Struggle for the FilesAstrid M Eckert
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'Eckert's book does far more than trace the wartime and postwar fate of German archival records. It manages to incorporate a detailed and impeccably researched treatment of 'ownership' with a broader discussion of the international debate about the path of German history and the future of Germany. This issue interests a much wider audience within the field of German history and within the discipline of history as a whole. The other characteristic of this work that deserves emphasis is its transnational character. Eckert is so well versed in the history of Germany, Britain, and the United States that she can carry off a narrative of their interaction in the postwar period with success and with verve.' Richard Breitman, Distinguished Professor, American University 'The Struggle for the Files is an essential read for historians of Germany and the twentieth-century Atlantic world. Astrid Eckert provides a masterful, even riveting, account of the tangled odyssey of captured German archives after World War II - from the Allied confiscation and exploitation of Nazi-era records to the contentious return of the records to West Germany in the 1950s and after. At the same time she weaves her narrative within broader questions concerning the Allies' unprecedented archival guardianship. Partly these were immediate matters, ranging from the political and cultural sovereignty of a recent enemy-turned-ally to the use of wartime German records for Cold War intelligence. But they also concern the larger, more crucial, and most enduring postwar question of who would serve as the custodian and arbiter of Germany's catastrophic recent history.' Norman J. W. Goda, author of Tales from Spandau: Nazi Criminals and the Cold War 'Who knew you could write a thriller about archival transfer? This is a real page-turner, offering an exciting international tale of Cold War relations, Vergangenheitsbewaltigung, and the writing of German history. Eckert's mastery of the archives - as well as the archival politics - of three nations is remarkable.' Mark Roseman, Professor of History and Pat M. Glazer Chair of Jewish Studies, Indiana University 'This is the book we have long needed. In no period of history has a study of the fate of the archives and public records of a nation defeated in war been more important than in the case of Nazi Germany. Astrid M. Eckert has created a splendid account of the postwar saga of the German records, and of their international importance through the long decades of the Cold War. Based on imaginative prodigious research and shrewd and judicious analyses, and written in a cogent and compelling narrative style, Professor Eckert's command of both the sources and the subject is complete. This is an important, and indeed essential, work of historical scholarship.' Charles W. Sydnor, Jr, Emory and Henry College, Virginia '... riveting reading.' The Times Literary Supplement '... the author brilliantly recounts cooperative achievements and internal squabbles among scholars across the national boundaries. The book's translation, provided by the German Historical Institute in Washington, DC, is excellent.' Diethelm Prowe, The Journal of Modern History