European Historical Science of the Late 1930s ‒ Early 1940s: International Connections and Chimeras of Isolation

Publication type Article
Status Published
Affiliation: Institute of World History RAS
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow
Journal nameNovaia i noveishaia istoriia
EditionIssue 3

In the late 1930s and early 1940s, European science plunged into a period of regional isolation and the breakdown of established international ties. As a result, rumour replaced reliable verifiable information. A notable case in point was the attempt to celebrate the 70th anniversary of M.I. Rostovtzeff (1870‒1952), a prominent historian of the first half of the twentieth century, who lived and worked in the United States. In the run-up to the anniversary, rumours of the death of Rostovtzeff began to circulate among immigrant historians in Eastern and Southeastern Europe. Unable either to verify reports of his death or to verify that Rostovtzeff was alive, European academic community declined both to commemorate the anniversary and to hold memorial events. Perhaps it was the director of the Kondakov Institute in Prague in 1939‒1945, N.E. Andreev who disseminated rumours about the death of M.I. Rostovtzeff, thus trying to avoid involving the European and North American academic community in the celebration, which would have necessitated publicly soliciting the support of the pro-Nazi authorities of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, on which the Institute depended. Throughout the period of the II World War, colleagues could not get acquainted with each other’s work. In the post-war period, the structure of European science did not return to the point of the beginning of the crisis of the late 1930s. The new transformation was due to the redistribution of spheres of political influence in Central and Eastern Europe and the formation of new barriers to scientific communication.

Keywordshumanities, scholars, academic policy, international cooperation, M.I. Rostovtzeff, Russian emigration, European countries
Publication date20.06.2022
Number of characters29313
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