The Remembering ‘We’

The photograph on the left is of Otto Gregor, one of my paternal great-grandfathers. All I have of him is this photograph and his military passbook. The former is a prompt to vague thought, but little more. The latter is fragile, barely legible, and full of silence on the things that would interest me most. … Continue reading The Remembering ‘We’

Anloy-Bruyères Cemetery and the Brexit Impasse

In August 2018 I visited the First World War cemetery of Anloy-Bruyères, near Paliseul in the Belgian Ardennes. The cemetery contains the remains of some of the approximately 8,000 French and German soldiers who were killed at the Battle of Maissin on 22-23 August 1914, one of the first major battles of the initial war … Continue reading Anloy-Bruyères Cemetery and the Brexit Impasse

Britain, Germany, and the Threat of the Far Right

A couple of weeks ago I visited the temporary exhibition on the history of the post-war German Far Right curated by Munich’s Documentation Centre for the History of National Socialism. The institution, which opened in 2015, is a typical expression of the political and civic pedagogy that has been an integral part of the culture … Continue reading Britain, Germany, and the Threat of the Far Right

Historians, Britain and Europe

If the recent election victory of the Conservative party means one thing for historians, it is that we are going to be called on constantly over the next two years to provide context for wideranging discussions of British membership of the European Union. Yet anyone who assumes that the role of historians will simply be … Continue reading Historians, Britain and Europe

What to do with ‘Mein Kampf’?

What are we to make of the imminent reissue in German, 70 years after the death of Hitler, of Mein Kampf - the book that symbolizes like nothing else the destructive genocidal ambitions of the Nazi regime? What does the decision to re-publish tell us about contemporary Germany's relationship to the Nazi past? The question … Continue reading What to do with ‘Mein Kampf’?