Dr Andrew Beattie

Senior Lecturer in German and European Studies

BA Hons, PhD Sydney

School of Humanities & Languages


9385 2328
251 Morven Brown
Fields: European History (excl. British, Classical Greek and Roman)
Tags: Understanding Europe's Past

My research spans the fields of contemporary history, transitional justice and memory studies and explores the handling of the complex legacies of Germany’s Nazi and communist pasts.

My current research project investigates the mass internment of Nazi functionaries and other German civilians by the Allied occupiers in the wake of World War II, and how Germans responded to, and subsequently remembered this internment. The project, ‘In the shadow of the concentration camp: Responses to Allied internment in Germany since 1945’, is funded as an ARC Discovery Project. I have conducted research in over 30 church and state archives, mainly in Germany, and have presented my findings at conferences and workshops in Australia, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

Publications emerging from this project include:

  • an article in Museum and Society (2010, available here (PDF)) and a book chapter in Memorialization in Germany since 1945 (Palgrave, 2010) on post-1990 remembrance of the Soviet camp at Torgau, which had previously been used as a Nazi military prison;
  • an essay on the history of German attitudes to and interpretations of the Soviet camps in the Jahrbuch für historische Kommunismusforschung (2011, available here (PDF));
  • an article comparing German responses to internment in the American and Soviet zones of occupation in the Zeitschrift für Geschichtswissenschaft (2014);
  • a chapter examining controversies surrounding the commemoration of Soviet camps, especially those on the sites of former Nazi concentration camps, in Von Mahnstätten über zeithistorische Museen zu Orten des Massentourismus? Gedenkstätten an Orten von NS-Verbrechen in Polen und Deutschland (Metropol, 2016, details here);
  • an article examining the responses of the Protestant churches to internment in the British zone, published in German History (2017, available here).

The second area of my research explores the politics of memory and history in contemporary Germany. In addition to my book, Playing Politics with History: The Bundestag Inquiries into East Germany (Berghahn, 2008), I have written articles and book chapters on various aspects of German public memory of the German Democratic Republic (GDR), and how it intersects with memory of Nazi Germany.

These include:

  • a chapter on the political uses of the past in East, West and re-unified Germany for a collection on Partisan Histories: The Past in Contemporary Global Politics (Palgrave, 2005);
  • chapters examining continuities in (West) German conservative memory politics since the 1980s in edited volumes on Germans as Victims (Palgrave, 2006) and on Cold War Cultures: Perspectives on Eastern and Western European Societies (Berghahn, 2012);
  • a chapter exploring the relationship between official memory politics and public memory of East German in the two decades since German unification in Remembering the German Democratic Republic: Divided Memory in United Germany (Palgrave, 2011);
  • a chapter examining post-1990 debates about the comparability of East German communism and Nazism in the light of the famous West German Historians’ Dispute in Ein Kampf um Deutungshoheit (Metropol, 2013, details here).

I have also explored the broader European implications of Germany’s post-communist memory politics. In an article in Portal: Journal of Multidisciplinary International Studies (2007, available here), I took issue with suggestions that Europe in general should imitate Germany’s approach to dealing with two totalitarian pasts and the legacies of divided memory between East and West.

My research also contributes to the interdisciplinary field of ‘transitional justice’:

  • In an article in the International Journal of Transitional Justice (2009, available here), I undertook the first systematic exploration of the Bundestag commission as a ‘truth commission’ and considered what it could contribute to the field;
  • In an essay published in Post-Communist Transitional Justice: Lessons from Twenty-Five Years of Experience (Cambridge University Press, 2015, details here), I compared the Bundestag commission with historical commissions in the Baltic states and explored their liminal position between transitional justice and the politics of history.



    • Beattie AH, 2008, Playing politics with history: The bundestag inquiries into East Germany

    Book Chapters

    • Beattie AH, 2018, 'Verdiente Strafe des harten Kerns oder ungerechte Besatzungsmaßnahme? Die SS und die alliierte Internierung im besetzten Deutschland', in Schulte JE; Wildt M (ed.), Die SS nach 1945: Entschuldungsnarrative, populäre Mythen, europäischen Erinnerungsdiskurse, V&R unipress, Göttingen, pp. 57 - 74
    • Beattie A, 2018, 'The Allied Internment of German Civilians in Occupied Germany: Cooperation and Conflict in the Western Zones, 1945–9', in Erlichmann C; Knowles C (ed.), Transforming Occupation in the Western Zones of Germany Politics, Everyday Life and Social Interactions, 1945-55, Bloomsbury Publishing, London, pp. 81 - 96
    • Beattie A, 2017, 'L’internamento dei civili tedeschi dopo la seconda guerra mondiale e la questione della violenza', in Acciai E; Panvini G; Poesia C; Rovatti T (ed.), Oltre il 1945: Violenza, conflitto sociale, ordine pubblico nel dopoguerra europeo, Viella, Rome, pp. 105 - 120
    • Beattie AH, 2016, 'Gedenkstätten als Katalysatoren geschichtspolitischer Konflikte: Umstrittene Erinnerung und Konkurrenz der Opfer', in Heitzer E; Morsch G; Traba R; Woniak K (ed.), Von Mahnstätten über zeithistorische Museen zu Orten des Massentourismus? Gedenkstätten an Orten von NS-Verbrechen in Polen und Deutschland, Metropol Verlag, Berlin, pp. 84 - 94
    • Beattie AH, 2015, 'Post-communist truth commissions: Between transitional justice and the politics of history', in Post-Communist Transitional Justice: Lessons from Twenty-Five Years of Experience, pp. 213 - 232, http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781107588516.015
    • Beattie A, 2013, 'Ein neuer Historikerstreit? Kommunismus und Nationalsozialismus in der deutschen Erinnerungs- und Geschichtspolitik seit 1990', in Benz W (ed.), Ein Kampf um Deutungshoheit: Politik, Opferinteressen und historische Forschung. Die Auseinandersetzung um die Gedenk- und Begegnungsstätte Leistikowstraße Potsdam, edn. Original, Metropol Verlag, Berlin, pp. 16 - 36
    • Beattie AH, 2012, 'A 1950s revival: Cold War Culture in reunified Germany', in Cold War Cultures: Perspectives on Eastern and Western European Societies, pp. 299 - 320
    • Beattie A, 2012, 'Die Weichen stellen für die Zukunft der DDR-Erinnerung? Rückblick auf die Enquete-Kommission des Bundestages zur Aufarbeitung von Geschichte und Folgen der SED-Diktatur in Deutschland', in Sabrow M; Bosch F (ed.), Zeiträume: Potsdamer Almanach des Zentrums für Zeithistorische Forschung, edn. Original, Wallstein, Göttingen, pp. 20 - 33
    • Beattie AH, 2011, 'The politics of remembering the GDR: Official and state-mandated memory since 1990', in Remembering the German Democratic Republic: Divided Memory in a United Germany, pp. 23 - 34, http://dx.doi.org/10.1057/9780230349698
    • Beattie AH, 2009, 'The fight in the Prison Car Park: Memorializing Germany's 'double past' in Torgau since 1990', in Memorialization in Germany since 1945, pp. 328 - 338, http://dx.doi.org/10.1057/9780230248502
    • Beattie A, 2007, 'Orte des Terrors oder der "stalinistischen Entnazifizierung"? Zeitgenössische britische Wahrnehmungen sowjetischer Speziallager in der SBZ', in Barker P; Ohse M-D; Tate D (ed.), Views from Abroad: die DDR aus britischer Perspektive, edn. Original, W. Bertelsmann Verlag, Bielefeld, pp. 67 - 78
    • Beattie A, 2006, 'The Victims of Totalitarianism and the Centrality of Nazi Genocide: Continuity and Change in German Commemorative Politics', in Niven B (ed.), Germans as Victims: Contemporary Germany and the Third Reich, edn. Original, Palgrave, Basingstoke, pp. 147 - 163
    • Zimmerer J;Beattie AH, 2005, 'Colonialism and the holocaust: Towards an archeology of genocide', in Genocide and Settler Society: Frontier Violence and Stolen Indigenous Children in Australian History, pp. 49 - 76
    • Heinemann I;Beattie AH, 2005, '"Until the last drop of good blood" The kidnapping of "racially valuable" children and nazi racial policy in occupied Eastern Europe', in Genocide and Settler Society: Frontier Violence and Stolen Indigenous Children in Australian History, pp. 244 - 266
    • Beattie A, 2005, 'The Past in the Politics of Divided and Unified Germany', in Friedman MP; Kenney P (ed.), Partisan Histories: The Past in Contemporary Global Politics, edn. Original, Palgrave MacMillan, New York, pp. 17 - 38

    Journal articles


Teaching and Supervision

In recent years I have taught in the following courses:
German Studies: Introductory German A and B, Advanced German A
European Studies: Concepts of Europe, Australia's European Context, Confronting the Past in Contemporary Europe, Europe between the Wars, Contemporary Germany/Germany since 1945

Engagement and Professional contributions

I am a member of the following disciplinary associations:

Australian Historical Association

German Studies Association (USA)

German Studies Association of Australia

Contemporary European Studies Association of Australia

I also regularly cooperate with the Goethe Institute Sydney.

Related links