Download Contemporary Germany and the Nazi Legacy: Remembrance, by Caroline Pearce (auth.) PDF

By Caroline Pearce (auth.)

This ebook examines various public debates at the Nazi legacy in Germany given that Schröder's SDP-Green coalition got here to energy in 1998. A principal topic is the 'dialectic of normality' wherein references to Nazi earlier impression upon current normality. The e-book is a important source for college kids of latest German politics, heritage and culture.

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Extra info for Contemporary Germany and the Nazi Legacy: Remembrance, Politics and the Dialectic of Normality

Example text

In his famous speech of 8 May 1985, President Richard von Weizsacker significantly referred to 8 May 1945 as a day of German liberation rather than capitulation. He stressed the need to remember Nazi atrocities and to distinguish between the plurality of memories of the Second World War, but he also emphasised the positive progress that Germany had made in the forty years since liberation: We truly have no grounds for arrogance and self-righteousness. Yet we may thankfully recall the developments of the past 40 years if we use our own historical memory to guide our actions in the present and the unresolved tasks that await us (cited in Gill and Steffani 1986: 188).

The extent of wartime collaboration in this country has since come to light, but in the initial decades after the war the national myth that emerged told the story of resistance and largely ignored or downplayed the role of Vichy France. At the same time, accounts of deportation included both those deported as part of the compulsory labour service and those sent to concentration camps and thus lessened the singularity of the Holocaust in national memory (on the 'Vichy syndrome', see Rousso 1990).

Yet it was evidently too early to speak of a 'normal' discourse on German national memory. Kohl's use of the unfortunate phrase die Gnade der spiiten Geburt ('the grace of late birth') for example to refer to those too young to have been implicated in the Third Reich, his own generation included, led to the accusation that he was trying to draw a line under the past. There was also controversy in 1985 when Kohl invited President Reagan to lay a wreath at Bitburg cemetery, where members of the Waffen-SS are buried.

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