Sorry States: Apologies in International Politics

Sorry States: Apologies in International Politics

by Jennifer Lind
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0801446252

ISBN-13: 9780801446252

Pub. Date: 10/28/2008

Publisher: Cornell University Press

Governments increasingly offer or demand apologies for past human rights abuses, and it is widely believed that such expressions of contrition are necessary to promote reconciliation between former adversaries. The post-World War II experiences of Japan and Germany suggest that international apologies have powerful healing effects when they are offered, and

Overview

Governments increasingly offer or demand apologies for past human rights abuses, and it is widely believed that such expressions of contrition are necessary to promote reconciliation between former adversaries. The post-World War II experiences of Japan and Germany suggest that international apologies have powerful healing effects when they are offered, and poisonous effects when withheld. West Germany made extensive efforts to atone for wartime crimes-formal apologies, monuments to victims of the Nazis, and candid history textbooks; Bonn successfully reconciled with its wartime enemies. By contrast, Tokyo has made few and unsatisfying apologies and approves school textbooks that whitewash wartime atrocities. Japanese leaders worship at the Yasukuni Shrine, which honors war criminals among Japan's war dead. Relations between Japan and its neighbors remain tense.

Examining the cases of South Korean relations with Japan and of French relations with Germany, Jennifer Lind demonstrates that denials of past atrocities fuel distrust and inhibit international reconciliation. In Sorry States, she argues that a country's acknowledgment of past misdeeds is essential for promoting trust and reconciliation after war. However, Lind challenges the conventional wisdom by showing that many countries have been able to reconcile without much in the way of apologies or reparations. Contrition can be highly controversial and is likely to cause a domestic backlash that alarms—rather than assuages—outside observers. Apologies and other such polarizing gestures are thus unlikely to soothe relations after conflict, Lind finds, and remembrance that is less accusatory-conducted bilaterally or in multilateral settings-holds the most promise for international reconciliation.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780801446252
Publisher:
Cornell University Press
Publication date:
10/28/2008
Series:
Cornell Studies in Security Affairs Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.00(d)

Table of Contents


Acknowledgments     vii
Introduction     1
Remembrance and Reconciliation     9
An Unhappy Phase in a Certain Period     26
Not Your Father's Fatherland     101
The Soul of a People Can Be Changed     159
Conclusion     179
Notes     199
Index     235

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