On Forced Migrations: Transnational Realities and National Narratives in Post-1945 (West) Germany
Ahonen, P. (2014). On Forced Migrations: Transnational Realities and National Narratives in Post-1945 (West) Germany. German History, 32(4), 599-614. https://doi.org/10.1093/gerhis/ghu059
Published inGerman History
© The Author 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the German History Society.
This article examines tensions between the transnational realities of the extensive forced migrations that accompanied the end of the Second World War in Europe and the nationally focused public portrayals of those forced migrations that have prevailed in individual European countries since the war. The article does so through a case study of West Germany, which became home to some eight million forced migrants defined as ethnic Germans. It argues that a nationally oriented, highly selective public narrative of the forced migrations soon emerged in the Federal Republic, a narrative that stressed German suffering, relativized German crimes, and, crucially, elided differences among the forced migrants as well as between them and the rest of the West German population. The narrative had various useful societal functions, at least in the short term, but in the longer term it imposed significant costs on West Germany, both domestically and internationally. These costs related not only to foreign relations, especially vis-à-vis Eastern Europe, and to memory politics, but also to even wider challenges that contemporary Germany continues to face. These include the ongoing attempts to reconcile the reality of the Federal Republic as a multi-ethnic society of large-scale immigration with the myth of Germanness as an ethnically homogeneous and exclusive category, a myth that the post-1945 public narrative of German forced migrants helped to uphold. ...
PublisherOxford University Press; German History Society
Publication in research information system
MetadataShow full item record
Showing items with similar title or keywords.
Memorializing mass deaths at the border : two cases from Canberra (Australia) and Lampedusa (Italy) Horsti, Karina; Neumann, Klaus (Routledge, 2019)In this paper, we compare two seemingly very similar instances in which individuals and organizations within the borders of the global North have memorialized the deaths of irregular migrants at sea: the SIEV X memorial ...
Constructing containment : a critical analysis of the framing of trafficking in human beings in European Parliament discourse Moore, Annica (2011)This pro gradu thesis sets out to examine how discourse on trafficking in human beings sets conditions by which trafficked people are subjectified, whether willingly or not, while crossing EU borders. It seeks to critically ...
Lillie, Nathan; Wagner, Ines (Routledge, 2018)Industrial citizenship developed as a way to socially regulate markets in democratic societies. However, EU regulation and one form of labour mobility unique to the European Union, namely posted work, undermines national ...
Horsti, Karina (Sage Publications, 2019)This article examines memorialization among the family and friends of those who have died at the world’s deadliest border in the Mediterranean Sea. Digital media platforms are central spaces for new, innovative forms of ...
Temporality in cosmopolitan solidarity : Archival activism and participatory documentary film as mediated witnessing of suffering at Europe’s borders Horsti, Karina (Sage Publications Ltd., 2019)This article develops and extends the idea of cosmopolitan solidarity to temporality through a case study of archival activism and participatory film-making. It examines mediated witnessing within the Italian online ...