Alexander Hobe studied history and political science in Munich and Berlin. As a PhD-researcher at the Hamburg Institute for Social Research, he is focusing on right-wing concepts of Europe in the second half of the 20th century.
I am especially interested in German and French right-wing reactions to the unfolding process of European integration. I hope to explore some of the tensions between what is dubbed the “radical” and the “moderate” right, and I hope to show that especially in the immediate post-war decades, some sort of commitment to “Europe” was something these actors shared. On a timeframe that extends roughly from 1945 to the 1980s, I want show paths they walked together, and the forks in the road which caused them to go off in different directions. Some of the issues I will be exploring in more detail are questions of a common European defense, materialized in the plans for European Defense Community and NATO, the issue of a common European culture associated with meaning-laden terms like “Abendland” or “Occident,” and the subject of (neo-) colonial relationships of Europe, which is frequently associated with the term “Eurafrica.” West-Germany and France, the so-called central-engine of integration, offer fascinating insights into these issues not only from a comparative perspective, but also for unearthing instances of entanglement.
Current status and next steps
Currently, my focus is on a very specific set of actors standing in the murky in-between of “radical” and “moderate” mentioned above: members of the military, or, in the case of West-Germany in the early 50s, former members of the military. On a visit at the “Bundesarchiv Militärarchiv” (Federal Archive Military Archive) in Freiburg, I have looked through the documents of some of the most influential German military men in 1950s Germany, i.a. Hans Speidel and Gottfried Hansen. Their documents enable me to analyze the foundations of these men’s support for European integration.
As next steps, I plan further archival visits, again in Freiburg, but also to Berlin and Munich, where the far-right journals “Rivarol,” “Défense de l’Occident,” and “Deutsche Soldaten Zeitung” will give me some more context to this debate. Additionally, a research trip to Paris is planned, to view i.a. the estates of people like Antoine Béthouart or Edgard de Larminat, both of whom networked on a European and with German counterparts level around the issue of a common defense.