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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 New Conservatism

The New Conservatism

(p.322) Chapter 14 The New Conservatism
The Sins of the Fathers

Jeffrey K. Olick

University of Chicago Press

This chapter discusses West Germany’s return to conservatism during the early 1980s. Olick asserts that this political shift began with the downfall of Schmidt, whose continued commitment to Western solidarity caused him to lose support. He explains how, after Schmidt’s loss of popularity and the dissolution of the social-liberal coalition in the fractured Bundestag, the 1982 election of Helmut Kohl as chancellor helped shape this new conservatism. According to Olick, Kohl was a pragmatic Catholic committed to Western integration and a social market economy who argued for a return to the values of the Adenauer era. Olick describes Kohl’s emphasis on value and necessity of historical consciousness despite his rhetorical passivity regarding Germany’s role in the two World Wars. The last part of the chapter focuses on Kohl’s 1984 trip to Israel and insistence on the normalcy of German-Israeli relations, which Olick views as an indication that no such normalcy existed.

Keywords:   West Germany, conservatism, Helmut Schmidt, Helmut Kohl, Israel

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