Models of Political and Social Progress in Germany, France, and Italy between Dictatorship and the Cold War

A New ‘Generation’ of Democratic Politicians? Models of Political and Social Progress in Germany, France, and Italy between Dictatorship and the Cold War

18-19 avril 2012



Deutsches Historisches Institut Rom; in Zusammenarbeit mit dem Deutschen Historischen Insitut Paris

How did the experience of autocratic government inform the way in which politicians developed new policies in Germany, France, and Italy after the end of the Second World War? What conclusions did politicians draw from their past experiences with totalitarianism? Did a new “generation” of leaders with shared democratic ideas gain the leading positions of these countries? Did any kind of exchange, transfer, or international collaboration exist or did politicians act exclusively within their particular national context? Finally: Was the experience with totalitarian regimes kept alive in public memory and did people try to develop and implement progressive, forward-looking ideas of social organisation? Taking these central questions as a starting point one can raise specific issues about each respective country, which will reflect the contrast between the occupied and collaborating states of France and Italy on the one hand and Nazi Germany on the other. The workshop, covering the period between 1945 and 1960, aims to provide some initial answers to these questions from a comparative point of view. It also strives to analyse whether the year 1945 should be regarded as a break with the past or as the beginning of a phase of continuity in Germany, France, and Italy in terms of how they envisioned a democratic society.

Wednesday, 18 April, 14.00-19.00

14.00 – Michael Matheus (Rome): Welcome

14.10 – Jens Späth (Rome): Introduction

Section I: Identity and Education

Chair: Steffen Prauser (Paris)

14.30 – Sebastian Gehrig (Cambridge/Heidelberg): Coping with the ‘Provisional State’: The Road Towards a Legal and Political West German Cold War Home Front, 1945-1960

15.00 – Tania Rusca (Genoa): (Re-)Founding a Democratic Generation: Primary School Policy and Textbooks in Italy and Germany after the Second World War (1945-1960). A Comparative View.

16.00 – Discussion

16.20 – Coffee Break

Section II: Intellectuals and Élites

Chair: Lutz Klinkhammer (Rome)

16.40 Dominik Rigoll (Jena): The Forest for the Trees. What Historians Might Discover by Reading Jean Améry and Eugen Kogon

17.10 Mauve Carbonell (Luxembourg): The Influence of the Second World War on the Career Paths of the European Elite: the Case of the Members of the High Authority of the ECSC, 1952-1967

17.40 Discussion

18.00 – Public Keynote Lecture – Andreas Wirsching (Munich): Towards a New Political Culture? Totalitarian Experience and Democratic Reconstruction after 1945

19.00 – Reception


Thursday, 19 April, 9.00-13.00

Section III: Socialist Politics and Memory

Chair: Martin Baumeister (Munich)

9.00 – Jan de Graaf (Portsmouth): Using Prewar History to Defend Postwar Decisions. SFIO and PSI Arguments on the Local, National and Transnational Levels, 1943-1958

9.30 – Brian Shaev (Pittsburgh): Inheriting Horror: French Socialists, German Social Democrats, and the Fight for a Democratic, Peaceful Future, 1945-1960

10.00 – Jens Späth (Rome): Two “Difficult Outsiders”: Antifascism and Democracy in Lelio Basso and Wilhelm Hoegner
10.30 – Discussion

11.00 – Coffee Break

Section IV: The Economic and International Affairs

Chair: Jens Späth (Rome)

11.20 Christine Vodovar (Rome): French and Italian Socialists and the Economic and Social Renewal after

11.50 Enrico Pugliese (Reading): French and Italian Socialist Parties and the New Internationalism (1945-1957)

12.20 Discussion

12.40 Steffen Prauser (Paris): Comments and Conclusions

Contact : Jens Späth (


Venue : DHI Rom, Via Aurelia Antica, 391, I-00165 Rom

Emilia Robin

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The Fiat investments in the Soviet Union in 1960s and 70s

«Automobile multinationals, transfer of technology and East-West relations: The Fiat investments in the Soviet Union in 1960s and 70s»

28 mars 2012, 11h00-13h00



Lieu : Centre des recherches historiques-EHESS, Bâtiment Le France, 190-198 Avenue de France, 75013 Paris

Dans le cadre du séminaire «Histoire des entreprises automobiles en France et en Europe». Ce nouveau séminaire du GIS GERPISA (ENS-CACHAN) a comme ambition mettre à disposition de la communauté des chercheurs en sciences sociales et humaines de la région Ile-de-France les derniers travaux en cours sur l’histoire des entreprises automobiles. Le format est celui de la mise en commun des informations, sources et activités existantes dans ce domaine de la part des participants, ainsi qu’une discussion des travaux présentés tant par des membres du GERPISA, que par des grands témoins et acteurs des entreprises de l’automobile en France et en Europe.

Intervenante : Valentina Fava (University of Helsinki)

On 15th August 1966 in Moscow Vittorio Valletta, president of the Italian automobile company Fiat, and the representatives of the Soviet Government signed the agreement that led to the building of the VAZ -Volzhsky Avtomobilny Zavod, a gigantic automobile plant. The new factory, based in Tol’iatti, started its activities in September 1970 and was soon able to produce 660.000 Fiat 124 per year, ca 2.200 cars per day. The Fiat-Soviet agreement fostered the entrance of the Soviet Union in the “Automotive Century” and gave place to the first massive East-West transfer of technology and knowledge in the automobile sector of the Post World War II period. Starting from the “deal of the Century”, the paper intends to “review” the Fiat Group activities in the Soviet Union from the early 1960s to mid-1980s examining the changes in the function that the Soviet “market” had for the Italian company. In fact, the VAZ deal allowed Fiat to enter the Soviet “market” as a first comer and leading player but, paradoxically, the building of the Tol’iatti’s plant had less relevance than it might be expected- especially in terms of profits. In the two decades under examination, Fiat’s aims and strategies changed as well as the “products” to be exported towards the Socialist Great Power- in the 1970s Fiat- through Comau and UTS- was mainly providing machinery, tools and know-how only partially related to the automobile production. Furthermore, the conditions of the Soviet market changed significantly in the twenty years under analysis, and Fiat had to cope with the increasing competitive Japanese and American producers as well as the other European manufacturers.

In this framework the paper will try to answer to two different sets of questions: the first concerning the shifting reasons of Fiat’s interest in the Soviet Union: the 1960s action seemed to be actually “coordinated” with other Italian companies (ENI, Pirelli etc) and strongly backed by the Italian Government (and by parts of the American Administration) and embedded in a political project while in the 1970s the political “motive” and support had become less relevant and Fiat found increasingly difficult to make business in the USSR, especially with the outburst of the economic crisis. The second set of questions will concern the “channels” that Fiat used to enter in the Soviet “market” – and the “capabilities” that Fiat had to develop to deal with the Soviet context and environment; the paper will focuses especially on the role of Fiat’s agent, Novasider. In this perspective, the study of the Fiat “ice-breaker” function in the 1960s might contribute to shed some light on whether and how Western European corporations contributed to the breaking of the East-West trade limitations and to the end of the Cold War, working both as a economic actors as well as a political ones.

Contact : Tommaso Pardi (

Emilia Robin

Histoire de la guerre froide, humanités numériques, linux, médiation scientifique

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Washington et l’eurocommunisme en France et en Italie

Frédéric Heurtebize soutiendra sa thèse de doctorat (Université de Paris 3) sur le sujet suivant:

L’attitude de Washington face à l’eurocommunisme en France et en Italie, 1974-1981

le 25 novembre 2011 à 14h00, devant un jury composé des professeurs  André Kaspi (Paris 1), Marc Lazar (Sciences Po Paris), Pierre Mélandri  (Paris 3), Serge Ricard (Paris 3) et Isabelle Vagnoux (Aix-Marseille 1).

Lieu : Salle de réunion – Centre Bièvre, 4e étage – 1, rue Censier – 75005 Paris

La soutenance est publique.

Emilia Robin

Histoire de la guerre froide, humanités numériques, linux, médiation scientifique

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Modern Italy (16/2, 2011)

Dossier «18 April 1948: Italy between continuity and rupture», Modern Italy, vol. 16, no. 2, printemps 2011

Linda Risso, “18 April 1948: Italy between continuity and rupture”, p. 101-104.


  • Grazia De Michele, “‘A beautiful moment of bravery and hard work’: Italian colonialism in post-1945 history high school textbooks”, p.  105-120.
  • Michela Ponzani, “Trials of partisans in the Italian Republic: the consequences of the elections of 18 April 1948”, p. 121-138.
  • Guido Tintori, “An outsider’s vision: Gaetano Salvemini and the 1948 elections in Italy, Pages 139-157.
  • Leo Goretti, “Truman’s bombs and De Gasperi’s hooked-nose: images of the enemy in the Communist press for young people after 18 April 1948”, p.  159-177.
  • Kaeten Mistry, “Re-thinking American intervention in the 1948 Italian election: beyond a success-failure dichotomy”, p. 179-194.
  • Gianluca Fantoni, “‘La mineraria lavori o lasci lavorare’: myth and memory of a labour struggle in Tuscany”, p. 195-208.


  • Alberto Banti: “Alberto Banti on the work of Lucy Riall”, p. 209-212.
  • Anita Pinzi: “Emigrant nation: The making of Italy abroad, by Mark Choate”, p.  213-214.
  • Stanislao G. Pugliese: “Writing as freedom, writing as testimony: Four Italian writers and Judaism, by Sergio Parussa”, p. 214-216.
  • Tito Menzani: “Ideologia dell’industrializzazione e borghesia imprenditoriale dal nazionalismo al fascismo (1907-1925), by Eleonora Belloni”, p. 216-217.

Italian Summaries, p. 219-221.

Emilia Robin

Histoire de la guerre froide, humanités numériques, linux, médiation scientifique

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Stalin and Togliatti. Italy and the Origins of the Cold War

AGAROSSI, Elena, et ZASLAVSKY, Victor, Stalin and Togliatti.  Italy and the Origins of the Cold War, Stanford University Press/Woodrow Wilson Center Press, 2011, 320 p.

Présentation de l’éditeur :

Stalin and Togliatti reveals the dependence of the Italian Communist Party on Soviet decisionmaking in the early Cold War and the willingness of Stalin to sacrifice the interests of the Italian Communist Party to Soviet foreign interests. It explores the connection between the domestic Italian politics and the international affairs during the final phases of the Second World War and in the first years of the Cold War.

The authors employ previously classified documents in Russian and Italian archives, including reports to Stalin on the virtually daily meetings of Palmiro Togliatti, head of the Italian Communist Party, with Soviet diplomats. This recent, post-revisionist scholarship underscores the role of Stalin’s ambitions and their incompatibility with liberal-democratic systems in the development of the Cold War. Stalin and Togliatti come out as shrewd politicians, implacable enemies of the capitalist West, yet acutely aware of the limits of their power.

Stalin and Togliatti is a translation and expansion of a prizewinning book published in Italian in 1997 and updated in 2007.

Elena Agarossi is Professor of Contemporary History at the Scuola Superiore di Pubblica Amministrazione in Rome and member of the Wilson Center European Alumni Association. Victor Zaslavsky, who died late in 2009, was Professor of Political Sociology at the Free International University for Social Sciences in Rome.

Emilia Robin

Histoire de la guerre froide, humanités numériques, linux, médiation scientifique

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