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Fall 2014 HighlightA Cemetery

The 2014 Gerald D. and Norma Feldman Lecture:

Imperial Germany's Peculiar War, 1914-1918

by ROGER CHICKERING (History Dept., Georgetown Univ.)

In August 2014, the world marked the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War. In commemoration of this watershed moment in world history, the Institute of European Studies presents a lecture by the distinguished historian and World War I expert Roger Chickering. Professor Chickering will discuss modern Germany's Œpeculiar path (Sonderweg) into the era of the First World War, posing the question whether Germany's experience of this war was different in basic respects from France's or Britain's. He will pay particular attention to the military impact and longer-term developmental consequences of any such differences.

Thursday, November 13
5-7PM Heyns Room, UC Berkeley Faculty Club
followed by a reception


Oct. 6 2014: Lecture by Hans-Gert Pöttering, Former EU Parliament President

On Monday, October 6, former President of the European Parliament Dr. Hans-Gert Pöttering visited IES to deliver a talk entitled "Europe: Player or Loser?" Dr. Pöttering, the longest-serving member of the European Parliament, has represented the Christian Democrats continuously since the first European elections in 1979. His talk was arranged in cooperation with the Konrad Adenauer Foundation of which Dr. Pöttering has been chairman since 2010. The talk was part of a broader visit to the United States on behalf of that foundation, which promotes civic participation and good trans-Atlantic relations.

Dr. Pöttering spoke frankly and sincerely about his opinions on the current issues which the European Union faces. He emphasized this trait has always been his personal philosophy: "If one speaks respectfully, then one may be completely honest on all things." He affirmed of his commitment to maintaining a European union that is "not just a geographic union," but importantly "a union of values", with a commitment to the rule of law, the respect of the freedoms and rights of the people, and most importantly the fundamental dignity of the individual. He strongly condemned the sentiment that came about during the recent financial crisis in Greece, when some argued for the ejection of the state from the European Union. "One must think of the union like a family," Dr. Pöttering advised, "and if this guides your thinking, this would never occur to you. Would someone kick out a member of their family because of financial difficulties?" Instead, he emphasized his commitment to growing the European Union responsibly. He hailed the EU ascension of the Baltic States, calling it an important step to preserving their integrity in the face of Russian activity in the region, and noting that while some felt that the admission of Romania and Bulgaria was made in haste, today it has proved a strong bulwark against Russian interference in those countries. Nevertheless, while emphasizing that Turkey is and should be a valued partner of the European union, culturally, financially, and geographically its admission would be too problematic. Dr. Pöttering also impressed the need for Europe to expand its defensive capabilities, rather than leaving all their problems to the United States to solve: "Nato," he said, should be a "partnership of equals." He also asserted the need for strong condemnation of Russian activity in the Ukraine and Crimea, and that while dialogue must be maintained with Russia, President Putin must be shown with "absolute clarity" that his actions are "unacceptable" in the twenty-first century.

After his speech Dr. Pöttering fielded several difficult questions from the audience, on topics ranging from the rise of far-right parties in European politics to the danger posed by Islamic terrorists returning to Europe from the conflict in Syria. Each answer received a thorough response from Dr. Pöttering, whose thoughtful engagement with the assembled students and visitors was well-received. He re-emphasized his commitment to maintaining the union in the face of Euroskeptic parties in France and England, arguing that certain decision must be made at different levels of government: nevertheless, if one becomes too attached to their own locality, they can become nearsighted in their judgement. Likewise, he admitted, many decisions are better made at the local level where their implications can be better understood. He also reaffirmed that while radical Islamists pose a threat to Europe one must be careful not to fall into fall into anti-immigrant rhetoric. In a moment that captured the atmosphere of the dialogue and one's sense of the man, someone called Dr. Pöttinger "a very important person", but in return he said "we are all equal beings." He ended his session to enthusiastic applause and profound thanks of everyone in attendance, and the left a sincere impression that will not soon be forgotten.

Past Blog Events

Spring Newsletter Now Online
IES is pleased to announce and profile our newly appointed Director in our Spring Newsletter. Learn about our events and publications, bake some delicious cookies, and stay tuned for upcoming Europe-related cultural events in the Bay Area this summer / fall. Please click here to read more.

IES Annual Report Image 2013

IES Annual Report
Our Annual Report for three years of IES activity (2010-13) is now available via .pdf. If you'd like to learn more about IES' active support of Europe-related scholarship at the University of California, the report provides an overview of the essential role IES playsboth at Berkeley and throughout the entire UC university network. Students, grantees, visiting scholars, conferences, publications, and research initiatives are all highlighted therein. Enjoy!

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