European History Quarterly, at Least Term Paper

Pages: 12 (3447 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 18  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Government

SAMPLE EXCERPT . . .
We in the United States tend to see the tragedy of Nazism as a refusal of Germans to become engaged and to acknowledge what was happening in their societies. However, Conway's article suggests that we might interpret the events in Germany in the 1930s and 1950s in the reverse sense: If people had not been so eager to become involved in the political process and had stayed away from National Socialism, the history of the century would have been a great deal brighter.

Eric Storm's "The Rise of the Intellectual Around 1900: Spain and France" is perhaps the best article of all of those in these three issues of the journal because he most successfully manages what appear to be the twin goals of the journal: piercing analysis with a humanistic turn toward the synthetic. In other words, he provides both a very good sense of the broad picture while also providing with key details that back up and illuminate the general statements that he makes. This seems to be what the journal is striving for overall. It is perhaps easier to accomplish when writing intellectual history, which is perhaps why it is so especially successful in this article.

It may also be that Storm is so successful in this article because his subject is one that mirrors the editorial tone of the journal. His subject is, as the title suggests, the rise of a self-consciously intellectual in Spain and France during the previous fin-de-siecle period. An essential part of the process of becoming an intellectual in that time and place was, according to Storm, the intentional looking beyond regional concerns and issues to nationalistic ones.

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One could argue that this is in fact exactly what the journal itself is doing - attempting to move away from a parochial, nationalistic view of history to a Continental or at least regional one - even as Iberian intellectuals had to broaden their allegiance from the local to the national.

Term Paper on European History Quarterly, at Least Assignment

Paul Mazgaj's "Engagement and the French Nationalist Right: The Case of the Jeune Droit" is an excellent example of the way that the journal covers political movements and power structures that are to the right of the general editorial tone of the journal. One might expect that the sympathies of the scholars in this journal would lead them to be overly critical of right-leaning movements, but in fact the tone in this article is extremely even-handed.

Mazgaj focuses on a number of the same issues that Storm takes up in terms of the ways in which intellectuals self-consciously create themselves. (This is another strength of the journal, although of course not unique to it: While not slavishly adhering to a single, narrowly defined theme, the articles in each issue do relate to each other in complex and intelligent ways.) He argues that while the idea of an ecrivain engage - a writer engaged as actively in the political life of the nation as in its artistic life - is generally considered to be the province of the left (at least in France) in fact there was a parallel movement of conservative writers beginning in the 1930s who created for themselves a nationalist and conservative model of the engaged writer.

Marzgaj argues - and it is in such arguments that one appreciates the even-handed tone of the journal as regards those whose politics are to the right - that both left-leaning and right-leaning writers who wished to immerse themselves in the political life of their times found themselves equally constrained by the political pan-European polarization between Communism and Fascism. Caught in the middle of this titanic ideological struggle, neither writers on the left nor writers on the right had much room for personal expression or much power to try to bring people together to create governments that might be honestly receptive to those of different ideologies.

Edward Ross Dickinson's "Until the Stubborn Will is Broken': Crisis and Reform in Prussian Reformatory Education, 1900-34" is, like Reynolds's article on democracy and gender, an excellent analysis of something that many of us know a fair amount about - an analysis that makes us question accepted wisdom.

Dickinson examines the problems faced by Prussian reformatory schools in the first third of the 20th century, arguing that the schools were facing an existential crisis because the administrators were far more conservative than the students and their families. The schools tended to respond to this cultural gap (which resulted in students who would not be reformed according to the standards of the schools) in two ways. The first was to create eugenic theories that explained (at least to themselves) why it was that their policies were failing (these eugenic models often suggested terrible punishments for those who could not conform).

This was clearly the path down which the National Socialists would take the country, and is a model of Prussian culture and power structures with which we are familiar.

However, other schools and other administrators responded quite differently, attempting to create child welfare programs designed to prevent behavioral problems to begin with. This is a surprising revelation about Prussian educational structure, given its clear liberal bias and its inclination toward the ideals that would be central to the progressive welfare state.

Maria Jesus Gonzalez's "Neither God Nor Monster': Antonio Maura and the Failure of Conservative Reformism in Restoration Spain (1893-1923)" is one of the more narrowly focused articles in these three issues and because of this one of the less interesting. (Of course, it would be interesting if this were one's area of expertise, but it lacks the larger synthetic qualities of other articles in the journal.)

However, it does feature the evenhandedness that is one of the hallmarks of the journal in its analysis of Maura. Gonzalez does not demonize Maura but rather seeks to allow us to understand that those interested in conservative political, economic, and cultural reform in Spain at the beginning of the last century were not only interested in social control - as they are often represented to have been. Rather, while many were interested in social control at least to some extent, others were interested in creating a form of governance that was based in social consensus. While there are certainly still problematic issues in such a form of governance, they are fewer than those associated with straightforward social control models.

Ander Cendargortagalarza's "The Transformation of Political Behavior in the Basque Country: Nationalism and Politics in Bermeo, 1898-1936" offers an example in relatively recent European history of the politicization of a society (of precisely the type that Conway warns against) as a Basque nationalist identity was crafted through the process of a variety of forms of propagandistic activity.

Brian Shelmerdine's "The Experiences of British Holidaymakers and Expatriate Residents in Pre-Civil War Spain" also examines the ways in which certain kinds of rituals (whether Basque political theater or ex-pat British tourist excursions) can be linked to broader trends in politics.

Shelmerdine found that British expatriates in Spain maintained a perspective that was very distinct from that of their Spanish hosts, despite the fact that they in many ways believed themselves to be more at home in Spain than they did in England itself. However, he argues that they did not in any fundamental way "go native."

This article is most informative for the general observations that he makes about the ways in which populations can appear, from the outside, to be linked to each other while remaining fundamentally distinct when viewed from either camp.

Antonio Cazorla Sanchez's "Surviving Franco's Peace: Spanish Popular Opinion during the Second World War" offers a keen analysis of the ways in which Fascist governments should not be viewed monolithically. Sanchez argues that Spanish popular opinion (specifically as to whether Spain should enter World War II) was formed by different concerns than those that obtained in Italy, accounting for the very different paths that the two nations would take vis-a-vis the war.

The article once more suggests that it is better to bring a keen and honest analytical framework to bear on conservative politics if one wishes to understand them. While the tendency of many leftist scholars has been to group together all of the Fascist governments that rose to power in the first half of the 20th century, Sanchez's analysis makes it clear that to ignore important distinctions amongst the governments (because of their distastefulness to the left) would be intellectually highly problematic.

The journal, in addition to its main articles, also includes review articles (such as one in the July issue on "Reassessing Anti-fascism") as well as book reviews. These review articles and book reviews supplement the overall intent of the articles. The reviews help to provide broad contexts for political and historical analysis, something that runs throughout the great majority of the articles in the issues examined here.

The book reviews also, to… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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