Dissonant Lives is not a standard 'history of Germany' in the twentieth century, or even of the German dictatorships. It is concerned with the ways in which Germans of different ages and life stages lived through the violent eruptions of the two world wars, and through the dictatorships ofNazism and then Communism that succeeded them. Mary Fulbrook explores the experiences and perceptions of selected individuals, analysing the ways in which major historical events, and changing structures of constraint and opportunity, affected the course of their lives and their outlooks. How did those who lived through this terrible period in German history interpret, confront, and respond to the multiple challenges of their times? How were they affected by the major economic, social, and political crises they lived through? How did living through Germany's 'second dictatorship',the German Democratic Republic, dominated by the communist power against whom the Germans had fought, affect behaviour patterns and social identities? And what implications did these experiences have for interpretations of the Nazi past? Dissonant Lives explores these important questions, seeking to view the dictatorial regimes of twentieth-century Germany 'from within'. Taking a deeper look at the life stories of individual Germans from a range of periods and backgrounds, it provides a new understanding of the ways in which notonly the character of the German state, economy, and social structure changed over the century, but also the very character of people themselves.