Patrick Flamm | German icons of leadership and remembrance: Lessons for Abe?

2 thoughts on “Patrick Flamm | German icons of leadership and remembrance: Lessons for Abe?”

  1. I strongly endorse the claim that reconciliation politics requires us to distinguish between personal and political responsibilities. However, this post also raises the interesting thought that reconciliation involves two parties. One difference, perhaps, between the German situation and that of Japan, is that the most powerful of Germany’s neighbours have, generally, avoided using WWII atrocities as means of political-point scoring. The same could not be said of Japan’s. And brings us to the question: is it better to understand Germany’s more fulsome Vergangenheitsbewältigung as the cause of reconciliation? Or are European reconciliatory political inclinations the cause of Vergangenheitsbewältigung? Whatever the answer, that complex political-historical dynamic is necessarily and strongly contextual and that raises difficulties in any attempt to ‘apply lessons’ derived from the German model.

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    1. Thanks for your constructive comment, Steve, I absolutely agree with you! The respective context is very critical for any successful reconciliation, but once we recognize this, in my view it is fair to carefully draw conclusions from the German-European experience. Especially so as many actors in East Asia are making these comparisons in a very selective and thus biased manner anyway. Moreover, if we look beyond Western Europe, in Israel, Poland and the Soviet Union it was highly contested whether (and if so how) reconciliation and bilateral cooperation with West (and East) Germany should be resumed after the Holocaust and WWII.

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