Tis the season to be selfish. Right after the global financial crisis exploded in 2008, many economists fretted that countries looking to hold on to their share of a shrinking pie would become more self-interested and protectionist, plunging the planet into an even sharper downturn, just as happened in the 1930s after the Great Depression
In September 1919, the year after the end of World War I, a German captain named Karl Mayr, who ran a propaganda unit in charge of educating demobilized soldiers in nationalism and scapegoating, received an inquiry from a soldier named Adolf Gemlich about the army’s position on “the Jewish question.” Mayr tasked a young subordinate named Adolf Hitler to answer. The resulting Gemlich letter, as it is known to historians, is believed to be the first record of Hitler’s anti-Semitic beliefs and has been an important document in Holocaust studies for decades.
For over a decade, Bosnian Serb general Ratko Mladic was one of the world’s most wanted men. Tuesday evening, May 31, as the metal doors of the Dutch prison in Scheveningen closed behind him, their clang heralded an overdue victory for international justice and possibly a new beginning for Serbia, where the general spent most of his fugitive years.
In the years following the Cold War and the hemorrhaging of Yugoslavia, Serbia earned the dubious distinction as Europe’s pariah state, widely viewed as a brutal aggressor in the Balkan wars.