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Beyond Left and Right

New Perspectives on the Politics of the Third Republic

Linda E. Mitchell

The articles in this issue all reflect on the various ways in which political trends during the period of the Third Republic have been categorized by both historians of the period and the political actors themselves. Ranging in topic from political trends in the French military in the years after the Dreyfus Affair to the participation of women in the politics of the extreme Right, these pieces focus especially on the need to transcend categories of Left and Right in order to discuss more accurately the ways in which the political party system developed, in particular during the years between the world wars.

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Henrik Åström Elmersjö and Daniel Lindmark

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.

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The Cold War in Swiss Classrooms

History Education as a “Powerful Weapon against Communism“?

Nadine Ritzer

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.

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Donald Reid

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.

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Rainer Baumann

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.

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Internalizing Europe

Albanian Perceptions of the Continent in Historical Perspective (1878-2008)

Adrian Brisku

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.

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Michael Provence

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.

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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.

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Market Forces, Political Violence, and War

The End of Nation-States, the Rise of Ethnic and Global Sovereignties?

Caroline Ifeka

In the post–Cold War era, political violence associated with wars of gain is key to economic and political transformations across nation-states.1 Under the ‘Pax Americana’ multinational corporations interacting in ‘old boy’ networks of the global capitalist class control armaments, oil production, and cyberspace. Industrial and military multinationals as well as global financial institutions, are extending their decision-making structures while becoming more concentrated; 2 there is a “hyperconcentration of (unregulated) economic and military power” predominantly Euro-American (Virilio 1997: 99). Global militarization legitimized in discourses of ‘protecting freedom’ secures world oil and gas resources for Euro-American and Sinic industrial use, promotes corporate profits, and supports the post-2000 Pax Americana. The Pax’s ‘command and control’ system seeks to checkmate Muslim control of 60 percent of world crude oil supplies by destroying ‘rogue’ regimes and investing in multinational corporations exploiting oil, diamonds, coltan, and other (finite) industrial resources in non-Muslim controlled African states (Meacher 2003). Preparation for total war is economic war.

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Gendering Grief

Lamenting and Photographing the Dead in Serbia, 1914–1941

Melissa Bokovoy

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.