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Central European History at Fifty: Notes from a Longtime Fan

  • Konrad H. Jarausch (a1)

In the mid-1960s, a small delegation of graduate students went to Theodore S. Hamerow's office at the University of Wisconsin—Madison. Noting that the Journal of Central European Affairs had ceased publication in 1964, James Harris, Stanley Zucker, and I asked our advisor why there was no academic journal dedicated to German history, a new field that had been developing rapidly. What could we do to create such an organ? The otherwise placid Hamerow wrinkled his brow and angrily asked who had put us up to this initiative! When we answered that this was just our idea, he relaxed and told us that he was the chair of a committee charged by the Conference Group for Central European History with doing just that, namely, founding such a new journal. Douglas A. Unfug of Emory University had already put in a bid, in fact, and Central European History started to appear in 1968. By using a variation of the previous name, the journal hoped to pick up prior subscribers and avoid being identified by its title with the erstwhile enemy—Germany.

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1 Jarausch, Konrad H., “Contemporary History as a Transatlantic Project: Autobiographical Reflections on the German Problem, 1960–2010,” Historical Social Research 24 (2012): 749.

2 Stelzel, Philipp, “The Second Generation Emigres’ Impact on German Historiography,” in The Second Generation: Émigrés from Nazi Germany as Historians, ed. Daum, Andreas, Lehmann, Hartmut, and Sheehan, James J. (New York: Berghahn, 2016), 287303.

3 Fleck, Ludwig, Entstehung und Entwicklung einer wissenschaftlichen Tatsache: Einführung in die Lehre von Denkstil und Denkkollektiv (Frankfurt/Main: Suhrkamp, 1960); Ash, Mitchell G. and Ehmer, Josef, eds., Universität–Politik–Gesellschaft (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2015).

4 Jarausch, Konrad H., The Enigmatic Chancellor: Theobald von Bethmann Hollweg and the Hybris of Imperial Germany (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1973).

5 From the Editors” [Unfug, Douglas A.], Central European History (CEH) 1, no. 1 (1968), 1. The initial price for an annual subscription was all of eight dollars! Also see James Van Horn Melton's memorial for Unfug in this commemorative issue of CEH, which includes as well a reprint of Unfug's inaugural letter.

6 Clark, Christopher, The Sleepwalkers (London: Penguin Books, 2013), 418.

7 Jarausch, Konrad H., “The Illusion of Limited War: Chancellor Bethmann Hollweg's Calculated Risk, July 1914,” CEH 2, no. 1 (1969): 4876.

8 Jarausch, Konrad H., “German Students in the First World War,” CEH 17, no. 4 (1984): 310–29. Also see idem, Deutsche Studenten, 1800–1970 (Frankfurt/Main: Suhrkamp, 1984).

9 Jarausch, Konrad H., “Promises and Problems of Quantitative Research in Central European History,” CEH 11, no. 3 (1978); 279–89; also see idem, ed., Quantifizierung in der Geschichtswissenschaft: Probleme und Möglichkeiten (Düsseldorf: Droste Verlag, 1976).

10 See Falter, Jürgen, Hitlers Wähler (Munich: CH Beck Verlag, 1991); Kater, Michael, The Nazi Party: A Social Profile of Members and Leaders, 1919–1945 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1983).

11 Fischer, Fritz, Krieg der Illusionen: Die Deutsche Politik von 1911 bis 1914 (Düsseldorf: Droste Verlag, 1969).

12 Jarausch, Konrad H., “World Power or Tragic Fate? The Kriegsschuldfrage as Historical Neurosis,” CEH 5, no. 1 (1972): 72–92. Also see Kracht, Klaus Große, Die zankende Zunft: Historische Kontroversen in Deutschland nach 1945 (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2005).

13 Jarausch, Konrad H., “From Second to Third Reich: The Problem of Continuity in German Foreign Policy,” CEH 12, no. 1 (1979): 6882; idem, Revising German History: Bethmann Hollweg Revisited,” CEH 21, no. 3 (1979): 224–43.

14 Barkin, Kenneth D., “Editor's Letter,” CEH 24, no. 1 (1991): v; idem, The Controversy over German Industrialization, 1890–1902 (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1970).

15 Geyer, Michael and Jarausch, Konrad H., eds., “German Histories: Challenges in Theory, Practice, Technique,” CEH 22, no. 3/4 (1989): 227457. Also see Jarausch, Konrad H., The Rush to German Unity (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994).

16 Barkin, Kenneth D., “Bismarck in a Postmodern World,” German Studies Review (GSR) 18, no. 2 (1995): 241–51.

17 Geyer, Michael and Jarausch, Konrad H., “Great Men and Postmodern Ruptures: Overcoming the ‘Belatedness’ of German Historiography,” GSR 18, no. 2 (1995): 253–73; idem, Shattered Past: Reconstructing German Histories (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2003).

18 Hagen, William W., “Master Narratives beyond Postmodernity: Germany's ‘Separate Path’ in Historiographical-Philosophical Light,” GSR 30, no. 1 (2007): 132; Jarausch, Konrad H., Geyer, Michael, and Hagen, William W., “Reply to William W. Hagen [With Response by the Author],” GSR 30, no. 2 (2007): 242.

19 Ledford, Kenneth D., “From the Editors,” CEH 38, no. 1 (1995): 14; idem, From General Estate to Special Interest: German Lawyers 1878–1933 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1996); idem, Conflict within the Legal Profession: Simultaneous Admission and the German Bar, 1903–1927,” in German Professions, 1800–1950, ed. Cocks, Geoffrey and Jarausch, Konrad H. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1990), 252–69.

20 Epstein, Catherine, A Past Renewed: German-Speaking Refugee Historians in the United States after 1933 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1993); The Last Revolutionaries: German Communists and Their Century (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press 2003); Model Nazi: Arthur Greiser and the Occupation of Western Poland (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010).

21 See Jarausch, Konrad H.The Economic Dynamics of German Unification,” CEH 24 no. 4 (1991): 446–49; and reviews of: Ash, Timothy Garton, In Europe's Name: Germany and the Divided Continent (New York: Random House, 1993), in CEH 27, no. 2 (1994): 257–59; Naimark, Norman, The Russians in Germany: A History of the Soviet Zone of Occupation, 1945–1949 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1995), in CEH 29, no. 1 (1996): 142–45; Fulbrook, Mary, Anatomy of a Dictatorship: Inside the GDR, 1949–1989 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995), in CEH 30, no. 2 (1997): 344–46; Herbert, Ulrich, Geschichte Deutschlands im 20. Jahrhundert (Munich: Beck Verlag, 2014), in CEH 48, no. 2 (2015): 249–51; Merkl, Peter H. and Glaessner, Gert-Joachim, German Unification in the European Context (State College: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1993), in CEH 27, no. 1 (1994): 121–23.

22 Weitz, Eric, review of Dictatorship as Experience: Towards a Socio-Cultural History of the GDR (New York: Berghahn Books, 1999), CEH 36, no. 3 (2003): 490–94; Moeller, Robert G., review of Shattered Past: Reconstructing German Histories (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2003), CEH 37, no. 3 (2004): 461–65; Crew, David F., review of After Hitler: Recivilizing Germans, 1945–1995 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006), CEH 41, no. 3 (2008): 541–43; Buse, Dieter K., review of “Das stille Sterben….” Feldpostbriefe von Konrad Jarausch aus Polen und Russland 1939–1942 (Paderborn: Ferdinand Schöningh, 2008), CEH 42, no. 4 (2009): 781–83.

23 Heineman, Elizabeth, “Complete Families, Half Families, No Families at All: Female-Headed Households and the Reconstruction of the Family in the Early Federal Republic,” CEH 29, no. 1 (1996): 1960; Kaplan, Thomas Pegelow, “‘German Jews,’ ‘National Jews,’ ‘Jewish Volk,’ or ‘Racial Jews’? The Constitution and Contestation of ‘Jewishness’ in Newspapers of Nazi Germany, 1933–1938,” CEH 35, no. 2 (2002): 195221; Meng, Michael, “East Germany's Jewish Question: The Return and Preservation of Jewish Sites in East Berlin and Potsdam, 1945–1989,” CEH 38, no. 4 (2005): 606–36; Stelzel, Philipp, “Working Toward a Common Goal? American Views on German Historiography and German-American Scholarly Relations during the 1960s,” CEH 41, no. 4 (2008): 639–71; Pearson, Benjamin, “The Pluralization of Protestant Politics: Public Responsibility, Rearmament, and Division at the 1950s Kirchentage,” CEH 43, no. 2 (2010): 270300; Milder, Stephen, “Thinking Globally, Acting (Trans-)Locally: Petra Kelly and the Transnational Roots of West German Green Politics,” CEH 43, no. 2 (2010): 301–26; Krause, Scott, “Neue Westpolitik: The Clandestine Campaign to Westernize the SPD in Cold War Berlin, 1948–1958,” CEH 48, no. 1 (2015): 79–99.

24 Port, Andrew I., Conflict and Stability in the German Democratic Republic (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007); idem, with Fulbrook, Mary, eds., Becoming East German: Socialist Structures and Sensibilities after Hitler (New York: Berghahn, 2013); Port, Andrew I., “‘To Deploy or Not to Deploy’: The Erratic Evolution of German Foreign Policy since Unification,” in United Germany: Debating Processes and Prospects, ed. Jarausch, Konrad H. (New York: Berghahn, 2013), 267–77.

25 Torrie, Julie, For Their Own Good: Civilian Evacuations in Germany and France, 1939–1945 (New York: Berghahn, 2010); Port, Andrew I., “From the Editor: Changing of the Guard,” CEH 47, no. 3 (2014): 481.

26 Epstein, Catherine, “German Historians at the Back of the Pack: Hiring Patterns in Modern European History, 1945–2010,” CEH 46, no. 3 (2013): 599639.

27 Port, Andrew I., “Central European History since 1990: Historiographical Trends and Post-Wende ‘Turns,’CEH 48, no. 2 (2015): 238–48.

28 Port, Andrew I., ed., “Holocaust Scholarship and Politics in the Public Sphere: Reexamining the Causes, Consequences, and Controversy of the Historikerstreit and the Goldhagen Debate: A Forum with Gerrit Dworok, Richard J. Evans, Mary Fulbrook, Wendy Lower, A. Dirk Moses, Jeffrey K. Olick, and Timothy Snyder,” CEH 50, no. 3 (2017): 375403.

29 Karen Hagemann, Tobias Hof, and Konrad H. Jarausch, eds, “Burdens and Beginnings: Rebuilding East and West Germany after Nazism,” CEH (forthcoming).

30 See the contributions by Kenneth Ledford and Kees Gispen in this commemorative issue.

31 Lessons and Legacies (Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 1991-pres.) publishes the proceedings of the biennial Holocaust conference.

32 Lindenberger, Thomas and Sabrow, Martin, eds., German Zeitgeschichte: Konturen eines Forschungsfelds. Konrad Jarausch zum 75. Geburtstag (Göttingen: Wallstein, 2016); Meng, Michael and Seipp, Adam, eds., Modern Germany in Transatlantic Perspective (New York: Berghahn, 2017); Karen Hagemann, ed., “Festgabe in Honor of Konrad H. Jarausch” (Chapel Hill, NC: ms., 2017).

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Central European History
  • ISSN: 0008-9389
  • EISSN: 1569-1616
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