After Hitler: Recivilizing Germans, 1945-1995 / Edition 1

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Overview

In the spring of 1945, as the German army fell in defeat and the world first learned of the unspeakable crimes of the Holocaust, few would have expected that, only half a century later, the Germans would emerge as a prosperous people at the forefront of peaceful European integration. How did the Germans manage to recover from the shattering experience of defeat in World War II and rehabilitate themselves from the shame and horror of the Holocaust? In After Hitler, Konrad H. Jarausch shows how Germany's determination to emphasize civility and civil society, destroyed by the Nazi regime, helped restore the demoralized nation during the post-war period. Unlike other intellectual inquiries into German efforts to deal with the Nazi past, After Hitler primarily focuses on the practical lessons a disoriented people drew from their past misdeeds, and their struggle to create a new society with a sincere and deep commitment to human rights. After Hitler offers a comprehensive view of the breathtaking transformation of the Germans from the defeated Nazi accomplices and Holocaust perpetrators of 1945 to the civilized, democratic people of today's Germany.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"[T]his thoughtful, engaging, and often highly provocative account of postwar German history.... This is a marvelous book, full of ideas, which will challenge readers of all persuasions to rethink their positions on almost a page-by-page basis."—Journal of Modern History

"This penetrating analysis of how modern Germans have coped is highlighted by Jarusch's observation that the Germans created and then capitalized on a new sociological phenomenon—an 'arrogance of humility.' The articulation of this phenomenon is perhaps the most remarkable achievement of this work that enriches the historiography of post-WW II Germany. Highly recommended."—D.A. Browder, CHOICE

"Prolific historian Konrad H. Jarausch has laid out many arguments and superb information as to why our focus should shift from analyzing the establishment of the Third Reich and its actions, to examining how German society attained a new humanitarianism after World War II.... Jarausch provides the best basis thus far for reflecting on the positive transformation of, historically, one of the world's most problematic contries."—Dieter K. Buse, H-Net Reviews

"As a history of the German post-war period this account will become a standard work."—Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung

"The idea that Germans have become civilized after leading the last century in commission of barbarous acts is gaining currency. Prolific historian Konrad H. Jarausch has laid out many arguments and superb information as to why our focus should shift from analyzing the establishment of the Third Reich and its actions, to examining how German society attained a new humanitarianism after World War II.... The best basis thus far for reflecting on the positive transformation of, historically, one of the world's most problematic countries."—Dieter K. Buse, H-German

"The book's very important contribution is Jarausch's effort to place 'civil society' and human rights at the centre of twentieth-century German history. This perspective allows many fresh and original insights; it will undoubtedly inspire new research as well as open up new possibilities for transnational and international comparisons."—Frank Biess, German History

"A fascinating work.... Internal developments, foreign contracts, and a deliberate effort by outsiders assisted the German people in aligning themselves with the West not only in the military sense but also in the values of civil society. That process is reviewed in this book in an exemplary fashion and with a fair attention to the disputes that have attended it."—Gerhard L. Weinberg, Journal of Interdisciplinary History

"What an extraordinary challenge! Konrad Jarausch asks us to think of postwar German history—of West and East Germany in tandem—as a 'civilizing process,' as the lengthy and contorted effort of learning to live in empathy, where enmity had reigned supreme and a literally murderous war had destroyed the foundations of civility."—Michael Geyer, University of Chicago

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195127799
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 8/31/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 400
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 6.30 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Konrad H. Jarausch is the Lurcy Professor of European Civilization at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and director of the Center for Research in Contemporary History in Potsdam, Germany. He has authored, co-authored, and edited over two dozen books on modern German and European history, including Shattered Past: Reconstructing German Histories; After Unity: Reconfiguring German Identities, 1990-1995 (OUP, 1987); and The Rush to German Unity (OUP, 1994).

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Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction: Rupture of Civilization
Part I: Forced Reorientation
1. Renouncing War
2. Questioning the Nation
3. Rejecting the Plan
Preconditions of Freedom
Part II: Contradictory Modernization
4. Embracing the West
5. Arriving at Democracy
6. Protesting Authority
Paradoxes of Modernity
Part III: Challenges of Civil Society
7. Abandoning Socialism
8. Searching for Normalcy
9. Fearing Foreignness
Implications of Upheaval
Conclusion: Contours of the Berlin Republic
Index

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