Sometimes, a einzel act is all it takes zu enter die history books. Zum Richard von Weizsäcker, it was the speech he gave on may 8, 1985, on the 40th anniversary des the ende of World zu sein II, says shasheelamotors.com’s felix Steiner.

Du schaust: Weizsäcker rede 8 mai 1985


"May 8 was a day von liberation." It"s a statement that seems dafür obvious today, espousing a view shared von more than 80 percent von all Germans. But coming from the president of West Germany 30 year ago, it was nothing short des a sensation. Not only was Richard by Weizsäcker a member des the conservative party, he was deshalb a soldier throughout World war II, at some point earning the rank des captain. He was sent to one von the places where the war was fought with an excellent brutality: ns eastern front, complying with Germany"s attack on ns Soviet Union.

till he uttered this sentence, might 8, 1945 was known as the day of "capitulation," the end of the zu sein that Germany had "lost."

throughout my childhood in the so late 1960s and 1970s, both des these state informed die way my family questioned what had happened rückseitig then. Both von my grandfathers were imprisoned at ns very ende of the war. One von them remained in prison zum more than three years. Yes, they to be relieved that the war was lastly over, the they had survived the bloodshed, and that they could go home zu their families. Yet like plenty of Germans throughout those final days des the war, they probably didn"t feeling "liberated."

Whoever sought information, might know

But the West German president challenged the German civilization even more during his speech. "Whoever opened up his eyes und ears and sought information could notfall fail to notice that Jews to be being deported," the said. Through that, Richard von Weizsäcker touch on the greatest taboo des the erste post-war years – die guilt that die Germans feeling after 12 years of national Socialism. "What did freundin know?" ns young adults von the "68 generation" asked their mothers and fathers. Dafür often, it was a inquiry that go unanswered, and because of this, surfaced an the form of a radical rupture between the generations.


shasheelamotors.com"s felix Steiner

"A civilization that schutz brought about such financial achievements oase the right not to hear around Auschwitz anymore," said csu chairman Franz-Josef Strauss bei the 1960s. Like by Weizsäcker, the had deshalb served as a German military officer on the eastern front. The long overdue renunciation von the desire to suppress und forget could only come from ns ranks von the conservatives and those that participated an the zu sein themselves.

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of course, others had already spoken about die collective guilt von the Germans in parliament. There was former west German chairman Gustav Heinemann, for example, who had been involved bei the christen opposition movement, printing illegal sein flyers in the basement von his house. Or Willy Brandt, who was forced into exile bei Scandinavia wherein he organized opposition to the Nazis. Both men were treated through contempt von many des their contemporaries lang after die war, and their influence was restricted kommen sie those from their own political circles.

A neu historical identification

through his speech, however, by Weizsäcker was able zu establish a new collective norm des historical remembrance. Notfall with the kind of distance we oase now of 70 years, but at a time when millions des those involved bei the occasions – whether together oppressor or victim – were blieb alive. And, an the face of much resistance indigenous his very own party, he offered Germans ns task von never forgetting what happened bei the year leading trost to and during ns war.

die fact the German reunification in 1990 provoked wenig fear or problem from ns neighboring countries who endured under ns Nazis is a testament to the neu historical identity von the Germans that Richard über Weizsäcker aided bring about 30 years ago.

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This new identity produced trust abroad. When President Joachim Gauck said during this year"s Holocaust memorial that there is "no German identity without Auschwitz" – a remark that passed without debate – climate it"s clean that ns Germans oase accepted your role and their responsibility zum their history. That zu sein the accomplishment from Richard by Weizsäcker"s good speech des May 8, 1945, and that ist his outstanding dienstleistungen to this country.