Call for paper: To build the alliance The implementation of France’s commitment in Central and Eastern Europe in the interwar period, 1917-1939

Organisation:
– Matthieu Boisdron, Doctorant Sorbonne Université Sirice / Chargé d’enseignement Université de Nantes
– Gwendal Piégais, Doctorant Université de Bretagne occidentale, Brest

Deadline: 2 novembre 2018

Contact: construirelalliance@gmail.com

Dates: 9-12 octobre 2019

Place: CEREFREA / Villa Noël – Bucarest, Roumanie

While the fate of war remains uncertain on the battlefields of the Great War, many French political and military decision-makers already have ambitious plans for post-war France, particularly in the East. Whether in the framework of the Franco-Russian alliance, its support for the Serbian kingdom or the attentive ear to  independence demands within the Double-Monarchy, France intends to project its diplomatic, military and economic influence in Central and Eastern Europe, and reap the rewards in the event of victory. These ambitions are fulfilled first and foremost by political and military missions. One thinks of Albert Thomas’s mission with the Russian Provisional Government, then with the Berthelot mission in Romania, with the French military missions in Poland or with the young Czechoslovak army. The first bridges between France and the new states of central Europe are thus built very early.

Parallel to these reflections, as early as August 14th 1920, Czechoslovakia, the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes (SHS) and Romania promised each other armed assistance in case of aggression from Hungary. The two failed attempts to restore the former Emperor Charles in Budapest in March and October 1921 prompted the three countries to strengthen their ties. Several bilateral agreements are thus concluded: between Romania and Czechoslovakia on April 23rd 1921, between Romania and the SHS Kingdom on June 7th, 1921, finally between Czechoslovakia and the SHS Kingdom on August 31st, 1922. Nonetheless, this dynamic of mutual aid is relative, because the alliance is openly and exclusively against Hungarian and, to a lesser extent, Bulgarian revisionism. Therefore, the SHS Kingdom is not protected against Italian claims and Romania cannot count on any help against the Soviet Union, which still actively claims Bessarabia. Finally, the Little Entente is weakened by the absence of Warsaw, who maintains good relations with Budapest and a heavy dispute with Prague over the territory of Teschen (Cieszyn). These states are all beneficiaries of the status quo post bellum. However, due to their severe differences, these new regional powers had an interest in associating themselves with the major continental military power that was France in order to prevent the revisionist powers from questioning the regulation of the peace.

After the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, France can no longer count on the Russian ally of the first hours of the Great War. It is therefore seeking to establish an effective alliance in Eastern Europe in order to guarantee its security in the event of a German recovery. After some hesitation, especially concerning the policy to be followed with regard to Hungary in particular and the Danubian zone in general, it accompanies the movement initiated by the Little Entente and thus contributes to the development of diplomatic, economic, and strong military ties with the new powers that emerged in the wake of the peace treaties. Already linked to Poland since February 19, 1921, France joined forces with Czechoslovakia on January 25, 1924. By the Locarno Accords of October 16th 1925, Germany recognizes its western borders. On the other hand, with regard to its eastern borders, it only agrees to sign an arbitration treaty with Poland and Czechoslovakia. This situation prompts France to become more involved. A military alliance between Paris and Prague was signed on October 16th 1925, the very day of the signing of the Locarno Treaties. On June 10th, 1926 France initialed a similar protocol with Romania before doing the same with the SHS Kingdom on November 11th 1927.

Nevertheless, the alliances concluded between France, the States of Little Entente, and Poland are of very general scope and concretely inefficient. In this context marked by an undeniable reluctance to write tangible commitments in stone, how did the leaders of these countries seek to implement these diplomatic agreements? Though this theme has already been the subject of a vast literature during the past decades, the issue has been examined mainly in terms of bilateral relations between Western European countries and one or the other regional player, or in terms of the diplomatic dilemmas that powers like France or Great Britain could be facing. The political transition of the late 1980s and the prospect of enlargement of the European Union in the early 2000s strongly contributed to a renewal of these issues in the early 1990s. Since then, interest in this moment in European history has declined somewhat. The commemorations announced around the centenary of the end of the Great War offer the opportunity to reinvest this field of study, especially as a new generation of European researchers, multilingual has to explore and confront many kinds of national archives corpus and to analyse decision-making at the intermediate levels of the State hierarchy.

The aim of this conference is to shed light on joint initiatives between France and all the partner countries of Central Europe during the inter-war period, as it is their combination that forms a system of alliances. Proposals for papers should therefore focus on:

  • The crossed or transnational logics at work in the constitution of this system of alliances;
  • The military aspects of this system of alliances: armies’ joint maneuvers and the elaboration of common tactical schemes; officer training via military schools; personnel exchanges; interactions between staffs; doctrinal circulation and reception; circulation of military publications; the role of national languages and the French language as vectors of communication;
  • The political and diplomatic aspects of this alliance system: the development of joint strategic plans, the exchange of information and intelligence;
  • The industrial and financial aspects of this alliance system: the sale or loan of equipment, the terms of their financing, the formation of joint ventures or the acquisition of participations;
  • The technical aspects of this alliance system: the development of expertise in decision-making, the regulatory, normative and institutional reconfiguration of young states after the 1920s;
  • The role of actors and networks as animators of this system of alliance: diplomats, military, industrial and financial, experts and intellectuals, political parties …;
  • The “alliance culture” that countries of central Europe and France reciprocally seek to build in their public opinions;
  • The memories of the alliance maintained during the Cold War and as part of the construction of the European political project.

France’s collaboration with the member states of the Little Entente (Czechoslovakia, Romania, Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes) — and of these powers amongst themselves — will be emphasized, but communications on the ties with the other Allied Powers or partners from the region (Poland, the Baltic States and Finland, Greece, Turkey), and even with the revisionist powers (Soviet Russia, Hungary, Bulgaria) are welcome.

Proposals, one page long, are to be sent with a one-page academic CV in PDF format, before 2 November 2018, to construirelalliance@gmail.com. Languages of the contributions: French and English. All practical information is available on the conference website: https://construirelalliance.wordpress.com

Conference organization will cover transport costs up to a fixed limit to be determined; the remaining balance can be covered by the participant’s home laboratory or university.

Accommodation will be provided as well as part of the catering (lunches and dinner).

Download the call for paper: colloque_bucarest_oct-2019
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Call for paper: Immoral Money and War Profiteurs (1870-1945)

The conference on “Immoral Money and War Profiteurs (1860-1945)” is part of a series of scientific events focusing on the topic of political corruption, organised by a Franco-German research partnership (project POCK2, ANR-DFG) between Paris-Sorbonne University, the University of Avignon, Darmstadt University of Technology and Goethe University Frankfurt. The collaborative project is also supported by research groups from the Autonomous University of Barcelona, the New Europe College of Bucharest, the Free University of Amsterdam, and is part of the International Scientific Coordination Network « Politics and Corruption » (GDRI 842 CNRS).

The conference will explore the emergence of immoral money and war profiteurs in times of war or in the post-war period in Europe (1870-1945). The “economic cleansing” that occurred in France after the Second World War is an example of war profiteering that has been studied by the CNRS research team (GDR) 2539 “Companies under the Occupation”. By contrast, the Franco-Prussian War in 1870 and the Great War have not been given much attention. This conference aims to analyse the allegations of corruption levelled against companies that were thought to have turned high profits in wartime or immediately thereafter. A special but nonexclusive focus should be given to French and German cases. Examples found in other European countries, from the last third of the XIXth century to the first half of the XXth century, may also be addressed.

While it is superfluous to stress the importance of wars as historical highlights, we shall emphasize how decisive wars are in defining public norms systems. Indeed, the potential contradiction between individual benefits and collective interest is increased during such conflicts. In this context, great sacrifices are made on behalf of community and national safety as patriotism is required from all, while unique economic dynamics emerge: hasty decisions are made in times of great uncertainty; public spending increases substantially and huge funds are injected in the war system. High profits may thus be made at a low cost by individual stakeholders, particularly in such sectors as military supply and army logistics. Influence networks prove to play a crucial role in such circumstances. It is mainly when wars have been lost that the gains achieved by war profiteurs are seen as unacceptable. Profit margins considered as unreasonably high, as well as speculative profits, are on the radar and deemed all the more scandalous since they have been made against a backdrop of general shortage. The topic of “immoral money” invites us to assess the importance of post-war periods rather than just focus on the conflicts themselves.

 

Topics could include but are not limited to:

– public debates on immoral money and hidden practices/malpractices during the 1870-1871 War, the Great War or World War II and their aftermaths – not only in France. Other conflicts may also be examined. Proposals that deal with the issues of war debts and reparations, especially in terms of the polemics they led to, will be welcome.

– the institutions that have dealt with this question in judiciary, political and parliamentary terms: focus may be placed on the parliamentary inquiry committees that have been established at the time.

– efforts should be made to put a figure on the profits made by specific firms as well as by entire industry sectors, however delicate the task may be – especially in the case of France, given the lack of a standardized business accounting programme until 1941, which is when the national chart of accounts was created.

 

Please send proposals (1500 characters max.) in either English or French before 1st March 2018 to frederic.monier@univ-avignon.fr and olivierdard@orange.fr

The scientific board (composed of Olivier Dard, Jens Ivo Engels, Silvia Marton, Cesare Mattina, Frédéric Monier and Gemma Rubi) will examine and select the proposals.

Transport and accommodation will be provided to participants.

 

Upload file: CFP_Immoral_Money
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Call for paper: European stakeholders during the Revolutions of 1848

International colloquium 

Paris — May 2018

After the colloquium held for the 150-year anniversary of 1848 and its famous Revolutions, organized by the French « Société de 1848 » and which was a historiographic landmark, it seemed important, twenty years later, to shed a new light on this major event of the Nineteenth Century.

Firstly, we ought to answer to Maurice Agulhon’s repeated wish to know more about the stakeholders, insofar as the Dictionary of the French political leaders of 1848 written by the Nineteenth Century History Study Centre (« Centre d’histoire du XIXe siècle ») of Paris-Sorbonne and Paris-Panthéon Sorbonne universities, published with Agulhon’s support, is a new step in the thorough study of this period.

Secondly, we shall widen our field of study to encompass the whole of the 1848 Revolutions. The Nineteenth Century History Study Centre, the EHNE Excellence Laboratory (« LabEx ») whose main purpose is to write a new story of Europe, the « Société de 1948 et des révolutions du XIXe siècle », the Comity of Parliamentary and Political History (« Comité d’histoire parlementaire et politique ») and the Intercollegiate Cultural History Centre of Padua (« Centre interuniversitaire d’histoire culturelle de Padoue »), all fostered by the French « Conseil d’État », have worked together to organize this event, which will take place in Paris in May 2018. The main question will be the following: What  does it mean to be a stakeholder in the Revolutions of 1848? We will lean upon the notion of protagonist as defined by Haïm Burstin regarding the 1789 French Revolution, while paying close attention to the effects of stances in the geographic, linguistic and social fields.

To this end, an international open call for contributions is launched regarding the eight following themes. Whether the approach be specifically historical or rather multidisciplinary, whether or not it should use the prosopographic method, as a whole or partially, the statements will focus on one or several groups of stakeholders rather than on individuals. The circulation of stakeholders as well as the flow of ideas will be taken into account, just like the colonial dimension will be.

 

1) The new rulers and their entourage (ministers, cabinets, national leading elites…)

2) The parliamentarians (candidates, sociographic study of the elected representatives, including in a diachronic and / or synchronic comparative dimension, working in board, committee and session)

3) Stakeholders at the boundary of national and local matters (on the one hand, provincial, departmental, municipal elected representatives, stakeholders in peripheral, cut off areas; on the other hand, mediation of central authorities, prefects, government auditors and sub-auditors, magistrates, military men with territorial responsibilities, chancellors, teachers…)

4) International travellers: revolutionaries, utopists, outcasts (experiences abroad, circulation of models, transnational movements of brotherhood…)

5) Insurgents and forces of law and order: profiles, operational modes, representations

6) Social and gender stakeholders (bosses, labourers, women, members of clubs, members of charitable organizations…)

7) Spiritual and cultural mediators (national and local prides, priests of all ranks, members of the Freemasonry, writers, publicists, engineers, agronomists…)

8) 1848 stakeholders after 1848 (experience, public image…)

 

A conclusive round table will enable participants to draw up the most common profiles of European stakeholders in the Revolutions of 1848 and will strive to answer the main question of  the colloquium.

 

One-page long summarized proposals should be sent to the following email address crhxixe@univ-paris1.fr before September 15, 2017. Communicating languages will be French and English.

 

Scientific committee

Eric Anceau (Paris-Sorbonne), Sylvie Aprile (Paris-Nanterre), Fabrice Bensimon (Paris-Sorbonne), Francesco Bonini (Rome Lumsa), Jacques-Olivier Boudon (Paris-Sorbonne), Philippe Boutry (Paris-Panthéon-Sorbonne), Matthieu Bréjon de Lavergnée (Paris-Sorbonne), Jean-Claude Caron (Blaise-Pascal Clermont-Ferrand), Delphine Diaz (Reims Champagne-Ardenne), Emmanuel Fureix (Paris-Est Créteil), Jean Garrigues (Orléans), Maurizio Gribaudi (EHESS), Louis Hincker (Valenciennes), Arnaud Houte (Paris-Sorbonne), Raymond Huard (Paul-Valéry Montpellier III), Dominique Kalifa (Paris-Panthéon-Sorbonne), Axel Korner (UCL), Jacqueline Lalouette (Paris 13), Jean-Noël Luc (Paris-Sorbonne), Peter Mc Phee (Melbourne), John Merriman (Yale), Silvia Marton (Bucarest), Sylvain Milbach (Savoie Mont-Blanc), Natalie Petiteau (Avignon), Vincent Robert (Paris-Panthéon-Sorbonne), Carlotta Sorba (Padoue), Jonathan Sperber (Missouri)

 

Organizational committee 

Eric Anceau (Paris-Sorbonne), Matthieu Bréjon de Lavergnée (Paris-Sorbonne), Pierre-Marie Delpu (Paris-Panthéon-Sorbonne), Delphine Diaz (Reims Champagne-Ardenne), Sébastien Hallade (Paris-Sorbonne), Louis Hincker (Blaise Pascal Clermont-Ferrand), Arnaud Houte (Paris-Sorbonne), Vincent Robert (Paris-Panthéon-Sorbonne)

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