A shifting perspective on racism in post-war Germany

By: Cyrus Hutnyk

This week’s reading by Christopher A. Molnar, “Greetings from the apocalypse” was especially provocative and interesting for me, to take a look at the ethical and moral challenges that the nation faced in the wake of its horrible leadership offers a unique perspective into the process necessary to reestablish itself and make some sort of amends and improvements. Looking at things like migration, antisemitism, race, and how democracy was impactful in Germany are all pieces of the process that the new German leadership had to face and employ. This reading went into the changes in Germany over two decades, and especially highlighted changes in perception as it related to the aforementioned topics.

The author of this week’s reading allows for a greater understanding of different kinds of racism that was occurring, both in culture and biology and how they moved from one to the other. Equally we can see how perceptions and attitudes concerning certain subjects shifted over time. Molnar demonstrates that the racism post war was radically different from that under Nazi reign, having more to do with differences in culture and behaviour rather than coming from a biological or eugenics standpoint. Interestingly, Molnar’s writing shows us that foreign presence in Germany was still a contentious subject, sparking discomfort still. Understanding the differences in public opinion and the presence of racism in Germany in the post-war period shows us a concerning image of a nation on the back of genocide and tremendously harsh and oppressive rule. Though the sentiments are drastically different from those under Nazism, the conversation concerning racism is a dangerous one in a nation with a history like Germany’s. Some of the legislation and financial efforts or decisions in the post war period generate a sense of unease given the past behaviours of the German government.

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