Historical Social Research

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Konrad H. Jarausch, „Die Teile als Ganzes erkennen“. Zur Integration der beiden deutschen Nachkriegsgeschichten [2004] [Abstract]

Since most post-war histories are still written either as West or as East German narratives, this article addresses the question of how to integrate the two separate German stories into one common interpretation. It starts by identifying some deficits in the leading examples which focus on the FRG and only mention the GDR with the peaceful revolution. As alternative, it proposes a perspective of plural sequences with seven stages, which emphasizes the succession of shared problem constellations between 1945 and 1990. Based on one example of experiences for each of the steps the essay then suggests a variety of analytical approaches that appear suitable for the changing subject matter. The solution for the problem of constructing a joint history is therefore not the restoration of a democratized national narrative, but a more complex perspective, which does justice not only to the dynamics of division, but also to the continuing ties between the two Germanies. By focusing on the problems that transcend their borders, it does more justice to the biographical experiences of the people involved.