Zum Inhalt springenZur Suche springen

Postwar Periods


Informationen zur kommenden Auftakttagung / Information on the upcoming inaugural conference

Den Auftakt des Projekts bildet die internationale Fachtagung „Postwar Periods“, die vom 21.-23.2.2024 an der Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf (in Präsenz und online) stattfindet. Arbeitssprachen der Tagung sind Englisch und Spanisch. Wir laden Sie herzlich zur Online-Teilnahme ein. Die Zugangsdaten erhalten Sie bei Herrn Marek Dirks ().

The inaugural conference „Postwar Periods” will take place February 21st-23rd, 2024 at Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf and online. The languages are English and Spanish. You are welcome to join us online. Inscriptions via Mr. Marek Dirks ().

Programm der Tagung / Program of the conference

The project “Postwar Periods. Spain 1939 – Germany 1945” intends to explore a novel interdisciplinary and transnational approach to the Spanish and German postwar periods. Prof. Dr. Ursula Hennigfeld and Dr. Jenny Augustin (both HHU) are the academic coordinators, in collaboration with Prof. Dr. Inbal Ofer (Open University of Israel). By bringing together researchers from multiple disciplines from Germany, Spain and Israel, we especially aim to integrate non-European and Jewish perspectives in order to avoid a Eurocentric approach. We intend to investigate open questions regarding the dimensions of the postwar periods in Germany and Spain in order to prepare a future project, which includes other European countries as well (e.g. Poland, Italy, France).

Das von der DFG geförderte Projekt „Postwar Periods. Spain 1939 – Germany 1945: A Comparative Approach“ (Programm Aufbau internationaler Kooperationen) erprobt einen interdisziplinären und transnationalen Zugang zu Nachkriegszeiten in Spanien und Deutschland. Es wird von Prof. Dr. Ursula Hennigfeld und Dr. Jenny Augustin (Institut für Romanistik, HHU) in Kooperation mit Prof. Dr. Inbal Ofer (Open University of Israel) geleitet. Indem wir Wissenschaftler:innen diverser Disziplinen aus Deutschland, Israel und Spanien zusammenbringen, beabsichtigen wir vor allem, die nicht-europäischen und jüdischen Perspektiven zu integrieren, um eine eurozentrische Sichtweise zu vermeiden. Die Ergebnisse sollen in ein Folgeprojekt münden, das auch andere europäische Länder berücksichtigt (z.B. Polen, Italien, Frankreich).

Eine ausführliche Projektbeschreibung auf Englisch finden Sie hier:

We intend to explore a novel interdisciplinary and transnational approach to the Spanish and German postwar periods, sounding out the questions that cannot be answered by one discipline alone. By bringing together researchers from multiple disciplines from Germany, Spain and Israel, we especially aim to integrate non-European and Jewish perspectives in order to avoid a Eurocentric approach. We intend to investigate open questions regarding the dimensions of the postwar period in Germany and Spain in order to prepare a future project, which includes other European countries as well (e.g. Poland, Italy, France).

The postwar periods of the Spanish Civil War and the Second World War in Germany had distinct starting points: the triumph of a Francoist regime in Spain in 1939 and the defeat of the principal European fascist regime in Germany in 1945. The lines between the Spanish Civil War, the Second World War and the respective postwar periods become blurred as one looks at these periods from the perspective of the privations suffered by the German and the Spanish population – as does, for example, the historian Miguel Ángel del Arco Blanco (2020) for Spain. One of the resulting open questions of the interdisciplinary conference ¿Ha terminado la Guerra Civil? España 1939-1953 and its following dossier (Hennigfeld et al. 2020) was to define the temporal extension of the period denominated ‘postwar’. A comparative analysis of the Spanish and German postwar periods and the economic and social consequences now allows us to abandon the strict national perspective and understand the European dimension of these two postwar periods.

While the effects of the early phase of the Cold War on German society are broadly discussed (Pike 1993, Davidson 1999), its reverberations within Spanish culture and society are yet to be analyzed from a transnational perspective. Within Cultural Studies, the comparative volume Deutsche und Spanier – ein Kulturvergleich (Mecke et al. 2012) includes two essays that focus on the German and Spanish postwar societies (by Collado Seidel and Gimber). Apart from these essays, detailed comparative research on the postwar periods of the Spanish Civil War and the Second World War, in Spain and in Germany, is yet to be conducted. Other recent transnational approaches to the postwar period in Europe tend to omit Spain (e.g. Ota Konrád et al. 2022).  ̶  We aim to bring together researchers in order to (a) define the temporal dimensions of the postwar periods in Germany and Spain; (b) sound out the European dimensions of the German and Spanish postwar periods; and (c) analyze the reverberations of the early phase of the Cold War within Spanish society.

In societies turned upside down by the upheavals of total war, the postwar period and its corresponding concerns had a clear gendered dimension. Indeed, just as the very experiences of war undermined existing gender power-relations, so did the experiences of political, social and material reconstruction. Some studies reflect on gender and the cultural significance of women in postwar Germany (e.g. Paulus 2012) or postwar Spain (e.g. Conde Peñalosa 2004), but a comparative analysis has not yet been published.

We intend to bring together researchers who (a) historicize the individual and collective experiences and roles of women in postwar societies, exploring continuities and discontinuities with the war period; (b) analyze the ideological and cultural production by/for and on women; (c) examine the negotiation of gendered imageries of society and of the nation, gender roles and power-relations during the postwar period in both Germany and Spain.

One of the main challenges of both Germany and Spain in the post-World War II era was their reintegration into the community of nations. In order to mark its break from the Third Reich, the Federal Republic of Germany needed to promote reconciliation with the Jewish people in its policies and diplomatic relations. Spain, in order to now mark its differences from the defeated Axis powers, offered an exaggerated image of the country as the one who had helped most to save Jewish life during the Second World War. Thus, Spain gradually allowed Jewish life to re-emerge and community institutions to be built. Franco Spain also tried to form diplomatic ties with the state of Israel, but once its efforts failed in the late 1940s, it opted for a pro-Arab foreign policy, while cultivating ties with the Jewish people.

While the discipline of Judaic Studies has brought about various publications that analyze the life of Jews in postwar Germany (Zielinski 2002), there is a rather scarce bibliography on Jews in Francoist Spain.  ̶  We attempt to bring together researchers in order to (a) explore the image of Jews and Judaism in the early postwar period in Europe, focusing on Germany and Spain; (b) trace individual and collective experiences of Jews in these countries until the 1970s; and (c) examine these countries’ negotiations with the young Jewish state.

Strong relations between Spain and Germany continue to exist in postwar times and beyond. Some of the German Nazi officials protected by the Franco regime in 1945 kept their businesses running or founded new ones and served as intermediates with companies from the Federal Republic of Germany. In 1960, Germany and Spain signed an official labor recruitment agreement (‘Anwerbeabkommen’), which served as a source of cheap laborers for Germany and resulted in many Spaniards migrating to Germany. The bilateral diplomatic relations between postwar Spain and Germany have been analyzed within the disciplines of History and Cultural Studies (Collado Seidel 1991, Bernecker 2007, Aschmann 2014). Nevertheless, the continuities of the economic relations between Spain and Germany from the preceding Fascist period have not been studied extensively. Moreover, the continuing ties within the weapons industry and military pose a crucial desideratum, as Schüler-Springorum 2010 and Hennigfeld 2020 have demanded.  ̶  We intend to bring together scholars who (a) sound out the aspects of German-Spanish commercial and military relations that have not yet been studied; (b) take into consideration the continuities of economic and commercial relations from the preceding Fascist period between Spain and Germany.

The cultural and societal changes were reflected within the literary production, that echoed the complex social situation. In Spain, under the reign of a fascist regime that controlled and censored every form of cultural expression, the values of the winners dominated the cultural sector. Within Literary Studies, there are numerous publications on German postwar literature (Peitsch 2009, Butzer 2012). Studying the transnational memory of postwar Europe in arts and literature is an urgent subject for current Literary Studies (Augustin 2020). Nevertheless, until this day, a comparison between German and Spanish postwar literatures proves to be a great desideratum. Transnational studies tend to focus on other European countries (Holt 2020).  ̶  We aim to bring together researchers, who (a) study German and Spanish postwar literature and/or the arts from a transnational perspective; (b) focus on lesser-known authors and their literary production, which is not part of the so-called canon.

The scholarly impact of the German, Spanish or Israeli publications is often limited to the national realm, and the disciplinary discussions tend to stay focused on the respective field. Thus, the novelty of our joint collaboration lies in bringing together the various disciplinary and national perspectives in order to explore an interdisciplinary and international approach to the postwar periods. We intend to explore this new perspective and sound out open questions that can only be answered by a multi-disciplinary approach.

Verantwortlichkeit: