chapter  8
16 Pages

Apology as international discourse

Although national apology was not unknown before World War II,1 the number of apologies dramatically increased in the postwar period and especially during the 1990s following the end of the Cold War.2 By the mid1990s everyone was apologizing for historic wrongs. In 1995 alone there were apologies from Swedish Prime Minister Ingvar Carlsson who regretted Sweden’s silence as a neutral country during the Holocaust (April 26); President Thomas Klestil urged Austrians to acknowledge Austrian participation in the war on the side of Hitler (May 3); the Vatican asked forgiveness for wrongs committed by the Catholic Church against Protestants and people of other faiths (May 22); Southern Baptists apologized to AfricanAmericans for condoning racism (June 21); President Chirac said that France’s complicity with the Nazis was a “stain” on the nation (July 17).3