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After the Berlin Wall
Memory and the Making of the New Germany, 1989 to the Present

$34.99 (P)

  • Date Published: October 2019
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107049314
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About the Authors
  • The history and meaning of the Berlin Wall remain controversial, even three decades after its fall. Drawing on an extensive range of archival sources and interviews, this book profiles key memory activists who have fought to commemorate the history of the Berlin Wall and examines their role in the creation of a new German national narrative. With victims, perpetrators and heroes, the Berlin Wall has joined the Holocaust as an essential part of German collective memory. Key Wall anniversaries have become signposts marking German views of the past, its relevance to the present, and the complicated project of defining German national identity. Considering multiple German approaches to remembering the Wall via memorials, trials, public ceremonies, films, and music, this revelatory work also traces how global memory of the Wall has impacted German memory policy. It depicts the power and fragility of state-backed memory projects, and the potential of such projects to reconcile or divide.

    • The book is being published to coincide with the thirtieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall
    • Draws on an extensive range of archival sources and more than 100 primary interviews
    • Considers multiple approaches to remembering the Wall, including memorials, trials, films and music
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'An original mixture of journalistic reporting and scholarly analysis, this will be the definitive work on the subject of the aftermath of the Wall.' Konrad H. Jarausch, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and author of Out of Ashes: A New History of Europe in the Twentieth Century

    'Hope M. Harrison’s superbly informed and often moving study of the Berlin Wall demonstrates that the issues of whom to honor and punish, how to memorialize, and how to integrate into the history of German dictatorship, have made its history a continuing site of political contestation. And poignantly today, a reminder of the era when we strove to tear down walls and not to build them.' Charles S. Maier, Harvard University and author of Dissolution: The Crisis of Communism and the End of East Germany

    'Hope M. Harrison provides an extraordinary account of an extraordinary event and its legacies, both factual and political, and it will certainly frame the discussion for the future. It is a tremendous achievement.' Jeffrey K. Olick, William R. Kenan Professor of Sociology and History, University of Virginia

    'A riveting and compelling account of Germany’s post-1989 struggle over the history and memory of the Berlin Wall. Masterfully told with critical distance and yet deep empathy, Harrison engages the reader in the dramatic contest over the past and future of the new Germany.' Christian F. Ostermann, Director of the History and Public Policy Program, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars 

    'A tour de force, breaking new ground in showing us how German memory activists turned the focus of national history to the Cold War, and in particular to the wall, the dismantling of which embodied the peaceful end of that struggle for freedom.' Jay Winter, Yale University, Connecticut

    '… many years in the making and is the result of meticulous research.' Georgina Paul, The Times Literary Supplement

    '… carefully researched and superbly readable …' Andrew Moravcsik, Foreign Affairs

    ‘This important book offers a comprehensive account of how the Berlin Wall has been remembered and memorialized since its fall in 1989 … this clearly written and highly readable text will appeal to scholars and general readers alike.’ H. D. Baer, Choice

    ‘… far-ranging, well-researched and highly readable study … After the Berlin Wall is a major achievement by a leading scholar, a study that will, for the foreseeable future, set the standard for any serious exploration of unified Germany’s memory culture surrounding the Berlin Wall.’ Pertti Ahonen, H-Diplo

    ‘… the book adds to our understanding of the Wall as a touchstone and sounding board for memory. Harrison succeeds in bringing out the palimpsest qualities of this stark, spray-painted structure.’ Mark Fenemore, H-Diplo

    ‘Comprehensively researched, beautifully written …’ Mary Fulbrook, H-Diplo

    ‘Hope M. Harrison’s splendid book is a tremendous achievement … It will frame the memory and identity discussions for the future.’ Stephan Kieninger, H-Diplo

    ‘… the book [is] so beneficial for everybody who studies the history of the Berlin Wall.’ Hanno Hochmuth, The Public Historian

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    Customer reviews

    07th Jan 2020 by DS0101

    After the Berlin Wall - Hope M. Harrison This book gives a very detailed account of the processes in the many organisations, going right up to the Bundestag, involved in creating lasting memorials to the Berlin Wall. The introduction give a brief history of the Wall itself and how it came into being starting on 13th August 1961 and its subsequent ‘improvements’ as well as the stories of several would-be escapers who died trying to cross from East to West. The creation of the main memorial area in the Bernauer Straße was complicated, there being several claimants to the land required to make a meaningful monument that included a stretch of the original wall which was in fact two parallel walls enclosing the so-called ‘death strip’. The original weaponry designed to kill escapers was not included, but a watchtower was. Some of the the land belonged to a church, the Sophien Church, which was not keen on handing over the land, claiming there were bodies od ex-parishioners buried there - these had in fact been removed by the East Berlin authorities to clear the ground for the Wall. The leaders of the Sophien Church, which had been in East Berlin, clashed with the leaders of the Reconciliation Church, which had also been on the east side of the wall, but was demolished by the East Berlin authorities as it was right up against the wall thus preventing a clear field of fire for the wall guards. There were many such clashes between various interest groups the had to be settled over a period of years with a Pastor Manfred Fischer being one of the most fervent advocates of having permanent memorials to the wall and those who died at it. Hope Harrison also presents other aspects of post-Cold War Berlin and the memorialisation of events. For example, it was feared that too great an emphasis on memorials and anniversary events concerning the Wall would overshadow memorials and events concerning the Holocaust. There were also arguments about who should be remembered - just those who had died as a result of the Wall-policy or the entire population of East Germany who had endured twenty-eight years of a second dictatorship following hard on the heels of the Nazi regime. Opinions differed as to how the East German border guards should be judged, especially those who had been responsible for shooting fugitives. Some border guards were among the victims of the ‘shoot-to-kill’ policy themselves - these were to be treated as victims while the shooters were to be tried for their actions. This book maybe for a fairly niche readership: I have studied this period in German history and found it fascinating, enjoying reading about the various people involved, the arguments for and against the various proposals for memorials, and the details of the later anniversary, particularly the twentieth, events commemorating the multiple aspects of the Wall and reunification. I do have a quibble with the writing: “different to” grates horribly as would “similar from”

    Review was not posted due to profanity


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    Product details

    • Date Published: October 2019
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107049314
    • length: 478 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 159 x 26 mm
    • weight: 0.91kg
    • contains: 27 b/w illus. 3 maps
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    List of figures
    List of abbreviations and German terms
    Introduction: the Berlin Wall and German historical memory
    1. Divergent approaches to the fall of the Wall
    2. The fight over memory at Bernauer Strasse
    3. Creating a Berlin Wall Memorial ensemble at Bernauer Strasse
    4. Remembering the Wall at Checkpoint Charlie
    5. The Berlin Senate's master plan for remembering the Wall
    6. The Federal Government and the Berlin Wall
    7. Victims and perpetrators
    8. Conflicting narratives about the Wall
    9. Heroes to celebrate and a new founding myth
    Conclusion: memory as warning

  • Author

    Hope M. Harrison, George Washington University, Washington DC
    Hope M. Harrison is Associate Professor of History and International Affairs at George Washington University, Washington DC. The recipient of fellowships from Fulbright, the Wilson Center, and the American Academy in Berlin, she is the author of Driving the Soviet up the Wall (2003), which was awarded the 2004 Marshall Shulman Book Prize by the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies, and was also published to wide acclaim in German translation. She has served on the National Security Council staff, currently serves on the board of three institutions in Berlin connected to the Cold War and the Berlin Wall, and has appeared on CNN, the History Channel, the BBC, and Deutschlandradio.

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