The development of West German history textbooks from 1945 through the mid-1960s offers a way to understand what young West Germans were supposed to learn about their country's role in and experience of World War II. Several of the most widely used history textbooks during the postwar period contain vivid descriptions of German suffering, and authors gradually sought to reconcile this trauma with the crimes committed by the Germans during the war. This evidence contradicts the notion that the Germans remained silent about their own suffering after 1945 and the belief that history instruction avoided explicit discussions of German crimes until the 1970s.

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