World War II in German cultural memory

Dresden as lieu de mémoire

Authored by: Anne Fuchs

The Routledge Handbook of German Politics & Culture

Print publication date:  December  2014
Online publication date:  November  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415686860
eBook ISBN: 9781315747040
Adobe ISBN: 9781317600152


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German and British memory of World War II could not be more polarised. In the UK, national memory culture clings to the fantasy of a ‘good war’ that showcased the moral strength of the nation. The tabloidisation of ‘Britain’s finest hour’, the endless recycling of the war on British TV in the BBC ‘reality show’ Wartime Farm (2012), for example, or the perennially popular comedy Dad’s Army (1968–77), whose characters ‘are bumbling and incompetent certainly, but determined to die if necessary for their country’ (Ramsden 2010: 34) are only some of the symptoms of a pervasive myth that makes the past the source of a comforting national self-image based on collective endurance, self-sacrifice, and stoicism. 1

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