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Beyond the Nation: The Relational Basis of a Comparative History of Germany and Europe

  • Philipp Ther (a1)


The process of European integration is posing a challenge to scholars in the humanities and the social sciences to rethink their frames of analysis. The once dominant nation-state has lost relevance while transnational processes and exchanges are receiving greater attention. This is not only true for the social sciences and economics, but also for history. The closer the European states are integrated, the more questions about Europe's past are asked. But what is European history, and upon which methods and units of analysis can it be built? Is it the sum of national histories, just as the EU is a union of nation-states, or is it something more? Since no one subject of European history can possibly encompass all countries on the continent, it is clear that independent of the general topic there needs to be a certain selection of studies about more than one local or national case. If those studies, no matter whether they cover political, social, or cultural history, are to be synthesized on a European level, comparisons need to be made at a certain stage of any given work. The same holds true for the history of Central Europe, an area with a particularly high degree of internal differentiation.



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1. For a discussion of this question see Mary Fulbrook, “Introduction: States, Nations and the Development of Europe,” in National Histories and European History, ed. idem (London, 1993), 1–20.

2. Whether there is something like a comparative method is disputed. The leading American theoretician discussing about comparisons, Raymond Grew, prefers to talk about comparative studies. See his, The Case for Comparing Histories,” in American Historical Review 85, no. 2 (1980): 763–78. In contrast to Grew, the Dutch historian Chris Lorenz has shown convincingly that there is a distinctive core of a comparative method, which is used by historians independently of their choice of topic. See Lorenz, Chris, Konstruktion der Vergangenheit: Eine Einführung in die Geschichtstheorie (Cologne, 1997), 231–84 [in Dutch: De constructie van het verleden: Een inleiding in de theorie van de geschiednis (Amsterdam, 1987)].

3. This article refers to an ongoing theoretical debate about the comparative method in France. It was launched in a provocative essay by Detienne, Marcel, Comparer l'incomparable (Paris, 2000), 2930, in which he particularly criticized the uncritical stance toward the work of Marc Bloch. Several comparatists responded to this challenge in a recent volume of the Annales. See the five articles collected in the chapter “L'exercise de la comparaison,” in Annales HSS 57, no. 1 (janvierfévrier, 2002): 27–146. On the theoretical level the articles concentrate on the question of the proximity between the author and the compared objects, whether to study close or distant objects, and, on the negative sides, of constructing comparisons. The issue of national framing, however, does not play a major role. In Germany problems of the comparative method have been addressed in an ongoing debate, about transnational approaches launched by Jürgen Kocka in Geschichte und Gesellschaft in the fall of 2001. Some of the contributions will be cited in the course of this article.

4. Among the most important publications (in addition to the already cited works and journals) about the comparative method in the English and German languages in the past two decades are: Tilly, Charles, Big Structures, Large Processes, Huge Comparisons (New York, 1984); Braembussche, A.A. v. d., “Historical Explanation and Comparative Method: Towards a Theory of the History of Society,” History and Theory 28 (1989): 124; Welskopp, Thomas, “Stolperstein auf dem Königsweg: Methodenkritische Anmerkungen zum internationalen Vergleich in der Gesellschaftsgeschichte,” in Archiv für Sozialgeschichte 35 (1995): 339–67; Haupt, Heinz-Gerhard und Kocka, Jürgen, “Historischer Vergleich: Methoden, Aufgaben, Probleme. Eine Einleitung,” in Geschichte und Vergleich: Ansätze und Ergebnisse international vergleichender Geschichtsschreibung, ed. Haupt, Heinz-Gerhard and Kocka, Jürgen (Frankfurt am Main, 1996), 946; Kaelble, Hartmut, Der historische Vergleich: Eine Einführung zum 19. und 20. Jahrhundert (Frankfurt am Main, 1999).

5. Raymond Grew made a short remark in an article ten years ago that “national states” are frequently used as objects of comparison “despite their complexity and their possible artificiality in relation to the subject at hand.” See Grew, Raymond, “On the Current State of Comparative Studies,” in Marc Bloch aujourd'hui: Histoire comparée & sciences sociales, ed. Atsma, Hartmut et André-Burguière, (Paris, 1990), 323–36, here 331. Perhaps because this criticism was not further developed it did not have a major impact on the volume, the Annales School, or comparative history in other European countries.

6. The British historian John Breuilly has been the most outspoken advocate of an experimental setup of comparisons. See John Breuilly, “Introduction: Making Comparisons in History,” in idem, Labour and Liberalism in Nineteenth Century Europe: Essays in Comparative History (Manchester, 1992), 1–25, here 3.

7. For the structural characteristics of “Ostmitteleuropa” see Szücs, Jenö, Die drei historischen Regionen Europas (Frankfurt am Main, 1990), 1318; Zernack, Klaus, Osteuropa: Eine Einführung in seine Geschichte (Munich, 1977), 3341.

8. Suny, Ronald Grigor, “History and the Making of Nations” in Cultures and Nations of Central and Eastern Europe: Essays in Honor of Roman Szporluk, ed. Gitelman, Zvy, Hajda, Lubomyr, Himka, John-Paul, Solchanyk, Roman (Cambridge, Mass., 2000), 569–89, here 589. Suny's article provides a condensed overview of the legitimizing function of history in nineteenth-century Germany, Russia, France, Central Europe, and the United States.

9. See for a valid criticism of this orientation Davies, Norman, Europe: A History, 2d. ed. (Oxford, 1996), 3233.

10. This trend has been criticized by Conrad, Sebastian, “Doppelte Marginalisierung: Plädoyer für eine transnationale Perspektive auf die deutsche Geschichte,” Geschichte und Gesellschaft 28 (2002): 145–69, here 145; Jarausch, Konrad, “Normalisierung oder Re-Nationalisierung? Zur Umdeutung der deutschen Vergangenheit,” Geschichte und Gesellschaft 21 (1995): 559–78, here 577.

11. See Berger, Stefan, “Historians and Nation-Building in Germany after Reunification,” in Past and Present 148 (08 1995): 187222.

12. A notable signal for this are recent attempts to renationalize history in the United States and Canada. See Lorenz, Chris, “Comparative Historiography: Problems and Perspectives,” History and Theory 38, no. 1 (1999): 2539, here 26. Lorenz's, Chris article is the first contribution to a forum on the problems and perspectives of comparative history in History and Theory 38, 2599.

13. Even the first European constitution passed by the Polish parliament in 1791 is left out entirely. The question why the Poles are so underrepresented will be discussed in part two of this paper. The absence of the eastern parts of Central Europe or “Ostmitteleuropa” is also characteristic for the journal established by the Bielefeld School of Social History, Geschichte und Gesellschaft. See Raphael, Lutz, “Nationalzentrierte Sozialgeschichte in programmatischer Absicht: Die Zeitschrift ‘Geschichte und Gesellschaft’ in den ersten 25 Jahren ihres Bestehens,” in Geschichte und Gesellschaft 25 (1999): 537.

14. See Hans-Ulrich Wehler, Deutsche Gesellschaftsgeschichte, vol. 2, Von der Reformära bis zur industriellen und politischen “Deutschen Doppelrevolution” 1815–1845/49; Wehler, 3:961–65, 1068–71 and 1075–77. Yet on pp. 1250–95 Poland is again out of the conclusion about the causes of the “Sonderweg

15. Nipperdey, Thomas, Deutsche Geschichte 1866–1918, vol. 1, Arbeitswelt und Bürgergeist (Munich, 1991), 9.

16. Nipperdey speaks about an “emphatischen Nationsbegriff” of the Poles. See ibid., 266.

17. See Nipperdey, Thomas, Deutsche Geschichte 1866–1918, vol. 2, Machtstaat vor der Demokratie (Munich, 1992), 266–81. His earlier monograph Deutsche Geschichte 1800–1866: Bürgerwelt und starker Staat (Munich, 1983) is stronger on this account. Nipperdey mentions the “long shadow of the partition” as a problem of nationalism and state formation in Germany. See Ibid., 769.

18. See Winkler, Heinrich August, Der lange Weg nach Westen, 2 vols. (Munich, 2000).

19. As always exemptions confirm the rule, but should be mentioned here. James Sheehan has been an ardent advocate for the inclusion of Austria in nineteenth-century German history. Younger historians like Helmut W. Smith have dedicated a considerable part of their work to the eastern parts and connections of Germany.

20. Wehler's most important publications on the Poles are “Deutsch-Polnische Beziehungen im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert,” in Krisenherde des Kaiserreichs 1871–1918: Studien zur deutschen Sozial- und Verfassungsgeschichte, ed. Wehler, Hans-Ulrich, 2d. ed. (Göttingen, 1979), 203–19. His dissertation was Sozialdemokratie und Nationalstaat: Nationalitätenfragen in Deutschland 1840–1914 (Göttingen, 1971). With these works Wehler left behind the anti-Polish attitudes of the generation of his advisor Theodor Schieder, the author of the infamous Polendenkschrift of 1939. Open German nationalism was absent in Schieder's postwar writings. Nevertheless, he still perpetuated the traditional view on the partition of Poland and preserved the idea of cultural superiority of Germans vs. the Poles. This is shown in his widely distributed biography of Frederick II of Prussia: Schieder, Theodor, Friedrich der Grosse: Ein Königtum der Widersprüche (Berlin, 1983). In his book about the expulsion of Germans from East Central Europe, Schieder downplayed the fate of the Jews and in particular Poles in Nazi occupied Poland. See Schieder, Theodor, ed., Dokumentation der Vertreibung der Deutschen aus Ostmitteleuropa, vol. 1, part 1, Die Vertreibung der deutschen Bevölkerung aus den Gebieten östlich der Oder-Neisse (Bonn, 1953). See as especially disturbing examples on pp. 32E and 137E.

21. See Conze, Werner, “Sozialgeschichte,” in Moderne deutsche Sozialgeschichte, ed. Wehler, Hans-Ulrich, 2d. ed. (Cologne, 1968), 1926. This volume is of special interest because it laid the foundation and set the paradigms for much of social history in Germany in the 1960s and 1970s.

22. Nolte, Paul, “Gesellschaftstheorie und Gesellschaftsgeschichte: Umrisse einer Ideengeschichte der modernen Gesellschaft,” in Geschichte zwischen Kultur und Gesellschaft: Beiträge zur Theoriedebatte, ed. Mergel, Thomas und Welskopp, Thomas (Munich, 1997), 275–98, here 278.

23. The article was reprinted in Marc Bloch, Histoire et historiens, textes reunis par Etienne Bloch (Paris, 1995), 94–123. The analysis in this article is based on the German translation of his article in Schöttler, Peter, ed., Marc Bloch: Aus der Werkstatt des Historikers (Frankfurt am Main, 2000), 122–59.

24. Bloch made these differentiations in other writings, but not in his programmatic text about the comparison.

25. See Schöttler, , ed., Marc Bloch: Aus der Werkstatt, 139.

26. See Macfarlane, Alan, Origins of English individualism (Oxford, 1979).

27. For a condensed overview of the Sonderweg thesis and its main proponents see Kocka, Jürgen, “Asymmetrical Historical Comparison: The Case of the German SonderwegHistory and Theory 38, no. 1 (1999): 4051, here 41–43. Kocka's article can be viewed as an attempt to salvage a reduced core of the Sonderweg thesis. However, key elements of his argumentation such as bureaucratization and the simultaneity of deep structural changes in politics, society, and the economy look rather weak if the Austrian Empire and in particular Bohemia are integrated into the comparative scheme.

28. It is worth noting that around the same time the Hungarian historian Jenö Szücs chose a similar pattern to analyze the supposed deviation or distortion of Hungarian history. See Szücs, Die drei historischen Regionen Europas. The Hungarian original of the book appeared in 1983. This Hungarian Sonderweg model of East Central European History is continued by Berend, Ivan, History Derailed: Central and Eastern Europe in the “Long” Nineteenth Century (Berkeley, 2002). Similar to the Bielefeld School, Szücz and Berend compared their “own” history with that of “the West” or some particular Western countries. This indicates that West German historians kept employing research strategies similar to those in East Central Europe. This does not quite confirm the strong auto-stereotype of a deep Westernization of West Germany.

29. See as examples the three volume series by Kocka, Jürgen, ed., Bürgertum im 19. Jahrhundert: Deutschland im europäischen Vergleich (Munich, 1988), which is built on many single and some comparative national case studies. However, Kocka's Bürgertumsforschung was pioneering on a different level, since before the changes of 1989 it included several authors from and articles about Eastern Europe.

30. See as an example the studies published in John Breuilly, Labour and Liberalism.

31. See Kocka, Haupt, eds., Geschichte und Vergleich, Vorwort.

32. In Germany, the label “general history” can be misleading. Many chairs of “Allgemeine Geschichte” focus on national history. In contrast to this, in Russia and other Slavic speaking countries the istoria obša explicitly deals with nonnational history.

33. See Weber, Matthias, Das Verhältnis Schlesiens zum Alten Reich in der Frühen Neuzeit (Cologne, 1992), 396. Most textbooks falsely claim that this already happened in 1815.

34. For the entire debate see Müller, Michael G. and Schönemann, Bernd, Die “Polen-Debatte” in der Frankfurter Paulskirche (Frankfurt am Main, 1991).

35. The Polish historian Maciej Janowski deals specifically with the transfer and differentiation of liberalism in Europe in his book Inteligencja wobec wyzwañ nowoczesnœci: Dylematy ideowe polskiej demokracji liberalnej w Galicji w latach 1889–1914 (Warsaw, 1996), 1137.

36. See Schieder, Theodor, “Typologie und Erscheinungsformen des Nationalstaats in Europa,” in Nationalismus und Nationalstaat: Studien zum nationalen Problem im modernen Europa, ed. Dann, Otto and Wehler, Hans-Ulrich (Göttingen, 1991), 6586. Schieder's model, which he presented originally in 1965, is very similar to Kohn, Hans, Nationalism: Its Meaning and History (Princeton, 1955). In contrast to Schieder, the late Kohn took back the West-East evolutionism in his later writings. Schieder's model of nation-state building can also be considered as anti-Polish, because it portrays the Polish movement as separatist and as a sole recipient of influences from a more advanced West. This fits well with the colonizing identification of Germans as Kulturträger in the East.

37. Norman Davies shows the parallels and the connections between France and Poland in his book Europe: A History, on 691–92, 699–701, 715–22.

38. See Cohen, Gary, The Politics of Ethnic Survival: Germans in Prague 1861–1914 (Princeton, 1981), 26.

39. See Křen, Jan, Konfliktgemeinschaft: Tschechen und Deutsche 1780–1918 (Munich, 1996). Køen's book is also one of the few publications that mastered the task of writing a history of relations between two polities that cannot be understood in isolation from each other.

40. See Weber, Eugen, Peasants into Frenchmen: The Modernization of Rural France, 1870–1914 (Stanford, 1976).

41. See Ther, Philipp, “Die Grenzen des Nationalismus: Der Wandel von Identitäten in Oberschlesien von der Mitte des 19. Jahrhunderts bis 1939,” in Nationalismen in Europa: West und Osteuropa im Vergleich, ed. Hirschhausen, Ulrike v. and Leonhard, Jörn (Göttingen, 2001), 322–46.

42. In Alsace, language and national identity did not concurr for a long time, See Wahl, Alfred and Richez, Jean-Claude, L'Alsace entre France et Allemagne 1850–1950 (Paris, 1994).

43. See Sahlins, Peter, Boundaries: The Making of France and Spain in the Pyrenees (Berkeley, 1991).

44. See Pallas, Ladislav, Jázyková otazka a podminky vytvaøení narodního vìdomi ve Slezsku (Ostrava, 1970); Kamusella, Tomasz, Schlonsko: Horní Slezsko, Oberschlesien, Górny Ślask (Elbllg, 2001), 3072.

45. The particular anti-Polish brunt of the Kulturkampf is comprehensively analyzed by Trzeciakowski, Lech, Kulturkampf w zaborze pruskim (Poznan, 1970) and by Smith, Helmut W., German Nationalism and Religious Conftict: Culture, Ideology, Politics, 1870–1914 (Princeton, 1995). Nipperdey also recognized the anti-Polish component of the Kulturkampf. Cf. Nipperdey, , Deutsche Geschichte 1866–1918, 2: 270–71.

46. See Brubaker, Rogers, Nationalism Reframed: Nationhood and the National Question in the New Europe (Cambridge, Mass., 1996), 6366. The most important book in the German language about this topic is Schieder, Theodor, Das deutsche Kaiserreich von 1871 als Nationalstaat, 2d. ed. (Göttingen, 1992). However, Schieder's analysis is weakened by his idealization of a supposedly a-national Prussian state and his characterization of the empire's policy toward Poles as “defensive,” 19–20 and 35.

47. Mainstream German historiography, however, still follows the assumption that there was a linear process of assimilation of the Slavophone population except for the Poles. As an example of these views see Wehler, Hans-Ulrich, Deutsche Gesellschaftsgeschichte, vol. 3, Von der “Deutschen Doppelrevolution” bis zum Beginn des Ersten Weltkrieges (Munich, 1995), 962. Recent cooperation between Polish and German historians has produced different results. See the articles about the Sorbs, , Kashubs, , and Silesians, Upper in Hahn, Hans Henning und Kunze, Peter, eds., Nationale Minderheiten und Minderheitenpolitik in Deutschland im 19. Jahrhundert (Berlin, 1999).

48. The issue will be dealt with extensively on the example of Upper Silesia in a fortcoming volume: Ther, Philipp and Struve, Kai, eds, Die Grenzen der Nationen: Identitätenwandel in Oberschlesien in der Neuzeit (Marburg, forthcoming 2002). The forces and limits of integration are much better researched for the Poles who migrated to the industrial Ruhr district in West Germany. See Klessmann, Christoph, Polnische Bergarbeiter im Ruhrgebiet 1870–1945 (Göttingen, 1978).

49. Gustav Freytag, Soll und Haben. Roman in Sechs Büchern, part 1, in Gesammelte Werke (Neue wohlfeile Ausgabe, Berlin u. Leipzig: E. Hirzel u. H. Klemm, n. d.), 395–96, where the domination of nobles and the weak position of burghers are made responsible for the ills of Poland.

50. Ibid., 394.

51. For the portrayal of Poles in nineteenth-century German literature see Will, Arno, Polska i polacy w niemieckiej prozie literackiej XIX wieku (Łódz, 1970).

52. See for this term Hechter, Michael, Internal Colonialism: The Celtic Fringe in British National Development 1536–1966 (Berkeley, 1977).

53. Until now the Prussian partition of Poland is absent in German publication on colonialism. An interesting model — but without the Poles — is offered by Osterhammel, Jürgen, Kolonialismus: Geschichte — Formen — Folgen (Munich, 1997), 718.

54. There also exists a monograph about Russia as a multinational empire that might serve as an example for writing a multinational history of Germany. See Kappeler, Andreas, Russland als Vielvölkerreich: Entstehung, Geschichte, Zerfall, 2d. ed. (Munich, 1993). For the quasi-colonial rule see pp. 141–55, 191–95, 218–19. For the Austrian case Moritz Csáky, Johannes Feichtinger, and Ursula Prutsch have organized a conference on “Die Habsburgermonarchie: Ein Ort der inneren Kolonisierung.” A future work on the subject would be groundbreaking.

55. “Der Nationalstaat und die Volkswirtschaftspolitik: Akademische Antrittrede von Dr. Max Weber o. ö. Professor der Staatswissenschaften in Freiburg im Breisgau,” in Max Weber, Landarbeiterfrage, Nationalstaat und Volkswirtschaftspolitik: Schriften und Reden 1892–1899, 2. Halbband, ed. Mommsen, Wolfgang (Freiburg, 1895), 535–74. Translated quotes are from 545, 551 and 553. For a wider picture of German attitudes toward Poland see Orłowski, Hubert, “Polnische Wirtschaft”: Zum deutschen Polendiskurs in der Neuzeit (Wiesbaden, 1996).

56. While Weber can be accused of using these non-European cases for the purpose of “othering” and to confirm a West European exceptionalism, he clearly was not driven by racism in his later perception of China and India. For a positive view on Weber's study of foreign cultures see Mommsen, Wolfgang, “Max Webers Begriff der Universalgeschichte,” in Max Weber, der Historiker, ed. Kocka, Jürgen (Göttingen, 1986), 5173, here 62. For a critical view see Munshi, Surendra, “Max Weber über Indien,” in Kocka, , Max Weber, 221–41.

57. See Broszat, Martin, 200 Jahre deutsche Polenpolitik (Munich, 1963), 114.

58. The legal discrimination of the Polish population is explained in detail by Gosewinkel, Dieter, Einbürgern und Ausschliessen: Die Nationalisierung der Staatsangehörigkeit vom Deutschen Bund bis zur Bundesrepublik Deutschland (Göttingen, 2001), 211–18. See also Wehler, , Sozialdemokratie und Nationalstaat, 213–18.

59. Hagen, William W., Germans, Poles and Jews: The Nationality Conflict in the Prussian East, 1772–1914 (Chicago, 1980), 199. See also Balzer, Brigitte, Die preussische Polenpolitik 1894–1908 und die Haltung der deutschen konservativen und liberalen Parteien (unter besonderer Berücksichtigung der Provinz Posen) (Frankfurt am Main, 1990), 290.

60. Unfortunately the connection between anti-Polishness and anti-Semitism has hardly been researched. For a recent reassessment of anti-Semitism and German nationalism see Volkov, Shulamit, “Nationalismus, Anti-Semitismus und die deutsche Geschichtsschreibung,” in Nation und Gesellschaft in Deutschland: Historische Essays, ed. Hettling, Manfred and Nolte, Paul (Munich, 1996), 208–19, here 214–17.

61. An impressive study about the Jews based on the example of the Silesian capital Breslau has been written by van Rahden, Till, Juden und andere Breslauer: Díe Beziehungen zwischen Juden, Protestanten und Katholiken in einer deutschen Grossstadt von 1860 bis 1925 (Göttingen, 2000).

62. Quoted from Gosewinkel, , Einbürgern und Ausschliessen, 265. According to Gosewinkel, the restrictions on immigrations were even more directed against Jews than against Poles. Ibid., 270–77.

63. See two recent case studies about anti-Jewish violence: Hoffmann, Christhard, “Political Culture and Violence against Minorities: The Anti-Semitic Riots in Pomerania and West Prussia,” in Exclusionary Violence: Anti-Semitic Riots in Modern German History, ed. Hoffmann, Christhard, Bergmann, Werner, and Smith, Helmut Walser (Ann Arbor, 2002), 6792; Helmut Walser Smith, “Konitz 1900: Ritual Murder and Anti-Semitic Violence,” in ibid., 93–122.

64. See Sheehan, James, “What is German History? Reflection on the Role of the Nation in German History and Historiography,” in Journal of Modern History 53 (1981): 123; Sheehan, James, German History, 1770–1866 (Oxford, 1989), 908–9.

65. See Langewiesche, Dieter, Nation, Nationalstaat, Nationalismus (Frankfurt am Main, 2000), 174–75 and 204–8.

66. Presently Martina Nussbaumer at the Spezialforschungsbereich “Moderne—Wien und Zentraleuropa um 1900” at the Karl-Franzens-University in Graz is pursuing a promising Ph.D. project about the reinvention of Vienna as a cultural capital in the late nineteenth century.

67. Although Carl Schorske was rather preoccupied with showing the internal forces of destruction in Vienna before World War I and thus created his own Austrian version of the “Sonderweg” thesis, his book Fin-de-Siècle Vienna: Politics and Culture (New York, 1979) stimulated numerous authors who have shown the blossoming of Viennese culture and its influence on Central Europe and Germany.

68. For a condensed compilation of the political relations between Austria and Germany see Schieder, , Das deutsche Kaiserreich von 1871 als Nationalstaat (Cologne, 1961), 4452.

69. For a counterbalance of the previous criticism it should be added that Nipperdey, , Deutsche Geschichte 1800–1866, 791, recognized this fateful legacy of the war of 1866.

70. Some of the most important publications of this school are Espagne, Michel, Les transferts culturels franco-allemands (Paris, 1999); Espagne, Michel, Werner, Michael, Transfert: Relations interculturelles franco-allemandes (XVIIIe–XIXe siècle) (Paris, 1988); Zimmermann, Bénédicte, Didry, Claude et Wagner, Peter, Le travail et la nation: Histoire croisée de la France et de l'Allemagne (Paris, 1999). In Germany the main proponent of transfer history is Matthias Middell in Leipzig, who coedited the volumn Espagne, Michel and Middell, Matthias, ed., Von der Elbe bis an die Seine: Kulturtransfer zwischen Sachsen und Frankreich im 18. und 19. Jahrhundert (Leipzig, 1999).

71. See Kaelble, Hartmut, Nachbarn am Rhein: Entfremdung und Annäherung der französischen und deutschen Gesellschaft seit 1880 (Munich, 1991).

72. See Kott, Sandrine, “Gemeinschaft oder Solidarität: Unterschiedliche Modelle der französischen und deutschen Sozialpolitik am Ende des 19. Jahrhunderts,” Geschichte und Gesellschaft 22 (1996): 311–30; Conrad, Christoph, “Wohlfahrtsstaaten im Vergleich: Historische und sozialwissenschaftliche Ansätze,” in Geschichte und Vergleich, ed. Haupt, and Kocka, , 155–80. Conrad criticizes, however, chat this comparative research was hampered by the traditional national approaches. Ibid., 162–63.

73. Wolff, Stéphane, L'opéra au Palais Garnier (1875–1962) (Paris, 1962), 135. For the perception of Wagner in France see Kahane, Martine et Wildt, Nicole, Wagner et la France (Paris, 1983).

74. For the French influence on the German opera in Dresden and the birth of German opera see Mungen, Anno, “Morlacchi, Weber und die Dresdner Oper,” in Die Dresdner Oper im 19. Jahrhundert, ed. Heinemann, Michael and John, Hans (Laaber, 1995), 85106, here 92–94.

75. For a short, but good overview of the economic, cultural, and political differentiation of imperial Germany see Langewiesche, Dieter, “Föderativer Nationalismus als Erbe der deutschen Reichsnation: Über Föderalismus und Zentralismus in der deutschen Nationalgeschichte,” in Föderative Nation: Deutschlandkonzepte von der Reformation bis zum Ersten Weltkrieg, ed. Langewiesche, Dieter and Schmidt, Georg (Munich, 2000), 215–44, here 227–41.

76. For this term see White, Hayden, Metahistory (Baltimore, 1973).

77. See Esch, Michael, “Gesunde Verhältnisse”: Deutsche und polnische Bevölkerungspolitik in Ostmitteleuropa 1938–1950 (Marburg, 1998), 233–37; Madajczyk, Czeslaw, Die Okkupationspolitik Nazideutschlands in Polen 1939–1945 (Berlin, 1987), 500–7.

78. Herbert, Ulrich, Fremdarbeiter: Politik und Praxis des “Ausländer-Einsatzes” in der Kriegswirtschaft des Dritten Reiches (Bonn, 1985), 92ff.; Herbert, Ulrich, “Nicht entschädigungsfähig? Die Wiedergutmachungsansprüche der Ausländer,” in Wiedergutmachung in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, ed. Herbst, Ludolf and Goschler, Constantin (Munich, 1989), 273302.

79. For this chapter of Polish-German history see Ther, Philipp, Deutsche und polnische Vertriebene: Gesellschaft und Vertriebenenpolitik in der SBZ/DDR und in Polen 1945–1956 (Göttingen, 1998).

80. A useful example of such a widened perspective of German history might be the Four Nations Approach, which has been increasingly used in British history since the 1980s. See Samuel, Raphael, “Editorial: British Dimensions: Four Nations History,” in History Workshop Journal 40 (Autumn, 1995): iiixxii. Samual advertises this approach in particular as a possibility to Europeanize and internationalize British history. A possible danger overlooked by him is a retrospective nationalization or ethnicization of the past. This can be avoided by the presumption that nations, like other social groups, are always subject to changes in the level and kind of identification.

81. For an attempt to define transnationality and to use this concept for German history see Osterhammel, Jürgen, “Transnationale Gesellschaftsgeschichte: Erweiterung oder Alternative?Geschichte und Gesellschaft 27 (2001): 464–79, here 471–76.

82. See Peter Burke's model of possible reactions to a cultural exchange in Burke, Peter, Kultureller Austausch (Frankfurt am Main, 2000), 940, here 35–40.

83. Bade, Klaus J., Europa in Bewegung: Migration vom späten 18. Jahrhundert bis zur Gegenwart (Munich, 2000).

84. Klaus Zernack's book about Poland and Russia in the past millennium is one of the few attempts to combine the history of two countries and societies. See Zernack, Klaus, Polen und Russland: Zwei Wege in der europäischen Geschichte (Berlin, 1994). It is especially interesting for its combination of comparative history and a history of relations. Andrzej Walicki has written several works about continuous exchanges between Russia and Poland in the area of intellectual history. For the romantic period see Walicki, Andrzej, Russia, Poland, and Universal Regeneration: Studies on Russian and Polish Thought of the Romantic Epoch (Notre Dame, Ind., 1991).

85. Pekář, Josef, “Smysl českých dějin,” in O smyslu českých dějin, Pekář, Josef, third edition (Prague, 1990), 383405, here: 394–401.

86. See Febvre, Lucien, Le Rhin: Problemes d'histoire et d'economie (Paris, 1935) (in German: Der Rhein und seine Geschichte, Frankfurt am Main, 1994).

87. See Espagne, , Les transferts, 3537.

88. Kaelble, , Der historische Vergleich, 1921. A critical viewpoint of the comparative method is offered by Paulmann, Johannes, “Internationaler Vergleich und interkultureller Transfer: Zwei Forschungsansätze zur europäischen Geschichte des 18. bis 20. Jahrhunderts,” Historische Zeitschrift 3 (1998): 649–85.

89. This is also what Tilly's concept of an “encompassing comparison” implies, in which he argues for taking into account external influences on and the interaction between compared cases. See Tilly, , Big Structures, 123–43. However, the problem is that Tilly is proposing units of analysis that are too large to be studied thoroughly.

90. See Espagne, Michel, Les transferts culturels, 12. Although Espagne's explicitly denies that he follows a teleological model of history, he also excluded Austria from his Franco-German history starting in the eighteenth century. Quite revealing about the hidden teleology in his book is also his portrayal of transfer from or to a region as “prenational.” Ibid. 14.

91. See Rodgers, Daniel T., Atlantic Crossings: Social Politics in a Progressive Age (Cambridge, Mass., 1998).

92. See Espagne, Michel/Werner, Michel, “La construction d'une référence culturelle allemande en France — Génèse et Histoire (1750–1914),” in Annales E.S.C, (juillet–aout 1987): 969–92 and Michel Espagne, Les transferts.

93. See the respective demands in Fulbrook, , National Histories, 14.

94. Because of space constraints this literature cannot be cited extensively, but a particularly sophisticated and international comparative project is Winter, Jay and Robert, Jean-Louis, eds., Capital Cities at War: Paris, London, Berlin 1914–1919 (Cambridge, UK, 1999).

95. This is one reason why a comparison between “civilizations,” as it has been proposed in Germany by Hartmut Kaelble and Jürgen Osterhammel (see his book Geschichtswissenschaft jenseits des Nationalstaats: Studien zu Beziehungsgeschichte und Zivilisationsvergleich [Göttingen, 2001]) deserves some skepticism. It is also problematic that the term civilization, its evolutionary connotations and its misuse in the age of colonialism has not been adequately addressed. Furthermore, the position of Russia within a “European Civilization” is not clear. Kaelble simply excludes it from Europe, Osterhammel includes parts of it in his vision of an Asian civilization. Osterhammel's book is, however, interesting on a theoretical level for it strongly advocates the combination of comparisons with the approach of transfer history.

96. Convincing arguments for comparisons on a meso level are brought forward by Green, Nancy, “The Comparative Method and Post-Structuralist Structuralism: New Perspectives for Migration Studies,” in Migration, Migration History, History, ed. Lucassen, Jan and Lucassen, Leo, 2d. ed. (New York, 1999), 5772.

97. See the scathing comments about this in Davies, , Europe, 4245.

98. See Fulbrook, Introduction, 14–15.


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