Life After Death

Life After Death : Approaches to a Cultural and Social History of Europe During the 1940s and 1950s

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This collection of essays offers a novel approach to the cultural and social history of Europe after the Second World War. In a shift of perspective, it does not conceive of the impressive economic and political stability of the postwar era as a quasi-natural return to previous patterns of societal development but approaches it as an attempt to establish 'normality' upon the lingering memories of experiencing violence on a hitherto unprecedented scale. It views the relationship of the violence of the 1940s to the apparent 'normality' and stability of the 1950s as a key to understanding the history of post-war Europe. While the history of post-war Germany naturally looms large in this collection, the essays deal with countries across Western and Central Europe, offer comparative perspectives on their subjects, and draw upon a wide range of primary and secondary source more

Product details

  • Online resource
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1 b/w illus.
  • 1139052349
  • 9781139052344

Review quote

"The volume has considerable value in bringing together some of the most innovative social and cultural historians of postwar Europe." Journal of Social Historyshow more

Table of contents

Introduction: violence, normality, and the construction of postwar Europe Richard Bessel and Dirk Schumann; 1. Post-traumatic stress disorder and World War II: can a psychiatric concept help us understand postwar society? Alice Forster and Birgit Beck; 2. Between pain and silence: remembering the victims of violence in Germany after 1949 Sabine Behrenbeck; 3. Paths of normalization after the persecution of the Jews: the Netherlands, France, and West Germany in the 1950s Ido De Haan; 4. Trauma, memory and motherhood: Germans and Jewish displaced persons in post-Nazi Germany, 1945-9 Atina Grossman; 5. Memory and the narrative of rape in Budapest and Vienna in 1945 Andrea Peto; 6. 'Going home': the personal adjustment of British and American servicemen after the war Joanna Bourke; 7. Desperately seeking normality: sex and marriage in the wake of war Dagmar Herzog; 8. Family life and 'normality' in postwar British culture Pat Thane; 9. Continuities and discontinuities of consumer mentality in West Germany in the 1950s Michael Wildt; 10. 'Strengthened and purified through ordeal by fire': ecclesiastical triumphalism in the ruins of Europe Damian van Melis; 11. The nationalism of victimhood: selective violence and national grief in western Europe, 1940-60 Pieter Lagrou; 12. Italy after fascism: the predicament of dominant narratives Donald Sasson; 13. The politics of post-fascist aesthetics: 1950s west and east German industrial design Paul Betts; 14. Dissonance, normality, and the historical method: why did some Germans think of Tourism after May 8, 1945? Alon more

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