Thursday, May 04, 2006

Stealing the Hyphen from Franco-German History

French and German scholars have produced a textbook for pupils that looks at the common history of both nations since World War II. Two nations, one history. Perhaps what is most surprising is not that they would try to synthesize the two histories, but that the scholars found the synthesis to be unforced and natural. They differed on the orientation of each nation vis a vis the US, certain terminology, and the structure of the textbook (French students read more documents). Major historiographic dispute failed to arise. The ease with which the textbook was written probably best reflects the evolving commitment to rapprochement and to European unity, and at a deeper level the transnational history reflects the habituation of transnationalism between the two nations.

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