5 and 6 December 2014
Violence is destructive and must be contained, as conventional wisdom in law-based societies asserts. And yet experience shows that violence is a (and perhaps the) decisive means for revolutionary regimes to not only stay in power but change society for their purposes. Designing society through violence was the topic of this Berliner Colloquium zur Zeitgeschichte, in which the first phases of (counter-)revolutionary regimes–using the examples of the Jacobin period in France, the 1917 October Revolution, the Nazi seizure of power in 1933 and Chile’s 1973 coup d’état–will be examined, compared and discussed. Which institutions were destroyed immediately, and which established first? Who were the agents of violence? How did they handle the structures of the former state? Was law extinguished or newly created? Against what social groups was the terror directed, and what groups were excepted or even courted? How was violence justified and trust in the new order established? What ideological resources and symbolic representations were used? What social promise did the new regime hold?
Conference languages were German and English.