Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte theorized Napoleonic Caesarism between 1832 and 1844, although he was only a child at the fall of the First Empire. He took into account the embedding of Napoleonic supporters in the broad-ranging Liberal party during the Restoration. Through personal relationships, he was particularly influenced by officers who bent the First Empire's doctrine towards liberalism during the Hundred Days and who engaged in national and liberal actions. In this respect, the fight for the unification of Italy was paramount. The new social networks (secret societies) and the events he himself took part in (such as central Italy's revolution of 1831) particularly inspired him. By taking up weapons, moreover, he appropriated the image of being his uncle's legitimate heir. That is why two generations of officers, including Italian officers, must be considered as transmitters of an inheritance that Louis Napoleon used to reflect on his Napoleonic legacy.
In the aftermath of unification, the loss of job security and other forms of social support under East Germany's comprehensive (if increasingly inefficient and corrupt) system of welfare state paternalism, coupled with a newfound dependence on West German financial largesse, not only disoriented former East Germans, but also led to pressures on them to repress their past experiences of solidarity and distinctiveness. Schultze Gets the Blues, the critically acclaimed box office hit from director Michael Schorr, relates the story of a retired mineworker and accordionist for a town band in the economic backwaters of eastern Germany who undergoes a lifechanging conversion to the Cajun folk music of Zydeco. Drawing from Joseph Roach's notion of surrogation and Cornel West's articulation of an African-American tragic sensibility, this article casts Schultze in the role of a postunification mediating figure reconciling East German solidarity and localism with West German individualism and multiculturalism.
In German public perceptions, right-wing populism is cast as a specifically east German problem. This article critically examines how this assumption is located within the debate on German unity. In order to clarify the sometimes-confusing arguments on German unification, two paradigmatic perspectives can be identified: German unity can be approached from a perspective of modernization, or through the lens of postcolonial critique. When it comes to right-wing populism in eastern Germany, the modernization paradigm suffers from a lack of understanding. Hence, the arguments of the postcolonial perspective must be taken seriously, particularly as the postcolonial reading can grasp the complex phenomenon of right-wing populism in east Germany, and prevent the discursive and geographic space of the region from being conquered by right-wing political actors.
Felix Philipp Lutz
German political culture has been undergoing gradual but significant changes since unification. Military engagements in combat missions, the introduction of a professional army, and a remarkable loss of recent historical knowledge mostly within the younger generations are hallmarks of the new millennium. Extensive education about the Holocaust is still prevalent and there is a strong continuity of attitudes and orientations toward the Nazi era and the Holocaust reaching back to the 1980s. Nevertheless, a lack of knowledge about history-not only the World War II period, but also about East and West Germany-in the age group of people under thirty is staggering. The fading away of the generation of victims who are the last ones to tell the story of persecution during the Holocaust and a parallel rise of new actors and technologies, present challenges to the educational system and the current political culture of Germany.
Ireneusz Pawel Karolewski, Julian Pänke, and Jochen Roose
Germany’s role in Europe and the world is changing fundamentally. For about five decades West Germany’s and reunited Germany’s position was very much aligned with the European integration project.
Despite its hegemonic potential, Germany defined its role as a partner of the other EU member states. Within the EU framework and globally, it mostly acted jointly with European partners, particularly France. Although Germany’s situation altered significantly after unification, it still refrained from exercising its increased power and was rather seeking the role of a “gentle giant.” This was largely the case despite some exceptions, such as the unilateral recognition of Croatian and Slovenian independence in the early 1990s, and criticism that Germany might tend to single-handed foreign policy—the “Alleingang.”
Our Summer issue features three articles on key aspects of German
politics and society. Belinda Cooper analyzes yet another angle of the
thorny Stasi problem, in this case the role and presence of women
in the Stasi. Placing her discussion in the larger context of women
in East Germany, Cooper has fashioned a nuanced, meticulously
researched argument about an issue that remains pertinent in the
debate on Germany, women, unification, and the country’s complex
past. John Bendix and Niklaus Steiner provide a new epistemological
prism for the evaluation of Germany’s much discussed problem of
political asylum. They address this difficult topic in the context of
existing approaches in comparative politics and international relations,
featuring the notion of “national interest” in their presentation.
Ludger Helms then offers a fascinating study of an often-neglected
institution of German politics: that of the federal presidency since
1949. After a careful reading of this article, it is evident that the German
presidency deserves more attention in the future research
agenda of political scientists than it has garnered in the past.
Thomas M. Lekan, Imagining the Nation in Nature: Landscape Preservation and German Identity, 1885-1945 (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2004)
Review by Geoff Eley
Eli Nathans, The Politics of Citizenship in Germany: Ethnicity, Utility and Nationalism (Oxford/New York: Berg, 2004)
Review by Tobias Brinkmann
Kolinsky, Eva, and Hildegard Maria Nickel, eds., Reinventing Gender: Women in Eastern Germany since Unification (London, Portland: Frank Cass, 2003)
Review by Katrin Sieg
William Glenn Gray, Germany's Cold War: The Global Campaign to Isolate East Germany, 1949-1969 (Chapel Hill/London, 2003)
Review by Clay Clemens
Peter C. Caldwell, Dictatorship, State Planning, and Social Theory in the German Democratic Republic (Cambridge and New York, 2003)
Review by Henry Krisch
Patrick Stevenson, Language and German Disunity: A Sociolinguistic History of East and West in Germany, 1945 – 2000 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002)
Review by Heidi Byrnes
Stuart Taberner and Frank Finlay, eds., Recasting German Identity: Culture, Politics, and Literature in the Berlin Republic (Rochester: Camden House, 2002)
Review by Kris Thomas Vander Lugt
Abraham L. Newman
Since the end of World War II, scholars have attempted to make sense of Germany's insistent multilateralism. Many concluded that this sacrifice resulted from a deeply ingrained political identity that stressed international cooperation and shunned parochial national politics. More recently, however, German leadership has suggested a willingness to weaken its role as global altruist and reassert its interests in Europe and abroad. This article argues that core German attitudes towards regional and global cooperation have changed. But rather than a shift to "national self-interests," I argue that the unification process elevated long-held beliefs about policy conservatism and caution that now compete with the postwar multilateral policy frame within the foreign policy elite. In addition to the pro-European, multilateralist agenda, a second powerful lesson of the interwar period emphasized the dangers associated with sudden change and the benefits of incrementalism. Owing to the uncertainty associated with sociopolitical events, decision makers must rely on their beliefs about how the world works to guide their decisions. To explore the relationship between beliefs and Germany's regional policy, the paper examines the government's regional response to the post 2008 financial crisis and the banking crisis in Eastern Europe.
Helmut Peitsch and Joanne Sayner
This article examines two chapters from Martin Sabrow's 2009 edited volume Erinnerungsorte der DDR, one on antifascism and one on Buchenwald. These two case studies exemplify the complexities of the contemporary German memorial landscape. In particular, they thematize the remembrance of the Nazi past in the German Democratic Republic and how this GDR past has, in turn, been tendentiously remembered since unification. By examining the layering of memories in these two chapters, we argue that the theoretical models which often underpin contemporary German memory work, Sabrow's volume included, serve to obscure the role of the state as carrier of official memory. On the basis of this study, we show that concepts dominant in today's Germany promote a unified national narrative. In particular, terms such as the “culture of memory” (Erinnerungskultur) and cultural memory (kulturelles Gedächtnis) downplay conflicting, contentious and diverse memories relating to the GDR past. As such, the article provides a timely note of caution for memory studies and memory work, which increasingly applies these models to wider, non-German contexts.
Les échanges entre intellectuels français et hispano-américains au début du vingtième siècle
At the beginning of the twentieth century, numerous Hispano-American writers, who were often also diplomats, arrived in Paris. They established contact with French intellectuals, mainly academics, and participated actively in French intellectual life. The exchanges between these Hispano-American and French intellectuals were based on a common identification with Latinism, a pan-nationalistic ideology developed in Europe and Latin America since the nineteenth century and calling for unification of all “Latin” peoples. Hispano-American elites and intellectuals, looking for a way to federate all Latin-American countries against the power of the United States, and seeking a rapprochement with France for political and cultural reasons, largely supported pan-Latinism. As for their French intellectual partners, eager to reinforce their country's global influence, they conveyed the pan-Latin ideology in the framework of their efforts to promote French cultural presence in Latin America. During the Great War, these cultural and intellectual initiatives concerning pan-Latinism drew the attention of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, leading to their integration in the newly created French international propaganda mechanism.