do not mention the war

Posts Tagged ‘Russia’

Ernst Nolte 1923 – 2016

In History on August 19, 2016 at 09:00

The historian Ernst Nolte who passed away this week aged 93 was one of Germany’s most prominent historians. Aged 40 he published research comparing Italian Fascism, Russian Stalinism and German National Socialism. He not only instigated research into Germany’s recent troubled past but also opened the path for comparative history. This was ground breaking in the 1960s and fitting for the decade that saw Germany leaving the post war period and commencing a debate about the period between 1933 and 1945.

Ernst Nolte came to fame again in the 1980s when he postulated that the German Holocaust was nothing but a reaction to the Russian Gulag system. While there were similarities: the Gulag and the concentration camps were camps in which conditions certainly were not human. Yet the Holocaust is an entirely different matter. People died under the harsh conditions but more importantly people were murdered following a murderous plan executed in industrial fashion. It needed a sophisticated plan to organise genocide on such a scale.
By arguing that the German Holocaust was only a reaction to the Russian Gulag system, Nolte started a debate in Germany that has become known as the Historikerstreit, the historians controversy.

While the 1960s were a decade in which Germany faced its own history, the 70s were a decade of unrest and the 80s a decade of restoration. The argument about the Holocaust came a year after Federal President Richard von Weizsäcker made it clear that the end of the war was a liberation for Germany and Germans. When Nolte published his synthesis in 1986 he immediately saw himself in the centre of a debate about Germany’s history. Once again it was a vital debate. Despite his point of view, we have to be thankful for Nolte that he initiated the historians controversy. That will be his legacy.

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How to build a team: Handball

In Britain, Olympics, Sport on July 31, 2012 at 12:56

Britain is a country that is dominated by football, cricket and rugby. Add tennis, golf and the sporting calendar for many sporting enthusiasts is full to the brim. Interestingly, indoor sports are not featuring on this list. For the London Olympics Britain for the first time field a men’s handball team. If they manage to win a medal is doubtful. The women’s team is a far more interesting story as the team consists of players ‘assembled’ from all over Europe. Read the rest of this entry »

History is playing football at EURO 2012

In Anglo-German Relations, England, Football, Germany, History on June 6, 2012 at 10:27

It’s just about a few days until EURO 2012 will kick off in Poland and the Ukraine and for three weeks the footballing gravity centre will be between Warsaw and Kiew. What has this got to do with this blog? Initially not a lot and yet quite a lot. Germany has a special relationship to Poland and Thomas Urban has written a superb book about the football in the history of these two countries, titled White Eagles, Black Eagles published by Germany’s most prominent sports publishing house Werkstatt-Verlag. Read the rest of this entry »

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