Upcoming Event: ADEF Workshop and Keynote Lecture “Competitors & Companions: Britons and Germans in the World”

Next week, the Centre for British Studies at Humboldt Universität zu Berlin will host the ADEF Workshop  “Competitors & Companions: Britons and Germans in the World”, organized by Daniel Steinbach (Exeter), Tobias Becker (GHI London) and myself. The complete programme of the workshop is available at the ADEF homepage. Please register to attend the workshop. The public Keynote Lecture will be given by Professor Gaynor Johnson (Kent).

Wiener Library Opens UNWCC Archives

Recently, the Wiener Library in London has opened the United Nations War Crimes Commissions Archives to the public. The opening has attracted publicity well beyond the academic community (as for example in this article published in the guardian where the now accessible documents have been considered to “rewrite chapters of history”. The documents prove the impact of “smaller” nations on the definitions of post-war justice, thus displaying how collaboration within the London Moment worked: governments-in-exile and exiled experts of international law were highly influential in laying the ground for the work of UNWCC.

Researchers: Dr. Julia Eichenberg

I am a Freigeist Fellow at the Department of History, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin and the principal investigator of the research project “The London Moment”, funded by the Volkswagen Foundation. I have been awarded a PhD in Modern History by the Eberhard-Karls Universität Tübingen in 2008. Since then, I have held fellowships at Trinity College Dublin, University College Dublin and the Centre Marc Bloch, Berlin, and have lectured in Modern European History in TCD and UCD Dublin, Tübingen and HU Berlin.
I have published on paramilitary violence, pacifism, veterans’ welfare, and international collaboration. My first book on Polish veterans of the First World War, their struggle for social benefits and national recognition, was published in 2011. While working in an international research project on paramilitary violence after the First World War in Dublin, led by John Horne and Robert Gerwarth, I edited a CEH Special Issue entitled “Aftershocks. Violence in Dissolving Empires after the First World War”  as well as a volume on Veterans’ Internationalism (both with John Paul Newman).
My current research project “The London Moment” explores the transnational collaboration of governments-in-exile in London during the Second World War and its impact on European political communication in the 20th Century.

Research assistant: Marten Steinbömer

I am a B.A. student at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and research assistant in the project „The London Moment“.

My subjects at university are history and philosophy. Since April 2015 I work in the research project „The London Moment“.

Currently I am writing my bachelor thesis about the French exile-community in London during the Second World War in the perception of the British newspapers.

Researchers: Sara Weydner

I am a Ph.D. student at the Department of History of Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and member of the research project “The London Moment”. I studied history and political science in Freiburg and Montreal as well as North American Studies at Freie Universität Berlin. My master thesis dealt with transnational networks in international family planning and population control after World War II, and was awarded with the Prize of the Department of History and Cultural Studies for Gender Studies. I received my master’s degree in 2015. In my Ph.D. project, I will follow up on my fascination with transnational collaboration in the twentieth century and turn towards the little-known International Commission for Penal Development and Reconstruction, located in Cambridge and London. Early in the Second World War, this informal network brought together eminent jurists from occupied countries as well as Great Britain. They discussed war crimes trials and the internationalization of humanitarian law and yielded some of the legal innovations that later shaped the Nuremberg Trials.

Contact: sara.weydner_at_hu-berlin.de

The Inter Allied Services Cup

While the heads of the governments-in-exile met at the West End Hotels like the Dorchester, the Rubens or the Savoy to drink, eat and deliberating on current affairs, their Armies met at the pitches of Stamford Bridge, Selhurst Park or Upton Park.

The Football League First Division (predecessor of the Premier League) had been suspended in September 1939 due to the outbreak of the Second World War. The game operation paused until 1946. But England without Football? Between 1941 and 1944 the Inter Allied Services Cup was held four times. In its first final in 1941 the British Army and the Royal Air Force met. The British Army won 8-2.

On Wednesday, march 26, 1941 the London Times reported on the Belgian Army’s win of the Allies League. Of six matches, they won three, drew two and lost the other. The other teams, taking part in the Inter-Allied Armies Tournament were the Czech Army, who finished second, the Norwegians on third and the Dutch on the last place of the League.

At the same day another article announced the Inter-Allied Services Cup Competition, even sponsored by the British Football Association (FA). New teams entered or were about to enter the Cup: among them the Civil Defence organization, the British Army and the Royal Air Force.

In 1942 the London Police won against the British Army with 6-2. In 1943 again the British Army and the Royal Air Force were the finalists. They drew 2-2 and shared the Trophy. In the last final in 1944, the Royal Air Force could finally take revenge: they won with 3-0 versus the Army.

Although the British teams dominated the finals, there were some international teams consisting of the exile-armies. The most successful team was the Belgian Army (they took part in every year and in three times they even reached the semi-final).

Other teams were the Royal Netherlands Brigade (1941, 1943-44), the Polish Air Force (1941) and the Polish Land Forces (1942), the Czechoslovak Army (1942-43), the Norwegian Army (1942-44) and the Canadian Army (1942-44), even though they did not have a government-in-exile in London. Another team without a government-in-exile, but a national committee was that of the Fighting French (1943).

The temporary Capital of Europe was not only an international microcosm of political and diplomatic elites. It was also a microcosm of international football. Sometimes the matches were not only military or sporting occasions but also political. The heads of the governments-in-exile left their hotels, gentlemen-clubs and restaurants to meet at the football stadium. Among the spectators of the Allied Cup’s final round in 1943 were Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, General Wladyslaw Sikorski, the Polish Prime Minister, Admiral Émile Muselier of France or Paul-Henri Spaak, the Belgium Foreign Minister.

The political collaboration, European cooperation and discussions about a post-war Europe between the governments-in-exile lead to a new international law and juridicial system (UNO); and only eleven years after the last final of the Inter Allied Services Cup sixteen European football clubs played in the European Champion Club’s Cub. In a dramatic final Real Madrid could beat Stade Reims with 4-3.

Meeting of the Legal History Research Group (GRR) on 10/02/2017: European Law

On February 10, 2017, the GRR Legal History Research group at Humboldt University  turned its attention toward the history and historiography of European law. Philip Bajon (Frankfurt/M.) presented his research project on the Luxembourg Compromise, asking whether it propelled a change in decision making patterns in the Council of the European Union. He posited that although the Luxembourg Compromise was not necessarily hard law, it established an informal veto culture that shaped the constitutional practice in the years to come. Manuel Müller (Berlin; www.foederalist.eu) discussed why the Maastricht Treaty did not turn into a “constitutional moment” and argued that while the political system became more integrated, the European public sphere did not: The main frame of reference, in which European politics and policies were discussed and legitimized, remained national. Finally, Anna Katharina Mangold (Frankfurt/M.) made a plea from a jurist’s perspective for a critical turn in the historiography of European Law. From her point of view, a teleological narrative of European integration continues to shape the work of legal historians. Therefore, she calls upon them to reveal historical contingencies and path dependencies as well as their own bias in prioritizing a specific narrative or subject matter over another in their research.

The presentations served as a departure point for a more general discussion about (legal) history. While Philip Bajon argued that a historical approach can uncover source material from actors other than official personas and institutions, Anna Katharina Mangold contended that contemporary historians can be too close to the individual whose motivations and actions they want to analyze. To resolve these issues, the participants agreed that both historians and jurists need to contextualize authors and their work by situating them in a specific historical context. A lively discussion followed on the question how researchers should deal with their own positionality and political leanings: While the jurists regarded normativity as essential for a future-oriented research that suggests improvements to today’s legal system from a historical perspective, the historians in the room interjected that a political standpoint – especially if not clearly indicated – can undermine an impartial analysis of belief systems and discourses of the past. This discussion also tapped into the recent public debate on “post-truth politics” and the role of academia within it, raising the question of the meaning of factuality in (deconstructivist) research projects – a concern not just for legal historians.

Blue Plaques

At least 20 years have passed since you died and you are a notable figure of the past? There is still a building in Greater London people might associate with you? Did this building survive in a form you would still recognize and it is visible from a public highway? Finally, there is not more than one Blue Plaque at the building’s front?

If you fulfill all these requirements, then apply for your own original Blue Plaque! Or, even better: hope there is someone who recognizes you and sends a detailed proposal to English Heritage. Being British is not mandatory.

Established in 1866 by the Society of Arts, and under the direction of the English Heritage since 1984, „the London’s Blue Plaques scheme (…) celebrates the links between notable figures of the past and the buildings in which they lived and worked“1. The first Blue Plaque one was installed in 1867 and commemorated the British poet Lord Byron at his birthplace, 24 Holles Street, Cavendish Square (destroyed in 1889).

Today, there are more than 900 official Blue Plaques in Greater London trying to link buildings and people as well as history and the present. Most, but not all of them are round and blue, because the scheme has been run by four different societies since 1866.

Even a fictitious person is mentioned on a Blue Plaque: The plaque at 221b Baker Street commemorates Sherlock Holmes. Although the adventures of Conan Doyle’s Sherlock take place in the Victorian London, Mark Gatiss and Steve Moffat move the plot in BBC’s series Sherlock into the present London. So he is also the only person on a Blue Plaque who could still be alive.

The majority of the Plaques have been suggested by the public: if the suggestion passes all criteria, a panel of experts discusses the nomination after „thorough historical research“.

Don’t worry if your nomination fails: you can submit the proposal again in ten years’ time.

At the blog’s main sidebar you can find pictures of some Blue Plaques commemorating British and European people who lived through the London Moment.

1) http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/blue-plaques/about-blue-plaques/

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Review article: The Genesis of Human Rights in the Second World War

Review of:   Hoffmann, Stefan-Ludwig (Hrsg.): Moralpolitik. Geschichte der Menschenrechte im 20. Jahrhundert. Göttingen : Wallstein Verlag 2010; Prost, Antoine; Winter, Jay: René Cassin et les droits de l’homme. Le projet d’une génération. Paris : Libraire Arthème Fayard 2011; Spiering, Menno; Wintle, Michael (Hrsg.): European Identity and the Second World War. Basingstoke : Palgrave Macmillan 2011; Plesch, Dan: America, Hitler and the UN. How the Allies won World War II and forged a Peace. New York : I.B. Tauris 2010; Láníček, Jan; Jordan, James (Hrsg.): Governments-in-Exile and the Jews during the Second World War. Edgware : Vallentine Mitchell 2013; Frei, Norbert; Weinke, Annette (Hrsg.): Toward a New Moral World Order?. Menschenrechtspolitik und Völkerrecht seit 1945. Göttingen : Wallstein Verlag 2013.

Full review (in German) on HSozKult: http://www.hsozkult.de/searching/id/rezbuecher-20869?title=geschichte-der-menschenrechte&q=Eichenberg&sort=&fq=&total=77&recno=2&subType=reb

CFP: Competitors and Companions: Britons and Germans in the World

ADEF – Annual Conference, Berlin, 19 – 20 May 2017

Competitors and Companions: Britons and Germans in the World (19th and 20th Century)

This workshop is concerned with British-German relations beyond government level. While official bilateral relations between Germany and Britain have been thoroughly studied, their ‘unofficial’ connections and interactions await a systematic exploration. These encounters are manifold as Britons and Germans met in various different contexts at home, in Europe, and the wider world and constantly had to define their relationship to one another as either competitors or companions against a third ‘other’. In the colonial sphere a strong sense of a mutual ‘European-ness’ towards the indigenous population could override economic rivalry and cultural differences. Archaeological expeditions or other scientific endeavours could either create transnational collaboration or nationalist competition. Artists, musicians, missionaries, or explorers might be asked to further their countries’ reputation while they sometimes felt closer to their peers and colleagues of other national background. Diplomats representing their nations and pursuing their politics would still share the life and moral index of the diplomatic corps. On the other hand, British and German representatives at multinational organisations or the EU often opted for a surprisingly nationalistic approach and economic, political, and military collaboration was repeatedly undermined by espionage or even sabotage. The varying degrees of competition and/or collaboration were not necessarily in accordance with official policy and diplomatic relations and sometimes in direct contrast to them.
The workshop discusses different aspects of British-German relations between confrontation and cooperation during the 19th and 20th century in a global perspective, while at the same time explores the creation, role, and impact of ‘the other’ and ‘the third’ in the fluctuating construction of companionship and competition.

Convenors: Tobias Becker (GHI London), Julia Eichenberg (Humboldt Universität zu Berlin), Daniel Steinbach (University of Exeter)
Keynote Speaker: Prof Gaynor Johnson (University of Kent)

We invite proposals that investigate examples and case studies of British-German encounter in an international context discussing questions of competition and/or collaboration. All speakers are expected to deliver their papers in English.
The workshop will be held 19-20 May 2017 at the Centre for British Studies (Großbritannienzentrum) at Humboldt Universität zu Berlin.
In the interests of fostering stronger links between scholars in Germany and the United Kingdom and Ireland, the German Historical Institute London will cover travel expenses for accepted speakers travelling in from the British Isles. Accepted speakers from Germany may qualify for bursary to cover travel expenses, depending on funding.
Proposals (in English) should include a brief one-page C.V. and a 250-word abstract of the proposed paper, and are due by 1 March 2017. Submissions and all inquiries should be directed to julia.eichenberg@hu-berlin.de

Kontakt

julia.eichenberg@hu-berlin.de

For more general inquiries about ADEF:
http://adef-britishstudies.org

Capital of Europe

When the Nazis conquered the continent in 1939/1940, political elites from all over Europe fled to Great Britain, last remaining safe haven of the Allies in reachable distance. Most European governments whose territory was now being occupied by Nazi Germany moved to London. Representatives of France, Poland, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, the Netherlands, Norway and Greece inhabited flats and houses in the British capital, all around Hyde Park and close to the British authorities. A significant number of them had arrived as individual refugees, but once in London, they revived their former contacts to set up the mechanics of national committees and governments-in-exile, but also to continue political collaboration on an international level. The British government and King offered symbolical and political, but also substantial technical and financial support. European cooperation was expected to strengthen the allied cause. Needless to say, this collaboration also entailed conflicts. But, for the time of the war, the European political exiles and their British counterparts were stuck with each other – and most intended to make the best of this unusual geographical proximity and collaborate closely to defeat Nazism and plan a post-war world. Thus, just as Berlin became the capital of fascist Europe, London became the capital of free Europe, the seat of almost all European governments.

This blog engages with the history of collaboration between the European governments-in-exile in London during the Second World War and between them and their host country, Great Britain. It discusses questions of international relations using the local urban study of central London during the war. A special interest is given to aspects of legal history: The legal position of governments-in-exile, the activities of international lawyers in their circles, and the discussions leading to a new international law and international juridicial system.