Contours of the Berlin Republic
This chapter presents some concluding thoughts. It addresses the following questions: Why did a more crushing defeat in World War II and the attending collapse of the Nazi dictatorship lead most Germans instead to eschew war, to abjure radical nationalism, and to reject special paths of modernization in the future? How have the lessons of the National Socialist past affected the German response to the new challenges of globalization? In recent decades, postcolonial criticism has begun to question the goal of transformation—whether it is called Westernization, liberalization, or civilization. To what extent were the successive changes really a positive gain? Answering such questions requires not just a reexamination of the record but some reflection on the criteria used to pass judgment.
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