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Documents - Debates on Identity
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1.   Heinrich Böll on the Psychological Impact of the Economic Miracle (1960)
In this brief account of a midnight taxi-ride to the train station, the leftist Catholic writer Heinrich Böll critiques Germany’s suppression of Nazi guilt and....
2.   A Psychological Critique of the Refusal to Accept the Loss of the World War II (1967)
Exasperated by the illusionary demand of West German politicians to regain the Eastern territories lost....
3.   A Conservative Journalist Criticizes the Disappearance of the Term "Germany" (1972)
The conservative journalist Matthias Walden inveighs against the disappearance of the term “Germany” as a result of the de facto recognition of “the GDR” as denoting the East and “the FRG”....
4.   The Definition of East German Identity in the Final GDR Constitution (October 7, 1974)
While the initial GDR constitution aimed at unification under Communist auspices, and the....
5.   A Traditionalist Pleads for a More Positive Memory of Prussia (October 21, 1978)
When even the East German government began to sponsor a return to progressive Prussian traditions, the conservative journalist Günther Zehm called for a similar abandoning of militarism-cum-authoritarianism....
6.   Dolf Sternberger Describes the Term "Constitutional Patriotism" (1979)
As a replacement for discredited nationalism, political scientist Dolf Sternberger suggests “constitutional patriotism.” In doing so, he offers a democratic basis for loyalty to the Federal Republic....
7.   The Emotional Impact of the Broadcast of "Holocaust," an American TV Miniseries, in the Federal Republic (1979)
The Jewish historian Julius H. Schoeps describes the emotional outpouring prompted by the broadcast....
8.   A Liberal Intellectual Reflects on "the Burden of Being German" (September 2, 1983)
In a typical column, an editor of the liberal weekly Die Zeit muses about intellectuals’ lack of pride in their German identity, notes their weak attachments to the Federal Republic, and pleads....
9.   The Television Movie "Heimat": German Longing – and Loathing – for a Lost Mythical Home (1984)
In his twelve-hour long television movie "Heimat", director Edgar Reitz dramatized the course of German history from World War I up to the postwar period (i.e.,....
10.   Federal President Richard von Weizsäcker on the Meaning of Being German (1986)
In this wide-ranging reflection, Federal President Richard von Weizsäcker tries to provide a positive answer to the question of what it means to be German by....
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