Cover Osteuropa 4-6/2005

In Osteuropa 4-6/2005

The “German catastrophe”?
Remembering World War II in Germany

Jörg Echternkamp

Deutsche Fassung


After 1945, wartime experiences determined the course of public memories of World War II. After the critical confrontation with the past in the early phase of occupation, most Germans saw themselves predominantly as victims of the war. In the GDR public commemoration took place within a Marxist-Leninist view of history, while struggles over the assessment of the military resistance and of 8 May 1945 show how long it took for changes to come about in culturally coded memory within the pluralist society of the Federal Republic. 60 years after the end of the war debate continues about its historical status, which is a turning point in German history, whenever people have difficulty grasping the connection between liberty and liberation.

(Osteuropa 4-6/2005, pp. 105–114)