Historical Social Research

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Konrad H. Jarausch, Zeitgeschichte zwischen Nation und Europa: Eine transnationale Herausforderung [2004] [Abstract]

Another challenge for contemporary historians consists of widening the German perspective to the European context without becoming an apologist for the EU. This essay departs from the assertion that at present the Europeans possess only a rudimentary consciousness of a common past. Most contemporary historians still seem to do their research within a national framework, although many of their questions actually transcend it. This historical amnesia of the European dimension has is largely a result of the lack of a shared understanding of the twentieth century within which research results could be placed. As an alternative to an acclamatory history of integration, culminating in the Brussels institution, a critical perspective is necessary which takes seriously the immense suffering of wars, revolutions, and racial murder. The European memory deficit will only be overcome by the pluralization of narratives that makes space for different memories and acknowledges the mutually inflicted pain as a basis for a dedication to a better future.