Playing Politics with History: The Bundestag Inquiries into East Germany

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Berghahn Books, Sep 30, 2008 - History - 304 pages
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After Germany's reunification in 1989-90, the country faced not only the history and consequences of the nation's division during the Cold War but also the continuing burdensome legacy of the Nazi past and the Holocaust. This book explains why concerns that the Nazi past would be marginalized by the more recent Communist past proved to be misplaced. It examines the delicate East–West dynamics and the notion that the West sought to impose "victor's justice" (or history) on the East. More specifically, it examines, for the first time, the history and significance of two parliamentary commissions of inquiry created in the 1990s to investigate the divided past after 1945 and its effects on the reunified country. Not unlike "truth commissions" elsewhere, these inquiries provided an important forum for renegotiating contemporary Germany's relationship with multiple German pasts, including the Nazi period and the Holocaust. The ensuing debates and disagreements over the recent past, examined by the author, open up a window into the wider development of German memory, identity, and politics after the end of the Cold War.

 

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Contents

Introduction
1
Chapter 1Establishing the Commission of Inquiry
24
Chapter 2The Inquiries at Work
60
Chapter 3The SEDs Dictatorship from the Beginning
92
Chapter 4Implementing and Resisting Socialism in the GDR
125
Chapter 5Vergangenheitsbewaltigung Good and Bad
161
Chapter 6The Double Totalitarian Past
194
Conclusion
228
Appendices
245
Appendix A
246
Appendix B
250
Bibliography
255
Index
280
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About the author (2008)

Andrew Beattie studied history and German studies in Australia and Germany, and has had fellowships in the United Kingdom, Germany, and Italy. In 2005 his University of Sydney dissertation received the Jean Monnet Thesis Prize, Contemporary Europe Research Centre, Melbourne. He teaches German and European studies at the University of New South Wales, and previously taught German studies at the University of Technology, Sydney.

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