Monday, January 12, 2015

What is Holger Nehring reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Holger Nehring, author of Politics of Security: British and West German Protest Movements and the Early Cold War, 1945-1970.

His entry begins:
I am still new to Scotland, and understand very little of its past, although the area around Stirling in central Scotland is steeped in history. British history in the UK, especially in the period I work on, is essentially taught as English history. So, I thought I’d start early on and work my way through and picked up the new magisterial biography of Robert the Bruce by my colleague Michael Penman (Michael Penman, Robert the Bruce, King of Scots). Robert the Bruce (1274-1329) famously defeated the English at the battle of Bannockburn in 1314. This battle played quite a big role in the debates about Scottish independence in 2014 as one of the site where Scottish nationhood could be grasped. Michael Penman’s book tells us two things: Robert the Bruce’s victory at Bannockburn did not come out of nothing and cannot be explained on its own terms; and, Robert the Bruce’s victory and...[read on]
About Politics of Security, from the publisher:
How did European societies experience the Cold War? Politics of Security focuses on a number of peace movements in Britain and West Germany from the end of Second World War in 1945 to the early 1970s to answer this question. Britons and West Germans had been fierce enemies in the Second World War. After 1945, however, many activists in both countries imagined themselves to be part of a common movement against nuclear armaments.

Combining comparative and transnational histories, Politics of Security stresses how these movements were deeply embedded in their own societies, but also transcended them. In particular, it highlights the centrality of the memories of the Second World War as a prism through which people made sense of the threat of nuclear war. By placing British and West German experiences side by side, Holger Nehring illuminates the general patterns and specific features of these debates, arguing that the key characteristic of these discussions was the countries' concerns with different notions of security. The volume highlights how these ideas changed over time, how they reflected more general political, social, and cultural trends, and how they challenged mainstream assumptions of politics and government.

This volume is the first to capture in a transnational fashion what activists did on marches against nuclear warfare, and what it meant to them and to others. It highlights the ways in which people became activists, and how they were transformed by these experiences. Nehring examines how these two societies with very different experiences and memories of the cruelties and atrocities of the Second World War drew on very similar arguments when they came to understand the Cold War through the prism of the previous world war.
Learn more about Politics of Security at the Oxford University Press website.

Holger Nehring is Professor of Contemporary European History at the University of Stirling in Scotland.

The Page 99 Test: Politics of Security.

Writers Read: Holger Nehring.

--Marshal Zeringue