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Building Europe on Expertise

Innovators, Organizers, Networkers
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Can expertise be a powerful force that both connects and fragments a continent like Europe? How were experts to cope with the dark side of their work from aligning with Hitler, Mussolini, and Stalin to feeding the Cold War? 

In this Podcast episode book authors Martin Kohlrausch and Helmuth Trischler introduce a story of experts (un)making Europe that has fascinated them in particular. It is the devastating story of Europe’s attempt to launch a rocket into space as the third nation behind the Soviet Union and the US. While the attempt seemed successful at first as the impressive rocket with the telling name Europa launched into the sky, only minutes later, catastrophe hit as spectators watched the rocket explode in front of their very eyes… What had gone wrong?

Also in this episode…

Martin Kohlrausch explains the fascinating interplay of experts’ biographies, institutions and technology, how those relate to the Europa rocket catastrophe and why the complexity of European organisations and institutions became so attractive to experts. He also dwells on the changing role and perceptions of experts in a societal context.

Helmuth Trischler illustrates how Europe is much more than what we see on the map. Europe has multiple faces and geographies, multiple Europes made by experts. He provides insights into how he perceives the future role of experts and scientists, considering the global challenges the world is facing – and what John Schellnhuber and Elon Musk have to do with it all.  


  • You can purchase the book Building Europe On Expertise at Palgrave Macmillan.
  • For more personal insights of the Making Europe book authors, visit our Blog.

Featuring in this episode

Martin Kohlrausch
Martin Kohlrausch Professor

Martin Kohlrausch teaches European political history at the KU Leuven, Belgium. His main research interests are the relation of modern politics and mass media and the history of experts in the 20th century. He recently published the monograph ‘Brokers of Modernity. East Central Europe and the Rise of Modernist Architects. 1910-1950’ (Leuven: LUP, 2019).

Helmuth Trischler
Helmuth Trischler Professor

Helmuth Trischler is Head of Research at the Deutsches Museum and teaches modern history and history of technology at Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Germany. He also serves as director of the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society. He has published books on history of science, technology, and innovation, environmental and mobility history. Helmuth Trischler has been involved in a multitude of national and European research programs, including the ESF-sponsored networks Tensions of Europe and Inventing Europe from the beginnings. He has published 6 books, 20 edited volumes, and some 100 articles on social history, history of science and technology, transport history and environmental history.

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