Timothy Garton Ash is Professor of European Studies and Isaiah Berlin Professorial Fellow at St. Antony’s College, Oxford, and a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford. A new edition of his book The Magic Lantern: The Revolution of ’89 Witnessed in Warsaw, Budapest, Berlin, and Prague will be published this fall. (October 2019)
On the tenth anniversary of 1989, at the brink of the millennium, we could celebrate both the original triumph of the velvet revolutions and great subsequent progress. By the twentieth anniversary, in 2009, the countries of Central Europe had become members of both NATO and the EU, while political scientists described Hungary as a “consolidated democracy.” On this thirtieth anniversary, by contrast, the question that forces itself onto dismayed lips is “What went wrong?”
Arriving in Warsaw, I am told that Jesus Christ was recently enthroned as king of Poland. On state television, the country’s de facto leader, Jarosław Kaczyński, declares: “Vox populi, vox dei!” Polish populism in a Latin nutshell. The voice of the people is the voice of God, and he, the …
Angst für Deutschland: Die Wahrheit über die AfD: wo sie herkommt, wer sie führt, wohin sie steuert [Angst for Germany: The Truth about the AfD: Where It Comes from, Who Leads It, Where It Is Headed]
by Melanie Amann
Finis Germania [The End of Germany]
by Rolf Peter Sieferle
In a poll shown on German television on election night, 95 percent of Alternative für Deutschland voters said they were very worried that “we are experiencing a loss of German culture and language,” 94 percent that “our life in Germany will change too much,” and 92 percent that “the influence of Islam in Germany will become too strong.” Feeding this politics of cultural despair is a milieu of writers, media, and books whose arguments and vocabulary connect back to themes of an earlier German right-wing culture in the first half of the twentieth century. This is a new German right with distinct echoes of the old.
From its first issue in 1963, Robert Silvers was either co-editor with Barbara Epstein or, after her death in 2006, editor of The New York Review. Bob worked almost to the very end of his life, which would be no surprise to those who knew him well, including those who have written these brief memoirs.
by Philipp Ther, translated from the German by Charlotte Hughes-Kreutzmüller
The Euro: How a Common Currency Threatens the Future of Europe
by Joseph E. Stiglitz
If the post-wall era runs from 1989 to 2009, what epoch are we in now? We almost certainly won’t know for a decade or three. On a bad Europe day, and there were too many of those in 2016, one does feel like going into cryogenic hibernation; but this is no time for freezing. No, we who believe in liberty and liberalism must fight back against the advancing armies of Trumpismo.
Working out how to defeat the assassin’s veto is one of the great challenges of our time. Among the many questions that arise is whether or not to republish images at which fanatics have chosen to take such violent offense that they murder those who made them.
I have only once met a censor on active duty. In the spring of 1989, my friends at the newly founded Polish opposition newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza let me take a cartoon up to the in-house censor at the printing house of the main Communist Party daily, on whose weary old …
The poet Paul Celan said of his native Czernowitz that it was a place where people and books used to live. Tony Judt was a man for whom books lived, as well as people. His mind, like his apartment on Washington Square, was full of books—and they walked with him, arguing, to the very end.
Critical though he was of French intellectuals, he shared with them a conviction that ideas matter. Being English, he thought facts matter too. As a historian, one of his most distinctive achievements was to integrate the intellectual and political history of twentieth-century Europe—revealing the multiple, sometimes unintended interactions over time of ideas and realities, thoughts and deeds, books and people.