Toward a New Political Culture? Totalitarian Experience and Democratic Reconstruction After 1945
Andreas Wirsching argues that the comeback of democracy after the caesura of 1945 went far beyond the military and political turnaround but affected the depth of Western European political culture. This transformation resulted from a secular shift in how Europeans perceived their history and how they perceived themselves as actors in this history. Concentrating on a comparison of Italy, France and West Germany, Wirsching discusses three aspects that converged to bring about a profound change of the historical and political narrative in these countries after 1945: First, the crucial role of a democratic generation that had its roots in the nineteenth century; second, the trend toward post-heroism; and third, the role of mass culture.