One of the most important developments in the incipient Berlin Republic's memory regime has been the return of the memory of German suffering from the end and aftermath of World War II. Elite discourses about the bombing of German cities, the mass rape of German women by members of the Red Army, and, above all, the expulsion of Germans from then-Eastern Germany and elsewhere in Central and Eastern Europe have gained massive visibility in the last decade. Although many voices have lauded these developments as liberating, many others within Germany and especially in Poland—from where the vast majority of Germans were expelled—have reacted with fear. Yet, do these elite voices resonate with mass publics? Have these arguments had demonstrable effects on public opinion? This paper delves into these questions by looking at survey results from both countries. It finds that there has been a disjuncture between the criticisms of elites and average citizens, but that the barrage of elite criticisms leveled at German expellees and their initiatives now may be affecting mass attitudes in all cases.
The 2012 French presidential election witnessed an increase in discussion about the European Union and its policies. To an equal degree the two top contenders, Nicolas Sarkozy and Fran?ois Hollande, criticized European policies and made promises to rectify EU mistakes, if elected. European institutions and decisions became scapegoats for domestic failures and tough economic choices, reflecting a long-term surge in Euroscepticism among French voters, especially in comparison to EU averages. Both candidates sought advantage by engaging in “EU-Negative“ campaigns to be able to mobilize as many potential voters as possible. Surprisingly, a half-year of EU criticisms has not led, at least in the short term, to a further increase in anti-EU positions in the public opinion.
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.
From the beginning of the West German state, a lot of public opinion polling was done on the German question. The findings have been scrutinized carefully from the 1950s onward, but polls have always been taken at face value, as a mirror of society. In this analysis, polls are treated rather as an observation technique of empirical social research that composes a certain image of society and its public opinion. The entanglement of domestic and international politics is analyzed with respect to the use of surveys that were done around the two topics of Western integration and reunification that pinpoint the “functional entanglement” of domestic and international politics. The net of polling questions spun around these two terms constituted a complex setting for political actors. During the 1950s, surveys probed and ranked the fears and anxieties that characterized West Germans and helped to construct a certain kind of atmosphere that can be described as “Cold War angst.” These findings were taken as the basis for dealing with the dilemma of Germany caught between reunification and Western integration. The data and interpretations were converted into “security” as the overarching frame for international and domestic politics by the conservative government that lasted until the early 1960s.
Mark E. Spicka
Perhaps the most remarkable development in the Federal Republic
of Germany since World War II has been the creation of its stable
democracy. Already by the second half of the 1950s, political commentators
proclaimed that “Bonn is not Weimar.” Whereas the
Weimar Republic faced the proliferation of splinter parties, the rise
of extremist parties, and the fragmentation of support for liberal and
conservative parties—conditions that led to its ultimate collapse—the
Federal Republic witnessed the blossoming of moderate, broadbased
parties.1 By the end of the 1950s the Christian Democratic
Union/Christian Social Union (CDU), Social Democratic Party
(SPD) and Free Democratic Party (FDP) had formed the basis of a
stable party system that would continue through the 1980s.
Reading the New Right
which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion or personal belief,” has been voted the Oxford Dictionary Word of the Year 2016. “Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2016 is …,” Oxford Dictionaries, 17
A Discussion of New Right Elements in German Right-wing Extremism Today
Unconditional Pursuit of Influence Although the New Right of the Federal Republic of Germany has constantly experienced both highs and lows in its history, there certainly have been specific instances of success, particularly in terms of shaping public opinion
Christopher J. Anderson and Frank Brettschneider
Although the German constitution does not provide for the direct
election of the head of the executive branch by the people, the preeminent
position of the federal chancellor has long tempted commentators
to describe the German political system as a “chancellor
democracy.”1 Based on this characterization, one might be tempted
to assume that the German election of 2002 was therefore about
electing a chancellor. To be sure, if voters could have voted for the
chancellor directly in 2002, Gerhard Schröder would have easily
defeated Edmund Stoiber. Yet, despite public opinion polls that never
once showed the challenger outpolling the chancellor throughout the
entire election year, the election turned out to be a cliffhanger.
William Collins Donahue, Holocaust as Fiction: Bernhard Schlink's “Nazi“ Novels and Their Films(New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010)
Reviewed by Margaret McCarthy
Theodor W. Adorno, Guilt and Defense: On the Legacies of National Socialism in Postwar Germany, edited, translated, and introduced by Jeffrey K. Olick and Andrew J. Perrin (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2010)
Reviewed by Gregory R. Smulewicz-Zucker
Friedrich Pollock, Theodor W. Adorno, and Colleagues, Group Experiment and other Writings: The Frankfurt School on Public Opinion in Postwar Germany, edited and translated by Andrew J. Perrin and Jeffrey K. Olick (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2011).
Reviewed by Jan Boesten
Gabriele Mueller and James M. Skidmore, eds. Cinema and Social Change in Germany and Austria(Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2012).
Reviewed by Sabine von Mering
Christopher J. Fischer, Alsace to the Alsatians? Visions and Divisions of Alsatian Regionalism, 1870-1939(New York: Berghahn Books, 2010)
Reviewed by Jennifer A. Yoder
1972 saw the coming to fruition of two events of major importance to the Federal Republic of Germany under Willy Brandt's leadership: the normalization of relations with the Soviet Union and its satellites through the process of Ostpolitik, and the Munich Olympic Games, which were designed to present a new Germany on the world stage. Although recent scholarship has highlighted the intricacies of East-West diplomacy and the political machinations of Cold-War sports relations, there have been few attempts to investigate the latter's role in the former. This essay seeks to investigate sport in the context of politics, and more vitally vice versa. Focusing on events in the immediate run-up to the Four Powers Treaty on West Berlin in 1971, it shows how sport's appeal to broad sectors of public opinion in Eastern and Western Europe made it a prime candidate for the cultural warfare that accompanied political negotiations.