2In , historian Christopher Clark published a monumental work on the origins of World War I in Europe. The catchy title The Sleepwalkers – How Europe. Okt. Geschichte Christopher Clark Die Europäer zogen nicht nach einem festen Plan, sondern wie Schlafwandler oder Spieler in den Ersten. Sir Christopher Munro Clark, FBA (born 14 March ) is an Australian historian working in . Europas: Christopher Clark hat eine Studie über den Ausbruch des Ersten Weltkriegs verfasst: “Die Schlafwandler” ist das Buch des Jahres.
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Christopher Clark, The Sleepwalkers. The remembrance of three significant dates in modern history brings memories to the foreground of at whose expenses and through which abhorrent lessons the world we live in today came into being.
All these dates mark cornerstones in public memory of contemporary Europe, and strongly affected the global power structure. The foundations were laid to the seemingly peaceful and prosperous world we know today.
Clark explicitly refuses to arrange the profusion of sources in a way which supports any teleological narrative. The book reassembles a more nuanced picture of how one decision affected the other. Introducing his study with this statement might already raise awareness within the attentive reader that this rather short time period between the event and the outbreak could just be an excerpt, a detail from an utterly more complex narrative lingering in the background.
In the following, Clark describes what the historian encounters while trying to take up the manifold argumentative threads that so many before him have produced and weave them into a cloth that lacks apologetic moments or accusatory undertakings.
Entire volumes of official records had been produced by officials, politicians and key decision makers even before the war was ended and the treaty of Versailles signed.
It is these key representatives, their roles and their position within the ephemeral, but rather obscure power structure in their respective countries that Clark carefully revisits. The structure already reflects the trajectory that the developing argument will undertake in the following. Fhristopher author illuminates how symbolic events such as the assassination of the Archduke and his wife were turned into stories, which took up a life of their own and were exploited as narratives on which an ideology was built.
In fact, the seed was planted long before the assassination in Sarajevo.
Christopher Clark: „Besessen von der deutschen Kriegsschuld“
Clark depicts the inherent political instability within the Balkan sphere which had been a reason for international confrontations for decades. Furthermore, he sheds a light on the political tensions which arose within the surrounding states. The latter was informed by the fear of Serbian identity being grinded down within the multinational commonwealth of Austria-Hungary.
The narrative skillfully establishes a pattern of ententes and alliances, and shows how they shifted throughout the development of the christpoher.
Nevertheless, Christopher Clark is a master of his sources, balances and counterbalances them marvelously, concerned with representing scenes and episodes in an almost artistic manner.
The narrative is constructed not to topple over a language that keeps schlafwwndler reader at a scientific distance. However, Clark touches upon the role of the historian only in passing.
«» – Die Schlafwandler
He acknowledges that access to First World War narratives and the conclusions that we contemporaries draw are a matter of viewpoint, social and scholarly contexts, and experiences we re make. A discussion of his role, that of the historian, as an architect of schlafawndler in the shlafwandler seems utterly absent. That is in itself a very postmodern endeavor, though something which Clark is unaware of or does not consider it important enough to elaborate on.
The question of guilt is closely connected to German self-awareness and identity construction. Certain aspects of national identity were constructed as a reaction to this question.
Interview mit Christopher Clark – “Dieser Krieg hat das ganze Jahrhundert entstellt” (Archiv)
A commentary from the author on the disruptive, yet constructive potential of his work, remains absent. Behind the outrage of Sarajevo was an avowedly terrorist organization with chriatopher cult of sacrifice, death and revenge; but this organization was extra-territorial, without a clear geographical or political location, it was scattered in cells across political borders, it was unaccountable, its links to any sovereign government were oblique, hidden and certainly very difficult to discern from outside cshlafwandler organization.
It heralded the end of the nation, for it carried the seed of supranational structures. As a consequence, the entire system became not only unpredictable, but also, paradoxically, posed a looming threat to itself.
It was characterized through mutual distrust and an ambiguity in behavior that could only lead to uncertainty at best. Europe is a result of many of the aspects that Clark reiterates; it is a supranational structure which seeks to bridge national interests and provide an overarching peaceful narrative that was absent in the years preceding the outbreak of the war.
The Russian government was in fear that an christophr treaty between the Ukraine and the EU might lead to a furthering of power imbalances for the benefit of the Western culture, and to a strengthening of perceived European hegemony. As a schlafwandller, Putin intervened and forcibly annexed the Crimea.
The EU is clearly struggling to establish a common attitude towards this situation. Whilst one may share or deny some of the issues that people may have with the European union, one aspect remains striking: The threat to stop sacrificing national superiority and independence on the altar of the European community became a mighty currency when the European financial system found itself standing at the abyss.
In the European crisis we encounter today, many of those counterforces are identifiable, chrisfopher the inter-relationships between the European players are again oscillating between interdependency and competing national interests.
Although the public opinion seems to remain against European intervention in the Ukrainian crisis, and a war today is framed as being beyond improbable, the conclusions that Christopher Clark has reached alarmingly remind us of the reasons why Europe is existing in the first place, and has all the right to continue doing so.
Nonetheless, one might still want to pose these question to Christopher Clark: What are the implications of his work for the postmodern tendency to revisit the national concept? What is the role of the historian in constructing and contesting master narratives and collective identities?
What meaning do his findings hold for those structures which were a direct result of the World Wars? Au nom des victimes. Main Haut de page.