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Legal Entanglements: Law, Rights and the Battle for Legitimacy in the Two Germanys, 1949–1990

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Legal Entanglements

Law, Rights and the Battle for Legitimacy in the Two Germanys, 1949–1990

Sebastian Gehrig

368 pages, 10 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-80073-083-0 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Not Yet Published (May 2021)

eISBN 978-1-80073-084-7 eBook Not Yet Published

Hb   Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


“With innovative methodology and conceptualization, Gehrig analyzes legal-political debates that will be of interest to historians of modern Germany and to scholars interested in the history of both decolonization and the global human rights regime within which his story plays out.” • Young-sun Hong, SUNY Stony Brook

Legal Entanglements is a welcome addition to the literature of postwar German history, covering a very interesting aspect of this period in-depth for the first time.” • Armin Grünbacher, The University of Birmingham


Of all the dramatic ruptures occasioned by the division of East and West Germany, one of the most consequential was in the realm of law, as two nations scrambled to put the Nazi past behind them and forge new legal regimes. Legal Entanglements gives a comprehensive account of this often-overlooked chapter in postwar history, showing how the GDR and FRG established mutually incompatible legal frameworks that premised each state as the sole legitimate successor to the German Reich. Drawing on wide-ranging archival research and recently declassified documents, it follows the politicians, intellectuals, and other historical actors who helped their nations to navigate volatile legal circumstances.

Sebastian Gehrig is Senior Lecturer in Modern European History at the University of Roehampton, London. He has published chapters and articles in East Central Europe, European Review of History, German History, Historische Zeitschrift, Journal of Cold War Studies and Journal of Contemporary History.

Subject: History: 20th Century to Present
Area: Germany


List of Illustrations
List of Abbreviations


Part I: Trenches

Chapter 1. Legal Rubble
Chapter 2. Old and New Law

Part II: Internationalization

Chapter 3. The Clash of Legal Universes
Chapter 4. Entangled Citizenships

Part III: Universalisms

Chapter 4. International Networking
Chapter 5. Separated by Law

Conclusion: Licence to Legislate


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