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Volume 11

Monographs in German History

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Recasting West German Elites

Higher Civil Servants, Business Leaders, and Physicians in Hesse between Nazism and Democracy, 1945-1955

Michael R. Hayse

288 pages, 6 charts, 8 tables, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-57181-271-1 $120.00/£85.00 Hb Published (November 2003)



The rapid shift of German elite groups' political loyalties away from Nazism and toward support of the fledgling democracy of the Federal Republic, in spite of the continuity of personnel and professional structures, has surprised many scholars of postwar Germany. The key, Hayse argues, lies in the peculiar and paradoxical legacy of these groups' evasive selective memory, by which they cast themselves as victims of the Third Reich rather than its erstwhile supporters. The avoidance of responsibility for the crimes and excesses of the Third Reich created a need to demonstrate democratic behavior in the post-war public sphere. Ultimately, this self-imposed pressure, while based on a falsified, selective group memory of the recent past, was more important in the long term than the Allies' stringent social change policies.

Michael R. Hayse is Associate Professor of History at Richard Stockton College of New Jersey. He specializes in 20th century German history, Russian and East European history, and Holocaust/genocide studies.

Subject: Postwar History
Area: Germany


List of Charts and Tables


Chapter 1. Complicity and Disenchantment by 1945
Chapter 2. Compositional Change and Continuity, 1945-1955
Chapter 3. Legal Restructuring and Professional Reorganization
Chapter 4. Denazification and its Effects, 1945-1955
Chapter 5. Recasting Personal and Occupational World Views



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