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The Impossible Border: Germany and the East, 1914-1922 Hardcover – September 27, 2010


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Editorial Reviews

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"Sammartino's title hardly does justice to the scope of her short but inspiring, well-written, well-researched, and thought-provoking work. As she explains, borders define differences determined by various mixtures of history, culture, and geography. Sammartino tests Hannah Arendt's theory of totalitarianism as a transnational form of analysis through the lens of the fluidity of borders throughout eastern Europe during and after WWI. Where context defines borders, German victory in the East inspired hope in an expanded German state, whereas defeat redefined the East as a final frontier to escape the ignominy of Germany's postwar collapse. . . . Summing up: Highly recommended."—Choice (July 2011)



"In this excellent book, Annemarie H. Sammartino offers a lively transnational investigation of how a shifting eastern border and mass migration contributed to a 'crisis of sovereignty' in Germany during and immediately after the First World War. . . . She succeeds brilliantly not only in showing how Weimar was weakened by its inability to control its eastern border or achieve ideological coherence in its conception of people, state and territory, but also in explaining how for the political right-wing, the deceptively simple criterion of race and longing for a utopian east together led to an abandonment of territorial frontiers and the adoption of a new, ultimately destructive national project based on boundaries of blood."—Alexander Watson, German History (December 2011)



"In The Impossible Border, Annemarie H. Sammartino offers an important and fascinating study of the history of migration across Weimar Germany's eastern border. In so doing, she addresses a number of key aspects of the history of Weimar Germany: settlement policy, emigration and immigration, how Jews and attitudes toward Jews were affected by border crossings, and the ways in which Germans imagined their eastern neighbors."—Richard Bessel, University of York, author of Germany after the First World War and Germany 1945: From War to Peace



"The Impossible Border is an excellent book. Annemarie H. Sammartino dramatically reveals the impact on the precarious state of Weimar Germany of mass migration in the aftermath of total war."—Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius, Lindsay Young Professor and Director of the Center for the Study of War and Society, University of Tennessee, author of War Land on the Eastern Front and The German Myth of the East, 1800 to the Present

About the Author

Annemarie H. Sammartino is Associate Professor of History at Oberlin College.


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