Catalogue


Utopia or Auschwitz? : Germany's 1968 generation and the Holocaust /
Hans Kundnani.
imprint
New York : Columbia University Press, 2009.
description
xiii, 374 p.
ISBN
9780231701372 (alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
New York : Columbia University Press, 2009.
isbn
9780231701372 (alk. paper)
contents note
Prologue: war, again -- The shadow of Auschwitz -- Revolutionary optimism -- From protest to resistance -- An abominable irrationalism -- The struggle continues -- Death trip -- A lifeline -- Peace -- New republic -- Power -- A war against the past -- The return of history -- A German way -- Epilogue: a new generation.
catalogue key
7060969
 
Includes bibliographical references and an index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2010-10-01:
London-based journalist Kundnani has written a fascinating, readable account of the "1968ers," analyzing their political, social, and cultural trajectory from street protestors to members of the German establishment after the election of Gerhard Schroder as chancellor in 1998. He based his account on interviews with 41 individuals ranging from prominent '68ers such as Schroder himself to Joschka Fischer, as well as examination of a wide range of newspapers, journals, and secondary sources. Kundnani argues that the 1968 generation was ambivalent about Germany's 20th-century history, and "both intensified Germany's engagement with the Nazi past and drew a line under it." The author challenges the master narrative of the '68ers as anti-national. Contradictory elements ranged from employing the Holocaust as a negative reference point for taking particular moral and political stances in contemporary society to working toward utopian political goals in order to eliminate ghosts of the troubled past. Kundnani packs an incredible amount of information and many telling episodes in his account; occasionally, the densely described trees clutter the overall thematic forest. But the book will be a useful guide in understanding German foreign policies of the last several decades, taking into account the role of the postwar generation that questioned its elders. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above. M. Deshmukh George Mason University
Reviews
Review Quotes
"A cool and clear outsider's look at the dreams and trauma of Germany's first postwar generation." -- Stefan Aust, author of The Baader-Meinhof Complex
"A major new study of the evolution and legacy of the German New Left." -- Ben Quinn, Forward
[Kundnani] formulates a clear hypothesis and, based on two main currents and its ramifications, traces the 1968 generation's ambivalent handling of the role of their parents' generation in Nazi Germany up to the present
A cool and clear outsider's look at the dreams and trauma of Germany's first postwar generation.
A fascinating.... useful guide in understanding German foreign policies of the last several decades.... Highly recommended.
"A fascinating.... useful guide in understanding German foreign policies of the last several decades.... Highly recommended." -- Choice
A major new study of the evolution and legacy of the German New Left.
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, October 2010
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Summaries
Main Description
The left-wing students who demonstrated in the streets of West Berlin and Frankfurt in 1968 differed from their international counterparts in one crucial way. These young Germans, who would become known as the 1968 generation, or the Achtundsechziger, were raised knowing their parents were responsible for Nazism and the Holocaust. Consequently, this generation dreamed of making a better world, but they also felt compelled to save Germany from itself. For them, it was an all-or-nothing choice: Utopia or Auschwitz.Though these demonstrators imagined their struggle against capitalism to be an ex post facto resistance against Nazism, they also exhibited a tendency to relativize the Holocaust. Some in fact wanted to highlight their country's Nazi past, and despite the anti-fascist rhetoric of the Achtundsechziger, nationalist and anti-Semitic currents emerged from the student movement and took root in the rhetoric of the West German New Left.It can be argued, therefore, that the 1968 generation had a deeply ambivalent relationship with their Nazi past. Utopia or Auschwitz. explores these contradictions as it traces the political journey of Germany's 1968 generation through the left-wing terrorism of the 1970s and the Social Democrats and Greens of the 1980s. It concludes with the 1990s and the first-ever "red-green" government in Germany. Hans Kundnani examines the foreign policy of this new coalition government, especially its response to the Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq crises, which reflects the 1968 generation's ambivalent relationship with its Nazi heritage.
Main Description
Germany's achtundsechzigersaw their fight against capitalism as a kind of "resistance" to the so-called "Auschwitz generation," but their hyper-sensitivity toward a Nazi past meant they saw Auschwitz in everything. Paradoxically, by using images and metaphors connected with Nazism to describe events in other parts of the world, achtundsechzigersrelativized the Holocaust. Although the West German New Left, which grew out of the protest movement, used anti-fascist rhetoric, nationalist and anti-Semitic currents also ran within it. Utopia or Auschwitz'traces the growth of Germany's 1968 generation and examines the influence of its ambivalent attitude toward Nazism on Germany's politics, especially its foreign policy.
Main Description
One thing separated the left-wing students who demonstrated on the streets of West Berlin and Frankfurt in 1968 from their counterparts elsewhere around the world. The young Germans who became known as the 1968 generation or the Achtundsechziger had grown up knowing that their parents were responsible for Nazism and in particular for the Holocaust. Germany's 1968 generation did not merely dream of a better world as some of their revolutionary contemporaries in other countries did; they felt compelled to act to save Germany from itself. It was an all-or-nothing choice: Utopia or Auschwitz.However, although many in the West German student movement imagined their struggle against capitalism as a kind of ex post facto resistance against Nazism, they also had a tendency to relativise the Holocaust. Others, meanwhile, wanted to draw a line under the Nazi past. In fact, despite the anti-fascist rhetoric of the Achtundsechziger , there were also nationalist and anti-Semitic currents in the West German New Left that grew out of the student movement. In short, the 1968 generation had a deeply ambivalent relationship with the Nazi past.Utopia or Auschwitz explores these contradictory currents as it traces the political journey of Germany's 1968 generation, via the left-wing terrorism of the seventies and the Social Democrats and Greens in the eighties, to political power in the nineties in the form of the first-ever "red-green" government in Germany. It examines the "red-green" government's foreign policy, in particular its response to the Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq crises, which reflected the 1968 generation's ambivalent relationship with the Nazi past.
Main Description
One thing separated the left-wing students who demonstrated on the streets of West Berlin and Frankfurt in 1968 from their counterparts elsewhere around the world. The young Germans who became known as the 1968 generation or the Achtundsechzigerhad grown up knowing that their parents were responsible for Nazism and in particular for the Holocaust. Germany's 1968 generation did not merely dream of a better world as some of their revolutionary contemporaries in other countries did; they felt compelled to act to save Germany from itself. It was an all-or-nothing choice: Utopia or Auschwitz. However, although many in the West German student movement imagined their struggle against capitalism as a kind of ex post factoresistance against Nazism, they also had a tendency to relativise the Holocaust. Others, meanwhile, wanted to draw a line under the Nazi past. In fact, despite the anti-fascist rhetoric of the Achtundsechziger, there were also nationalist and anti-Semitic currents in the West German New Left that grew out of the student movement. In short, the 1968 generation had a deeply ambivalent relationship with the Nazi past. Utopia or Auschwitz explores these contradictory currents as it traces the political journey of Germany's 1968 generation, via the left-wing terrorism of the seventies and the Social Democrats and Greens in the eighties, to political power in the nineties in the form of the first-ever "red-green" government in Germany. It examines the "red-green" government's foreign policy, in particular its response to the Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq crises, which reflected the 1968 generation's ambivalent relationship with the Nazi past.
Table of Contents
Prologue: War, Againp. 1
Children of Murderersp. 7
Revolutionary Optimismp. 29
From Protest to Resistancep. 51
An Abominable Irrationalismp. 73
The Struggle Continuesp. 97
Death Tripp. 125
A Lifetinep. 147
Peacep. 167
New Republicp. 193
Powerp. 213
A war Against the Pastp. 235
The Return of Historyp. 259
A German Wayp. 283
Epilogue: A New Generationp. 309
Notesp. 313
Bibliographyp. 349
Indexp. 361
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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