The Berlin Wall crumbled amidst fears that a united Germany might seek too quickly to put its Nazi past behind it, inaugurating a new era of triumphant nationalism. What happened instead was surprising: behind the flag-waving arose a more public, thoughtful, and realistic scrutiny of the country's horrific legacy than ever before seen in postwar Germany. "Facing the Nazi Past" shows how the readiness of a newly united people, combined with an explosion of media events, gave birth to a collaborative, determined effort to reexamine and accept the past.
The reunification of Germany brought an end to a certain way of looking at the Third Reich. As long as Germany was divided, guilt for National Socialism could be passed back and forth over the border. However with one Germany the past is now shard by all Germans, and if the country is to be psychologically as well as geographically united, then it will have to be on the basis of accepting a common past, both the good and bad.
Drawing on archival research, newspaper reports, and historical documents, Facing the Nazi Past casts a new light on the history and legacy of Nazism. Together, Germans are shaping a more inclusive memory of the past, and a more inclusive, pluralist society in the future.
"An excellent book, authoritative...well researched, nuanced and perceptive...remarkably and probably correctly upbeat about the effects of reunification on German public memory.."
-Richard J. Evans, author of "Lying About Hitler
"Appropriately illustrated, this volume is well footed and accompanied by an excellent bibliography."
-Choice September 2002
..."Niven's books is an impressively comprehensive, insightful, and thought-provoking study that deserves a wide audience. [It] is highly readable and more than approprite to assign to undergraduates."
-Gavriel D. Rosenfeld, Fairfield University "German Studies Review, 2003