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Broken Lives: How Ordinary Germans Experienced the 20th Century

February 12, 2017 @ 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm



Based on six dozen autobiographies of the age cohort born during the Weimar Republic, this project looks at the ruptures of German history from below which overturned or ended all too many lives. The analysis seeks to ascertain common patterns of experience in order to get at what happened to most Germans and to explore tropes of shared memory with which they tried to come to terms with such upheavals in retrospect. This perspective sheds new light on why so many ordinary people supported the racist imperialism of the Nazis, then embraced anti-Fascist alternatives and finally sought to make sense of their choices. In contrast to conventional accounts of history from above, this reverse view seeks to understand the widespread patterns of individual actions and personal memorie.

Moderated by Tobias Hof I of the UNC department of History.

Konrad H. Jarausch is Lurcy Professor of European Civilization at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Senior Fellow of the Zentrum für Zeithistorische Forschung in Potsdam. He has written or edited about 40 books on German and European history such as United Germany: Debating Processes and Prospects. Most recently he has published a sweeping synthesis of 20th century European history entitled Out of Ashes: A New History of Europe in the Twentieth Century.



February 12, 2017
5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
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Karen Hagemann


Hamilton Hall
Chapel Hill, NC 27599 United States + Google Map