A Berlin Republic brings together writings on the new, united Germany by one of their most original and trenchant commentators, Jürgen Habermas. Among other topics, he addresses the consequences of German history, the challenges and perils of the post-Wall era, and Germany's place in contemporary Europe.
Here, as in his earlier The Past as Future, Habermas emerges as an inspired analyst of contemporary German political and intellectual life. He repeatedly criticizes recent efforts by historical and political commentators to 'normalize' and, in part, to understate the horrors of modern German history. He insists that 1945 - not 1989 - was the crucial turning point in German history, since it was then that West Germany decisively repudiated certain aspects of its cultural and political past (nationalism and antisemitism in particular) and turned towards Western Traditions of democracy: free and open discussion, and respect for the civil rights of all individuals. Similarly, Habermas deplores the renewal of nationalist sentiment in Germany and throughout Europe. Drawing upon his vast historical knowledge and contemporary insight, Habermas argues for heightened emphasis on trans-European and global democratic institutions - institutions far better suited to meet the challenges (and dangers) of the next century.