This book discusses the long view of German memory from 1871, when Germany became a nation state, to 1990, when Cold War disunity was overcome and national integrity reestablished, and addresses certain features of Germany's engagement with the past, maintaining that German memory is marked by recurring themes and symbols. Monuments and historical artifacts have proven to be enduring and tangible symbols of cultural continuity. The book examines the triadic relationship between humans, landmarks, and cultural meanings, focusing on historical sites or memory landscapes, and the collective meanings represented by monuments and other physical sites. It describes how distinct layers of memory landscape have come about, and how evolving symbols and themes have crystallized around them.
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