In August 2016, the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena established the Forschungsstelle Weimarer Republik, a “central platform for German and international Weimar research”. Funded by the Ministry of Economy, Science and Digital Society of Thuringia, the new research centre hosts a yearly conference, organises regular workshops for early career researchers, awards prizes for research publications (from BA theses to Habilitationen), and publishes a series on Weimar history.
The FAZ and regional broadcaster Bayerischer Rundfunk have teamed up for an essays series on the topic of “Weimarer Verhältnisse?” (Weimar conditions): a group of distinguished historians of the era, including Andreas Wirsching, Ute Daniel and Hélène Miard-Delacroix, consider the reasons for Weimar’s collapse and its lessons for today, from democratic breakdown to economic policy.
The BBC has produced a programme on revolutionary Rosa Luxemburg, with input by historians Jacqueline Rose, Mark Jones, and Nadine Rossol: “Melvyn Bragg discusses the life and times of Rosa Luxemburg (1871-1919), ‘Red Rosa’, who was born in Poland under the Russian Empire and became one of the leading revolutionaries in an age of revolution. She was jailed for agitation and for her campaign against the Great War which, she argued, pitted workers against each other for the sake of capitalism. Continue reading
This new volume edited by Matthew S. Adams and Ruth Kinna sheds some much-needed light on the history of the Anarchist movement and its response to WWI: “Considerable research has been inspired by the failure of the mainstream European socialist movement to prevent hostilities in 1914, but virtually no work has been done on the anarchist response. This is despite the fact that all of the belligerents hosted anarchist groups and dissidents, and that anarchism dominated what Benedict Anderson called the self-consciously internationalist radical Left in the years leading up to the war’s outbreak. Anarchism 1914-1918 takes a first step toward filling this gap. Continue reading
Matthew Wills gives a short overview over the current relevance of Weimar’s history for today’s political landscape: “The Weimar Republic has been on people’s minds with the results of the U.S. presidential election and rise of the radical right in Europe. Is there a lesson to be learned from the Weimar experience? Any answer to that question has to be grounded in the chaotic history of the republic that barely held Germany together from 1919 to 1933.”
Comparisons with Hitler’s rise in the Weimar Republic have been ubiquitous during the recent nomination of Donald Trump as the Republican candidate in the 2016 presidential election (see, for example, Eric Weitz‘s piece for Tablet. Jeffrey Herf has offered the best analysis of these historical comparisons).
Recently, Jill Stein, the US Green Party’s presumptive nominee, made a different sort of link to Weimar times: she suggested that it was known “for a long time ever since Nazi Germany” that putting someone like Clinton in the White House would only “fan the flames of this right-wing extremism” embodied by Trump. Continue reading