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Additional info for 50 Fighters 1939-45 -Volume 1
What is at stake, I think, is the crisis of a certain kind of intellectual discourse, a crisis which many still deny or repress, as well as an inevitable redefinition of the role of intellectuals, writers, and artists in the new Germany. Of course, it is too early to predict the shape of intellectual life in the unified country. But attempts to redefine the ethos of German culture abound, and it is possible to provide a preliminary sketch of an intellectual constellation as it has emerged in 1990, in which ideological, generational, political, and aesthetic arguments crisscross to form an ever denser web.
Complex patterns of censorship and self-censorship, resistance and critique, the carving out in recent years of protected niches and spaces for a new kind of subcultural discourse outside the system of censorship (Prenzlauer Berg in East Berlin) have all collapsed, opening up a void into which market forces rush like air into a formerly airless space. The crisis of the East German intellectual today is not so much a crisis of thinking (although it is that, too) as an existence-threatening crisis of all cultural institutions, including universities, museums, libraries, theaters, galleries, schools, newspapers, publishing houses, and bookstores.
But rather than shedding political identities of the past in a Wendeha/s3 euphoria or sinking into the paralysis of the loser's melancholy, intellectuals need to raise fundamental questions about the structure and scope of delusions pierced by the events of the last couple of years. One of the more depressing aspects of the year of unification, however, is the unwillingness and inability of many left and liberal intellectuals to admit error, to analyze the nature of their delusions and political projections, and to admit that a thorough reorientation is the order of the day.