Debating German Cultural Identity since 1989 by Anne Fuchs, Kathleen James-Chakraborty, Linda Shortt

By Anne Fuchs, Kathleen James-Chakraborty, Linda Shortt

The occasions of 1989 and German unification have been seismic old moments. even if 1989 seemed to characterize a therapeutic of the war-torn background of the 20th century, unification posed the query of German cultural id afresh. Politicians, historians, writers, filmmakers, architects, and the broader public engaged in 'memory contests' over such questions because the legitimacy of other biographies, West German hegemony, and the normalization of German heritage. This dynamic and contested - and nonetheless ongoing - transformation of German cultural identification is the subject of this quantity of recent essays via students from the uk, Germany, the us, and Ireland.It explores German cultural identification when it comes to a variety of disciplines together with heritage, movie experiences, architectural historical past, literary feedback, reminiscence reports, and anthropology, heading off a homogenized interpretation. Charting the complicated and sometimes contradictory methods of cultural id formation, the amount finds the various responses that proceed to accompany the undertaking of unification. individuals: Pertti Ahonen, Aleida Assmann, Elizabeth Boa, Peter Fritzsche, Anne Fuchs, Deniz Göktürk, Kathleen James-Chakraborty, Anja okay. Johannsen, Jennifer A. Jordan, Jürgen Paul, Linda Shortt, Andrew J. Webber.

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Their favored instruments of courtroom theatrics were petitions aimed at thwarting and delaying the proceedings, which became a persistent characteristic of the Mauerschützenprozesse from the start of the first relevant trial in September 1991. Some of the efforts were reasonable enough in principle. 41 However, the defense typically pushed these appeals to extremes, even after they had been repeatedly dismissed, which contributed to the circus atmosphere that often prevailed in the courtrooms.

And if so, would such perceptions undermine the transition to a unified Germany by perpetuating old divisions, particularly the persistent Wall in the heads between East and West? After some complicated legal wrangling, featuring pioneering but hotly contested verdicts in individual trials and equally path-breaking and controversial judgments by appeals courts, a compromise formula of sorts was found by the early 1990s. The judicial philosophy that came to prevail in the Wall trials combined a strong base of statutory law with a smaller dose of suprapositive moral principles.

Did they ultimately facilitate the transition to a new, unified Germany or did they help to perpetuate old divisions, particularly the East-West rifts rooted in the Cold War era? The trials certainly had their problems. 39 The mass media made a notable contribution to this melodrama. As droves of ambitious reporters vied for the latest scoop, journalistic excesses frequently distracted from the gravity of the judicial deliberations. 40 The more serious problems were internal to the courtrooms, however.

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