West Germany under Construction: Politics, Society, and Culture in the Adenauer Era / Edition 1

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From the perspective of the 1990s, it is possible to see the road to the Bonn Republic and West Germany's "social market economy" as the "correct" postwar German path. But unified Germany continues to confront enormous problems of social inequality and widespread resistance to the acceptance of a truly multi-cultural society. By exploring how West Germans confronted--or failed to confront--similar problems in the early history of the Federal Republic, this collection makes a crucial contribution to understanding the present.

Moving beyond accounts of high politics and international relations, the essays brought together here focus on the intersections between the politics of daily life and the politics of the nation-state. Building on the approaches of women's history, social history, and cultural studies, they emphasize that the process of defining West Germany in the 1950s took place not only in the geopolitical arena of the Cold War but also in dance halls and at the movies, in worker-training programs, and in patterns of consumption.

West Germany under Construction not only expands our understanding of the early formation of West German society, it also outlines ways to continue the excavation of that past. It will be mandatory reading for students and scholars alike.

Robert G. Moeller is Professor of History, University of California, Irvine.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Writing the History of West Germany 1
A Question of Silence: The Rape of German Women by Occupation Soldiers 33
Growing Discontent: Relations between Native and Refugee Populations in a Rural District in Western Germany after the Second World War 53
German Reaction to Defeat and Occupation 73
Change and Continuity in the Treatment of German Kriegsopfer 93
Reconstructing the Family in Reconstruction Germany: Women and Social Policy in the Federal Republic, 1949-1955 109
Public Service Personnel in West Germany in the 1950s: Controversial Policy Decisions and their Effects on Social Composition, Gender Structure, and the Role of Former Nazis 135
The Historic Triangle: Occupiers, Germans and Jews in Postwar Germany 199
The Attitude towards Jews in Bavaria after the Second World War 231
The Homosexual Man Is a "Man," the Homosexual Woman Is a "Woman": Sex, Society, and the Law in Postwar West Germany 251
The Organic Society and the "Massenmenschen": Integrating Young Labour in the Ruhr Mines, 1945-58 287
The Fight for the "Christian West": German Film Control, the Churches, and the Reconstruction of Civil Society in the Early Bonn Republic 321
Alice in the Consumer Wonderland: West German Case Studies in Gender and Consumer Culture 347
Rock 'n' Roll, Female Sexuality, and the Cold War Battle over German Identities 373
"Reconstruction" and "Modernization": West German Social History during the 1950s 413
Contributors 445
Index 447
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