Jeffrey Herf
ifk Research Fellow

Duration of fellowship
31. May 2010 bis 30. June 2010

Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World: Collaboration, Cultural Fusion and Ideological Diffusion from Berlin, 1941-1945


At the IFK Jeffrey Herf will reconsider the thesis of "reactionary modernism" that he first articulated in a book by that title in 1984 in two ways. First, he will examine the state of scholarship regarding technology and cultural anti-modernism in the Weimar Republic and Nazi Germany since the publication of Reactionary Modernism. In doing so, he will address arguments about generalizations about modernity and historical specificity of German history, and will be working on an essay about the fate of reactionary modernism and reactionary modernists in Germany after 1945. Second, Jeffrey Herf will examine the relevance of the concept of reactionary modernism for understanding the emergence of radical Islamism in the Middle East since World War II. He will explore differences and similarities between the paradoxical mixture of enthusiasm for modern technology and rejection of Enlightenment values in early and mid-twentieth century Europe and in political Islamism of recent decades. He will also explore writings in political, intellectual and cultural history that examine the similarities and differences between the totalitarian ideologies of Europe's mid-twentieth century and those of radical Islamism in recent decades.


Jeffrey Herf is Professor of Modern European History at the University of Maryland in College Park, located in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.


(among others): Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World, Yale University Press, 2009; The Jewish Enemy: Nazi Propaganda during World War II and the Holocaust, Harvard University Press, 2006; Divided Memory: The Nazi Past in the Two Germanys, Harvard University Press, 1997; Reactionary Modernism: Technology, Culture and Politics in Weimar and the Third Reich, Cambridge University Press, 1984.