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The Sins of the FathersGermany, Memory, Method$
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Jeffrey K. Olick

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226386492

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226386522.001.0001

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Germany in the West

Germany in the West

(p.161) Chapter 6 Germany in the West
The Sins of the Fathers

Jeffrey K. Olick

University of Chicago Press

In this chapter, Olick deals with the issues of German memory separate from the Holocaust, and the challenges of making peace in Europe after the second World War. These challenges included reconciliation with France, the question of West German celebrations and holidays, and the issue of German remilitarization. Using post-war anniversary presentations and speeches made by government figures to analyze these strategies, Olick shows how officials like Adenauer and Heuss approached these problems by referring to the Nazi past as an interruption rather than a defining feature of German history and by employing a rhetoric of temporal distancing. Olick argues that postwar commemorations in West Germany concerned themselves with the validity of the celebration and of the state itself, and with distance and difference from the past.

Keywords:   West Germany, Nazism, commemoration, World War II, WWII

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