Maud Anne Bracke
Around 1968 communism expanded as a global movement, especially in the developing world, while hitting a crisis of legitimation in Europe. In the Western world the late 1960s saw young people aspiring to revolutionary change that involved both individual liberation and social justice. Generational identity underpinned a revolt against authority, leading to acute political crises in France, Italy, and elsewhere. While presenting opportunities to communist parties, this revolt threatened, from Moscow’s perspective, a dangerous proliferation of ‘heterodox’ Marxist thought. In Eastern Europe rebellious populations in Czechoslovakia, Poland, and Yugoslavia demanded greater rights of expression, causing the Soviet Union to intervene militarily in Czechoslovakia. By contrast, Maoism was able to capture the revolutionary, anti-imperialist spirit of the times. Claiming to offer an anti-bureaucratic alternative to the Soviet model, and resituating heroic agency at the heart of communist politics, Maoism appealed to Third World revolutionary leaders and radicals in the West.
The essay argues that the story of 1989 can be told either as a narrow or a wide story. The narrow story focuses on the end of communism, the unification of Germany, and the subsequent integration of former communist states into the European Union. It works especially well for Central and Eastern Europe, although it also has implications for regimes in Africa that relied on Soviet support. However, it also requires considerable qualification, given the survival of communist regimes in China, Vietnam, Cuba, and elsewhere. In the second, wide version of the story, 1989 brings to visibility processes that had been at work for several decades, undermining the power blocs of the Cold War era and the territorially defined polities on which the system of international relations rested. In this story 1989 is of as much relevance to the West as to the former Eastern Bloc. The essay looks at both stories in relation to Gorbachev and perestroika, the US role in the end of the Cold War, German unification, the singing revolution in the Baltic, and 1989 in China and Cuba.
This chapter examines the impact of the Cold War on Africa. It explains that while Africa is the least-known Cold War battleground, the United States, the Soviet Union, China, and Cuba became embroiled in the internal affairs of countless African countries. The chapter analyzes the ideologies, practices, and interests of these main external actors and describes the four major arenas of conflict that are representative of broad trends in Cold War intervention in Africa. It also discusses how the Cold War altered the dynamics of local struggles, created unprecedented levels of destruction and widespread instability, and contributed to many of the problems that plague Africa today.
Helen Graham and Alejandro Quiroga
What Spain, Greece, and Portugal have in common in the twentieth century is the manner in which their internal processes of change – rural to urban, agrarian to industrial – were intervened in and inflected at crucial moments and with enduring effect by the force of international political agendas. By the 1960s, in all three countries, the fearful imaginaries of traditionalists still saw a disguised form of communism in the ‘godlessness’ of Americanisation, social liberalisation, and anti-puritanism. This article adopts a tripartite structure (1945: survival; 1970s: transition; after 1989: memory) in order to explore why, how, and with what consequences Southern European political establishments with clear Nazi links or empathies not only survived the collapse of Adolf Hitler's new order, but were also able to persist as dictatorial and authoritarian regimes into the 1970s. It then interrogates the nature of the subsequent transitions to parliamentary democracy, paying particular attention to the continuities. It is remarkable, even today, how few Western European or North American commentators understand the brutality beneath the burlesque of dictatorship in Southern Europe.
Fascism was conceived amid the disorder associated with the transition from war to peace. The war shaped a predilection for the resort to violence, and disrespect for the practices of civil society and for the rule of law. The diplomatic process that began Paris in 1919, raising hopes among progressives for an international solution to the problems of order and the prospect of permanent peace, ultimately exacerbated post-war disillusion. Some historians have argued that the core elements of fascism as a political ideology were a consequence of the war and arose out of the climate of intensified militarism and nationalism which predominated after the war's end. This article examines the themes of militarism and nationalism, considering the variety of ways in which they may have influenced the emergence of fascist movements in order to problematize the place of the aftermath of the war in the story of fascism's rise.
David F. Patton
This article focuses on the wonder years enjoyed by Germany in 1989 that followed the great German unification. In 1989–1990, the two Germanies underwent a series of remarkable changes that would signal the end of the postwar division of Europe. East Germans peacefully toppled the hard-line Socialist Unity Party that had ruled with an iron fist for forty years. This article traces the revolutions that raged East Germany and its effects on the other part of the country. East Germany witnessed mass exodus resulting in labor shortages and other such problems. As East Germans fled in the summer of 1989, pro-democracy activists formed civic groups calling for reform. This article also explains the involvement of the two states in bringing down the iron curtain and unifying Germany. This article also explains the form of chancellor democracy, new economy that came to dominate the new found Germany.
In the forty-five years after World War II that Communist Yugoslavia existed, judgements as to the success of the experiment differed widely. Unlike the first royalist Yugoslav state, which had been dominated by the Serbian Karadjordjević Dynasty, the new country eventually gave recognition to all nationalities within the limits of its own authoritarian ideology. The creation of the second Yugoslavia united Bosnian Muslims, Albanians, Serbs, Montenegrins, Macedonians, Croats, and Slovenes with significant Hungarian, Roma, Italian, and Turkish minorities into a single, nominally Leninist state. What united it was the charismatic authority of its wartime leader Josip Broz Tito and a very large and politically significant army. After the break with the Soviet Union in 1948, the Yugoslav Communists veered on an uneasy path between centralisation and republican autonomy. The Communists showed little respect for traditional culture and religion when they came to power. This article focuses on ethno-nationalism and the demise of Communist Yugoslavia.
The Middle East’s pivotal position in a hydrocarbon-based global capitalism carries enormous ramifications for the region and the Gulf Arab states in particular. This chapter aims to present key debates associated with this transformation. It begins with an overview of the Rentier State Theory (RST). RST theorists foreground the impact of oil rents on Gulf states, drawing causal relationships between these rents and the characteristics of the Gulf’s political economy. The chapter turns to a critique of some of its core assumptions, notably its theorization of state and class. It argues that a more satisfactory understanding of the political economy of oil in the Gulf can be found through a return to the categories of class and capitalism, and a deeper appreciation of the ways in which the Gulf is located in the wider dynamics of accumulation in the world market.
Case Study: Field Notes on Catastrophe: Reflections on the September 11, 2001, Oral History Memory and Narrative Project
Mary Marshall Clark
This article focuses on the catastrophe of September 11, 2001; its memory sustained through oral history and captured in narratives. The purpose of this article is twofold: to explore the natural capacity of oral history, an ethical practice, for supporting the active process of historical remembrance even in its most nascent stages; and to use the September 11, 2001, Oral History Narrative and Memory Project as a means of defining a possible approach to documenting historical trauma through oral history. Psychologists who study the impact of massive catastrophic events, from genocide and war to natural catastrophes, define this range of work as “trauma mental health.” Oral history has demonstrated its value in recording traumatic and catastrophic events, whether natural or human-made. This article further traces the case studies conducted weeks after the attacks. One records trauma in the immediate context and the other records the aftermath of trauma followed by a reflection on the same.
This article centers around the case study of Rome's House of Memory and History to understand the politics of memory and public institutions. This case study is about the organization and politics of public memory: the House of Memory and History, established by the city of Rome in 2006, in the framework of an ambitious program of cultural policy. It summarizes the history of the House's conception and founding, describes its activities and the role of oral history in them, and discusses some of the problems it faces. The idea of a House of Memory and History grew in this cultural and political context. This article traces several political events that led to the culmination of the politics of memory and its effect on public institutions. It says that the House of Memory and History can be considered a success. A discussion on a cultural future winds up this article.