The Miracle Years: A Cultural History of West Germany, 1949-1968

The Miracle Years: A Cultural History of West Germany, 1949-1968

By: Hanna Schissler (editor)Paperback

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Stereotypical descriptions showcase West Germany as an "economic miracle" or cast it in the narrow terms of Cold War politics. Such depictions neglect how material hardship preceded success and how a fascist past and communist sibling complicated the country's image as a bastion of democracy. Even more disappointing, they brush over a rich and variegated cultural history. That history is told here by leading scholars of German history, literature, and film in what is destined to become the volume on postwar West German culture and society. In it, we read about the lives of real people--from German children fathered by black Occupation soldiers to communist activists, from surviving Jews to Turkish "guest" workers, from young hoodlums to middle-class mothers. We learn how they experienced and represented the institutions and social forces that shaped their lives and defined the wider culture. We see how two generations of West Germans came to terms not only with war guilt, division from East Germany, and the Angst of nuclear threat, but also with changing gender relations, the Americanization of popular culture, and the rise of conspicuous consumption. Individually, these essays peer into fascinating, overlooked corners of German life. Together, they tell what it really meant to live in West Germany in the 1950s and 1960s. In addition to the editor, the contributors are Volker R. Berghahn, Frank Biess, Heide Fehrenbach, Michael Geyer, Elizabeth Heineman, Ulrich Herbert, Maria Hohn, Karin Hunn, Kaspar Maase, Richard McCormick, Robert G. Moeller, Lutz Niethammer, Uta G. Poiger, Diethelm Prowe, Frank Stern, Arnold Sywottek, Frank Trommler, Eric D. Weitz, Juliane Wetzel, and Dorothee Wierling.

About Author

Hanna Schissler teaches modern German history at the University of Hannover and is as enior reserach fellow at the Georg Eckert Institute in Braunschweig. She is the author of National Identity and Perceptions of the Past and other books.


PREFACE xi INTRODUCTION: Writing about 1950s West Germany by Hanna Schissler 3 PART ONE: THE WEIGHT OF THE PAST, NEW BEGINNINGS, AND THE CONSTRUCTION OF NATIONAL MEMORY 17 Introduction 19 CHAPTER ONE: The Hour of the Woman: Memories of Germany's "Crisis Years" and West German National Identity by Elizabeth Heineman 21 CHAPTER TWO: Survivors of Totalitarianism: Returning POWs and the Reconstruction of Masculine Citizenship in West Germany, 1945-1955 by Frank Biess 57 CHAPTER THREE: Remembering the War in a Nation of Victims: West German Pasts in the 1950s by Robert G. Moeller 83 CHAPTER FOUR: Mission to Happiness: The Cohort of 1949 and the Making of East and West Germans by Dorothee Wierling 110 PART TWO: STIGMA: "OTHERS" IN THE SHAPING OF WEST GERMANY 127 Introduction 129 CHAPTER FIVE: An Uneasy Existence: Jewish Survivors in Germany after 1945 by Juliane Wetzel 131 CHAPTER SIX: Heimat in Turmoil: African-American GIs in 1950s West Germany by Maria Hohn 145 CHAPTER SEVEN: Of German Mothers and "Negermischlingskinder": Race, Sex, and the Postwar Nation by Heide Fehrenbach 164 CHAPTER EIGHT: Guest Workers and Policy on Guest Workers in the Federal Republic: From the Beginning of Recruitment in 1955 until its Halt in 1973 by Ulrich Herbert and Karin Hunn 187 CHAPTER NINE: The Ever-Present Other: Communism in the Making of West Germany by Eric D. Weitz 219 PART THREE: THE PRESENCE OF THE ABSENT 233 Introduction 235 CHAPTER TEN: "Normalization" in the West: Traces of Memory Leading Back into the 1950s by Lutz Niethammer 237 CHAPTER ELEVEN: Film in the 1950s: Passing Images of Guilt and Responsibility by Frank Stern 266 CHAPTER TWELVE: Memory and Commerce, Gender and Restoration: Wolfgang Staudte's Roses for the State Prosecutor (1959) and West German Film in the 1950s by Richard McCormick 281 CHAPTER THIRTEEN: Creating a Cocoon of Public Acquiescence: The Author-Reader Relationship in Postwar German Literature by Frank Trommler 301 PART FOUR: THE EMERGENCE OF CIVIL SOCIETY, MODERNITY'S CLAIMS AND LIMITS 321 Introduction 323 CHAPTER FOURTEEN: Recasting Bourgeois Germany by Volker R. Berghahn 326 CHAPTER FIFTEEN: 16 From Starvation to Excess? Trends in the Consumer Society from the 1940s to the 1970s by Arnold Sywottek 341 CHAPTER SIXTEEN: "Normalization" as Project: Some Thoughts on Gender Relations in West Germany during the 1950s by Hanna Schissler 359 CHAPTER SEVENTEEN: Cold War Angst: The Case of West-German Opposition to Rearmament and Nuclear Weapons by Michael Geyer 376 PART FIVE: THE AMBIGUITY OF AMERICAN INFLUENCES, POPULAR CULTURE AND THE BREAKING OF "HIGH CULTURE'S" HEGEMONY 409 Introduction 411 CHAPTER EIGHTEEN: A New, "Western" Hero? Reconstructing German Masculinity in the 1950s by Uta G. Poiger 412 CHAPTER NINETEEN: Establishing Cultural Democracy: Youth, "Americanization," and the Irresistible Rise of Popular Culture by Kaspar Maase 428 CHAPTER TWENTY: The "Miracle" of the Political-Culture Shift: Democratization Between Americanization and Conservative Reintegration by Diethelm Prowe 451 EPILOGUE: Rebels in Search of a Cause by Hanna Schissler 459 SELECTED READINGS 469 BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE 479 INDEX 487

Product Details

  • ISBN13: 9780691058207
  • Format: Paperback
  • Number Of Pages: 448
  • ID: 9780691058207
  • weight: 765
  • ISBN10: 0691058202
  • translations: English
  • language of text: English

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