The inability to accept the past by Japanese leaders stands in stark contrast to Germany’s clear acknowledgment of its responsibility for the Holocaust. The deep layers of reconciliation Germany developed with France, Poland, Israel, and the Czech Republic stand in contrast to Japan’s apologies to its neighbors, which have been thin, intermittent, and devoid of follow-up in bilateral policies toward China and South Korea that show a genuine desire to make amends. Germany’s experience—apologize, offer compensation, build other relationship—can serve as a guideline for continuing reconciliation in East Asia.
In Policy Report 39, “Different Beds, Same Nightmare: The Politics of History in Germany and Japan,” Professor Thomas Berger examines the characteristics of Germany and Japan that have shaped how the two countries respond to their histories from the Second World War. Citing differences in their histories, reckonings, and international political contexts, Professor Berger shows how despite these differences, Germany’s successes can provide a roadmap for reconciliation in northeast Asia.
In the sixty years since Israel’s founding, German-Israeli relations have been nothing if not complex. On the occasion of Israel’s sixtieth anniversary, the essays in German-American Issues 8 examine the issues of remembrance, the fading of the survivor generation, the new challenges faced by both countries in the twenty-first century, and the idea of a “normal” relationship between Germany and Israel. This volume features essays written by Michael Brenner, Lily Gardner Feldman, Harald Kindermann, Shimon Stein, and Frank Stern.