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

By Caroline Pearce (auth.)

This ebook examines a number of public debates at the Nazi legacy in Germany on the grounds that Schröder's SDP-Green coalition got here to energy in 1998. A principal subject matter is the 'dialectic of normality' wherein references to Nazi earlier impression upon current normality. The publication is a invaluable source for college students of up to date German politics, heritage and culture.

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Die Unfiihigkeit zu trauern offers a psychological insight into German responses to the trauma of the collapse of the Third Reich. However, it is intrinsically human rather than uniquely German to repress trauma. Moreover, just as the Allies found it difficult to class the Germans into 'grades' of Nazis, so it would be unwise to attempt to place post-war Germans into the categories provided by the psychological studies in the book. Despite the problems associated with the term Vergangenheitsbewiiltigung, the concept has held a dominant role in the national - particularly leftliberal discourse on the legacy of the Holocaust since the 1960s.

Despite initial optimism that 'inner unity' could be achieved, divided memory became all the more apparent in the framework of grave economic and social divergence and difficulties encountered in fusing what had become two very different nations with two distinct narratives on the Nazi past. Left-liberals such as Gunter Grass had viewed German division as 'punishment' for Auschwitz and were fearful of a dangerous renationalisation of German, European and Global Recollection of the Nazi Past 2S German politics if this negative past were allowed to fade from national memory.

J talk of uniqueness and incomparability surrounding the Holocaust [... J promotes evasion of moral and historical responsibility. The repeated assertion that whatever the United States has done to blacks, Native Americans, Vietnamese, or others pales in comparison to the Holocaust is true - and evasive. And whereas serious and sustained encounter with the history of hundreds of years of enslavement and oppression of blacks might imply costly demands on Americans to redress the wrongs of the past, contemplating the Holocaust is virtually cost-free: a few cheap tears (Novick 2001: 15).

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