IN THE YEARS that immediately followed the Second World War, West German society shrouded the Holocaust in silence. Nazi mass murder was the shadow which hung over the Federal Republic as it progressed fiom wartime ruin to economic miracle. But well before reunification in 1990, the media. universities and schools had undone the self-induced amnesia of the postwar generation with such blanket coverage of Nazi crimes that exposure to them became routine.
The details of the Nazi genocide are irrefutably established, but one subject has remained taboo until recently. Outside the diatribes of neo-Nazi apologists and the narrow field of architectural and urban history, the devastation inflicted on Germany by the Allies was too sensitive a subiect for re~utableG erman authors.