Archive for August, 2013

German Memories Are Harsher Than Most

For Germany, history is still a minefield. A few weeks ago, I gave a talk at a conference titled “Japan’s War Memories: Amnesia or Concealment?” that was hosted by the University of San Francisco and the Japan Policy Research Institute. As you can guess, the question mark was pretty much a rhetorical one. Speaker after speaker upbraided the Japanese for failing to confront their war crimes, most notably the rape of Nanking in December 1937. Though disturbing, there was nothing particularly surprising, I noted, about the Japanese attempt to smooth over the unpleasant parts of their history. Did the Germans apologize for wiping out French villages or bombarding Paris in 1870? The difference in 1945, of course, was that the Holocaust was a unique act, one that left Germany, unlike other nations, no room for dodging. Sometimes you've got to drink to forget.Sometimes you’ve got to… Read on here...