Continuity and discontinuity of East German identity following the fall of the Berlin Wall: A case study
Andrews, M. 2003. Continuity and discontinuity of East German identity following the fall of the Berlin Wall: A case study. in: Gready, P (ed.) Cultures of Political Transition: Memory, Identity and Voice Pluto Press.
Nietzsche once commented that it is typically German to ask what it is to be German (McFalls 1995:143). Interest in German identity, or “the German identity problem” has endured for more than a century (Gilliar 1996:20), and indeed the project of forming a German identity is said to have begun in the 18th century, with the campaign to establish a ‘cultural nation’ (Jarausch et al 1997: 42). However long ago this fascination began, it is clear that the events of the autumn of 1989 have given it new life. In the ten years since the unification of the two Germanies, questions about German identity have increasingly permeated national consciousness. Despite the early optimism of many – epitomized by Willy Brandt’s now famous statement of
Significantly, the passage of time has not simplified the question of national identity. Rather, it has prompted many, as Nietsche might have predicted, to think more deeply not only about what it means to be a German, but to be a German from a particular part of Germany. In this chapter, I will examine the effect of the changes of 1989 on East Germans’ sense of their national identity. The picture I will paint is one of apparent contradictions as East Germans continue to probe, explore and struggle with who they are and where they belong.
|Book title||Cultures of Political Transition: Memory, Identity and Voice|
|Publication process dates|
|Deposited||17 Mar 2015|
|Accepted author manuscript|
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