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Fascination and Enmity

Russia and Germany as Entangled Histories, 1914–1945

Edited by Michael David-Fox, Peter Holquist, and Alexander M. Martin

Publication Year: 2012

Russia and Germany have had a long history of significant cultural, political, and economic exchange. Despite these beneficial interactions, stereotypes of the alien Other persisted. Germans perceived Russia as a vast frontier with unlimited potential, yet infused with an “Asianness” that explained its backwardness and despotic leadership. Russians admired German advances in science, government, and philosophy, but saw their people as lifeless and obsessed with order. Fascination and Enmity presents an original transnational history of the two nations during the critical era of the world wars. By examining the mutual perceptions and misperceptions within each country, the contributors reveal the psyche of the Russian-German dynamic and its use as a powerful political and cultural tool. Through accounts of fellow travelers, POWs, war correspondents, soldiers on the front, propagandists, revolutionaries, the Comintern, and wartime and postwar occupations, the contributors analyze the kinetics of the Russian-German exchange and the perceptions drawn from these encounters. The result is a highly engaging chronicle of the complex entanglements of two world powers through the great wars of the twentieth century.

Published by: University of Pittsburgh Press

Front Cover

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pp. c-iii


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pp. iv-iv


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pp. v-viii

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1. Introduction: Entangled Histories in the Age of Extremes

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pp. 1-12

The notion of the Sonderverhältnis, or special relationship between Russia and Germany, is a distorting lens through which to look at relations between these countries—not to mention the broader cultures and civilizations they represented. Th is is true even for the period for which it was

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2. “A Belgium of Our Own" The Sack of Russian Kalisz, August 1914

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pp. 13-38

The Geneva Convention of 1864 and the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907 defined international standards for the just conduct of war and the proper treatment of civilians. From the first days of fighting in 1914, the belligerent powers accused one another of ignoring them.1 Press campaigns against “enemy atrocities” were designed to stir patriotic emotion; governments...

3. United by Barbed Wire: Russian POWs in Germany, National Stereotypes, and International Relations, 1914–1922

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pp. 39-58

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4. Iron Revolutionaries and Salon Socialists: Bolsheviks and Ferman Communistsin the 1920s and 1930s

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pp. 59-82

When Osip Piatnitskii met German worker representatives for the first time in Berlin before World War I, the Bolshevik underground fighter experienced a veritable culture shock. In his memoirs published in 1927, the future Comintern functionary described his astonishment at what he confronted in Germany: “When I first came to a meeting and saw the...

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5. Back from the USSR: The Anti-comintern’s Publicationson Soviet Russia in Nazi Germany,1935–1941

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pp. 83-108

Joseph Goebbels’s speech of 13 September 1935 on “communism unmasked,” held at the party “rally of freedom” that introduced the antisemitic legislation of the “Nuremburg laws,” marked the starting point of a propaganda campaign against the USSR that lasted until the rapprochement between the dictatorships in the summer of 1939.1 Anticommunism was the...

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6. Return to Soviet Russia: Edwin Erich Dwinger and the Narratives of Barbarossa

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pp. 109-122

Virtually unknown today, Edwin Erich Dwinger (1898–1981) emerged as one of the most popular German authors in Nazi Germany thanks to his firsthand accounts of his encounter with Russia in the years 1915–1920. He almost single-handedly produced the knowledge that Germans had of the Soviet Union on the eve of Germany’s 1941 invasion—otherwise German...

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7. “The Diaries of Fritzes and the Letters of Gretchens”: Personal Writings from the German-Soviet War and their readers

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pp. 123-153

On 12 June 1941, ten days before the German invasion of the Soviet Union, Vitalii Stekol´shchikov, a 19-year-old graduate of the Riazan´ artillery school, was deployed from Riazan´ to western Ukraine. In letters to his girlfriend Anna (“Ania,” “An´ka,” “Annushka”) Panfi lova, he reported on his trip, which took him through the capital (“Hello, my snub-nose! Ardent...

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8. Ehrenburg and Grossman: Two Cosmopolitan Jewish Writers Reflect on Nazi Germany at War

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pp. 154-175

After the German invasion in 1941, World War II became a major, if not the major, topic of Soviet literature. Among the countless fictional works on the war, however, those by Ilya Ehrenburg (Il´ia Erenburg) and Vasilii Grossman emerge as distinctive in one particular respect, their cosmopolitan perspective. I say cosmopolitan in the sense that although both...

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9. The Intelligentsia Meets the Enemy: Educated Soviet Officers in Defeated Germany, 1945

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pp. 176-227

Major Lev Kopelev entered East Prussia on a Ford truck. Th ere were no markers, so he had to distinguish the border himself: “It had already been agreed earlier: as soon as we crossed the border, we would mark it in an appropriate fashion. Having stopped precisely on the line according to the map, I commanded, ‘Here is Germany, get out and relieve yourselves!’...

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10. Mortal Embrace: Germans and (Soviet) Russians in the First Half of the Twentieth Century

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pp. 228-240

This book spotlights episodes from the primarily confrontational relationship between Germany and (Soviet) Russia in the first half of the twentieth century. Th e multifaceted historiography to which it has given rise has significance beyond the specific context of the relationship itself, because the two countries’ history and their ties with each other are paradigmatic...


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pp. 241-306


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pp. 307-312

Back Cover

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pp. bc-bc

E-ISBN-13: 9780822978107
E-ISBN-10: 0822978105
Print-ISBN-13: 9780822962076
Print-ISBN-10: 0822962071

Page Count: 392
Illustrations: 8 b&w photos
Publication Year: 2012

OCLC Number: 821726195
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Fascination and Enmity

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Subject Headings

  • Russia -- Relations -- Germany.
  • Germany -- Relations -- Russia.
  • Soviet Union -- Relations -- Germany.
  • Germany -- Relations -- Soviet Union.
  • Russia -- Foreign relations -- 1894-1917.
  • Soviet Union -- Foreign relations -- 1917-1945.
  • Germany -- Foreign relations -- 20th century.
  • Russia -- Foreign public opinion, German.
  • Soviet Union -- Foreign public opinion, German.
  • Germany -- Foreign public opinion, Russian.
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