Hauptseite fachpublikation.de

Verzeichnis aller Publikationen

Verzeichnis aller Autoren


Dokumente kostenlos publizieren

Impressum fachpublikation.de



Dr. Rainer Hering: Germany Today - Re-writing the Nazi Past?

This easy way of escaping from the Nazi past has to be seen in the whole context of dealing with the "Third Reich" in the Federal Republic of Germany. It is possible to distinguish four phases that, however, overlap:

1) The years between 1945 and the mid-sixties are characterized by suppressing the intense and personal memories of the Nazi past. The economic rebuilding of the country was the centre of people"s activities. Books about the "Third Reich" described this period of time as some kind of "accident". Suddenly in 1933 the Nazis had seized power and had as suddenly disappeared twelve years later. Only a few people with a special strength of character and a conservative attitude were involved in the resistance, especially soldiers and priests. The Allies were to be shown that not the whole of German society had agreed with Nazi rule.

2) In connection with the students" rebellion during the late sixties and early seventies, the end of the Cold War and the social reforms, the Nazi past of the Federal Republic, of professors and teachers, of the students" parents came into view and was described critically. The older generation was attacked - sometimes in a rather simplistic manner. The resistance of the working class, the Social Democrats and Communists was rediscovered, and books written in the German Democratic Republic were read. The sources of these publications were printed material, especially books and newspapers published during the twelve years of the "Third Reich".

3) Since the mid-seventies many highly sophisticated studies have been written, which have scrutinized German society during the "Third Reich" and are based on unpublished sources in the archives and methodically reflected interviews (oral history). All aspects of ordinary lives in whole cities during that period have been investigated. Major points of investigation are the problems and limits of the National Socialists total claim to power. How important were local, social and religious milieus? Was age an important factor in connection with the individual being attracted to National Socialism? This research shows that surveillance was not that strict in the "Third Reich". There was a scope of action, which depended on the social position of the people. Resistance in one sector of social life did not necessarily mean that general agreement with National Socialism was impossible.

4) Side by side since the mid-eighties, there has been a trend towards revisionism, intensified by German Unification in 1990/1991. People are meant to be proud again, proud to be German. In the sudden quest for "national identity", historians are supposed to point out the positive and suppress the negative aspects. The reconstruction, the rebuilding of Western Germany after 1945, especially the "Wirtschaftswunder" (economic miracle) of the fifties, now blocks our view of the millions of deaths in concentration camps and during the Second World War. The difference between Germany and other countries gradually disappears: The evils of Nazism, although terrible, do not significantly differ from other evils which have plagued our century, from the Gulag Archipelago to the Killing Fields of Cambodia.

In 1982 the Christian Democrat politician Helmut Kohl was elected Chancellor and the political climate changed (so-called "Wende"). He considers himself free from any guilt by virtue of his youth and regards himself to be the "first Federal Chancellor of the post-Hitler generation". He believes Communism and National Socialism to be just two varieties of totalitarianism.

Seite zurück  Eingangsseite  Seite vor


Seite zurück  Eingangsseite  Seite vor

Home | WorldWideBooks | imMEDIAtely

Stand der letzten Aktualisierung: 16. August 1999
Bei Fragen und Anregungen zu dieser Website wenden Sie sich bitte an: webmaster@fachpublikation.de