CFP: Europe in the 20th century – An Asymmetric Europe International Association for the Contemporary History of Europe

For its forthcoming participation to the International Committee of Historical Sciences (ICHS) congress in Poznan in 2020, the International Association for Contemporary History of Europe (IACHE) is organising three conferences on the theme ‘Europe in the 20th century – an asymmetric Europe.’

European history of the twentieth century has been characterised by an alternation between common European projects and a questioning of such projects, often vehemently, through alternative visions. To borrow an expression from an American president, the vicissitudes of the European continent’s history have led to a significant difference between the « Old Europe » and that which took shape at the end of the First World War, referred to either as « Central Europe » for some, « Eastern Europe » for others, even sometimes « East-Central » or « Danubian » Europe. The divergences between these « two Europes », as Francis Delaisi first pointed out in the inter-war years, are striking and manifest themselves throughout the twentieth century. They are present in the Versailles system, and throughout the Hitlerian project for Europe. They are still present during the Cold War.

The conferences that will take place leading up to the 2020 International Congress of Historical Sciences intend to explore this asymmetry. Have these projects influenced interpretations of European history ? Did they present Europe as a homogeneous entity? Or as a differentiated entity? Which interpretation is most current in Western Europe ? And Eastern Europe ? The idea will be to cross-compare these different currents.

A first conference took place in Moscow in December 2019, focusing on the ideologies during the Second World War. A second conference is being organised in Paris focusing on asymmetric Europe after the Treaty of Versailles. The third conference will take place in Luxembourg on 11 December 2019.

This third conference will be focusing on the cold war. The organisers are particularly interested in proposals looking at the following asymmetries:

  • Asymmetry Council for Mutual Economic Assistance / European Economic Community
  • Asymmetry Relations US/Western Europe on the one hand; USSR/Eastern Europe on the other
  • Asymmetry in the types of cooperation put in place in the field of energy, and transport
  • Asymmetry in the political and economic organisation of the European continent
  • Calls into question of these asymmetries (de Gaulle, Ostpolitik) and their outcomes
  • Intellectual and scientific exchanges between East and West
  • The development and evolution of bilateral cooperations
  • European integration and cold war dynamics

Applicants should submit an abstract of no more than 500 words, and a short CV, by 30 June 2019, to Frédéric Clavert (Université du Luxembourg, frederic.clavert at and Emmanuel Mourlon-Druol (University of Glasgow, emmanuel.mourlon-druol at Proposals can be written in English or in French. Selected applicants will be informed by mid-July 2019.

This conference is organised with the support of the International Association for Contemporary History of Europe (IACHE), the Luxembourg Centre for Contemporary and Digital History (C2DH, University of Luxembourg, the ERC-funded research project EURECON: The Making of a Lopsided Union: Economic Integration in the European Economic Community, 1957-1992 (grant agreement No 716849) and the Centre d’Excellence Jean Monnet Franco-Allemand (Université de Strasbourg).

ISCH: New board members – call for applications

“The International Committee of Historical Sciences (ICHS) – Comité international des sciences historiques (CISH) – has been founded in Geneva on May 15, 1926. Today, the organization encompasses a total of fifty-seven countries.

The ICHS includes two sorts of organizations. First of all, there are the National Committees formed in each country from their individual centers for historical research. In addition, International Commissions specializing in particular fields of history (some known as ‘International Affiliated Organizations’ and others as Internal Commissions) have formed over the years.

The major occupation of the ICHS is the Congress, held every five years. The Committee shall hold a General Assembly at least every three years. Each Congress shall be immediately preceded and followed by a General Assembly.

A Board is responsible for the functioning and co-ordination of ICHS activities. Please, see the constitution of ICHS. (…)”

More (PDF).

Call for applications for the XXIVth ICHS Congress

“In 2020, during the XXIIIrd Congress held in Poznań, the General Assembly of ICHS will choose the place where the XXIVth International Congress of Historical Sciences will be hosted.

Organized every five years, the ICHS Congress is a major stage in the life and the development of our institution. We can hope, thanks to a good promotion, to attract between 1,500 and 3,000 delegates coming from at least 100 countries. The ICHS Congress is a very large scale enterprise which requires an important financial support and a rigorous management. But the potential benefits are considerable. The Congress offers to the City host a unique opportunity to promote the scientific works of the local historians and to confirm its cultural standing. The Congress should also result in an increased interest for the discipline and for ICHS in the concerned region.

The participants will expect a high level academic program. Famous participants can bring a considerable prestige to the Congress, whereas well prepared professional visits and cultural excursions before or after the Congress can contribute in an important way to the global success of the event. (…)”

More (PDF).

Call for papers: Europe in the 20th century – An Asymmetric Europe

Version française

For its forthcoming participation in the International Congress of Historical Sciences in Poznan, Poland in 2020, the International Association for the Study of Contemporary Europe is organising three conferences on the theme : « Europe in the 20th century – An Asymmetric Europe ».

European history of the twentieth century has been characterised by an alternation between common European projects and a questioning of such projects, often vehemently, through alternative visions. To borrow an expression from an American president, the vicissitudes of the European continent’s history have led to a significant difference between the « Old Europe » and that which took shape at the end of the First World War, referred to either as « Central Europe » for some, « Eastern Europe » for others, even sometimes « East-Central » or « Danubian »  Europe. The divergences between these « two Europes », as Francis Delaisi first pointed out in the inter-war years, are striking and manifest themselves throughout the twentieth century. They are present in the Versailles system, and throughout the Hitlerian project for Europe. They are still present during the Cold War.

The conferences that will take place leading up to the 2020 International Congress of Historical Sciences intend to explore this asymmetry. Have these projects influenced interpretations of European history ? Did they present Europe as a homogeneous entity? Or as a differentiated entity? Which interpretation is most current in Western Europe ? And Eastern Europe ? The idea will be to cross-compare these different currents.

The first conference on this theme will take place in Moscow from 6-8 December 2018. It will be focussed on : « Ideologies during the Second World War».

This conference is organised around several questions. First it is interested in the Hitlerian project for Europe. National-socialist plans were different for West and East Europe. Their application in different European spaces demonstrates this differentiated vision of Europe. Integration in a Nazi Europe was equally variegated (incorporation here, occupation there or satellitisation). Several works exist on these aspects. In the context of this conference we wish to favour a comparative approach, which is often fruitful for historiography if one confronts narratives and interpretations. The different experiences in the East and West offer a wide variety of perspectives.

But it is equally important to question the European projects of the Allies, of governments in exile or resistance movements. There too asymmetry exists and the different contexts lead either to uniform projects or infra-regional projects for the organisation of Europe.

Paper proposals should be sent by the deadline of 8 May 2018 to

John Keiger / Sylvain SchirmannTomaz Schramm

Proposals should include the title of the paper, a summary of the argument in a maximun of 3500 characters. It should be accompanied by a short cv giving career, present occupation and a list of the author’s publications.

Proposals should be written in either French or English.

The selection panel will notify applicants of their success or failure by the end of June 2018.

A second conference will look at the asymmetry of the Versailles system. It will take place in Paris at the Scientific Centre of the Polish Academy of Sciences from 20-22 June 2019. A call for papers will go out nearer the date.

Conference: Pierre Renouvin, Jean-Baptiste Duroselle (1917-2017) – 7-9 juin 2017

Ce colloque porte sur la naissance d’une discipline, l’histoire des relations internationales, qui est née de l’effervescence intellectuelle qui a marqué la première guerre mondiale. Ni mausolée à la mémoire de deux historiens français, ni récit hagiographique d’une « école » historique française, le colloque aura pour objectif de replacer le parcours intellectuel et académique des deux historiens dans les débats intellectuels de leur temps. La construction méthodique de ce nouveau champ académique sera examinée dans le cadre d’une approche transnationale et comparative.

More information (French).

CFP: Invasion to Integration

Affiche du colloqueOn 23 June the British people will vote in a referendum on the country’s membership of the European Union, the latest chapter of a dialogue which has been characterised by competing visions of what ‘Europe’ is to Britain: ‘friend’ or ‘foe’. This dynamic is one which has pervaded British perceptions of mainland Europe throughout the modern era, from fears of invasion and hopes of internationalism during the nineteenth century, through the world wars, and into membership of the EEC in 1973. Both centuries also saw growing involvement with Europe on a personal level, as improved communications and travel increasingly allowed Britons to view the countries and cultures of Continent through the media or ‘invasions’ of their own, as soldiers, traders or tourists. Throughout, British perceptions of the Continent have experienced both profound change, and remarkable continuity.

This conference seeks to offer a long view of Britain’s relationship with the Continent, focusing on how Britons perceived and understood their mainland neighbours. This topic can be addressed from either the elite or popular perspective, and can deal with the idea of Europe as a whole or British views of individual European countries.

Papers might discuss, but are not limited to:

  • Attitudes towards European arts and culture
  • British tourists and/or merchants in Europe
  • Perceptions of European societies or political systems
  • Military threats or interventions
  • Integrationist movements/British nationalism
  • Anglo-European cooperation (cultural, economic or diplomatic)
  • Imperial vs. European perspectives

Please submit abstracts of c.300 words with a short biography by 29 July 2016 to Adam Rolewicz or Peter Keeling.

Call for papers: Pierre Renouvin, Jean-Baptiste Duroselle (1917-2017). The Building of an academic field, the History of International Relations

French version

International History Conference. Paris, June 8-10, 2017.

Deadline : 1st June 2016

Co-organizers: L. Badel (Professor, Panthéon Sorbonne University), R. Frank (Professor Emeritus, Panthéon Sorbonne University), A. Marès (Professor, Panthéon Sorbonne University), G.-H. Soutou (Professor Emeritus, Académie des sciences morales et politiques), M. Vaïsse (Professor Emeritus, Institut d’études politiques, Paris).

Supported by the Labex EHNE, the BDIC and the Mission du Centenaire

As is well known, the First World War influenced the lives of Pierre Renouvin and Jean-Baptiste Duroselle. It left its mark on their personal, institutional and academic lives. Aged twenty four, the former was seriously injured at the Chemin des Dames in 1917. The latter was born in that very year and would be « haunted » his whole life long by the memory of the Grande Guerre des Français to which he devoted his last book in 1994. A generation separates them but both their names are brought together on the title page of the book Introduction à l’histoire des relations internationales published in1964. This book is dedicated to a field, which, as with other humanities and social sciences, was born from the intellectual turmoil that marked the First World War. Neither intended to be a mausoleum in memory of both French historians, nor an hagiographic account of a specific French historical « school », this conference aims to situate the intellectual and academic career of these two historians within the intellectual debates. It will focus on the birth and the development of an academic area: the History of International Relations.The methodical building of this new academic area will be thoroughly examined, in particular through its interaction with other fields of the human and social sciences.

The careers of P. Renouvin and J.-B. Duroselle cannot be isolated from their social and political environment. Far from being confined to an ivory tower, they took part in the intellectual battles which left their mark on these decades (such as the criticism from Lucien Febvre or Marcel Merle). Deeply rooted within a French and Francophone field, they built transnational academic and political networks, which extended beyond France and Europe. Historians firmly engaged in the debates of their time (the responsibility of Germany in the outbreak of the First World War; the Cold War; European construction), they practised an instant history, at the heart of the institutional struggles in France or worked to resolve them. Thus in order to understand fully their distinctiveness these two historians need to be studied in the context in which they lived, worked and taught. Having principally devoted their research and reflexions to Europe and its peoples, they did not however neglect other continents. Academics, but teachers first of all, they taught whole generations in France and abroad who were indelibly marked by their lectures. As researchers, they opened up research paths that their students have followed and deepened. Members of the intellectual establishment of their time, both men accumulated honours and responsibilities: their political networks will be brought to light.

At the beginning of a twenty-first century marked by the flourishing of global history, this conference will be the place for a free and specific debate on the character, subjects, sources and particular approaches of international history. This conference aims to offer a comparative and transnational approach of their itineraries, combining a thematic and a biographical approach. We particularly welcome papers from foreign historians and scholars from other academic fields.

Possible paper topics include, but are not limited to :

The wars and their influence upon:

  • academic careers
  • institutional careers
  • public and private writings
  • the place of the military and strategic questions in their work

The institutionalization of international relations, a mark of the new influence of the United States?

  • Diplomatic history and history of international relations
  • reforms, new academic fields and academic chairs
  • key role of American foundations (Carnegie, Rockfeller, Ford); Swiss and Italian collaboration
  • The United States in the writings of P. Renouvin and J.-B. Duroselle

Sources, publishing and teamwork

  • Sources
  • The Documents diplomatiques français
  • Documentation as a source of action (Commission des archives diplomatiques)

Translation, transmission and reception

The construction of an academic field: the history of international relations

  • The building of a library: la Bibliothèque de documentation internationale contemporaine
  • The publications: la Revue d’histoire de la Guerre mondiale, L’Année politique, Relations internationales
  • The establishment of an academic chair
  • Topics of degree courses
  • Masters and followers (Tuesday evening workshop of J.-B. Duroselle)
  • The birth of the CERI (Fondation nationale des Sciences politiques)
  • The institutional consecration : the académiciens des Sciences morales et politiques

Europe and the world

  • The ”Asia” of Pierre Renouvin
  • “Europe” as seen by P. Renouvin and J.B. Duroselle
  • The United States of J.-B. Duroselle

Public action of both French scholars

  • Academic and institutional struggles
  • Pierre Renouvin during the Second World War
  • Jean-Baptiste Duroselle during the Second World War
  • Catholic and Christian-Democrat networks of Jean-Baptiste Duroselle
  • Renouvin, the Dean and the creation of research centers at the Sorbonne
  • The University of Vincennes and Jean-Baptiste Duroselle
  • The ‘Europeist’ action of Jean-Baptiste Duroselle
  • May 1968

These topics are not restrictive and each submission will be considered carefully.

The conference languages will be English and French

Regardless of language, all proposals will receive due consideration.

The deadline for paper proposals is: 1 June 2016

Please send your proposal (abstract in English or French of no more than 500 words and short CV) to Andrea Martignoni:

Scientific Advisory Board of the Conference

Laurence Badel (professor, Panthéon Sorbonne University), Andrew Barros (professor, Université du Québec à Montréal), Eric Bussière (director, UMR Sorbonne-IRICE), Antoine Fleury (professor emeritus, Geneva University), Robert Frank (professor emeritus, Panthéon Sorbonne University), John Keiger (professor, Cambridge University), Peter Jackson (professor, Glasgow University), Thomas Maissen (director, Deutsches Historisches Institut, Paris), Antoine Marès (professor, Panthéon Sorbonne University), Antoine Prost (president, scientific board of the Bibliothèque de documentation internationale contemporaine, Paris), Matthias Schulz (professor, Geneva University), Georges-Henri Soutou (professor emeritus, Académie des sciences morales et politiques, Paris), Arnold Suppan (professor, Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Wien), Valérie Tesnière (director, Bibliothèque de documentation internationale contemporaine, Paris), Maurice Vaïsse (professor emeritus, Institut d’études politiques, Paris), Antonio Varsori (professor, Padova University), Andreas Wirsching (director, Institut für Zeitgeschichte, München).

East Central Europe in the First Half of the 20th Century – Transnational Perspectives

Traditionally the decades of the first half of the 20th century appear as a period of nationalization
and de-globalization, and seems to be true also for the region East Central Europe. After World War I (Nation)states such as Poland, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia were (re)established after the monarchies of the Habsburgs, Hohenzollerns, and Romanovs had fallen apart. Wilsonian idealism, promoting national self-determination, gained a fertile ground. The 1930s were dominated by the Great Depression, autarkic economic policies and nationalist ideologies. Following World War II and in an ex-post perspective, these “national” lines of development were made more prominent in historical narratives
so that the whole period seemed as a “road from war to war”. In this reductionist view, aspects of continuities across the apparent historical breaks of 1914 / 18 or 1939 / 45 often are marginalized. What about the sense for the beginning of a “New Europe” in a “New World” after the break-up of the empires, or the openness of the moment felt by contemporaries once the wars were over? How changed the conditions under which people migrated? How enterprises gained new markets? How cultural exchange was revived? How territorialization processes were globalized? A transnational perspective can help to find answers concerning the region and the period under question in the conference.

Program (PDF)

Minutes: General Assembly, 17 October 2015

Minutes of the General Assembly,
University of Cambridge
West Road 7
Department of Politics and International Studies
Room G 2
17 October 2015 – 14 H. 30

Download | Version française.

Professor John Keiger, President of the Association, welcomed the members present and evoked the memory of Jacques Bariéty, President of the Association from 1983 to 2010, who died in 2014. He then referred to the conservation of the AIHCE archives in the possession of Mr. Bariéty by the Quai d’Orsay Diplomatic Archives housed at La Courneuve. Following a request by the services of the Archives on the modalities of the consultation, the President sought the opinion of the General Assembly. It was decided to make the AIHCE archives available for consultation, provided that such a request is addressed to the President of the AIHCE.

Professor John Keiger then moved to item 1 of the agenda.

1 – Overview of activities

The Chair detailed:

  • The Munich meeting in January 2011, at the invitation of Prof. Horst MÖLLER from the Institut für The meeting was accompanied by a symposium on French foreign policy in the Cold War.
  • A meeting in 2012 in Strasbourg about problems relating to the transfer of the Association’s bank accounts from LCL to La Banque Postale
  • A meeting in Paris in 2014, between the president, the treasurer and the general secretary to consider the settlement of financial issues and to discuss AIHCE future projects.This was followed in January 2015 by a further meeting of the president and the treasurer about the change of bank.
  • A meeting of the executive committee on March 12 2015, in Paris discussed the future projects of the Association and prepared the GA in Cambridge

He then presented the scientific activities and emphasized the publication of both the proceedings of the Amsterdam Symposium (under the direction of Profs. Fleury, Kovacs, Schramm and Knipping), and the proceedings of Luxembourg (under the direction of Charles Barthel). These proceedings were published in the collection of the Association “Europe and the Europes”, Peter Lang. Two scientific events were held in Munich in January 2011 and Cambridge in October 2015. The latter event will lead to publication in the collection of the Association.

He then highlighted the work of website renovation undertaken by Frédéric Clavert (Lecturer at Lausanne), whose responsiveness and competence he praised. We thus have a suitable website. It is now time to populate it.

Finally the president explained his development of contacts with the Association of young researchers in European history (RICHIE) and notably Christian Wenkel. Regular meetings have taken place to link both assoications’ websites, to consider the integration of RICHIE members into the AIHCE and its activities. This cooperation has resulted in the election of RICHIE representatives to the executive committee of the AIHCE.

2 – Financial Review

The floor was then given to Professor Chantal Metzger, Treasurer of the Association. She recalled the difficulties related to the change of banks and set out the financial situation. She distributed to the members present a financial statement. It is attached to these minutes.

On October 14th, 2015:

  • Savings account: 21 000 Euros
  • Current account: 92 Euros

She then raised the question of the cost of subscriptions. It was proposed to renew these at the following levels:

  • 30 Euros for one year, and 50 Euros for two, per member
  • 20 Euros for one year, and 30 Euros for two, for students, doctoral students, post-docs

It was also decided that contributions would not be taken for 2015, given the lack of activities, but begin from 2016.

3 – Acceptance of the Treasurer’s review of financial accounts

The General Assembly unanimously voted through the Treasurer’s presentation of the accounts.

4 – Renewal of Executive Committee

A number of members of the board did not stand for re-election: Profs. Franz Knipping, Horst Möller, Ion Bulei, Dusan Kovacs, Charles Barthel, and Jean-François Fayet. The other officers remained candidates for their succession: John Keiger, Chantal Metzger, Bruna Bagnato, Evgenia Obitchina Christine Manigand, Thomas Schramm, Frank Hadler, Jean-François Eck and Sylvain Schirmann.

Three colleagues sent letters of candidacy: Emmanuel MOURLON-DRUOL (University of Glasgow), Frédéric Clavert (University of Lausanne) and Gjergely Fejérdy (University of Budapest).

A debate took place on the absence of representatives from some European areas and of historians of Europe based outside Europe. It was decided that the Executive Committee should proceed by co-option to expand the committee to include colleagues in these areas. Contacts are to be made with colleagues working on areas from Central and Eastern Europe to the Iberian Peninsula, Scandinavia and to non-European colleagues. Prof Frank Hadler intends to sound out colleagues from Central and Eastern Europe. Suggestions were made for Spain (Munez, St Jacques de Compostela) and Portugal (José Magone). The next board meeting will take stock of these contacts and make the decision to welcome new entrants.

Following open discussion the GA passed to a vote on the renewal of officers of the Association. Are renewed unanimously the nominees listed here: Keiger J., C. Metzger, B. Bagnato, Manigand C., E. Obitchina, T. Schramm, F. Hadler, JF Eck, S. Schirmann. Were unanimously elected for the first time to the board: E. Mourlon-Druol, Clavert F., G. Fejérdy

The newly elected board then allocated functions. Are appointed as follows:

  • John Keiger, President of the AIHCE
  • SCHRAMM Thomas, Vice-President of the AIHCE
  • Chantal METZGER, Treasurer of the Association
  • Sylvain SCHIRMANN, Secretary General
  • Frédéric Clavert, Deputy Secretary General
  • Christine MANIGAND, Publications Manager

5 – Subscriptions

See point 2 above.

6 – Projects and prospects

The officers wished to establish the minimum of an annual meeting of the executive committee. This could take place in an easily accessible city (capital cities, eg London, Brussels, Berlin, Paris, etc.).

Three important points were raised:

  • The visibilityof the association: for activities (seminars, workshops or conferences), it is important to enter into a logic of cooperation with other organizations of historians. We need to develop convergence and synergies with associations of young researchers; and with certain national committees of the ICHS (International Congress of Historical Sciences). In this respect, links with RICHIE should be cemented, such as joint sessions at international conferences, including at their own conference in Budapest.
  • Developing convergence makes sense in view of the ICHS Congress inAugust 2020 in Poznan, Poland. Prof Schramm, Vice-President of the AIHCE, is one of the anchors of this congress. The gene​​ral theme is focused on Central Europe. The association should be present at this congress in line with the theme, which could be the subject of a symposium.  It is therefore necessary to establish within the next 2 years an idea of what – and who – we want to participate in Poznan. A schedule is therefore needed: in 2016, we should agree on our proposals; in 2017, we should send details of our proposals to ICHS, following the meeting of the ICHS in Moscow. This assumes we should renew our affiliation to the ICHS.
  • The Doctoral prize: the board wishes to create a Doctoral Prize (see meeting of 12 March 2015).The discussion at the GA revealed the material difficulties in the implementation of that prize: the prize languages, the procedure, staffing, and rules. The secretary general is charged with writing a note on this issue, identifying all difficulties and outlining a possible process. This note will serve as a starting point for a discussion on this point at the next board meeting.
  • Any other business evoked the prospect of a symposium in 2018, for the 50 years of the Association.

In conclusion all participants stressed the need for the renewal of activities to continue and to be on a regular basis.

Professor John Keiger, president of the Association, having confirmed that all items on the agenda had been discussed thanked those present and closed the General Assembly of the AIHCE at 1600 hours.

Call for Papers : The International Echoes of the Commemorations of the October Revolution (1918-1990)


Location & date

Switzerland, University of Lausanne, Géopolis (Room: 2227), 14-16 September 2016.

Organising Committee

J-F Fayet (Univ. of Lausanne) – Stéfanie Prezioso (Univ. of Lausanne) – Kevin Morgan (Univ. of Manchester) – Norman Laporte (Univ. of South Wales)

Scientific Committee

Dr. Marco Albeltaro (Univ. of Torino, Historia Magistrae. Rivista di storia critica), Prof. Korine Amacher (Univ. of Geneva), Dr. Bernhard Bayerlein (Ruhr-Univ. Bochum, dir. The International Newsletter of Communist Studies), Prof. Sophie Coeuré (Univ. Paris-Diderot), Prof. Angelo d’Orsi (Univ. of Torino, Historia Magistrae. Rivista di storia critica), Prof. Sabine Dullin (IEP Paris), Prof. Jose Maria Faraldo Farillo (Complutense Univ. of Madrid), Prof. José Gotovitch (Univ. Libre of Brussels), Prof. Gianni Haver (Univ. of Lausanne), Prof. Catherine Gousseff (dir. of Marc Bloch Center, Berlin), Dr. Alexander Hobel (Fondazione Istituto Gramsci), Dr. William A. Pelz (dir. Institute of Working Class History, Chicago), Prof. Silvio Pons (Univ. of Roma II, dir. of Gramsci Foundation), Dr. Tauno Saarela (Univ. of Helsinki), Prof. Emer. William H. Sewell Jr. (Univ. of Chicago), Prof. Brigitte Studer (Univ. of Bern), Prof. Emer. Ronald G. Suny (Univ. of Chicago), Prof. Alexandre Vatlin (Lomonosov Moscow State Univ.), Prof. Jean Vigreux (Univ. of Bourgogne, dir. ANR Paprik@2F).


Swiss National Science Foundation, University of Lausanne, Manchester University, the journal Twentieth Century Communism: a Journal of International History.


Publication of the Lausanne international conference proceedings in a special volume of the journal Twentieth Century Communism: a Journal of International History.

Publication Date: during 2017 (deadline for submitting papers November 2016). Additional publication could be considered depending on the number and quality of the papers presented.


It is necessary (for purely political reasons) to demonstrate to the diplomats and to members of the Communist International the strength of the Republic and the faith the masses of workers have in Soviet power.

Telegram from Trotsky to the CC of the PCR, 1920 F.17/60/163, RGASPI

My only consolation is that as celebrations are bourgeois institutions at which nobody tells the truth it perhaps just as well that I shall be at a safe distance

Letter from G. B. Shaw (who could not attend) to Polovtseva, 18.10.1927, F.5283/8/47, GARF

Commemorations express a political will to remember, a process that relies on establishing a mythologised historical referent. The Russian Communists were aware of the importance of this instrument for the implantation of a regime whose legitimacy was contested both domestically and abroad, and proceeded therefore to construct a new collective memory through the reordering of time around the regime’s founding act: the great socialist revolution of October. From 1918 on, 7 November was a day of celebrations: speeches, military parades, orderly marches, inaugurations of public monuments commemorative plaques, political carnivals, mass spectacles, and popular parties that united the peoples and territories of the Soviet Union in celebration of October. In addition to their domestic role in fostering unity, providing legitimacy, and facilitating internal mobilisations, the practices of commemorations also supported the regime’s international eminence, especially when it presented itself as a model for world revolution.

Inviting foreign dignitaries to celebrations of sovereignty is a tradition as old as diplomacy itself. However, assisted by their numerous political (the communist parties), trade-unionist, and above all associative conduits, in terms of both quantity (the number of persons invited) and quality (the methods of selecting candidates and their handling during the visit), the Soviets took this tradition to a whole new level. While in the first few years celebrations were a modest affair, a thousand foreign delegates are invited to the Soviet Union for the tenth anniversary of the revolution, celebrated in 1927. Unlike the ambassadors, these representatives of the international working class and progressive social forces are far from being passive spectators. Their status, however, is ambiguous. Invited as observers, they are expected to take sides, and then to commit themselves. They have a role in the October spectacle and its political usages. The Soviets intend to show the world that the USSR is not isolated, and that its international legitimacy extends beyond the limited gamut of its diplomatic relations. During this period, except for the duration of the “Great Patriotic War”, foreigners attend the celebrations every year, although at greatly varying numbers. After 1945, it becomes standard to invite the ambassadors posted to Moscow, the heads of friendly states (from Europe, Asia, and soon from Latin America), and the leaders of Communist parties. The circle of invitees traces the contours of, and the fluctuations in, Soviet foreign policy. Let us also highlight the return of youth and women delegations, as well as the presence of intellectuals. In the 1960s, the Red Square becomes an almost obligatory passageway for the representatives of the “progressive” movements of the Third World (the Vietnamese are the most regular, but one finds also Ethiopians, Somalians, and others). In 1977, the sixtieth anniversary parade is watched from the tribunes by over a hundred foreign delegations from left-wing formations, joined by the head of states of communist countries and by the president of Finland (U. Kekkonen). The number of attendees remains high for the seventieth anniversary a decade later and until the last commemoration, in 1990.

Commemorative events were also held outside the Soviet Union, constituting another aspect of the international reach of the October Revolution. Initially, they were small events, organised spontaneously—in Zurich in 1918, Turin 1919, Beijing 1923, but also in Prague, London, Paris, etc.— small street processions, lectures, discussions in factories, an evening at a community centre, evidence of the hopes the Revolution inspired beyond its borders. But in 1927, gigantic meetings take place in Berlin, Paris, London, New York, with workers’ banquets and the projection of Soviet films. An exhibition with fifteen pictures travels across Europe and the Americas under the title “ten years of socialist edification”. In many countries, workers organize strikes in solidarity with the Soviet working class. The internationalisation of the celebrations becomes progressively enmeshed in a very structured context that includes Soviet institutions (embassies, commercial services, and cultural missions), the Communist International, and the many mass organisation that orbit the Communist Parties—in the manner of, for example, the Friends of the Soviet Union. A similar development takes place in Russia: the chaotic, political and artistic carnival of the early commemorations is transformed with time into a very conventional, repetitive, and scripted display of militarism and patriotism. The commemorative date is fixed, but it is part of a changing commemorative calendar. At the beginning, 1 May remains the other great ‘proletarian commemoration day’. A focus on leaders and martyrs – the ‘3 Ls’ of Lenin, Luxemburg and Liebknecht – then shifts under Stalin to the leader’s birthday and a form of commemorative competition.

The military victories of the Soviet Union in the “Great Patriotic War” will lead to the further key commemoration day of 9 May. There is also the exportation of the soviet culture of commemoration, initially to the newly “liberated” areas, with celebrations of 7 November taking place across a Russia that extends from Kaliningrad to Sakhalin, as well as in the Baltic countries and in Moldavia. Next it is the turn of the people’s democracies to integrate the date of the October Revolution in their official calendar, and also to reproduce the Soviet commemorative model in the scope of their own national days, albeit with efforts to mark it with certain national variations. In the capitalist countries, the small communist organisations take advantage of the new prestige of the USSR, victor of the Great War, in order to hold modest commemorative events: concerts, theatre shows, lectures series, etc.

Finally, the spectacle of the celebrations is broadcast around the world, first by radio and news reels, and later by television. This was evidently the case with countries in the Soviet orbit. Like in many other people’s democracies, the television services of East Germany and Hungary broadcasted the ritual processions. But this mediated commemoration reached also into Western democracies. Every year in the US, regularly in France and Italy, less often in Switzerland, the October parades were rebroadcast on the national channels. The broadcasting of the military procession was incorporated into the setting of the Cold War, providing fodder for Western military experts and Kremlinologists. While the latter offered theories about the balance of power at the top of the hierarchy deduced from the seating arrangements on the Mausoleum’s balcony, the viewer could see the aging of the leaders, a metaphor for the regime itself, and the growing standardisation of the festivities, symbol of its advancing bureaucratisation. Everywhere, the commemorations represented a pertinent index of the political culture of the country that produces them.

Keywords for proposals (two primary axes)

1. The Participations of foreigners in the 7 November commemorations in the USSR

I. Foreigners invited to the USSR for the October celebrations

a. Workers delegations, by country, political and occupational categories, function, organizational type (sports, Esperanto-related, pacifist, women, youth, etc.)
b. Intellectuals, scientists, and progressive artists
c. Leaders of allied states: the Mongol Republic, European people’s democracies, North Korea, China, Cuba, African states, etc.
d. Military attachés, diplomats, government officers
e. Journalists
f. Undercover
g. Absentees (those who could not come, those who rejected the invitation)
h. Personal consequences of the visit: joining the party, promotion/exclusion in the trade union, job loss, etc.

II. The Soviet side: the inviting structure and the handling in situ

a. Organising committees
b. Welcome desk for the foreigners of the VOKS
c. The foreign relations committee of the trade unions
d. Communist International, Sportintern, KIM…
e. Culture Ministry
g. Translator-guides
h. Intourist
i. The political police (INO-Tcheka)

III. Activities – key moments – mandatory stations for the foreigners

a. The warm welcome: cheering crowds everywhere
b. The learning trip: the itineraries in the different republics
c. The organised tours:
d. Questions time: “tell us the truth comrades…”
e. The commemorative vigils: the stories of veterans, the shows put by worker clubs
f. The military parade, the marching columns and the popular holiday of 7
g. Activities upon return: written and oral testimonies

2. Celebrations of 7 November abroad: by country, type of place, and type of event

I. Commemorations in different territories

a. The big cities: Berlin in 1927, London, Paris, Rome, in the US, Beijing (from 1923 at the university)
b. Allied states: people’s democracies in Europe; in Asia: China, North Korea,
Vietnam; in Latin America: Cuba…
c. Africa:Ethiopia

II. Commemorations in Soviet spaces outside the USSR

a. Embassies
b. Cultural centres
c. Friend circles (Friends of the USSR)
d. The Communists Parties
e. Factories

III. Delegations and tours abroad: political, artists…

a. Official Soviet delegations
b. Lecture tours
c. Cultural events : exhibitions, concerts, and commemorative shows

IV. Opposition events

a. Takeoverorboycottofevents,dissidentevents
b. Anti-Soviet events
c. Competing events (Mensheviks, Trotskyist, etc.)

V. The commemorations in foreign medias

a. The foreign press
b. The foreign radio
c. The newsreels
d. The foreign television broadcasts
e. Films of October as international commemorative medium

VI. October in the communist calendar

a. Proletarian commemoration days
b. Heroes and martyrs as a focus for commemoration
c. Commemorative competition: 1 May, 9 May and the leader’s birthday

Paper Proposals

We invite submissions of proposals for papers on issues pertaining to the international echoes of the commemorations of the October revolution.

Priority will be given to proposals that emphasise long timeframes, use a comparative approach, involve the prosopography of attending delegates, or deal with the international circulation of commemorative practices.

Proposals should include the title of the presentation, an abstract, and a description of the sources. Length should be about 2500 signs. Proposal should be sent to: by 30 November 2015, together with a brief CV including the most important (maximum five) publications.

Financial Matters

In case of a proposal’s acceptation, the costs of the stay and the hotel will be covered. We kindly ask to use own funds for the travel costs. Only in case this should not be possible, coverage of the travel costs can be held in prospect.

Organisation, Networks and Policy-making in European Foreign Ministries in the Twentieth Century

Workshop 16-17 October 2015, University of Cambridge, Department of Politics and International Studies, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, Cambridge

Draft Program

  • Aballéa, Marion (IEP, Strasbourg), ‘Les services extérieurs de la diplomatie française entre expertise et marginalisation:l’exemple de l’ambassade de France à Berlin à la récomposition de l’ordre européen (1919-1932)’.
  • Bagnato, Bruna, (Florence), ‘Un renouvellement manqué. La diplomatie italienne de la chute du fascisme au traité de paix (1943-1947)’.
  • Badel, Laurence, (Sorbonne, Paris 1), ‘Around Olivier Wormser, the new influence of economic diplomats in French policy-making towards European integration (1930-1957)’.
  • Johnson, Gaynor, (Kent) ‘The Foreign Office and the concept of security, 1919-1947: variations from departments to personalities.’
  • Keiger, John (Cambridge), ‘Reforming the Quai d’Orsay during the Second World War: recruitment, training and mission’.
  • Lequesne, Christian, (Sciences Po, Paris) ‘Being a French diplomat in 2015: Recruitment, Career and Ideology’.
  • Obichkina, Evguenia, (MGIMO, Moscow),‘La prise de décision en matière de politique étrangère soviétique de Staline à Brejnev’.
  • Raineau, Thomas, (EUI, Florence), ‘“A conspiracy of like-minded men”. Le Foreign Office, Whitehall et l’unification de l’Europe, 1947-1957’.
  • Rolewicz, Adam, (Kent), ‘The “Grand Design”: The Foreign Office Western Department and an “Alternative Europe”, 1957-9’.
  • Schroeder, Corinne, (Archives Nationales, Luxembourg), ‘Le développement du ministère luxembourgeois des affaires étrangères (1930-1973)’.
  • Vardabasso, Valentina (Sorbonne, Paris 1), ‘Le Ministère italien des affaires étrangères et l’élaboration de la politique européenne (1948-53)’.

Organisation, Networks and Policy-making in European Foreign Ministries in the Twentieth Century

Workshop 16-17 October 2015, University of Cambridge, Department of Politics and International Studies, Alison Richard Building, West Road, Cambridge

This workshop is part of a major four-year AHRC (Arts and Humanities Research Council, UK) funded research project entitled ‘Networks and Actors in the British and French Foreign Ministries : Responses to the Idea of European Integration, 1919-1957’, conducted by Prof John Keiger (Cambridge University) and Prof. Gaynor Johnson (Kent University).

The thesis which this project seeks to test is that in both the British and French foreign ministries from the end of the First World War – when ideas of European integration gained ascendancy as a means to international security and prosperity – to the establishment of the European communities in 1957, permanent officials were at least as important as their political masters in promoting or blocking the path towards some form of European integration. Two principal research questions emerge from the project:

  1. How were the foreign ministries of Britain and France organised between 1919 and 1957 in their dealing with questions relating to European integration ? In particular which foreign ministry departments (eg in the case of the British Foreign Office, the Central European Department, the Western European Department and the League of Nations Department) were the most powerful and influential in driving the policies of these two states in relation to Europe : how did the power distribution fluctuate between the departments over time and how did this affect policy ?
  2. Who were the permanent officials formulating policy on key issues affecting Europe ? In particular, what were the social and educational backgrounds of these actors ? How did this cultural context and training influence their world view and lead to formal or informal networks of like-minded individuals championing particular positions within their respective foreign ministries ? And how did all these factors influence the thinking of permanent officials when they considered the issue of a more integrated Europe ?

The workshop is intended to broaden this approach to other European foreign ministries across the whole of twentieth century Europe, broadly conceived, either through comparative perspectives or single state studies.

Papers of 20 minutes duration might consider, for instance :

  • organisation of foreign ministries or their reform

  • education and background of permanent officials and diplomats

  • networks and sociability in the diplomatic world

  • schools or academies of diplomatic preparation, training and competitive exams

  • impact of the European ideal on permanent officials

  • influence of other government departments or agencies (finance, commerce, defence, central banks etc) on policies for European integration

  • the policy-making process in foreign ministries

  • bureaucratic politics and policy blocking tactics in foreign ministries.

The working languages of the workshop will be French and English. Please send abstracts (one page A4) of your paper in either English or French, with a brief cv, to by 15 August 2015. An editorial panel will select the papers.

CFP (French / German): Defis internationaux et emergence d’un espace public en Europe depuis les annees 1970

Journées d’études de l’Institut historique allemand Paris en coopération avec le laboratoire d’excellence « Écrire une histoire nouvelle de l’Europe » et le réseau franco-allemand « Saisir l’Europe »18−19 juin 2015, Paris Date limite de candidature : 27 avril 2015.

L’historiographie des relations internationales en Europe après 1945 reste dominée par une focalisation sur les relations bilatérales et sur l’histoire politique. La création progressive d’un espace européen de communication depuis les années 1970 invite cependant à un changement de perspective, qui consiste à revoir l’étude du processus décisionnel, en mettant la société civile comme point de départ. Dans cet espace de communication émergent, on peut en effet constater des convergences dans les débats qui ont eu lieu dans différents pays européens sur des questions à caractère transnational. Il semble par conséquent utile de s’intéresser à ces convergences et de s’interroger sur l’impact qu’elles ont pu avoir sur les décisions politiques tant au niveau national qu’au niveau européen. Les problèmes environnementaux constituent une question à caractère transnational par excellence. En effet, la protection de la nature voire de l’héritage naturel ou bien l’approvisionnement en énergie, notamment l’utilisation de l’énergie nucléaire, ont suscité et suscitent toujours un vif intérêt dans l’opinion publique partout en Europe. Bien que ces questions aient, depuis les années 1970, fortement gagné en importance dans l’espace public, il semble important de ne pas négliger la dimension de longue durée, inhérente à ces questions. Les contributions devraient s’intéresser à un ou plusieurs des points mentionnés ci-dessous :

  • la perception des questions transnationales dans les différents espaces nationaux de communication (p.ex. études comparatives de discours et de sémantique)
  • la circulation d’idées, de concepts et de schémas de perception entre les différents espaces nationaux de communication
  • les activités des associations ou des ONG qui se sont engagées en faveur de problèmes environnementaux ou d’autres problèmes à caractère transnational dans un ou plusieurs pays européens
  • les institutions et les personnes qui ont servi d’intermédiaire, de manière délibérée ou nonconsciente, entre les différents espaces nationaux de communication
  • le travail parlementaire, tant au niveau national qu’au niveau européen, qui s’est emparé de tels problèmes et qui a réagi à l’opinion publique et/ou aux activités des ONG, faisant entrer de cette manière des sujets et des revendications concrètes dans le circuit de la décision politique
  • les conséquences de telles convergences sur l’agenda politique des différents gouvernements et chefs d’État ainsi que sur celle des institutions européennes
  • les conditions et les délais dans lesquels les questions d’intérêt public, comme par exemple les problèmes environnementaux, peuvent devenir des objets de la politique européenne
  • les sujets en lien avec l’Allemagne et/ou la France sont appréciés, mais pas obligatoires.

Ce workshop se situe dans le cadre d’un nouveau projet de recherche de l’Institut historique allemand Paris en coopération avec le laboratoire d’excellence « Écrire une histoire nouvelle de l’Europe ». Pour en savoir plus sur ce projet, consulter la rubrique « Recherche » sur le site web de l’institut, . Font partie du comité scientifique pour ce workshop : Éric Bussière (univ. ParisSorbonne/LabEx EHNE), Anahita Grisoni (« Saisir l’Europe »), Hélène Miard-Delacroix (univ. ParisSorbonne/LabEx EHNE) et Christian Wenkel (IHA). Cet appel à contribution s’adresse prioritairement à des jeunes chercheurs (étudiants avancés en Master 2, doctorants et post-doc). Les frais de voyage et d’hébergement seront pris en charge par l’IHA. La langue de travail sera le français, des communications en anglais seront toutefois acceptées. Merci de bien vouloir envoyer votre candidature (une page A4 environ) en français, en allemand ou en anglais avec un court C.V. (merci d’indiquer vos compétences linguistiques) dans un seul fichier PDF d’ici le 27 avril 2015 à Les candidats sélectionnés seront invités à envoyer leur communication d’ici le 8 juin 2015 au plus tard.

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