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From post-war to post-wall generations :…
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From post-war to post-wall generations : changing attitudes towards the…

by Joyce Marie Mushaben

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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0813311527, Hardcover)

In 1984, Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Andreotti aptly summarized popular perception of the divided nationality of the two Germanys, East and West: “There are two German states, and two they shall remain.” Few would have disagreed. By the 1980s, both German states had come to occupy respected niches in the international community. Still, neither side seemed to have found an acceptable home for the problematic notion of German national identity. In terms of one united Germany, by the 1980s in the West only a small group of West German elites cared to discuss the possibility of a reunited nation, much less the terms under which such an arrangement might occur. Even fewer citizens of the FRG felt comfortable describing their personal German identity, even before the issue was further entangled by the reincorporation of 16 millions East Germans in 1990.Was it the Germans’ historically overburdened and divided perception of themselves that continued to breed uncertainty about their future? Or was it outsiders’ unwillingness to accept many political and cultural changes which had redefined the concept of German identity since 1949 and kept Angst alive and well in Central Europe? Joyce Marie Mushaben seeks here to find some clarity from this highly amorphous “German Question” as it shifted from postwar to post-wall West Germany.Mushaben rests her answers on an intriguing collection of in-depth interviews with public figures, tested against the detailed secondary analysis of public opinion data spanning four decades. Emerging from the effort is a set of clear generational differences and profiles, attesting to the increasingly pluralistic character of the postwar German identity. In the 1990s, the reunification of two very different sociopolitical cultures of East and West has only added to a complicated mix. Mushaben concludes that, faced with these dilemmas of difference, West Germans must cultivate a “courage to mix” these cultures and to demonstrate a healthy respect for the very processes of change and generational differentiation that brought them peace in the years of German division.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:59:59 -0400)

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