Introduction: Reinventing German National Identity
‘Your book will deal with a very different Federal Republic than any of us could have imagined possible in 1988’, as one of the contributors of The Federal Republic at Forty (1989), Christian Soe, put it succinctly to me. He was writing under the shadow of the dramatic pictures and headlines of November 1992 — about neo-Nazi and skinhead attacks on foreigners and the massive anti-racist demonstrations that followed — and hoped that Germany would presently overcome that crisis of image and identity. The interval between 1989 and 1994 has indeed brought such extraordinary changes to Germany and Europe as to make the previous 40 years of Cold War existence seem deceptively placid and well-ordered by comparison.
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