashion. Having stopped precisely on the line according to the map, I commanded, ‘Here is Germany, get out and relieve yourselves!’ It seemed witty to us, standing right next to the cuvette, to mark the initial entry into enemy territory in precisely this way.”¹

    Germany welcomed Vladimir Gelʹfand, the commander of a mortar platoon, in an ungracious manner,...

  10. 10 Mortal Embrace: GERMANS AND (SOVIET) RUSSIANS IN THE FIRST HALF OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY
    (pp. 228-240)
    Dietrich Beyrau

    This book spotlights episodes from the primarily confrontational relationship between Germany and (Soviet) Russia in the first half of the twentieth century. The multifaceted historiography to which it has given rise has significance beyond the specific context of the relationship itself, because the two countries’ history and their ties with each other are paradigmatic cases of threats from within and aberrant developments that face modern societies.¹

    After World War II, there were two approaches—both of them decisively influenced by the Cold War but potent nonetheless—to the causes and phenomena of National Socialism and Stalinism. From the field of...