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.
Sean A. McPhail is a doctoral candidate in the Department of English at the University of Toronto. He holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in English and German literatures and a Master of Arts in English literature from Queen's University in Kingston, Canada. His research focuses on the relationship between kinship and commemoration in the works of English Great War writers like Siegfried Sassoon. Other scholarly interests include twentieth-century German fiction and the short story. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org