Fascination and Enmity: Russia and Germany as Entangled Histories, 1914-1945

Fascination and Enmity: Russia and Germany as Entangled Histories, 1914-1945

by Michael David-Fox
     
 

ussia and Germany have had a long history of significant cultural, political, and economic exchange. Despite these beneficial interactions, stereotypes of the alien Other persisted. Germans perceived Russia as a vast frontier with unlimited potential, yet infused with an “Asianness” that explained its backwardness and despotic leadership. Russians

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Overview

ussia and Germany have had a long history of significant cultural, political, and economic exchange. Despite these beneficial interactions, stereotypes of the alien Other persisted. Germans perceived Russia as a vast frontier with unlimited potential, yet infused with an “Asianness” that explained its backwardness and despotic leadership. Russians admired German advances in science, government, and philosophy, but saw their people as lifeless and obsessed with order.

Fascination and Enmity presents an original transnational history of the two nations during the critical era of the world wars. By examining the mutual perceptions and misperceptions within each country, the contributors reveal the psyche of the Russian-German dynamic and its use as a powerful political and cultural tool.

Through accounts of fellow travelers, POWs, war correspondents, soldiers on the front, propagandists, revolutionaries, the Comintern, and wartime and postwar occupations, the contributors analyze the kinetics of the Russian-German exchange and the perceptions drawn from these encounters. The result is a highly engaging chronicle of the complex entanglements of two world powers through the great wars of the twentieth century.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Path-breaking . . . the richness of this remarkable volume will be of interest to historians as well as students of twentieth-century Germany and Russia. The editors succeed admirably in their effort to point to the scholarly potential of exploring the interactions between the two countries.”
German History

“A bevy of important and insightful articles.”
German Studies Review

“A new, often interesting approach to the subject of transnational history. . . . an attempt to move beyond the comparative totalitarian paradigm that has recently been used to think about these two states. . . . The volume does an excellent job in demonstrating the degree of cultural entanglement between the two sides, as well as many of its variations and complications. . . . One sign of useful scholarly work is that it raises new questions even as it answers others. This is certainly true of this volume.”

“Rather than once again comparing the horrors of Nazism and Stalinism, this important new volume brings together contributions by major scholars engaged in interrogating the tangled relationship between Russia and Germany in the first part of the twentieth century. By focusing on the events surrounding the two world wars, the authors provide crucial insights into the manner in which Germans and Russians viewed each other and how such perceptions influenced their actions in what has been called the age of extremes.”
—Omer Bartov, Brown University

“This volume, which collects pioneering work by outstanding historians of Russia and Germany, reveals the enormous promise of transnational history. Every chapter places significant events in a new light, enriching our understanding of perhaps the most crucial relationship of the twentieth century.”
—Timothy Snyder, Yale University

“This innovative book splinters the ice in which humanly wrenching dramas of twentieth-century German-Russian interactions have been locked: the fate of prisoners of war, ordinary soldiers’—and prominent intellectuals’—feelings for their enemies and their own cause, the brutality of the Soviet occupation of defeated Germany. The politics of official propaganda and international communism also appear in a new light. These imaginative explorations of newly accessible sources push scholarship’s cutting edge forward.”
—William W. Hagen, Professor Emeritus, University of California, Davis

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780822962076
Publisher:
University of Pittsburgh Press
Publication date:
08/31/2012
Series:
Pitt Russian East European Series
Edition description:
1
Pages:
320
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

Michael David-Fox is associate professor, Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service and department of history, Georgetown University. He is the author of Showcasing the Great Experiment: Cultural Diplomacy and Western Visitors to the Soviet Union, 1921-1941, and Revolution of the Mind: Higher Learning among the Bolsheviks, 1918-1929.
Peter Holquist is associate professor of history at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of Making War, Forging Revolution: Russia's Continuum of Crisis, 1914-1921.
Alexander M. Martin is associate professor of history at the University of Notre Dame. He is the author of Romantics, Reformers, Reactionaries: Russian Conservative Thought and Politics in the Reign of Alexander I.

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