War, Guilt, and World Politics after World War II
When do states choose to adopt a penitent stance towards the past? When do they choose to offer apologies for historical misdeeds, offer compensation for their victims and incorporate the darker sides of history into their textbooks, public monuments and museums? When do they choose not to do so? And what are the political consequences of how states portray the past? This book pursues these questions by examining how governments in post-1945 Austria, Germany and Japan have wrestled with the difficult legacy of the Second World War and the impact of their policies on regional politics in Europe and Asia. The book argues that states can reconcile over historical issues, but to do so requires greater political will and imposes greater costs than is commonly realized. At the same time, in an increasingly interdependent world, failure to do so can have a profoundly disruptive effect on regional relations and feed dangerous geopolitical tensions.
- Electronic book text
- 05 Aug 2012
- CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS
- Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
- Cambridge, United Kingdom
- 2 b/w illus. 3 tables
'Berger's study focuses on one particular aspect of war guilt, namely the construction of an official narrative by the state in Germany, Austria and Japan to deal with economic, political, security and moral issues that arose as a consequence of their role in WWII. Berger proposes a methodological approach that makes use of historical determinism, instrumentalism and culturalist explanations in an eclectic manner ... Berger's comparative approach forms a valuable contribution that may also trigger further new research on the issues of war, guilt and penitence by other countries and in other parts of the world.' Kurt W. Radtke, The Sungkyun Review '... [an] exceptionally thoughtful and useful book ...' Wilfred M. McClay, Books and Culture
Table of contents
1. Politics and memory in an age of apology; 2. Germany: the model penitent; 3. Austria: the prodigal penitent; 4. Japan: the model impenitent?; 5. Asia: the geopolitics of remembering and forgetting: towards an expanded model; 6. Conclusions: the varieties of penitence.