” and “economic miracle” established a basis for a different form of reclaiming innocence, one roundly critiqued by Theodor W. Adorno in his essay “What Does Coming to Terms with the Past Mean?” 1 In the 1980s, Chancellor Helmut Kohl's famous
Innocence and the Politics of Memory
Jonathan Bach and Benjamin Nienass
The Germans Must Have Done Something Right
Germany-watchers and many Germans have long been sour about the unified country. Often for well-founded reasons, there are few policy or cultural areas that have not been subjected to withering criticism: failed integration of immigrants, an antiquated political economy, insufficient coming-to-terms with the past, atrophied parties, or lackluster foreign policy. Nevertheless, the twentieth anniversary of the fall of the Wall and unification is an appropriate moment to pause and reflect on the accomplishments of contemporary Germany—export champion, environmental pioneer, cultural leader, and staunch multilateral European. Despite all of the problems of the last twenty years and the daunting challenges ahead, perhaps Germans can dare some cautious optimism and even a sense of pride.
Diversity in Germany: A Historical Perspective
This article explores the changing perception of "diversity" and "cultural difference" in Germany and shows how they were central in the construction of "self" and "other" throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries affecting minorities such as Jews, Poles, and others. It examines different levels of legal and political action toward minorities and immigrants in this process and explores how the perception and legal framework for the Turkish minority in the past sixty years was influenced by historical patterns of such perceptions and their memory. The article tries to shed some light on how the nature of coming-to-terms with the past ( Vergangenheitsbewältigung ) and the memory of the Holocaust have long prohibited a broader discussion on inclusion and exclusion in German society. It makes some suggestions as to what forced Germans in the postunification era to reconsider legislation, as well as society's approach to "self" and "other" under the auspices of the closing of the "postwar period" and a newly emerging united Europe.
Facing Hitler: German Responses to 'Downfall'
Bernd Eichinger's Der Untergang is the first all-German production in fifty years to feature Hitler in a full-length dramatic film. This article explores the choices and intentions of the producer/scriptwriter, aspects of German public opinion about Hitler, and the critical responses to what was widely seen as an effort to humanize Hitler on screen-though I argue it was ultimately more an effort to finally lay Hitler to rest.
Adorno on the Airwaves: Feeling Reason, Educating Emotions
In 1949, Jewish-German critical theorist Theodor W. Adorno, a member of the group of intellectuals now known as the Frankfurt School, returned to West Germany from exile in the USA. This article examines a lesser-known aspect of Adorno's participation in the West German public sphere: namely, his radio broadcasts around the topos of “eine Erziehung zur Mündigkeit” (a pedagogy fostering political maturity/autonomy). Adorno's critique of the medium of radio as an arm of the reified “culture industry” is well documented. What, then, are we to make of his sociopolitical contribution to the German public sphere in the form of over one hundred radio broadcasts in the late 1950s and 1960s? This article broaches the question by analyzing his now-canonical 1960 broadcast on Hessischen Rundfunk titled “Was bedeutet: Aufarbeitung der Vergangenheit?” (“What does Coming-to-Terms-with-the-Past Mean?”). Arguing for the centrality of affect for Adorno's postwar work, I demonstrate how he stages a pedagogy emphasizing the necessary relationship between reason and affect (Kant avec Freud) in achieving self-reflective thought and political autonomy. Finally, Adorno's earlier attack on music educational shows as “pseudo-democratic” (1938-1941 in Paul Lazarsfeld's Princeton Radio Research Project), complicates any straightforward elaboration of a postwar public pedagogy.
Jonathan Bach, Heather L. Dichter, Kirkland Alexander Fulk, Alexander Wochnik, Wilko Graf von Hardenberg, and Carol Hager
importance and interest in each other, and which would eliminate colonial attitudes for good—the final step of Vergangenheitsbewältigung (coming-to-terms with the past). Sean Ireton and Caroline Schaumann, ed. Heights of Reflection: Mountains in
The Alternative Liste Westberlin and the Evolution of the West German Left
-1989, parliament became the al ’s Standbein —its standing leg, the focus of much of its work—and the extra-parliamentary arena became its Spielbein , its kicking leg. Coming-to-terms with the Past A new emphasis marked the al ’s parliamentary activities
American and British Efforts to Democratize Schoolbooks in Occupied Italy and Germany from 1943 to 1949
Daniela R. P. Weiner
These very different educational paths are representative of the two countries’ divergent politics of coming to terms with the past in general. In the broadest possible terms, West Germany, which was created out of the British, American, and French
Between Resistance and the State
Caribbean Activism and the Invention of a National Memory of Slavery in France
abolition in concluding that “la République est née avec le combat contre l’esclavage. 1794, 1848: la République, c’est l’abolition.” 50 Secondly and just as importantly, it referred to a trajectory of “coming to terms with the past” that strengthened
Spatial Patterns of Thermidor
Protest and Voting in East Germany’s Revolution, 1989-1990
. After all, the sed did not return to power. Furthermore, (eastern) Germans have done more than many others in their own process of Vergangenheitsbewältigung (coming-to-terms with the past) by opening up the archives of a variety of institutions