Mitteleuropa: Between Europe and Germany

Mitteleuropa: Between Europe and Germany

Mitteleuropa: Between Europe and Germany

Mitteleuropa: Between Europe and Germany

Synopsis

The end of the Cold War and German unification, the empirical evidence indicates, are not returning Germany and central Europe to historically troubled, imbalanced, bilateral relationships. Rather changes in the character of German and European politics as well as the transformations now affecting Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia point to the emergence of multilateral relationships linking Germany and central Europe in an internationalizing, democratic Europe.

Excerpt

This book is closely intertwined with my intellectual autobiography. Raised in the Federal Republic after World War II, I received all of my university training abroad, in the United Kingdom and the United States. When I accepted my first full-time teaching position at Cornell University, I was hired as the Government Department's central European specialist. the category "central Europe" left me groping. Although my dissertation had dealt with Austrian history, I had been no more than a casual student of the Federal Republic, and I knew nothing about Switzerland. I thus was relieved when my perplexed question led to the reassuring answer that central Europe was constituted by all the political entities between Narvik and Sicily, an imprecise American rendering, I suppose, of the nationalist German stanza "von der Etsch bis an den Belt" (from Jutland in the north to the River Adige in the south).

During my first year at Cornell I developed a course on central European politics organized around the two key categories then informing German area studies: the national and the social questions. When Chancellor Brandt resigned in 1974 I drafted a paper which distilled what I had learned. in the end I decided not to publish this paper--indeed, not to write further on West German politics until I had found a framework less culture- and areabound than the one which I had culled from the best scholarship for my very first course and my first academic paper.

In hindsight I can see that this turned out to be a shrewd move. It certainly did not look like it at the time, at least not in the eyes of some of my academic elders who were justifiably worried about . . .

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