Cover image for Facing the Nazi past : united Germany and the legacy of the Third Reich
Facing the Nazi past : united Germany and the legacy of the Third Reich
Niven, William John, 1956-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
London ; New York : Routledge, [2002]

Physical Description:
xxii, 266 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DD256.48 .N58 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Facing the Nazi Past examines how the communist East viewed the events of these years very differently from West Germany during the Cold War. Following the unification of Germany, these contrasting memories of the Third Reich have contributed to a new perspective on this period of German history.

Facing the Nazi Past explores the developments and debates that were symptomatic of this shift towards a more open confrontation with the past, such as:

* the image of resistance to Hitler in united Germany
* changes at concentration camp memorial sites since 1990
* the commemoration of 8 May 1945 in 1995
* how the revelations in Goldhagen's startling book Hitler's Willing Executioners triggered new discussion
* the plans for the construction of a Holocaust Memorial.

Anyone; students, scholars or interested readers, who are involved in the study of European history, will find this an enthralling and informative read.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

This important book addresses "new" Germany's coming to grips with the National Socialist experience, a task rendered more difficult by the need to reconcile the different experiences of the former GDR and the FRG in the "new" post-1990 unified Germany. The central thesis is that Germany's political unification must be accompanied by a psychological accommodation of a common past of crime and atrocity, Holocaust, and WW II. By coming to grips with the past, (Vergangheitsbewaltigung), "civil courage" (Zivilcourage) will be strengthened by using the National Socialist past as an essential negative foil to Germany's construction of a democratic national identity committed to tolerance and democracy. The new German identity based on constitutional-patriotism (Verfassungspatriotismus) must also incorporate an enlightened pride in genuine historical achievements. This thesis is developed through a rigorous analysis of "landscapes of memory" at concentration camp sites and Holocaust memorials, as well as other emotive sites of contestation such as Goldhagen's Hitler's Willing Executioners (CH, Jul'96), the film Schindler's List, and the "Crimes of the Wehrmacht" exhibition. Appropriately illustrated, this volume is well footnoted and accompanied by an excellent bibliography. All levels/collections. B. Osborne Queen's University at Kingston

Table of Contents

List of platesp. viii
Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Chronology 1933-2000p. x
Introduction: the inclusive picturep. 1
1 Concentration camp memorial sitesp. 10
2 The 'double past'p. 41
3 Resistancep. 62
4 8 May 1945 in political discoursep. 95
5 Daniel Jonah Goldhagen and Victor Klempererp. 119
6 The crimes of the Wehrmachtp. 143
7 The Walser-Bubis debatep. 175
8 The Holocaust Memorialp. 194
9 The past in the presentp. 233
Abbreviationsp. 245
Bibliographyp. 246
Indexp. 257