Critique Ulrich Herbert s Good Times Bad Times Essay

952 Words Feb 8th, 2015 4 Pages
The following is a critique of the article “Good Times, Bad Times: Memories of The Third Reich” by Ulrich Herbert. In this critique, I will explore the themes of the article, discuss the main arguments, and address the significance of the author’s insight to the world of Nazi Germany.
Ulrich Herbert’s “Good Times, Bad Times” is about the contrast between the ways typical working Germans perceived the years before and during Hitler’s appointment as Chancellor, his rise to dictator, and during and after and World War II. The article cites a survey conducted by the Institut für Demoskopie (Public Opinion Institute) in 1949, as well as an oral-history project conducted at the universities of Essen and Hagen between 1930-1960. Both studies
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Though Herbert is clear in pointing out that the ‘Good Times’ that he refers to in the article’s title are exemplified by “secure employment, well-ordered family life, and politics kept at arms’ length” (Bessel.p. 109), he does suggest that it is worth asking if there is a more endemic flaw in the German perspective: “It is natural to ask whether more can be made of the conspicuous silence about both the 1930s and 1950s than merely to establish parallels between the periods. The fact that many aspects of pre-1945 tradition were taken up again from the 1950s onwards has been depicted by critics of the Federal Republic virtually as a congenital defect that hindered a genuinely fresh political start.” (Bessel, p. 108).
Of all of the articles critiqued, this was most confounding. Though Herbert seems to want to take a strong stance, he does not delve deeply enough into the psychology that may have guided the perspectives of working Germans during the periods in question. For example, could guilt or shame contribute to the selective memory that the participants in the study have regarding the 1930s? Without a more comprehensive approach to the studies cited, too many questions are left unanswered.
Though some interesting points were raised, the article ultimately falls short of making a strong statement regarding the views of a typical German during the years leading up to and immediately following the Third Reich. He does, however, achieve some success in affording the

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