On his way from the CEE Forum, Timothy Snyder’s
blog in the New York
Review of Books describes the warm welcome Vaclav Havel got in
Bratislava from a generation that was not even alive when he was
President of their country, and the advice he had for the students.
is an American scholar, professor of history at Yale University. He specializes in the history of modern nationalism and Eastern Europe. His publications include Sketches From a Secret War: A Polish Artist’s Mission to Liberate Soviet Ukraine (2005), The Red Prince. The Secret Lives of a Habsburg Archduke (2008), and the acclaimed Bloodlands: Eastern Europe between Hitler and Stalin, 1933-1953 (2010). Most recently he helped Tony Judt compose a thematic history of political ideas and intellectuals in politics, Thinking the Twentieth Century (2012). His essays have appeared in The New York Review of Books, Christian Science Monitor and Tygodnik Powszechny. “Right now, East European history exists in Europe essentially only as footnotes. And European history as an entity does not exist at all. What is slowly happening is that East European national histories are being accepted in a kind of multi-cultural politeness, according to a kind of multi-cultural etiquette as other reasonable national histories. So the Swedes have their history and you can have yours. What would be interesting is if East Europeans and East European historians were able to see the collective East European history broadly enough to help the West Europeans. Because the West Europeans have a problem: if there is no European history there can be no European identity. You can only go so far without history. History stays with you no matter what. And at the moment, one of the barriers that the advocates of European integration have is that they can’t look back at any common history.”