The world remembers the seventieth anniversary of the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact this year. The alliance of the two totalitarian systems, the communist and the national socialist state, the alliance of Stalin and Hitler – though proved to be transitory – determined the fate of whole Europe for years. It is also obvious that in the case of the subsistence of this grotesque coalition, World War II could have taken an entirely different turn.
The anniversary provided to opportunity for reconsidering and historically processing the events. The Institute for History at the Faculty of Arts of Eötvös Loránd University aimed at the organisation of an international conference or workshop. The event was finally organised by the Department for Modern and Contemporary Global History. The international partners were partly selected thematically (concerned countries) and partly along the lines of our university’s existing international relations. Our partners were the Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Vienna, University of Warsaw, and Michel de Montaigne University of Bordeaux. Our project was supported by The Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency of the European Union.
Our aim was to allow the History majors – most of them undertaking teacher training – of the five participating countries to discuss the events related to the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact in the plenary sessions and in the workgroups of the scientific conference and to get acquainted with the opinion and point of view of the students from other countries.
Every partner sent its delegation to the event, which was organised between December 3-5, 2009. As it is clearly visible from the presentations uploaded to the website, both students and lecturers gave their best and we can consider the conference professionally successful. We are also sure that everyone returned home with positive memories and many friends richer, and our event contributed to the building of a new, common Europe, in which such shameless treaties as the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact have no place at all.
Budapest, December 6, 2009
Dr. Zoltán Maruzsa
Assistant professor, ELTE BTK