Mark Mazower

Mark Mazower is director of the Columbia Institute for Ideas and Imagination, which has just opened in Paris. His books include Dark Continent: Europe’s 20th Century.

The Nazis were less harsh: Mischka Danos

Mark Mazower, 7 February 2019

In​ 1989, the Soviet historian Sheila Fitzpatrick, well known to readers of the LRB, was on a plane when the passenger next to her struck up a conversation. She’d been watching him write a letter in French and on that basis assumed he was French. Given her accent he thought at first that she was Danish. Later it seemed appropriate to her that their first conversation had been about...

When war came​ to Sarajevo in 1992 almost the only thing about the city known to the aid workers and journalists who made their way there was that it was the place where a Bosnian Serb assassin called Gavrilo Princip had started the First World War. Most had only the haziest notion of who had ruled Bosnia before the 20th century, or what had happened there after the war ended. But Princip...

Diary: In Thessaloniki

Mark Mazower, 22 November 2012

I arrived in Thessaloniki at the end of October, one hundred years almost to the day after the Greeks marched in to claim the city, ending centuries of Ottoman rule. I’d been invited to a conference commemorating the centenary but it was the current crisis that was on everyone’s mind. A general strike called to protest against the Eurozone summit had just ended. Still, in...

Under the Ustasha: Sarajevo, 1941-45

Mark Mazower, 6 October 2011

I last flew into Sarajevo on 28 June 1994. The besieged city was momentarily quiet. Forces loyal to Milosevic and Karadzic looked down from the hills, but a demilitarisation agreement was holding firm. On the drive from the airport, I shared a ride with an Austrian journalist, in town because it was 80 years to the day since Archduke Franz Ferdinand had been shot. ‘What do people think...

Short Cuts: The Armenian Genocide

Mark Mazower, 8 April 2010

American Samoa, a tiny remnant of old-fashioned gunboat diplomacy in the Pacific, is permitted to send a single member to the House of Representatives in Washington. He is not allowed to vote on the floor of the House – American Samoans are US nationals but not citizens – but thanks to an obscure procedural anomaly he can vote in committee. So it was that on 4 March Samoan...

Prizefighters: the UN

Mark Mazower, 22 March 2007

As you speed down the freeway from JFK towards the Manhattan skyline, it is easy to overlook a long, low, neoclassical building that stands by the lake in Flushing Meadow. Built for the 1939 World’s Fair as the New York City Building, it was turned into a wartime ice rink before becoming the first home of the United Nations. The skaters were banished, the decorators cleaned the place...

‘Live your myth in Greece,’ the Greek National Tourism Office urges us. This summer’s posters feature a young couple, children running along the beach behind them, while an anonymous columned temple hovers implausibly in the Aegean haze. Greece, it seems, has no history except ancient history. In Turkey, too, you can swim in the morning, and climb up to the theatre of...

The G-Word: The Armenian Massacres

Mark Mazower, 8 February 2001

Last October James Rogan, a Republican congressman from California, and manager of the impeachment campaign against Clinton, faced the prospect of a tight re-election battle. His district had been targeted by the Democrats. Crucial to the outcome was the largest concentration of Armenian Americans in the US. To garner their 23,000 votes, Rogan – whose only-ever excursion outside the...

One of Hitler’s Inflatables: Quisling

Mark Mazower, 20 January 2000

It was not always easy being a Fascist prophet in interwar Europe. The local electorate seemed deaf to one’s warnings and strangely faithful to old, uncharismatic Conservatives or stolid Labour leaders. Mussolini and Hitler were exhilarating examples of success, but they seemed to scare off as many potential recruits to the cause as they attracted. Oswald Mosley was only one of the numerous would-be saviours of the Right to suffer by such association; Léon Degrelle in Belgium was another. Without an army behind them, most Fascists badly needed fate to lend them a hand in one way or another. Ioannis Metaxas was a Parliamentary failure in Greece before being parachuted into power at the whim of an authoritarian monarch, while only the Second World War and a German invasion rescued the Croatian Fascist Ante Pavelic from the monotony of exile and enabled him to attain power in Zagreb.

Waldheim goes to war

Mark Mazower, 23 June 1988

Around noon on 16 August 1943, Dimitri Apostolou, a young Greek peasant, returned to his home village of Komeno in north-west Greece. German troops had just pulled out after a raid lasting some seven hours. In the charred ruins of the houses timbers were still burning. Corpses had begun to swell in the heat. The belly of one woman had been slit open, and a chicken had begun to drag her entrails along the road. Shortly after he saw this, Apostolou fainted.


Armenian Massacres

8 February 2001

Mark Mazower writes: It is true that the ‘Blue Book’ was published as part of the wartime British propaganda campaign. It does not follow that its contents are fabricated. Osman Streater mentions Bryce and Toynbee’s earlier work on German atrocities in France and Belgium. The most recent research on this subject by Home and Kramer (Journal of Modern History, March 1994) finds that...

New World Chaos

Rodric Braithwaite, 24 January 2013

Mark Mazower has written many elegant but gloomy books about the unending capacity of the Europeans to destroy one another. His new book is elegant, perceptive, stimulating and erudite. It deals...

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Let’s Learn from the English: The Nazi Empire

Richard J. Evans, 25 September 2008

As a young man, Adolf Hitler became a devotee of the music-dramas of Richard Wagner, and spent much of his meagre income on tickets for performances of Lohengrin and other pseudo-medieval...

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Back in the now remote summer of 1990, when we were still celebrating the birth of a ‘new Europe’, a book was published simultaneously in several European languages. Written by...

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