Contemporary European History 24 (2015), 2

Contemporary European History 24 (2015), 2
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Contemporary European History
United Kingdom
Fritsche, Jana

Contemporary European History covers the history of Eastern and Western Europe, including the United Kingdom, from 1918 to the present.

Table of contents



Royal Losses, Symbolic Politics and Media Events in Interwar Europe: Responses to the Accidental Deaths of King Albert I and Queen Astrid of Belgium (1934–1935)
Contemporary European History , Volume 24 , Issue 02 , May 2015, pp 155 – 174
doi: 10.1017/S096077731500003X (About doi) Published Online on 13th April 2015
This article examines the public and private responses to the accidental deaths of King Albert I and Queen Astrid of Belgium in 1934 and 1935. The public and private mourning for Albert and Astrid and the impact of their deaths and funerals can only be understood when we analyse these events against the background of structural transformations in national identity, international and national politics and media culture in interwar Europe. The analysis of the responses to these events thus offers unique insights into the relationship between the Belgian monarchy, politics and modern mass media in the 1930s. The memory of the war experience permeated both funerals through the massive presence of war veterans. Condolence letters to the royal court show how Astrid's popularity made the Belgian monarchy more human and approachable than it had ever been, while their sudden deaths simultaneously stimulated the mystification of both royal figures. Albert's funeral even constituted an event of symbolic significance in the interstate relations of Belgium with France. The meaning of both these high-profile deaths was negotiated within the mass media.

Democratic Politics and the League of Nations: The Labour and Socialist International as a Protagonist of Interwar Internationalism
Contemporary European History , Volume 24 , Issue 02 , May 2015, pp 175 – 192
doi: 10.1017/S0960777315000041 (About doi) Published Online on 13th April 2015
The Labour and Socialist International (LSI) was a major vehicle for transnational socialist cooperation during the interwar years and thus seemed to continue the traditions of socialist internationalism. In the realm of international relations, however, it championed key tenets of liberal internationalism. The LSI supported the idea of a League of Nations and embraced the notion of a world order based upon democratic nation-states. While it criticised some aspects of the international system, its overall emphasis was on reform rather than revolution. The article sheds light on the wider phenomenon of interwar internationalism by tracing the LSI's relationship with the League of Nations, with the politics of peace more generally and with the competing internationalism of the communists.

The Cold War and Socialist Identity: The Socialist International and the Italian ‘Communist Question’ in the 1970s
Contemporary European History , Volume 24 , Issue 02 , May 2015, pp 193 – 211
doi: 10.1017/S0960777315000053 (About doi) Published Online on 13th April 2015
Coming about in a phase of renewal and electoral success for the European socialist parties, the rise of the Italian Communist Party in the 1970s elicited differentiated reactions within the Socialist International. While providing an account of the transnational socialist debate on Italian Eurocommunism, this article suggests to understand it in the context of a wider discussion on the political identity and aims of the European left. Divisions on the new ‘communist question’ amongst the socialist movement mirrored the divergent opinions on how to react to the changes that were taking place in European economics and society, as well as in the international system.

Religious Regimes: Rethinking the Societal Role of Religion in Post-War Europe
Contemporary European History , Volume 24 , Issue 02 , May 2015, pp 213 – 232
doi: 10.1017/S0960777315000065 (About doi) Published Online on 13th April 2015
This article discusses the concept of ‘religious regimes’ in order to identify institutionalised arrangements regulating the social position of religion. By analysing such regimes and the views underpinning them, three visions of the societal role of religion come into focus: segmented pluralism, the Christian nation and the secular nation. Taking up Dutch post-war history as a case study, it becomes clear that religious regimes regularly result from fragile compromises. The concept thus yields insight into the gradual transitions between different institutional arrangements regarding religion and into the impact of changing views on the societal role of religion within and outside religious communities.

The European Community's Public Communication Policy 1951–1967
Contemporary European History , Volume 24 , Issue 02 , May 2015, pp 233 – 251
doi: 10.1017/S0960777315000077 (About doi) Published Online on 13th April 2015
From its inception the European Community had a civil aim: the need to stimulate a European civil consciousness. Viewed as a pre-condition for the popular acceptance of increased European integration, this provided the rationale for the Community's public communication policy of 1951–1967. The Community pursued this civil aim through two distinct public communication approaches: popularist (1951–1962) and opinion leader led (1963–1967). We contend that the way the Community undertook its public communication policy cannot be understood without considering the Community's civil aim. This leads us to question some of the common views held concerning the significance of European public communication policy from 1951 to 1967. 1

Dictatorship, Democracy and Portuguese Urbanisation, 1966–1989: Towards Lourinhã’s Novo Mercado Municipal and its ‘European’ Landscape
Contemporary European History , Volume 24 , Issue 02 , May 2015, pp 253 – 278
doi: 10.1017/S0960777315000089 (About doi) Published Online on 13th April 2015
This article explores a Portuguese town's latest market hall and adjoining new town square. Lourinhã, a town in the north of the District of Lisbon, introduced plans in 1966 to renovate its urban landscape, reorienting the town away from the cramped streets of the medieval centre to a new, open and manageable central square. Over the next forty years, and despite the fall of the dictatorship in 1974, Lourinhã’s municipal government, enjoying tacit support from its citizens, used tools such as electrical infrastructure and legislation to manage and develop what came to be called a ‘European’ landscape.

Masters and Servants: Economists and Bureaucrats in the Dispute over Norwegian EEC Membership in 1972
Contemporary European History , Volume 24 , Issue 02 , May 2015, pp 279 – 300
doi: 10.1017/S0960777315000090 (About doi) Published Online on 13th April 2015
In the dispute over Norwegian EEC membership in 1972, a large number of economists in academic life and public administration took part in organised opposition against future membership. Their efforts to prevent economic and financial integration with the Common Market are important for understanding the depth and strength of Norwegian Euroscepticism. This article shows how this scepticism was rooted in the economic profession's reasoning about economic planning and economic policy making. Special attention is given to the opposition from economists within the government apparatus itself, as this both diminished the authority of the government's pro-membership arguments and challenged norms regulating civil servants’ conduct.
Roundtable On Italian Fascism: Responses To Patrick Bernhard'S ‘Renarrating Italian Fascism: New Directions In The Historiography Of A European Dictatorship’ (Ceh, Vol. 23, No.1, February 2014)

The Party and the People: Totalitarian States and Popular Opinion
Contemporary European History , Volume 24 , Issue 02 , May 2015, pp 303 – 308
doi: 10.1017/S0960777315000107 (About doi) Published Online on 13th April 2015
In reply to Patrick Bernhard's critical review of my recent book I will make some brief general observations about the study of totalitarian and would-be totalitarian regimes. Some preliminary remarks are necessary. Bernhard locates his review within the context of the debate over Italians' consensus for Fascism – a debate continuing in Italy, with highs and lows, since the mid-1970s. His own approach is clearly very much influenced by the methodologies of cultural history; he looks for emotions, sentiments, practices and experiences in order to form a picture of how Italians lived under the regime. He approves of the history that finds these. There is much to commend this approach, and I would certainly not argue against its value – cultural studies do, indeed, have a great deal to offer. But the methodology of cultural studies is not, and cannot be, the only approach, nor its absence the only criterion for criticism.

The Ethics of Consent—Regime and People in the Historiographies of Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany
Contemporary European History , Volume 24 , Issue 02 , May 2015, pp 309 – 315
doi: 10.1017/S0960777315000119 (About doi) Published Online on 13th April 2015
In his trenchant and stimulating review article Patrick Bernhard surveyed a series of English-language studies that focus in one way or another on the relationship between the fascist regime and the Italian people. Drawing on the historiography of Nazi Germany, Bernhard took these studies as his cue to argue that much of the historiography on Italian Fascism is outdated. In particular, he sees the approach adopted to assessing the regime's appeal as often old-fashioned, with the result that Italian historians have vastly underestimated ordinary Italians’ embrace of fascism and their complicity in its violence and war crimes. At the same time, he argues that histories of Nazi Germany and fascist Italy show far more parallels and intersections than have been acknowledged of late and calls on Italian historians to turn their attention to this entangled history.

The Italians and Fascism
Contemporary European History , Volume 24 , Issue 02 , May 2015, pp 317 – 322
doi: 10.1017/S0960777315000120 (About doi) Published Online on 13th April 2015
In a recent review of Christopher Duggan's latest book, Emilio Gentile notes that in the 1970s an ‘intimate history of fascist Italy’ would have met the opposition of ‘militant anti-fascist historiography’ because of its proneness to acknowledge the involvement of Italians in Fascism. Still, after criticising the book, Gentile stresses that the ‘question of consent’ – a topic on which he himself has provided some crucial contributions – is a ‘poorly posed question’.

The Fascist Party and the Problem of Popular Opinion in the Provinces
Contemporary European History , Volume 24 , Issue 02 , May 2015, pp 323 – 327
doi: 10.1017/S0960777315000132 (About doi) Published Online on 13th April 2015
As a non-specialist in the historiography of Fascism and Nazism, I enter this discussion with trepidation. Viewed from the outside, antagonism and rigidity have long characterised historical debate about the causes, nature and consequences of both regimes, although it is clear (and as the other contributions published here have pointed out) that some of this fierceness has attenuated of late with the rise of a new generation of historians. I don't propose to go over the various points of disagreement about fascist Italy – the problem of popular ‘consensus’ for the regime, the reasons for collective ‘amnesia’ after the fall of the regime, and the myth of ‘Italians as good people’ (Italiani brava gente) – as these have already been discussed by Bernhard in his review and in the contributions by Giulia Albanese and Roberta Pergher. Nor will I enter into related debates about the Italian Resistance, the issue of Italian war crimes and the broader controversy about ‘divided memory’ in post-war Italy, although these questions have also generated a significant literature in recent years. Instead I want simply to re-visit Paul Corner's The Fascist Party and Popular Opinion in Mussolini's Italy and to propose a rather different interpretation than the one offered by Patrick Bernhard.

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