With Good Reason

After the Berlin Wall Came Down
December 1st, 2012

Image credit: Sharon Emerson

More than 20 years after Germans tore down the Berlin Wall, they are still negotiating how to deal with the stigmas of a formerly divided country. Jason James (University of Mary Washington) says there are still divisions within German culture—between the “good” former West Germans and the “bad” former East Germans—and both sides struggle with a problematic past that includes Nazi and Fascist associations that persist, even in a united country. Also featured: In the years leading up to World War I, Germany joined other world powers in colonizing parts of Africa. Christian Davis (James Madison University) says there’s a relationship between the racial subjugation that occurred in Germany’s African colonies and the rise of an anti-Semitic movement back home—a movement that would later form the ideological core of Nazism.

1 Response to “After the Berlin Wall Came Down”

  • I have a souvenir of the Berlin Wall. It is a chunk of East German concrete with the facing side a rainbow of West German spray paint . It is a parable of reunification. I lived in the former East Germany, Jena, Thuringia from 1998-2005. The residents who were educated under both systems had a unique combination of survival skills that set them apart from (and dare I say above) residents of the former West Germany. The former East had culpable institutions but there were some that deserved to survive reintegration.

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