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Twenty Years After Communism$
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Michael Bernhard and Jan Kubik

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199375134

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199375134.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 13 May 2021

Making Room for November 9, 1989?

Making Room for November 9, 1989?

The Fall of the Berlin Wall in German Politics and Memory

(p.194) (p.195) 9 Making Room for November 9, 1989?
Twenty Years After Communism

David Art

Oxford University Press

Why has the fall of the Berlin Wall—a moment in which Germans took extraordinary risks to challenge authoritarianism—not developed into a resonant founding myth of a unified, democratic Germany? This chapter offers three answers to this puzzle. First, the preexisting field of memory in Germany was so structured by a Holocaust-centered memory regime that alternative memory regimes, such as one constructed around heroic interpretations of November 9, 1989, were blocked. Second, since unification has failed to erase economic differences between East and West, it was difficult to celebrate 1989 as an unambiguously positive moment for Germany as a whole. Third, the contested memory of the East German regime has made it difficult to construct anything approaching a common interpretation. Given that none of these three dynamics shows any signs of attenuating, the fall of the Wall is likely to remain a muted, tempered memory regime in German politics.

Keywords:   Germany, Holocaust memory, Berlin Wall, German unification

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