Fall-Out and the German People

The Political Climate in Pausewang’s Novel Die Wolke (1987) and Anike Hage’s Manga Adaptation (2013)

in European Comic Art
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This article compares Gudrun Pausewang’s 1987 West German young adult novel Die Wolke to Anike Hage’s 2013 manga adaptation. In so doing, it charts the development of West/Germans’ relationship to the outside world over the quarter-century separating the texts. I begin by considering the perceived threat of German annihilation – whether nuclear or environmental – in each era, as well as the change in German attitudes to democratic institutions since reunification. I then analyse each Germany’s relation to its respective role in the Second World War, before examining how West/Germans in each text express either a German or a European identity. The article finds evidence in Hage’s adaptation of a decided shift in German thinking from a predominantly nationalist perspective towards an informed, pan-European and increasingly international outlook.