This collection of essays does not perceive the impressive economic and political stability of the postwar era as a quasi-natural return to previous patterns of societal development. It approaches this stability as an attempt to establish "normality" upon the lingering memories of experiencing violence on an unprecedented scale. While the history of post-war Germany looms large in this collection, the essays cover countries across Western and Central Europe. They offer comparative perspectives and draw upon a wide range of primary and secondary source material.
Introduction: violence, normality, and the construction of postwar Europe Richard Bessel and Dirk Schumann; 1. Post-traumatic stress disorder and World War II: can a psychiatric concept help us understand postwar society? Alice Förster and Birgit Beck; 2. Between pain and silence: remembering the victims of violence in Germany after 1949 Sabine Behrenbeck; 3. Paths of normalization after the persecution of the Jews: the Netherlands, France, and West Germany in the 1950s Ido De Haan; 4. Trauma, memory and motherhood: Germans and Jewish displaced persons in post-Nazi Germany, 1945–1949 Atina Grossman; 5. Memory and the narrative of rape in Budapest and Vienna in 1945 Andrea Petö; 6. 'Going home': the personal adjustment of British and American servicemen after the war Joanna Bourke; 7. Desperately seeking normality: sex and marriage in the wake of war Dagmar Herzog; 8. Family life and 'normality' in postwar British culture Pat Thane; 9. Continuities and discontinuities of consumer mentality in West Germany in the 1950s Michael Wildt; 10. 'Strengthened and purified through ordeal by fire': ecclesiastical triumphalism in the ruins of Europe Damian van Melis; 11. The nationalism of victimhood: selective violence and national grief in western Europe, 1940–1960 Pieter Lagrou; 12. Italy after fascism: the predicament of dominant narratives Donald Sasson; 13. The politics of post-fascist aesthetics: 1950s west and east German industrial design Paul Betts; 14. Dissonance, normality, and the historical method: why did some Germans think of Tourism after May 8, 1945? Alon Confino.