How does a nation recover from fascism?
1945 to 1955 was a raw, wild decade poised between two eras that proved decisive for Germany’s future – and one starkly different to how most of us imagine it today. Post-war Germany found itself occupied over four zones by the victorious Allied forces. More than half its population was displaced, 10 million newly released forced labourers and several million prisoners of war returned to an uncertain existence in a country that found itself politically, economically and morally bankrupt.
Aftermath is the first history of Germany’s national mentality in the immediate post-war years. Using major global political developments as a backdrop, Harald Jähner weaves a series of life stories into a nuanced panorama of a nation undergoing monumental change. Accompanied by expertly selected black and white photographs – some beautiful, some revelatory, some shocking – Aftermath evokes an immersive portrait of a society corrupted, demoralized and freed – all at the same time.
Rarely has a non-fiction book so skilfully combined vividness, drama and eloquence.
“[A] gripping 500-page X-ray-vision tale of an often overlooked and misperceived phase of German history reveals, like all great history books, as much about the first decade after the war as about today.
Clearly written, full of empathy for everyday life, which is far too seldom taken into consideration… You devour it like a novel.