Together We Offered Resistance

After World War II was over, the countries not only had to deal with the problems of reconstruction; even more critical was the question of how societies torn by inner conflict, societies with collaborators, Resistance fighters and fellow travellers, could be united again. In 1945 it was therefore a question - consciously or unconsciously - of whether the nations could succeed in making an inner peace or whether they would be drawn into civil war.
The path to unity led after 1945 through the construction of a myth of the Resistance. This national, heroic view of the conflict offered many benefits to all the countries that had either been occupied by Germany or had been its allies, but also for Germany itself. It contributed to the re-establishment of the inner unity of a country that had often been severely shaken by the War, and it gave meaning to the immeasurable sacrifice of the victims. It also created the basis for a new beginning and opened a perspective for the future in countries that had often been completely restructured as a result of the War.
The myth of the Resistance helped them to get over the dark sides of their own past. And finally it opened a chance for the tacit reintegration of groups and persons who had compromised themselves during the War. The collaborators were relegated to a small minority of traitors who in the end remained an alien element within the population. Accordingly, the nation, the people, had in their entirety refused to accept the German occupation and stood on the side of the Resistance.
In East as in West, before or behind the Iron Curtain, the question of guilt was solved for the moment, regardless of whether it concerned the Germans, their allies or the occupied countries. Even neutral countries constructed their own myths of resistance.


Federal Republic of Germany
German Democratic Republic
Czech Republic
The Netherlands

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