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PostTwo Conferences...and a Recital (David Pike, France, 06/05/19 12:33 am)
Daniel Kowalsky's WAIS posting of May 18 jolted me, written as it was after a silence of nine years. He doesn't know it until he reads this posting, but I'm looking forward to seeing him again, in Barcelona, in a few weeks' time.
We last met in my library a decade ago, when we discussed co-writing what is likely to be my last book, Loyal to the Vozhd, as sequel to In the Service of Stalin (Clarendon Press, 1993). If the Russian archives remain inaccessible, the Prague archives will serve as consolation. The subject is the Spanish Communist Party in 1950-1953 after it had been forced out of France (Operation Boléro). Boléro was partnered with Operation Paprika, the expulsion from France of Central and Eastern European communists. Prague became the choice of exile of most of those deported.
But first I owe WAIS a report on the Chopin recitals in April. The two concerts, held in the Theatre of the American Church in Paris, amounted (I am told) to a success. I forwarded the program in my post of March 29th: http://waisworld.org/go.jsp?id=02a&objectType=post&o=123721&objectTypeId=89728&topicId=143
The three AUP student-pianists and the student-flautist performed well. (In case anyone is surprised to read that Chopin wrote for flute, he was just fourteen at the time, and he was inspired by Rossini.) News of the recitals reached the American Embassy, and from there to the American concert pianist Walter Witt, who is married to a French wife and lives in Paris. He arrived at the first recital during the intermission, and was duly invited to take part in the second, a week later. Another concert pianist, Anne Ibos-Augé, from Perpignan, arrived equally by accident and was similarly enlisted. Out of all this, we expect to see expansion in the Music Department of The American University of Paris, which was my purpose.
To return to Daniel Kowalsky, he doesn't know until now that I am his co-participant in the conference in Barcelona on July 10-13, since I was included in the program after the original program had come out. It was the result of renewing (after a gap of ten years) my membership in the Association of Spanish and Portuguese Historical Studies (ASPHS), formerly the Society (SSPHS). No doubt several WAISers are members, since WAIS is heavy with Hispanists. ASPHS organizes conferences on an annual basis, but rarely in Spain, so that was fortunate for me. It was really too late for me to take part, but somebody dropped out so I dropped in. Since this year's conference falls in the 80th anniversary of the exodus from Spain to France of 450,000 Spanish Republicans, I chose that for my subject. This is Vae Victis! revisited after 50 years away, but I plan to say something new and focus on the propaganda ploys of Franco's embassy in Paris.
And so, Daniel, I look forward to seeing you again!
Another conference comes up in the same month of July, and this time a biggie, in Portsmouth on July 20-26, to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Normandy campaign, very much in the news this week. This is hosted by Global War Studies, headquartered in San Diego, which organized the superb conference in 2014 at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. This one in Portsmouth is pretty much a natural one for me, since I am covering the role of Armeegruppe G and drawing entirely from Wehrmacht records. AG G was von Rundstedt's other army group, but almost as strong as Rommel's. My material is drawn largely from my book Oberbefehl West, 1944, published privately. I have updated this, and will take 25 copies to Portsmouth to share with my fellow-panelists.
I will take the same number of copies of a similar booklet to Barcelona, to distribute to my co-panelists, and shall be happy to send both booklets to WAIS after the two conferences. Below please find links to the programs for each conference.
JE comments: No one stays busier than the Dean of WAISdom, David W. Pike. Best of luck in Portsmouth and Barcelona, David!
Tomorrow, June 6th, is the 75th anniversary of Normandy, the beginning of the end for WWII in the West. Can I invite our seniormost WAISers to send their memories of that day? For starters, how much was reported in the press? How soon did it become apparent that the landings were by and large a success?