Hannah Arendt and Alexander and Margarete Mitscherlich produced influential accounts of the postwar West-German population's silence or inarticuleteness. The Mitscherlichs claimed that this silence was symptomatic of a blocked process of mourning; Arendt saw it as a legacy of brutal totalitarian rule. However, both viewed the rapid economic recovery as evidence of the German inability to engage in discursively mediated therapeutic and political processes. Frantic busyness was a form of silence. This paper presents a critical reassessment of these approaches. By drawing on Albert Hirschman's theory of exit and voice, it argues that economic activity possesses a communicative dimension. The alleged retreat from politics is not a symptom of muteness but rather indicates people's preference for an alternative mode of communication. Arendt and the Mitscherlich may be right in assuming a correlation between the postwar economic recovery and ostensible political apathy, but lack the conceptual means to clarify the relationship.
Ruff, Mark Edward. The Wayward Flock: Catholic Youth in Postwar West Germany, 1945-1965 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2005)
McDougall, Alan. Youth Politics in East Germany: The Free German Youth Movement 1946-1968 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2004)
Thematizing the Activity of Politics in the Plenary Debates of the German Bundestag
This article discusses the ways of conceptualizing politics in parliamentary debates. When the politics-vocabulary is ubiquitous in them, which kind of speech act lies in emphasizing the political aspect? Focusing on thematized uses allows us to identify conceptual revisions in the politics-vocabulary in digitalized plenary debates of the German Bundestag from 1949 to 2017. My fourfold scheme for conceptualizing politics (polity, policy, politicization, politicking) provides the analytical apparatus. The units of analysis in this study are compound words around politics written as single words, a German language specialty. Their frequency has remarkably risen in the Bundestag debates, and the search engine can easily find them. This research interest allows me to speculate with changes in the understanding and appreciation of politics in postwar (West)Germany
Allan Mitchell, 1933—2016
canon of postwar West German literature. In his quest to promote Franco-German reconciliation, Chancellor Helmut Kohl invited Jünger to join him with French president Francois Mitterrand—the two leaders holding hands on the battlefield of World War I