Honor bestowed and felt? Verdienstorden in the Federal Republic after 1945

Bailey, Christian (2010). Honor bestowed and felt? Verdienstorden in the Federal Republic after 1945. In: Brunner, José ed. Politische Leidenschaften. Zur Verknüpfung von Macht, Emotion und Vernunft in Deutschland. Tel Aviver Jahrbuch für deutsche Geschichte (38). Göttingen: Wallstein Verlag GmbH, pp. 63–80.

URL: http://www.wallstein-verlag.de/9783835306073.html

Abstract

Honor has been described as a secondary and a lost emotion. It was »well on its way to obsolescence« by the mid-twentieth century, »frozen into stock expressions,« dealt with by only three out of twenty-two English- and German-language lexicons for the social sciences. Yet, in both English and German, the term honor has continued to be invoked at honors-giving ceremonies. This article sketches the rise and fall of the practice of honoring in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, before moving to its main focus, the revival of honors awarding in the post-World War II Federal Republic of Germany (FRG). It asks if, and how, national leaders have evoked the feeling of honor through the bestowing of national awards. Honor has certainly been bestowed, but has it been felt by those honoring, those being honored and those witnessing this practice?

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