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By Siobhan Kattago

Ambiguous reminiscence examines the function of reminiscence within the development of a brand new nationwide identification in reunified Germany. the writer keeps that the contentious debates surrounding modern monumnets to the Nazi previous testify to the anomaly of German reminiscence and the continuing hyperlink of Nazism with modern German nationwide identification. The ebook discusses how yes monuments, and the methods Germans have considered them, give a contribution to the various methods Germans have handled the prior, and the way they proceed to house it as one state. Kattago concludes that West Germans have internalized their Nazi prior as a normative orientation for the democratic tradition of West Germany, whereas East Germans have universalized Nazism and the Holocaust, remodeling it into an abstraction within which the Jewish query is down performed. which will shape a brand new collective reminiscence, the writer argues that unified Germany needs to deal with those conflicting perspectives of the previous, incorporating yes facets of either perspectives. supplying a topography of East, West, and unified German reminiscence throughout the Nineteen Eighties and the Nineteen Nineties, this paintings contributes to a greater knowing of latest nationwide id and society. the writer exhibits how public debate over such matters at Ronald Reagan's stopover at to Bitburg, the renarration of Buchenwald as Nazi and Soviet internment camp, the Goldhagen controversy, and the Holocaust Memorial debate in Berlin give a contribution to the complexities surrounding the best way Germans see themselves, their courting to the previous, and their destiny identification as a country. In a cautious research, the writer exhibits how the previous used to be used and abused by means of either the East and the West within the Eighties, and the way those ways merged within the Nineteen Nineties. This fascinating new paintings takes a sociological method of the position of reminiscence in forging a brand new, integrative nationwide identification.

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Extra info for Ambiguous Memory: The Nazi Past and German National Identity

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The Burdened Past and the Federal Republic Vergangenheitsbewdltigung is a political and moral term which signifies the debate which a person, group, or nation has with its own history. In the German case, such an internal debate about the past refers to the crimes of National Socialism and their political, juridical, and moral consequences. "The past" (die Vergangenheit) explicitly refers to the Nazi past. Yet, independent of its contemporary usage in German political culture, Vergangenheitsbewdltigung addresses ways in which a society confronts the ruptures in its shared national history.

129. 43. Gillis, "Memory and Identity," 8. 44. For a theoretical explanation and focus on the recovery of Masada and Cyprus, see Bernard Lewis, History Remembered, Recovered, Invented (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1975). See also Yael Zerubavel, Recovered Roots: Collective Memory and the Making of Israeli National Tradition (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995). 45. ," in Nation and Narration, ed. Homi Bhabha (New York: Routledge, 1990), 11. 46. Ibid. 47. , 19. 48. Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (New York: Verso, 1983; 1991), 6-7.

Bouchard and Sherry Simon (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1977; 1980). 67. As Robin Wagner-Pacifici and Barry Schwartz argue, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial questions Durkheim's belief that moral unity is the object of commemoration. By focusing on commemoration as a "genre problem," a monument commemorating national unity is contrasted with the ambiguity of commemorating national disunity in Maya Lin's Vietnam Veterans Memorial. See "The Vietnam Veterans Memorial: Commemorating a Difficult Past," American journal of Sociology 97 (September 1991): 376-420.

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