Cover Osteuropa 4-6/2005

In Osteuropa 4-6/2005

Buried feelings
How German writers coped with the allied bombing

Volker Hage

Deutsche Fassung


Did German literature ignore, for over fifty years, the destruction of German cities by allied bombers in World War II? It is true that there is no major German novel of the postwar period which deals with these events. During the East-West conflict, the reverberations of these bombs were drowned out by the anticipated explosion of “the bomb”. However, the experience of war was never absent from the works of all those authors who had lived through the bombing as children in air-raid shelters. The issue only became topical once again when bombs began to fall once more in Europe, this time on Yugoslavian cities. The war over Kosovo and the debate about W.G. Sebald’s argument that discussion of the allied bombing had been taboo made people look more closely at the question. But even if more material is now being published about the bombing and the debate is more open, no serious German author has given a different answer to the question of war guilt.

(Osteuropa 4-6/2005, pp. 265–280)