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Making Sense of History
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Historical Controversies and West German Democratization, 1945–1955
Translated from the German by Noah Harley
570 pages, bibliog., index
ISBN 978-1-78920-557-2 $179.00/£132.00 / Hb / Published (March 2020)
eISBN 978-1-78920-558-9 eBook
Reviews for the German Edition:
“Echternkamp successfully applies the concept of collective representation to the three fields of conflict he has selected. His research clarifies the extent to which the collective representations of war and military have enabled and contributed to political and cultural change.” • Sehepunkte
“Jörg Echternkamp's convincing study fulfills its promise of methodologically complex differentiation… This differentiated view of the historical “gaps” and ambiguities offers ways to understand the German victims of the war as well as the (German) perpetrators…To this end, Echternkamp’s interpretation of the history of war and the military produces an important contribution.” • H-Soz-Kult
Contemporary historians have transformed our understanding of the German military in World War II, debunking the “clean Wehrmacht” myth that held most soldiers innocent of wartime atrocities. Considerably less attention has been paid to those soldiers at the end of hostilities. In Postwar Soldiers, Jörg Echternkamp analyzes three themes in the early history of West Germany: interpretations of the war during its conclusion and the occupation period; military veteran communities’ self-perceptions; and the public rehabilitation of the image of the German soldier. As Echternkamp shows, public controversies around these topics helped to drive the social processes that legitimized the democratic postwar order.
Jörg Echternkamp is Research Director at the Center for Military History and Social Sciences (ZMSBw) and Associate Professor of Modern History at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg. He is co-editor of the journal Militärgeschichtliche Zeitschrift. Echternkamp was awarded the “Geisteswissenschaften International” translation grant in 2017.
Subject: History: 20th Century to Present Sociology
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