"Western Weimar on the Wolga"


De Bourgraaf's lecture on the Australasian Association for European History 28th Biennial Conference

Animals 🐻 can neither cheat nor lie (© AGON agonmag.com)
Animals 🐻 can neither cheat nor lie (© AGON agonmag.com)


When Weimar was by and large strangled by Empire and Entente's diktats, at the end of which the "Never Again" consensus developed, what has been the political use of bringing up the argument of a similarly developing constellation in the post-Cold-War era? As in the Paris/Weimar/Versailles model, triumphal- and imperialism have been recklessly transferred into the era of Mutually Assured Destruction.

Founded as a post-centenary reappraisal commission, Aufa100 focusses on the first post-war period as the crux of the world-war era. History and memory modernization is facilitating the pointed research question: what happened to the quarter-of-a-century-old comparison Weimar Germany – Russian Federation? No less than half a dozen years following the mutually acceptable termination of the Cold War, this apparent analogy was propelled by academia in East and West. Actually, it implied a twofold comparison. Does the Anglo–American West (Atlantic Alliance) essentially act differently than the "Ententist" West with its British-led League of Nations? When yes, Paris/Weimar/Versailles lessons have not only been learnt, but also implemented.

As the missing link in the post-centenary postcolonial debate, the sub-imperial argument will be put forward (H. Poeschel 1920, A.S. Kanya-Forstner 2000, C. Fernandes 2022). Events following the game-changing 9/11 attacks will be evaluated as an antithesis. A variety of anti-terrorism wars might have obscured the view that successfully continued divide-and-rule policies drove the Europeans – who often fail to be distinguished from an increasingly successful European Union – ever more apart.

After the implosion of the "second Weimar" debate, it does not seem that the Russian invasion of Ukraine prompted its revival. Actually, both scholarly and journalistic references are making headlines. It is an ultimate try to prevent the present war's escalation in a "1946 type", when the Nazis would have disposed of the bomb.