[...] the government's need to legitimize its own educational dictates coincided completely with the citizens' need for exoneration from historical responsibility. Add to this a kind of "Hiroshima effect." The genocidal bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki had transformed the Japanese into victims, and they no longer wanted to hear about their own complicity in starting the war. Similarly, East Germans were transformed into victims by the Soviet occupation. Whatever role they may have palyed during the Nazi years was atoned for by their sufferings under Stalinism. Unlike in West Germany, the perpetrators had become the victims, and that's how they saw themselves. [...]
about how East Germany (government and citizens together) had somehow recast German imperialism and Nazism into something for which West Germany had been responsible, to the extent that children believed that "East German troops had fought alongside the Red Army to liberate Germany from Hitler and the fascist yoke"