Biographie von Claus Leggewie

Claus Leggewie, geb. 1950 in Wanne-Eickel, Dr. sc. pol., Prof. für Politikwissenschaft an der Universität Gießen, Mitherausgeber der »Blätter«.

Im Folgenden finden Sie sämtliche »Blätter«-Beiträge von Claus Leggewie.

Claus Leggewie in den »Blättern«

God‘s own country: Der Kampf um die Religiösen

Mit dem »Super Tuesday« am 3. März treten die Vorwahlen der US-Demokraten in die entscheidende Phase ein. Überraschend geht dabei neben Bernie Sanders nach ersten starken Ergebnissen auch Pete Buttigieg als Favorit ins Rennen. Wer aber ist überhaupt in der Lage, die USA und die Welt vor weiteren vier Jahren unter Donald Trump zu bewahren? Dem widmen sich die Beiträge von James K. Galbraith (zu Sanders‘ Wirtschaftsprogramm), Claus Leggewie (zur Rolle der Religion im Wahlkampf) und Paul M. Renfro, dessen Text zur Strategie von Buttigieg auch zeigt, wie erbittert die parteiinterne Debatte inzwischen geführt wird.

»Yes, we couldn’t«

„Falls es noch irgendjemanden gibt, der daran zweifelt, dass in Amerika alles möglich ist, der sich noch immer fragt, ob der Traum unserer Gründungsväter heute noch gültig ist, der die Kraft der Demokratie in Frage stellt: Heute haben Sie Ihre Antwort.“ So (ver)sprach es Barack Obama am 4. November 2008 als Wahlsieger auf dem Weg ins Weiße Haus.

»We will manage!«

The challenge of integration

The conflicting messages of welcome displayed by the German government towards refugees is hindering integration processes, for the state, the refugees and the citizens. For the sake of all three, accepting the situation is the only way of moving forward.
The media was outraged when, after only a week of “Willkommenskultur”, the German government announced its intention to suspend the Schengen agreement and temporarily close the border with Austria. Beyond the media excitement though, this apparent U-turn barely dented the broadly positive attitude to the issue of refugees; in fact, it gave volunteers and the relevant authorities a much-needed signal that they wouldn’t be overstretched.
The ministers’ tone became more worrying when they declared they would take a closer look at those crossing the border from Salzburg to check whether they are, in fact, even Syrian. It’s not yet clear to which area of policy Thomas de Maiziere is best suited, but it’s certainly not in his current post of Minister of Interior, where he is pushing for segregation, checks, and brakes, and leaving precious little room for integration.
This ignores the current scale of migration completely. Given the ongoing causes of flight and migration in Africa, the Middle East and Asia, and no doubt with huge environmental and climate pressures added, current rates of migration can no longer be seen as a temporary increase. In the coming years and decades millions more people will come to Europe from different regions and for different reasons. It would be pig-headed to wait to “remedy the root causes of migration”.
Clearly, the policy of deterring refugees, which Germany followed for a long time, has failed, and everyone – including the Kosovars and Albanians at whom this talk is aimed – knows that the much-vaunted repatriation of hundreds of thousands of people is pure fantasy.
With this in mind, now and in the future, one of our main tasks will be integration. To achieve this, a Special Envoy for Integration should be appointed immediately. The signal sent out twenty-five years ago with the founding of the Office for Multicultural Affairs can now be repeated and made stronger.
It was the same Home Secretary mentioned above who once publicly mused that provision for migrants cannot be thoroughly and bureaucratically organised in the way that German citizens are used to; fire safety standards in a makeshift refugee reception centre, for instance, could be allowed to be less than perfect.
Safety-conscious Germans are very fond of fire safety regulations, however, and in refugee accommodation some have been pushing for greater fire safety. But in some other areas, Germans are going to have to improvise, relax, and adapt to the situation.
So what needs to happen now in real terms? Refugees arriving in Germany must immediately be legalised, and we need more mobile support through aid organisations and the armed forces; this is something we manage to do in disaster areas in a matter of days. First and foremost, though, temporary accommodation for refugees must be made weatherproof for the coming winter. So that local authorities can meet the challenges of migration, Wolfgang Schäuble, the Federal Finance Minister, will, for once, have to give more than he has already promised instead of making cuts.

Conflicts of Value and Distribution

Building laws aren’t the only thing in this country that immigration will change. Just as reunification in 1990 made the old Federal Republic less religious, less western and, briefly, less multicultural, the new Federal Republic will have a greater non-white population, a more religious population, and a higher population of people unaccustomed to civil liberties and democratic procedures.
This will not happen without some confrontation – Germany will experience conflicts of values and distribution, and old routines and systems will be challenged.
This has actually been going on for decades already; de facto if not de jure, the Federal Republic has already become a country of migration, and it has developed for the better as a result. But overblown media cries of “mass migration” in recent months, and what is clearly an emergency situation in many towns and cities, diminish confidence in our ability to cope.
And because so many people have difficulties with such visible changes, Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel worries that it’s a short jump from hate-filled far-right chanting to cowardly attempts at murder. Something the far-right didn’t count on, though, is that this very worry encourages those in the middle of society to offer help, with the surprising backing of tabloid newspapers.
This willingness to help is being put to the test. The rush towards Europe from elsewhere is exacerbating even the most placid volunteer’s ability to adjust to and to accept social change on this scale and at this pace without anxiety. So far we have been remarkably innovative, and emerging initiatives must be protected from cynicism and disappointment. No-one who is talking about engagement can avoid addressing these aspects.
“Shifting involvements: private interest and public action” is the title of an unfortunately overlooked 1982 sociological classic by Albert O. Hirschman. Hirschman’s conclusions were drawn from the experiences of the last century. A full decade after the popular uprisings of 1968, in the face of a second oil crisis and the bellicose behaviour of Thatcher and Reagan (and their verdict that there was no such thing as society, only greedy, self-interested individuals), one could very well believe that a cycle of public political action had been brought to a definite end. Hirschman was teaching economics and sociology at Princeton at the time. He wanted to “establish a phenomenology of enthusiasm and disappointment setting out the crossover of private interests and public actions and back again”, with the intention of “demonstrating disappointment as a driving force in human history”.

Overcoming disappointment

Those are the same questions that we face now. How do we make ourselves immune to disappointment? How can German society be sure it will overcome disappointment while continuing down the difficult path of integration?

As Hirschman warned, political engagement can become over-engagement – we see this in many integration centres across Germany – and can also lead to the feeling that there is a lack of demand: “… the problem of political life is, briefly, that it either demands too much or is too tame and timid”.
Now, and in the coming years, there will be an increase in demand. The people we currently see in emergency facilities and on their way to Europe will become our neighbours and colleagues, but they will also be our competitors for social security, wages, and public services like health and education, and this will all take place against a background of years of growing inequality.
In brief: migrant communities fuel social competition, allow ethnic segregation and religious communities that don’t fit into our model of the relationship between church and state; and they are annoyingly multilingual in the eyes of native speakers. The right-wing motif that the poorest bear the greatest burden from mass immigration must, therefore, be refuted, since there is an irritating consensus among left-wing and right-wing populists. At their summer conference in Marseilles, National Front leader Marine Le Pen accused Angela Merkel of, “clearly recruiting slaves through mass migration”, and said that Germany’s “moribund population” want to profit from migration to, “cut wages even more”. Away from the microphones, Eastern European heads of government express a similar view. The chair of the French Left Party, Jean-Luc Melenchon, believes that the migration of refugees is an economic coup for Germany.
So is the promotion of immigration doing the private sector’s work for them? It’s not that simple. Medium and long term, migration pays off in economic terms by plugging gaps in the job market and pension funds, while boosting coffers through a greater tax intake. In the short term, however, there is certainly a burden that affects even the middle class, making them less likely to welcome migrants.
It is true that migration often encourages Manchester capitalism and brings a new perspective on social issues. Immigration can trigger a debate on social justice that places the rich and super-rich in a difficult position.
In immigration societies, questions of identity are similarly exaggerated. In practice, multiculturalism means constantly negotiating customs and values, which is exhausting. Conflicts must be resolved peacefully, women and girls must be respected and other faiths must be tolerated: these clear foundations of any enlightened society must stay in place, and not be perceived to be “postcolonial”. But even these self-evident truths must be justified, time and again, in institutions and in everyday life.
This includes putting an end to unconscious and hidden forms of discrimination. Hospitals, police stations, courts and sport centres are all areas where symbolic orders and everyday rules are constantly being negotiated and, now and in the future, more and more doctors, police officers, lawyers and trainers from migrant backgrounds are meeting migrant clients,making composite identities such as “cosmopolitan Bavarian from Senegal” or “European-Kurdish from Berlin” more comfortable. Some, such as a school group we recently met, may even want to “give something back” by giving language lessons to unaccompanied refugee minors, and may even learn a little German grammar themselves in the process.

The Right in Parliament

Many people born here will have difficulties with these upcoming negotiation processes, and will seek to define themselves as “true Germans”. Politically, then, it’s worth questioning whether the German Parliament will remain free of radical Right parties as it so far has been, in contrast to almost every other European state from Norway to Greece, from the Netherlands to Bulgaria. It’s also worth considering the potential creation of ethnic or religion-based parties, the politicisation of the Islamic diaspora, and a fragmentation of the political system that our parliamentary democracy is poorly equipped to cope with.
That said, the message to the Christian Social Union must be that the much-needed migration bill cannot be kicked into the long grass in an attempt to prevent the creation of a right-wing party.
Schools have long been central to the creation of this new Germany. They need to become real community centres, offering German language courses to adult refugees and making the schools the centre of community life. This would be the most significant educational reform in decades.
This would require the unthinkable action of bypassing welfare bureaucracy and providing money directly to the migrant associations that are best placed to help migrants help themselves. It is also worth considering a proper bonus system for those communities that exceed their obligations in taking in refugees.
This can link our considerable national wealth to the ingenuity of refugees and migrants, and promote social innovation in the economy, in society and in politics. This type of society would need what we have long been calling for: trust. Trust that the migration process will succeed in the medium term;that it can drive our country forward without damaging it. Integration is not a walk in the park, as we all know. But it’s better to organise the process than to endure it.

Translation provided by Green European Journal.

Sea and sun for Europe

A new project for the next generation

Both the European Union and the "idea of Europe" are facing their sternest test since 1945: this is the pessimistic tenor of many of the comments on the euro crisis and the unpopular cuts being made in national budgets. Members of the wartime generation refer warningly to Europe's self−destruction and division in the twentieth century. Europe, they say, is the sole insurance against war and poverty, the guarantor of economic prosperity. They call on the younger generation, who take Europe entirely for granted, to show more commitment to the European future. Otherwise, they threaten, freedom of movement, study and work will soon be a thing of the past.

The achievements of European unification are indeed under serious threat. No one demonstrates in support of the European Union, which has come under heavy fire from "the markets", in other words financial capital. Instead we hear more and more carping at the "monster of Brussels", while rightwing populist Eurosceptics and opponents of the Union are gaining ground, particularly among young men. The EU continues to be very attractive beyond its borders − for the long−suffering civil opposition in Ukraine and Belarus as well as for the democratic movements in North Africa. But where outrage is expressed within Europe, from Syntagma Square in Athens to Puerta del Sol in Madrid, the EU is regarded as the merciless executor of an unjust austerity policy that is clouding the future of young people in particular.

Reminiscing about history is of as little use here as moral appeals. What we need is a fresh project that, once again or for the first time, motivates and mobilizes young Europeans for a "United States of Europe". In opinion polls, people under 30 declare themselves overwhelmingly to be cosmopolitans and advocates of global justice, as champions of ecological sustainability and local civil engagement. This initially leaves little room for Europe as project for the future. It may be that what I'd like to suggest below is nothing more than the pipedream of an ageing pro−European. But why not bring together the three things that most interest young adults in Europe today: a basic sympathy with the emergence of democracy in the Middle East, a strong willingness for more environmental and climate protection, and the opportunities brought by an energy changeover? Could a project that both in a literal and a metaphorical sense brings new energy to Europe north and south of the Mediterranean not fill the vacuum?

Certainly not if energy cooperation is seen merely as a gigantic engineering project principally serving the interests of the big energy and insurance companies, as with the billion−euro Desertec project for feeding solar−generated electricity from the desert into the European grid. Economic and technological plans can unleash political energy if, like the European Coal and Steel Community and Euratom in the 1950s, they become part of the same project for peace and development that the older generation still recall fondly today: an economic community that fundamentally served to prevent war, to reconcile former enemies and to bring social advancement for many.

Of course the European Coal and Steel Community cannot be brought back to life, Euratom even less so, particularly since that both would be disastrous for environmental and climate politics. Nevertheless, it is possible to conceive of a European industrial and social policy on the basis of renewable energies, one which mobilizes the imagination of entrepreneurs both within Europe and on its periphery, offering the contractual basis for a truly modern and self−chosen project for the current generation. That would be a true, vibrant Mediterranean union. If new industrial centres are created in North Africa, this will in turn create development opportunities for the sub−Saharan countries. The one way energy traffic heading north would become a developmental transfer heading south that benefited both sides.

This project would be the fitting answer to climate change, peak oil and the nuclear catastrophe in Japan. Fukushima showed that the peaceful use of nuclear energy is inappropriate both as an alternative and as a transitional technology. We need a consistent shift to renewable energies and worldwide cooperation.

A different energy policy towards the countries of the Middle East and North Africa that linked these to the European energy grid would also be the best way of supporting the democratization of the region and the development of an entrepreneurial class not solely interested in income from exports of raw materials.

The close relationship between the export of oil and oriental despotism was fatal. Now, thanks to the Arab Spring, the petrodollar regimes are on their last legs, both materially and politically. Moreover, this is a young revolution: in North Africa and the Middle East, roughly two−thirds of the population is under 30. From the October Riots in Algeria in 1988 to the Iranian democratic movement of 2009, we have seen that the younger generation, and young women in particular, want democracy with no ifs or buts. The Internet and social media have provided them with a means with which to circumvent the gatekeepers of state−censored and state−controlled TV channels and newspapers. Old ideologies of freedom such as nationalism, pan−Arabism and socialism have been thoroughly discredited among the young; nor is it a politicized Islam that they want, but the rule of law and good governmental practice.

Certainly, the Arab Spring, which has spread from the Tunisian hinterland to the centres of the Arab world, is drawing to a close, and the prospects of the democratic movement are clouded. There could be a worsening of religious tensions between Shiites or Alawites and Sunnis, or between Muslims and Christians, and fundamental tribal differences might also intensify. The Arab revolution was secular at its root, and Islamic groups have thus far, if anything, moderately endorsed it. Even so, radical Islamic as well as terrorist minorities can exploit the post−revolutionary uncertainty and sow the seeds of instability.

Equally, Tunisia and Egypt might prove the forerunners of an autonomous democratization, Morocco and Jordan could provide examples for an orderly transition and even Syria, following Libya, could be liberated through external military intervention. Many observers are comparing the irreversible popular movement with the wave of revolutions in 1848 in Europe; although it will retain some specifically Arab characteristics, including a less consistent process of secularization. Interesting is whether democratization will also improve the situation of women and homosexuals and of religious minorities and agnostics, and whether there will be sufficient incentive for and pressure on the Islamists to play by the rules of democracy.

The people who took to the streets wanted one thing above all: a better and more dignified life. However, the first things that they have faced have been instability and mass unemployment. That is why these societies in transition need economic success −− i.e. investment, research cooperation and assistance in their development. Europe needs to finally acknowledge that the development of democracy on its periphery is its own business too, and to offer more active support to the pioneers of change in these regions. German foreign policy made an incomprehensible error first in abstaining in the UN Security Council vote for military intervention in Libya and then continuing its constitutionally and ethically dubious export of arms to Saudi Arabia. To which we might add that we are also wasting opportunities in the Balkans, where all the constituent republics of the former Yugoslavia wish to join the EU, with Europe thus providing the political level on which these ethnically and religiously antagonistic states can once again find economic and cultural common ground.

With Gaddafi gone, have we not become dependent on unpredictable elected regimes where sooner or later extortionate Islamists will turn off the solar energy? But Putin and Gazprom demonstrate this instrument of torture every winter and that fails to impress us. Genuine energy cooperation on an equal footing will convince Arab governments of the merits and responsibilities that result from reciprocal dependency. Democracies are always more reliable and predictable than dictatorships. Climate protection and the energy changeover are far more than technical upgrades: they provide nation−states with new economic and social models and open up areas for global cooperation. In this broad sense, climate protection can be the new peace policy of the post−ideological age: an imminent threat to nature can push mankind into new relationships of mutual benefit and global solidarity.

Only at first glance does this seem utopian. In matters of climate change −− insofar as it is taken seriously at all −− it is conflicts, more than anything else, that have been evident. The melting of the polar ice caps has awoken the hunger of countries in the region for the mineral resources of the Arctic, and squabbles over the division of the cake, the control of ice−free sea routes and the protection of nature reserves and the indigenous population have already become apparent. If there are at least economic benefits at the North Pole tempting those willing to exploit it, the dramatic shortage of water and fertile soil to be expected elsewhere as a consequence of climate change will aggravate conflicts between and within countries and, through migration, have an impact on less directly affected regions. The scenario of future "climate wars" causes concern in international security policy circles, and is rightly a concern for the German foreign office and armed forces.

Blocking a climate "peace" agreement is the incompatibility between natural spaces and the way the boundaries of old nation−states have been drawn.

Rivers and mountain ranges have often been misused as "natural" boundary lines and lakes and bays politically divided −− at great cost to environmental measures in border regions. Industrial plants and power stations responsible for substantial emissions are shifted to such areas so that prevailing wind directions can be exploited to export damage. But ecosystems do not know the concept of "abroad"; the threats they face have made the world a village and, just like financial markets, transnational enterprises and long−haul tourists, have turned the notion of one global society into a reality.

Faced with this geological and topological revolution, countries go on the defensive, serving only to intensify the "tragedy of the commons": the overexploitation of our collective global resources. Everybody loses out as sea levels rise and if too much carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere; there are no winners if the last rainforests are felled. Global environmental law, still in a rudimentary state of development, must stop putting the interests of countries first and negotiating these between national governments. Instead, it must finally put the conservational and developmental interests of humanity on the agenda and increase the possibilities for checks and sanctions.

The paradox of cooperation is that during the Cold War, nations that were sworn political, ideological and military enemies were prepared to cooperate as long as the Damoclean sword of mutual destruction hung over them. Yet now, faced with a danger that is universally recognized, they still haven't established a means of genuine cooperation. This is extraordinarily short−sighted. Considering the enormous time pressure imposed on us by climate change, global cooperation is not only a moral imperative, it also offers a whole range of advantages, starting with the financial returns enabled by a green economy. And it is above all young people in countries both rich and poor that have this entrepreneurial attitude.

The more democratic the world becomes, so the conclusion, the sooner a new era of global cooperation will become possible, one which finally tackles the planet's most pressing problems and gives future generations in both the south and the north a fair chance of a good life. The European Union must not waste the opportunity for a new Mediterranean union a second time. The "mare nostrum", as the Romans called their Mediterranean empire, is a thing of the past. Today we must offer young people on both coasts of the Mediterranean concrete alternatives for the future and provide a lasting political, economic and cultural foundation for relations between Europe and the Arab world. This new project could be called "Our Sea", and it will involve the Europeanization of our democratic institutions and practices beyond our national borders. Notions of "going it alone" and the "core Europe" are now obsolete: the current crisis compels a "United States of Europe" out of sheer necessity. What Europe still lacks is democratic legitimacy and support.

This article was translated by Saul Lipetz; the translation has been provided by Eurozine

Battlefield Europe

Transnational memory and European identity

It has long been a cliché that Europe is in crisis. First it was a crisis of "widening", then it was a crisis of "deepening", now it is a constitutional crisis. The French EU presidency, despite a hyperactive president Sarkozy, could do little to alter that, while the Czech Republic's current presidency, with the Euro-sceptic Vaclav Klaus in charge, has hardly given cause for more hope. So it would be a pleasant surprise if the European Parliamentary elections, which will take place in what is now a total of 27 EU states between 4 and 7 June this year, were at least to receive the attention they deserve. Unfortunately, the opposite is likely to be the case.
The European Union's political future continues to be uncertain, it seems. Not so with the European past. Since the Museum of Europe opened in Brussels in the autumn of 2007,[1] there has been no shortage of sarcastic comments along the lines that while Europe might not have a constitution, at least it has a museum. Given Europe's political problems, then, is it not perhaps premature to devote a museum to it?
Probably a more serious question is whether Europeans – the many millions of EU citizens, but also Swiss citizens and Ukrainians, Turks and Norwegians – in other words the world's largest "people in spe", have shared memories and a common historical consciousness.[2] Or should have, if only to be able to deal better with their political problems. Individual European nations have built up a stock of master-narratives and myths enabling solidarity within established borders. But what about united Europe? In what sense is its memory "divided"? Is European memory divided between European nations, as a "shared memory"? Or does European memory divide European nations off from one another, causing a "memorial divide"?
Sceptics – be they in London, Paris or Athens, not to mention Warsaw – distrust any supra-national diffusion of the European idea because it intrudes upon the national and parliamentary sovereignty of member-states.[3] For those who sense such dangers, a common European commemoration is not worth the effort, since it only re-awakens old conflicts.
This is proved by the bitter conflicts over expulsions and ethnic cleansing since 1944.[4] Nothing illustrates more drastically how historical conflicts can be instrumentalized than the Polish president's recent comment in connection to the debate on the European constitution that Nazi victims should be included in any reckoning of Poland's share of the vote in today's Europe. For the nationally-minded, Europe is essentially a free-trade zone that acts collectively only in the case of attack from outside; worth commemorating are, if anything, wars against external enemies and internal barbarians such as the Nazis.
The defeat of the latter in May 1945 is indeed commemorated almost everywhere on the continent.[5] However, the kind of conflict that can also trigger could be observed in the Estonian capital Tallinn in 2007. The relocation from the city centre of a Soviet memorial – seen in the Baltics, understandably enough, as a monument to decades of occupation and repression – led to a bona fide national crisis between Estonia and Russia. Remarkable was that it did not lead to crisis between the EU and Russia, an indication of how little the EU felt involved in the events. It was with the eastern European experience of Soviet occupation in mind that Jorge Semprún, speaking on the sixtieth anniversary of the liberation of the Buchenwald concentration camp (where he was a prisoner between 1943 and 1945), commented that EU enlargement could only succeed both culturally and existentially "when we have shared and united our memories".[6]
My thesis, then, is that anyone who wishes to give a European society a political identity will rate the discussion and recognition of disputed memories just as highly as treaties, a common currency and open borders.[7]

The first circle: The Holocaust as negative founding myth

This raises a general problem: Europe cannot attest to heroic deeds, like its member nations used to do, but can only recall, in historical deep-focus, the catastrophes of the long twentieth century.[8] It must make a point of involving avowed outsiders and erstwhile enemies. This attempt to counteract the re-nationalization of memory stands a chance if the markers of a supra- and transnational memory – its anchors and vanishing points, so to speak – are put down in concentric circles, exemplifying dates and sites beginning with 27 January 1945.
The date of the liberation of Auschwitz is today commemorated throughout Europe as Holocaust Memorial Day.[9] The common evocation of the singular crime against humanity that was the murder of the European Jews provides Europe with a negative founding myth.[10] The Europeanization of German memory politics – Timothy Garton Ash has spoken ironically of the "German DNA norm"[11] – appears plausible at first sight, since anti-Semitism and fascism were indeed phenomena that affected the whole of Europe, and since the murder of the Jews would have been impossible without the broad collaboration of European governments and people. Today, a Mémorial de la Shoah in Paris seems self-evident, while in Poland, after the debate about the pogrom in Jedwabne (by no means an isolated incident), a similar process of realization is beginning, which given the latent anti-Semitism in the country is likely to take years.[12]
Can the Holocaust be a political caveat for contemporary Europe? This was what the Stockholm International Forum on the Holocaust held in January 2000 was supposed to institutionalize. Its sole mandate was put to the test (for the first and last time) the same year in Austria, when Wolfgang Schüssel's ÖVP (Austrian People's Party) formed a coalition with the FPÖ (Austrian Freedom Party), led by the notorious Holocaust trivializer Jörg Haider.[13] This gave rise to German-led initiatives in 2007 for an EU-wide ban on Holocaust denial. Whether bringing the Holocaust into the present day in this way is morally and ethically necessary, and whether its instrumentalization should be something that practical politics needs to concern itself with, is open to question.[14]
However this is also a problematic route to take in terms of commemorative culture. Certainly, the "mega-event" of WWII affected all Europeans, including the peripheral and neutral nations, and continues to be an issue for them to this day. However for many people in the UK or Portugal, the Holocaust has little to do with their own nation. This governing perspective becomes yet more problematic when imposed as the matrix for dealing with the crimes against humanity committed by communist states throughout central and eastern Europe.

The second circle: Soviet communism – equally criminal?

With the denial of the Holocaust punishable across much of Europe, the question arises whether the denial of Soviet crimes should also be illegal.[15] When the Lithuanian MEP and former head of the Lithuanian parliament Vytautas Landsbergis posed this question at the European level, he found no advocates among western politicians and the matter was dropped. This takes us into the second circle, or to be more precise, into the other half of the circle, insofar as one is aiming for a complete overview of totalitarian experiences in the twentieth century. For nations occupied by the Red Army, the 8/9 May 1945 remains the beginning of another occupation[16] that intellectual spokespeople from central and eastern Europe consider to be "equally criminal" (the phrase used by Sandra Kalniete at the Leipzig Book Fair on 24 March 2004). They are unable to accept it as the date of a collective liberation, as Russian commemorative culture asserts with increasing aggression.[17] Like all crudely drawn and politicized variants of the totalitarianism thesis, this rapidly leads to the uneven ground of relativization, and the offsetting of one event against the other, on one or both sides, something that since 1990 has also dominated German commemorative culture. The difficulty of European commemorative culture lies in establishing what was singular about the rupture to civilization constituted by the industrial-bureaucratic annihilation of the European Jews, without in the process dogmatically refusing historical comparison and downplaying the systematic attrition of the "class enemy" and "enemies of people" in the Soviet realm.[18]
That an ostensibly anti-fascist consensus kept quiet about the Gulag (or offset it against the Shoah) was due to the polemic constellation of the Cold War, which – see Tallinn 2007 – has by no means been overcome. Competition and hierarchy between Holocaust memory and Gulag memory – if you'll excuse the crude, rather businesslike terminology – is probably the most significant baggage of a "divided" memory that wishes not to separate but to synthesize. However not all acts of violence of the twentieth century can be brought into connection with the icon of the negative – the Holocaust. Speaking at Buchenwald, which after 1945 was used as a camp by the Russians, the former communist party member Semprún expressed the hope that "at the next commemorative occasion in ten years' time, the experience of the Gulag will have been incorporated into our collective European memory. Lets hope that Varlam Shalamov's Kolyma Tales will by then sit alongside the books of Primo Levi, Imre Kertész or David Rousset. For one thing, that would mean that one half of us is no longer crippled; it would also mean, however, that Russia has taken a decisive step in the direction of democracy."[19]
"Eastern central Europe" as a single entity is a western fiction that fails to recognize differences between nations, something that applies to memory as well. Stefan Troebst has distinguished four zones: in the Baltic states, Croatia and Slovakia a clear anti-communist consensus predominates, while in Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Ukraine, the past is dealt with in a way that is (increasingly) controversial. Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Macedonia and Albania share an ambivalence or indifference towards the communist past, while Russia, Belarus, Moldova and other CIS countries exhibit a high degree of continuity in terms of elites and ideology.[20] In this latter group, Stalin is often seen as the sole commander of the "Great Patriotic War", an apologist view that even extends to his repressive and murderous character within Russia itself.[21]
In the latent authoritarianism of post-Soviet power structures, a criminal past that has yet to be addressed proves potentially explosive: it blocks the path towards democracy. Russia's possible self-exclusion from Europe is not only expressed in an affirmative and apologetic politics of history – it may also have its deeper causes there.
A preliminary summary produces three reasons for the existing asymmetry of European memory. First, the assumption of the singularity of the Holocaust (particularly from the German perspective), combined with the recognition of Russian suffering in WWII, has unwittingly obstructed awareness about "red totalitarianism". That also goes for the way the history of the GDR has been addressed in Germany,[22] where, in part, the lazy anti-fascist consensus of the GDR persists and where there has been a tendency to relativize the crimes of the SED (Socialist Unity Party, the East German communist party) just like the crimes of Nazism in West Germany after 1945. Conflicts in eastern Germany over policy towards public memorials and museums' handling of the legacy of the GDR are part and parcel of this. One can only hope that recent regulations will form a better basis for the principle that whoever wishes to speak of fascism should not keep quiet about Stalinism – and vice versa.
Second, the asymmetry of the perception of the Gulag and the Holocaust is explained by the fact that the murder of the European Jews became far more visible. The crimes of communist regimes, which from 1917 up to present-day China and North Korea have claimed the lives of around 100 million people, have not been iconized nor medialized to a comparable degree. To put it another way: the Nazi Germans predominantly killed other people, the communists in Russia and China predominantly their own. Yet this is also wrong, if one is to be correct and to take into account the persecution of the populations of eastern central Europe, Central Asia and Tibet by Russian and Chinese "colonial powers".
A third reason sometimes cited is that this murderous experience remained eastern European at its core. Yet in western Europe one cannot seriously claim to have been completely unaffected by Stalinism; the sheer size of communist parties west of the Iron Curtain contradicts this, as does, ex negativo, anti-anti-communism's identity-forming function in western Europe for many years. While it provided the basis for the peaceful co-existence with the so-called people's republics, and may have overcome the division of Europe, it did so, as has since been proven, at the expense of human and civil rights groups.

The third circle: Expulsion as a pan-European trauma?

The dominant memory of WWII recollects population transfers taking place across wide areas and affecting millions of people. In this perspective, which begins with the collapse of the great empires of the nineteenth century, the Holocaust comes to be seen as a particularly awful case of ethnic cleansing.[23] The big scandal of the German Historikerstreit was the historian Andreas Hillgruber's attempt to reclaim a "double memory", in other words to offset the memory of "Auschwitz" and the European Jews against that of "Nemmersdorf"[24] and the German victims of expulsion and rape.[25] Richard von Wiezsacker's dictum that Germans during and after WWII were also victims of a history that began in 1933 has since entered the public discourse, yet without the apologetic tone and the offsetting that for a long time clung to the discussion about the "crime of explusion".[26]
Its European dimension is only just becoming clear, however, and this – the memory of the "population transfers" of the twentieth century from the Armenian genocide to the former Yugoslavia – is where the third, highly controversial circle opens up. It includes the deportations that the totalitarian dictatorships carried out in territories under their occupation, however also the ethnic cleansings that, since the nineteenth century, were almost inevitable wherever nation-state building (including its democratic variants) succumbed to the mad idea that internal and external security and political legitimacy was attainable only on the basis of an ethnically homogeneous collective. The particular problem that, for example, Czechs today have with regard to the political-moral recognition of the expulsion of the Sudetenland Germans probably lies in the fact that a bourgeois-democratic government under Eduard Benes issued the decree.[27] Similarly, the biggest obstacle to addressing the Yugoslavian catastrophe from 1991 onwards could be that it was not the authoritarian Tito regime that was responsible for causing the antagonism between the incompatible Serbs and Croats, Bosniaks and Kosovo-Albanians, so much as the illiberal democracies, whose nationalist majorities could not – and cannot – care less for the protection of ethnic and religious minorities.
The history of ethnic cleansing can hardly prima facie contribute to the development of a common memory because it is not yet "water under the bridge", in other words complete, and continues to divide memories like a knife does a wounded body. Initiatives such as the European Network of Memory and Solidarity campaign against a purely national and backwards-looking commemoration of the sort advocated, according to its critics, by the German Zentrum gegen Vertreibung (Centre Against Expulsion). In the course of the debate,[28] the initiators of the centre, above all the League of Expellees, had to integrate a European and global dimension into events and exhibitions;[29] thus the Centre could, in the end, form part of a European network. However it will probably be a long time before Poles and Germans can get used to the idea of jointly-authored school text books, as has become possible in the German-French case (albeit after a period of reconciliation lasting 40 years[30]).
The example of expulsion illustrates the controversial nature of shared memory both for domestic and foreign policy. In the West, such conflicts are an occasion for a reassertion of the Right-Left schema, while in the East they pit national(ist) forces (including on the Left) against pro-European, liberal circles. Geopolitical and geostrategic divisions within "Old Europe" that had been frozen by the bloc confrontation of the Cold War superpowers re-appear. Yet it is not old conflicts that are hindering a unification of the new Europe, but rather new conflicts – over security, energy, permissiveness etc. – and it is these that bring about the continuation of a "Europe of nations". Moreover, they are reheated by domestic political quarrels: Polish intransigence about the issue of expulsion of course has to do with the long-suppressed but then hysterically addressed communist past. In all post-communist societies, the heirs of the nomenklatura and the descendents of an often compromised authoritarian Right do battle for historical legitimacy, the lack whereof they compensate for with ethno-nationalist sentiment.

The fourth circle: The Armenian question

A fourth circle opens up with the question as to where Europe's borders lie, and thus to what extent supra-national EU intra-identities extend transnationally at the European and non-European levels. Many euro-sceptics have hinted that especially Turkey, due to its "different" cultural and religious history, could never share Europe's "common destiny";[31] even the biggest supporters of Turkish membership, the British, have indirectly endorsed this view by understanding the Union as a free trade zone without a cultural memory.[32] In no other issue are the divisive dimensions of a shared memory more clearly evidenced than in the supposed cultural boundary between a blanket definition of "Islam" and "secular" Europe. Regardless of the actual degree of "de-Christianization" in Europe, many see in it a historical community of memory and destiny that is opposed to Islam and Turkey. At the same time, Kemalism was the prime example of a westernization process, and the secular Turkish republic the best proof that such a process is possible. If Europe were to take its secularity seriously, religious affiliation would not pose an obstacle to integration, either within migrant communities or in relation to non-EU countries. However other things no doubt would, for example deficits in democracy and development, and the "Armenian question". A majority of liberal as well as secular Turks resolutely refuse to acknowledge the weight of historical responsibility for the "genocidal murder" (if not the genocide) of hundreds of thousands of Armenians in 1915. The question thus morphs into an informal membership criterion, one clearly articulated both in national and supranational parliaments.
The French and the Swiss have made much of the issue and, taking "the Auschwitz lie" as a precedent, have outlawed the denial of the Armenian genocide; the German parliament has taken a more cautious approach, issuing statements geared towards consensus.[33] As far as the Armenian question is concerned, it seems that before the wider Europe can come together, it will be commemoratively split. Yet there can only be consensus when the approache is reversed, in other words when Turkey comes to terms with the Armenian issue in a European fashion, both internally and with old allies and enemies on the international stage. While the term "genocide" is occasionally used inside Turkey, generally speaking there is an insistence on the essential difference between a "massacre" (katliam or kiyim), which is acknowledged to have taken place in WWI and which is regretted, and "genocide" (soykirim), which is strongly denied.
The controversy has taken on a transnational dimension not least because it is an emotive issue for the Turkish diaspora, which in turn competes with the Armenian diasporas in the US and France. This first became noticeable in March 2006, when ultra-nationalists, led by the former Turkish President Süleyman Demirel and the former president of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus Rauf Denktash, called in highly martial tones for a "Talaat-Pasha rally"[34] in Berlin.[35] Mobilization was limited, however the incident shows how transnational migration easily causes unresolved conflicts over European history to become domestic political issues. The Armenian question, which the Turks consider to be a strictly domestic matter, is connected with an equally ethno-nationalist reflex against critics of the migration policy of the Turkish and Islamist umbrella organizations, whose representative legitimacy is contested.[36]

The fifth circle: European periphery

There is no monument to the victims of the Armenian genocide at Steinplatz in Berlin, near where Talaat-Pasha was murdered and where the "hundreds of thousands" of Turkish nationalists wanted to march. Yet at different ends of this rather unkempt park one can find two memorials to the victims of Stalinism and National Socialism, erected in the early 1950s. Steinplatz could almost, then, symbolize the history of European memory sketched above. However a further memorial site would be missing, one included in the fifth circle, that of European colonial history. The occasion commemorated might be the Berlin Conference in 1884, at which, under the aegis of the Germans, the Belgian Crown Colony of Congo was divided up between European interests. In Germany one came to speak relatively late, and only in the course of the more general process of "coming to terms with the past", about the colonial crimes committed above all against the Herero and Nama. For this reason, colonial apologetics and nostalgia does not really exist in Germany,[37] unlike in other countries, where there have even been attempts to pass laws making it compulsory to include the "positive aspects" of colonialism in school curricula.[38]

This broad field encompasses a historical period from slavery to the neo-colonial economic policy of the present. To allude to the complex with just one example: in 2006, the European Union, having been requested to do so by the United Nations, sent troops to the Congo to oversee the orderly running of the elections there. That would have been a debate worth having. Either in general terms, about whether it is right, when in doubt, to support democratization using external military means, or about whether postcolonial Europe, given a past that was rarely more brutal than in Central Africa, can ethically afford such an intervention. However a debate at a genuinely European level never took place; each nation evaluated the intervention in its own way and according to its own tradition. Mostly it was argued that the Congo has plentiful natural resources, and that instability in the country would increase migration to Europe and offer a haven for terrorists. Is the establishment and reinforcement of democratic conditions in a country afflicted by dictatorship and a weak state, by civil war and warlords, not an end in itself? While this was what the EU declared, its main concern was to demonstrate the readiness and the ability of its troops – in other words, to show that it was a "global player".

Remarkably, in Germany the parliamentary debate about military engagement in the Congo barely took on a moral tone, either on the part of opponents or supporters, unlike with other "out of area operations".[39] In 1999, the Social Democratic and Green Party ministers Rudolf Scharping and Joschka Fischer had justified intervention in Kosovo with an argument ("Auschwitz") that until then had legitimized their refusal. Now, it was apparently because of "Auschwitz" that military intervention for humanitarian reasons was called for. After Afghanistan, as well, a sense of moral duty dictated against abandoning America in the "War on Terror". It was only in 2003 that "national interest" deemed further military engagement alongside the US in Iraq inappropriate. In contrast, the European colonial past was not mentioned once, despite the leftwing opposition in the national and EU parliaments speaking of a neo-colonialism underwritten by military force. Ought this not to have been responded to? After all, the same sleaze does continue to exist in the form of the pact between European foreign policy and companies who want peace in Congo primarily in order to be able to do business there undisturbed. In its dimensions, of course, it is nothing like the colonial exploitation of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries; however anyone seeking to bring sustainable development and democracy to Central Africa needs to take this sinister history into account. If one were to make a slogan to this effect, it would be: whoever in Europe wishes to talk about the Holocaust should also not keep quiet about colonialism.
This is only partially accomplished in the Royal Museum for Central Africa in Tervuren near Brussels. Founded in 1910, the museum had until recently depicted the history of Belgian policy in the Congo as adventurism. Belgium's blame and responsibility for a monstrous system of exploitation and repression during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries is now half-heartedly acknowledged at best, in the face of opposition from Belgian society itself, which after two world wars had got used to seeing itself as the victim of German aggression. However there is no doubt that the extraction of natural resources, above all ivory and rubber, which relied heavily on compulsory labour, at times had genocidal features. The fact that there was an underlying civilizing tone to the colonial mission of Leopold II incriminates today's military engagement still further. The fatal trinity of military violence, misanthropic greed for profit and proselytizing zeal makes every postcolonial engagement liable to this suspicion. This gave weight to the "Hands off Congo" and "Africa to the Africans" campaign; however, after seeing the appalling TV images and press photos from Darfur and in retrospect Rwanda, the same public opinion that had preferred isolationism demanded a little bit more internationalism after all.
The Congolese case makes the demand for a politics of history that goes beyond Europe plausible, however it also shows the limits and the pitfalls of a globalization of commemoration and memory under the aspect of a Holocaust stripped of temporal and spatial co-ordinates. Once again, the thesis of the singularity of the murder of the Jews must not be allowed to narrow the perspective and to underpin what is, ultimately, a hierarchy of victims that assumes racist stereotypes. The intricate relation between German colonial histories exists; the non-affirmative comparison between the Shoah as a historically specific phenomenon and colonial genocide is not taboo; during the reign of Leopold II, up to ten million people in the Congo were brutally murdered – there too, "the unimaginable" became reality. The racial anthropologist Eugen Fischer began his harmful career in German Southwest Africa and ended it on the ramp of Auschwitz – this personal continuity represents just one facet of the connection. Compensation claims by people affected by the slave trade and colonial persecution remain unfulfilled and are probably more difficult to fulfil in general. However a Eurocentric interpretation of the causes and effects of genocides based on the thesis of singularity would be a misunderstanding of the cultural pluralism of modern societies, and an anachronism.

Sixth circle: Europe as migration continent

The sixth circle of European memory, that will only be mentioned here in brief (undeservedly so), has to do with the massive transnational migration to Europe in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and above all since the 1950s. Since this is also a history of asylum and migration to escape poverty, it is closely connected to Europe's colonial and postcolonial history. The museums in western Europe dedicated to migration, still in their early stages, deal with numerous facets of cultural globalization.[40] However the question remains whether these museums merely deal with the success or otherwise of migration from the perspective of the migrants and/or the difficulties connected with their social, political and cultural integration from the perspective of the majority, or whether they go beyond this and reflect on migration's relation to the criminal and catastrophic history of the Shoah and the Gulag. This definitely did not affect migrants and their parents, however it does pose itself as a question to their children in the second and third generations, offering a perspective from where they can observe and evaluate their "own" history, from which they have meanwhile become alienated.[41] European sites of memory, starting with the Roman heritage and relics of the Middle Ages, can no longer be communicated without bearing in mind how to make these comprehensible to migrants of the third generation, strongly confronted as they are with non-European identity options from the Islamic umma, for example. Hence, a European memory will only become transnational when migrant Europeans (insofar as they are recognized as citizens) take on responsibility for crimes and events that lie outside their country of origin, and when, at the same time, European human rights and asylum policy can be applied in international crises without their being used as a normative shield for protecting Eurocentric interests.

The seventh circle: Europe's success story after 1945

To summarize: Europe's collective memory after 1989 is just as diverse as its nations and cultures and just as divided – in the double sense – as its national and social world. Memory cannot be regulated "mnemo-technically" via official of acts of state or routinized commemorative rituals such as 8/9 May or 27 January. However it is possible to establish a European way to remember past crimes together and to carefully extract lessons for present-day European democracies. The strong and recurring impulse to believe that forgetting is better than remembering in and for Europe is understandable, and has attracted prominent advocates – in postcolonial France as in post-Franco Spain and in post-socialist Poland.
On the other hand, there is the slogan of one prominent member of the opposition: "Amnesty yes, amnesia no!"[42] Experience shows that processes of democratization in transitional societies – which is what almost all European nations were after 1945 – remains precarious and incomplete if they fail to conduct a critical review of their own past. Just as European democracies no longer wage war upon one another, so the democratic process itself offers sufficient legitimization by means of an increasingly European politics of history, in which local grassroots initiatives are equally as involved as school text-book commissions and state and supra-state events.
At this point, it is perfectly justified to capitalize, both pedagogically and politically, on the success of western Europe after 1950, which in the Brussels exhibition receives equal emphasis. Since that date, Europe has taken a course of development that leads out of the cycle of totalitarianism and the ideological division of East and West. The eastern European view of this history, on the other hand, is marked by envy and sorrow, since during the Cold War the success and happiness of the West was relativized by the unhappiness and failure on the other side of the Iron Curtain. One can hardly claim that the eastern enlargement in 2004 has already mended this rift. Yet one need not also be afraid of building a European museum that addresses this success.

This article was translated by Simon Garnett; the translation has been provided by Eurozine

[1] Housed in the Thurn and Taxis Palace, it is unpretentious and successful overview of "our history" intended to go beyond national history and provide a history of Europe since 1945. See:

[2] Cf: Dan Diner, Gegenläufige Gedächtnisse. Über Geltung und Wirkung des Holocaust, Göttingen, 2007; Natan Sznaider, Gedächtnisraum Europa. Kosmopolitismus: jüdische Erfahrung und europäische Vision, Bielefeld 2008; Tony Judt, Postwar. A History of Europe Since 1945, NY/London 2006; Wolfgang Schmale, Geschichte Europas, Wien und Böhlau 2001.

[3] Ralf Dahrendorf is the most nuanced exponent of this position. See his Die Krisen der Demokratie, Ein Gespräch mit Antonio Polito, München 2002. The least nuanced exponent is the rightwing EU parliamentary group Union for Europe of the Nations.

[4] Mahmood Mamdani, "The Politics of Naming. Genocide, Civil War, Insurgency", in: London Review of Books, 8.3.2007. See:

[5] Michael Schwartz, Michael-Hartmut Mehringer and Hermann Wentker (eds.), Erobertoder befreit? Deutschland im internationalen Kräftefeld und die Sowjetische Besatzungszone 1945/46, München 1999.

[6] Jorge Semprún, "Niemand wird mehr sagen können: 'Ja, so war es'", in: Die Zeit, 16/2005.

[7] On the sociological preconditions for this premise, see: Georg Simmel, Soziologie, Berlin 1908 and other classics. Cf. also Gerd Nollmann, Konflikte in Interaktion, Gruppe und Organisation: zur Konfliktsoziologie der modernen Gesellschaft, Opladen 1997; as well as Albert O. Hirschmann, "Social Conflicts as Pillars of Democratic Market Society", in: Political Theory, 2/1994, S. 203-218. For a description of the historical conflicts, see: Claus Große Kracht et al. (eds.), Zeitgeschichte als Streitgeschichte. Große Kontroversen seit 1945, München 2003; as well as Claus Leggewie and Erik Meyer, "Ein Ort, an dem man gerne geht". Das Holocaust-Mahnmal und die deutsche Geschichtspolitik nach 1989, Munchen 2005.

[8] Bernhard Giesen, Triumph and Trauma, Boulder/CO 2004.

[9] The Yom HaShoah on 27 January, the day of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, is observed in Israel as a national day of mourning and in the meantime, supported by the European Parliament (2000) and by the United Nations (Declaration in 2005), also observed in many eastern European nations.

[10] Birgit Schwelling, "Das Gedächtnis Europas. Eine Diagnose", in Timm Beichelt et al. (eds.), Europa Studien. Eine Einführung, Wiesbaden 2006, 81-94.

[11] Timothy Garton Ash, "Mesomnesie – Plädoyer für mittleres Erinnern", in Transit 22 (2002), 32-48. See:

[12] See the debate around Jan Gross' book, Fear: Anti-Semitism in Poland After Auschwitz, New York 2006.

[13] Jens Kroh, Transnationale Erinnerung. Der Holocaust im Fokus geschichtspolitischer Initiativen, [Diss.] Frankfurt a. M. and Gießen 2007.

[14] Horst Meier, "Holocaustgedenken und Staatsräson", in: Merkur, 12/2005, 1167-1172.

[15] Cf. Baltic Times, 3-9.3.2005, 1.

[16] Eva Clarita Onken, "The Baltic States and Moscow's 9 May Commemoration: Analysing Memory Politics in Europe", in: Europe Asia Studies, 1/2007, 23-46.

[17] Andreas Langenohl, "Staatsbesuche. Internationalisierte Erinnerung an den Zweiten Weltkrieg in Rußland und Deutschland", in: Osteuropa, 4-6/2005, 74-87. See: English trans. "State visits. Internationalized commemoration of WWII in Russia and Germany", in Eurozine, see:

[18] Claus Leggewie, "Historikerstreit transnational", in: Steffen Kailitz (ed.), Die Gegenwart der Vergangenheit. Der 'Historikerstreit' und die deutsche Geschichtspolitik, Wiesbaden 2008.

[19] Semprún, op. cit.

[20] Stefan Troebst, "Jalta versus Stalingrad. GULag versus Holocaust. Konfligierende Erinnerungskulturen im größeren Europa", in: Berliner Journal für Soziologie, 3/2005, S. 381-400.

[21] Lev Gudkov, "Die Fesseln des Sieges. Rußlands Identität aus der Erinnerung an den Krieg", in: Osteuropa, 4-6/2005, 56-73. See:

[22] Martin Sabrow, "Geschichte als Herrschaftsdiskurs. Der Umgang mit der Vergangenheit in der DDR", Cologne 2000.

[23] Norman M. Naimark, Flammender Hass. Ethnische Säuberungen im 20. Jahrhundert, München 2004; Wolfgang Benz, Ausgrenzung, Vertreibung, Völkermord. Genozid im 20. Jahrhundert, München 2006; Boris Barth, Genozid. Völkermord im 20. Jahrhundert. Geschichte – Theorien – Kontroversen, München 2006.

[24] Today Mayakovskoye in Kaliningrad, formerly East Prussia. The town became known as the site of the first massacre of German civilians by the Red Army on 21.10.1944. The events surrounding it are highly contested. See: Bernhard Fisch, Nemmersdorf, Oktober 1944, Berlin 1997.

[25] Andreas Hillgruber, Zweierlei Untergang. Die Zerschlagung des Deutschen Reiches und das Ende des europäischen Judentums, Berlin 1986.

[26] Cf. Philipp Ther, "Die Last der Geschichte und die Falle der Erinnerung", in: Transit, 30 (2005/06), 70-87. English translation, "The burden of history and the trap of memory", in Eurozine. See: See also: Harald Engler, "Deutscher Opferdiskurs? Neue Arbeiten zu Vertreibung und Zwangsmigration", in: Jahrbuch für die Geschichte Mittel- und Ostdeutschlands, 51 (2005/06), 119-146; Samuel Salzborn, "Opfer, Tabu, Kollektivschuld. Über Motive deutscher Obsession", in: Michael Klundt u.a. (eds.), Erinnern, verdrängen, vergessen. Geschichtspolitische Wege ins 21. Jahrhundert, Gießen 2003; Helmut Schmitz (ed.), A Nation of Victims? Representations of German Wartime Suffering from 1945 to the Present, Amsterdam und New York 2007.

[27] Barbara Coudenhove-Kalergi and Oliver Rathkolb (eds.), Die Benes-Dekrete, Wien 2002.

[28] Extensively documented at:

[29] For background on the German-Polish debate over the Zentrum gegen Vertreibung, see: Philipp Ther, "The burden of history and the trap of memory", in Eurozine:

[30] German edition: Histoire/Geschichte – Europa und die Welt seit 1945, Leipzig 2006 (Gymnasiale Oberstufe (11.-13. Klasse); French edition: Histoire/Geschichte – L'Europe et le monde depuis 1945, Paris 2006 (Classe de terminale/BAC).

[31] Hans-Ulrich Wehler, in: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), 19.12.2003; Heinrich August Winkler, in: FAZ, 11.12.2002.

[32] Helmut König and Manfred Sicking (eds.), Gehört die Türkei zu Europa? Wegweisungen für ein Europa am Scheideweg, Bielefeld 2005; Claus Leggewie (ed.), Die Türkei und Europa. Die Positionen, Frankfurt a. M. 2004.

[33] Cf. Antrag der Fraktionen SPD, CDU/CSU, Bündnis 90/Die Grünen und FDP (Bundestags-Drs. 15/5689), 15.6.2005; Protokoll der Bundestagsdebatte, Tagesordnungspunkt 6, 21.4.2005, Bundestags-Drs. 15/4933; sowie Aschot Manutscharjan, Eine äußerst sperrige Last der Erinnerung, in: Das Parlament, 18.4.2005.

[34] Mehmed Talat (1874-1921), also known as Talaat-Pasha. The Ottoman interior minister in 1915, Talaat-Pasha passed the law regulating the resettlement of Armenians that set in motion the genocide. He fled Turkey after 1918 and was assassinated in Berlin – ed.

[35] Claus Leggewie, "Die armenische Frage in der transnationalen Liga", in: Universitas, 5/2006, S. 476-489.

[36] See Claus Leggewie, "Between national church and religious supermarket. Muslim organizations in Germany and the problem of representation" in Eurozine:

[37] Jochen Zeller and Jürgen Zimmerer (ed.), Völkermord in Deutsch-Südwestafrika. Der Kolonialkrieg (1904-1908) in Namibia und seine Folgen, Berlin 2003; Stephan Malinowski and Robert Gerwarth, "Der Holocaust als 'kolonialer Genozid'? Europäische Kolonialgewalt und nationalsozialistischer Vernichtungskrieg", in: Geschichte und Gesellschaft, Bd. 33, 2007, S. 439-466.

[38] Cf. the law brought before the French National Assembly in 23.05.2005; also Andreas Eckert, "Der Kolonialismus im europäischen Gedächtnis", in: Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte, 1-2/2008, S. 31-38.

[39] Claus Leggewie, "Paradoxe Intervention: Pazifisten im Krieg", in: Angelika Ebrecht-Laermann und Emilio Modena (ed.), "Zeitgemäßes über Krieg und Tod", in: Psychosozial, 24 (2001), S. 83-96.

[40] Paris is the role-model; compare the partially implemented initiatives of the German DOMiD. Cf. Jan Motte und Rainer Ohliger (eds.), Geschichte und Gedächtnis in der Einwanderungsgesellschaft. Migration zwischen historischer Rekonstruktion und Erinnerungspolitik, Essen 2004.

[41] Viola Georgi, Entliehene Erinnerung. Geschichtsbilder junger Migranten in Deutschland, Hamburg 2003.

[42] Adam Michnik, "Die auferstandene Unabhängigkeit und die Dämonen der samtenen Revolution", in: Transdora, 20 (1999/2000), special edition: 10 Years of Transformation in Poland, 5-15.



APO 2.0

Wie umweltfreundlich ist Demokratie, und wie demokratiefreundlich ist der Klimawandel? Lange schien sich diese Frage von selbst zu beantworten: Die Regierungspraxis, aber auch die Forschung zur Umweltpolitik ließen zu dem beruhigenden Schluss kommen, „dass Demokratie die besseren Voraussetzungen für Umweltpolitik bietet als Autoritarismus […].

Kanzler- versus Parlamentsdemokratie

Bis vier Wochen vor der vorgezogenen Bundestagswahl stand nicht fest, ob diese überhaupt stattfinden würde. Dabei lief der Wahlkampf längst auf vollen Touren. Erst das Bundesverfassungsgericht (BVerfG) mit seinem Urteil vom 25. August beseitigte die Zweifel – und löste umgehend neue, nämlich an der eigenen Entscheidung aus.