East meets West in United Germany: Debating Processes and Prospects, to be published this month, a collection of works that compares and contrasts German sentiments since the fall of the Berlin Wall nearly a quarter of a century ago. Editor Konrad Jarausch answers questions about the collection and the roots of his passion for the subject.
What drew you to the study of Germany’s re-unification after the fall of the Berlin Wall?
Since we had just bought an apartment at the Bayerischer Platz in Schöneberg during the summer of 1989, I was able to witness a good deal of the “peaceful revolution” firsthand. Moreover, as co-chair of an IREX commission of GDR and U.S. historians I became personally involved in the transition difficulties of my East German colleagues. After so many decades of Cold War stagnation, it seemed that history had returned with a vengeance – posing a challenge for explanation which I could not resist.