Category Archives: European History

Russia 2017: The Centenary of a Global Revolution

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Oleksa Drachewych On November 7, 2017, the centenary of the Bolshevik Revolution passed. One hundred years ago, in Russia, the Bolsheviks, led by Vladimir Lenin, formed the world’s first communist regime.[1] Bolshevik Russia survived a bitter and violent civil war, including invasion by Entente forces seeking to replace a government that was antagonistic to them. By the end of the… Read more »

An illegal referendum?

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Ben Bryce On October 1, the Government of Catalonia held a referendum over the question: “Do you want Catalonia to be an independent state and in the form of a republic?” English Canadian coverage of the referendum has been thin compared to what you find in Quebec. The majority of English Canadians might not like referendums and they may not… Read more »

A Breakdown of Democracy in Catalonia

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Aitana Guia It’s 2019. California just voted to secede from the Union in a referendum.  Only 42 percent of the electorate voted, but since 90 percent of them voted in favor of independence, the California Governor has unilaterally declared independence. The other 49 state legislatures have not been consulted. The US House of Representatives and Senate have not been asked… Read more »

(Research) notes from three small islands

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Alban Bargain-Villéger Geography is nothing other than history in space, and history is geography over time.                   Élisée Reclus, L’Homme et la terre (1905)[1] The other day it occurred to me that, in my two and a half years as contributor for Active History, I haven’t once written about my research. The reason for this probably is that the world and… Read more »

History: Contemporary Poland’s Battlefield

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By Marie-Dominique Asselin Translated from HistoireEngagée.ca by Thomas Peace Last April, when speaking about the war in Syria, White House Communications Director Sean Spicer made a poorly framed comparison between the Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad and Adolf Hitler. For Spicer, Assad’s use of chemical weapons was far worse than that conducted by the German leader because – according to the White… Read more »

French Elections 2017: Looking Past the Hype

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Alban Bargain-Villéger On April 23 and May 7, 2017, French voters will be electing the eighth president of the Fifth Republic. In the last three months, much ink has been spilled over how decisive this year’s election will be. However, while this campaign has indeed been marked by several violent confrontations and scandalous revelations, its dynamics and the themes it… Read more »

Donald Trump, Brexit, and the Gentrification of Progressive Politics

By Steven High Note: This op-ed piece was published in French in Le Devoir on March 16, 2017. FIRST BREXIT AND NOW THE ELECTION OF DONALD TRUMP as President of the United States have shocked many of us. Outrage and anguish seem to be the dominant reaction in my social media feeds. It is as though the world that we… Read more »

Fifty Years of French Protest Songs

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Alban Bargain-Villéger It all happened sometime in late March 2003, during the first days of the invasion of Iraq. My then-roommate and I were watching CNN’s coverage of the Battle of Nasiriyah in our Vancouver living-room, when my friend suddenly decided to break the silence that had been reigning for about fifteen minutes. “I’m telling you, dude, there’s going to… Read more »

Canadian Historical Association: Open Letter to the Polish Prime Minister

Yesterday, Joan Sangster, the President of the Canadian Historical Association sent the following letter to Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo regarding recent legislation criminalizing historical interpretation. For broader context of this issue see Jim Clifford’s post The Polish Government, the Holocaust and Jan Grabowski and Thomas Peace’s Fake News, Global History Wars, and the Importance of Historical Thinking. Ottawa, December… Read more »

After the Wall: Nostalgia and Cynicism during the German “Honeymoon,” 1989-1992

Alban Bargain-Villéger Twenty-seven years ago, on November 9, 1989, the Berlin Wall collapsed. Twenty-seven is an odd number, so why write a post on this particular topic now, on the occasion of a not-so-symbolic anniversary? One reason is that I had always wanted to write something on the couple of years that followed the Fall of the Wall. But mainly,… Read more »