The Long Shadow Cast by Europe’s Wars

5 02 2014

Harold James has published a great piece on the social memory of warfare in Europe. He suggests that the memory of past conflicts plays a greater role in politics in the countries on the edge of Europe, such as the United Kingdom and Russia, than in the countries at the heart of the European project (i.e., France and Germany). James wrote:

Reflecting on the legacy of the Great War has also been an occasion for reviving the era’s mentalities. In the United Kingdom, Education Secretary Michael Gove recently issued a polemic against historians who emphasized the futility of the war, calling it a “just war” directed against the “ruthless social Darwinism of the German elites.” This looks like a thinly veiled allusion to the power struggles of contemporary Europe.

James is Professor of History and International Affairs at Princeton University and Professor of History at the European University Institute, Florence. A specialist on German economic history and on globalization, he is the author of The Creation and Destruction of Value: The Globalization Cycle, Krupp: A History of the Legendary German Firm, and Making the European Monetary Union.

 

 

 

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