European History

The Fettmilch Attack on the Frankfurt Ghetto

Kenneth Austin— On August 22, 1614, Vincenz Fettmilch, a Calvinist gingerbread-maker, led an attack on Frankfurt’s ghetto, a single street known as the Judengasse (“Jews’ Lane”). When it was first established, the community had about 150 residents; by the early seventeenth century, this number had risen to almost 2,000. Its

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The Trial of László Rajk

Molly Pucci— News of the trial of the former Hungarian Politburo member László Rajk, staged as a show trial in Budapest between 16 and 24 September 1949, traveled quickly across the Eastern Bloc. Over the course of these fateful, widely propagated eight days, Rajk came to represent many things to

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Late Stalinism and the Soviet Nation

Evgeny Dobrenko— In Russia everything changes over ten years and nothing changes over two hundred years. These words, attributed to Petr Stolypin, were borne out, it seems, by all of the country’s subsequent history. In the first decade of the twentieth century, when the words were spoken, Russia had experienced

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The Historical Role of Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas

Charles Rosen— Proust’s grandmother was a woman of extremely modest, unpretentious demeanour, who never ventured to contradict anyone’s literary judgement: But on matters of which the rules and principles had been taught her by her mother, on the way to cook certain dishes, to play the sonatas of Beethoven, and to

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The Battle over European Politics

Luuk van Middelaar— In the torrent of words devoted to European politics, it is possible to distinguish three basic discourses. We might label them ‘the Europe of States’, ‘the Europe of Citizens’ and ‘the Europe of Offices’. More traditionally they are known as confederalism, federalism and functionalism. Each has its

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The Voyages of Joseph Banks

Toby Musgrave— As a young man Joseph Banks (he was knighted at the age of thirty-eight on 23 March 1781) undertook three voyages of scientific discovery. With his first, to Newfoundland and Labrador in 1776, he established a paradigm for the study of natural history as an integral component of

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The Verbal Imperialism of “Germany, Awaken!”

Karl Kraus— A literary man sensitive to fine writing might even understand my position and recognise that, in the journalism and rhetoric of the new creed, we have not seen or heard a single German verbal expression that has not belied its purported content. Among the many neologisms inspired by

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Jewish Life during the Interwar Period

Todd M. Endelman and Zvi Gitelman— The new states that emerged in Europe and the Middle East from the collapsed German, Austro-Hungarian, Russian, and Ottoman empires were insecure, fearing their neighbors and their demands to change the borders created by the treaties ending World War I. They were suspicious of

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The Moment of Parallel Emancipations in Jamaica

Stanley Mirvis— Thirteen years ago, Yale’s Center for British Art, in collaboration with the Institute of Jamaica Museum, commemorated the bicentennial of the abolition of the slave trade with an exhibition focused on the 1834 emancipation of slaves. The exhibit centered on the work of the Jamaican artist Isaac Mendes

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The Life of an American Seaman

Stephen Taylor— He was a patriot who took up arms in the Revolution against the Crown. Jacob Nagle was aged just fifteen when he set out from his Pennsylvania home in 1777 to join his father in Washington’s army. Once independence had been won, however, Nagle had no difficulty in

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