Brendan Simms

Brendan Simms, a fellow of Peterhouse, Cambridge, is the author of The Impact of Napoleon and, with Alexander Nicoll, of Bosnia.

Travellers to the western Polish city of Wroclaw in the 1980s could still encounter Germans who had lived there before the Second World War. One of those who escaped the mass exodus of the German population in 1945 was a man named Schiller, who had married a Polish woman and blended into local society without much comment. He seemed happy enough when I met him; and his Polish neighbours...

One Good Side: Edvard Benes

Brendan Simms, 18 February 1999

Edvard Benes, as A.J.P. Taylor once remarked, enjoyed the doubtful distinction of having signed away his country twice, once to the Germans, and later to the Russians. His capitulation at Munich in 1938, the betrayal by Britain and France, the tribulations of the Nazi occupation and the final humiliation of the Soviet takeover in 1948 all helped to foster the image of a democratic, peace-loving Czechoslovakia which has endured to the present day. The Western world could not but sympathise with a (relatively) liberal state which, for all its faults, firmly refused to succumb to the tide of authoritarianism sweeping Central and Eastern Europe between the wars; unlike virtually all its neighbours, pre-1938 Czechoslovakia was never guilty of any kind of state-sponsored anti-semitism. The events of 1968, when Soviet tanks crushed Dubcek’s experiment of ‘socialism with a human face’, could only reinforce this impression.‘

Old Europe: Britain in Bosnia

Jeremy Harding, 20 February 2003

In 1992, the UN Security Council opened a dossier on breaches of humanitarian law and the Geneva Conventions in the former Yugoslavia. Paragraph 5 of UNSC Resolution 771 called on all states or...

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