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Broken Lives: How Ordinary Germans Experienced the 20th Century

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9780691174587: Broken Lives: How Ordinary Germans Experienced the 20th Century
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The gripping stories of ordinary Germans who lived through World War II, the Holocaust, and Cold War partition―but also recovery, reunification, and rehabilitation

Broken Lives is a gripping account of the twentieth century as seen through the eyes of ordinary Germans who came of age under Hitler and whose lives were scarred and sometimes destroyed by what they saw and did.

Drawing on six dozen memoirs by the generation of Germans born in the 1920s, Konrad Jarausch chronicles the unforgettable stories of people who not only lived through the Third Reich, World War II, the Holocaust, and Cold War partition, but also participated in Germany's astonishing postwar recovery, reunification, and rehabilitation. Written decades after the events, these testimonies, many of them unpublished, look back on the mistakes of young people caught up in the Nazi movement. In many, early enthusiasm turns to deep disillusionment as the price of complicity with a brutal dictatorship--fighting at the front, aerial bombardment at home, murder in the concentration camps―becomes clear.

Bringing together the voices of men and women, perpetrators and victims, Broken Lives reveals the intimate human details of historical events and offers new insights about persistent questions. Why did so many Germans support Hitler through years of wartime sacrifice and Nazi inhumanity? How did they finally distance themselves from this racist dictatorship and come to embrace human rights? Jarausch argues that this generation's focus on its own suffering, often maligned by historians, ultimately led to a more critical understanding of national identity―one that helped transform Germany from a military aggressor into a pillar of European democracy.

The result is a powerful account of the everyday experiences and troubling memories of average Germans who journeyed into, through, and out of the abyss of a dark century.

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From the Back Cover:

"How did Germans who witnessed the worst of the Third Reich and the best of postwar Germany try to understand their own pasts? In Broken Lives, distinguished historian Konrad Jarausch answers this question by exploring scores of memoirs of the Weimar generation, Germans born in the 1920s. Along the way, he also insightfully analyzes the complex process of recording memories of past events."--Norman M. Naimark, author of Genocide: A World History

"With great skill, Konrad Jarausch weaves together the recollections of Germans born between the end of the First World War and Hitler's rise to power, in order to create a powerful account of generational memory and experience. This is a history of breaks, ruptures, and self-transformations, told with real historical empathy."--Nicholas Stargardt, author of The German War: A Nation under Arms, 1939-1945

"Drawing on the memoirs of 'ordinary Germans, ' Broken Lives offers a comprehensive narrative of twentieth-century German history that emphasizes everyday life and sheds fresh light on big questions. A bold experiment that succeeds fully."--Jürgen Kocka, author of Capitalism: A Short History

"Jarausch illuminates the possibilities of history and consciousness through the testimony of dozens of Germans who struggled to make sense of their lives and the times they lived in. A very moving account of twentieth-century German history."--Peter Fritzsche, author of An Iron Wind: Europe under Hitler

"By focusing on Germans born in the 1920s, Jarausch leads us to think deeply about the ways people experience the intersection of big historical events and their own lives. This book is a tremendous accomplishment--comprehensive and learned, yet down-to-earth and a good read."--Elizabeth Heineman, University of Iowa

About the Author:

Konrad H. Jarausch is the Lurcy Professor of European Civilization at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. His many books include Out of Ashes: A New History of Europe in the Twentieth Century and Reluctant Accomplice: A Wehrmacht Soldier's Letters from the Eastern Front (both Princeton). He lives in Chapel Hill and Berlin.

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Book Description Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. The gripping stories of ordinary Germans who lived through World War II, the Holocaust, and Cold War partition-but also recovery, reunification, and rehabilitationBroken Lives is a gripping account of the twentieth century as seen through the eyes of ordinary Germans who came of age under Hitler and whose lives were scarred and sometimes destroyed by what they saw and did.Drawing on six dozen memoirs by the generation of Germans born in the 1920s, Konrad Jarausch chronicles the unforgettable stories of people who not only lived through the Third Reich, World War II, the Holocaust, and Cold War partition, but also participated in Germany's astonishing postwar recovery, reunification, and rehabilitation. Written decades after the events, these testimonies, many of them unpublished, look back on the mistakes of young people caught up in the Nazi movement. In many, early enthusiasm turns to deep disillusionment as the price of complicity with a brutal dictatorship--fighting at the front, aerial bombardment at home, murder in the concentration camps-becomes clear.Bringing together the voices of men and women, perpetrators and victims, Broken Lives reveals the intimate human details of historical events and offers new insights about persistent questions. Why did so many Germans support Hitler through years of wartime sacrifice and Nazi inhumanity? How did they finally distance themselves from this racist dictatorship and come to embrace human rights? Jarausch argues that this generation's focus on its own suffering, often maligned by historians, ultimately led to a more critical understanding of national identity-one that helped transform Germany from a military aggressor into a pillar of European democracy.The result is a powerful account of the everyday experiences and troubling memories of average Germans who journeyed into, through, and out of the abyss of a dark century. Seller Inventory # AAH9780691174587

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