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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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Epilogues: Berlin Is Not Bonn

Epilogues: Berlin Is Not Bonn

(p.397) Chapter 18 Epilogues: Berlin Is Not Bonn
The Sins of the Fathers

Jeffrey K. Olick

University of Chicago Press

Here, Olick explores how the history of German memory from 1949 to 1989 underwrote the transformations that led to the present, and the ways in which the struggles of the present are constituted by and in dialogue with the memory of the earlier story. He begins by discussing the fall of the Berlin Wall and the press toward unification, Germany’s difficult relationship with its Nazi past in the context of world conflicts, the problem of Neo-Nazism in the 1990s, and an assessment of the changes in constructed images of the Nazi past in the first decade after 1989. Olick presents an argument that German history politics has changed significantly in recent years, and that ritualization has continued to lead relativization. He focuses on methods of German public discourse, particularly the work of the novelist and critic W.G. Sebald and the scandal surrounding the author Günter Grass. In conclusion, Olick states that there is no such thing as a “normal” nation, and that Germany is still struggling to come to terms with its past.

Keywords:   West Germany, Germany, World War II, Nazism, Berlin, politics, historical memory, commemoration, WWII

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