Michael H. Kater, Distinguished Research Professor Emeritus of history at York University, has published After the Nazis: The Story of Culture in West Germany (Yale University Press, 2023), a history of literature, film, music, theatre and the visual arts in West Germany from 1945 to reunification in1990.
The book by Kater considers how, after the Second World War, a mood of despair and impotence pervaded the arts in West Germany following the nation’s separation. It explores how West German culture, as it emerged from the darkness of the Third Reich, struggled with returning to the Weimar period’s progressive ideals and freeing themselves from their experiences of Nazism.
The book examines periods of denial and complacency, as well as attempts to reckon with the past (whether through the literature of Günter Grass or the happenings of Joseph Beuys and Karlheinz Stockhausen’s innovations in electronic music), and how through a reinvigoration of the cultural scene, West Germany contended with its past – and eventually allowed democracy to re-emerge.
Kater joined York University in 1967, teaching for decades before becoming a Distinguished Research Professor and then a professor emeritus. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, a past recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, and author of the books Culture in Nazi Germany, Weimar: From Enlightenment to the Present and Hitler Youth. His book Doctors Under Hitler earned him a Royal Society of Canada Jason A. Hannah Medal.
Originally published in YFile.