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10 September 2019

Against the 1989–1990 Ending Myth

Central European History
Against the 1989–1990 Ending Myth

This article aims to temper the fetishization of the events of 1989—1990. It explores how the historical framing of the Federal Republic transforms when 1989—1990 becomes peripheral, and argues that the force of 1989—1990 as a mythic ending relies on two interpretive paradigms: on a temporal sensibility based on a belief in the progressive development of politics and society, and on a conception of identity and difference understood in terms of a Cold War global order. The article highlights how these twentieth-century paradigms guided the historiography that made 1989—1990 the climax of the history of the Federal Republic. The precondition of any new master narrative for the Federal Republic is the recognition that these paradigms have lost their purchase. Viewed instead through the new temporal sensibility of presentism and the lateral power politics of globalization, 1989—1990 assumes a new position amid longer arcs of historical change that do not hinge on the fate of the Berlin Wall.

Source: Jennifer L. Allen (2019). Against the 1989–1990 Ending Myth. Central European History. Vol. 52. Is. 1: 125–147

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