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A War of Words over an Image of War

The Fox Movietone Scandal and the Portrayal of French Violence in Algeria, 1955-1956

Emma Kuby

During the Algerian War, films and published photographs documenting brutalities committed by French forces were exceedingly rare, due to censorship and strict controls on journalistic access to the military. However, a dramatic exception to this state of affairs came at an early moment in the war, after a Fox Movietone cameraman captured footage of a French gendarme as he summarily executed an Algerian with a bullet in the back. When the journal L'Express printed frames from the film in December 1955, a scandal ensued that implicated the sitting government in Paris and stoked French anti-Americanism. This article explores the reasons for the scandal, its anatomy, and its longer-term implications for French representations of the violence of the Algerian conflict. It argues that widespread French assumptions about the appropriateness of France's role in Algeria ultimately served to neutralize the story told by the images, even as they were recognized as incontrovertible evidence of atrocity.

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The Firedrake

Local Society and Train Transport in Zhejiang Province in the 1930s

Ding Xianyong

The Hangzhou-Jiangshan railway across Zhejiang province was built in the early 1930s, connecting the mountainous interior to the coastal area. The construction in the context of military strategy enjoyed high government attention and was implemented with personnel and a workforce brought into the area. Drawing on literary writings, archival documents, and oral histories, this article traces the range of attitudes, reactions, and activities among the inhabitants of rural towns and villages in the area of Quzhou and Jinhua as well as migrants who had left for cities such as Shanghai and Hangzhou. The name “redrake” created by locals captures attitudes of mingled apprehension in the fact that a dragon, which is always associated with water, becomes a re-creature; curiosity and excitement in the association with dragon lantern processions; and practical usefulness in the closeness to the train that is literally a “re-vehicle” in Chinese.

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Participation without Deliberation

The Crisis of Venezuelan Democracy

Nicole Curato

The legacy of Hugo Chavez is contentious. Some lament the deterioration of Venezuelan democracy from one of Latin America's most stable political systems to a populist authoritarian regime. Others celebrate Chavez's participatory project of institutionalizing structures for community-driven development, redistributing oil wealth through welfare policies, and creating a political party closely linked to mass movements. This article provides an alternative assessment of Venezuela's democratic quality by drawing on deliberative democratic theory. I argue that Chavez's participatory project is incomplete because it fails to create structures for deliberative politics. Without these mechanisms, Venezuela remains vulnerable to crises brought about by “uncivil action,” such as military coups and violent protests, making deliberation an important component in averting crises in democratizing polities.

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Stephen Kalberg

The disagreement between Germany and the United States over the

war in Iraq was massive. During the winter of 2002, many observers

spoke of a long-term rift between these longstanding allies and a

total loss of credibility on both sides. No one can doubt, regardless

of recent healing overtures,1 that the German-American partnership

has been altered and significantly weakened. It has suffered a blow

far more damaging than those that accompanied past conflicts over,

for example, Ostpolitik, the neutron bomb, the Soviet gas pipeline,

the flow of high technology products to the Soviet Union, the imposition

of trade sanctions in 1980 against the military government in

Poland, the stationing in the late 1970s of middle-range missiles on

German soil, and the modernization of short-range missiles in 1989.

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Peter H. Merkl and Leonard Weinberg, eds., Right-Wing Extremism in the Twenty-First Century (London and Portland: Frank Cass, 2003).

Reviewed by David Art

Daniel Ziblatt, Structuring the State: The Formation of Italy and Germany and the Puzzle of Federalism (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2006).

Reviewed by John Bendix

Nina Berman, Impossible Missions? German Economic, Military and Humanitarian Efforts in Africa (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2004)

Reviewed by Jutta Helm

Louise K. Davidson-Schmich, Becoming Party Politicians: East German State Legislators in the Decade following Democratization (Notre Dame: Notre Dame University Press, 2006)

Reviewed by Laurence McFalls

Frank Biess, Homecomings: Returning POWs and the Legacies of Defeat in Postwar Germany (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2006)

Reviewed by Brian E. Crim

Kathleen James-Chakraborty, ed., Bauhaus Culture. From Weimar to the Cold War (University of Minnesota Press 2006)

Reviewed by Anja Baumhoff

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Dirk Hoerder

Bordered nation-state approaches are increasingly challenged and they rarely hold up under critical questioning. In this essay I discuss the cultural interactions across Central Europe that preceded the nineteenth-century development of national consciousness and—for many only after 1918—independent states. I argue that identities based on religion, profession or craft, administrative or military expertise characterized people more than those founded on ethnocultural/regional origin during the various migrations of the period. A dual outward-inward perspective focuses on the influence of German-speakers in other parts of Europe and on men and women from other cultures in the core German-language regions. I carry the story up to the 1930s and I argue that transregional and transcultural approaches are empirically sounder than transnational ones. It follows that migrant destinations also need to be addressed as micro- or macro-regions—the several distinct locations in Eastern, East Central, and Southeastern Europe, for example—rather than in terms of states.

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Bill Niven

This article provides an interpretation of Josef Vilsmaier's two-part television feature film, Die Gustloff (2008), which depicts the sinking of that ship in January 1945. It argues that Vilsmaier, at the expense of historical fact, pins blame for the fateful decisions that led to the ship being vulnerable to attack on the Navy, while simultaneously seeking to exculpate and even glorify the Merchant Navy representatives on board. Die Gustloff seeks to distinguish between a “bad” captain and a “good” one, between hard-hearted military indifference and uncorrupted civilian decency in the face of the plight of German refugees. Generally, in its portrayal of the civilian as a realm untainted by Nazism, it seeks to resist trends in contemporary historiography that show such distinctions to be untenable. It is thus deeply revisionist in character, and, in many ways, represents the nadir of the “Germans as victims” trend in contemporary German culture.

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The Better Part of Stolen Valour

Counterfeits, Comedy and the Supreme Court

David Currell

Shakespeare uses the classical comic archetype of the miles gloriosus (braggart soldier) to probe social and ethical issues regarding military honour. These issues are still with us. This article takes as its point of departure the US Supreme Court’s 2012 decision finding the Stolen Valor Act of 2005 unconstitutional on free speech grounds. This high-profile case, centring upon a latter-day avatar of Falstaff or Pistol, suggests both continuity and change in how militarist societies address the challenge of distinguishing true and counterfeit valour. Shakespeare’s Henry IV plays and Henry V, like the Supreme Court opinions, stage a contest between classical epic ideologies of honour and comic recuperations of the coward or braggart. These literary and legal discourses are further contextualized through historical anecdote and Aristotle’s account of courage and cowardice. The Aristotelian figure of the alaz¯on (impostor) creates a complex interplay between ethics and poetics which plays out in theatre and courtroom alike.

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A Camp for Foreigners and “Aliens”

The Harkis' Exile at the Rivesaltes Camp (1962–1964)

Jeannette E. Miller

The French government placed 20,000 of the approximately 100,000 harkis repatriated to France following the Algerian War in the Rivesaltes camp. Located in rural French Catalonia, it had previously lodged foreigners and French citizens whom the government removed from society. The decision to house the harkis in this camp, made during summer 1962 as the French government extricated itself from its 132-year empire in Algeria, symbolized that they were aliens: Berber and Arab repatriates, nearly all of whom obtained French nationality shortly after they arrived in France, were targeted by government housing policies that distanced them from public view. The camp's architecture, living conditions, isolation from French citizens, military oversight, and “reeducation” classes, beyond functioning as powerful symbols, reinforced—and contributed to—the government's treatment of the harkis as aliens. Over the twenty-seven months it remained open, Rivesaltes fostered an exilic existence for these harkis and socially excluded them from French society.

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Cora Sol Goldstein

In December 1945, less than six months after the unconditional defeat of the Third Reich and the military occupation of Germany, two anti-Nazi German intellectuals, Herbert Sandberg and Günther Weisenborn, launched the bimonthly journal, Ulenspiegel: Literatur, Kunst, und Satire (Ulenspiegel: Literature, Art and Satire), in the American sector of Berlin. Sandberg, the art editor, was a graphic artist. He was also a Communist who had spent ten years in Nazi concentration camps—the last seven in Buchenwald. Weisenborn, a Social Democrat and the literary editor, was a playwright, novelist, and literary critic. He had been a member of the rote Kapelle resistance group, was captured and imprisoned by the Gestapo in 1942, and was liberated by the Red Army in 1945.