Revisioning Germany

Germans found a new challenge in the years following World War II. From the wreckage of their society, the culpability of their leaders and the shame of national socialism, they had to construct a "usable past." This "imagined community" was largely defined by the degree of suffering Germans felt they had experienced. Victimization was one of its key ingredients. Yet the mix was more complex and more volatile than grievance over past hardship. Robert Moeller, professor of history at the University of California at Irvine, describes the elements of that reconstructed past and how they influence the German present.

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