A BETTER PEACE welcomes Ian Ona Johnson to the studio to discuss his new book Faustian Bargain: The Soviet-German Partnership and the Origins of the Second World War. Ian joins our own Michael Neiberg to not only discuss his writing, editing and publication process but their conversation ventures into the usefulness of history. Written before the hostilities in Ukraine began, the alliances of the interwar period that the book examines offer great insights into the behavior of Russia and a number of the nations affected by the war. Their conversation even turns to the latest debate amongst historians regarding presentism or the tendency to interpret past events in terms of modern values and concepts.
Understanding that the mores, the beliefs, the assumptions that informed decisions in the past that we’re trying to understand are fundamentally different from our own – it helps us to understand causation, it helps us to answer a lot of the questions we’re seeking to answer.
Ian Ona Johnson is the P.J. Moran Family Assistant Professor of Military History at the University of Notre Dame. A historian of war, diplomacy, and technology, he received his PhD from the Ohio State University in 2016, with a dissertation that explored secret military cooperation between the Soviet Union and Germany in the interwar period. He is the author of Faustian Bargain: The Soviet-German Partnership and the Origins of the Second World War.
Michael Neiberg is the Chair of War Studies at the U.S. Army War College.
The views expressed in this presentation are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Army War College, U.S. Army, or Department of Defense.
Photo Description: Protests Against War in Ukraine 059 – Three Tyrants Stalin Putin Hitler 2
Photo Credit: Amaury Laporte, via Wikimedia Commons