Skip to content

Your Cart


You have 0 items in your cart.

Register Sign in Wishlist

German Intellectuals and the Nazi Past

$95.00 (P)

Award Winner
  • Date Published: September 2007
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521864954

$ 95.00 (P)

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:
Paperback, eBook

Looking for an examination copy?

If you are interested in the title for your course we can consider offering an examination copy. To register your interest please contact providing details of the course you are teaching.

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • This book examines West German intellectual debates about the Nazi past by explaining why they were so relentlessly polarized. Germans argued about the viability of their very nationality: was it stigmatized, stained, or polluted by crimes of the Third Reich? Or was it really like any other nation? The book examines how German intellectuals either defended national traditions or condemned them and instead advocated alternative traditions. Although the book proceeds chronologically, it differs from other works, which are event-based narratives, by highlighting this underlying structure of identity and dispute.

    • German intellectuals and Nazi past integrating concepts of stigma and structured political emotions
    • Political and intellectual history that embeds ideas in political emotions, i.e., how we feel about national identity, shame, guilt, pride
    • Explains why the question of stigma comes to an end early in the 21st century
    Read more


    • Winner of H-Soz-u-Kult's best contemporary historical study 2007, as part of its annually held forum on The Historical Book of the Year.

    Reviews & endorsements

    “remarkable synthesis of public debates on German history and identity.” -Tuska Benes, History: Review of New Books

    “A. Dirk Moses provides an excellent analysis and review of the sometimes esoteric and often bitter disputes between different schools of thought in Germany about the Holocaust and German guilt.” -Arthur B. Gunlicks, Holocaust and Genocide Studies

    “Moses does an outstanding job of referring debates and of dealing with aspects of intellectuals that are less known in traditional accounts.” -Robert C. Holub, German Politics and Society

    “Moses’s greatest contribution in German Intellectuals and the Nazi Past is his analysis of why some intellectuals believed that the German population needed to be morally transformed after the war and why others did not.” -Noah B. Strote, Theory and Society

    “All research on the intellectual history of the Federal Republic will find trustworthy orientation in this book.” -Jens Hacke, H-Soz-u-Kult

    "Moses has provided a masterly synthesis of West German political thought, and a work of great intellectual power. In short: his book is the most important work in English on West German memory of Nazism to have appeared in recent years." -Bill Niven, German Quarterly Book Reviews

    "German Intellectuals and the Nazi Past is a splendid and original interpretation that ought to be consulted by all historians interested in historical memory, national identity, and the discourse of public intellectuals." -William David Jones, Canadian Journal of History

    "Moses's study of the influence and use of memory in the West German political realm, focusing on the role of the public intellectual, is superb." -Douglas C. Peifer, Contemporary European History

    "Precisely because of the questions it raises, this is an agenda-setting book, with which any scholar of intellectuals, political culture and postwar Germany's reckoning with the past will have to contend. Moreover, it should interest those who study memory, identity and transitional justice more broadly." -Sean A. Forner, National Identities

    "Moses has given historians of central Europe, if not the larger historical profession, much to mull over in their writing, research, and teaching on contemporary German history. No scholar will approach the topic of Vergangenheitsbewältigung again without first coming to terms with this book." -Jason Dawsey, H-German

    '"This well-informed book by Moses rewrites the intellectual history of federal Germany from the second world war to the first years of the new millennium, concentrating on the development of German national consciousness as a means to recover an "underlying structure of German emotions" -Manfred Alexander Hinz, Ricerche di Storia Politica

    "...the study makes a strong contribution to the scholarship surrounding this important topic." -Eric J. Klaus, German Studies Review

    "A. Dirk Moses has written a passionate book: one that combines traditional intellectual history, memory discourse, an overwhelming concern with moral judgements, and some biblical analogies." -Kenneth Barkin, Journal of Modern History

    "...meticulously researched, well-written account..." -Carole Fink, Journal of Cold War Studies

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2007
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521864954
    • length: 304 pages
    • dimensions: 240 x 162 x 24 mm
    • weight: 0.6kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Stigma and structure in German memory
    2. The languages of republicanism and West German political generations
    3. The Forty-Fivers: a generation between fascism and democracy
    4. The German German - the integrative republicanism of Wilhelm Hennis
    5. The non-German German - the redemptive republicanism of Jurgen Habermas
    6. Theory and practice: science, technology, and the republican university
    7. The crisis of the republic:
    8. 1967 and its aftermath
    9. The structure of discourse in the 1980s and 1990s
    10. History, multiculturalism, and the non-German German
    11. German Germans and the old nation
    12. Political theology and the dissolution of the underlying structure.

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • UG Germany 1871 to the Present; Grad Colloq in Mod German History
  • Author

    A. Dirk Moses, European University Institute, Florence
    Dirk Moses studied history in Australia, Scotland, the United States and Germany before joining the History Department at the University of Sydney in 2000. As a research fellow at the University of Freiburg, he worked on postwar German debates about the recent past, a project which became German Intellectuals and the Nazi Past. He has edited and co-edited four anthologies on genocide, mainly on the relationship with colonialism. He has held fellowships in Austria, Germany, Israel and the USA, most recently at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC. Currently, he is Professor of Global and Colonial History at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy, where he is finishing a book manuscript entitled Genocide and the Terror of History. He is also working on a project called 'The Diplomacy of Genocide', which studies international reactions to allegations of genocide in postcolonial conflicts in the 1960s and 1970s.


    • Winner of H-Soz-u-Kult's best contemporary historical study 2007, as part of its annually held forum on The Historical Book of the Year.

Sign In

Please sign in to access your account


Not already registered? Create an account now. ×

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×

Find content that relates to you

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.