publications and conference papers
Though I teach a wide range of history courses, my primary
in Modern Europe, especially Europe since the French
My research has focused on Central Europe in the 20th Century, and
especially interested in the interconnected problems of war,
peacemaking. Much of my writing and research on these
has dealt with issues of ethnic identity and ethnic conflict.
My most recent book is entitled The Western Front: Battleground and Home Front in the First World War (Palgrave Macmillan, UK, May 2003). In this book, I have tried to tell the story of the great conflict by focusing on connections betweeen the battle zones and the home fronts of the powers fighting in Belgium and France from 1914 to 1918. This comparative analysis of the Western Front powers uncovers an interplay between the fighting of the war and the social, cultural and political processes within and among the countries which were fighting. Though the war was fought in many places around the globe, a focus on the Western Front, it seems to me, allows us to understand the special nature of this great battlefield and the countries which sustained the battle, both physically and mentally. The result is a sweeping history of the cataclysm that encompasses the traumas of the home front as well as the colossal events of the battlefields.
Also appearing in May 2003 was a book which I edited, along with Steven Bela Vardy, Ethnic Cleansing in Twentieth-Century Europe (Social Science Monographs, Boulder, CO; distributed by Columbia University Press). This book is the result of the papers given at the conference of the same name at Duquesne University in November 2000. It represents an attempt by 47 scholars to work out the outlines of the history of this terrible part of twentieth-century history.
My book, National Identity and Weimar Germany (University of Nebraska Press, 1997), is a study of the problem of Upper Silesia in the wake of World War I. Upper Silesia, a region which was ethnically mixed (German and Pole), became a kind of test case for the "self-determination" which was in theory to charactarize the new Europe organized by the Paris Peace. The region was to decided its own fate, in some measure, by means of a plebiscite in which the inhabitants would vote for the region to belong either to Poland or to Germany. In the event, the complicated ethnic and social allegiances and connections of the area led to some surprising results on the ground. At the same time, faced with an unprecedented situation, the new republican government in Berlin was forced to decide how one could seek to persuade the public under a democracy. Diplomatically, the plebiscite presented the Germans with many problems, but it also provided Berlin with some room for maneuver in a treaty settlement which left precious little for the defeated Germans. In the event, in March 1921, the region voted to remain German by a small majority. In May 1921 a paramilitary war broke out when Polish forces attempted to divide Upper Silesia by fait accompli. The Allies ended up dividing the region between Germany and Poland. Clearly, by the end of the plebiscite campaign, and after a good deal of bloodshed, the fairly ambiguous ethnic dividing lines in the region had been sharpened and focused.
For a listing of articles I have written and presentations I have
made, please see my list of Publications
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