Bitburg in Moral and Political Perspective

In This Review

Bitburg in Moral and Political Perspective

Edited by Geoffrey H. Hartman
Indiana University Press, 1986
284 pp. $29.95

A collection of essays and newspaper articles on the meaning of Bitburg, an inquiry occasioned by an inept, if by no means accidental, effort in Germany to accommodate the past to the needs of the present. Like so much else in the Reagan-Kohl era, Bitburg was a media event, but the chief actors, seeking to bury the embers of the past, helped to inflame them instead. In this collection of diverse, important voices, the speech by Richard von Weizsäcker, president of the Federal Republic, on May 8, 1985, stands out as perhaps the deepest, the most honest soul-searching to come out of the Federal Republic ever-and the reader is left with the disquieting question: which is more representative of today's Germany-Bitburg bungling or Weizsäcker's exemplary judgment, infused by his own experiences, passions and religious convictions?

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