Point of View

The Berlin Republic. Evolution of Germany's politics of memory and German patriotism

Important changes have occurred in recent years in the attitude of a majority of the German elite towards the history of the 20th century and the political identity built on collective memory. Until recently, the sense of guilt for the crimes of the Third Reich and the obligation to remember were prevalent.

While these two elements of Germany's memory of World War II are still important, currently the focus increasingly shifts to the German resistance against Nazism and the fate of the Germans who suffered in the war. Positive references to Germany's post-war history also occupy more and more space in the German memory. In 2009, i.e. the year of the 60th anniversary of the Federal Republic of Germany and the 20th anniversary of the fall of Communism, the efforts of German public institutions concentrate on promoting a new canon of history built around the successful democratisation and Germany's post-war economic success. The purpose behind these measures is to build a common historical memory that could be shared by the eastern and western parts of Germany and appeal to Germany's immigrants, who account for a growing proportion of the society.


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