Book

From Monuments to Traces

Rudy Koshar

Published by University of California Press

Published in print July 2000 | ISBN: 9780520217683
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520922525 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520217683.001.0001
From Monuments to Traces

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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This book provides a powerful framework in which to examine the subject of German collective memory, which for more than a half century has been shaped by the experience of Nazism, World War II, and the Holocaust. Finding the assumptions of many writers and scholars shortsighted, the author surveys the evidence of postwar German memory in the context of previous traditions. The book follows the evolution of German “memory landscapes” all the way from national unification in 1870–71 through the world wars and political division to reunification in 1990. The memory landscapes of any society may incorporate monuments, historical buildings, memorials and cemeteries, battlefields, streets, or natural environments that foster shared memories of important events or personalities. They may also be designed to divert public attention from embarrassing or traumatic histories. The author argues that in Germany, memory landscapes have taken shape according to four separate paradigms—the national monument, the ruin, the reconstruction, and the trace—which he analyzes in relation to the changing political agendas which have guided them over time. Despite the massive ruptures of Germany's history, we see that significant continuities have served to counterbalance the traumas of the German past.

Keywords: German memory; Nazism; World War II; Holocaust; memory landscapes; monuments; memorials; cemeteries; battlefields; Germany

Book.  368 pages.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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Table of Contents

Introduction in From Monuments to Traces

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Monuments in From Monuments to Traces

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Ruins in From Monuments to Traces

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Reconstructions in From Monuments to Traces

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Traces in From Monuments to Traces

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Conclusion in From Monuments to Traces

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