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Histories of the Aftermath: The Legacies of the Second World War in Europe

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Histories of the Aftermath

The Legacies of the Second World War in Europe

Edited by Frank Biess and Robert G. Moeller

326 pages, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-84545-732-7 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (July 2010)

eISBN 978-1-84545-998-7 eBook

Hb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Buy the eBook from these vendors Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


The editors and contributors have created a volume that is easily accessible for graduate students and upper-level undergraduate seminars. Professional historians will also benefit greatly because so few of us have tried to understand this period without the blinders of Cold War dichotomies.  ·  Slavic Review

Frank Biess' introduction perfectly sets the tone for this book by reviewing where present-day post- 1945 historiography stands following the scholarship of the late Tony Judt… The structure of the book is impressive; five parts and sixteen essays…[The essays in this collection are] extraordinarily well thought-through…Histories of the Aftermath compares with any scholarly masterpiece about reconstruction after the American Civil War… For this reason this book is essential reading for any European history course.”  ·  Canadian Journal of History

"With [this volume] Frank Biess and Robert G. Moeller have assembled a fine set of essays. Offering thematic and geographic breadth, the collection presents stimulating and rewarding ways of thinking about the legacies of the war in Europe…What is unusual is the cross-pollination of theoretical frameworks and topical emphases in ways that shed genuinely new light on the subject… It is tempting to suppose that little remains to be said about Europeans’ ‘coming to terms with their past’. This volume shows how fruitful this line of inquiry still can be·  English Historical Review

“This is an excellent collection. In its thematic breadth and its broad geographical coverage it is quite distinctive.”  ·  Mark Roseman, Indiana University, Bloomington


In 1945, Europeans confronted a legacy of mass destruction and death: millions of families had lost their homes and livelihoods; millions of men in uniform had lost their lives; and millions more had been displaced by the war’s destruction, and the genocidal policies of the Nazi regime. From a range of methodological historical perspectives—military, cultural, and social, to film and gender and sexuality studies—this volume explores how Europeans came to terms with these multiple pasts. With a focus on distinctive national experiences in both Eastern and Western Europe, it illuminates how postwar stabilization coexisted with persistent insecurities, injuries, and trauma.

Frank Biess is Associate Professor of History at the University of California, San Diego. He is the author of Homecomings: Returning POWs and the Legacies of Defeat in Postwar Germany (Princeton UP, 2006), and he is currently working on a history of fear and anxiety in postwar Germany.

Robert G. Moeller is Professor of modern European and German history at the University of California, Irvine. He has published widely on the social, cultural, and political history of Germany in the twentieth century.

Subject: WWII History
Area: Europe


Frank Biess

I. Defining the Postwar

Chapter 1. The Persistence of "the Postwar": Germany and Poland
Norman Naimark

Chapter 2. Feelings in the Aftermath: Toward a History of Postwar Emotions
Frank Biess

Chapter 3. In the Aftermath of Camps
Samuel Moyn

II. Public and Private Memories

Chapter 4. Nothing Is Forgotten: Individual Memory and the Myth of the Great Patriotic War
Lisa Kirschenbaum

Chapter 5. Erased nor Remembered: Soviet “Women Combatants” and Cultural Strategies of Forgetting In Soviet Russia, 1940s-1980s
Anna Krylova

Chapter 6. Generations as Narrative Communities: On the Private Sources of Official Cultures of Remembrance in Postwar Germany
Dorothee Wierling

III. Mass-Mediating War: How Movies Shaped Memories

Chapter 7. ‘When Will the Real Day Come?’ War Films and Soviet Postwar Culture
Denise Youngblood

Chapter 8. “Winning the Peace at the Movies:” Suffering, Loss, and Redemption in Postwar German Cinema”
Robert Moeller

Chapter 9. Italian Cinema and the Transition from Dictatorship to Democracy
Ruth Ben-Ghiat

IV. The Reconstruction of Citizenship

Chapter 10. War Orphans and Post-Fascist Families: Kinship and Belonging after 1945
Heide Fehrenbach

Chapter 11. Manners, Morality and Civilization: Reflections on Postwar German Etiquette Books
Paul Betts

Chapter 12. From the “New Jerusalem” to the ‘Decline’ of the “New Elizabethan Age:” National Identity and Citizenship: Britain, 1945-56
Sonya Rose

Chapter 13. “We are Building a Common Home:” The Moral Economy of Citizenship in Postwar Poland
Katherine Lebow

V. In the Shadow of the Bomb: Military Cultures

Chapter 14. The Great Tradition and the Fates of Annihilation – West German Military Culture in the Aftermath of the Second World War
Klaus Naumann

Chapter 15. Soviet Military Culture and the Legacy of the Second World War
Mikhail Tsypkin

Chapter 16. 1945-1955: The Age of Total War
Pieter Lagrou

Notes on Contributors

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