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Vom Umgang mit dem 8. Mai in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland aus der Sicht des Jahres 1985

Bernd Faulenbach

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Dealing with May 8th in the Federal Republic of Germany from the Perspective of 1985


This text about May 8th in the German memorial culture was written in 1985, when debates about the meaning of this day reached a climax in Germany. It reflects the influence of differing views of the results of the Second World War and of German political identity and culture on those debates. Despite gradually recognizing the special character of Nazi policies after 1933 and during the Second World War, the German public continued to have difficulties drawing conclusions for the current political situation. While conservatives defended traditional nationalism and the German borders of 1937, the Social Democrats and liberals wished to improve Germany’s relations with Eastern Europe by accepting the new realities. They supported a policy of détente and reconciliation between Germany and its Eastern European neighbors. The general atmosphere was still dominated by the contrast between East and West, and the main political issue was how to overcome, through cooperation, confrontation between the two blocs. Today we rather see the different historical developments in the various countries of Europe and the special role played by the Soviet Union in the postwar period.


Bibliographie: Faulenbach, Bernd: Vom Umgang mit dem 8. Mai in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland aus der Sicht des Jahres 1985, JB historie, 1-2016, S. 309-319.