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Centre for Geopolitics

Providing historically-grounded approaches to enduring geopolitical problems.
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In Partnership with the Irish History Seminar at the Faculty of History

It is now some hundred years since the Irish Free State and the Weimar Republic established the first diplomatic relations between the Dublin government and Germany. Both were new states, which were still in the shadow of Britain, a principal victor power in the World War. The two countries soon found that they had much in common in other areas as well. After the Second World War, the relationship really took off and despite some tension, most notably after the financial crisis of 2008, became embedded in their common membership of the EU, which also eased the Irish-British-German triangle. After Brexit, however, the situation is in flux again. Against this background, the Centre for Geopolitics and the Irish History Seminar have brought together Professors Gisela Holfter and Eugenio Biagini to discuss this connection and what might lie ahead.

Speaker: Dr Gisela Holfter studied in Cologne, Cambridge and St Louis, and worked at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand, before coming to Limerick in 1996. She is director of the Centre for Irish-German Studies at the University of Limerick. Her research interests include German-Irish relations, German literature, exile studies, migration and intercultural communication. Recent publications include An Irish sanctuary: German-speaking refugees in Ireland 1933–1945 (with H. Dickel, Berlin/Boston: de Gruyter 2017), Ireland in the European Eye (edited with Bettina Migge, Dublin: Royal Irish Academy 2019) and Irish-German Diplomatic Relations (1929-2019), (editor, WVT: Trier 2020).

Respondent: Eugenio Biagini is Professor of Modern and Contemporary History at Cambridge and a Fellow of Sidney Sussex College. He has spent most of his career at Cambridge but has also held positions at Newcastle and Princeton. His research focuses on the social, economic and political history of democracy, particularly in relation to Ireland, a subject on which he published widely. His most recent works include The Cambridge Social History of Ireland since 1740 (as editor, with Mary Daly, published in 2017) and A Cultural History of Democracy (2021, six volumes, of which he is the General Editor). Currently, Eugenio is working on a comparative study of religious and ethnic minorities in twentieth-century Ireland. 

Chair:  Brendan Simms is Professor of the History of European International Relations and Director of the Centre for Geopolitics at the University of Cambridge. He is also founder and President of the Henry Jackson Society, a London-based think tank devoted to the spread of democracy and human rights worldwide, and President of the Munich-based start-up think tank Project for Democratic Union, which seeks to establish a single Eurozone state on the lines of the Anglo-American unions. His publications, which have been translated into many languages, European and non-European, include Europe, the struggle for supremacy, 1453 to the present day (Penguin Press, 2013), Britain’s Europe. A thousand years of conflict and cooperation (Penguin Press, 2016) and (with Benjamin Zeeb) Europa am AbgrundPladoyer fuer die Vereinigten Staaten von Europe (C.H. Beck, 2016). His most recent book is Hitler. Only the world was enough (Penguin Press, 2019). His current concern is how to establish a new order for the continent after Brexit which recognises both Britain’s power and her interest in the success of the European integration project.

Register on Eventbrite here


Thursday, 14 October, 2021 - 17:30 to 19:00
Event location: 
Sidney Sussex