Bombs Away!

Representing the Air War over Europe and Japan


Prompted by recent challenges to and debates about the relative public silence concerning the effects of the Allied air war over Europe during World War II, this collection of essays examines literary, visual (film and photography), and institutional (museums) representations of the bombing of civilian targets, predominantly in Germany. The authors examine narrative strategies of both well-known and relatively little known works as well as the moral and ideological presuppositions of the varied representations of the depredations of total war. The introduction and afterword by the editors invite the readers to expand the contours and historical context of the debates about the German public discourse on the bombing war beyond the narrow confines of perpetrators and victims. The volume will be of interest to literary scholars, historians, and the general reading public interested in warfare and its effects on civilian populations.

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Wilfried Wilms is Assistant Professor of German Studies at University of Denver. He has published on the German Enlightenment (G.E. Lessing) and its reception, the debate surrounding W.G. Sebald and Jörg Friedrich, and film. He is working on a book project entitled The Bombing of Germany: Taboo, Repression, and the Politics of Memory.
William Rasch is Professor and Chair of the Department of Germanic Studies, Indiana University, Bloomington. He is the author of Niklas Luhmann’s Modernity: The Paradoxes of Differentiation and Sovereignty and Its Discontents: On the Primacy of Conflict and the Structure of the Political (German translation: Konflikt als Beruf: Die Grenzen des Politischen).
Wilfried WILMS & William RASCH : Introduction: Uncovering their Stories: The Rubble of Memory and the Bombing War
I. Narrative and History
Brad PRAGER: Air War and Allegory
Daniel FULDA: Abschied von der Zentralperspektive. Der nicht nur literarische Geschichtsdiskurs im Nachwende-Deutschland als Dispositiv für Jörg Friedrichs Brand
Stephan JAEGER: Infinite Closures: Narrative(s) of Bombing in Historiography and Literature on the Borderline between Fact and Fiction
Henning HERRMANN-TRENTEPOHL: “Das sind meine lieben Toten” – Walter Kempowskis “Echolot”-Projekt
Jennifer BAJOREK: Holding Fast to Ruins: The Air War in Brecht’s Kriegsfibel
Thomas C. FOX: East Germany and the Bombing War
Benedikt JAGER: Die gepolsterte Nussschale des Bootes – Der Luftkrieg aus der Sicht skandinavischer Korrespondenten
II. The German Experience
Timm MENKE: W. G. Sebalds Luftkrieg und Literatur und die Folgen: Eine kritische Bestandsaufnahme
Florian RADVAN: Religiöse Bildlichkeit und transtextuelle Bezüge in Gert Ledigs Luftkriegsroman Vergeltung
Walter PAPE: “Mich für mein ganzes leben verletzendes Geschehen als Erlebnis”: Die Luftangriffe auf Salzburg (1944) in Thomas Bernhards Die Ursache und Alexander Kluges Der Luftangriff auf Halberstadt am 8. April 1945
Stuart SMITH: “Das war nicht mehr wie vor Ilion”: Servicemen, Civilians and the Air War in Gerd Gaiser’s Die sterbende Jagd
Andrew WILLIAMS: “Das stanniolene Rascheln der Weinblätter”: Hans Erich Nossack und der Luftkrieg
III. The Allied Experience
Paul CROSTHWAITE: “Children of the Blitz”: Air War and the Time of Postmodernism in Michael Moorcock’s Mother London
Erwin WARKENTIN: Death by Moonlight: A Canadian Debate over Guilt, Grief and Remembering the Hamburg Raids
Diederik OOSTDIJK: Debunking ‘The Good War’ Myth: Howard Nemerov’s War Poetry
Steve PLUMB: Art and the Air Campaigns of 1940/41 and 1945: Visual Representations of the London and Dresden Bombing Raids
Silke ARNOLD-de SIMINE: Memory Cultures: The Imperial War Museum North and W. G. Sebald’s Natural History of Destruction
Anna LEAHY & Douglas DECHOW: Keep ’Em Flying High: How American Air Museums Create and Foster Themes of the World War II Air War
IV. Film
Jaimey FISHER: Bombing Memories in Braun’s Zwischen Gestern und Morgen (1947): Flashbacks to the Recent Past in the German Rubble-Film
Christina GERHARDT: The Allied Air Bombing Campaign of Germany in Herzog’s Little Dieter Needs to Fly
Wilfried WILMS: Hollywood’s Celluloid Air War
Jerome F. SHAPIRO: Ninety Minutes over Tokyo: Aesthetics, Narrative, and Ideology in Three Japanese Films about the Air War
William RASCH: ‘It Began with Coventry’: On Expanding the Debate over the Bombing War