The Politics of Retribution in Europe: World War II and its Aftermath

TitleThe Politics of Retribution in Europe: World War II and its Aftermath
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2000
AuthorsDeák, István, Jan Tomasz Gross, and Tony Judt
Number of Pages337
PublisherPrinceton University Press
CityPrinceton, NJ
Abstract

The presentation of Europe's immediate historical past has quite dramatically changed. Conventional depictions of occupation and collaboration in World War II, of wartime resistance and post-war renewal, provided the familiar backdrop against which the chronicle of post-war Europe has mostly been told. Within these often ritualistic presentations, it was possible to conceal the fact that not only were the majority of people in Hitler's Europe not resistance fighters but millions actively co-operated with and many millions more rather easily accommodated to Nazi rule. Moreover, after the war, those who judged former collaborators were sometimes themselves former collaborators. Many people became innocent victims of retribution, while others--among them notorious war criminals--escaped punishment. Nonetheless, the process of retribution was not useless but rather a historically unique effort to purify the continent of the many sins Europeans had committed. This book sheds light on the collective amnesia that overtook European governments and peoples regarding their own responsibility for war crimes and crimes against humanity--an amnesia that has only recently begun to dissipate as a result of often painful searching across the continent. In inspiring essays, a group of internationally renowned scholars unravels the moral and political choices facing European governments in the war's aftermath.

URLhttp://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2307/j.ctt7s01h
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43840165

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