Integrating Post-1945 German History

January-February 2011

Introduction Initial reviews/responses Discussion Further Information


Mathieu Denis, Canadian Centre for German and European Studies
Gregory Witkowski, Department of History, Ball State University


Over the last decade, a growing number of historians have integrated the two post-1945 German systems into unified narratives (deutsch-deutsche, or integrierte Geschichte in German). In Germany the discussion over how best to write and teach integrated histories has led to a body of empirical studies, and also to theoretical reflections and proposals on methodologies.[1] Historians in other countries are also increasingly writing about East and West Germany. Yet most scholars neither engage the broader issues nor delineate the parameters of an integrated German-German history: what are the potential gains and limits of integrated histories of Germany between 1945 and 1990? How can integrated approaches to post-1945 German history impact the ways we teach German history? How will they influence our methodologies? Will they influence our research projects and fields of specialization? Journals? Even though those questions are as relevant in our institutions as they are in Germany, they remain insufficiently addressed outside that country.

The editors of H-German would like foster a dialogue among our list members about these issues. Toward this end, a forum on the integration of post-1945 German history will start on Tuesday 1 February, with the publication of an original essay by Konrad H. Jarausch entitled Divided, Yet Reunited: on the challenge of integrating German post-war histories. It will be followed by contributions by Christoph Klessmann with Methodological Issues in the Historiography of Postwar Germany, and Peter Lautzas with The discussion of East-West German History in the Field of Education, also written specifically for this forum.

This forum is an effort to bring a topic of discussion within Germany to a broader audience that includes German as well as non-German scholars, especially in the Anglo- American world.  We wish to keep an open and flowing discussion in which list members share their thoughts, questions and experiences. We hope to hear from you. Good forum!

Mathieu Denis and Gregory Witkowski

H-German editors and Forum Orgaizers


[1] Peter Bender, Deutschlands Wiederkehr. Eine ungeteilte Nachkriegsgeschichte, 1945-1990 (Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta, 2007); Christoph Klessmann and Peter Lautzas, eds., Teilung und Integration. Die doppelte deutsche Nachkriegsgeschichte als wissenschaftliches und didaktisches Phaenomen (Schwalbach: Wochenschau Verlag, 2006); Frank Moeller and Ulrich Maehlert, Abgrenzung und Verflechtung. Das geteilte Deutschland in der zeithistorischen Debatte (Berlin: Metropol, 2008); Joerg Roesler, ­Momente deutsch-deutscher Wirtschafts- und Sozialgeschichte 1945 bis 1990. Eine Analyse auf gleicher Augenhoehe (Leipzig: Leipziger Universitaetsverlag, 2006); “Gemeinsame Nachkriegsgeschichte?,” Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte, 3(2007).

As was the case for previous forums, the forum will start with a series of commentaries/reviews to establish a foundation for discussion on the list.  A list of those scholars contributing initial responses follows below.
We welcome any comments, criticism, or suggestions you may have and look forward to a productive exchange. To post a response, ask a question, or otherwise contribute to the discussion, simply send an email to:

Initial Forum Posts

Solicited Responses

Discussion (This list will be updated during the forum)


Supplemental information


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