Contemporary European History 24 (2015), 1

Contemporary European History 24 (2015), 1
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Organization name
Contemporary European History
United Kingdom
Fritsche, Jana

Contemporary European History covers the history of Eastern and Western Europe, including the United Kingdom, from 1918 to the present.

Table of contents



The Soviet Bloc's Answer to European Integration: Catholic Anti-Germanism and the Polish Project of a ‘Catholic-Socialist’ International
Contemporary European History , Volume 24 , Issue 01 , February 2015, pp 1 – 36
doi: 10.1017/S096077731400040X (About doi) Published Online on 19th January 2015
This article explores an attempt by one Polish organisation – known until 1952 by the name of its weekly journal Dziś i Jutro, thereafter as PAX – to assemble a ‘Catholic-socialist’ international in the decade following the Second World War. This transnational project was predicated on co-operation across the Iron Curtain by Catholic thinkers and activists opposed to the rearmament and incorporation of (West) Germany into an integrated European community. The project's author Wojciech Kętrzyński deployed a discourse of protecting the ‘human person’ based on the prioritisation of global peace. Polish encounters with francophone Catholic activists from across Western Europe – especially with the French journal Esprit – bred serious intellectual engagement across the Iron Curtain at the level of Catholic philosophy and theology. Paradoxically, however, these activists accepted that the dignity of the human person would be best served by transnational anti-Germanism, at the price of complicity with – or outright participation in – Stalinism. The self-styled Catholic-socialist project thus failed, yet, surprisingly, it failed neither immediately nor completely. It thus reveals that possibilities existed throughout the cold war – even at the height of Soviet-bloc Stalinism – for intellectual, cultural and political exchanges and partnerships across the Iron Curtain.

Claiming Ethnic Privilege: Aromanian Immigrants and Romanian Fascist Politics
Contemporary European History , Volume 24 , Issue 01 , February 2015, pp 37 – 58
doi: 10.1017/S0960777314000411 (About doi) Published Online on 19th January 2015
Large numbers of Aromanian immigrants in Southern Dobruja joined the fascist Legion of the Archangel Michael during the early 1930s. Deterritorialised by population transfers and state-building in Greek Macedonia, they reterritorialised themselves as ethnic Romanians ‘coming home’ to colonise Southern Dobruja. This article situates the Aromanian turn to fascist politics within the problems they faced during migration. It argues that Aromanians used fascism to assert their identities as Romanians and to claim ethnic privileges that had been denied them as immigrants.

The Origins and Myths of the Swedish Model of Workplace Democracy
Contemporary European History , Volume 24 , Issue 01 , February 2015, pp 59 – 82
doi: 10.1017/S0960777314000423 (About doi) Published Online on 19th January 2015
In 1976 Sweden adopted a law on workplace democracy, presented by the Social Democratic government as the ‘reform of the century’. What can the reform tell us about the history of the Swedish Model and how it was revised during the early 1970s under the prime minister, Olof Palme? This article compares four grand narratives of the development of welfare states, viewing dominant narratives of the Swedish Model as influential myths in their own right. The article argues that despite its global reputation as a hallmark of ‘democratic socialism’, the Swedish workplace democracy reform was a broad cross-class compromise, in the wake of a pan-European wave of similarly labelled reforms. Furthermore, the reform served to protect workplaces against Communist activism. The argument builds on the internal meeting protocols of the board and executive committee of the Swedish Social Democratic Party.

How Udo Wanted to Save the World in ‘Erich's Lamp Shop’: Lindenberg's Concert in Honecker's East Berlin, the NATO Double-Track Decision and Communist Economic Woes
Contemporary European History , Volume 24 , Issue 01 , February 2015, pp 83 – 103
doi: 10.1017/S0960777314000435 (About doi) Published Online on 19th January 2015
The concert given by the West German rock star Udo Lindenberg in East Berlin on 25 October 1983 links cultural, political, diplomatic and economic history. The East German regime had banned performances by the anti-nuclear peace activist and musician since the 1970s, but eventually allowed a concert, hoping to prevent the deployment of American nuclear missiles in West Germany. In allowing this event, however, East Germany neither prevented the implementation of the NATO double-track decision of 1979 nor succeeded in controlling the political messages of the impertinent musician. Desperate for economic aid from the West, East Germany decided to cancel a promised Lindenberg tour in 1984, causing widespread disillusionment among his fans in the country.

The Othered Irish: Shades of Difference in Post-War Britain, 1948–71
Contemporary European History , Volume 24 , Issue 01 , February 2015, pp 105 – 125
doi: 10.1017/S0960777314000447 (About doi) Published Online on 19th January 2015
The main goal of this paper is to consider white Irish immigrants within the context of immigration of colour in post-war Britain. It considers the similarities in the imperial-historical reasons for the immigration of mostly poor rural workers from the West Indies, South Asia and Ireland. The discussion explores the experiences of both white and non-white immigrants in London and Birmingham up to 1971, comparing all three groups but focusing on Irish immigrants. I aim to append the Irish experience to analyses of post-war immigration, which tend to focus on non-white Commonwealth immigrants from the West Indies and South Asia. By exploring the Irish experience, I question existing scholarship which suggests Irish immigrants assimilated into post-war Britain free of the ethnic tensions and difficult conditions that migrants of colour indisputably endured. I also demonstrate the degree to which British historians have disregarded the experiences of Irish people in Britain.

Review Articles

The Return of the New Woman and Other Subjects of Weimar Gender History
Contemporary European History , Volume 24 , Issue 01 , February 2015, pp 127 – 137
doi: 10.1017/S0960777314000459 (About doi) Published Online on 19th January 2015
After a drought of more than a decade, a substantial group of recent works has begun revisiting Weimar gender history. The fields of Weimar and Nazi gender history have been closely linked since the field was defined thirty years ago by the appearance of the anthology When Biology Became Destiny: Women in Weimar and Nazi Germany. Following a flurry of pioneering work in the 1980s and early 1990s, few new monographs were dedicated to investigating the questions posed in that formative moment of gender history. Kathleen Canning, the current main commentator on Weimar gender historiography, in an essay first published shortly before the works under review, found that up to that point the ‘gender scholarship on the high-stakes histories of Weimar and Nazi Germany has not fundamentally challenged categories or temporalities’. Weimar gender, meanwhile, has been intensively analysed in the fields of cultural, film, and literary studies. The six books discussed in this essay reverse these trends, picking up on the central question of how gender contributed to the end of the Weimar Republic and the rise to power of National Socialism. In addition, four of the books concentrate solely on reconstructing the dynamics of gender relations during the Weimar period itself in their discussions of prostitution, abortion and representations of femininity and masculinity. Is emerging gender scholarship now shaping larger questions of German early twentieth-century history? How are new scholars revising our view of the role of gender in this tumultuous time?

Recent Studies on the 1989 Revolutions in Eastern Europe and on the Demise of the Soviet Union
Contemporary European History , Volume 24 , Issue 01 , February 2015, pp 139 – 150
doi: 10.1017/S0960777314000460 (About doi) Published Online on 19th January 2015
Why did the Soviet Union disintegrate? What made the 1989 revolutions in ‘Eastern Europe’ possible and why were they not crushed? What appeared as the logical consequence of Gorbachev's perestroika to many observers at the time – and has indeed been painted as such by quite a few historians – turns out on closer inspection to have been far more complex.

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