Publisher description for Life after death : approaches to a cultural and social history during the 1940s and 1950s / edited by Richard Bessel, Dirk Schumann.
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This collection of essays offers a novel approach to the cultural and social history of Europe after the Second World War. In a shift of perspective, it does not conceive of the impressive economic and political stability of the postwar era as a quasi-natural return to previous patterns of societal development but approaches it as an attempt to establish 'normality' upon the lingering memories of experiencing violence on a hitherto unprecedented scale. It views the relationship of the violence of the 1940s to the apparent 'normality' and stability of the 1950s as a key to understanding the history of postwar Europe. While the history of post-war Germany naturally looms large in this collection, the essays deal with countries across Western and Central Europe, offer comparative perspectives on their subjects, and draw upon a wide range of primary and secondary source material.