History in political culture of Germany: genesis and modernity

History in political culture of Germany: genesis and modernity

Article received: 2022.08.13. Accepted: 2022.11.08

DOI: 10.17976/jpps/2023.01.04

For citation:

Pavlov N.V., Pimenova E.V. History in political culture of Germany: genesis and modernity. – Polis. Political Studies. 2023. No. 1. P. 29-41. (In Russ.). https://doi.org/10.17976/jpps/2023.01.04. EDN: MTDAHS


The critical study of national history became an essential part of German political culture from the 1960s. Scientists, journalists, and politicians mainly focused on the period of the National Socialist dictatorship. After the German unification, the Germans made significant efforts to carry out a critical analysis of their history, primarily focusing on the study of the totalitarian regime in East Germany. It was widely covered in the media, discussed at all levels – from local government meetings to the Bundestag and the federal government. The authorities opened the archives of the Ministry of State Security of the GDR, conducted a mass lustration, published thousands of evidence pieces of violations of human and civil rights. This campaign could to some extent be compared to the denazification of the early post-war period. The focus on the negative aspects of its national history and the self-punishment at the time of chancellor G. Kohl in 1991-1998 were replaced by the concept of “national normality” under G. Schroeder in 1998-2005. After A. Merkel came to power, the formation of a collective national memory was consolidated. From then on, the German establishment narrative suggested that the negative associations with the Third Reich and the regime in the GDR should be balanced by the undeniable cultural, civilizational and democratic achievements of Germany in earlier historical periods. Currently, ajustments are still under way in the official approaches to historical events and processes in the philosophical and political dimension, as the collective narrative strives to take into account today’s domestic and foreign political realities, primarily the role and place of Germany in the world. So, the main goal of the article is to clarify the modern political interpretation of the national history of Germany through an analysis of the discourse of German politicians.

Germany, German history, memory politics, elaboration of the past, historical narrative, historical politics .


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Content No. 1, 2023

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