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1 Beaverton World History- Germany

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Five Germanys I Have Known

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Five Germanys I Have Known Cover

ISBN13: 9780374155407
ISBN10: 0374155402
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The "German question" haunts the modern world: How could so civilized a nation be responsible for the greatest horror in Western history? In this unusual fusion of personal memoir and history, the celebrated scholar Fritz Stern refracts the question through the prism of his own life. Born in the Weimar Republic, exposed to five years of National Socialism before being forced into exile in 1938 in America, he became a world-renowned historian whose work opened new perspectives on the German past.

Stern brings to life the five Germanys he has experienced: Weimar, the Third Reich, postwar West and East Germanys, and the unified country after 1990. Through his engagement with the nation from which he and his family fled, he shows that the tumultuous history of Germany, alternately the strength and the scourge of Europe, offers political lessons for citizens everywhere--especially those facing or escaping from tyranny. In this wise, tough-minded, and subtle book, Stern, himself a passionately engaged citizen, looks beyond Germany to issues of political responsibility that concern everyone. Five Germanys I Have Known vindicates his belief that, at its best, history is our most dramatic introduction to a moral civic life.

Review:

"In 1944, upon visiting the desolate ruins of Stalingrad, Gen. Charles de Gaulle reportedly said, with a touch of awe, 'Quel peuple!' He was referring not to the Russians but to France and Russia's mutual enemy, the Germans. According to Stern (Einstein's German World), former provost of Columbia University and among the most venerable of America's German historians, de Gaulle grasped the 'deep ambiguity that hovers around German greatness': Germans were not only the destroyers of historic Europe but also its creators. In this fascinating memoir, Stern looks back over the 'five Germanys' his generation has seen — the Weimar Republic, Nazi tyranny, the post-1945 Federal Republic, the Soviet-controlled German Democratic Republic and, lastly, the reunited Germany of the present — and explains how he came to reconcile himself with his birth country (which his Jewish family fled in 1938) as it has come to terms with its new place in today's more cohesive and peaceful Europe. His history, says Stern, can be read as 'a text for political and moral lessons, as a drama in dread and hope.' The book's intriguing structure makes it a wonderful combination of history, memoir, analysis and even poetry." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Like a puzzle with an infinite number of answers, the Holocaust keeps turning up new stories, different angles, fresh versions of events we thought we knew already. Unexpectedly, Fritz Stern, one of the most distinguished historians of Germany in this country, has now produced a new story of his own. I say 'unexpectedly' because Stern is best known for his extraordinarily thorough use of archives:... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Synopsis:

World-renowned historian Stern brings to life the five Germanys he has experienced: Weimar, the Third Reich, postwar West and East Germanys, and the unified country after 1990. He shows that the tumultuous history of Germany--alternately the strength and the scourge of Europe--offers political lessons for citizens everywhere.

About the Author

Fritz Stern, University Professor Emeritus and former provost at Columbia University, is the author of many works of European history, including Gold and Iron:Bismarck, Bleichröder and the Building of the German Empire and Einstein's German World.

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pdhazard, January 22, 2007 (view all comments by pdhazard)
Fritz Stern's visit to his hometown Breslau (I've never been able to pronounce the Polish name!) is truly touching. I visited it as a total stranger in 2000 with my new Ossi wife whose mother was forced out of Silesia at the end of the war. It seemed fully restored and impressive. I remember that a new art museum that had a great collection was originally a German businessman's villa.

But I come to praise Stern's prposal for memorializing all the heroes of the Resistance. Even some that noone seems to remember heroically. A family Golden Wedding anniversary in Schwerin last summer prompted me to visit the contested Arno Breker exhibition there. As a Philadelphian, I became interested in the fact that Alexander Calder roomed as Breker's guest in Paris in 1927. The more I looked into Breker's career the less Nazi he seemed to me.His Paris dealer Flectheim was Jewish Two of his works in Schwerin were busts of Gypsies. His best friend in Berlin was Max Liebermann, whose death mask he sculpted for the widow. When he won the silver medal for two works for the 1936 Olympics (the judges actually gave him the gold, but Hitler--for diplomatic reasons--gave to the gold to his new ally Italy), the F?hrer playfully punched him in the shoulder, telling him he wanted all this future work, and adding that he didn't want "his" sculptor living in a garret either--giving him J?ckelbruch, to live"like a Duke". Hitler made him professor at the Berlin Academy. Untold prisoners or Gestapo targets owed their life and/or freedom to his wheedling for them to Hitler (including Picasso and Jean Marais.) He went out of his way to attend Chancellery dinners to plead directly with Hitler for prisoners. Speer actually pleaded with him to stop pressuring Hitler, perhaps fearing a backlash on himself. Hitler would settle such tiffs by asserting that artists knew nothing about politics, they were all dimwitted Parsifals.

At the end of the war, Russian and American troops looted or destroyed 90% of his works at J?ckenbruch. When he went on trial after the war, some of those he saved actually testified against him! An American general gave Breker the alternatives:a 100 mark fine or create a fountain for Donauw?rth. Breker scorned the artistic alternative, saying it was an undignfied abuse of a defeated enemy. He paid the 100 marks.

My theory is that Hitler, that bitter dropout from the Vienna Art Acadey, "adopted" Breker as the artistic son he never was himself.I find nothing conniving in Breker's "Nazi" career. And he was an underground saviour for hundreds of artists and other prisoners. It is inhumane and Nazi-like to judge him for only nine out of his ninety years. Before and after his Hitler adoption, he led an exemplary life, and not entirely blameful during his "adoption". Klaus Staeckel cancelled his own planned poster exhibition at Schwerin in protest. Staeckel, now the president of the Academy of Art (the same position the Nazis took from Breker's friend Liebermann), should rethink his 1980 Verbot campaign (No Nazi Art in German Museums). It is an intellectual position as stupid at the Nazi Verbot against "Entartete Kunst".It's as foul as the DDR lefties trying to keep Wolf Biermann de-Burgered. I prefer Christian compassion and forgiveness. Nastiness comes in many forms. Breker had none as far as I can see.Besides I love his work. About which I knew nothing before Schwerin. Put him on Fritz Stern's list, please. Dr.Patrick D.Hazard, Weimar, Germany. pdhazard@hotmail.com
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780374155407
Author:
Stern, Fritz
Publisher:
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Subject:
History
Subject:
Europe - Germany
Subject:
Germany
Subject:
Germany History 20th century.
Subject:
Stern, Fritz Richard
Subject:
World History-Germany
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20060822
Binding:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Includes 8 Pages of Black-and-White Illu
Pages:
560
Dimensions:
8.2 x 5.5 x 1.8 in

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Europe » Germany » General
History and Social Science » World History » 1650 to Present
History and Social Science » World History » Germany » General

Five Germanys I Have Known Used Hardcover
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$14.95 In Stock
Product details 560 pages Farrar Straus Giroux - English 9780374155407 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "In 1944, upon visiting the desolate ruins of Stalingrad, Gen. Charles de Gaulle reportedly said, with a touch of awe, 'Quel peuple!' He was referring not to the Russians but to France and Russia's mutual enemy, the Germans. According to Stern (Einstein's German World), former provost of Columbia University and among the most venerable of America's German historians, de Gaulle grasped the 'deep ambiguity that hovers around German greatness': Germans were not only the destroyers of historic Europe but also its creators. In this fascinating memoir, Stern looks back over the 'five Germanys' his generation has seen — the Weimar Republic, Nazi tyranny, the post-1945 Federal Republic, the Soviet-controlled German Democratic Republic and, lastly, the reunited Germany of the present — and explains how he came to reconcile himself with his birth country (which his Jewish family fled in 1938) as it has come to terms with its new place in today's more cohesive and peaceful Europe. His history, says Stern, can be read as 'a text for political and moral lessons, as a drama in dread and hope.' The book's intriguing structure makes it a wonderful combination of history, memoir, analysis and even poetry." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by , World-renowned historian Stern brings to life the five Germanys he has experienced: Weimar, the Third Reich, postwar West and East Germanys, and the unified country after 1990. He shows that the tumultuous history of Germany--alternately the strength and the scourge of Europe--offers political lessons for citizens everywhere.
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