German Literature in 1945: Liberation for a New Beginning?
The prevailing opinion in the Federal Republic is that 8 May 1945 was not, in fact, a liberation from Fascism, but, according to CDU/CSU Party Whip Alfred Dregger, a ‘catastrophe’ for the German Reich as it is supposed to survive today within the boundaries set in 1937.1 Furthermore, the editor of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Joachim Fest, has said that it was ‘a defeat for the principle of democracy’, since the Soviet Union ranked among the victors in the coalition against Hitler.2 A counterpart to this attitude is to be found in the debate over postwar literature. Here too, the question as to the ‘Liberation for a new beginning’ is flatly refuted. A basic element of continuity and a certain orientation towards the West are the essential features of the political and corresponding literary historical significance of the 8 May.
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