This article is a discussion of the relationship of Berlin and Vienna as cultural capitals. It acknowledges the distinctive Austrian cultural and intellectual traditions yet is based on the realization that the unique achievements and traditions as well as the public standing of these two cities can only be fully understood within the larger confines of German culture where they constituted a polarity, effectively confirming its diverse and regional character. Discussing this polarity necessarily leads beyond the strictly national definitions of culture that became part of German politics, especially under Nazi rule. And it leads beyond the stereotypes about the competition between Prussia and Austria, between the Wilhelmine Reich and the Habsburg Monarchy, a political competition whose significance for cultural identities was arguably smaller than what historians projected. Though not eclipsing other city rivalries such as those between Berlin and Munich, Berlin and Hamburg, Vienna and Budapest, the polarity of Vienna and Berlin seems to have become a crucial ingredient in labeling German culture multifaceted and blessed with alternatives.
As illuminated by the contemporary Jewish press and the texts of Jewish sermons, many British Jews were initially deeply ambivalent about going to war on the side of Czarist Russia, with its legacy of recent pogroms, against Germany and Austria, both with emancipated Jewish communities. Jews in the west were reassured by reports that the Russian Jews had been uplifted by a wave of patriotic enthusiasm, expressed in massive numbers of volunteers for the Czarist army. For many weeks in the autumn of 1914, articles in the Jewish press featured the bravery and devotion of Russian Jewish soldiers, some of whom were rewarded by high military honours, amid claims that even Russian anti-Semites were re-thinking their assumptions. In dramatic contrast comes the report of a Russian Jewish soldier who suffered a breakdown when he heard the words Sh'ma Yisra'el from the lips of an Austrian soldier he had just fatally bayoneted. The beginning of the Great War exposes the clash of these themes: sacrificial patriotic identification by Jews with the war effort of their own countries, and the international solidarity of the Jewish people being painfully subverted by Jews fighting in opposing armies. The story - perhaps something of an 'urban legend' - would be re-told in many different contexts and literary expressions.
Maria Bucur, Alexandra Ghit, Ayşe Durakbaşa, Ivana Pantelić, Rochelle Goldberg Ruthchild, Elizabeth A. Wood, Anna Müller, Galina Goncharova, Zorana Antonijević, Katarzyna Sierakowska, Andrea Feldman, Maria Kokkinou, Alexandra Zavos, Marija M. Bulatović, Siobhán Hearne, and Rayna Gavrilova
, and Apple. Nancy M. Wingfield, The World of Prostitution in Late Imperial Austria , Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017, xvi +272 pp., $80 (hardback), ISBN: 978-0-19880-165-8. Book review by Siobhán Hearne School of Modern Languages
William Collins Donahue, Holocaust as Fiction: Bernhard Schlink's “Nazi“ Novels and Their Films(New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010)
Reviewed by Margaret McCarthy
Theodor W. Adorno, Guilt and Defense: On the Legacies of National Socialism in Postwar Germany, edited, translated, and introduced by Jeffrey K. Olick and Andrew J. Perrin (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2010)
Reviewed by Gregory R. Smulewicz-Zucker
Friedrich Pollock, Theodor W. Adorno, and Colleagues, Group Experiment and other Writings: The Frankfurt School on Public Opinion in Postwar Germany, edited and translated by Andrew J. Perrin and Jeffrey K. Olick (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2011).
Reviewed by Jan Boesten
Gabriele Mueller and James M. Skidmore, eds. Cinema and Social Change in Germany and Austria(Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2012).
Reviewed by Sabine von Mering
Christopher J. Fischer, Alsace to the Alsatians? Visions and Divisions of Alsatian Regionalism, 1870-1939(New York: Berghahn Books, 2010)
Reviewed by Jennifer A. Yoder
Whither race? Physical anthropology in post-1945 Central and Southeastern Europe
Although research on the history of physical anthropology in Central and Southeastern Europe has increased significantly since the 1990s the impact race had on the discipline's conceptual maturity has yet to be fully addressed. Once physical anthropology is recognized as having preserved inter-war racial tropes within scientific discourses about national communities, new insights on how nationalism developed during the 1970s and 1980s will emerge, both in countries belonging to the communist East—Hungary, Bulgaria, and Romania, and in those belonging to the West—Austria and Greece. By looking at the relationship between race and physical anthropology in these countries after 1945 it becomes clear what enabled the recurrent themes of ethnic primordiality, racial continuity, and de-nationalizing of ethnic minorities not only to flourish during the 1980s but also to re-emerge overtly during political changes characterizing the last two decades.
I was a child of about twelve years when in 1936 following the never-ending discriminatory legislation in the wake of the 1935 so-called Nuremberg Laws, it was decreed that Jews must return their weapons or medals from the First World War.1 No way was my father, although a life-long pacifist, willing to hand over his mementos of that dreadful war. And so I was allowed to witness how my parents retrieved an iron cross, a number of medals, among them incidentally one from the king of Bulgaria and the emperor of Austria who were German allies in the First World War, and in particular his cavalry sword, from a large trunk in the vast loft of our flat, wrapped them in what I think must have been a blanket, to ditch them later that night in the River Spree.
A Book Review Essay
Albert H. Friedlander
When I travelled to Vienna in May, I carried Hella Pick’s new book in my shoulder pack. I needed it. Schizophrenia and paranoia are registered citizens there, which is only natural. After all, Freud, Jung, and Frankl found it the perfect place for their practice, even if they themselves were infected by Austria. (I think here of an incident which happened many years ago. Rabbi Dow Marmur wrote Viktor Frankl and asked him to speak in London. No reply. He phoned the great psychiatrist. ‘You spelled my first name with a c and my last name with an e,’ said the great man; ‘I will not come.’ And he hung up.) The hang-ups continue. As my taxi passed the statue of the great general, the driver turned to me and said in all seriousness: ‘We need another Prinz Eugen to save us from the Turks!’ I could not agree.
Alon Confino, Paul Betts and Dirk Schumann (eds.) Between Mass Death and Individual Loss: the Place of the Dead in Twentieth-Century Germany (New York: Berghahn Books, 2008)
Reviewed by Ran Zwigenberg
Hanna Papanek, Elly und Alexander: Revolution, Rotes Berlin, Flucht, Exil—eine Sozialistische Familiengeschichte, trans. Joachim Helfer and Hannah C, Wettig (Berlin: Vorwärts Buch, 2006).
Reviewed by Gerard Braunthal
Dolores L. Augustine, Red Prometheus: Engineering and Dictatorship in East Germany, 1945-1950 (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2007)
Reviewed by Thomas A. Baylis
Tom Dyson, The Politics of German Defense and Security: Policy Leadership and Military Reform in the Post-Cold War Era (New York: Berghahn Books, 2007)
Reviewed by Gale A. Mattox
Rolf Steininger, Austria, Germany and the Cold War: From the Anschluss to the State Treaty, 1938–1955 (New York: Berghahn Books, 2008)
Reviewed by Barbara Stelzl-Marx
Jytte Klausen, The Islamic Challenge. Politics and Religion in Western Europe (Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press, 2005).
Reviewed by Joyce Mushaben
David Art, The Politics of the Nazi Past in Germany and Austria (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006)
Reviewed by Antonis Ellinas
Michael Bernhard, Institutions and the Fate of Democracy: Germany and Poland in the 20th Century (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2005))
Reviewed by John Bendix
Brian Rathbun, Partisan Interventions: European Party Politics and Peace Enforcement in the Balkans (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2004).
Reviewed by Charles King
Judd Stitziel, Fashioning Socialism: Clothing, Politics and Consumer Culture in East Germany (New York: Berg, 2005).
Reviewed by Catherine Plum
Cindy Skach, Borrowing Constitutional Designs: Constitutional Law in Weimar Germany and the French Fifth Republic, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2005).
Reviewed by Michael Bernhard
Learning from the Weimar experience, the founding fathers of the
Federal Republic eliminated the chance of a renewed institutionalized
conflict between the head of state and the federal government
through the creation of the Basic Law [Grundgesetz ]. They primarily
strengthened the power of the chancellor and his cabinet by introducing
the “constructive” vote of no confidence and abolishing the
principle of individual ministerial responsibility, while also reducing
the position of the federal president to a mere representative head of
state. With these clear-cut constitutional arrangements it is not surprising
that Germany has not been among the number of west European
democracies (such as Italy or Austria) for which issues
regarding the power of heads of state have occupied a rather prominent
position on the political agenda of the 1990s.