If Brexit was a shock for transatlantic relations, the election victory of
Donald Trump was a tsunami, arguably jeopardizing nearly seventy years of
transatlantic commitments, political assumptions and security cooperation.
This chapter examines the psychological profile of Trump that apparently
lies behind virtually every policy utterance, speech or, yes, tweet on the
subject. It surveys the contemporary record of Trump after providing a brief
comparative historical note on the US participation in the North Atlantic
Treaty Organization (NATO). Trump's position of NATO before his
election came from his largely profit-oriented, transactional point of view
that underlies the "America First" appeal to his base of support.
The chapter discusses Trump's policies on NATO after he assumed office
and the turmoil felt by NATO at its May 2017 Brussels meeting and the
subsequent G7 meeting. It also addresses the issue of whether the US is
abdicating leadership of the West.
As a member of NATO since 1952, Turkey should value Western ideals and,
indeed, millions of its citizens do. However, the April 2017 Constitutional
referendum has given President Recep Tayyip Erdogan more power to the
presidency; the referendum is seen by many as the first step toward the
creation of a Putin-style regime under Erdogan's control. This chapter
examines whether and how the West can encourage Turkey to hold to Western
values while continuing to serve significant alliance interests in the
region. It looks at Turkey's shifting external alignments, as seen by
the nations pursuit of closer working relationships with Russia and Islamic
nations, including Iran. The chapter discusses the domestic tensions between
Turkey's political parties, and focuses on 2016 purges as the tipping
point of the country's drift away from the West. Four-plus months after
the purges began, the European Union parliament formally adjourned its
membership discussions with Turkey.
This chapter explores the various approaches which emerged after the polemic between revisionism and totalitarianism had run out of steam. It explores the emergence of a group of self-described ‘post-revisionists’, but also the challenges and alternatives to their views which flourished since the opening of the archives after the breakdown of the Soviet Union.
Debates on Stalinism gives an up-to-date, concise overview of major debates in the history of Stalinism. It introduces readers to changing approaches since the 1950s, and more broadly to scholarly views on this society reaching back to the 1930s. It argues that writing the history of Stalinism is not only about the Soviet past. It is also centrally shaped by current anxieties and concerns of the scholars studying it. In short, there is a politics of writing the history of Stalinism. Combining biographical investigation of leading historians with thematic and chronological analysis of major topics of study, Debates on Stalinism uncovers the history of these politics. The book provides a snapshot of the state of the field and suggests possible future avenues of further research.
This chapter introduces the book. It gives a brief overview of Soviet history during the Stalin years (1928–53) and sketches the major debate surrounding it. It provides definitions of key terms, such as ‘Stalinism’ and ‘historiography’, and outlines the book and its arguments.
Vladimir Putin shows a remarkable interest in history in general and the Second World War in particular. This chapter explores this historian-president’s attempts to codify the memory of this war in an open attempt to transmit a useful past to the younger generation. It argues that top-down models of historical memory are of little explanatory value in the Russian situation. The president rides a wave of historical revisionism that he shapes at the same time. Putin’s government successfully uses it to mobilize Russian society against critical minorities within, and perceived enemies without. The far-reaching consequences of this politicization of the history of the Second World War are sketched in the final section of the chapter.
The historical discussion about the Soviet famine of 1932–33 has become one of the most hard-fought historiographical debates in the twenty-first century. In Ukraine, the interpretation of the famine as a deliberate genocide directed against the Ukrainian nation has become a touchstone of national consciousness. In Russia, the same interpretation is denounced as Russophobic. Outside the former Soviet Union, old positions from Cold War days still inform much of the discussion. This chapter traces the transnational history of the debate about the famine, from its inception at the time, through war and Cold War, into today’s post-Soviet situation.
This chapter recounts the life, times and works of Moshe Lewin, a major historian of Stalinism. It shows how his life as a political activist and wartime refugee to the Soviet Union structured his later scholarship. The chapter also explores Lewin’s influence on a younger cohort of scholars, his efforts at field and institution-building, and the legacy of his work on Stalinism.
This chapter recounts the life, times, works and influence of Richard Pipes, a major historian of the Soviet experience. It shows how his life as a refugee from Nazi-occupied Europe, and his trauma at surviving the Holocaust, structured his later scholarship as a historian of Russia. It examines the development of his oeuvre, his life as a scholar, policy adviser and pundit, and his influence on the field of studying nation and empire under Stalin and under the Soviet regime more generally.
This chapter explores writings on Stalin’s life, time and personality. It shows how biographies of the dictator often served as vehicles for social and cultural, political and economic histories of Stalinism. It traces the development of a canon of works on Stalin, mutual influences between scholars and their works, and processes of learning and forgetting between the 1930s and the 2010s.