Historický ústav akademie věd České republiky, v. v. i.

RUTTNER Florian, Mag. Dr.

Postdoctoral Researcher of the Department of the 20th Century History

Email: ruttner@hiu.cas.cz
Tel: +420 225 443 244

Current Project

"Edvard Beneš – Between the Scylla of Stalinism and the Charybdis of Mitteleuropa" (Working Title)
After finishing my dissertation, which focused on Edvard Beneš critique of fascism and National Socialism, I was left wondering how – taking into account Beneš’s clear-sighted analysis of National Socialism as a form of totalitarian rule, which also informed his policy – he was caught off-guard by Stalinism and underestimated its potential for totalitarian control. The goal of my current project is to shed light onto this question. In order to do so, I have identified two sets of issues that I would like to explore in my project.
The first step would be to reconstruct Beneš’s theory of Stalinism or, more fundamentally, to pose the question of whether such a theory even existed or if Stalin’s rule was simply categorized under "bolshevism". This question will be answered by scrutinizing Beneš’s various attempts to conceptualize this form of rule and by comparing them to similar attempts by Hannah Arendt and Max Horkheimer.
The second step will focus on Beneš’s notion of "Mitteleuropa", as potential weaknesses in Beneš’s theory of Stalinism notwithstanding, remarks in 1950s texts by Beneš’s secretary Edvard Taborsky indicate that Beneš was not as blind to the threat of Stalinism as is often criticized. He saw the danger, but the "New Slav Policy", which implied greater dependence on the Soviet Union and which Beneš advocated for post-war Europe, was driven by another fear as well – the fear of a German-dominated central Europe, as had been conceptualized by Friedrich Naumann during World War I under the label "Mitteleuropa". By reconstructing Beneš’s critique of the concept of "Mitteleuropa", I want to explain why dependence on the Soviet Union seemed to him the lesser evil.

Research Interests
Theory of Fascism and German National Socialism, Authoritarian Forms of Rule and Movements, History of the völkisch Movement in Austria and Germany, Critical Theory, History and Theory of Antisemitism, Politics of Memory

2017: Dr. phil. (University of Vienna, Department of Political Science)
Thesis Title (English): How Edvard Beneš Rendered Outstanding Services to a Critique of National Socialism. A Contribution to the Critique of Pangermanism
2005: Mag. phil. (University of Vienna, Department of Political Science)
Major in political science, Minor in a combination of fields from history, philosophy and German Studies
Thesis title (English): Georges Sorel, the Ramifications of a Regressive Critique of Capitalism and Enlightenment

International Experience
2002/2003: ERASMUS
Universidad de Cantabria, Santander, Spain
2012: Grant of the AKTION Tschechien-Österreich
Supporting research for the doctoral thesis in Prague archives.

2008: Advancement award of the Theodor Körner Fonds
Project "Mythos versus Emanzipation: Über die Fallstricke und Konsequenzen regressiver Kapitalismuskritik von Sorel zu Foucault"

Since Fall Term 2007: Numerous courses at the University of Vienna, Department of Political Science.