Sacrifice and National Belonging in Twentieth-Century Germany

Edited by Gregg Eghigian and Matthew Paul Berg

Introduction by John Borneman

978-1-58544-207-2 Cloth
6.12 x 9.25 x 0 in
240 pp. 18 b&w photos.
Pub Date: 08/16/2002


  • Cloth $29.95 s
Over the course of the twentieth century, Germans from virtually all walks of life were touched by two interrelated problems: forging a sense of national community and coming to terms with widespread suffering. Arguably no country in the modern western world has been so closely associated with both inflicting and overcoming catastrophic misery in the name of national belonging as Germany.

It was within this context that the concept and ideal of Asacrifice" played a pivotal role in recent German political culture. What was seen as a noble act that carried feudal and religious connotations in the nineteenth century was quickly democratized and secularized in the twentieth. As the seven essays in this volume show, once the value of heroic national sacrifice was invoked during the First World War in order to mobilize German soldiers and civilians, it proved to be a remarkably persuasive and resilient notion for understanding and responding to a wide variety of social dislocations.

How did the ideals of sacrifice and self-sacrifice play a role in constructing German nationalism? How did the Nazis use the idea of sacrifice to justify mass killing? What consequences did this have for postwar Germany? With contributions from social history, military history, art history, and cultural anthropology, this volume attempts to open up new avenues of discussion about the history of twentieth-century German political life by taking an interdisciplinary approach to the problem of sacrifice and German national belonging in the twentieth century.

Walter Prescott Webb Memorial Lectures, published for the University of Texas at Arlington by Texas A&M University Press

Published by Texas A&M University Press