Academic analyses of democracy and dictatorship in post-Nazi Germany have been extremely closely linked with political and moral evaluations. This is overtly and explicitly the case with Marxist-Leninist critiques of ‘bourgeois’ democracy and legitimation of the communist regime; it is less obviously but nevertheless often also the case with would-be ‘objective’ or ‘value-neutral’ Western analyses of the respective political systems. Curiously the phases of pre-1990 Western academic debate parallel phases in German-German relations, with a softening of tone during the period of détente; there has, however, been a notable repoliticisation of historical debates in the period since unification.
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