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Historians are playing an important role in Macedonian society. Their understanding of history and their focus of research interest revolves around the national identity of Macedonians and differentiating them from Others. In recent decades, the political debates in the Republic of (North) Macedonia and its relations with Bulgaria and Greece have had important impact on historiographic production and the new (revisionist) interpretations of the past. History has become an essential element in contemporary politics that is key for framing the national identity of the Macedonians. In this new political context historians are even more engaged in political campaigns and debates, thus making them and their historiographical work one of the sources for symbolic division in the country.
The wars of Yugoslav succession in the 1990s dramatically stimulated interest in the history of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). To satisfy this interest from the outside world, many historical publications offered up various explanations for the outbreak of the wars.1 Yet the prior, and perhaps more significant, development occurred on the eve of the war, when historians in Bosnia and Herzegovina – although to a considerably lesser extent than in Serbia and Croatia – made an important contribution to national(ist) mobilisation and to the creation of a belligerent atmosphere by sensationally broaching traumatic topics linked to the Second World War.2 The war in the 1990s left behind a devastated and divided country and created deep social divisions which have also affected the role and status of the nation's historiography. Many today accept the claim that Bosnia and Herzegovina is a country in which there exist three views on history, although this is only partly true, because in this country far more than ‘three views on history’ exist. In practice, the thesis of three national historiographies (Serbian, Croatian, and Bosniak)3 turns out to be completely erroneous, because the existence of ‘national historiographies’ would also presume the existence of clearly defined thematic and methodological approaches to historical research, and that is not the case with historiography in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Hence, it is more precise to speak of a scholarly historiography that exists alongside an ideologically or politically motivated historiography or ‘parahistoriography’, by which is meant ‘dealing with history . . . in a completely different way than studying history’.4
This article examines the state's actions to arm and disarm the civilian population in Spain during the convulsive final years of the Bourbon Restoration period (1917–23). While this topic has received little attention in the abundant literature on the crisis of the liberal regime in Spain, it is crucial to fully understanding the inherent causes and nature of the high levels of political violence which characterised this period. By analysing the ‘selective rearmament’ of part of the population by both legal and illegal means, this article considers the relationship between dynamics of civilian disarmament and rearmament and the evolution of the alleged state monopoly on violence in Spain.
By reconstructing the lending policy of the European Investment Bank (EIB) from its inception in 1958 to the late 1970s, this article shows that, until the 1970s, the EIB did not pursue EEC (European Economic Community) policies but policy elaborated at the national level. The individual member states’ political priorities and preferences played a key role in shaping the loan operations and the bank's loans were used rather more individualistically by each community country in pursuit of national aims. This situation started to change in the 1970s when internal and external developments to the EEC redeployed and refocused the methods and objectives of the bank so that lending progressively became the result of the interplay between EEC institutions. Gradually, the EIB moved away from being a mere member state's tool to pursue individual national policies, transformed into an EEC policy-driven bank and it became the financial arm of the EEC.
The historiographical debate about France during the Second World War has long been dominated by two foreign historians. On the one hand, the Israeli intellectual Zeev Sternhell notoriously placed the origin of fascism in France's Belle Epoque and saw Vichy France as the paradigmatic example of a fascist regime in his book, Neither Right nor Left, four decades ago. Year after year, Sternhell, who had studied in Paris, made criticisms of the Parisian intellectual milieu and denounced its egocentrism and provincialism. On the other hand, American historian Robert Paxton reigned over the history of French collaboration with Nazi Germany. Although it raised certain controversies when it was translated into French in 1973, his Vichy France has been since accepted as the key reference on the subject, as well as an indispensable pedagogical tool against apologetic views of Marshall Pétain's regime, which enjoy periodic revivals in the country. Despite their age – Sternhell died in 2020 and Paxton is ninety years old – these two historians have remained the unavoidable cornerstones in the discussion on French attitudes during the Second World War – the first as a competitor, the second as a paternal figure.
Tax avoidance has become a hotly discussed topic. These debates have been informed by academic research done by social scientists. Historians, relative latecomers in the field, argue for a greater consideration of the interwar period so as to understand the pathway dependencies of the infrastructures used for tax dodging practices today. This article explores the question of how Luxembourg became, in the 1930s, an important node in the network of legal re-coding of capital for tax shopping purposes. The Holding Act of 1929 offered legal security but was vague enough to foster a fiscal bricolage that allowed notaries, banks and lawyers to serve a heterogeneous group of people eager to pay less tax. Concealing the real beneficiaries of the holding while at the same publicising the opportunities of the legal coding proved to be a complementary process.
Like most European historiographies, modern Croatian historiography was founded in the second half of the nineteenth century. It coincided with the appearance and spread of nationalism – what is more, it was one of its essential components. Nonetheless, the number of historians in Croatia remained small for a long period of time (In the immediate aftermath of the Second World War, approximately twenty historians worked in universities, museums, and archives), and historiographic production was modest and methodologically traditional. The number of historians and institutions dedicated to historical writing increased significantly in the decades following the Second World War, reflecting the importance placed on history by the communist authorities. Approximately one hundred historians were employed in Croatia at the time of its independence in the early 1990s, principally at the country's two universities and a number of historical institutes. Today, Croatia – a country with a population of less than four million – offers up to eight undergraduate and graduate history programs, as well as several doctoral programs. More than 300 professional historians work in faculties, institutes and other institutions such as archives, museums or non-governmental organisations.
There are not many other cases when one single book about history, written by an academic, not only provoked a massive and stormy nationwide debate involving mass media, political leaders and bishops, but also unleashed processes that strongly influenced the self-perceptions of a nation, opening the way for ground-breaking new historical research and, at the same time, for political responses which had a tangible impact on the direction in which the whole country moved. It was all achieved by a not very long historical essay (around 100 pages in Polish, 170 pages in the subsequent English-language edition, excluding photographs, maps, indexes) by Jan Tomasz Gross.1 Its subject was the massacre of almost all Jews (the number is still debatable: between several hundred to 1,600 – the latter number claimed by Gross) living in the small town of Jedwabne in German-occupied Poland, committed by their Polish neighbours in July 1941. After its Polish debut, the book was translated into thirteen languages.
Approaching Europe's historical trajectories to explain its present condition is an ever-growing genre. More than 200 years after the Congress of Vienna, more than 100 years after the First World War, more than sixty years after the Treaty of Rome, more than half a decade after the Brexit referendum – and after more than a year of open warfare in Ukraine, the European project remains in constant flux. A seemingly endless sequence of junctures over the last two decades has raised the demand for historically grounded analyses of Europe. The desire for such publications, both academic and for a broader audience, is thus far from exhausted. Every turn in European politics gives rise to a new take on Europe's past by historians and scholars working in related disciplines.
This paper deals with appraisals of Havel made in Spain in the 1990s. During this decade, the Czech politician's popularity reached a peak in Europe, and Spanish politicians approached his vision of morality in politics in different ways, taking advantage of it to support different political and national projects. In the first half of the decade, interpretations of Havel were especially productive in Catalonia, where two almost antagonistic political projects drew inspiration from Havel and elaborated on different concepts of European small nations. The decade's second half gave way to a more one-sided vision of him, in which he was transformed, thanks to the Spanish conservative president José María Aznar, into a reference point to support conservatism and the Atlantic agenda.
This article explores how the Greek state created and implemented the legislation relating to recognition of the National Resistance during three different transitional periods of the country's postwar history: civil war, dictatorship and democracy. The article's principal argument is that recognition served as the main tool for building consecutive national narratives not only of the resistance but also of Greekness, determining who was included in and excluded from the nation. By addressing one of the most loaded political issues in Greek society and politics in its entirety, this article revisits Greece's postwar history, highlighting the ruptures and continuities over a long period.
This article investigates an important but understudied phenomenon: the bureaucratic class division, which is analysed as a difference technology for envisioning, studying and managing the population. I examine a long-lived and widely spread taxonomy of the Swedish population into three social groups (Socialgrupper). Specifically, I look at how it influenced the production of statistics and knowledge about the voter during the first half of the twentieth century and higher education in the post-war welfare state era. The article understands the effects of the taxonomy as a ‘scientisation of the social’, using Lutz Raphael's term, in which fuzzy conceptual class boundaries were turned into exact classification, making it possible for different actors to act and calculate through them. The division was at the same time contested among social scientists and politicians. However, because of lack of alternatives and because it was well established, actors continued using it.
This article examines a series of financial study courses for women in 1950s Sweden, jointly organised by commercial banks and an important non-partisan women's organisation, the Fredrika Bremer Association. The aim is to highlight and explain historical connections between feminism and financialisation. I argue that the feminist aspiration to emancipate women from the curtailments of ‘petty’ domestic finance aligned with the banks’ desire to domesticate financial markets. The performances of ‘female finance’ in these campaigns – striking a balance between PR and empowerment – contributed to the making of a new historical figure, not that of the female investor but rather the consumer of finance. The article not only demonstrates the role of gender in the financialisation of everyday life and in the domestication of finance, but also uncovers a longer pre-history behind these processes that are conventionally associated with neoliberalisation in later decades.
In line with recent studies revealing the role of neoliberalism in Dutch post-war history, this article highlights the influence of neoliberal ideas during the first half of the 1970s. In addition to a clear orientation towards supply-side economic policies and a firm tradition of fixed budgetary rules, the author emphasises the importance of Dutch monetarism in guiding Central Bank policies and prioritising monetary objectives such as price stability, fixed exchange rates and balance of payment equilibrium over Keynesian policy goals. A short-lived Keynesian intermezzo of countercyclical demand-management commenced in March 1974, after which rules-based, stability- and supply-side economic, financial and monetary policies started to regain the upper hand in 1976.
Race is the black box at the centre of the German–Japanese alliance during the Second World War. Early Nazi racial legislation provoked speculation regarding its potential impact on Japanese German Mischlinge (individuals of mixed race), and the regime's reluctance to define its position helped to spread the rumour that they had been recognised as ‘honorary Aryans’. Although this was never more than a rumour, the ambiguous racialisation of the Japanese historically seemingly legitimised demands by Japanese Germans that the regime should recognise their rights as members of the Nazi Volksgemeinschaft (national community). This article traces how the Japanese Germans were able to negotiate concessions enabling them to function as a protected minority, albeit in contingent and arbitrarily defined ways. In effect, the Japanese Germans were able to exploit the ambiguities of Nazi racial thinking in order to carve out a place for themselves within the margins of the racial state.
After seizing power in 1933, the Nazis added photographic denunciation to the repertoire of modern European public shaming practices to forge a new consensus about who belonged in German society. Photographic denunciation, in which Nazi functionaries took and displayed pictures of non-Jewish Germans shopping at Jewish-owned businesses advanced the Nazi dispossession of German Jews while coercing non-Jewish Germans into severing ties with Jewish neighbours . Contrary to what most historical scholarship has implied, photographic denunciation lasted well into the 1930s in Germany and even transcended German borders. Ultimately, photographic denunciation was among the Nazis’ most successful tools to turn non-Jewish Germans against Jews, a key precursor to the ability of the Nazi regime to perpetrate the Holocaust.
The centenary of the Irish Revolution has just concluded, with 2023 marking the hundredth anniversary of the ‘dump arms’ order which ended, albeit ambiguously, the civil war of 1922–3. European history has been accustomed to marking centenaries during the past ten years, from the First World War which overturned a global order, to the Russian Revolution which created a new one, to the post-war national reverberations which created revolutions of their own. The enthusiasm with which these have been marked across Europe has varied considerably, with the sombre ne plus jamais tones of the centenary of the First World War giving way rapidly to the muted if not entirely absent commemorations of the October Revolution in Russia. The island of Ireland has perhaps been more wedded than elsewhere in Europe to the relentless treadmill of centenaries, with the Irish state formally dating its existence to the vanguardist rebellion, popular mandates and political institutions that occurred between 1916 and 1922, and Northern Ireland being dated to 1920. The ‘Decade of Centenaries’, as it is known in Ireland, has been unfolding according to a carefully arranged schedule since 2012; the end, marking the ambiguous conclusion of the Irish Civil War, is finally upon us. The implications of the ‘Decade’ for public history, for the position of professional historians within and outside the academy, and for the broader understanding of the revolutionary decade are significant and have generated their own critical literature.
During the Dutch Hunger Winter (1944–5), a woman sold ration cards on the Noordplein, one of the busiest streets in Rotterdam. She was paid twenty guilders for each ration card. Her buyers, in turn, resold the coupons for sugar, butter or bread separately in order to make a higher profit. They could make up to 150 guilders per ration card. Not far from there, in Amsterdam, people went to the corner of Rozendwarsstraat to fraudulently buy coupons for bread or wheat cake on the black market. Anyone with seven guilders could buy a slice. Considering that some people only earned twenty-two guilders a week, not everyone could afford to go to the black market for extra calories. Both of these stories were told by women who survived the Dutch Hunger Winter, and are included in Ingrid de Zwarte's recent monograph. They illustrate some of the important contributions that have emerged from recent historical works in the related fields of Hunger and Food Studies. They demonstrate the agency of ordinary and marginalised subjects, particularly women, in the face of scarcity. They reveal the importance of the coping strategies people developed, which allows us to think of these individuals beyond their traditional status as passive victims of scarcity. And they show us how, in the context of hunger and famine, ideas of what was normal or acceptable behaviour could be transformed.