Hitler, the Hotel Guest
Fifteeneightyfour » European History
by Adam Bisno
6M ago
Luggage tag from the Hotel Kaiserhof, ca. 1910 In February 1931, two years before he became chancellor, Adolf Hitler checked in to Berlin’s Hotel Kaiserhof and made it his headquarters in the capital. The building soon swarmed with Nazis, who transformed the clientele overnight. Jewish custom evaporated. Business suffered. A year and a half later, with revenues in freefall, the hotel’s parent company needed to act. Its board, majority Jewish, took up the issue at a meeting on September 15, 1932. The question facing them: What are we going to do about Hitler? And in this case Hitler didn’t stan ..read more
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Thinking Empire with Leo Baeck
Fifteeneightyfour » European History
by Yaniv Feller
7M ago
Leo Baeck arriving to La Guardia – ©Leo Baeck Institute New York White-bearded and dignified, Leo Baeck disembarked an airplane in New York’s La Guardia airport in January 1948. The seventy-four year-old rabbi came to preach in the United States as part of the American Jewish Cavalcade, a religious revival program of the Reform movement. As the former official leader of German Jewry under Nazism and a survivor of Theresienstadt Ghetto, Baeck became a symbol of moral clarity, religious conviction, and the legacy of German Jewry. Some called him “a saint in our time,” others “the pope of the Ger ..read more
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Rebuilding Intellectual Life After The First World War
Fifteeneightyfour » European History
by Tomás Irish
8M ago
Students and professors being fed with Commonwealth Fund donation in Innsbruck, June 1921. Hoover Institution Archives In late 1920 Vienna, an old café basement, recently used as a storeroom for coal, was transformed; long tables, covered in white linen and decorated with flowers, were set up, and 170 people dined there daily. This was the scene at the intellectual kitchen of the University of Vienna, a site where, in the midst of famine conditions where one scholar described feeling like ‘a worm crawling round a dung heap’, academics dined with their peers exclusively, with no places set ..read more
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The Grey Zones of Empire
Fifteeneightyfour » European History
by Leonard V. Smith
11M ago
A generic narrative of decolonization has informed how we think about the history of empire. According to this narrative, a colonized people gradually becomes conscious of its predicament. Through this consciousness, it empowers itself eventually to throw off the colonizer. The imperial domain thus “decolonizes.” The central argument of French Colonialism from the Ancien Régime to the present is not so much that the decolonization narrative is wrong, but that it does not tell us everything we need to know about the history of empire. It leaves out “grey zones” that help explain both the durabi ..read more
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When War Knocks on the Door: What Do Civilians Do?
Fifteeneightyfour » European History
by Claire Andrieu
1y ago
WW2 Comparative History from Below Written by Claire Andrieu Unlike the objects of its title, the subject of this book did not fall from the sky. I did not set out to write a comparative history of the reception of downed airmen in Britain, France and Germany during World War II. The story of When Men Fell from the Sky. Civilians and Downed airmen in Second World War Europe is firstly the story of discovering a treasure trove of overlooked archives. In 1997 I contributed to a special issue of Le Mouvement Social on the French Resistance. I called my article “Les résistantes. Perspectives de re ..read more
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Atmos(fears): The Gas Mask in Interwar Germany
Fifteeneightyfour » European History
by Peter Thompson
1y ago
I grab for my gas-mask…Gaaas-Gaaas- I call…my helmet falls to one side, it slips over my face…I wipe the goggles of my mask clear of the moist breath…These first minutes with the mask decide between life and death: is it tightly woven? I remember the awful sights in the hospital: the gas patients who in day-long suffocation cough their burnt lungs up in clots. Cautiously, the mouth applied to the valve, I breathe. In the above lines from All Quiet on the Western Front, the renowned German war novelist Erich Maria Remarque introduced his readers to gas attacks in the western trenches of World W ..read more
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Politics of Sexual Violence?
Fifteeneightyfour » European History
by Péter Bokody
1y ago
The HBO series Game of Thrones is perhaps the most recent expression of the general view that the Middle Ages were rape-prone. Humiliation and exploitation of female (and male) characters repeatedly come together with direct sexual violence, which is only partially reframed through a series of revenge-sequences in the last season. The cinematic quality of the series contributes significantly to its success and consequently to the stereotypical perception of gendered violence. Although such sensationalist reconstructions are rightly considered simplifying, it is perhaps important to revisit som ..read more
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Purging Nazism from German Society
Fifteeneightyfour » European History
by Mikkel Dack
1y ago
For thousands of years, wars have generally ended in the same way: a military invasion is followed by a decisive victory or negotiated ceasefire. Treaties are signed, territories seized, and reparations procured — the invading army leaves. To avoid the same failures of the Treaty of Versailles (1919), the victorious Allied armies took additional measures after the Second World War. They would remain in Germany for an extended period of time and endeavour to change the very way the enemy thinks. To preserve peace in Europe, Nazism and militarism were to be isolated and purged from German societ ..read more
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We Are All Migrants
Fifteeneightyfour » European History
by Jan Plamper
1y ago
I had done twenty-odd discussion events around my book in East Germany, but this was something else. “If they start disturbing, or if things turn violent, just push the red button and the police will come,” said the representative of the local antiracist citizen group that had invited me to Chemnitz, pointing to a contraption underneath the rostrum. I had come to understand that pro-migrant activists were fighting an uphill battle against neo-Nazis in many parts of Eastern Germany, that I would never get invited to the towns where the extreme right was all-dominant, that it was a good sign if ..read more
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How Intelligence Becomes Policy
Fifteeneightyfour » European History
by Susan McCall Perlman
1y ago
For four decades now, historians have lamented intelligence as the “missing dimension” of diplomatic history and international relations, the lack of relevance afforded “long-term intelligence experience to current policy,” and the consequent dearth of sophisticated analyses of how intelligence influences relations between states.[1] My book, Contesting France: Intelligence and US Foreign Policy in the Early Cold War, seeks to address this void by examining the genesis of American perceptions of France through focus on the intelligence that drove US responses to the crisis in France at the end ..read more
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