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Reparation Politics: An Emerging Field

  • Stephanie Wolfe
Chapter
Part of the Springer Series in Transitional Justice book series (SSTJ, volume 7)

Abstract

The norms that have emerged concerning reparation politics have their roots in the early post- World War II era. It was not only the codification of the Genocide Convention and the creation of reparation and restitution laws for Jewish victims of the Holocaust, but also the philosophical underpinning given to the movement—particularly by Theodor Adorno, Hannah Arendt, and Karl Jaspers. They argued for the recognition of the German state’s responsibility for the Holocaust as well as arguing for the importance of coming to terms with the past. These developments were a direct reaction to the atrocities committed in Germany during World War II, and contributed strongly to the emergence of new norms within international society, creating a foundation on which reparation politics has been built. This chapter will discuss the development and emergence of this field, bringing together the various strands of the literature and theories that seek to explain the proliferation of reparation politics.

What is unique about this foundation is that reparation politics directly counters the idiom that history is written by the victors. Reparation politics is a story narrated by those who were victimized. An important segment of this field is the recognition and transmission of a historical narrative wherein the state acknowledges its unjust actions—leading to a history at least partially written by those who lost the battle, not those who won. In other words, we see an entirely new way of examining a nation’s history and the victimization of groups.

Keywords

Reparation politics Atrocity norms Accountability norms Versailles Treaty Nuremberg Trials Reparations Luxembourg Agreement Transitional justice Cold War Redress and reparation norms 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Weber State UniversityOgdenUSA

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