Historical Social Research

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Konrad H. Jarausch, Beyond the National Narrative: Implications of Reunification for Recent German History [2010] [Abstract]

This essay addresses the interpretative implications of German unification. First, the precise interaction between the international framework of détente and the internal dynamics of the democratic awakening has to be traced in order to explain the surprising overthrow of Communism and the return of a German national state. Therefore part of the history of the years 1990-2010 in Germany, sometimes referred to as the “Berlin Republic”, can be understood as working out the consequences of unification. But then it must also be realized, that a growing part is also composed of other issues such as globalization, immigration and educational reform. Hence the resumption of the national narrative is a backward-looking perspective that blocks the recognition of more recent problem areas that cannot be dealt with by telling a success story about the Federal Republic. Instead a history of the present require an engagement with new transnational issues of postmodern modernity.