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Hans A. Schmitt

Author

More, Not Less, History!

I became an historian because it never occurred to me to become anything else. Anxious parents, whose collegiate offspring is about to choose a career more noted for virtue than reward, are prone to ask: "What can you do with history?" My answer is [...]

How I Fled Nazi Germany

In the Winter 1983 issue to which I had contributed, the Virginia Quarterly Review identified me as a person who had fled Nazi Germany. I thank them for dramatizing what has been an ordinary, and by the standards of grand biography, uneventful life [...]

Western Europe Faces the Future

Eurocommunism and Eurosocialism: The Left Confronts Modernity. Edited by Bernard E. Brown. The Cycro Press Series on World and National Issues. $18.95 hardback, $9.95 paper. Germany in World Politics. Edited by Viola Herms Drath and George Schwab. [...]

The Weakness of European Nation-States

The European nation-state is a subject worn by much writing and discussion, by generations of historians, politologists, and sociologists. Its lure persists, and scholarly preoccupation with its vagaries has not abated. The reasons for this are ma [...]

January 30, 1933: A Memoir

I remember January 30, 1933. In Germany the next-to-last day of the first month is invariably unpleasant. If the sun should shine, in defiance of all metereological odds, it would illuminate a world lashed by crackling cold. If the clouds which rule [...]

Memories of A Tranquil Revolution

The writing of history encompasses two activities: the reconstruction of past events and the chronicling of contemporary happenings a historian wants to protect from oblivion. As it happened, my first book, The Path to European Union: From the Mars [...]

Hitler’s Lingering Shadow

Hitler 1936—1945. Nemesis. By Ian Kershaw. W. W. Norton. $35.00. In 1999 Ian Kershaw warned an attentive audience at the German Historical Institute in Washington that the first volume of his Hitler biography (Hitler 1889—1936. Hubris) cont [...]

Unbearable Memories

The Language of Silence: West German Literature and the Holocaust. By Ernestine Schlant. Routledge. $80 cloth, $20.99 paperback Praise from a host of academics embroiders the covers of this book. The most pithy of these, by Arthur Hertzberg, th [...]

Inexplicable World War I

The Pity of War: Explaining World War I. By Niall Ferguson. Basic Books. $30.00. In April 1999 The New Yorker published a profile of the British historian Niall Ferguson distinguished by the provocative contention that the Oxford don believed W [...]

“Life Under Nazism”

I Will Bear Witness: A Diary of the Nazi Years, 1933—1941. By Victor Klemperer. Translated by Martin Chalmers. Random House. $29.95. I Between 1905 and 1935, Victor Klemperer (1881—1960) spent most of his adult years as a professor of Roman [...]

The Holocaust: the Reason Why?

Hitler's Willing Executioners. Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust. By David Jonah Goldhagen. Knopf.$30.00. In 1971, Erich Goldhagen, now a faculty member of Harvard's Divinity School, published an expose of Albert Speer, demolishing the claim of Hi [...]