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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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The Moral Nation

The Moral Nation

(p.280) Chapter 12 The Moral Nation
The Sins of the Fathers

Jeffrey K. Olick

University of Chicago Press

This chapter summarizes the preceding chapters and focuses on the idea of the moral nation, which usurped the older idea of the reliable nation in German politics. Olick asserts that beginning in the early 1960s and culminating in the social-liberal coalition under Brandt from 1969 to 1974, a new tone grew out of discontent with old policies and structures that emphasized renewal, reform, progress, and reworking images of the past. Olick cites fascism theory, generational divides, and a lack of progress toward German reunification as causes for this new discontent, and also discusses how the Nazi period began to be seen as the product of long-term trends rather than an aberration. In the era of the moral nation, Olick argues that the conception of collective memory was altered because the accumulated past of the Federal Republic began to be recognized as part of history.

Keywords:   moral nation, West Germany, coalition government, World War II, WWII

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