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History Professor conducts extensive research in Europe and publishes book about the Saar

From 2005 to 2006, Georgia Highlands College Associate Professor of History Bronson Long spent his time living in Paris on a dissertation fellowship—awarded to him by the French government—sifting through the French Foreign Ministry archives.

He also took his archival research on the road, taking several trips to archives in Germany and Switzerland.

In the year following his stay in Paris, Long was awarded the Dr. Richard M. Hunt Fellowship by the American Council on Germany, which allowed him to stay an additional summer in Germany conducting research in the archives there.

“I very much enjoyed the archival research. But it took a lot of attention to detail and time to go through literally hundreds of boxes of documents of diplomatic texts such as memos, telegraphs and letters, almost all of which were in either French or German,” he said.

All this time and research went into a subject he finds to be both fascinating and insightful: the Saar.  

“All of these documents helped me piece together what I see as a complicated and fascinating story about the Saar, a small but economically and militarily strategic German territory on the border with France,” he said. A place about the size of Floyd and Bartow counties combined, he added.

Having spent time living in both France and Germany learning about the area, Long said that his choice to write about the Saar and the history surrounding it allowed him to penetrate a facet of the history there that many English-speaking historians have seemingly ignored. 

“I ended up focusing on the Saar because during the course of preliminary doctoral research, I discovered that the dispute over the Saar was a huge issue between France and West Germany in the ten years after the Second World War, years that were crucial for the Cold War, Franco-German relations and the establishment of European institutions,” he said.

Long’s book, which he wrote in the eyars following his arrival as a professor at GHC in 2007, is titled “No Easy Occupation: French Control of the German Saar, 1944-1957.” It is slated to hit shelves in October. Camden House, a peer-reviewed publisher of academic books on German literature, is including the book in its post-1945 German History series called “German History in the Context.” Additionally, GHC Art Professor Brian Barr drew the maps included in the book.

“I think people should read [the book] as a story of how difficult military occupations are, especially those such as France's control of the Saar that seek to change a people’s national status and identity. In the long run, military occupiers are rarely seen as liberators as some alleged would be the case for the United States in Iraq. Even under the comparatively more favorable conditions for success that the French experienced in the Saar, occupations that try to transform other countries into something else often misread that country’s history and culture and have great difficulties accomplishing their goals or convincing the people whose territory they control that they are not meddlesome foreigners ” Long said. “[It] also shows how complicated border disputes and seeking peaceful relations between countries can be.”

For more information on the book, please visit the publisher’s website here: http://www.camden-house.com/store/viewItem.asp?idProduct=14955


Bronson Long

Page last updated: May 22, 2015