Introduction: Generation as an Open Question
Scholars disagree about how generations come into being, how they can be identified and what socialising effect they have over the lifetime of their members. Therefore, Späth addresses the concept of ‘generation’ as an open question. In trying to fill the gap in the transnational component of political generation formation, he invites us to concentrate on one crucial moment of “the age of extremes” and on one specific generation: the year 1945 and its progressive politicians and intellectuals. Starting with the Second World War as civilizational rupture, the chapter suggests that there were new democratic political cultures in Western Europe after 1945. Outlining the contributions following in the volume, Späth contextualizes them within a framework toward an integrated Western European history.