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.