In this week's New Statesman: The myth of the Fourth Reich

Why Germany has to save Europe | Books of the Year | Jemima Khan on Pakistan | Stuart Maconie on EMI

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In this week's New Statesman cover story, historian Richard J Evans, author of The Third Reich trilogy, describes the "spectre of history" looming over Europe and Germany's role in the eurozone crisis -- but argues that this has less to do with Nazism than with the economic trauma of the 1920s.

Elsewhere, in the annual pre-Christmas Books of the Year, contributors and friends of the NS -- from A S Byatt and Marina Warner to Martha Nussbaum and Melvyn Bragg -- choose their favourite reads of 2011. Pick up a copy to see which Ed - Miliband or Balls - was gripped by the weepy bestseller, One Day.

In her first column as associate editor, Jemima Khan reports on her recent trip to Pakistan where US drone strikes have exacted a horrible civilian death toll. David Blanchflower shares his hunch that "a European bank secretly had to be rescued with the infusion of capital" at the end of August, and the NS Diary comes courtesy of Evgeny Lebedev, who discusses his father's Russian TV punch, free press and the Leveson inquiry, and his newborn son.

All this plus John Burnside's new Nature column, 6 Music DJ Stuart Maconie on the decline and fall of EMI, Rafael Behr on the backbench revolt facing Cameron, Laurie Penny on the tactics of the US pro-life lobby and a new poem by this year's Forward Prize for Best First Collection winner, Rachael Boast.

Alice Gribbin is a Teaching-Writing Fellow at the Iowa Writers' Workshop. She was formerly the editorial assistant at the New Statesman.

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PMQs review: Theresa May shows how her confidence has grown

After her Brexit speech, the PM declared of Jeremy Corbyn: "I've got a plan - he doesn't have a clue". 

The woman derided as “Theresa Maybe” believes she has neutralised that charge. Following her Brexit speech, Theresa May cut a far more confident figure at today's PMQs. Jeremy Corbyn inevitably devoted all six of his questions to Europe but failed to land a definitive blow.

He began by denouncing May for “sidelining parliament” at the very moment the UK was supposedly reclaiming sovereignty (though he yesterday praised her for guaranteeing MPs would get a vote). “It’s not so much the Iron Lady as the irony lady,” he quipped. But May, who has sometimes faltered against Corbyn, had a ready retort. The Labour leader, she noted, had denounced the government for planning to leave the single market while simultaneously seeking “access” to it. Yet “access”, she went on, was precisely what Corbyn had demanded (seemingly having confused it with full membership). "I've got a plan - he doesn't have a clue,” she declared.

When Corbyn recalled May’s economic warnings during the referendum (“Does she now disagree with herself?”), the PM was able to reply: “I said if we voted to leave the EU the sky would not fall in and look at what has happened to our economic situation since we voted to leave the EU”.

Corbyn’s subsequent question on whether May would pay for single market access was less wounding than it might have been because she has consistently refused to rule out budget contributions (though yesterday emphasised that the days of “vast” payments were over).

When the Labour leader ended by rightly hailing the contribution immigrants made to public services (“The real pressure on public services comes from a government that slashed billions”), May took full opportunity of the chance to have the last word, launching a full-frontal attack on his leadership and a defence of hers. “There is indeed a difference - when I look at the issue of Brexit or any other issues like the NHS or social care, I consider the issue, I set out my plan and I stick to it. It's called leadership, he should try it some time.”

For May, life will soon get harder. Once Article 50 is triggered, it is the EU 27, not the UK, that will take back control (the withdrawal agreement must be approved by at least 72 per cent of member states). With MPs now guaranteed a vote on the final outcome, parliament will also reassert itself. But for now, May can reflect with satisfaction on her strengthened position.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.