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National Socialism

(4,414 words)

Author(s): Behrenbeck, Sabine
1. It is a characteristic of the modern age to have separated, ever since the Enlightenment, the political sphere from the religious (→ Secularization). Laicistic state entities justify their rule by reasonable laws and free elections, not by the divine right of the powers. At the same time, however, politics in the age of mass societies has appealed to a new legitimatization, with the help of which it has expressed → collective representation and identities that were often religious in tone. Se…


(1,919 words)

Author(s): Behrenbeck, Sabine
Leading Figure 1. A hero (Gk., heros, ‘hero,’ originally ‘free man’) is an individual who stands out from the crowd of ordinary persons by his corporeal or spiritual assets, and who provides a model for ethical orientation. The heroic charisma rests on extraordinary (or superhuman) traits, and it draws human beings into the spell of the hero's personality. The hero constitutes a type: thus, the stories of heroes' life and works follow similar patterns in different religions, and make real or fictitiou…


(2,302 words)

Author(s): Behrenbeck, Sabine
Monuments War memorials do not function solely as monuments to the war-dead, but also to “affirm the identity of the survivors” (Reinhart Koselleck). They construct the past in order to cope with the present. War-memorials thus say more about their architects than about the fallen, and the wars they are supposed to commemorate. In the age of mercenary armies, there were no monuments commemorating the common soldier; this honor was reserved for officers and commanders. In Prussia at the beginning of the 19th century, with the introduction of genera…

War Cemeteries

(1,285 words)

Author(s): Behrenbeck, Sabine
War Cemeteries The design of war graves and war cemeteries was first regulated during the First World War. Yet paradoxically at the same time as the enormous mass deaths, the status of individual war deaths became enhanced. Each of the fallen was now, as far as possible, to be given an individual grave, that, similarly to civilian tombs, would receive the body and perpetuate the name. In the 19th century it was normal for only officers to be interred in individual graves, while other ranks were bu…