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Walter Laqueur


  • Originally published 07/30/2013

    'An anxious continent': Walter Laqueur on Europe's decline

    British-American historian Walter Laqueur experienced the demise of the old Europe and the rise of the new. In a SPIEGEL interview, he shares his gloomy forecast for a European Union gripped by debt crisis. SPIEGEL: Mr. Laqueur, you experienced Europe and the Europeans in the best and the worst of times. Historical hot spots and the stations of your personal biography were closely and sometimes dramatically intertwined. Which conclusions have you reached today, at the advanced age of 92?Laqueur: I became a historian of the postwar era in Europe, but the Europe I knew no longer exists. My book "Out of the Ruins of Europe," published in 1970, ended with an optimistic assessment of the future. Later, in 2008, "The Last Days of Europe: Epitaph for an Old Continent" was published. I returned to the subject in my latest book, "After the Fall: The End of the European Dream and the Decline of a Continent." The sequence of titles probably says it all.SPIEGEL: The last two, at any rate, sound as if the demise of the Western world were imminent.

  • Originally published 04/24/2013

    Walter Laqueur: The Many Faces of Neo-Marxism

    Walter Laqueur is a historian and political commentator. His most recent book is After the Fall: The End of the European Dream and the Decline of a Continent.Marx -- one of the most influential thinkers of the nineteenth century, if not the single most important one -- is enjoying a kind of renaissance. This is attributed by some to the great economic crisis that began in 2008 and destroyed considerable wealth around the world. Given that this crisis is seen widely as a crisis of capitalism, it is natural that many people would think of Marx, who was of course the greatest critic of capitalism in history.Yet it is a strange renaissance, if indeed it is any kind of renaissance at all. In recent years, there have been many Marxism conferences and countless workshops in places such as Chicago, Boston and Berlin. In London, one Marx “festival” lasted five days under a slogan that cried, “Revolution is in the air.” The invitation read:

  • Originally published 04/21/2013

    Murder! Madness! Terror!

    A member of the Palestinian terrorist group Black September during the infamous Munich Olympic massacre in 1972.During the ancient Olympic games a sacred truce (ekecheiria, the stress on the penultimate syllable -- literally a holding of hands) prevailed. It was an elaborate procedure: runners (spondophoroi) were sent out all over Greece to announce the beginning of the truce which lasted a month and sometimes longer. Violators were heavily punished. In the High Middle Ages the Treuga Dei, the truce of God imposed by the church, persisted for centuries. On certain days there was to be no fighting and certain categories of people were never to be attacked. This armistice, not specifically connected with sports, was universally respected. 

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