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Cuba is well-known for its mix of radical positions and skills at brokering agreements. Cuban internationalism began as a way to build alliances to counterbalance its geopolitical asymmetry with the United States and gain allies to ensure its survival. These skills are exemplified in the Tricontinental Conference. This investigation sketches the central role that Havana played in the development and hosting of the conference, then focuses on the negotiations undertaken by Cubans to keep the talks going in a thorny political climate in which many political positions were represented. More specifically, we focus on the role of Cuba before and after the Tricontinental in negotiating the tensions and infighting between stakeholders from anti-colonial and socialist liberation movements and parties in the Third World, as well as the emerging rift between the Soviets and Chinese. Finally, honing in on the example of West Germany, we consider how Western leftist participants at the conference saw Cuba’s role in this multidimensional, avant-garde camp that included not only guerrilla movements, communist parties, and other radical organizations, but social democrats as well.
After 1945, Romanian Germans explored multiple possibilities in their search to define a Heimat, taking us beyond the known narrative of the ‘other homeland’ in Germany. Their most hotly contested issue – where did they belong? – turned particularly acute during the Cold War, as the Romanian German community became more fractured and physically separated. Romanian German identity in this period, this chapter argues, was flexible and far more transnationally defined than often assumed. At its heart were opposing views of ‘regionalism’, nationalism, and belonging. Romanian German identity debates during this period operated on different scales in the community, which made identity contestation particularly messy. If the Landsmannschaften (homeland societies) in Germany encouraged greater emigration from Romania, other Romanian Germans, especially those close to the Lutheran Church, pushed back. Meanwhile, as this chapter demonstrates, the realities ‘on the ground’ reveal a rich cultural history of transnational Romanian Germans communicating across numerous borders, constantly rethinking their own roles in an uncertain Cold War.
Why do some regional powers collectively threatened by a potential hegemon eagerly cooperate to ensure their security, while others appear reluctant to do so? I argue that robust security cooperation at the regional level is less likely when an unbalanced distribution of power exists between the prospective security partners. In such situations, regional security cooperation tends to be stunted by foot-dragging and obstructionism on the part of materially inferior states wary of facilitating the strategic expansion of neighbours with larger endowments of power resources, anticipating that much of the coalition's gains in military capabilities are likely to be achieved through an expansion of the materially superior neighbour's force levels and strategic flexibility. Evidence drawn from primary material and the latest historiography of France's postwar foreign policy towards West Germany provides considerable support for this argument. My findings offer important correctives to standard accounts of the origins of Western European security cooperation and suggest the need to rethink the difficulties the United States has encountered in promoting cooperation among local allies in key global regions.
The rivalry between the two states of divided Germany played out on a global scale across the Third World. The chain of upheavals in East Africa in 1964-65 led to Dar es Salaam becoming the first African capital south of the Sahara in which the German Democratic Republic maintained a diplomatic mission. This turned the city into a propaganda battlefield. East Berlin strove for full recognition from Tanzania, while Bonn tried to prevent such a development from coming to pass. In the face of this rivalry, Julius Nyerere’s government sought to pursue a non-aligned foreign policy and broker aid agreements to further its socialist project. Adopting a triangular approach, this chapter demonstrates how Tanzania’s relationship with the two German states turned on developments in Central Europe, especially West Germany’s Ostpolitik. It reveals the challenges of upholding non-alignment in a Cold War world which did not revolve around simple binaries and was complicated by politics ‘on the ground’ in Dar es Salaam.
This article examines the key biographies of Bertolt Brecht that have appeared since Brecht’s death in 1956, exploring the way that Cold War politics helped to determine how Brecht was seen in Germany and the English-speaking world. Whereas left-leaning and socialist biographers tended to admire and praise Brecht, anti-communist and anti-socialist biographers condemned him for his revolutionary politics and leftist commitments. The 1970s and 1980s witnessed renewed interest and admiration for Brecht even in the capitalist West; however, after the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the reunification of Germany in 1990, renewed recriminations against communism and socialism led to further attacks on Brecht and his legacy, culminating in John Fuegi’s 1994 biography Brecht and Company: Sex, Politics, and the Making of the Modern Drama. In more recent times, however, ongoing problems with globalization and capitalism have led to a renewed appreciation for and heightened interest in Brecht, his life, and his works.
In western Germany, a major controversy developed over the British and French policy of requiring German courts to prosecute Nazi crimes against humanity. German critics argued that this violated the violation on ex post facto law making. This, they said, made such trials unjust and similar to the courts of the Third Reich, which had also used ex post facto laws. The British and their German supporters argued that Nazi crimes could only adequately be punished as crimes against humanity, since many Nazi misdeeds had not been criminal under the laws of the Third Reich (e.g. the denunciation of individuals to the Gestapo). The American decision not to grant German courts jurisdiction over crimes against humanity came in large part out of a desire to avoid a similar controversy in their own occupation zone. Many of those critical of prosecuting Nazi atrocities as crimes against humanity wanted to help Nazi criminals and make it harder to prosecute Nazi crimes. Yet, because they made their arguments in the language of liberal legalism and the principles of legality, these critics helped to deradicalize the German legal profession, which had previously been deeply anti-liberal and anti-democratic.
With the founding of the two German states in 1949, the period of political transition in postwar Germany came to an end. Nazi trials, however, continued in both West and East Germany. The Epilogue examines how policy toward Nazi prosecutions changed with independence in both the Federal Republic and German Democratic Republic. West Germany pursued a policy of rehabilitation for most former Nazis, coupled with the further prosecution of small numbers of ‘intolerable” Nazi atrocities. This was part of a strategy of “democratization via integration.” Meanwhile, East German continued a more robust prosecution program, even if the number of trials was still substantially smaller than during the occupation period. The epilogue also recapitulates the argument of the book. Worse trials in the West helped inadvertently to democratize the emerging Federal Republic of Germany, while better trials in the East contributed to the consolidation of a new, Stalinist dictatorship. Transitional justice in Germany thus produced counter-intuitive results at odds with the prevailing wisdom among scholars and activists.
At the turn of the 1970s/1980s, the two halves of divided Europe overcame their parallel economic crises. Ballooning Eastern European debt to the non-socialist world, the Polish Crisis in 1980-81, and the economic impact of the Afghanistan War and the Iraq-Iran War permanently undermined Soviet hegemony in Eastern Europe. By late 1981, the USSR had neither the economic means nor the military stomach to maintain its influence by brute force. As a consequence, Hungary, Poland, and East Germany turned to the western world for credit and economic advice, which in turn accelerated the erosion of Soviet dominance. At the same time, western countries underwent a conservative transformation that partially helped to overcome the economic crises of the late 1970s that had emerged in the aftermath of the American abolition of the Bretton Woods system and the two Middle East oil shocks. In the 1980s, they emerged strengthened in economy terms and unified against the final Soviet attempt to seek supremacy in all of Europe through the stationing of intermediate-range nuclear missiles in East Europe. The structures for the end of the regional Cold War were in place.
The epilogue takes up the story of the men followed in the book after the calamity of World War II and the Holocaust, offering reflections on West Germany’s transformation into a peaceful democracy and its reintegration into the world economy enabled by the Bretton Woods System, the NATO alliance, and debt forgiveness. It concludes with observations about Fritz Fischer’s interpretation of the course of German history and the continued relevance of the German past for understanding the challenges of globalization in the twenty-first century.
Religious ideas experienced a relatively brief literary renaissance following the war. Soon however references to religion were used as a means of problematizing high literary claims to promise meaning. Developments in the Federal Republic differed significantly from those in the GDR, although in the 1970s the question of literature and religion was strongly politicized in the Federal Republic too. From the 1970s onwards ‘coming to terms with the past’ (Vergangenheitsbewältigung) and related moral and aesthetic questions played an important part in the presence of religion in literature. In other respects religious forms of writing and thought were taken up in order to represent the inwardness of the New Subjectivity and to rethink the possibilities of art. Especially in drama we find a powerful engagement with ritual, and this became an important point of reference for modern ‘post-dramatic’ theatre. Finally, literature of the last few decades reflects the indeterminacy of a ‘post-secular’ age in which the modern understanding of religion and of its—marginal—place in modernity is put in question.
The 2008 financial crisis led to more and more frequent political attacks on central banks. The recent spotlight on central bank independence is reminiscent of the fiery debates amongst Germany's political elites in 1949 on the same issue; debates that were sparked by the establishment of West Germany in that year. Simon Mee shows how, with the establishment of West Germany's central bank - today's Deutsche Bundesbank - the country's monetary history became a political football, as central bankers, politicians, industrialists and trade unionists all vied for influence over the legal provisions that set out the remit of the future monetary authority. The author reveals how a specific version of inter-war history, one that stresses the lessons learned from Germany's periods of inflation, was weaponised and attached to a political, contemporary argument for an independent central bank. The book challenges assumptions around the evolution of central bank independence with continued relevance today.
This chapter examines the world in which the BdL was established. It centres on the period 1948–51, the latter being the year when monetary sovereignty was transferred by the Allies to the West Germans. The chapter documents the opinions of West German elites in the lead-up to the creation of the BdL, noting that they were split on the question of central bank independence. It argues that a political struggle surrounding the future of the central bank incentivised a variety of West German elites to confront their inter-war monetary history. The chapter then shows how the BdL adopted an active press policy in the effort to influence the Bundesbank Law. Such efforts failed to prove effective during this period, however. Other events, such as the Allied decision to transfer monetary sovereignty to West Germany in 1951, proved more decisive. But it was in this very period that the central bank established a workable framework of historical narratives that could be applied for political ends.
This chapter examines the independence of the central bank in a decade riven by economic crises. In 1973, the Bundesbank faced a challenge to its independence – a challenge that emerged from within the SPD, which shared power in a coalition government. The argument of this chapter underlines Chapter 3’s concluding argument. It highlights how the Bundesbank Law provided the impetus for conflicts between Bonn and Frankfurt, in turn prompting the use of historical narratives concerning the two inflations applied in support of central bank independence. Furthermore, the chapter goes on to note the extent to which the 1970s were littered with monetary anniversaries. It argues that these occasions, coupled with the economic crises at hand, served as moments of reflection that allowed the Bundesbank to bolster its reputation and reinforce the parameters through which West Germans interpreted the monetary past. The chapter concludes by examining a ceremony that marked the thirtieth anniversary of the deutschmark in 1978.
This chapter examines the final years of the Bundesbank Law debate. It devotes particular attention to a 1956 public attack launched by the chancellor, Adenauer, on the central bank. The chapter argues that the crucial consequence of the ‘Gürzenich affair’ was the narrowing of the parameters of monetary debate through which West Germans interpreted the inter-war era. It argues that the provisions outlined in the Bundesbank Law reconfirmed an institutional conflict between Bonn and Frankfurt, one that was originally left behind by the Allied authorities. In providing no formal process through which conflicts between the federal government and the central bank could be solved quietly, the Bundesbank Law increased the likelihood that such disagreements would become ‘dramatised’ and spill into the public sphere. These disagreements gave rise to public controversies surrounding central bank independence, and in turn, provided further instances in which inflation narratives could be geared in support of the Bundesbank. It explains West Germany’s cultural preoccupation with inflation in institutional terms.
This chapter reveals that certain tensions, methodological holists against methodological individualists, constructivists against realists, materialists against idealists, for example, have been more or less continually present, including within individual works. At the same time, the actual disposition of competing positions in terms of access to institutional power has varied greatly. The chapter focuses on the broader question of why grand narratives and turns have persisted in spite of awareness of their problematic nature. Historiography may involve critique of concepts, the chronology of interpretative fashions, or social or cultural histories of academic life. Political history was strongest in West Germany, where scholars had to define themselves against East German Marxism. By the early 1990s, historians across the discipline were evoking a cultural turn. Linguistic theory, poststructuralist or not, has been used relatively infrequently in general histories of historical writing.
The West German experts envisioned that the Federal Republic would provide the proposed European Defense Community (EDC) with a modern tactical air force for close air support to German army units. The plan to restrict the air force to providing combat support to ground forces stemmed in part from the dominance of infantry and artillery experts in the West Germans' discussions and the lessons they had drawn from their World War II experiences. It also reflected the scant attention the Jahrbuch der Luftwaffe had given to aerial doctrine and the theory of airpower during the 1930s and 1940s. The U.S. Air Force (USAF) began a program within the framework of the Mutual Defense Assistance Program (MDAP) in 1953 to train pilots and technicians from NATO member states at air bases in Bavaria. The scale of American materiel and training support reduced their chances to influence German air potential.
This chapter examines the political raison d'être behind the U.S. Army's military communities in Germany. It focuses on the political impact of the institutionalized presence of family members and other civilians with the American forces in West Germany during the Cold War. Under the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), there were as many American civilian personnel and military family members living in West Germany as troops. Bringing American soldiers' families to Europe and establishing military communities was initially intended to address an internal problem, to restore and maintain morale and discipline so that the military mission of the occupation could be achieved. The establishment of the military communities anticipated the new American policy in Germany. The immense value of the presence of army families as a political symbol always outweighed the financial and military arguments for leaving the families behind.
The presence of American, British, and French military forces in West Germany was the vital pledge of allied politics for more than forty years. These troops created security in Germany by re-establishing public order. On October 1, 1945, the agencies of the U.S. military government in Germany was restructured and the U.S. Group Control Council (USGCC) was renamed Office of Military Government for Germany, United States (OMGUS). Army divisions would be stationed in Germany on a permanent basis, and General Dwight D. Eisenhower would be appointed as the first Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR). This was the beginning of the reinforcement of U.S. forces in peacetime. To make West German participation in NATO more acceptable to a skeptical West European public, it was argued that U.S. forces would be able to intervene to check any renewed threat to peace in Europe from the Germans.