Faculty Channel • Et. Seq: The Harvard Law School Library Blog

In Ruhleben Camp: Armistice Day at Ruhleben

In Ruhleben Camp follows the production schedule of the magazine created by prisoners at Ruhleben, an internment camp for British civilians in Germany during WWI. This special post by Marissa Grunes marks the centenary of Armistice Day (November 11, 1918).

The Ruhleben Camp Magazine was largely quiet in the second half of the First World War—as this blog series has been! In honor of Armistice Day yesterday and Veteran’s Day today, though, I wanted to offer a special post about the unusual end to the Great War for those passive participants, the British civilian internees at Ruhleben Camp outside Berlin.

In some ways the drama of Armistice Day was muted within Ruhleben Camp. Many internees had already been released, and those who remained were still busily engaged in camp cultural activities, with the last of the camp’s 128 theater productions opening after Armistice Day, as Davidson Ketchum notes (Ketchum, p. 240). The robust civic organization within the camp had also rendered the last year of the war comparatively gentle to Ruhlebenites. Thanks to the work of the Quaker peace activist Elisabeth Rotten and the Friends Emergency Committee, Ruhleben had access to a steady stream of books and scientific instruments as well as support funds, as the historian Matthew Stibbe relates (Stibbe, p. 144-6), and although the Ruhleben Camp Magazine seems to have closed its editorial offices in the summer of 1917, the Ruhleben Camp School (jocularly called Ruhleben University) remained in full swing (Ketchum, p. 198; In Ruhleben, p. 226). Meanwhile, “standardised” parcel delivery service, various clubs, and the civic administration were also still active (Ketchum, pp. 8).

Ruhleben Theatre, Diplomacy, June 1918. Maurice Ettinghausen collection of Ruhleben civilian internment camp visual materials. Harvard Law School Library. Image ID W422714_1

Ruhleben School of Fencing, March 1918. Maurice Ettinghausen collection of Ruhleben civilian internment camp visual materials. Harvard Law School Library. Image ID W423485_1

This bureaucratic organization was in some cases life-saving. When the Spanish flu struck Germany, leaving 187,000 German civilians and thousands of POWs dead, Ruhleben’s civilian camp authorities leaped into action, imposing quarantines and closing off parts of the camp, including the theatre and cinema. As a result, Ruhleben lost only two men (Stibbe, p. 151).

 

 

 

Ruhleben was also one of the few places in the region with sufficient food: after living behind the Allied blockade for nearly four years, Germans were dying of starvation, yet food parcels continued to arrive at Ruhleben (Stibbe, p. 70). The difference was so stark that in October 1918, the Berliner Illustrierte Zeitung carried a feature-length article claiming that a German businessman, one Herr Wittkowski, had asked the Ruhleben commandant to take his sons into the camp to be fed and receive an education (Stibbe, p. 149). One internee later recalled how he and his messmates, fearing that hungry Berliners might raid the camp, went so far as to bury a cache of food in what “was ostensibly a window-box…with emergency rations of canned beef, tripe, etc., and a few flowers planted on top.” He concludes gratefully, “We never needed it” (quoted in Stibbe, p. 153).

The upshot was that Armistice Day mattered less for the internees at Ruhleben Camp than did the chaos sweeping Germany. In early November 1918, German sailors in Kiel resisted orders to take to the seas for a final hopeless battle against the British. As the German imperial government crumbled, revolutionary sentiment spread, reaching Ruhleben on November 8, 1918, when the German guards followed the lead of their countrymen across Europe and deposed their officers. The guards then joined the prisoners in signing a “declaration of brotherhood” between the German and English people, and “hoisted the red flag before setting the prisoners free” (Stibbe, p. 16). The next day, the German republic was proclaimed by the socialist parliamentarian Philipp Scheidemann from the balcony of the Reichstag in Berlin: “That which is old and rotten, the monarchy has collapsed. Long live that which is new, long live the German republic!” Only a few hours later, a revolutionary admirer of Soviet Russia, Karl Liebknecht, walked up the stairs of the nearby imperial palace to instead proclaim a “free socialist German republic.”

This tension between the moderate and radical socialist revolutionaries cost Liebknecht his life weeks later and would persist throughout the years of Germany’s new Weimar Republic. Nevertheless, revolutionaries in 1918 hoped that socialism would inaugurate a new era in German history. Monarchism, it seemed, had torn the world apart, and socialism promised to heal it. Although this hope was short-lived, it glows from the declaration of peace and fraternity, signed by the inmates and guards at Ruhleben. I would like to conclude by reprinting the opening, as quoted by Matthew Stibbe:

“ENGLISHMEN! Brothers from over the Channel. It is tragic, deeply tragical, that a million dead on both sides were necessary in order to bring home to us that after all we are brothers, and members of the same race. Have Germans and British ever, until now, torn each other to pieces? From impressions gained in competent circles yesterday, it is our personal opinion that your release is only a matter of days. When you are at home again, let it be your task to make known that the German people, in spite of all its victories, still retained sufficient strength to take its destiny into its own hands and this time to keep it there. Let your aim be to make known that the German people, in this, its time of greatest need, which is also the proudest period of its history, instinctively casts its eyes across the water, looking for help.” (p. 155)*

* Jamie McSpadden kindly contributed his substantial expertise on modern German history to this post. Jamie is a Visiting Postdoctoral Fellow at the German Historical Institute in Washington, DC.

 

Bibliography & Further Reading

Ketchum, J. Davidson. Ruhleben: A Prison Camp Society. With a Foreword and Postscript by Robert B. MacLeod. Canada: University of Toronto Press, 1965. Foreword (Ithaca, NY, April 1964)

In Ruhleben: Letters from a Prisoner to His Mother. Edited and with an introduction by Douglas Sladen. Including “Civilian Prisoners: the Case for a Wholesale Exchange” by Sir Timothy Eden. London: Hurst and Blackett, Ltd. Paternoster House, E.C., 1917.

Stibbe, Matthew. British civilian internees in Germany. The Ruhleben camp, 1914-18. Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press, 2008.

 Marissa Grunes is a PhD candidate in English Literature at Harvard University, focusing on transatlantic literature of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Her dissertation project explores frontier architecture in 19th century poetry, fiction, and non-fiction of the United States.

Book Talk: Written in Stone: Public Monuments in Changing Societies, Wednesday, November 14 at noon

The Harvard Law School Library staff invite you to attend a book talk and discussion in celebration of the recent publication of the Twentieth Anniversary Edition of Sanford Levinson’s Written in Stone: Public Monuments in Changing Societies (Duke Univ. Press, Oct. 5, 2018).  Sanford Levinson is the W. St. John Garwood and W. St. John Garwood, Jr., Centennial Chair in Law at the University of Texas Law School and Visiting Professor of Law at Harvard Law School.  Professor Levinson will be joined in discussion by Boston Globe Columnist Jeff Jacoby; Randall L. Kennedy, Michael R. Klein Professor of Law at Harvard Law School; and Bruce Mann, Carl F. Schipper, Jr. Professor of Law at Harvard Law School.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018, at noon
Harvard Law School WCC Milstein West B (Directions)
1585 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA
No RSVP required

Written in Stone poster

About Written in Stone: Public Monuments in Changing Societies

“From the removal of Confederate monuments in New Orleans in the spring of 2017 to the violent aftermath of the white nationalist march on the Robert E. Lee monument in Charlottesville later that summer, debates and conflicts over the memorialization of Confederate “heroes” have stormed to the forefront of popular American political and cultural discourse. In Written in Stone Sanford Levinson considers the tangled responses to controversial monuments and commemorations while examining how those with political power configure public spaces in ways that shape public memory and politics. Paying particular attention to the American South, though drawing examples as well from elsewhere in the United States and throughout the world, Levinson shows how the social and legal arguments regarding the display, construction, modification, and destruction of public monuments mark the seemingly endless confrontation over the symbolism attached to public space.

This twentieth anniversary edition of Written in Stone includes a new preface and an extensive afterword that takes account of recent events in cities, schools and universities, and public spaces throughout the United States and elsewhere. Twenty years on, Levinson’s work is more timely and relevant than ever.” — Duke University Press

More About Written in Stone: Public Monuments in Changing Societies

“Sanford Levinson has written a wonderfully wise and informed essay on the issue of how we commemorate the past when the past keeps on changing.” — Nathan Glazer, author of, We Are All Multiculturalists Now

“Much has been written about the controversy over public presentations of history, but rarely has the question of how to memorialize our past received the thoughtful, incisive, and fair-minded analysis provided by Sanford Levinson.” — Eric Foner, author of, The Story of American Freedom

Sanford Levinson

 

 

 

Sanford Levinson, W. St. John Garwood and W. St. John Garwood, Jr., Centennial Chair in Law at the University of Texas Law School and Visiting Professor of Law at Harvard Law School

 

Jeff Jacoby

 

 

 

Boston Globe Columnist Jeff Jacoby

 

 

Randall Kennedy

 

 

 

 

Randall L. Kennedy, Michael R. Klein Professor of Law at Harvard Law School

 

Bruce Mann

 

 

 

 

Bruce Mann, Carl F. Schipper, Jr. Professor of Law at Harvard Law School.

Scanning Nuremberg: IMT prosecution documents on persecution of the Jews, Germanization, and NSDAP Leadership Corps

Post by Matt Seccombe, November 3, 2018

During October I covered the IMT prosecution documents on the persecution of the Jews (a phrase that the prosecutors noted was far short of the reality), Germanization, and the first material on the Leadership Corps of the NSDAP [National Socialist German Workers Party], amounting to 157 documents and 663 pages of material. The prosecution detoured from counts 3 and 4 (war crimes and crimes against humanity) to the criminal organizations without any explanation, and will detour back to the plundering of artworks before moving on to the next organization (the Cabinet). For the IMT generally, we now have just over 1200 documents analyzed.

Documentary surpluses and deficits: When the Nuremberg trials staff sorted out the sets of documents for distribution, the folders on the Leadership Corps sent to HLS included a bonus: an extra copy of the trial indictment and an extra copy of the brief on the Corps. What HLS did not receive was a copy of the first document book on the Corps (the other document books are present). All things considered, I would have traded in the duplicates for that document book.

The extermination of the Jews: While official secrecy was maintained, within the regime the extermination of the Jews became explicit policy quickly, both as a military measure and as an end in itself. In Poland Hans Frank was concise: “We must annihilate the Jews.” By June 1943, one report noted that the “special treatment” of the Jews “requires no further discussion,” but some of the tactics were shocking to some people in the regime, such as the removal of dental gold from Jewish prisoners. Also, locking suspected partisan families inside barns and burning them alive “is not worthy of the German cause and hurts our reputation severely.” One paradoxical point in the report was that the atrocities were so extreme that if news of them got out, people “simply would not be ready to believe it.” Finally, in August 1944, Adolf Eichmann matter-of-factly summed up what the SS had done in a talk with a colleague, who recorded it in an affidavit: Four million Jews in the death camps, two million by the einsatzgruppen and similar actions; six million dead.

Germanization: This program had two sides, one to render the occupied territories useful to Germany and the second to gather in all Europeans of “Germanic blood” to the homeland. Frank stated the first task regarding Poland: “Poland shall be treated as a colony, the Poles shall be the slaves of the Greater German World Empire.” Himmler summed up the latter task in 1940: “to create an order of good blood.”

Hitler’s feast: The prize possession of the empire, of course, was to be the Soviet territory. In July 1941 Hitler assumed the military conquest would be swift, and he outlined for his generals a plan to dominate, administer, and exploit the resources, natural and human. What remained, he said, was “the task of cutting up the giant cake according to our needs.”

The HLS Library holds approximately one million pages of documents relating to the trial of military and political leaders of Nazi Germany before the International Military Tribunal (IMT) and to the twelve trials of other accused war criminals before the United States Nuremberg Military Tribunals (NMT). We have posted five trials so far (NMT 1 through NMT 4 and NMT 7) and have completed digitization of all the documents and transcripts. 

We are now engaged in the process of analyzing, describing and making machine readable the remaining trials’ materials in preparation for posting them to the Web. We hope to complete this work as soon as possible based upon available funding.  For more information about this project, please contact Jocelyn Kennedy.

Scanning Nuremberg: Ring of Silence

Post by Matt Seccombe, October 2, 2018

During September I worked through the final IMT prosecution documents covering count 2 (aggression), including the war against the US, and began the documents for counts 3 and 4 (war crimes and crimes against humanity, which were presented together), skipping forced labor (those documents are missing from our set), covering the concentration camp system, and the beginning of the persecution and extermination of the Jews (about which, more next month). The document analysis covered 88 documents and 601 pages of material. A lot of “overhead” time was required to track the documents in the transcript and get the relevant files identified and sorted out.

War against the US: Germany’s declaration of war on 11 December 1941 attributed the war to acts of aggression by the US navy, presumably in the course of the US effort to assist Britain. There was no mention of Japan or the events of December 7. Privately, however, Hitler expressed his approval to the Japanese a few days later: “one should strike—as hard as possible, indeed—and not waste time declaring war.” The Germans continued to press Japan to adopt a strategy that would help Germany: to attack the USSR from the east, which would indirectly lead to a British collapse and the isolation of the US. (The US and Britain engaged in similar strategic triangulation late in the war, urging the USSR to attack Japan, which it did at the end of the war.)

Evidence from the camps: The US prosecutor presented one particularly vivid exhibit from Buchenwald, as recorded in the transcript: “This exhibit, which is on the table, is a human head with the skull removed, shrunken, stuffed, and preserved. The Nazis had one of their many victims decapitated, after having had him hanged apparently for fraternizing with a German woman, and fashioned this terrible ornament from his head.”

The ring of silence: In the Justice Case (NMT 3) some defendants claimed that they had no knowledge of crimes committed in SS camps because the SS surrounded them with a “steel ring of silence.” This began at Dachau in 1933, where the commandant’s regulations provided that “agitators” would be hung. Agitators included anyone who “collects true or false information about the concentration camp . . ., receives such information, buries it, talks about it to others, smuggles it out of the camp . . . conceals it in clothing or other articles, throws stones and other objects over the camp wall containing such informations . . . [or] seeks contact with the outside by giving light or other signals . . . .” The punishment reflects the brutality of the regime, but the list of prohibited actions also suggests the determination and ingenuity of the inmates who tried to break through the secrecy.

The HLS Library holds approximately one million pages of documents relating to the trial of military and political leaders of Nazi Germany before the International Military Tribunal (IMT) and to the twelve trials of other accused war criminals before the United States Nuremberg Military Tribunals (NMT). We have posted five trials so far (NMT 1 through NMT 4 and NMT 7) and have completed digitization of all the documents and transcripts. 

We are now engaged in the process of analyzing, describing and making machine readable the remaining trials’ materials in preparation for posting them to the Web. We hope to complete this work as soon as possible based upon available funding.  For more information about this project, please contact Jocelyn Kennedy.

Book Talk: Tough Cases: Judges Tell the Stories About Some of the Hardest Decisions They’ve Ever Made, Wednesday, October 17 at noon

The Harvard Law School Library staff invite you to attend a book talk and discussion in celebration of the recent publication of Tough Cases: Judges Tell the Stories About Some of the Hardest Decisions They’ve Ever Made, edited by Russell Canan, Gregory Mize and Frederick Weisberg (The New Press, August 2018).

Russell Canan is currently a judge on the Superior Court of the District of Columbia and an adjunct professor at the George Washington University School of Law. Frederick Weisberg is currently a judge on the Superior Court of the District of Columbia and teaches annually in the Trial Advocacy Workshop at Harvard Law School.  Gregory E. Mize is a currently a judge on the Superior Court of the District of Columbia and is a judicial fellow at the National Center for State Courts and an adjunct professor at the Georgetown University Law Center.

The book talk discussion will include: Judge David J. Barron, The Honorable S. William Green Visiting Professor of Public Law at Harvard Law School and Circuit Judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit; Nikolas Bowie, Assistant Professor of Law at Harvard Law School; Andrew Manuel Crespo, Assistant Professor of Law at Harvard Law School; Charles Fried, Beneficial Professor of Law at Harvard Law School; Judge Nancy Gertner (Ret.), Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School; Martha Minow, 300th Anniversary University Professor at Harvard University; and Judge Frederick H. Weisberg, Associate Judge for the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.

Copies of Tough Cases will be available for sale courtesy of the Harvard Law School COOP.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018, at noon
Harvard Law School WCC Milstein West A/B (Directions)
1585 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA
No RSVP required

Tough Cases poster

About Tough Cases

“Prosecutors and defense attorneys have it easy—all they have to do is to present the evidence and make arguments. It’s the judges who have the heavy lift: they are the ones who have to make the ultimate decisions, many of which have profound consequences on the lives of the people standing in front of them.

In Tough Cases, judges from different kinds of courts in different parts of the country write about the cases that proved most difficult for them to decide. Some of these cases received international attention: the Elián González case in which Judge Jennifer Bailey had to decide whether to return a seven-year-old boy to his father in Cuba after his mother drowned trying to bring the child to the United States, or the Terri Schiavo case in which Judge George Greer had to decide whether to withdraw life support from a woman in a vegetative state over the objections of her parents, or the Scooter Libby case about appropriate consequences for revealing the name of a CIA agent. Others are less well-known but equally fascinating: a judge on a Native American court trying to balance U.S. law with tribal law, a young Korean American former defense attorney struggling to adapt to her new responsibilities on the other side of the bench, and the difficult decisions faced by a judge tasked with assessing the mental health of a woman accused of killing her own children.

Relatively few judges have publicly shared the thought processes behind their decision making. Tough Cases makes for fascinating reading for everyone from armchair attorneys and fans of Law and Order to those actively involved in the legal profession who want insight into the people judging their work.” — The New Press

Panelists

David Barron

 

 

Judge David J. Barron, The Honorable S. William Green Visiting Professor of Public Law at Harvard Law School and Circuit Judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit

 

Nikolas Bowie

 

 

 

Nikolas Bowie, Assistant Professor of Law at Harvard Law School

 

Andrew Crespo

 

 

 

Andrew Manuel Crespo, Assistant Professor of Law at Harvard Law School

 

Charles Fried

 

 

 

Charles Fried, Beneficial Professor of Law at Harvard Law School

 

Judge Nancy Gertner

 

 

 

Judge Nancy Gertner (Ret.), Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School

 

Martha Minow

 

 

 

Martha Minow, 300th Anniversary University Professor at Harvard University

 

Frederick Weisberg

 

 

 

Judge Frederick H. Weisberg, Associate Judge for the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.

Banned Books Week Events at HLS

We’re expanding our Banned Books Week activities this year, and we look forward to celebrating our freedom to read with you!

Most Challenged Books of 2017 Exhibit
Yes, books are still having their places in libraries and on school reading lists challenged every year. Visit the exhibit case between Langdell and Areeda Halls to see what the most challenged books of 2017 were. You might be surprised!

Banned Books & Censorship Exhibit
The issue of banning books ties into other forms of censorship. Visit our bulletin board by the library entrance for some questions and reports on recent anti-free press actions, current issues in free speech, the big censorship stories of 2017, and private actors and free speech. Plus learn about some of the many organizations fighting censorship that you can get involved with!

3rd Annual Read-Out
Tuesday, September 25
Library steps
Bring your lunch and join us in reading aloud passages from some of our favorite banned books. Are you part of the HLS community and want to join the reading roster? Please email Meg Kribble and we’ll addd you to the list!

A talk with James Tager, HLS ’13, PEN America
Friday, September  28
WCC 1010
Co-sponsors: the HLS ACS and the Harvard Federalist Society

Last but not least, we’re so excited to welcome James Tager, HLS ’13, back to campus. James is Deputy Director, Free Expression Research and Policy at PEN America, and he’ll speak about contemporary issues related to banning books.

No RSVP necessary; lunch is available first come, first served!

 

 

 

Do you have a favorite banned book? Share it with us in the comments!

 

 

Book Talk: Cass Sunstein’s The Cost-Benefit Revolution, Thursday, October 4 at noon

The Harvard Law School Library staff invite you to attend a book talk and discussion in celebration of the recent publication of The Cost-Benefit Revolution by Cass R. Sunstein (MIT Press, August 28, 2018).  Professor Sunstein is the Robert Walmsley University Professor at Harvard University.

Thursday, October 4, 2018, at noon
Harvard Law School WCC Milstein West B (Directions)
1585 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA
No RSVP required

The Cost-Benefit Revolution Poster

About The Cost-Benefit Revolution

“Opinions on government policies vary widely. Some people feel passionately about the child obesity epidemic and support government regulation of sugary drinks. Others argue that people should be able to eat and drink whatever they like. Some people are alarmed about climate change and favor aggressive government intervention. Others don’t feel the need for any sort of climate regulation. In The Cost-Benefit Revolution, Cass Sunstein argues our major disagreements really involve facts, not values. It follows that government policy should not be based on public opinion, intuitions, or pressure from interest groups, but on numbers—meaning careful consideration of costs and benefits. Will a policy save one life, or one thousand lives? Will it impose costs on consumers, and if so, will the costs be high or negligible? Will it hurt workers and small businesses, and, if so, precisely how much?

As the Obama administration’s “regulatory czar,” Sunstein knows his subject in both theory and practice. Drawing on behavioral economics and his well-known emphasis on “nudging,” he celebrates the cost-benefit revolution in policy making, tracing its defining moments in the Reagan, Clinton, and Obama administrations (and pondering its uncertain future in the Trump administration). He acknowledges that public officials often lack information about costs and benefits, and outlines state-of-the-art techniques for acquiring that information. Policies should make people’s lives better. Quantitative cost-benefit analysis, Sunstein argues, is the best available method for making this happen—even if, in the future, new measures of human well-being, also explored in this book, may be better still.” — MIT Press

More About The Cost-Benefit Revolution

“Only Cass Sunstein could present cost-benefit analysis as a prism for understanding democracy, an exciting research frontier, and a route to a better world. The world will be a better place if the next president of the United States thinks hard about this important book.” — Lawrence H. Summers, Charles W. Eliot University Professor and President Emeritus, Harvard University

“Cost-benefit analysis may not have all the answers, but Cass Sunstein’s eminently readable The Cost-Benefit Revolution addresses all the right questions. No one in America has thought more deeply about the strengths, weaknesses, and underpinnings of cost-benefit analysis from both a theoretical and practical level than Cass Sunstein. This book will surely pass your personal cost-benefit test.” — Alan Krueger, Bendheim Professor of Economics and Public Affairs, Princeton University

“Cass Sunstein’s enlightening volume makes a compelling case that systematic assessments of benefits and costs should become even more ingrained in government policymaking. In addition to drawing on his substantial regulatory expertise, Sunstein deftly explores novel policy terrain ranging from national security to free speech.” — W. Kip Viscusi, University Distinguished Professor, Vanderbilt University; author of Pricing Lives: Guideposts for a Safer Society and Economics of Regulation and Antitrust

“Sunstein has been leading the cost-benefit revolution, and here he explains how it is making the world a better place. If that weren’t enough, this must-read lets readers into one of the world’s most important minds.” — Michael Greenstone, Milton Friedman Professor of Economics, University of Chicago

Book Talk: Constitutional Democracy in Crisis?, Wednesday, October 3 at noon

The Harvard Law School Library staff invite you to attend a book talk and discussion in celebration of the recent publication of Constitutional Democracy in Crisis? edited by Mark A. Graber, Sanford Levinson and Mark Tushnet (Oxford Univ. Press, Sept. 20, 2018). Mark Tushnet is the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. Sanford Levinson is the W. St. John Garwood and W. St. John Garwood, Jr., Centennial Chair in Law at the University of Texas Law School and Visiting Professor of Law at Harvard Law School.  Professors Tushnet and Levinson will be joined in discussion by Vicki C. Jackson, Thurgood Marshall Professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard Law School; Steven R. Levitsky, Harvard University Professor of Government; and Katharine Young, Associate Professor at Boston College Law School.

Copies of Constitutional Democracy in Crisis? will be available for sale courtesy of the Harvard Law School COOP and Professors Levinson and Tushnet will be available for signing books at the end of the talk.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018, at noon
Harvard Law School WCC Milstein West B (Directions)
1585 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA
No RSVP required

Poster Constitutional Democracy in Crisis?

About Constitutional Democracy in Crisis?

“Is the world facing a serious threat to the protection of constitutional democracy?

There is a genuine debate about the meaning of the various political events that have, for many scholars and observers, generated a feeling of deep foreboding about our collective futures all over the world. Do these events represent simply the normal ebb and flow of political possibilities, or do they instead portend a more permanent move away from constitutional democracy that had been thought triumphant after the demise of the Soviet Union in 1989?

Constitutional Democracy in Crisis? addresses these questions head-on: Are the forces weakening constitutional democracy around the world general or nation-specific? Why have some major democracies seemingly not experienced these problems? How can we as scholars and citizens think clearly about the ideas of “constitutional crisis” or “constitutional degeneration”? What are the impacts of forces such as globalization, immigration, income inequality, populism, nationalism, religious sectarianism?

Bringing together leading scholars to engage critically with the crises facing constitutional democracies in the 21st century, these essays diagnose the causes of the present afflictions in regimes, regions, and across the globe, believing at this stage that diagnosis is of central importance – as Abraham Lincoln said in his “House Divided” speech, “If we could first know where we are, and whither we are tending, we could then better judge what to do, and how to do it.”” — Oxford University Press

Mark Tushnet

 

 

 

Mark Tushnet, William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law at Harvard Law School

 

Sanford Levinson

 

Sanford Levinson, W. St. John Garwood and W. St. John Garwood, Jr., Centennial Chair in Law at the University of Texas Law School and Visiting Professor of Law at Harvard Law School

 

Vicki Jackson

 

 

Vicki C. Jackson, Thurgood Marshall Professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard Law School

 

Steve Levitsky

 

 

 

Steven R. Levitsky, Harvard University Professor of Government

Katharine Young

 

 

 

Katharine Young, Associate Professor at Boston College Law School

 

More About Constitutional Democracy in Crisis?

“Many are convinced that liberal constitutional democracy is in the midst of a severe crisis, and is being replaced by illiberal constitutional democracy. This important book analyses the reasons for this development, both at the global level and at the national level. It presents original and illuminating answers to the question, ‘Why is this shift occurring?’ This scholarly foundation is necessary for finding answers to the question of how this trend can be reversed. The time is right for this book to be published by its first-class authors, and it provides the intellectual foundations necessary for each of us to cope with the changes that are occurring in our own constitutional democracies, and to try to turn the tide. For me, as a retired judge, the book provides food for thought about where we went wrong, and what we can do to take us in a new direction.” — Aharon Barak, former President of the Supreme Court of Israel; Professor of Law at IDC Herzliya

“Constitutional democracies around the world are suffering assaults from within. Globally, political freedoms are becoming weaker. Democracy does not necessarily guarantee prosperity. This book provides a superb appraisal of democracy’s current crisis. Those who wish to learn about what is happening to constitutional democracies around the world should read this groundbreaking, multiperspective, and transdisciplinary book.” — Sabino Cassese, Emeritus Justice, Italian Constitutional Court; Emeritus Professor, University of Rome

“To question the current health of constitutional democracy is implicitly to affirm that there are more chapters to be written before we arrive at the end of history. Fortunately, we now have the exquisitely crafted chapters in this unique collection of essays to help us make sense of our current predicament. Written against the backdrop of a multitude of ominous developments that have shaken confidence in the stability and endurance of liberal democratic institutions, the contributors to this timely volume explore this portentous moment from all angles, leaving the reader richly informed, if not sanguine, about future prospects. A careful reading will, however, not end in despair, for as the most disturbing threats to political freedom and economic justice emanate from within, the challenge that they represent can also be met from within.” — Gary Jeffrey Jacobsohn, H. Malcolm Macdonald Professor of Constitutional and Comparative Law, University of Texas at Austin

“This book is an indispensable resource for understanding the rise of illiberal populisms and the possibilities for sustaining constitutionalism and democracy. Contributors include leading global scholars of comparative constitutional law, whose chapters provide a diverse empirical base from countries around the world with which to evaluate constitutional democracy and its contemporary challenges and competitors. Theories are tested, data provided, and new concepts advanced – addressing, among other topics, the role of political parties, political leaders, religion, economic inequality, race, ethnicity, and immigration – in a set of readable and relatively short chapters that, as much as any edited scholarly collection could be, is a true “page-turner”, hard to stop reading once one starts.” — Vicki C. Jackson, Thurgood Marshall Professor of Constitutional Law, Harvard Law School

“This rigorous, wide-ranging, and engaging volume is an indispensable guide to the current crisis of constitutional democracy. The volume’s theoretical essays raise profound new questions about the relationship between constitutionalism and democracy. Its high quality empirical chapters help us understand the global reach and historical roots of the current crisis. This is a landmark book for our troubled times.” — Pratap B. Mehta, Vice-Chancellor, Ashoka University; past President, Centre for Policy Research

“At the end of the 20th century, constitutional democracy had gained almost universal acceptance. At least, so it seemed. A decade later, we see constitutional democracy declining or mutating into more authoritarian forms of government in a number of countries. In this timely book, more than forty outstanding authors from many parts of the world offer a comprehensive analysis of this development and its causes, which should be of paramount interest not only to scholars and students of law and politics, but to everyone concerned about public affairs.” — Dieter Grimm, Former Justice, Federal Constitutional Court of Germany; Professor of Law, Humboldt University Berlin

Scanning Nuremberg: “When Barbarossa commences, the world will hold its breath and make no comment.”

Post by Matt Seccombe, September 7, 2018

During August I continued with the IMT prosecution documents for Crimes against Peace (Count 2), following the expansion of the war after the attack on Poland and the beginning of the war with Britain and France. This covered, in succession, the Nazi attacks on Norway and Denmark; Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg; Yugoslavia and Greece; and the Soviet Union. (The files on the war with the United States will complete the set.) This covered 116 documents and 472 pages of material. (A water leak in the building required the removal of the documents for safekeeping for two days, reducing production somewhat.) Count 2 covers the outbreak of the war; the crimes committed during the war will be covered by Counts 3 and 4, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Inconvenient timing: In January 1940, while Germany was proclaiming its respect for neutral countries, a German plane had to make a forced landing in Belgium, and one document found in the plane was a set of orders stating details of the planned occupation of the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, and northern France. Hitler had been more candid in a conference in August 1939: “Generally speaking, the best thing to happen would be for the neutrals to be liquidated one after the other.”

Guarding the flanks: One common element in the German attacks in the north, west, and south was a need to block British attacks from the North Sea, the Channel, and the Mediterranean. In the planning conferences, Britain was the opponent that Hitler took most seriously. (He considered the USSR to be vast but weak and the US too distant to be a serious threat.) By similar logic, Hitler wanted to threaten his enemies on their flanks, including calls for Japan to attack the USSR and the British Empire in Asia. One consequence of these multiple occupations was that the German military ended up being spread thin over several fronts.

Barbarossa: Hitler explained the rationale for the invasion of the USSR concisely in June 1941, citing Germany’s need for oil and other resources: “What one does not have, but needs, one must conquer.” His prediction for the world’s reaction, made in February 1941: “When Barbarossa commences, the world will hold its breath and make no comment.” His planners made another prediction for the results of the German occupation: “many millions of people [in Russia] will be starved to death.”

The tale of page 62: One of the most important prosecution documents was a speech General Jodl made in 1943 on the background and progress of the war. The full text was entered, and various extracts were also presented to note particular issues. In the primary text, however, page 62 is missing; 307 documents further along, a one-page extract carried a hanger-on: page 62. This raised the question of what to do with the page. From an historian’s point of view I was inclined to move the page to where it should have been, thus providing a complete text of the speech. From an archival point of view, however, the page had been placed with the extract in a separate file in 1945 and had arrived at HLS in that file. The accidental misplacement had become a “fact.” Outcome: page 62 remains where it was, in the second document with the extract, with cross-references between the two documents in the database.

The HLS Library holds approximately one million pages of documents relating to the trial of military and political leaders of Nazi Germany before the International Military Tribunal (IMT) and to the twelve trials of other accused war criminals before the United States Nuremberg Military Tribunals (NMT). We have posted five trials so far (NMT 1 through NMT 4 and NMT 7) and have completed digitization of all the documents and transcripts. 

We are now engaged in the process of analyzing, describing and making machine readable the remaining trials’ materials in preparation for posting them to the Web. We hope to complete this work as soon as possible based upon available funding.  For more information about this project, please contact Jocelyn Kennedy.

Kavanaugh confirmation hearing transcripts

Looking for transcripts of the Senate Judiciary hearings on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court? Here’s how to find them:

  • Log in to your Lexis Advance account and type CQ Transcriptions in the main search bar
  • On the next screen, type in kavanaugh w/s “Senate Judiciary committee hearing”
  • You can then sort the results oldest-newest or newest to oldest. Note the first two days’ worth of material aren’t labelled with their day numbers, but they are labelled with the dates they took place.

If you don’t have access to Lexis, CSPAN provides some basic captioning of their videos. Here’s are their results for the Kavanaugh hearings.

For more on the Kavanaugh nomination, check out the Supreme Court Nominations Research Guide from our friends at the Georgetown Law Library.

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