February 14, 2011 // 3:00pm — 4:30pm
Winston Churchill's 1946 "iron curtain" speech was the opening shot in the Cold War for Stalin, Khrushchev, and most other Soviet leaders. Churchill's summit diplomacy of the years 1953–55, however, called for German unification on the basis of neutrality and the peaceful end of the East-West conflict. How can this apparent contradiction be explained? What were Churchill's motives? Klaus Larres revisits these issues and argues that Churchill's policies were coherent and made contributions toward possible solutions in a creative way.
February 09, 2011 // 12:00pm — 2:00pm
Chief of staff at the Office of the Special Envoy for Eurasian Energy at the U.S. Department of State, Vincent J. O'brien, stated that "stakes for an energy secure future have never been higher than they are today." Cooperation is needed on securing new resources of natural gas, diversifying energy sources and creating a more integrated European energy market. Given that the U.S.–EU trade relationship is the largest in the world and that the economies are increasingly becoming interdependent, Europe's energy security is naturally in the best interest of the U.S. While the dynamics behind Europe's energy concerns are complex, pipeline politics seem to dominate discussions.
February 08, 2011 // 11:00am — 12:00pm
Erion Veliaj, a former civil society activist and coordinator of the Albanian opposition parties, discussed the demonstration held on January 21, 2011. The demonstration ended in violence, with four shot and killed by the Republican Guard. Prime Minister Sali Berisha characterized the event as an attempted coup d'état in an attempt to justify the violent response, and said that the demonstrators had been carrying weapons disguised as umbrellas. Veliaj argued at the meeting that these contentions were "ludicrous": according to Veliaj, this was just another in a number of peaceful demonstrations organized by the opposition to protest what they see were unfair elections in 2009. The Albanian government, Veliaj said, was trying to force the population to choose between stability and freedom.
February 07, 2011 // 3:00pm — 4:30pm
The possession of territory or bounded political space has been crucial for the modern state, but historians and political analysts have left its properties unexamined. How have the premises and practices of territoriality changed from the seventeenth century to our own era?
January 31, 2011 // 5:00pm — 8:00pm
Nuremberg: Its Lesson for Today depicts the most famous courtroom drama in modern times, which is also the first set of trials to make extensive use of film as evidence, and was the first trial to be extensively documented, aurally and visually. All of the proceedings, which lasted for nearly 11 months, were recorded. Though strict limits were placed on the Army Signal Corps cameramen by the Office of Criminal Counsel. In the end, they were permitted to film only about 25 hours over the entire course of the trial. This was to prove a great impediment for writer/director Stuart Schulberg, and his editor Joseph Zigman, when they were engaged to make the official film about the trial, in 1946, shortly after its conclusion.
January 31, 2011 // 3:00pm — 4:30pm
When a country emerges from conflict, citizens demand that perpetrators be held accountable for past violations of human rights; that the governmental system be reformed to prevent a future recurrence of past repressive practices; that the truth be told about what really happened, both in personal terms (such as learning the fate of a loved one) and in terms of how the society came to be what it was; and that reparation be made for the moral and material losses suffered during the period of oppression. Archives are essential to meet these demands.
Ensuring Compliance: Strategies for Popular Cooptation by the Party and State Security in Communist Europe and in Ba'thist Iraq
January 27, 2011 // 3:00pm — 4:30pm
With varying degrees of success, authoritarian regimes frequently co-opt their citizens to gather information on and undermine their domestic opposition. According to Martin Dimitrov, communist Bulgaria's ability to suppress dissent was diminished from the 1970s onward because the Western-led international human rights regime forced the government to replace harsher methods it had previously used with a system of rewards for volunteer informants and reprimands for dissidents. The ineffectiveness of these tactics contributed to the regime's eventual collapse. In contrast, Joseph Sassoon explained that Iraq's Ba'th Party—unable to rely upon a superpower for support and steeled by a series of wars—was able to remain in power for thirty-five years in part because it did not relax its efforts at co-optation and repression as the regime matured.
January 25, 2011 // 10:30am — 12:00pm
The economic crisis in Hungary has evolved into a political crisis, as Viktor Orban's FIDESZ government has passed a number of laws and initiatives that severely thwart democracy. Orban's populism has led his government to restrict press freedoms, undermine the balance of powers and silence opponents in the arts and academia by cutting institutional budgets, while claiming austerity. According to Attila Mesterházy, leader of the opposition Hungarian Socialist Party, the FIDESZ government's reforms do not serve the national interest and have harmed Hungary's reputation abroad during this crucial period when it holds the rotating EU presidency.
January 24, 2011 // 3:00pm — 4:30pm
This seminar will discuss the transnational history of how Europeans, Japanese, and other Asians came to promote saving by means of savings banks, postal savings, and war savings campaigns over the past two centuries. Historically, U.S. policies increasingly encouraged mass consumption and borrowing. After years of near-zero saving rates and growing household indebtedness, Americans are beginning to save again. What might we learn from other countries that boast much higher saving rates?
January 20, 2011 // 3:00pm — 4:30pm
Wilson Center senior scholar and former director of Radio Free Europe, A. Ross Johnson discussed his latest book which examines the first twenty years of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty.