How did Germany, an aggressor nation, recover and come to terms with its past following its devastating defeat at the end of the Second World War? These and other subjects are investigated in Harald Jähner fascinating book Aftermath.
At the end of the war, Germany lay devastated, with many of its towns and cities in ruins, much of its population displaced, and with foreign forces from four different nations occupying its territory. In well-researched themed chapters, Jähner explores how ordinary Germans and their new leaders approached these challenges, gradually rebuilding order from chaos.
Jähner examines how rubble was cleared; how displaced people became returnees and refugees, bringing both challenges and opportunities; how ordinary German citizens partied as if it were the end of times; how they struggled to re-build old personal relationships, and how they build new ones; how a black market economy thrived, eventually necessitating currency reform; and how Germans as a whole managed to cope by absolving themselves of any personal guilt for what had happened during the war, and by seeing themselves as victims of the former regime.
An excellent book.