History as a school subject has been a thorny issue for advocates of peace education at least since the 1880s. Efforts, including the substitution of cultural history for military history, have been made to ensure that history teaching promotes international understanding, not propagates chauvinism. The Norden Associations of Scandinavia, which were involved in textbook revision since 1919, achieved some success by altering contents, but national myths remained central to each country's historical narrative, making it difficult to give history education its desired international orientation.
Henrik Åström Elmersjö and Daniel Lindmark
History Education as a “Powerful Weapon against Communism“?
The Cold War had a variety of impacts on Swiss schools. This article focuses on how schools, and especially their history curricula, became the vehicle with which to launch a “National Spiritual Defense“ (Geistige Landesverteidigung) against Communism. During the Cold War era, especially in the 1950s and 1960s, teachers' journals and textbooks analyses revealed tendencies connected to a heroic, teleological master narrative of Switzerland's national history. The “cultural memory“ (Assmann) was seemingly designed to strengthen the “Swiss spirit.“ It also provided patterns from which to explain the ongoing Cold War conflict. In the 1970s, educators and politicians assigned the schools the new task of assisting in national military defense efforts.
Since March 2011, Syrian citizens have challenged their government through street protests and, more recently, armed confrontations. Both the protest movement and the government’s response to it have their roots in the recent past. This article examines the contours of the last decade, and events in Syria since 2011, to understand the origins of popular protest and the origins of the Syrian government’s largely military response. Protest and dissent appeared after Bashar al-Assad came to power in 2000. The government’s response to such protest was not predetermined, but was rather the result of specific governing structures and political choices made by state elites.
James Ryan Anderson
In a little more than a decade, Germany’s role in international affairs—
particularly from a military perspective—has radically changed. Whereas
German participation during the Persian Gulf War of 1991 was
basically limited to providing financial support to the international
coalition led by the United States, by the end of 2001, German soldiers
were operating under combat conditions in the United Nations peacekeeping
mission to Afghanistan. During (and even before) this transition,
little attention has been devoted to the German Bundestag’s
constitutional role as overseer of executive foreign affairs activities.
When German foreign policy is being described, a reference to multilateralism
is rarely ever omitted. Together with Westbindung, restraint
in using military force, and a trading-state orientation, Germany’s
preference for multilateral settings is recognized as one of the central
elements of its foreign policy. In recent years, a number of studies
have shown that, in contrast to realist expectations from the early
1990s, the more powerful unified Germany has continued to embrace
this multilateralism. This applies to Germany’s willingness to bind
itself to NATO and other European and Euro-Atlantic security institutions,
1 to Germany’s policy within and vis-à-vis the EU,2 and to its
foreign policy on a global scale.
Albanian Perceptions of the Continent in Historical Perspective (1878-2008)
This article argues that post-socialist Albanian myths and images surrounding the concept of Europe need to be considered from a triadic dimension of (geo)politics, modernities, and cultural identity as well as within a larger historical perspective of the modern Albanian political and intellectual landscape. Seen from a perspective stretching from the late nineteenth century to the present, a triadic Europe appears pluralistic with continuous as well as contested images and narratives. Yet, behind these images and narratives stands one constant understanding of the continent: a political and military power and prosperously untamed marketplace through which Albanians have attempted to navigate their modern existence.
With roots in the transformation of France during and after the Algerian War, the opposition by the farmers of Larzac and their largely urban allies throughout France to the expansion of a military camp into their lands is an emblematic event in the broad 1968 stretching a decade on either side of that year. It was particularly significant at Larzac, where a community of resistance remains today. Drawing on progressive Catholic thought and a new representation of the paysan, the conflict resonated in a France negotiating the terrain of a post-colonial era, a new relationship between the rural and the urban, and the feminist expectations of many supporters.
Indonesia seems perpetually condemned to “live in interesting times,” as the famous Chinese curse goes. The past decade has seen the country attract global notoriety as a land of recurrent economic shocks, ethnic conflicts, terrorist bombings, separatist rebellions, and natural catastrophes. Political authorities have appeared too corrupt and inept to respond effectively. Thus, when Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY), a retired general, scored a landslide victory in Indonesia’s first-ever direct presidential election in September 2004, the political rise of a military man was widely portrayed as a small blow for stability in a highly unstable nation.
Lamenting and Photographing the Dead in Serbia, 1914–1941
This article is part of a larger research project on the political, cultural, and social implications of interwar Yugoslavia’s remembrance and mourning of its war dead. Es- chewing a focus on state-centered commemorative practices, this article focuses on two types of sources, laments of Serbian women and photographs by Serbian military photographers, as entry points into understanding the private, cultural, and religious arenas of Serbian wartime and interwar remembrances. Drawing on research examining the political uses of lament and grief, the article considers the role Serbian women played in controlling and directing the “passion of grief and anger” within their communities as they remembered the dead. The photographic evidence reveals that traditional death rituals and laments were performed and that these rituals were significant socio-political spaces where women, families, and communities of soldiers advanced claims for recognition of their wartime experiences and memories. However, the photographs themselves are sites of memory and this article examines how military photographers, acting on behalf of the state, sought to control the representation of grief and by doing so politicized and secularized the way grief was expressed. Placing these sources side by side illustrates the intermingling of forms of mourning and remembrance that existed not only in the Balkans, but also in many other communities throughout Europe, especially among its rural inhabitants.
Siberia and New France to 1760
David N. Collins
Eminent historians in Canada have contended that pioneer societies often experience marked sexual imbalance in their early stages, having far fewer women than men. Certain Soviet historians tended to deny the existence of such a problem in Siberia. Since the two regions match each other in many ways (they enjoy similar geographical conditions, were settled by European peoples at roughly the same historical period for analogous purposes and were both governed in a centralised military/bureaucratic fashion), an investigation was undertaken into the reasons for Canadian and Soviet disagreements over the issue. Concentrating on the period of earliest exploration and settlement, before large-scale British immigration, the study predominantly compares Russian settlement in Siberia with its French equivalent in New France. Data from both sides make it quite clear that in the early stages there were fewer women than there were men, that the imbalances were overcome during a century or more in regions where agriculture was possible, but persisted in more northerly territories or unstable military zones. The sources from which women came were: interbreeding with indigenous peoples, government attempts to provide women for male settlers and rapid natural increase, with the probability that more female than male offspring survived. Clear parallels exist between the Siberian and Canadian experience, despite the cultural, economic and political differences. Soviet denials of an early imbalance seem to have been dictated by a need to prove that the USSR had never experienced colonialism of the type characteristic of the European empires.