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Law, History, and Justice: Debating German State Crimes in the Long Twentieth Century

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Law, History, and Justice

Debating German State Crimes in the Long Twentieth Century

Annette Weinke
Translated from the German by Nicholas Evangelos Levis

340 pages, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78920-105-5 $145.00/£107.00 / Hb / Published (December 2018)

ISBN  978-1-80539-708-3 $34.95/£27.95 / Pb / Not Yet Published (September 2024)

eISBN 978-1-78920-106-2 eBook

View CartYour country: - edit Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format)Recommend to your LibraryAvailable in GOBI®


“Annette Weinke’s deeply researched, tightly argued, and insightful book… weaves together literatures on historical theory, the historiography of six political regimes in Germany, international human rights law, and transitional justice from the 1980s onward to tell a story larger than the sum of its parts. And she does so in a tight package, helpful to scholars and students alike… She completely persuades that collective historical memory of Germany’s twentieth century frames and shapes, if it does not actually constitute, discourse about international human rights and international criminal law well into the twenty-first century.” • Holocaust and Genocide Studies

“This book is complicated, and not for the beginner. It covers much ground, and quickly. Weinke does not so much create a usable narrative as destroy usable, but unfortunately inaccurate, narratives. Her book should be required reading for anyone producing new scholarship in these fields.” • Journal of Modern History

“Meticulously researched in European and US archives, [this book] is a valuable contribution to a growing field and zooms in into debates of surprising variety… In her lucid conclusion on the entanglement of history’s burden and law she gives us an overview about one century of twisting German debates and the results of moral hubris. Her book will inspire a generation of scholars working in the field and surely find its readers not only among historians and legal scholars but also in the general public as it shows debates and its underlying dilemma which are as relevant today as they were in 1920 or 1945.” • Connections: A Journal for Historians and Area Specialists

“It is to be welcomed that a translation of this book is now available since it can now find its place in the growing field of international research on the history of human rights and international law. The translation into English by Nichola Evangelos Levis is faultless.” • Sehepunkte


Since the nineteenth century, the development of international humanitarian law has been marked by complex entanglements of legal theory, historical trauma, criminal prosecution, historiography, and politics. All of these factors have played a role in changing views on the applicability of international law and human-rights ideas to state-organized violence, which in turn have been largely driven by transnational responses to German state crimes. Here, Annette Weinke gives a groundbreaking long-term history of the political, legal and academic debates concerning German state and mass violence in the First World War, during the National Socialist era and the Holocaust, and under the GDR.

Annette Weinke is an Assistant Professor of History at the Friedrich Schiller University of Jena. She has previously been a visiting fellow at Princeton University’s History Department. She is the co-editor of Toward a New Moral World Order? (2013) and Human Rights and Humanitarian Intervention (2017).

Subject: Peace and Conflict StudiesHistory: 20th Century to Present
Area: Germany


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