This book examines West German intellectual debates about the Nazi past by explaining why they were so relentlessly polarized. Germans argued about the viability of their very nationality: was it stigmatized, stained, or polluted by crimes of the Third Reich? Or was it really like any other nation? The book examines how German intellectuals either defended national traditions or condemned them and instead advocated alternative traditions. Although the book proceeds chronologically, it differs from other works, which are event-based narratives, by highlighting this underlying structure of identity and dispute.
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This book analyzes how West German intellectuals debated the Nazi past and democratic future of their country in increasingly polarized arguments. German intellectuals have interpreted the German stigma in divergent ways, either to defend national traditions or to condemn them, and therefore advocating non-German alternative traditions.About the Author:
Dirk Moses studied history in Australia, Scotland, the United States and Germany before joining the History Department at the University of Sydney in 2000. As a research fellow at the University of Freiburg, he worked on postwar German debates about the recent past, a project which became German Intellectuals and the Nazi Past. He has edited and co-edited four anthologies on genocide, mainly on the relationship with colonialism. He has held fellowships in Austria, Germany, Israel and the USA, most recently at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC. Currently, he is Professor of Global and Colonial History at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy, where he is finishing a book manuscript entitled Genocide and the Terror of History. He is also working on a project called 'The Diplomacy of Genocide', which studies international reactions to allegations of genocide in postcolonial conflicts in the 1960s and 1970s.
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