Characterized by Siegfried Kracauer as "the first and last German film that overtly expressed a Communist viewpoint," Kuhle Wampe (1932) is also noteworthy for being the only film on which Bertolt Brecht collaborated from beginning to end, as well as for its controversial censorship in the tumultuous political context of the late Weimar Republic. When set against the background of the 1920 Motion Picture Law and the censorship of two other high-profile films—Sergei Eisenstein's Battleship Potemkin and Lewis Milestone's All Quiet on the Western Front—the political history of Kuhle Wampe highlights the indecisiveness, fragility, and fears of the German Left as the Nazis prepared to take power.
Intersections with Albert Friedlander
, 22, and Berliner Volks-Zeitung (19 February 1929), 2. 10 For a good account of the crime scene in the Weimar Republic and the early Nazi years, see Patrick Wagner, Volksgemeinschaft ohne Verbrecher: Konzeptionen und Praxis der Kriminalpolizei in
The Interdiscursive Qualities of Political Romanticism in the Weimar Republic
Christian E. Roques
interwar years would play a key role, as the Weimar Republic had been a time of such conceptual fluidity and innovation. Founded after a military defeat and a failed revolution and confronted in its short life with two major economic crashes and political
This article reviews an extensive study of Israeli secondary school general history curricula and textbooks since the establishment of the state in 1948 until the present day. By analyzing the way in which Germany is presented in various contexts, the findings of the study indicate that, while the textbooks reflect a shift from an early censorious attitude to a factual approach, the curriculum continues to present national Jewish Zionism as the metanarrative. In this context, Germany is framed as a victimizer.
A Movie Ban and the Dilemmas of 1920s German Propaganda against French Colonial Troops
In the early 1920s, Germany orchestrated an international propaganda campaign against colonial French troops stationed in the Rhineland that used the racist epithet “black horror on the Rhine,” and focused on claims of widespread sexual violence against innocent Rhenish maidens by African French soldiers, in order to discredit the Versailles Treaty. I argue that black horror propaganda fused elements of Allied propaganda—especially images of the barbaric “Hun”—with Germany's own wartime propaganda against colonial Allied troops. I use the significant film against colonial soldiers, Die schwarze Schmach (The Black Shame, 1921), to highlight the tensions and pitfalls of the German propagandistic strategy. As the debates over the film illustrate, black horror propaganda often had the effect of reminding audiences of German war crimes rather than diverting attention away from them. The ultimate ban of Die schwarze Schmach demonstrates the complex political nature of the 1920s backlash against atrocity propaganda.
The Thirtieth Anniversary of The Fall of the Berlin Wall and Unification
It sometimes seems that Germany is a country perpetually caught in the past. There are so many anniversaries that some sort of tracker is necessary to remember them all. Commemorations in 2019 included the seventieth anniversaries of the foundation of the Federal Republic and the formation of the NATO alliance, the eightieth anniversary of the outbreak of World War II, the 100th anniversaries of the Treaty of Versailles, the foundation of the Weimar Republic, and German women achieving the right to vote. In 2020, important commemorations include the seventy-fifth anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the 250th anniversaries of Beethoven’s and Hegel’s birth, as well as the 100th anniversary of the HARIBO company that invented gummi bears.
Gregory Smulewicz-Zucker, Timo Pankakoski, Burkhard Conrad, Henrik Björck, and Bogdan C. Iacob
Samuel Moyn and Andrew Sartori, eds., Global Intellectual History (New York: Columbia University Press, 2013), 342 pp.
Stefan Breuer, Carl Schmitt im Kontext: Intellektuellenpolitik in der Weimarer Republik [Carl Schmitt in context: The politics of intellectuals in the Weimar Republic] (Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 2012), 303 pp.
Olaf Bach, Die Erfindung der Globalisierung: Entstehung und Wandel eines zeitgeschichtlichen Grundbegriffs [The invention of globalization: Emergence and transformation of a contemporary basic concept] (Frankfurt and New York: Campus Verlag, 2013), 270 pp.
Anna Friberg, Demokrati bortom politiken: En begreppshistorisk analys av demokratibegreppet inom Sveriges socialdemokratiska arbetareparti 1919–1939 [Democracy beyond politics: An analysis of the concept of democracy within the Swedish Social Democratic Party 1919–1939] (Stockholm: Bokförlaget Atlas, 2012), 314 +  pp.
Victor Neumann and Armin Heinen, eds., Key Concepts of Romanian History: Alternative Approaches to Socio-Political Languages (Budapest and New York: Central European University Press, 2013), 516 pp.
How does one deal with diversity in an organization known to be hostile to it? Drawing on a Weberian perspective I present in this article one case occurring in actual historical practice: that of Inspector Bobkowski, a teacher, chief of the political education unit at the Berlin police academy and training center, and a hobby historian. With an eye to the case at hand as well as other efforts to deal with difference under the Weimar Republic encountered during my fieldwork, I attempt to uncover the motives underlying the action of officers who contributed to the promotion of diversity within the police force in Germany. Inquiring into their motives enables me to construct an ideal type of a “carrier of diversity,” which, I argue, shares affinities with a liberal agenda of civic equality.
Germans are inordinately preoccupied with the question of national integration. From the Kulturkampf to the Weimar Republic to the separation of East and West, social fractiousness is deeply ingrained in German history, giving rise to a desire to unify the "incomplete nation." Yet, the impulse to integrate German society has long been ambivalent. Between Bismarck and the Nazi interregnum, top-down efforts to force Germans to integrate threatened to erase valued differences. The twentieth anniversary of German reunification is the occasion to assess the reality of and ambivalence towards social integration in contemporary Germany. A review of economic and social measures of East-West, immigrant, and Muslim integration provides many indications of progress. Nevertheless, social cleavages persist despite political integration. Indeed, in some aspects, including in the party system, fragmentation is greater now than it was two decades ago. Yet successful social integration is a two-way street, requiring newcomers and oldtimers to interact. Integration of the European Union to some extent has followed this German path, with subsidiarity ensuring a decentralized social model and limited cohesion. German ambivalence about social integration is a major reason for the continuing social fragmentation of the society.
This article contextualizes the recent debates about German and European anti-Americanism by highlighting the paradoxical nature of such sentiments. Using examples from the Weimar Republic, Nazi Germany, and the postwar period, this article shows that anti-Americanism arose less from divergent cultural trends and perceived "value gaps," as many recent authors have argued. Rather, anti-Americanism should be seen as a measure of America's continued influence and success. After all, anti-Americanism more often than not went hand in glove with "Americanization." Frequently, anti-Americans, namely those who are voicing anti-Americanism, were products of cultural transfer-processes emanating in the U.S. They also saw themselves allied with American anti-establishment forces. Thus, to a degree, anti-Americanism can be seen as by-product of westernization. Although the focus of this article is on Germany, the argument about the complex web of repudiation and embrace can be observed in other European (or even African, Arab, Asian, or South American) contexts as well.