1. Tony Judt argues that it is possible to identify a number of shared “thematic shapes” in postwar European history (page 7). Describe one of these thematic shapes and explain why it emerged.
One of the thematic themes that Tony identifies is the history of Europes reduction. Tony explains that the constituent states could no longer be recognized after 1945 to an imperial or international status due to the fall of radical ideologies like fascism and communism. This, in turn, created a new Europe, with the exception of Great Britain and Germany, but even then Judt admits that these states later succumbed to this status well. The new Europe had been liberated from the war in many ways because of the fall of communism and wars, which allowed the nation-state to gradually gain back its autonomy and reclaim its sovereignty.
2. How did the “political topography” of Europe change in the late 20th and early 21st centuries (p.785)? What were some outcomes of this change?
The political topography changed within the 21st century because of the cultural shift from the old-style political party to the public intellect. Throughout the years these old school political intellectuals representing a majority of communistic and fascist ideologies were becoming incrementally marginalized and the continental intellectual was starting to become more common. Once these philosophies became expunged from the continent, a new Europe started to emerge, particularly in western Europe where things like the death penalty and censorship had been almost eliminated. These events then lead to the liberties and freedoms never practiced before in Europe. Some of these events included the practice of homosexuality and abortion, two practices that once held heavy consequences, like the death penalty, in the old-style political world.
3. Judt points to the “limitations of a post-national prescription for a better European future” (p.797). How would you apply his observation to the personal statements and political posters in the documents from The World Transformed?
When Judt mentions the limitations of a post-national prescription for a better European future, he mentions a very specific instance in history that lead to an immigration and identity crisis that is also interconnected into his work, World Transformed, — the aftermath of 9/11. This particular event was so traumatic for many people not only nationally, but internationally as well, because it was classified as a terrorist attack. And because citizens uniformly sacrifice to some degree their freedoms as citizens in exchange for security from the government, this attack frightened everyone including the government. Thus, nation-states, like Europe, felt vulnerable and scared, because, as Judt mentions, “keeping citizens safe is what nations do”. These events led to an identity and immigration crisis that is then interconnected to the World Transformed article propaganda. Here we have prejudice posters and handouts claiming to help obliterate the Islamic religion (page 479 and 480). What I find most surprising, is that we find these prejudices in the new European state like France and Britain. Additionally, the economic trials that were facing Europe at this time added “fuel to the fire” expanding tensions and prejudices between foreign affairs, its citizens, and so forth.