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"Die Teile als Ganzes erkennen": zur Integration der beiden deutschen Nachkriegsgeschichten

"Recognizing the parts as a whole": suggestions for the integration of the two post-war histories of Germany
[journal article]

Jarausch, Konrad H.

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Abstract "Since most post-war histories are still written either as West or as East German narratives, this article addresses the question of how to integrate the two separate German stories into one common interpretation. It starts by identifying some deficits in the leading examples which focus on the FRG and only mention the GDR with the peaceful revolution. As alternative, it proposes a perspective of plural sequences with seven stages, which emphasizes the succession of shared problem constellations between 1945 and 1990. Based on one example of experiences for each of the steps the essay then suggests a variety of analytical approaches that appear suitable for the changing subject matter. The solution for the problem of constructing a joint history is therefore not the restoration of a democratized national narrative, but a more complex perspective, which does justice not only to the dynamics of division, but also to the continuing ties between the two Germanys. By focusing on the problems that transcend their borders, it does more justice to the biographical experiences of the people involved." (author's abstract)
Keywords German Democratic Republic (GDR); GDR research; Federal Republic of Germany; science of history; historiography; narrative; post-war society; post-war period; comparative research; research approach; democracy; reunification; coming to terms with the past; explanation; analysis; paradigm change; political history
Classification General History; Political System, Constitution, Government
Method basic research; historical; epistemological
Document language German
Publication Year 2012
Page/Pages p. 292-312
Journal Historical Social Research, Supplement (2012) 24
Issue topic Contemporary history as transatlantic project: the German problem 1960-2010
ISSN 0172-6404
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Creative Commons - Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works